The Aquarium Age 

For the week of January 23-29, 2008

Okay ... it's finally here ... the big week of astro events most of us have been anticipating since the start of 2008: Pluto enters Capricorn on Friday, Mercury goes retrograde on Monday, and Mars goes Direct on Wednesday, January 30. Frankly, I don't know whether to call the coming week "Seven Days That Shook the World" or "Fasten Your Seat Belts." Either way, we're in for seven bumpy days and nights. It's a week of major shifts, and as always, handling the intensity is going to require skill and flexibility. Be prepared to make adjustments, big and small, expected or unexpected. Also anticipate having to deal with meltdowns, yours or others, as nervous systems strain to keep up with what David Bowie might call the ch-ch-ch-changes.

Mercury goes retrograde on January 28 and stays retrograde until so late in the day on February 18 it might as well be the 19. Mercury Retrograde is a great time to review plans and projects already in motion. It is not a great time to initiate anything new. Mercury symbolizes all things related to language, and during its seemingly backward motion most things even vaguely related to communication go awry. Back up your hard drive today. Book your airline tickets now. Don't procrastinate — you'll only regret it later.

Mars has been retrograde since November 15, 2007. During December most of us were too busy with the holidays to notice the full effect of Mars' backward motion. But now, with nothing to distract us, the sluggish pace of Mars Retrograde is noticeable, and for some of us, unbearable. But don't expect Mars to press the fast-forward button on January 31. Mercury Retrograde is going to put the kibosh on a full-out, fast-forward Mars Direct. Also be aware, Mercury and Mars drive the mechanics of daily life, which means as they move in opposite directions, the timing of daily routines might suffer. The good news is that both Mercury and Mars turn around in a trine to each other, a positive interaction that could mitigate some of the negative side effects.

What we are sure to be feeling with gusto is Pluto's entry into Capricorn, a journey that begins at the end of the day on January 25 and will last for the next sixteen years. Expect the first few moments, which in cosmic terms could mean the next five months, of Pluto's new cycle to feel oddly familiar, almost as if the missing piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. But also expect to feel increasingly uncertain about how this cycle will unfold. Lots of us are curious (even me) and the next several columns will take a look at the potential of Pluto in Capricorn.

This week, as you work your way through the bumps, make an effort to be as kind as possible to yourself and your fellow travelers. We're all in this together and we could all use a kind word or reassuring gesture.

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

Aries March 21-April 19

Your words are powerful and if you think before you speak, they will work wonders. Listen carefully, as well, and allow conversation and dialogue to heal a wide range of potential problems.

Taurus April 20-May 20

As tedious as it might be, continue to pay attention to the details. Yes, the broad stroke would be more fun, but if you maintain your focus, you'll be pleased with the results.

Gemini May 21-June 21

The trick is figuring out how to be the leader without becoming a despot. I'm not suggesting you become a pushover, but I am advising you to be sensitive to the needs of others.

Cancer June 22-July 22

Honest conversations with significant others, personal and professional, will help to alleviate your frustration, but only if you're willing to listen to the other side of the story. Be fair, and you'll resolve the tension.

Leo July 23-August 22

Even if you're standing on shaky ground, rely on your generosity of spirit, and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. While trust isn't always easy, it is often well worth the effort.

Virgo August 23-September 22

It's not a drama, it's just a lot of work, and the only way to handle it is one job, one project, one appointment, and one day at a time. While this may sound boring, the steady pace will eventually relieve the pressure.

Libra September 23-October 22

Be ambitious, but also bide your time, and try not to be impulsive. Yes, passion is important and necessary for success, but so is a solid plan based on a consideration of the consequences.

Scorpio October 23-November 21

Home improvement is probable, but the remodeling that needs to take place is internal. Spend as much time as you can contemplating how you can improve your inner environment.

Sagittarius November 22-December 21

You are talking — a lot — about every little detail of your thirteen-year Pluto odyssey to anyone who will listen. Have at it — it's been a long journey and you deserve to hold forth.

Capricorn December 22-January 19

Yes, Pluto is going to intensify the next step of your journey, but you're no slouch when it comes to hard work. So rather than worry about the future, greet this new cycle with a hope for profound personal growth.

Aquarius January 20-February 18

Instead of polarizing, figure out how to synthesize several disparate points of view. If you do, you'll not only solve the immediate problem, you'll also create a model for the future.

Pisces February 19-March 20

You don't have to handle every angle of the situation by yourself. Thoughtful conversations with coworkers will provide surprisingly effective solutions.

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