For the Week of 9/19-25/2002

"Can such things be,
And overcome us like a summer's cloud,
Without our special wonder?"
Shakespeare's Scottish Play [Act III, Scene iv]

Free stuff is a perennial favorite. To honor the Mercury situation, there's a trivia question in Cancer's scope -- but the quiz is open to all.

Aries: Symbolic gestures are important. Little rituals are important. During the next few days, someone is trying to interrupt your normal, orderly flow of business -- or play -- or whatever your common, daily pattern is. Since I use astrology more than anything else, I'd suggest that this person who is trying to valiantly stop your normal process is Mercury. However, the interruption can take many different guises as Mr. Mercury is known to be a tricky kind of a guy. In my case, it's frequently clients who get in the way. Or what's worse, I've often used a local dining establishment as a meeting place, instead of the office. That way, I can collect my usual fee, and sometimes, I get a free meal out of the deal.

The problem is, at this one legendary Austin eatery, I'm pretty well known. So the course of the meeting with the client is sometimes interrupted by various staff people with questions about romance, love, educational career, and "What the heck is Mercury doing this week?" Deal with such little, spurious, interactions in as benevolent way as possible. While the little disruptions are all but guaranteed, how you deal with them is up to you.

Taurus: Things are stacking up ina strange way. The upside of even Mercury being backwards is a situation where you have more than enough energy to deal with all the little problems that crop up. Now, before you get upset, and claim that I have this all wrong, look at what's going on in your life. Taken as a whole, all those annoying little problems create a pretty big, seriously awful bag of trouble. But taking one problem out of the bag at a time, dealing with in an appropriate manner, then moving onto the next source of irritation, a little bit at a time, maybe just one item at a time, that works much better. When more than three or four folks show up with problems and need you help, offer them a number. "You'll be number 141, and I'm working on number 17 right now...." Such a delay tactic might work in your favor. None of this stuff will go away, but you can pace it a little better. In your favor: dealing with just one emergency at a time helps.

Gemini: Fashion is difficult to write about -- especially when you consider the trends. I stick mostly to jeans and T-shirts, and I hope to never stray too far from that model. Now, the other day, while sitting in local traffic, I noticed a pair of young men pushing a really cool truck down the street. It was an older model with a nice, fresh paint job. Looks like the restoration project should've started with the mechanical details. Or maybe they were just out of gas, who knows? The guy with the fashionably baggy pants, though, once they got the truck to a little downhill slope, he was running to catch up, trying to be cool, and making an effort to keep his cool, oversized pants from falling down around his ankles. Those pants, must've been about 4 sizes too large, slipped down around his ankles, he tripped, and from being too cool, he was suddenly not very cool at all, face first in the asphalt. Mercury is backwards, Mercury is heavily associated with Gemini, Mars and the Sun are mostly in Virgo, none of this is good. Don't be so cool that you fall on your face. Something as simple as a belt or suspenders might help.

Cancer: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Where's that quote from? Send along the proper citation [author, character, novel's name, publisher and first publication date], and we'll see about getting you lined up with a free "FGS Planet Profile -- e-mail only -- to help alleviate the pain the of the next few days. The planet profile is amusing, if nothing else. Amusing is something you could sorely use right now, as well. It's not so much that it's a bad Mercury time, it's more along the lines of a weird one. That source might actually be older than most of the people reading this, by way of an oblique hint. The quote itself? It applies. It applies in truckloads. Life around the Cancer trailer is strange. Weird, even. Not much we can do to change that, either. Instead of arguing with the bizarre stuff that seems to spring out of no where, why not sit back, enjoy the ride, and sort of take it all in? There's no cure for Mercurial Madness, other than a good sense of humor. Some of that humor might be a little dark, but that only serves to heighten the moment, add a little bit of edge to everything.

Leo: As luck would have it, you get this really nice bit of luck from Jupiter -- and Mercury is determined to foul it all up. I was fishing, about a week ago, and it wasn't such a hot day at the lake. Fish weren't interested in anything I had to offer, not crank bait, not a topwater, not a sinker, nor a floater. I even launched a Tiger Lily, and than didn't work [to be fair, them Tiger things don't usually work at that one lake]. However, the cool morning, the faintest hint of mist in places, the spray from the wake of the boat, herons, cormorants, a weird seagull [obviously lost], and that single osprey. Seems like I get to see one of those, every time at this one lake. From a fishing perspective, that one bird had all the luck. From a naturalist's point of view, though,m it was a pretty good day. Didn't get to catch any fish, but I did get to see a bunch of cool stuff. Between Mercury backing up in Libra and mighty Jupiter in the Mighty Leo's sign, you've got that same sort of influence. A little attitude adjustment, maybe accept the good things that roll in, and don't worry about stuff that doesn't seem to work. Standard advice here: a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. And by my standards, even though there were no fish at the end of the day, it was still a good day. Just not a great one. How you measure Jupiter's success in your sign is like that.

Virgo: The Virgo birthdays are all but over, but Mars is still "cooking with gas" in your sign. Good? Sort of. Depends on what you do with all the energy you've got. Mars is funny that way -- he gives the juice to you, he gives the energy, he gives the get up and go, but he also makes it rather frenetic. Frantic - like. In a previous scope, I mentioned a fishing trip. I wrote about the way I kept changing lures and bait, trying to find that magic combination. According to personal myth, I should be able to cast the line just once, and reel in a big fish on that first toss. Doesn't work that way in the real world, though [telling the truth here]. So you're like me, stuck there, trying all kinds of improbable combinations of stuff. Nothing seems to work on the first cast. The deal is, with Mr. Mars, you can change stuff easily, quickly, and without too much fuss. I've seen this one kind of bait, can't say that I endorse it, but the stuff is supposed to work pretty good: bacon rind and garlic. It's supposed to get the really big fish. If other things don't seem to be working, try that venerable combination. Mars suggests you will get lucky before too long, you just have to hit the parts at the right time.

Libra: Next week marks the beginning of Libra, along with the Fall Equinox. If Mr. Mercury wasn't backwards in your sign, there would be a serious party going on. Might still be able to work in a good party or two, but the party atmosphere is a little scary. Nothing's worse than having Mr. Mercury foul things up. The usual departure time for a fishing trip [it's always a party with me along] is about 45 minutes before the sun comes up. In the middle of the summer, this is precious close to my bedtime whereas, in the later fall months, this gets a little later in the morning. It goes from 5 AM to 5:30 AM, and finally, coming up soon, a more reasonable 6 or even dragging it out, 7 in the morning. Now, you know that Mercury is backwards -- in your sign -- and you know that the truck towing the boat won't be by until 6 or so. At 4 in the morning, though, you're still on "summer time" and ready to go. Don't do what I did last week, go back to bed fully dressed for fishing. I missed the phone call, and I was rudely awakened by fishing buddies, ready to find my secret fishing spots. My discombobulated state after that extra 37 minutes of sleep created a comical image, but we all lost precious minutes in getting to the lake. I suggest an extra cup of coffee, and try staying awake instead of rolling over and going back to sleep.

Scorpio: You and me, we've been through this before. It's not all that pleasant, but this isn't exactly a rerun, either. Nope, it's new stuff. Mr. Mercury is backwards. In Libra. The sign that precedes you. So that's the bad parts. The good parts include Venus, in Scorpio, maybe not moving so fast, but still in your sign, poking along, making things a little bit better. You're going to find that your next few days is like my cat [office manager and star of the web cam]. When the camera is running, she will sometimes absolutely refuse to come out from under the bed. As soon as I turn the camera off so I can get down to business, she pops right out. It's sort of hard to call her the star if she won't come and play the role. However, given what's going on, you might find that you've got a comfortable spot well away from the limelight. Or well away from a web camera, anyhow. With that influence from Miss Venus, that special spot under the bed might even be more comfortable now. Safer, too.

Sagittarius: Shady Acres Trailer Park is pretty close to Austin's Barton Springs. Just down the trail a bit, actually. The Springs are good for a dip in the summer time, and in I do my best to support this ideal. Since I'm not always sure where I'm supposed to be on any given day, my standard summer attire [almost year-round] is shorts that double as swimming trunks. Makes it rather convenient to swing by the Springs and hop in to cool off. "Always be prepared," something I was taught growing up. With the location of Mercury and his backwards ways, you're going to find yourself with a situation like I had, a couple of weeks ago -- instead of wearing the usual, double duty shorts, I had on a nice pair of "dress" shorts, little pleats, sturdy, all-cotton pockets, rather dapper looking. As the late summer heat crawled upwards, though, I craved a quick dip in the springs. Regrettably, I was not suitably attired. Mercury is backwards. Be prepared. Even though it's cooling off nicely now, be ready to give yourself one, last dip in the pool. Wear your double-duty shorts, or whatever it is that makes you adaptable to changing conditions.

Capricorn: I've run words through the blender and made metaphors that looked like liquified fish parts. On some occasions, I've suggested romance is like a rodeo arena. Other times, I've suggested that same romance is like a country & western dance step, with one of the dancers being out of step. Or maybe playing a tune that one of the dancers doesn't know or understand. With the planet of communication doing a backward waltz in a place where you don't much care for it, just such things are happening to you. But my rodeo and dance metaphors are all rather tired at this point. It's a cruel trick of the Fates -- or Lady Luck -- or whomever you want to blame -- to give you such good astrological aspects for romance and its attendant fun stuff at a time when Mr. Mercury is slipping up on his job. Just at time when life should be wonderful, the little details fall apart. Not the big stuff, just the little stuff. The car runs out of gas -- at the wrong time [should've filled up]. The train is late. The battery on the portable wireless phone is drained. Allow for the minor problems of Mercury right now, and the result can be good -- there's more fun stuff in your chart than anything else. You're comedic timing may be off, but that's not really a big deal.... [Yeah, right. Ask about my innate lack of comedic timing.]

Aquarius: Step outside and look up at that Full Moon. Big, old sucker up there, hanging in the sky. I'm assuming, of course, that you live some place where such a sight is visible, and that your weather conditions allow for such a sight. You should be ware of the myth that surrounds the time of the Full Moon, too, more outlandish behavior than usual, more cops on duty, emergency rooms full of strange cases.... I used to sell a lot more liquor when the moon was full, but there's a problem associated with the fickle lunar mistress: she changes signs, condition, and moods pretty quickly. Ever sit there, stroking a pet kitty, and have the cat suddenly bite your hand? It's just the cat's way of letting you know that enough is enough, "No more, at least not there, thankyouverymuch. Purr." When that kitty nips at your palm, when the moon slides into a different place, as the tides and times change, don't get upset with minor displays of displaced affection. The weekend starts with full of more promises than my last girlfriend, and the beginning of next week might leave a few of those promises in the dust. Enjoy the good parts and don't worry about every little detail. Don't worry about a little nibble "on the hand that feeds it." It's just the Moon phase.

Pisces: Mars is in Virgo -- the sign that's directly opposite you, and Mercury is just one sign beyond that, doing his little backwards boogie. I've got conflicting information about this. On the one hand, relationships are supposed to work rather well right now -- to go smoothly. On the other hand, relationships are supposed to be fraught with peril. Combine both of those confusing and opposing viewpoints with a recalcitrant Mercury, and you've got the possibility of trouble. Or, you can be more like me, and laugh at all the little foibles of humankind. Living in Texas has certain advantages, we just don't take ourselves too serious. After flipping your Pisces chart around a little, a I decided that I liked the "not taking any of this too serious," part, and I also decided that the good stuff should outweigh the difficult stuff. The usual, even more so than usual, problems associated with Mercury doing his "bad boy" thing, are worthy of consideration. That means you can easily have a good time, just don't get caught up in the endless sea of mud caused by minor details that seem to be distracting. In other words, keep your eye on the ball, to take a shot at a cheap sports metaphor.