I did a lot of crying this past week.

Those of you who read my posting last week and/or who went looking for a horoscope and were left empty know that I had a particularly bad computer crash, which left me missing a lot of my recent creative writing as well as my email contact list (which is why you haven't gotten emails from me in the last couple weeks). This, in addition to mourning other recent losses and struggling to gain acceptance of serious self-realizations, kept my eyes wet and red for much of the week. I am not ashamed of this, and, in fact, this teary release of sadness and other undifferentiated emotion works a lot of better than stomping one's feet and begging the unseen God(-or-Godesque) powers-that-be to explain the unexplainable question "why me? (because I don't deserve it!)" in violent refusal to cope with the present situation at hand. (Not that I didn't do a little bit of that, too.)

Emotions were flaring particularly hard last Monday morning when I first discovered the computer wasn't working, leaving me shit out of luck when I was supposed to be posting my weekly words of wisdom. The day didn't let up after I took my computer into the shop downtown, parked in a garage and proceeded to lose my ticket, having to pay the $20 lost-ticket fee to get the car out. Even my attempt to make conversation with the parking attendant failed, when all I wanted to know was how many people a day lose their tickets and all he could offer was, "Hard to say."

When I got to the gym, I was annoyed but not surprised to discover that my Discman had also stopped working, which meant that I could not work out on the equipment (at least not with music and thus not enjoyably), causing me to shift my plans to swimming, only to discover that all the lanes but one were being taken up by kids' lessons. Hard to get too mad with all those adorable kids around, excitedly enjoying the beginnings of their summer-long vacation. (And yet I found a way.)

Still, I knew that exercise was essential to combat the stress, so I settled into the one open (and already crammed-full) lane of swimmers and began my laps. As I swam, a conversation I'd recently had with a rather spiritual friend of mine popped into my mind. He had recounted the experience of driving home late one night and hearing the voice of God speaking to him one word, repeated over and over again: surrender. He knew it was from God because "surrender" is not a word he would normally come up with himself. This explanation made perfect sense to me, as it is the same way I know when I'm receiving intuitive messages—because they show up in language different than that which I'm accustomed to using. My friend had been unsure as to what this message was intended to mean to him and had been spending some quiet meditative time to ponder it. In that moment, swimming in this crowded lane at the pool after a morning from hell, I thought, "Maybe this message is for me too." Because, God knows, I needed to surrender to the forces that were, for whatever reason, conspiring to trip up my usual plans.

I stick to last week's assertion that my computer crashing and the other assorted personal travails were linked astrologically with the ongoing conjunction of Mars and Uranus, two very active and dynamic and potentially aggressive planets with energies that, when combined, can be overly excitable and erratic. The idea of surrender, though, fits even more perfectly with Pisces, the sign of the Mars-Uranus conjunction.

Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac cycle and thus associated with the most universal, boundary-defying, misty, mysterious, magical, and faith-inspiring elements of life, those that are hard to describe but which are felt at moments of great compassion and understanding for all forms of energy. Pisces folks sometimes get a bad reputation for "playing the martyr" or for putting others' needs first in codependent-type relationship dynamics. This reputation comes from the deep-seated desire, present in all of us to one degree or another but emphasized in Pisceans, to release the unavoidable pain and suffering of individual existence by escaping into the dreamy romantic world of collective unity, as if returning to the womb and reunifying with the mother. Whether this urge manifests in strong idealistic faith (a positive?) or addiction to escape through substance, codependent love, self-sacrifice, et al (a negative?), both types of manifestation are linked to this notion of surrender.

The Mars-Uranus conjunction raises in all of us the need to assert our individuality, to rebel against obstacles that have blocked this assertion in the past, and to suddenly stop putting up with past patterns. Interestingly, it falls at the beginning of Pisces, a sign that begs for us to surrender. It is a delicate balance to determine which controls must be taken to steer our lives and which must be surrendered so that we aren't battling the inevitable and wasting our efforts.

The spot in the zodiac where Mars and Uranus sit, at the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces, coincides exactly with our position on the macro level of the precession of ages—the cusp between the Age of Pisces (where we've dwelled for the last 2,000 or so years) and the Age of Aquarius. Not coincidentally, the Age of Pisces has been marked by the soaring popularity of religious traditions that ask us to surrender our will to higher powers. Now, as we make the transition into the Age of Aquarius, this adherence to surrendering principles is running into road blocks, as corruption and religious conflict require us to take a more active role in creating compromise between different belief systems claiming to be totalizing.

In my opinion, Uranus's entry into Pisces in March was one major signifier of this shift in ages. As Uranus moves backward into Aquarius for a couple last months before turning direct again, Mars too will soon turn retrograde (Jul 29-Sep 27), extending its stay in Pisces through December. To give you perspective on how exceptionally long this is, compare with its other recent transits: Mars was previously in Capricorn and Aquarius, each for about a month and a half, but it will travel through Pisces for a full six months.

This period of time emphasizes both the potential sorrow and spiritual bliss inherent in the transition of ages, keeping our actions a little less-than-full-speed-ahead and more roundabout, requiring some surrender here and there. That's okay, too, after having had so much air-and-fire dynamic forward motion in the astrological atmosphere as of late. This weekend's New Moon is marked by six of the ten planets in water signs, shifting the climate into one of more feeling-the-feelings (and, yes, more crying) and less intellectualizing or pushing ahead.

And just to keep you posted, because I'm sure you're dying to know what's going on with my crashed computer, it's in the repair shop—the second repair shop, after the first one couldn't recover the data—and I'm currently waiting to hear on its status. I ask for everyone's positive thoughts toward its reparability, so I can continue with my writing without losing momentum and without having to completely mourn the loss of some of my most favorite work.