“There be some sports are painful.”
Shakespeare’s The Tempest (III.i.1)

Mars, out of Retrograde?

Aries: I was wrapping up a meeting downtown, with a client. It was only about 5 or 6 in the evening, but the sun was headed down, the moon was headed up, and I pulled my over-shirt closed around me. A little breeze was stiffly blowing in the cooler weather. Dirty leaves were falling on the pavement, and the evening rush hour was in full swing. Somehow, though, in the darkening twilight, the crush of cars, scurrying to and fro, that didn’t seem near as heinous as rush hour usually seems. The holiday lights were on. Something’s changed, something’s shifted, and it’s a gradual kind of a shift, not like, I was aware of it, right at the very moment it occurred, but there’s been a change. It’s Winter, almost, and it’s Holiday time, and there’s a not-too-subtle sense that everything is getting better. If I exerted myself, the cool evening wouldn’t seem too cold. If I got out of the downtown canyon, I could’ve seen some twilight action, the real sunset, the real moonrise, and that brings us back to exercise in Aries Arena of life. Just a modicum of extra effort is all that’s required. There’s the good news that Mars isn’t going backwards, and that means your redoubled efforts? Instant payoff.

Taurus: One last reminder, that’s all. I was on the hike and bike trail, heading home from the post office. There’s an easy route, goes under First Street, and the trail then winds its way back to South Austin via the pedestrian bridge. While it’s not the shortcut to Shady Acres, it’s the easiest way from the downtown PO. Bereft of humanity, usually, and pleasantly devoid of cars, as it’s the trail, not the street and sidewalks. I got to a bend in the trail, and the city was doing some kind of work, as there was a “sidewalk closed” sign. As I detoured, at first I grumbled, the cold winter’s afternoon light leaking away, and me, being rerouted like so much car traffic. But as I prepared to go the long way around, I realized that I needed to stop at the business store, had meant to do that, and pick up some toner for the inkjet. Detours are unavoidable. Perhaps there’s a reason for the detour, other than to inconvenience your Taurus self, and maybe, just maybe, there’s an added bonus to making the corrected detour. Last of the Mars/Mercury corrections, I promise. Happy holidays.

Gemini: You have about three days, maybe four, to get it all done. Now. Quit reading horoscopes and get your Gemini backside into gear. Stop poking around on the web, unless you’re really doing something necessary and get out. Get into action. Gemini action! Imagine that you’re an “action figure,” and you’ve been encased in plastic, some kind of packaging that a marketing department designed, and that plastic covering is almost impossible for the consumer, the Gemini consumer, to remove. During these next couple of days, though, you’re plastic coating is coming off, and you’re free! Spring into action. Between now and the full moon, you’ve got a chance to kick it out, kick it into gear, or just kick something. But it absolutely requires activity on the part of the Gemini. Or parts of the Gemini. You have to get engaged. The more time spent running, dashing, and otherwise moving about? The better off you are. It’s work, it’s play, it’s like there’s not quite enough time in the days to get all your goals accomplished. But you’re a Gemini, the Gemini, and you can get it done. Ain’t no time like the present to get yourself into gear.

Cancer: A friend of mine, a Cancer girl, has this funny T-shirt: Zero to Bitch in 6 seconds. When she wears it, with her obvious Cancer attributes, it makes a very clear point. She is not one to be trifled with. She can get into your face and all over your case in about that fast (snap your fingers for effect). It’s the holiday stress, the economy, the latest political scandal, and a host of other minor irritants that are getting under your Cancer skin. Try her shirt. Or something like it. Broadcast that message that the Cancer nerves are frayed, and one more problem might result in more problems for the non-Cancer person. That’s all a pretty tough setup, but the planets have been, as of late, a little unkind. Just recently, with the relative motion of Mars and Mercury, there’s a big break, and life is smoothing out. The soft, gentle Cancer demeanor is coming back. You’re getting easier to get along with. Or rather, what I really suspect, is that the rest of us non-Cancer folks are starting to get a little smarter. Plus, having a shirt like that? Or some other form of warning device? You’d be surprised at how nice the folks are around the holidays, all of a sudden.

Leo: I got in a friend’s truck, a Leo friend’s truck, and as he turned over the motor, there was that horrible screech from under the hood. I grimaced, but he just turned to me, in his usual dry manner, “Oh no, I like that noise, means it’s still working.” And off we went, towards our destination. That old truck, it’s a dualie, and it has certainly seen better days. Mechanically, it’s sound. Might not be the most comfortable ride, but as a redneck limousine service goes, it’s good. Can haul tools, in fact, the toolbox in the back rattles with a number of such implements, and the truck’s able to pull a trailer. Like I said, it’s not a pretty truck, and it does make some extra noise when it starts, but that’s, according to the Leo owner, a good sign. Good signs are everywhere in the Leo chart. Except, of course, for Saturn, but then, Saturn’s like that old truck. It works. It rattles, makes noise, but it gets the job done. Besides, with all that rattling, noise, and the screech from under the hood? Means it’s all still working, and that’s a good sign.

Virgo: “Forget your silly ‘Virgo’ predictions! I just need more time, like, I could get everything done if I didn’t have to go to work!” It was one of my Virgo friends, obviously, a single mom, and between school-related activities, children-related activities, a busy social schedule and employment, she was a little fried. Kind of short-tempered with me. A quick glance at her Virgo chart, though, that explained everything. There’s Jupiter, bubbling along in Scorpio, opposite that Mars thing, no longer retrograde in Taurus, and then, sort of a kicking point, at about the same place in Leo? There’s Saturn. Everyone wants you right now, and if your current employer didn’t require you to be at work, then this wouldn’t be a problem. But the paycheck is tied to performance, and the paycheck pays for the kids, school, and that late-night drink you could probably use. One Virgo girl, a neighbor, all it takes is one or two Mexican Martinis, and she’s set. Life is much better. Of course, the problem is finding a little time between all those commitments, a chance to sneak in a little libation of some sort. I suppose, a really good Virgo can figure this out. Unfortunately, most the regular Virgo folks I know? They are still complaining. Can’t say as how I blame them. Me? I’ll give you plenty of time, but I can’t say all folks will be as understanding.

Libra: Just because all the planets are lining up nicely, that doesn’t mean that everyone else, all the non-Libra kind of people, is going to be as sweet as you are. Just a fair warning. “But Mr. Wetzel, the planets are all falling into order, right?” Right. More or less. Maybe less than more. Just because some of the planets line up nicely, that doesn’t mean that everyone is on the same good track that you’re on. So let’s see what we can do to help make it through the weekend? Think holiday cheer. Look up at the few Xmas lights that are twinkling in your neck of the woods. Take a gander, while you’re stuck in traffic, at a politically correct Xmas message of hope and good will. There, feeling better? I’m pretty far out of the loop as to the exact meaning of the holiday season, but I’m with the Libra section of the sky, getting back into the swing of it. The minor irritants are now gone. There’s one sticking point, and that’s an issue you can safely skirt at this point. Some times, you need to tackle a problem head on, and some times, it’s just easier to back off and let the problem sort itself out. Like being stuck in a long line at the cashier. Make nice. Spread a little of that Libra cheer around.

Scorpio: With photography or some conventional forms of artworks, there’s always a focal point. A place where the Scorpio gaze is drawn to, sort like all the lines and arrows seem to direct your attention at one point. That’s good. After what the planets have dealt you, and what with the approach of the holidays, all I’m suggesting is that you let your eye wander around on the picture, the Scorpio picture, and then, let yourself be directed towards that one focal point. It’s a matter of your laser-like intensity and focus. It’s a matter of letting the gentle zephyrs coerce your attention where it needs to be drawn. There’s less-than-subtle hint, sort of like hitting a big speed bump in an old truck with poor shock absorbers, and that’s probably what it’s going to take to get your attention. But if you do develop some insight, which I’m sure you will, you’ll be able to see through this mess, and the pathway will become rather clear. The weekend looks a little confusing but by next week? Clarity. Scorpio insight. Have a good holiday; it only gets better from here on out.

Sagittarius: Happy birthday! Yee-Haw! No more nasty planet alignments! Oops, I was little too energetic about that last comment. But I do mean, it is a happy birthday time, and life, holidays, hope for the future? All that’s looking good. Or should be. There’s a little fright that happens next week. It’s like a visit to the Halloween Store, or the Magic Shop, or some other similar venue where sleight-of-hand and imagery tends to camouflage the real world. It’s merely a suggestion, a hint, perhaps it’s more of a feint, but don’t fall for the old trick. Unless, of course, you’re like me, and you don’t mind being amused by stepping into the role of the fool. I pulled a vary familiar fish out of the lake the other afternoon, I must’ve caught this one fish three or four times, so she’s a lot more like a pet and lot less like some kind of adversary. “Fooled you again with the old plastic worm trick?” I said to her, unhooking a clean hook from her big mouth. She gave me a dirty look, I’m sure, as she tried to close her gaping maw around my thumb, and I got a picture and let her go. Patience, practice and a lucky cast with the right plastic worm in the right place at the right time? Fooled that wily little critter again. Which one are we this week and on into next week? Bass or fisherman? (Somehow, I don’t think that fish regards me as a clone of Shakespeare’s Prospero.)

Capricorn: Seems like a lot of the females I know — good Texas girls — have, at one point or another, been horse people. I was watching while a certain Capricorn worked her horse, in the winter’s light. The mare was not responding in way that a mare should respond. The horse was balking at all commands, and I was wondering when the whip would appear. Shows you how much I know about horses, a whip is not used. At all. Apparently, according to my understanding, the only whip that will ever touch these horses is in the movies. And those are stunt horses, probably some kind of fancy animation or something, right? Certainly no horses were harmed in the making of this horoscope. Or that night, watching that Capricorn deal with her horse. I thought about this scene from domestic, rural bliss, when I was looking at the stars (planets, satellite and the Sun) for your next couple of days. That horse? Stubborn as ever. Part quarter-horse, part Arabian, all fire, spit and vinegar. Not a happy critter. The mare wanted to run, and maybe, not follow the lead too well. Therein is the problem most of my Capricorn friends are going to encounter, might not be a real horse with a stubborn sense of not following commands, but it could be something just like that. Secret weapons that work? Carrots. That mare loves her some carrots. She’ll do just about anything for them. Think: what motivates the stubborn folk you’re dealing with?

Aquarius: Shakespeare’s The Tempest has a couple of intriguing historical notes in it. Supposedly, it’s the brave, new world. Personally, I’d peg the main character, Prospero, for an Aquarius. Just a couple of clues, and I’m not sure I’ve got time to get into them, but anyway, in the final act, Prospero breaks his magic staff. I figure that’s what’s going on with my little Aquarius friends. It’s that symbolic gesture of letting go of control. At one point in the life of Aquarius, you did, indeed, have powers over the weather, the cloak of invisibility, and all those other tools (toys to me) Prospero has. But having all the toys (tools) doesn’t make you a better person. It doesn’t make anything any better. It’s just more stuff to wrangle and corral. Letting go, like that character in the play? Breaking the staff, to symbolize that you’re letting go of all the power? That returns you to being a mere mortal like the rest of us. But that also means you’re going to get to enjoy the holiday season that much more. Besides, these next few days really do look like Aquarius fun, if you just let go of some of the controls.

Pisces: It starts with a bang, and gradually, like a can of coke that’s been sitting on the kitchen counter for too long, it all loses its fizz. The moon? She’s good to you. The rest of the planets? There’s a lot of very stubborn people and I’m sure you’re going to run into more than your allotted share of those folks. It’s not, I repeat, it’s not Pisces who is the problem. It’s how you deal with these people, that’s the question. Or the answer. Be nice. Be your usual, good-natured self. I can easily foresee that after encountering one too many long lines of traffic, people, shoppers, or idiots, or any combination of the above, you’re going to start to think that you’re just like them. You’re not. You’re a wonderful Pisces, and no time is better than right now for spreading a little bit of good cheer. It’s rather easy to slip into the trap, after hitting that wall a couple of times, of starting to drift away from sympathy for us, and fall into empathy. Might not be a good idea as some of the more stubborn folks are just that, a little too stubborn. Don’t assume our problems. Keep a little bit of extra distance from us cranky folks. Makes for a much more pleasant holiday stay.

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 KramerWetzel.com.

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