Peaks and Troughs 

For the week of September 28-October 4, 2011.

It's "Everyone's a Libra Week" here on planet Earth, and no one, especially Libra, is likely to escape being consumed by relationship issues. And while I recognize this sweeping generalization for what it is, I'm holding my ground: There are four planets — the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn (the Moon leaves at midnight tonight) — in Libra, the Sign of relating, an astral concentration that's stirring intense experiences, positive and negative, of what it means to be connected to another being and to ourselves. From the deeply personal to the strictly professional to the somewhat strange to the most important relationship of all, our relationship to our heart, each of us is having our own private intensive. Expect to vacillate between enthralled and repelled, intrigued and impatient, preoccupied and detached, infatuated and infuriated, consumed and blasé — and that's just with your behavior. Just be aware that everyone will be weighing the pros and cons of their various alliances, which could make daily interactions buzz with reactivity. The best way to navigate these waves is to be honest with yourself and others about what you feel and why.

The Sun and Mercury are conjunct in Libra, as are Venus and Saturn. Sun/Mercury interactions symbolize the power of the mind; Sun/Mercury conjunctions often tilt that power to the purely personal. Ask yourself if you're unwilling or unable to view the situation from the perspective of your partner, and then see what's necessary for you to stand in the shoes of the other. Venus/Saturn interactions lean toward emotional reserve; Venus/Saturn conjunctions often represent a heart that is burdened by duty. Again, ask yourself if your affection is born of passion or obligation.

But it's not simply the planetary concentration in Libra that intensifies human interactions. Uranus and Pluto also throw their weight around. Uranus opposes the Sun/Mercury conjunction in Libra, a combination that could simultaneously unsettle minds and make them inventive about how to transform stagnant relationships. Take the time to really examine the situation rather than latch on to a quick fix. Pluto squares that very same Sun/Mercury conjunction, and because squares aggravate the situation, Pluto's presence is likely to be felt as brooding self-absorption over what isn't working.

Fortunately, the Venus/Saturn conjunction is out of range of Uranus and Pluto. But that still leaves Mars, which continues to sextile the Sun and trine Uranus, making most of us antsy for action. That need to do something — anything — to alleviate the tension could lead to all sorts of premature decisions.

The crux of Libra is figuring out how to relate without losing yourself in the other or requiring the other to get lost in you, and that "other" applies to partners of every denomination — people, plants, pets, or places. So as you move through the week, try to frame your situation as an opportunity to achieve greater equality with all your relations and you'll have a much easier time establishing and maintaining your equanimity.

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

ARIES It's all about figuring out how to maintain your independence as you simultaneously develop significant partnerships. This is not a no-brainer; it requires you to assess and honor the needs of others.

TAURUS You have an opportunity to transform your relationship to work. Accepting this challenge means taking a fearless inventory of your own participation. It also means breaking through to the next level of success.

GEMINI The passionate words of friends, lovers, family, and even strangers have the power to act as an aphrodisiac. Give yourself permission to fall in love, and you'll be infused with creative inspiration.

CANCER This week, it's all about feeling grounded in what matters most to you, and then anchoring those values in the routines of daily life. Chop wood and carry water, and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to be yourself.

LEO Your ideas have the power to mesmerize and persuade even the skeptical, so choose your words carefully; what you say and how you say it could rock your world. They could even change your relationship to yourself.

VIRGO You might think the relationship you're most concerned about is your relationship to money, but think again. Perhaps money is merely a symbol for self-confidence.

LIBRA While it won't be easy to do, clarifying your relationship with yourself is essential. Say it loud and proud: This is who I am. This is what I need. It's okay for me to love myself, warts and all.

SCORPIO Notice where your mind wants to wander, and then ask yourself if those meanderings are really working for you. If they are, great. If not, make every effort to retrain your mind and set it straight.

SAGITTARIUS The question of how to share your gifts with the world is also a question of how to relate to your community. Take a moment to reflect on your role, and then see what you can do to actualize your realization.

CAPRICORN Being recognized for your achievements is an important component of your relationship to your community, and it doesn't matter how that community is defined. If you did a good job, someone should say so.

AQUARIUS The entire situation depends on your ability to maintain the biggest possible perspective. Rely on your innate ability to go for the broad stroke, and you'll find the appropriate solution.

PISCES Your relationship to the process of transformation is complex — you can feel things before they happen, but if you act precipitously you encounter resistance. Trust your intuition and allow some situations to unfold on their own, without your gentle nudging.

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