Horoscopes | Week of July 3-9, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your week could easily bear the quality of a performed monologue… one in which the said performer (namely, you) refuses to veer from the script, despite the fact the connection with the audience just isn't there… and as the onstage prattle keeps missing the mark (or does it? because it's so tough to gauge their reactions), the performer just raises his voice, gesticulates with even grander pomp, and simply continues the course (to bombing out? to rescuing the runaway train? who knows?), only more exaggerated. The thing is, Aries, you've got your act down pat. It's the full house you're playing to that can't be read with any specificity. Do they like you? Do they hate you? Have they heard a single word you're saying (or screaming)? In such a light, there's not much you can do, other than keep your head up and not let the responses you get—or don't get—chip away at your confidence. Also, if I were you, I wouldn't assume anything… least of all, that the person with the rigid poker-face has your best interests in mind. How could you possibly know… and would you risk your pride or livelihood on it?


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Gosh, damn, the powers that be sure do suck. Your boss, your papa-bear, the board of directors, the strong arm of the law—how can they be so poor at understanding where you're coming from… so merciless to your plight… so unfair in the sight of clear justice? Before you climb up on your soapbox and give 'em a piece of your indignant mind, stop to consider the unconfirmed presuppositions upon which your case is based. Are you completely confident you've got the full story? There aren't any blanks you're filling in, the way the trained eye gallops along a page, compensating for typos and cryptic phrasings by reading what it imagines to be written there? I'm just saying, Taurus, under this potentially potently deceptive Mars-Neptune opposition, there's a healthy chance your so-called 'evil' authority figure or VIP is actually a victim of your projected anger. After all, if you've largely kept your gripes to yourself (or underemphasized their importance by acting casual, so as not to trouble anybody), you can't hold anyone else accountable for that. Before you bring on the confrontation, check in with yourself again: Who's not understanding where who's coming from? Who's perhaps being unfair to whom?


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): There are two very good astrological reasons why you're apt to mistakenly bungle up an intended-to-be harmless exchange or two, despite your best intentions. (1) A Mars-Neptune opposition across your 3rd/9th axis could result in socializing maneuvers gone awry… due to your misjudging the belief systems of those you meet, assuming too familiar a posture and/or accidentally offending them. Or you might tacitly agree to something potentially offensive that they said, only to discover later you've inadvertently placed yourself in unfitting company. (2) Mercury turning retrograde in your 3rd house only further complicates and convolutes communications. And while all you may want is a cheerful, fun-loving conversational encounter, misunderstandings make that a challenging proposition. Now, Gemini, all that aside… you've still got Venus on your side, doing her best to save your ass when the threat of social impropriety or blunder-prone blabbermouthism looms over the proceedings. Venus's grace will present you windows of fortuitous chance, in the midst of a chitchat going south, to redirect the flow and rescue yourself from embarrassment. In order to accept her gifts in those dastardly moments, stop trying to explain your way out of it… smile widely, maybe even giggle… shrug your shoulders, and invite the other party to take the conversational reins, while you regain your footing.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Many of us keep track of our bank balances by the easiest method possible—reading our ATM receipts only after we've withdrawn our 'quick cash', hoping all the checks we've written have been included in the paltry number at the bottom. Sometimes, in fact, we gasp aloud at how drastically that printed sum differs from what we imagined would be there, due to our poor math skills or powerful acts of wishful thinking. Before you freak out, Cancer, let me warn you that, yes, this image of shocked reaction to the true correct totals is what came to mind when I thought of you this week. This doesn't mean you'll unexpectedly discover you're poor (or rich)… though you might. Rather, the Mars-Neptune effect could leave you decidedly up in the air about where the bottom-line truth lies—especially when it comes to all material resources you share with others. Please check (and double-check) the balances of all joint accounts, as well as asking those with whom you share to be as forthright as possible about their present and future plans to deduct from the kitty. This influence could play out in as silly a way as your roommate eating the leftovers you'd planned on for dinner… or in any of a variety of other ways, in which the fact of what you possess becomes befuddledly entangled with the unclear behaviors and motivations of others. That said, be careful who you trust with your keys and your PIN codes.


LEO (July 23-August 22): A lot of the big action this week is centered around your sign, Leo… but it's not necessarily action that works to your advantage. Rather, you're likelier than usual to serve as a lightning rod for confusions, miscoordinations and projections, with the double-whammy of (1) Mercury turning retrograde and (2) Mars opposing Neptune. The Merc-retro drill is probably more familiar, with its unplanned detours, undesired delays and glaring communicative slips. And with it occurring in Leo, you're the one apt to suffer such consequences… at the hand of your own overeager enthusiasm. Rushing too quickly into that left turn at Wollongong or speaking before your thought is fully formed can easily cause inconvenience or embarrassment. Then, throwing in the Mars-Neptune influence, you can anticipate unrealistic expectations of how you differ—or don't differ—from a certain someone. Neptune holds the potential to erase (or at least conceal) the distinctions between you two… leaving Mars in Leo to overpower the relationship with your own way of seeing things. Thus, assumptions made this week about where the two of you stand are highly susceptible to your idealization, and should be revisited in another three or four weeks. Combined, these energies offer you a lot to do with yourself… but little to rest on with any certainty.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The annoying news is that, thanks to Mercury's retrograde and Mars's opposition to Neptune both streaming from your 12th, all the analytic sharpness and matter-of-fact mental (and physical) dexterity you Virgos typically possess has gone temporarily missing-in-action. In its place, you can expect nothing less than a freeform, senseless, leaky lineup of ideas, activities and events that you have little ability to control or even guide much. This is especially true in aspects related to getting your work accomplished, with tasks unfolding less smoothly and priorities disorganized into a jumbled mess. And the uplifting news? Strangely, this absence of order may actually support your career advancement. Let's not forget, Venus sits atop your chart in the solar 10th, luring good fortune to your public life… slyly, though, and without any obvious assurance that's what it is. With Venus's trine to Neptune, the best thing you can do to bolster your professional esteem is to keep your cool in the face of haywire happenings… to bend and bow into 'em, rather than cursing the inescapable reality. Attitude is as important as accomplishment. While you're at it, with Venus's square to Uranus, keep an open mind regarding the people who show up alongside you—the one who you'd usually avoid may be the best helper you'll find.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): You have a lot to gain by sticking close to comrades, cronies and chums who stand clearly in values and virtues you share… and then behaving in sympathetic solidarity with them, to let your allegiances be known. There's nothing indecent about going along with the crowd, as long as it's one you've consciously, deliberately chosen for yourself… and that represents your dreams and desires accurately. At the same time, under the influence of a Mars-Neptune opposition, it's important not to lose yourself completely in a joint identity… in too blurry a unity with folks who may differ from you in critical areas. You won't jeopardize your social association by speaking up on points where your belief diverges from the party. Even still, it's possible they won't fully 'get' you, and will continue to promote a somewhat misleading image of who you are. How crucial is it for you to belabor an attempted clarification and, in the act, come off like a squeakier wheel than you actually are (i.e., another inaccurate portrayal)? Not very—unless, that is, they try to persuade you to commit or participate in a way that majorly mismatches your authentic self. It's your responsibility to prevent such commitments. Beyond that, you're nearly powerless to ensure they interpret you accurately… so why bother?


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Don't make any sudden, slipshod moves, Scorpio, born of pride or passion instead of keen forethought and careful crafting. You're gearing up to receive further expansive development coming your direction, now that Jupiter's stationing direct in your sign. But don't jump the gun and charge ahead, with a misleading misread on the alleged 'simplicity' involved in your next steps. What you're not seeing are the under-the-surface emotional elements at play—both lingering half-formed in the psyches of your colleagues and unexpressed in the recesses of your own private Idaho. It'll do no good to bully others into sucking up their inexplicable sensitivities, since they may be totally unaware of 'em… and while you may suffer from similarly compromising feelings invisible to your naked eye. You can no more easily separate your piece of the puzzle from theirs, as you could explain what's going on to any superiors who might ask, since Mercury's transferring to retrograde motion in your 10th. The good luck is all there, awaiting a clearer moment to make itself known, so you can grab the ball and run with it. That moment isn't today. For this week, the best approach is preliminary. Remain ultra-sympathetic to others' irrational whims and quirks, in deference to the ultimate authority of the water element.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): To avoid the worst misspeaks and mixed messages, affix yourself to the train of a trusted companion who possesses an easier manner and a softer voice, and permit yourself to be carried along for this leg of the journey. Otherwise, the combined effect of Mercury going retrograde and a Mars-Neptune opposition casting clouds of smoke in your informational 3rd/9th houses could send you spurting hot-air speeches you didn't intend to be so bombastic. Without your meaning to lose your logic, your argument could fall apart in a puff of substance-free style—and your urgency in insisting on the floor could be misconstrued as angry nails screeching down a chalkboard's surface. But Neptune's delusion-spawning difficulties can be moderated by taking advantage of its trine to Venus in the 7th, indicating the nonchalance of a partner or close chum can help mute your accidental shrillness… while reminding you to listen with as much fervor as you speak. Don't fixate on the matter of whether you should personally be offended by acquaintances' or strangers' miscasting of you. They may have missed your whole damn point, but it wasn't a malicious act of disrespect. It's just what's in the air. If you can't open your mouth without allowing the perceived slights to pass unmentioned, then just hold off on comment altogether, while your other half spins the words.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): If you don't check your troublemaker instincts at the door in every exchange with the intimates in your life, you're liable to find yourself hunting for a meaty conflict—without any idea what you're fighting for. This is, unfortunately, the likeliest to occur in situations where you find yourself overtly overly concerned with what someone else is doing—what they've got, what they're striving for, what they may desire from you—rather than minding your own damn business. It's easy to get confused since, due to the close nature of your relationship, it may seem perfectly reasonable to assume their business is also yours. It's not. And fudging such a boundary is exactly how you're apt to overlook your own role in the current state of affairs… as if you've become mysterious powerless to accept responsibility, though it's hard to imagine you having sat back this whole time and allowed someone else to control all the strings. Fat chance, eh? Before you get all wound up with the theatricized shock and horror at others' failures, get a grip on whatever you've blinded yourself to in your own self-contained management of practical issues. (Have you missed a bill? Have you underestimated what's required of you?) Before you start throwing stones, get out the squeegee and clean that distracting gauzy film off the glass walls of your own house.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You have the peculiarly mixed blessing this week of appearing in various guises to various onlookers, depending on what they most want to see in you… which can turn you enchantingly appealing to certain eyes. 'Mmmm, how can I use that?' you might mischievously ask yourself. But be forewarned: Such attractions should be recognized for what they are—based on somewhat false pretenses. If you aren't actually the embodiment of that ideal they desire, it's not really about you at all, is it? No, you're just hyper-vulnerable to eliciting misperceptions. And if you don't nip those illusions in the bud, you're actively responsible for fooling them… though the fooling may have occurred passively. Omission, my dear Aquarius, is absolutely a form of deception. Conflict, therefore, grows likely in whichever circumstances you permit the full truth to slide past, undisclosed. Once they eventually find it out (and they will), you'll have some uncomfortable explaining to do. Though it might not be entirely pleasant to clarify your position right away, any time another person's projections threaten to obscure it, it's better to be assertive (even gruff) early on—instead of continuing to the point where you're handling someone else's delicate feelings rather thoughtlessly.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I need your help, Pisces, when it comes to calming and corralling all the other zodiacal kooks on the occasion of this week's Mars-Neptune opposition, with Mercury simultaneously flipping to retrograde. If you bother to scan the other scopes, you'll notice a running theme of folks getting wrong ideas from each other, misinterpreting the reality of situations, mistaking zeroes for ones, and generally facing unreliable reasonings and responses. Neptune, as you know because it's your ruling planet, deals in impressions and intuitions of interconnectedness, which link one person's supposed inconvenience to another's serendipity according to some divine order unknowable by us mortals. Therefore, compassion is the trait that requires the most fostering this week… and you are a paragon of such compassionate consideration of others. While you watch everyone freaking out about how everyone else has wronged them, or attempting to grasp at castles in the sky before they've completely evaporated, your kind understanding can help calm their frazzled nerves—and quietly reattune them to the concrete facts. (Yes, you—the grounding influence.) Don't take on their freaked-out feelings, though, nor subject yourself to their untoward attitudes, if they're unable to separate you out from their manic delusions. More than anything, listen… and when appropriate, gently redirect their attention to sounder thought patterns. Other than that, surf through your week by allowing the bigger problems to happen to everyone else.