Retrograde Redux 

For the week of April 13-19, 2011.

It's a funny thing about retrogrades — after a while, you get used to them and don't quite mind the interference or the interruptions. When regular routines of daily life take a little longer than they should, you just shrug your shoulders and smile with retrograde savoir faire and carry on. You're patient about endlessly repeating yourself and continuously being misunderstood. You evidence a good attitude, by laughing when your computer keeps asking for passwords it previously remembered and stored quite safely — until now. When a trip to the grocery store takes two hours instead of twenty minutes, you don't die from an apoplectic fit of frustration, you simply take out your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or other device and read, talk, e-mail, or text-message your way through the seemingly never-ending delays and detours. And when you realize all the providers are down, rather than blowing a gasket, you just find an app and let it blow for you.

But not this retrograde. Keeping cool during the current Mercury Retrograde phase isn't all that easy. From now until April 23, Mercury is part of a pile-up of planets in Aries, and because Aries is the go-getting, push-forward, fiery muscle of the astrological pantheon, patience, pacing, and postponing aren't really part of its repertoire. As a result, many of us feel caught in a strange static storm, unable to locate true north because navigation systems of every ilk, external and internal, can't quite find the signal. (For those of you new to retrograde lore, Mercury symbolizes all things related to communication and travel; when it seemingly moves backward in its orbit, all things within its domain seem to move backward, too.)

However, hassles and delays are not the issue. The big problem during this retrograde is that Mercury keeps triggering the core of all those Aries planets. As Mercury moves behind, it conjuncts Jupiter, and although this is a benign, even positive combination of astral energies, Jupiter amplifies Mercury's restless and often mischievousness nature. Again, not so bad, unless you are trying to push a deal through and the deadline seems to keep moving at a whim — or you're thinking it's cinched, and every time you try to sign, some new demand alters the landscape.

That's not all. Saturn opposes Mercury, as Mercury conjuncts Mars, and this is the true trouble spot. Mercury/Mars/Saturn configurations can provide intellectual depth, but they can just as easily feed a brash mouth, especially when additional tension exacerbates preexisting stresses and strains. Be careful what you say and to whom — you may need that person as a bridge later on, when you make your Indiana Jones (probably an Aries) escape. Also be aware that during highly charged times, sarcasm can often be misunderstood and quite hurtful. Humor is a great ally, but not if it causes harm.

As this retrograde throws one obstacle after another in the path of progress, it won't be easy to feel anything other than stuck. So rather than struggle against the wind, relax. Let go. Really. Let go. Allow the week to unfold in its own time, at its own pace. And as always, whenever possible, offer help to those in need — especially those less experienced with retrogrades.

If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that, too.

ARIES The world is your oyster at the moment. But instead of enjoying yourself, you're suffering over the opinions of others. Pay attention to positive feedback, but don't let negativity infect your heart.

TAURUS The key to your success is being clear and direct. I know you always strive for precision, but for the next several days, an extra effort to stick to the facts will have an exponential positive effect.

GEMINI There's no reason to let social commitments turn into drudgery, especially if you're clear about why you're saying yes. Be involved, but also save time for yourself.

CANCER Prioritize your commitments and try to figure out where your energies are best spent. Follow your heart, trust your intuition, and both you and your loved ones will feel clear about why you are making certain choices.

LEO What are you craving so passionately? Love? Fame? Appreciation? Validation? Whatever it is, spend some time contemplating whether it's a hunger that can be satisfied by an external force.

VIRGO If it's money you're after, now is the time to be innovative — but not reckless. There are opportunities for financial improvement, but only if you stay grounded and realistic.

LIBRA Continue to stay present, speak your truth, and be unattached to the outcome. It's a hard job description, but you're up to the task, especially the part about speaking your truth.

SCORPIO Of course you want to hide away — you're feeling too exposed to stand in the spotlight for too long. Best to figure out how to handle it; vulnerability won't stop the light from shining.

SAGITTARIUS Whether it's closets, garages, or journals, tie up your loose ends and finish what needs to be completed. You're going to need all your energy for what lies ahead.

CAPRICORN You're moving — I don't know where and I don't know how — but all the indications point to shift, both inside and out. If it hasn't happened yet, get ready for more shifts.

AQUARIUS The emphasis is still on dialogue, but this week the conversation takes an emotional twist. Don't be shy about sharing your feelings — they will be well received.

PISCES It's a question of teamwork, specifically how you can work with others without losing a sense of your own value. Hold to your opinions, but also be willing to compromise when appropriate.



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