Free as a Bird 

For the week of July 20-26, 2011.

The planets continue to align in fairly simple patterns this week, but don't let that fool you into thinking that daily life is any less intense than it has been. Despite the absence of astro complexity, the travails of human existence still drive the drama, individual and collective, pressing reactive buttons and triggering old (and most likely negative) patterns. So don't be surprised if you or someone close to you gets swept away on waves of emotion. Also anticipate that a few people might be singing an old familiar "victim" refrain. Be aware: There's very little that you can do to stop this lament. (Other than suggesting a visit to iTunes, where you can download Otis Redding's classic "Mr. Pitiful" — it helps to have a good song to sing when you're miserable.)

What you can do is dial down your need to take care of theirs. I'm not suggesting avoidance, denial, or discounting another's suffering. I'm simply advising you to cultivate an objective consciousness capable of discerning a real need in someone else from your own co-dependent urge to be needed.

For those of you experiencing joy ­— especially joy from the fruits of your own efforts — the week offers an opportunity to pause, take a deep breath and replenish your reserves.

A Jupiter/Pluto trine continues to provide positive support for practical matters, which means there's hope for pulling out of a negative tailspin through the application of common sense. The energy of this trine can be used to organize all sorts of areas — financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual. Whether it is cleaning your closets, negotiating a tricky business deal, or arranging an exercise schedule, this positive partnership is the antidote to procrastination and the key to accomplishment.

What's more, a Mercury/Mars sextile provides additional positive mental support for making plans. Yes, when Mercury and Mars combine, some minds may find it hard to settle down — but it's important to remember that an active mind is not necessarily negative. It's all a matter of where you focus your attention.

This week, the Sun moves into Leo, the Sign of creativity, forming an immediate trine to Uranus. Uranus is in Aries, the Sign of individuation and exploration, and as it combines with the Sun most of us are likely to feel the power to break free from whatever inhibits authenticity, whether those shackles are real or imagined. Expect surprising and dramatic declarations of independence from just about everyone. Aries and Leo are both Fire Signs, after all, and when they spark each other, they ignite quite a passionate blaze. Use their fire to burn off negative feelings as they arise, and you'll have an easier time aligning with the simplicity of the week.

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

ARIES Align with the most positive picture of reality you can conjure, and then let nothing come between you and your vision. You have a unique opportunity for instant manifestation — make the most of it.

TAURUS The secret of your success in any endeavor, material or spiritual, is to trust your intuition and to act on the basis of your unique understanding of the situation. Apply the rules when necessary and break them when appropriate.

GEMINI Share your ideas freely and generously, and you'll invite a lively discussion that will inspire you as well as others. And don't expect agreement; the value of these conversations lies in the ability to embrace a wide range of perspectives.

CANCER Rather than dwell on how much there still is to do, shift your attitude. Sure, there are miles to go, but personal growth is not a competitive sport, and surrendering to the process guarantees a successful outcome.

LEO Step graciously into the spotlight and as you do, be grateful for your innate generosity of spirit. Remember: The sun is not a planet but a star, and it shares its light equally with every living being.

VIRGO Try not to let negative thinking undermine your plans. Yes, there are obstacles to overcome, but if you spend your time focusing on the difficulties, you will miss an opportunity to experience how easily joy can move a mountain.

LIBRA Your life continues to be about relationships. (Go figure!) But this week is not only about significant others. Contemplate the interconnectedness of life, and notice how that shifts your consciousness into a wider view.

SCORPIO Give yourself permission to move away from the idea that sacrifice means service and that service equals "loss." Instead, think about what you love to do with your whole heart that will also help others to find greater joy.

SAGITTARIUS There is nothing pitiful about your life right now, but if you insist on feeling sorry for yourself, go ahead. The only problem is you'll miss a chance to feel inspired and excited about what you are creating.

CAPRICORN Big tremors continue to disturb the bottom of your psychic pond, and as these waves ripple across the surface of daily life, you could feel slightly disoriented. As always, shifts are much easier when you open to them.

AQUARIUS You're right, there is a lot to coordinate — but you are definitely up to the task. Just prioritize your goals and organize each day around specific tasks, and before you know it, you will have created order.

PISCES You can worry about what isn't getting done, or you can focus on what is working well. This is not about denial; it's about learning to shift your perspective so that the daily flow of energy can sustain a happy heart.

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