Horoscopes | Week of July 17-23, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Okay, Aries, by the end of the week, I should hope you'll have settled down a bit… not that there's anything wrong with being as charged up and spazzed out as last week's Full Moon mania likely made you. But the excess extroversion is due to decelerate, with both Venus and your ruling buddy Mars cruising into mellower signs (Cancer and Virgo, respectively). The smartest way to utilize this downshift is two-fold: (1) Whatever ideas have been stirred or whichever altered situations need be integrated, work them into greater stability. Make the literal moves to turn abstracts to materials… to adjust your previous routine so it molds itself around any changes recently made. Mars in your 6th grants both disciplined physical energy and organizational know-how to assist in getting-down-to-business efforts. (2) Enjoy some quiet time to yourself… at home or anywhere else you feel so comfortable, you needn't feel obliged to utter a word or temper your instincts to suit social expectation. I'm guessing you need to reflect on recent events, to feel the feelings so they enter your soul and become fully a part of you, instead of some crazy plotline you're watching on the big screen.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If you allow Mars to do his rightful job as he moves into your 5th, you're about to get a whole lot less moody. Excitement, entertainment, and engagement with the world's wonders are huddled in front of you, eagerly waiting for you to begin the conversation. You don't have to leap haywire into the party all at once, since this week is more of an 'in-between' type of week, without a lot of major aspects to yank you here and there. But Mars's emergence from the 4th-house cave he's dwelled in since early June is big enough. (For all those weeks I was trying to lure you out of the nest like a skittish mouse with a piece of a cheese, Mars in the 4th kept the cocooning instinct alive and alluring.) Now, joined by Venus, who dances into the 3rd to snack on a veritable sampler-platter of social appointments, your next few weeks should bring you more spryly outward among the public. I will allow you one last week to finish up whatever purported projects or purposes have kept you homebound, before I personally show up at your front door, grab you by the trunk, and drop-kick your ass into the world. One more week, that's it.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): After a couple dynamo weeks of copious 'people issues' and very little quiet time, I'd take these upcoming days to calm back down and settle into whatever zone will require the least amount of conversation, analysis and conscious thought. You need the rest… and this week can serve as something of a healthful holding pattern for you. Quiet nights at home, enjoying a rented movie, some tasty morsels and the comforting environment you've created for yourself—the best medicine for your overtaxed nervous system. Even the most positively stellar phases of excitement require a comedown, in order for them to prove a real part of your life. Otherwise, if they come on fast and never sink all the way in, you might as well have been dreaming. With Mercury continuing in retrograde-land, I especially urge you to lay off the major declarations, decisions and diatribes. You know not what these past few weeks have meant to you… at least for now. Thus, there's no rush to act on anything born of 'em. Get it, Gemini?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): This week is like the big greasy breakfast (or the hair-of-the-dog bloody Mary) you ingest upon waking with that not-so-fresh feeling… knowing that a bit of indulgent pleasure is just the ticket for kissing a draggy, dopey sensation goodbye. It won't make all the symptoms dissipate immediately, but it's enough of a quick-fix to put the worst of it at bay, until time passes on and tip-top shape is restored. With no disrespect to her highness, your 'greasy breakfast' is Venus, as she moves into your sign on Tuesday (Jul 18) to bring some easy enjoyment to your here-and-now… and to pull you away from the search for escapist joys elsewhere. She can't reinspire your fullest range of senses all at once, for, aside from her sign shift (and Mars's, into Virgo and your solar 3rd), there's not a lot of dynamic astrology happening—enough to deescalate the last few weeks' activities, but not sufficient for substantial reinvention. Yet. The more tangibly 'new' stuff will begin being born at next week's New Moon. And falling as it does in your 2nd, it'll provide a great opportunity to restabilize your financial situation over the succeeding month. For the time being, though, spend your week letting the old crap wither and evaporate… and easing your way with a second helping of hash browns and another cup o' Joe.


LEO (July 23-August 22): If your current phase of life were a swim across the English Channel, I'd begin by reminding you it's better to finish the whole course and make it to Calais, than to race away from the white cliffs at an unsustainable pace and peter out before you hit the mainland. Then, I'd counsel you on the need to take periodic breaks of treading water, to reserve your energy, with the whole distance in mind. This week, Leo, is a good one to spend treading, rather than pushing against a momentarily intensified current and gaining little, if any, ground. The riptides have their own logic, which presently escapes your understanding… and provides virtually no benefits or drawbacks to you. The applying force is nearly neutral—unless you seek to ignore its dominance and instead thrust yourself too doggedly ahead. Why waste the person-power on a struggle, when you can float along unobtrusively for a week or so and give your muscles a bit of a rest. If you absolutely must forge forward on an important item this week, work smart rather than hard. A few careful strokes will carry you much farther than a bunch of frantic, sloppy dogpaddling.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Get moving, Virgo. By week's end, with Mars galloping into your sign, you'll be set to charge ahead with a spurt of initiative and verve to reignite the fire beneath your buns. Gone, almost, is the disorderly senselessness of recent weeks… but Mercury's still retrograde, so we can't rely on the most perfectly smooth sailing. In its place comes restoration of your helping hands' handiness, as well as a renewal of tireless moxie toward meeting your duties shrewdly and systematically. Take the whole week to step up your tempo, since you've got a whole month-and-a-half ahead of Mars's energetic injection… and this isn't the most electric of weeks. Intersperse your working efforts with some socially-inspired leisure activity, to take advantage of Venus joining Mercury in your 11th. Gathering together with friends—for picnic lunches, karaoke showcases, game nights or sightseeing excursions—helps stimulate your newly-upbeat vibes, to get you back in the habit of busier days and nights. Choose to keep loose boundaries around the scheduled fun-time plans, though, so if the play slides into unexpected territory, you won't lose your cool and come off like a control-freak grinch.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Venus sidestepping into your 10th house is reason enough to put on a happy face and ready yourself to reap good graces at work… but there's no need to hurry to the receiving line and start shaking hands just yet. The week ahead is somewhat sluggish overall, and Mercury's continued retrograde still insists on casting a hard-to-pinpoint shadow over the most seemingly innocuous communications (particularly with those who hold the influential positions). Invite the week to meander past, with a sincere smile doing most of your talking… and with a willingness to set personal differences aside (perhaps even letting someone 'win'). Bide your time, patiently and pleasantly, until next week, when a New Moon and Mercury's station to direct grant you a new lease on professional proceedings. Strategize quietly to yourself. Observe everyone else's behaviors, to determine which direction the wind is blowing… and to whose ship it would be wisest to hitch your sail. With the added time and data, your plans will unfold much more precisely than if you insisted on a sprinting start today.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Take a few days to regain your bearings, after a week of coming on like gangbusters (or having to swallow someone else's gangbustery conduct, if you chose to sit out the Mars/Pluto push). This is an ideal time, with Mars moving into your 11th, to reconnect with friends or social alliances, for a status report on where you stand with them. Periodically, it's worth checking in to see who's got your back, how your favorite people are doing with their latest ventures, and who's temporarily (or once and for all) drifted from your scene. Excuse yourself from pandering to obligatory acquaintanceships. Everybody has far more to gain when you spend your precious time with folks who seem excited about stuff… and who inspire you to think big, too. You don't do anyone a favor by being his friend out of pity, habit or guilt. (How condescending, besides.) If you start to feel lofty dreams bursting out your ears, due to the burgeoning enthusiasm in the air, save the sharing of 'em for friends unrelated to your current job. Your creative excitement could have you looking somewhat kookier (in the eyes of co-workers, at least) than you probably need them to see.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): The last place I'd want to find you, Sagittarius, is caught in the headlights… forced to explain yourself in painstaking detail, when it's not especially productive to do so. Only you know the truth regarding whether you owe somebody an apology or not—not just because they want one (and if not an apology, then a lengthy justification), but because you honestly believe you disrespected their feelings. However, if you're merely stuck in the uncomfortable situation of making your wild choices palatable to a person who's on a different wavelength (and thus will probably judge what you've done, or are doing, unfavorably, no matter what you say), then don't waste your breath. You needn't be rude or off-putting about it, but you have the right to assert a desire to opt out. If you're not the one upset, you don't necessarily have anything to work out, do you? The less pointless processing, the better. Let 'em stay irked at you for a few days, if need be. Because of this week's elusive itchiness, the simmering annoyances are just as likely to fall away organically—or come to a more obvious head in another couple weeks or so.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): If last week bore the potential to exacerbate stress or anxiety due to increasingly complex circumstances, then this week delivers the moody aftertaste… which, if you're not careful, could creep into relationship exchanges, pushing perfectly benign topics and trivialities into cancerous-outgrowth territory. If at all possible, create a sufficient lag time between stimulus and response, whenever people seek to get speedy or simple answers from you while you're already occupied with something else (and/or already feeling the precursors to crabbiness). You probably won't mean to snap, but if not given ample psychic space to pass through a couple cryptically growly stages of thought and inner experience, you're likely to do just that. Be forewarned—this propensity is not an obvious one. There are no major frustrating crunches observable, merely faintly subtle sonar waves… and you might not recognize the impending arrival of snarls and barks until it's too late. Then, suddenly, you're channeling some angry young man or woman who doesn't represent your true feelings about the given situation, just fragments of unprocessed psycho-spam from some mysterious elsewhere. A week will make all the difference, with both Mars and Venus moving into more enthusiastically rosy places by week's end. If you can hold off a few days, you'll re-remember why you love 'em… and forget the little crap that almost drove you to bite off their heads.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Here's where you have to peel their voraciously adoring fingers off your arm, as they feverishly try to pull you back in for one more round of the electric slide (or bedroom bossanova), and tell them, 'Sorry, my dear, but I have work to get done, obligations to meet and bills to cover.' And even still, in the light of a perfectly reasonable excuse for you to bid 'em farewell and scurry back to the hearth-fire or PC terminal, they may not take 'no' as your answer. (At least not gracefully.) Prepare yourself to be knocked down a peg in their (admittedly irrational) book, as they conjure bizarre interpretations of your need to take care of business, like: you're fickle, inconsiderate or mean… you're a workaholic without any knowledge of how to blow off steam… you've wronged them, ignored them, or shown poor taste and not nearly enough conviction… or you're anything else that casts you in less-than-favorable terms you likely haven't earned. What should you do about it? Very little, other than exercising the utmost politeness, while continuing to do what you must for your own sanity. Don't take on the guilt. But, if you can help it, don't ice them out either. Once you raise that impenetrable Aquarian ice-wall and leave them in the cold with absolutely nothing, it'll be hard to reverse the deep-freeze if you ever need to.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): When I picture you at this third-quarter juncture of the Moon cycle, readying yourself to kiss it goodbye and get on with the next, I have an image of a deliciously good (though ever-so-slightly naughty) teenager standing at her living-room window, waving at the rest of her family as they depart for a weekend outing, leaving her alone for three whole days (and two nights!), during which she's planned to have over 'just a few friends' for the most killer keg-bash her high school has ever seen… and eagerly waiting for the minivan to drive away, so her wild times can begin. Pisces, I'm not suggesting you host a Krazy Kegger in order to promote debaucherous drinking and hookups (although, if everything's kosher and legal, why not?)… rather, try to capture that anticipatory sensation of knowing good wholesome fun (or not so wholesome, if so desired) is just around the corner. Venus moves into your 5th this week, a lovely instigator of good fun, playful romping and romantic cooing. Plus, with Mars heading to your 7th, you'll regain a certain brazenness toward making people notice you… particularly the ones whose notice you want. This influence is only starting to gather steam this week, but will hit fuller fruition next week, once the Moon turns new and starts its cycle again. Now, when will that damn minivan leave the friggin' driveway so this party can get hopping?