But beneath warp speed, another, subtler change in the astral air turns attitudes increasingly earnest and moods much more serious. Some of us will respond to this shift with a sense of increased vulnerability, and despite the lack of retrograde snafus, could feel the need to withdraw. But at the other end of the spectrum, others irritated by the change might assume a preemptive belligerence as a stand against the potential for conflict and confrontation. Most of us are likely to simply feel defensive, hypersensitive to criticism, or just plain cranky, with little or no patience for neediness of any kind - our own or others'.
This week's somber signature is a complex configuration between the Sun, Mars, and Saturn. All month long we're under the influence of Sun/Mars sextile, a positive alliance that supports enterprise and endeavor. The Sun signifies spirit. Mars represents ambition. When they work together, we experience the enthusiasm to embrace life fully. The inherent passion of this sextile is amplified by the Sun's placement in Leo, the fiery Sign of creativity, and Mars' position in Libra, the Sign of relating. Expect much of the inherent exuberance of this sextile to express itself as dynamic interactions with significant others, personal and professional. A Sun/Saturn sextile strengthens the serious side of the Sun/Mars sextile. Saturn is always interested in discerning what's true and enduring. For those not interested in sorting out relationship issues, this entire bundle supports and sustains the discipline to focus on the smallest details necessary to see any job through to completion.
But there's a problem: We're also in the grip of a Mars/Saturn conjunction, a combination with the capacity to turn interactions slightly more serious than they need to be. Saturn symbolizes the critical eye that tends to find flaws, a gaze that inhibits the free-spirited, willful force of Mars that only wants to pursue its ambitions and satisfy its physical curiosity. The result of Saturn's stern hand often manifests as resentment or resistance to any perceived judgment. From a positive perspective, this conjunction provides the capacity to focus on a particular project with indefatigable concentration. Precision flourishes under its influence, but so can a harsh or bitter attitude toward others. So try to remember that a desire for excellence is never a valid rationale for cruelty.
As the week unfolds, and the snafus, delays, delays, detours, and interference of Mercury Retrograde recede, take a moment to gather your thoughts about what you've learned and how you want to apply that knowledge. Up until now, 2012 has been a series of retrogrades, all offering the possibility of genuine reflection on patterns and attitudes that no longer serve, all with an eye toward identifying what's essential moving forward.
If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that, too.
Aries March 21-April 19
While patience isn't necessarily one of your strong suits, it's still a virtue - and you need lots of it this week to soothe yourself and those you love.
Refuse to rush to the finish line and you'll emerge victorious.
Taurus April 20-May 20
It's all about attitude, especially figuring out how to maintain a positive outlook that is strong enough to tackle the details without losing sight of the bigger picture. Be precise, but also understand you are in process.
Gemini May 21-June 21
Mercury's retro-review of the details of daily life may be done, but it's still important for you to pay close attention to the minutiae of your personal situation. Don't sweat the small stuff, but don't let it slide, either.
Cancer June 22-July 22
While the situation at home is serious, realistic, positive solutions are possible, especially if you are clear about what the difficulties are and determined to do whatever it takes to ease the tension.
Leo July 23-August 22
The emphasis on conversation and dialogue continues, with a special emphasis on clearing the air. As you share, don't forget to consider the long-term consequences of your words.
Virgo August 23-September 22
Yes, you have financial obligations that you need to address, but that's no reason to be pessimistic about your situation. Remember: The universe rearranges itself to accommodate your picture of reality.
Libra September 23-October 22
Your first reaction may be to withdraw - and that would certainly be wiser than retaliating. Just be sure not to confuse detachment with a lack of care or concern. Be objective, but allow your heart lead the way.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
Indulge an inclination to brood, and you'll become a perfect host for the Brainworm, that infamous parasite who chews compulsively on the same information and steals all your energy. Instead, release the need to control the outcome.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Several situations with friends require your complete attention, and resisting the reality of their need is futile. So put aside your need for play, and be there for those you love.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
Try not to be hard on yourself or anyone else by making unreasonable demands of time and energy. If you lighten up, you'll find a healthy, productive pace.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
You're negotiating several delicate situations simultaneously, and all of them need a thorough, but easy touch. Take your time, and you'll find a way to handle everyone's needs.
Pisces February 19-March 20
Your tendency will be to blame yourself or to project your judgment onto others. Do neither, and search instead for a third way of viewing the circumstances, one that synthesizes rather than polarizes.