For the Week starting: 10.6.2005

    HELENA Monsieur Parolles, you were born under a charitable star.
    PAROLLES Under Mars, I.
    HELENA I especially think, under Mars.
    PAROLLES Why under Mars?
    HELENA The wars have so kept you under that you must needs be born under Mars.
    PAROLLES When he was predominant.
    HELENA When he was retrograde, I think, rather.
    PAROLLES Why think you so?
    HELENA You go so much backward when you fight.
    (From Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well)

For the Week starting: 10.6.2005

Aries: Can’t say I haven’t dropped hints about this Mars thing going on. Can’t say I didn’t try to warn you to slow down. And you can’t say that it’s going to be pretty, either. Mars is headed backwards, starts in earnest this week. I’ll explain what it’s like. I was passing a guy running a weed eater; he was tidying up a portion of the trail that skirts through downtown. As I approached, I was a good fifteen feet away, he halted the little motor with its spinning monofilament lines, and he paused for the pedestrian (me). That’s fifteen feet or three yards, on the approach. I no sooner rambled past him when he started the motor up and continued whacking the weeds. I was barely three feet past him. Three yards to shut it off on the approach and barely a yard to start back up. The numbers didn’t seem equal, not to me. Not that it mattered much; I didn’t think it was necessary to halt his flow of work on my account. He was probably just trying to be nice. But notice the difference in the distance, and the apparent concern, the show of respect, and then, the hustle to get working again. On the approach? Lots of time. On the exit side? He was quick to fire that sucker up again, much quicker than before. Watch that as Mars starts his backwards pattern.

Taurus: Yes, I’ve used that quote before, and yes, I like it. I find it rather amusing. Plus, having seen that play, on stage, the verbal delivery is even better. Imagine that witty banter, back and forth, between two characters. That play? It’s a script. Probably close to 400 years old, if not a little older. So the bit, the banter, has been rehearsed, over and over before it’s delivered. That’s the problem with Mars Retrograde, particularly when that planet is headed backwards in your sign (lovely Taurus). You can rehearse and rehearse a smart answer to a stupid person’s question, over and over, but when the time for delivery comes? There’s a problem. Stage fright? Sure. Mouth goes backwards? Something like that. The rehearsed bit and what comes out, or what the intent and how the real-live delivery is received? Might vary. I’m not saying it’s all bad, but I’d be a little more careful over the next few days with the Mars-related activities. Like a sharp wit that might appear dull to some.

Gemini: “Stone-walling” is bad news. Doing so to a Gemini isn’t just bad news, it’s a nightmare. Trust me. I know enough Gemini to understand just what it means. I have a little tickling in my skull, means that there’s something I’m supposed to say, but I can’t think of what it is. The whole “Mars is going backwards in Taurus” thing is like that tickling in the back of my skull. Your sweet Gemini self will encounter a number of folks who have the same affliction that I do. I keep thinking that I’m supposed to mention something. But I can’t think of what it is. It would be really polite if you your Gemini self (selves) could just walk up to one of us, the one with the itching in the back of our skulls, and your Gemini self could just pry out of us whatever it is we’re supposed to say. Ain’t going to happen like that. Simply put, ain’t gonna happen. What will happen is that you’re going to encounter folks holding back, instead of holding forth. In fact, one of the greatest ways to lie about a situation is to merely withhold information. That’s what this week feels like. Notice the term, “feels like,” as opposed to what the week is really like. You’ve read this; you’re prepared. Feels like someone is stonewalling you.

Cancer: Kind of north of El Paso, really, in the city limits, I think, there’s a stretch of highway called “Trans Mountain Road.” Quick geography lesson: El Paso, TX is situated on the southern tip of the Franklin Mountains, which means, as the town has grown, it’s grown up in a U shape, around the mountains. So this mountain road winds through a nature preserve and park. I was driving, the moon was getting pretty full, and my passenger — native to the area — was telling me that what used to happen, as wild teenagers, was traverse this road without headlights under the full moon. The moon was bright, the sky was clear, it was a crisp evening in the El Paso area. I killed the headlights. She shrieked. Now, as the road winds through the mountain range, up and over a pass, then down the other side, it does have steep grades. But the road’s way is wide enough so that the moonlight offered near day-like vision. Nearly. Unless, of course, you were riding shotgun with me. I thought it was fun. She did not. There’s, I’m guessing, a 2,000-foot change in elevation. Road winds around. It’s four-lane, no other cars on the road that night. All good — to me. Not good for the passenger. As this Mars is going backwards time begins to unfold, are you a passenger or the driver? Better yet, which do you want to be?

Leo: “You never write anything nice about Leo!” It was an e-mail commentary, not quoted verbatim because I had to clean it up to maintain the “family friendly” ratings. But I do write nice things about Leos. Have for a long time. Will continue to do so. Love them Leos. Best Fixed Fire Sign around. Ain’t none better. The problem is duress. As in undue duress. Don’t mix the words up, either, like “under her dress,” or “undress hurry.” Those don’t work. It’s about the effect of Saturn in your sign, and that old taskmaster is putting pressure on a certain part of the Leo’s astrology chart. The other part of the Leo’s chart that is untouched? That’s being leaned on by this Mars thing. Ain’t a happy place to be. Now that the planets are obviously stacked against you, what can remedy this situation? Work. Rework, really, owing to the flavor imparted by Mr. Mars. Look: don’t be afraid to go over material you’ve covered previously. Consider it a time to go back and review a few key points. Not everyone is a wonderful Leo, and therefore, not everyone pays attention like you do. Or pays attention to you, as they should.

Virgo: I got in a lot of trouble with a particular Virgo. I suggested a bookstore for browsing some material, and that one Virgo — a librarian — suggested the local public library as a better alternative. While I tend to agree with the spirit of the message, I’ve found that most librarians get upset when I dog-ear pages, underline and make margin notes. Granted, a lot of the books I consume are less likely to become a permanent part of my collection, but when I stumble across something worth keeping, I want to make sure that I own the copy that I’ve got. It’s important, I suppose. Other books, I’ve bought two or three times, always losing a copy when a friend borrows it. None of this long explanation got me out of trouble with that one Virgo, though. In spirit, I’ll agree with her 100%. In my own life though, I’m a messy reader. I spill coffee, cigar ashes, lunch, dinner, never can tell what will accentuate one of the books I’m reading. Therefore, I’m back to that suggestion about a bookstore. Not to buy, no, Mr. Mars is going backwards, but it’s a good time to invest some time in browsing. See what you need to learn more about. Maybe it isn’t a good time to buy a textbook. The only reading material that’s really good right now is entertainment. Virgo entertainment. Intellectual Virgo entertainment. Maybe that local library is a good idea, after all.

Libra: I would exhort my good Libra friends to follow suite with Shakespeare’s M. Parolles. When face-to-face with a confrontation? Go backwards. There is one Libra, and you know whom I’m talking about, and she will resolutely suggest that I am really full of it. That may be true, but it’s still a good idea to shy away from that confrontation. The problem is that your Libra self — no exceptions — is counting on some assistance from some place. Some person. A trusted ally, a friend, an entity that you can normally rely on to act in a prompt and efficient manner. That’s the problem, and that’s why I suggest you beat a hasty retreat. That relief? They may decide that there was something more pressing, that the time was better spent elsewhere, or that there was too much to do, and they couldn’t fit it in their schedule. Just when you needed the assistance the most. “Today of all days,” the Libra moans. Got that right, that’s all I say. Beat a hasty retreat. Make forward progress by backing away from the situation. Thank me later.

Scorpio: A surgeon uses a knife, or a scalpel to make an incision, which is used to remove an offending piece of tissue. Or correct a problem of some sort. The point is that the surgeon, first off, he (she) knows what’s going on, and usually, most surgeons have a great deal of training. In the hands of a properly trained medical professional, a simple blade can be an instrument of healing. The problem is that some folks grab a pocketknife, and suggest, “Here, I’ll cut that sucker right out for you,” and the very thought of a thoroughly un-antiseptic, perhaps dull and ragged, that jagged edge approaching the skin? It doesn’t work. Therein is the problem for the time being, for my dear Scorpio friends. You work with the precision of a dedicated and learned medical professional, and when you wield your surgeon-like blade, you do so with only the utmost respect and care. The problem? Given the relative disposition of the planets? The folks who would be your patients? All they are going to see is a dirty, dull pocketknife, not a fine cutting tool used for helping one heal. What’s this all mean? Take it easy. Not everyone sees that you’re trying to help. “Now, this will only hurt a little….”

Sagittarius: Great, just great. Shut up. STFU. Get the image? Got a great, big 8 by 10 glossy picture of this? Just when it gets good, it gets bad. Venus is headed into Sagittarius. Venus is a happy planet, unless you subscribe to certain war-like astrological methods that suggest she was a warrior. But never mind that now. Venus is usually associated with good times. Mr. Mars is headed backwards in another sign and that doesn’t look so hot. Looks miserable, if you ask me, and I am a Sagittarius and this just looks bad. Sure, Venus is a benign, even benevolent planet, but against Mars? I have to weight this more in Mr. Mars favor. And it doesn’t bode well. Ain’t all bad, but the usual, expected, problematic Mars stuff is going to start cropping up, all over the place. I’m not saying it’s all bad, but I’d exercise a little more caution with the Sagittarius feet, the Sagittarius cars, and most important, the Sagittarius mouth. Given that we all have a natural disposition towards saying the right thing at the wrong time, given that as a hypothesis, consider before acting. Or better yet, consider twice before speaking. This won’t last for forever, but you know, it’s sure going to feel like it.

Capricorn: How good’s the math these days? Statistics? Statistical analysis? Here’s the way I heard it: 90% of the people think that they are in the top 10%. Your razor sharp mental acuity will grasp those numbers, slice, dice and laugh. Or you should laugh. Give it, at the very least, a very Capricorn like chuckle. Mars, backward, in Taurus, it’s an earth sign. You’re an earth sign. So it’s not too bad. Not exactly great, but not too bad. I can’t pinpoint just what’s going to go wrong, but I can suggest that some of your more unusual activities need to be curtailed for the time being. Not shut down completely, but the wry and wacky way you have of dealing with certain situations? Maybe that isn’t going to work. Just a little heads up over this whole Mars thing, you know. Now, back to those numbers. I’d like to refine that a little bit, and I’m going to suggest, for the duration the Mars period, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to emerge — eventually — not as a member of the top 10%, but in an even more rarified situation, as a top 8 or 9 %. Someplace between 8 and 9, that’s where the Capricorn percentage is. You’ll be on top, but not without cutting out some of the more snide, snippy and sappy commentary on your part.

Aquarius: “New waitress,” I said at one spot I frequent, it was a hot autumn afternoon, “nice looking, I guess, good service, but wouldn’t you rather she shave her legs if she’s going to wear shorts?” Given my undeniable Aquarius outlook, the last part of the comment I made, that could be taken a couple of different ways. In all my years of frequenting that one place, the server was the first waiter I’ve seen there. My comment was intended to be humorous. It was supposed to be funny. The manager who was working the register? She had that tired, Aquarius look about her. I got the impression that my attempt at humor just didn’t fly. I suppose, it was a sexist comment, and what did one expect from the likes of me? But the comment really didn’t fly, in fact, I think I further frayed some already frayed nerves. Look here, my most excellent Aquarius chum: you’ve got an opening, a chance for a really funny line. I’m not sure the folks who are on the receiving end of our comments will find them so amusing. I’m not saying it isn’t funny, I’m just saying this might be a good time to keep our amusing comments to ourselves.

Pisces: Scenes from domestic life — paletas. Couple of weeks ago, hot afternoon in September, I was on the trail, over on the busy section, and there was a Hispanic gentleman, pushing a little cart that had bells on it. It tinkled wherever he went. Inside the cart, it was really just a portable cooler on wheels, and according to the advertising, it was filled with cool afternoon delights. The local expression, and believe this comes from Mexico, is “paletas.” A paleta is like a popsicle, only the flavors are a little more exotic to a non-native tongue. Coconut (which I had) plus there’s Tamarind, and all sort of items I can’t even begin to pronounce, much less say. The guy, the vendor, apparently, didn’t speak much English. The bar I selected, the frozen fruit juice and sugar, or whatever, it cost a buck and quarter, and I just let him keep the change. For my two dollars, I had a frozen thing that was tasty and reminded me of beaches, sand, surf, thatched huts and so forth. Worth it? Middle of a hot afternoon? Yes. I needed some relief from the impending Mars thing, and frozen bit of goodness, happened upon in an unlikely place served to make my world better. Instead of looking for something big and wonderful to change your Pisces life, celebrate the minute details. The little things can ease you through the frustration of the Mars problems. Well, and I didn’t have my cell phone. That helped, too. Forgot it that afternoon. Which made the whole event even more pleasurable for me.

About the author: Born and raised in a small town in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel spent years honing his craft in a trailer park in South Austin. He hates writing about himself in third person. More at

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