'How Do You Do?' and Other Libran Niceties


The days of (supposedly) keeping our eyes on our own papers are coming to their latest end.

Okay, so I don't honestly believe this recent lineup of planets in Virgo—as of late, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturnreally kept us all on our best behaviors, diligently attending to our duties without worrying so much about what other folks were up to. (Fat chance, really.)

But with Tuesday's (Aug 19) entry of Mars into Libra, its first air-sign visit since March, we should soon find ourselves very much interested and involved in what they are doing… for better and for worse, of course, depending on how ready we are to slap on a gracious game-face and a pleased-to-meet-cha tone and make nice with other people. Or if not to 'make nice', then definitely to otherwise gear our approach so as to provoke the reactions we want, whether or not our intentions are that obvious.

When operating at its smoothest, Mars in Libra is almost like a ventriloquist… so good at 'throwing' its assertive moves that they may actually appear to originate from somebody else, all while successfully clinching the desired result for itself. Some might point at such sleight-of-hand with admiration for its magical stealth. This Mars can get his needs met without anyone necessarily knowing what his needs are. And if he must give in order to get, he sees it as a natural part of the process, like the perfunctory bribes one has no choice but pay to corrupt bureaucracies if wanting to conduct business in certain jurisdictions.

But others, rightfully so, will lob accusations of 'manipulative people-pleasing' or 'passive-aggression'. After all, Mars is said to be in detriment in Libra, the sign opposite ruling Aries… for when it comes to self-assertion (and its kissing-cousin, conflict), such under-the-surface or stabbing-with-a-smile Libran tactics may be considered a muted version of Mars's intrinsic manner.

Mars in Libra will take the scenic route, the side window or the press-only entrance—anything to avoid a head-on confrontation. When he's leading the brigade, we can expect a lot of diplomatic hand-shaking and baby-kissing. Whatever will hike the likeability ratings a couple points is a worthy possibility. All the while, nobody'd better underestimate what could be on someone else's mind. Perhaps nobody's so guileless as they seem. (And they probably want a whole lot more than they're letting on, too.)

So what does Mars in Libra (through Oct 4) mean for us now? Well, for one thing, we can expect our social commitments to significantly increase, as our need to include others in our process—getting their blessings or approval, respecting their position, including their feedback, stroking their ego—becomes that much more important. For the time being, we shouldn't plan on functioning too independently. Things could take a bit longer, but those extra fifteen minutes of chattily checking-in and shooting-the-shit will make all the difference. And at the same time, we may discover we enjoy this act of greasing the social gears. It leaves us feeling connected, in tune, and part of something larger.

This is the start of a considerable switch from the past couple months' of Virgoan diligence, during which it was far more crucial to get our own business right (to the letter), regardless of interpersonal pressures that might bear down. Even when it came to how we dealt with people, we recently faced the personal challenge of keeping good clear boundaries… rather than, say, doing whatever the hell we wanted because it made the other person happy (and minimized our so-called responsibility).

Now, as the personal planets make their way, one by one into Libra, the onus is now squarely on making our relationships work for us. That may mean going a few extra miles in the other direction, just to check on a certain someone. Or perhaps we find ourselves with a lot of invitations requesting our presence… some of which may require putting on nice clothes, pretending we're in the most fantastic mood ever, and carrying on with a lot of sweet-talkin' so as to demonstrate our respect to this or that host or committee head. This is not wasted energy—such niceties do matter.

By the week of September 8 (about three weeks from now), Mercury, Venus and Mars will all come together in Libra… making that (and the period leading up to it) a fantastic time for social get-togethers, networking sessions, publicity campaigns, or any other such 'mutual appreciation society' events. Communing in interpersonal situations where both you and the other person have something to reap from each other, and the affiliation, is highly favored. Knowing this in advance gives us all a bit of time to orchestrate the vehicle for sharing our charming selves with the parties we want to know us.

If everything I've thus described hits you a little funny, as if the approaching super-Libra circumstance sounds a bit disingenuous, you've stumbled upon a common critique of this oh-so-polite-and-friendly air sign. But no one's asking you to kiss the butts of people you don't actually like, my dear friends. Dare I state the obvious, the best expressions of this planetary energy play out in our most authentic relationships… not with folks we merely imagine can further our careers or social positions, but with whom we share no intimacy and/or little in common.

However, there's nothing fake or fraudulent about getting in touch with little-seen acquaintances or longtime out-of-touch friends who genuinely interest you—as long as you both stand to gain (whether merely through social companionship or in some actual standing) from it. To counteract any suspicions that might arise, due to the terribly well-polished veneer to any highly Libran encounter, do your best to state any 'hidden' motivations upfront. Once they have some idea of what you're after, their defenses will come down… and after an unhurried spin or two around the conversational wheel-of-fortune, they just might be able to help you out.

They, of course, need their back scratched as well…