Proceed with Caution in 2010 

For the week of January 6-12, 2010.

The first working week of 2010 begins with a strange astral disconnect, so don't be dismayed if expectations about a fresh start in the New Year seem impossible to actualize. In one dimension of the holographic planetary picture, a strong current of change motivates the desire to shift attitudes and behavior, but another equally strong current insists on introspection before innovation. While these two forces don't directly oppose each other, their combined influence could cause confusion about where time and energy might be best spent. A third equally powerful stream motivates a practical attitude toward plans that's guaranteed to yield tangible results, but that strong urge to "make it so" clashes with a paralyzing need for perfection. The remedy for this would be to take no unnecessary action and to use this time to sort through priorities, with an eye toward organizing time and energy.

A Sun/Uranus sextile supports creativity and the need to break free from limitation. This is a positive signature that's sure to motivate resolutions aimed at self-improvement. Just be aware: This combination can also stimulate impulsive decisions you might later regret, so try to think before you leap into or out of situations capable of miring you in lasting consequences.

The good news is that Mercury Retrograde, in effect until January 15, is an invitation to spend at least a little time considering the consequences before initiating anything new. Mercury Retrograde is a great time for review, reflection, and reconsideration about what's already in motion. Mercury is Retrograde in Capricorn, an exceedingly practical Sign, and it is currently conjunct the Sun and Venus. A Mercury/Sun conjunction can translate into a lack of subjectivity, and when you add Venus to the mix, that already slightly skewed point of view concentrates on concepts of love. There are two problems with this configuration: First, as Mercury moves away from Venus, it moves into conjunction with Pluto, a position that could turn some of those amorous ideas obsessive or compulsive; and second, Saturn squares Pluto and Mercury, a position that's fraught with impatience and the tendency to fixate on the flaw. This Mercury/Saturn/Pluto combination is in effect until January 25, and during this phase it would be wise to avoid harsh, judgmental pronouncements, especially if those statements foster polarization as a solution to what ails.

But it's Mars Retrograde that skews the week toward strange. Mars, like Mercury, drives the mechanics of daily life, and its let's-get-it-done vigor is never happy moving behind rather than ahead. What worsens this retrograde position is an absence of direct contact with any planet other than the Moon, a condition that's likely to translate into a deepening sense of personal frustration and is certain to erupt emotionally.

There wasn't a lot of time during the holidays to reflect on the year that was ending or to clarify expectations for the future, but there is still time and opportunity for a thoughtful and thorough review.

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

ARIES While it may not be easy to corral the seemingly disparate threads of daily life, there are opportunities for you to gain greater clarity about how to organize your career. Use this window wisely and you'll make solid progress.

TAURUS You're reviewing and consolidating systems of every ilk, internal as well as external. As you sort through the various categories, pay special attention to what brings you joy, and make that a priority.

GEMINI The best way through the current situation is to release the need to control the outcome. Yes, it is easier said than done, but for the sake of sanity, it might be worth a try.

CANCER While acceptance may feel like capitulation, it can also be a position of strength — especially when acknowledging reality helps you to find transformative solutions.

LEO You won't need provocation to roar in the wind, so rather than instigating a confrontation to justify releasing your frustration, find healthy ways to spend your excess energy.

VIRGO Brooding over what you cannot control will not produce a positive result. Considering previously unexamined creative options could produce significant change.

LIBRA It may not be easy to relax with friends, especially if you have an expectation that those you love will be able to allay your fears about the future. Rather than relying on others for a positive attitude, create your own.

SCORPIO You will need extra time and energy, plus extraordinary patience, as work-related projects suffer from delays and detours. So do whatever it is you do to say calm, and then simply get to work.

SAGITTARIUS The focus is on what you believe about money and how those beliefs are related to your actions. Be willing to witness your behavior objectively, and you'll learn a lot about how to transform your situation.

CAPRICORN As you share your thoughts on various subjects, remember to respect others' opinions. A thoughtful exchange of perspectives offers a positive model for others.

AQUARIUS Be prepared for relationship review, as several personal and professional partners reappear. You don't necessarily have to engage; you need only be willing to process.

PISCES Be prepared for repetition, particularly at work, where you're likely to be doing the jobs of others. Rather than resenting this assignment, embrace it, and you'll emerge from this phase with the recognition you deserve.

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