Strong emotions — love, worry, critical anger, compassion, passion — overflow this month as the two emotional arbiters, Venus and Mars, run conjunct. As October begins, they form an aspect of healing and critique as they conjunct in Virgo, opposed idealistic Neptune and trine intense, powerful Pluto. We know our ideals for beauty and healing and know just how far we are from those ideals, but need to be kind in this process. Our emotional mood swings can rise and fall like lake waves on an autumn storm, but we can ground ourselves in simple, practical work towards one of our passions. Rather than duck responsibilities and devolve into self-consciousness or blaming critique, let compassion motivate.

Events may tug our heart or depression October 8-10 as the Sun and Mercury, both in Libra, square Pluto and whisper to us to reach out to do the work of relationships. Jupiter enters Scorpio as Mars squares Saturn October 11-12 and brings a new seriousness and competence, but we need to mediate between our responsibilities and our desires. As Venus enters Libra October 15 and Mars on October 22, they increase our desire and ability for emotional connection and diplomatic solutions. Mercury enters Scorpio October 17, the Sun follows October 22 and brings new focus to our work, sharpness to our wit, and a new muskiness to our relationships.

Aries (Mar. 21-Apr. 19)…Keep an eye on work-life balance as October begins. Burn brightly, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, as that can drain you, and make you less efficient; find a balance and trust the process. The focus switches to egalitarian partnerships and collegial relationships after October 22.

Taurus (Apr. 20-May 20)…Love, creative process, children: all will take love, not critique, these first few weeks. Use your imagination and follow through with competence. Tend to your health, and your heart after October 20; find a healthy way to work with new strong personalities entering your life.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)…The month may begin nervy and uncertain; home and family need attention, but you can turn that to a flood of imagination, and imagine a better path. Be ready to adjust plans October 15 as Mercury opposes Uranus. More energy and charm flow your way after October 22.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)…Siblings of the body and soul need your help as the month begins. Worry less, communicate more; learn as you help others through a hard time. Look for a creative burst towards the end of October; give yourself the freedom to explore possibilities.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)…Pay attention to the flow of your resources, both money and energy, in early October. Notice where you have been unrealistic and make adjustments. Go deep, but don’t be discouraged around October 9. Return with fresh competence October 16-19, and step into a new chapter.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)…You have an opportunity to change how you are seen, how you lead. People are ready to be charmed by your perspicacity, but you have to reach out. Be cautious but not discouraged around money October 9-18. Roll forward on a personal project afterwards.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)…Just your presence can bring a light into the room. Your inner, private world may be hidden from the public, but it is quite active and needs your attention. Trust your own truth, as others may unconsciously be giving you only part of theirs.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)…What are your priorities? Sort them well, and stay on target, because new opportunities arise for you and you need to know which to run with as Jupiter enters Scorpio October 10, and Sun follows October 22. You’ve been working on yourself this last year, and it shows.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)…Your professional life may feel complicated, relationships complex and subtle just when you want to be direct and straightforward. Hang in there; it’s worth the work. Ease their anxieties with your gentle honesty; keep your compassion engaged. Your spiritual and philosophical search heats up; ask great questions.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan.19)…If debate abounds at the beginning of the month, hold steady; be empowered, but also empower others October 8-11, and a storm subsides. New collegiality and positive community experiences begin this month and unfold throughout the year, but you need to walk through opening doors.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)…Relationship can get touchy if you feel others have control over your resources. The more self-sufficient you seem, the easier they will be; it’s not about your worth, but about their worries. New work opportunities arise if you put yourself out there. Take an opportunity and build from there.

Pisces (Feb. 19-Mar. 20)…Your relationships will take subtlety and balance as the month begins. Instead of letting anxieties bounce off one another, look for ways to build resilience in the relationship. Your world begins to open up with new understandings and travel; your horizon can broaden this year.

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Heather Roan Robbins is a heart-centered and choice-oriented astrologer, palmist and ceremonialist with 30+ years' experience. Her book, Moon Wisdom: Transform Your Life using the Moon Signs and Cycles, brings real astrology into an accessible format. She's trained in astro-locality, mythic, multi-generational and traditional astrology and uses it at the core of her spiritual counseling. Visit www.roanrobbins.com.

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