Slicing Through the Flip-Flop


'Wait… what? You thought I said the sky is blue? You must've misunderstood me… I said the sky isn't red. That doesn't mean I think the sky isn't blue. Why? Is it? What do you think?'

(Even as I compose this hypothetical monologue, I feel like I'm recounting some bad-dream reenactment of President Bush's depiction of former opponent John Kerry: 'He voted for the military action against Iraq—before he voted against it.')

With enough incomplete half-statements and elbow-room escape-hatch allowances, we can squirm our way into, out of, and around any position we want. Does that leave us the freedom to evolve our mindsets as more information becomes available… or does it just leave us as dreaded 'flip-floppers', unable to commit to one side and therefore unallied with any?

The week's astrology heightens the both/and (as opposed to the either/or) potential in how we're coming across… which frames a creatively stimulating backdrop for entertaining possibilities, but can make it difficult to reap a single final answer from the proceedings.

Our biggest threat to clarity? Twisting our stories and altering our approaches, in subtle or blatant ways, based upon who we're trying to appeal to in a given moment, who's directly involved or just happens to be listening, and who we desperately want to impress. Or perhaps we don't change our tune as much as muddy up its melody line, representing ourselves so indistinctly that a lot is left up for personal interpretation.

Mars is already squirrelly enough in his current sign (since Aug 6) of Gemini, where the best plan of attack is on multiple fronts simultaneously… without the commitment of all forces to one grand blitz. Mars in Gemini protects himself by always keeping one foot out of the line of fire, and in the next platoon over. He can respond to shifting circumstances on a dime, recasting his desired goals in new costumes likeliest to suit the stakeholders. This Mars is super-energetic (to the point of frenetic, even), clever, versatile and wily—though, at his worst, he can't sustain others' trust due to this mutability.

But to understand this week's situation, we must include Mars-in-Gemini's opposition to Jupiter, bursting at the seams with enthusiasm and opportunity in his home sign of Sagittarius. As we know, Jupiter is typically thought of as 'good luck' (though, if you're looking for examples of how simplistic that notion is, look no further than Britney Spears's current Jupiter-bloated predicament.) However, when Jupiter opposes a personal planet (such as Mars), it can have the devilish result of subverting that planet's fullest conduct—by inflating its agreeability with outside influences, making it too easy to just 'go along with things'.

'What's wrong with that?' you may wonder. 'Isn't agreeability a good thing?' In an immediate sense, it certainly can be. (That's why Jupiter is often given a free ride among novice astrologers; it's 'good luck', after all.) Yet, if such agreeableness is somewhat artificial—glossing over real distinctions, in favor of 'getting along'—it will eventually reveal its dark side, once the Jupiterian effect passes and the areas of actual disagreement uncloak themselves. And in the meantime, while important details are being soft-focused and photoshopped away by the excitement of possibility, we're allowing our keen critical minds and precision-prone fingertips to lounge around and lollygag. We become lazy, which will come back to bite us later.

Enter Mercury in Virgo, king of the fine-points and microscopic particularities, to contribute his analytic challenges to this loosey-goosey Mars/Jupiter free-for-all. This week, Mercury creates what's called a T-square, by squaring off against both Mars and Jupiter (to make a 'T' shape, thus the name), to throw its close-up observations and remarks into the game—and frustrate the easy-going snow jobs that'd otherwise be pulled off when we avoid the practical questions.

Mercury, happily at home in Virgo, wants the numbers in the columns to add up with no clumsy remainders. Mercury in Virgo wants to know what goes where, what'll happen next if this is swapped with that, and how everybody expects to get all of this stuff done. His reply to the lofty visions and poetic possibilities? 'How will you make that work?' To that extent, he's a definite killjoy to the Mars/Jupiter party.

Needless to say, the potential for arguments is great… since, after all, Mercury squaring both Mars and Jupiter can often bring exaggerated anger or willfulness in our exchanges. Both the 'big idea' people and those shuffling their positions to stay aligned with them can get easily perturbed by Mercury-in-Virgo's incessant need to concentrate on functionality, efficiency and other pragmatic matters. (Of course, this can play out in either external clashes or internal conflict.)

But wouldn't the dreamers and experimenters want to hear such critical feedback from the engineers? Or is the 'feedback' merely a case of near-sighted inability to see beyond what's already existed, blocking true innovation with a battery of constraining questions? Naturally, as planetary squares are involved here, the best answers take into account all these considerations… balancing the Mars-in-Gemini/Jupiter-in-Sagittarius sense of boundless possibilities and scenarios for attaining them with the Mercury-in-Virgo need for real-world applicability and the necessary analytic rigor.

One final clue to the week: With Mercury's conjunction to the South Node, we may discover an uncanny familiarity in the critiques being offered by or to us, as if we've heard this kind of thing before. When that familiarity washes over you, pause to reflect back on times when you've been in similar conflicts between vision and practicality. Were you on the receiving end of this same base-level criticism before? Or did you launch the same criticisms at others previously? Where you face the repetition of a pattern is exactly the locus where you could promise to break that stalemate… and most productively strike a balance.

And though it may boost your capacity for imagining a fresh reality to ponder what other color the sky might be besides red… if it really is blue, quit beating around the bush and admit it's blue.