A romantic predicament arises this weekend as loving Venus is caught between the devil (conjuncting Saturn) and the deep blue sea (opposing Neptune). Meanwhile, Mercury moves into Virgo, the discerning earth sign the little guy is reputed to rule. On Tuesday, two major aspects could have us hoping for the best (optimistic Jupiter trines freedom-seeking Uranus) or, for some, the worst (militant Mars squares corrupt Pluto). Thursday is also fraught with significance as Saturn and Neptune form the first of their three oppositions over the next 10 months. When they met in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square. Thirty-five years ago, in 1971-72, during their previous opposition, the Watergate scandal began and the Vietnam War protests took hold. Neptunian fallacies and illusions dissolve when faced by Saturn's limitations. We hope.


Getting serious about a romantic encounter or having doubts? Inspired by your latest creation or daunted by the amount of work involved? Love and labor go hand in hand during Venus' merger with Saturn in Leo, a high-spirited fire sign like your own. The question is whether or not conflicted emotions will result in a blowout, the sort of self-destructive behavior that takes place when your Mars ruler is thwarted by a Plutonic power play. Passions left to smolder tend to erupt; try a safer outlet, like kickboxing.


Self-sacrifice is all well and good ??? it seems to surface whenever your kindhearted Venus ruler is tested by idealistic Neptune ??? but the impulse passes quickly enough. Come Labor Day weekend and a favorable alignment with regenerative Pluto, you'll recover your sense of self-worth. By then, Venus will be in Virgo, a sensible, stable earth sign like your own, so no matter what surprises are sprung when erratic Uranus is activated, you're less likely to be thrown for a loop.


Every sign is on tenterhooks, at least until the Virgo-Pisces full-moon eclipse has come and gone. While your Mercury ruler speeds through Virgo, another nervous mutable sign like your own, your best bet is to stay tuned to the latest news bulletins and, if it makes you feel safer, to keep an overnight bag packed. One of the advantages of being a mutable sign is the speed at which you adapt to changing conditions. While others fume and fuss and deliberate over their decision, you're on to Plan B, headed for the next best thing.


Money still matters, but while Mercury, Venus, the sun and Mars transit pragmatic Virgo, you'll be less concerned with scoring tickets for entertainment events than with amassing funds for practical purposes. Since Virgo rules your third house of communication and commuting, you soon could be checking out a new set of wheels or a nifty new computer. Although the lunar eclipse on the 7th is partial, and invisible in the States, the Moon Child may suddenly feel powerless.


Who knew the Lion would need another morsel of information before proceeding with confidence? Along with all the major astrological events scheduled to happen as August ends ??? especially the opposition between restrictive Saturn in your sign and nebulous, sometimes noxious Neptune in your house of allies and adversaries ??? the seemingly insignificant merger of your sun ruler with minute Mercury could be the one thing that'll keep you from falling for the bull being slung.


Let me remind you again about “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” and warn you that when the sun in Virgo confronts disruptive Uranus in your Pisces house of partners, a certain amount of shit can hit the fan. Hope that the worst thing that happens is a sudden change of plans, e.g., a rain delay, and that you quickly recover and find something else to do with your significant other. But if that's not the case, if you're in for a big surprise, let's pray that it's a spectacular birthday celebration.


So much is happening on so many fronts that it seems the most sensible (and enjoyable) thing to do is simply hang tight with neighbors, friends and colleagues. As the fickle finger of fate would have it, your Venus ruler is not likely to aggravate any of the edgy situations that are about to explode. So plan on spending the holiday weekend doing the same things you've done in prior years, preferably with another Libra and a Taurus or two. Scorpio might be a safe bet, as well.


Rarely, if ever, would I call a Scorpion a “safe bet,” but if you're going to do some damage, you'll probably do it to yourself when Mars and Pluto, your coruling planets, form a difficult square on the 29th. After that, the danger lies more with how a strict employer or parent will limit the freedom you have at home. It might seem like a battle between idealism and pragmatism, with greater emphasis placed on the rules than on the game being played. Once again, but not for forever, Jupiter is your protector.


The Centaur hardly needs to be reminded about the power of positive thinking. Nevertheless, with so much discord in the air, with fear edging out hope, it's still possible to count on your Jupiter ruler's favorable trine to futuristic Uranus on the 29th to get you through the tough astrological aspects. Unless you're having reconstructive surgery, Mars' provocation of Pluto in your sign is usually nasty; not that scalpels and sutures are fun, but there's hope the result will be successful.


The first of the three oppositions between your Saturn ruler and Neptune in your Aquarius house of assets and values occurs as the month ends. Although the chief influence of this once-every-35-years aspect is on various nations and their politics, if you remember what began 17 years ago, when the two planets met in Capricorn, you'll have an idea of what may transpire before the last opposition takes place in June 2007. Did you finish school in 1989? Move? Change jobs?


Read for Capricorn. Because Saturn is your old-school ruling planet, you could be on the same 17-year cycle of growth and change as the Goat. Besides, with impressionable Neptune lodged in Aquarius, vibes from assorted planetary aspects may have a noticeable impact. One thing to be aware of is the positive feedback you can receive when prosperous Jupiter favors your modern-day Uranus ruler about a week before the analytical Virgo sun opposes it. Their annual opposition can be quite the wake-up call.


Once again you have more in common with Aquarians than you might think, because your Neptune ruler is embedded in their sign. But you'll also get additional input (grief?) from Capricorns, whose ruling planet, Saturn, will oppose Neptune from now through June 2007. Read the above forecasts for the two signs to find a thread that can link you together. Here's a hint: What began in 1989, when Saturn and Neptune last met, and turned into a problem in 1998-99, when they formed their waxing square?

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