By Eric Francis Coppolino
ARIES — The key to your successful handling of Mars retrograde will be not overreacting — to anything. This is not easy, as you are a natural born fighter, and you like to stand up for what is right. With your ruling planet retrograde in Aquarius, you will be feeling no reservations about standing out from the crowd, going against the grain, or even being unpopular. However, you must be strategic about this. If you encounter something that angers you, particularly if it involves some form of hypocrisy, you will come up with a better response if you give yourself time to consider it. You might really need to carry around an apple, and if you feel the temptation to speak, bite into it, and chew for long enough to turn around and walk away. Then, think it over. Avoid arguing in public, even if it’s a reasonable substitute to tearing off someone’s head.
TAURUS — Be cautious of anyone who claims to be a soothsayer, prophet or alchemist. They may have no clue what they’re talking about. It would be helpful, overall, to avoid omens of any kind, and proceed on the basis of logic, strategy and verified data. This would hold true, in particular, for any family or household situation, or when your personal security seems jeopardized. You must be precise in your understandings, rather than predictive. You also don’t have to hold up the sky where a family matter is concerned; rather, be aware of the situation, and spend two or three times the duration you feel is necessary to get the facts (if, indeed, you choose to be involved). Meanwhile, there are plenty of ways you can be supportive. Make sure all the basics are covered, at work or at home. Wind the clock, do the dishes, and pass along any important phone messages.
GEMINI — As the week develops, you may be inclined to engage with someone in writing. By engage, I mean fight. This will be risky because anyone you take on is unlikely to be telling the truth, and is certainly not telling the whole truth. Therefore, your efforts are likely to be misguided, and your words could be used against you in the future. What comes to the surface on Wednesday will be abundantly revealing, and provide confirmation that holding your fire was the best policy. That revelation will also help some of your long-range plans, though you will want to hold off making major decisions until Mars stations direct in late August. By major decision, I mean anything irrevocable, where something is truly at stake. It’s a similar situation as this week: you will need the information you gain over the next seven weeks, without which you lack the solid grounds for any decision.
CANCER — Keep making course corrections in real time, based on the latest available data. Making a series of small adjustments is better than making any large change, especially if you cannot easily reverse it. Mars moving retrograde through Aquarius is reminding you to address your various scenarios with people one at a time, as individuals, rather than as a group. In any matter of negotiation, work one-on-one. Have in-person conversations, rather than email, and do not conduct any important business by group chat or email. That will give rise to exactly the kind of conflicts and confusion that you’re trying to avoid — problems born entirely of the internet. Over the next week to 10 days, the Sun will make aspects to both Neptune and Pluto, which is a reminder that you’re dealing with forces seemingly greater than yourself. That is not true, though your strength and power stem from being a straight arrow, aimed carefully at its mark.
LEO — If there is an antagonist in your environment — a person or situation whose primary role is to irritate you — steer clear of that person or scene. It’s vital that you not voluntarily engage with them. Mercury in your sign is working up to an opposition to retrograde Mars. This is exact Thursday, and it represents some situation coming to a head. Proceed with care, and do your best to know who you are dealing with at all times. Don’t reveal any information voluntarily; make sure you ask questions, and verify the answers you get before accepting them. If any discussion involves an intimate partner, you must be gentle rather than pushy, and listen more than you speak. Rather than making any accusations, listen for consistency and sincerity. This would be good policy any day of the year, though it’s particularly relevant now.
VIRGO — Your home planet Mercury is moving through the most sensitive angle of your solar chart, which is drawing your attention inward. That’s the right direction to focus; listen carefully to the messages of your own psyche. However, this kind of inner awareness is in short supply at the moment, and many people have no idea what it is. The best way to describe it is something akin to meditation, where you sit in silence and listen to your inner voice, without judging what you hear. There’s also a necessary element of reducing your emphasis on messages from the outer world, and placing your priority on focusing on your own understanding. This will entail being especially honest with yourself, particularly about what you know and do not know; and how you know what you think you know. While it is possible for others to deceive us, the truth is that most deception is self-inflicted.
LIBRA — Do not force anything to make sense; rather, sort out your thoughts and first see if you can determine what you are thinking. There’s a handy tool you can use: language. Focus on words. Notice whether they make sense; consider whether the words you use, or that anyone uses, correctly describe the thing or the situation they are intended to represent. Many factors of contemporary life are contributing to a reckless and careless approach to language, as if words don’t have actual meaning, or as if anything can mean anything. So notice when meaning seems to drift, slip, or morph. Notice when you or anyone changes the story. Pay particular attention to how you describe sexual feelings and experiences, or your feelings about them. Are you coming from a place of injury, or are you coming from a place of strength and alignment with yourself? The words you choose will reveal that. When in doubt, refer to the dictionary.
SCORPIO — It’s sometimes shocking the extent to which people live in the past. Don’t be even vaguely afraid to admit that you’re doing this, when you notice it. The problem, though, is that the mental environment tends to be invisible, and it seems natural or even sensible to be stuck in some previous version of reality. You will notice when things seem to go wrong: when there is a ripple, a wrinkle or an aberration of some kind. It could be an error you make; it could be a disagreement that you have with someone. Should something like that occur, consider it in the framework of whether it was brought on by mistaking some past fact or condition for something relevant today. It’s also possible, though less so, that leaping to a future conclusion prior to it manifesting is the root of the situation. Check carefully. Honor the flow of time. Know where you are, and where you’re headed.
SAGITTARIUS — Leadership means taking care of people. That means feeding them, being sensitive to their feelings, and taking the time to help them however you can. This works on every level, whether in your family situation, among friends or, most significantly, at work. Too often, work is where people check their souls at the door. You must not only bring your soul to work every day; you must honor the spiritual existence and the human condition of everyone you work with. This is equally for you as it is for anyone else; it is a situation where there are no separate interests possible. This of course violates every rule of the modern world, where we’re told that separate, competing interests are the only kind that exist. However, you might consider that there is a higher law in operation in your life. Look for the win-win in every scenario; consider that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
CAPRICORN — The world is holding up a brighter reflection than you’ve been accustomed to in recent months. Sometimes this is unpleasant, if you don’t feel like you can live up to the happiness that you perceive in others. Yet you need something to aspire to. Think of contentment as a skill, like cooking or riding a bicycle. It is learnable, though this is a form of learning that calls for unlearning old patterns and replacing them with new ones. The kinds of patterns I’m describing involve your tendency to judge yourself. That, in turn, is related to your desire to be part of something larger than yourself, which you may think is about being like others, or acceptable to them. Yet that never works, or at least not if you want to be a happy and creative person rather than a device integrated into a system. Being who you truly are, and challenging people to accept you, is the order of the day.
AQUARIUS — As you’ve probably read, Mars is retrograde in your birth sign, something that has not happened since 1971. This astrology has many themes, though one of them is about discovering who you are. That idea is thrown around a lot in spiritual circles, and billions of dollars have changed hands over the years, based on promises that self-actualization can be taught. One thing to consider is the importance of conflict in the process of gaining self-awareness. You don’t need to pick fights, only to study the dynamics of your interactions consciously. Notice what you learn about yourself when there is friction between you and others. The other thing to verify is what happens when you desire someone or something. How do you respond, and how do others respond, in any given situation? When people object to who and what you want, how do you react?
PISCES — Be bold about living your life with all your cards facing up. You don’t have as much to hide as you think, and you may have yet to discover the strength of living out loud. There are thresholds involved in doing this, one of which is observing what it is that you might want to conceal, and moreover why. One of your summer projects is discovering the many ways in which you’ve been pressured into many of the feelings that you have, particularly about yourself — and the ways you’ve internalized that conditioning. It’s your privilege to decide how you feel about yourself, and how you feel about everyone and everything. In other times and places it was better understood that that only you can set yourself free, and at the same time, only you can hold yourself down and back. Of course, you are interacting with the external world. But ultimately, you are the mediator of your own reality.