Horoscopes | Week of December 11-17, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Now that you've figured out where you stand—well, you have, haven't you?—there's not much more you can (or, more properly, should) do. You could raise your voice, amp up its intensity, and repeat more loudly and threateningly what you've already concluded. (I'm presuming here that, once you came to a clear decision, you informed the relevant parties.) You could roll up your sleeve, flex your bicep, and threaten the rebellious listener with brute force if they don't cede to your manner of seeing things. Or, even worse, you might lose your cool altogether (why? due to a perceived slight? a hormonal fluctuation?) and start to undo the very clarity you thought you'd attained, with a veritable onslaught of way-too-much coarse carrying-on. And the potential for all this, arising as a naturally nervous reaction to having hit an internal resolution… and wondering, 'What now?' That's because, Aries, you cannot control what happens next, whether certain other people agree or disagree with your take, and the necessary consequences that unfold from there. Don't let that shake you, though. You've done the hardest part by figuring out how you feel, and drawing the appropriate lines to protect its sanctity. All you have to 'do' now is allow the other pieces of the puzzle to fit themselves into the right slots, without trying to strong-arm them in as you so desire. Hold firm, but don't pound it into anyone's head.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There are two ways I can frame the same advice for this week, Taurus… and their main difference is in how much sugar-and-spice I use to sweeten my words. My first thought was to counsel you to swallow your pride, in order to soften the reverberating intensity hanging over from last week or just cropping up now. An uncompromising approach on your part, after all, may merely drag out the inevitable with protracted unpleasantness… and still you won't be able to find genuine settlement until you're willing to give an inch or two. But then I realized you might take the encouragement to 'swallow your pride' wrong, as if you're more proud (i.e., stubborn, selfish, piggy) than the others and require a strict reining-in. (Which is not true.) And I began to wonder whether my recent Taurus horoscopes haven't been too harsh, with all their urgings to suck up your feelings, get out of your house, and push yourself to meet people. Maybe I've assumed you can shoulder all this tough-love without buckling… or maybe I haven't given you enough warm fuzzies, to remind you how well you've handled a touchy, introspective past year. That's why my second version of this same advice has been rephrased, to inspire you to play the peacemaker… mainly because I have great faith in your level-headed ability to hold back any immediate frustration, to find some ground that works for everybody. If you're having difficulty achieving this 'higher' perspective, seek outside opinions from uninvolved folks before proceeding. In any case, don't forget: We love you and believe in you.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): There aren't any hard-and-fast rules about whether coming on strong is likelier to secure you what (or who) you want or to spoil your chances forever. I suppose it all comes down to who you're coming on so strong to… if they're the type who prefers such cutting-to-the-chase tactics, not to mention if they happen to like you or not. Chances are, Gemini, during these couple weeks, you've shown (or will continue to show) someone a rather vast panoramic peek at some of the 'stronger' parts of your personality. And it's no use pretending what they've seen isn't the 'real' you (whoever that is) because, like it or not, you've made yourself quite clear. Here's hoping, then, they enjoyed what you offered them—and, even more importantly, that you're proud of this self you exposed. What they think, of course, is completely up to them. Nothing you can do, nor should do, to try and manipulate their opinion. If indeed you do proudly stand behind your behavior and can say, without a doubt, you'd do it that way again, then be thankful for a glimpse at their sincere reactions to you. And if they don't take fondly to you, then it's better to know that now. Sure, it may sting, but you'll get over it. Of course, if you're somewhat uncomfortable with how you've conducted yourself (embarrassed? regretful? panicked?), it's not too late to make a second impression. But you simply must address the root of your concerns, directly to the appropriate person, without mincing your words. It's your only hope of stemming their discontent.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): In an uncharacteristic display of inflexibility, you're liable to resist alternatives to your decided-upon 'best way of doing things'… to the point where you're ready to explode at one more instance of being questioned on your procedures or techniques. I'm not suggesting you're wrong in your thinking (that judgment goes beyond my call of duty), but merely misguided in how abruptly you move to disgruntlement or distress when your approach is examined and/or others are batted around. You're straddling the blurry border between vehement eagerness and slightly-more-menacing insistence… and if you step too solidly on the wrong side, you risk distracting yourself (and everyone else!) from fulfilling the very responsibility you're ready to flare up about. Breathe, and remind yourself, 'This is not personal. It's merely about competently completing my work.' Then, leverage Venus's 7th-house helping-hand and ask for someone to assist you in getting the necessary distance. Talking out the details with a colleague totally uninvested in the nitty-gritty will quickly get you realizing how silly it is to get charged up over this. What really matters is your dedication to doing things the best way possible… not any one 'best way' you decide upon. Anybody you come in contact with, while keeping this intention in the forefront of your mind, will be primarily pleased with your dedication—and only secondarily stumped by your intensity. It's all about the work.


LEO (July 23-August 22): No matter how zealously they throw themselves at your irresistible bod, it's wisest to refrain from promising any more than your immediate attention. As I told you last week, you're just at the beginning of an upswing, with too many opening possibilities to commit yourself to a single plan or program. It shouldn't be too hard to make your intentions clear, if you say whatever comes to you, rather than engineering your utterances for maximum people-pleasing impact. A Mercury-Uranus square grants a distancing effect to your spontaneous speech, so that by simply talking about what's currently exciting you, you'll give the other person a firm indication that you only have a limited amount of energy to give them. Don't think too much about these implications, though. You needn't expend your efforts there. More than anything, it's that very seriousness you're finally getting away from. Why jump right back into those choppy waters? While this is an ideal time for fast-and-furious love affairs or one-night-only adventures, you're not at the point to settle into anything. If certain particularly pushy individuals can't recognize that fact, then they don't respect you for you—just for what they imagine you'll give them or do for them. And you don't have time for that right now.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The homefront (or any other real estate you consider yours) is the setting for this week's possible conflicts or surprises, as you forcibly stake your claim on an issue you're not inclined to reconsider. You said your part. You made your needs abundantly clear. (Didn't you?) And so hovers the standoff, if someone remains displeased with what he or she is left with. The tricky part about offering you words of wisdom on this, Virgo, is that I have no easy exit strategy. Nobody can convincingly argue with you, if you rightly spoke from your emotional truth, a matter on which you are the sole expert. And the only thing you can do, without sucking back in all you've let out, is to ensure that you were heard. So, if you're wedged at an impasse, I can't advise you to either stand firm or give in. It all depends on your situation… whether it feels deeply empowering to hold tight to your convictions, or slightly dictatorial… whether getting things off your chest leaves you calmer and more ready to negotiate, or past the point of no return… and whether you believe things between you and your momentary foe will actually change for the better, or have no real chance for improvement. Have you been holding on for so long that this represents a significant crossroads? Or have you been temporarily self-protective (and a little grumpy), and can allow this bump-in-the-road to pass? It's your call to make.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Blink, and your week may be completely used up, Libra, if you're not aware of how quickly the sands slip through your hourglass when you're fussing over irrelevancies and non-issues. What? You hadn't noticed that your 'five-minute powwow' with a professional pal transformed itself into a 2-hour gab session? You're going to deny how many pageviews your workstation racked up at your favorite blogs or e-shopping destinations? There's nothing wrong with attempts to balance out your slate of duties with some mental-decompression breaks… but the key word here is 'balance'. And with the current planetary load tipping the scales way off, in favor of overindulgent chit-chatting and too-tantalizing time-wasting, it's worth pointing out what else is being left to languish. I certainly forgive you the unusually fierce desire for distractions, making it extremely difficult to focus on the important business at hand. (Please don't make me count how many non-horoscope-writing-related websites I've visited in the past hour.) So maybe I shouldn't pointlessly try to force you to cut off the reconnecting conversations and the news-byte browsing, especially since I know the planets are influencing you so strongly in that direction (and continue to do so next week, too). How about we make a deal that you keep a relatively low profile when dodging your workload, to prevent co-workers and cohorts from getting the wrong idea, since this is only a temporary trend, right?


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Quite often, Scorpio, what best suits our sense of well-being and security isn't exactly what'll leave us feeling like we 'said our piece' or stood up for ourselves. There are the practical decisions—and then those we make in pride or self-expression, or just because they're more fun. Your upcoming couple weeks place you in the position to choose one type of decision over another… or, in a heated moment, to simply default to the ego's instincts (which usually don't favor the 'practical'). Particularly in light of the strong 2nd-house focus I mentioned last week, I might nudge you toward the conservative side of things, encouraging you to think about what you'll need down the road… and to behave in a fashion that, above all else, protects your assets. But that advice won't serve you so perfectly, if it means you have to bite your tongue about something you believe in, or give up a chance to take a defining step. Is this the now-or-never occasion to show a potential love match what you think of him/her? Will 'holding tight' be a behavior you will later come to regret? Throughout your upcoming year, you'll continue to confront reasonable-seeming exceptions to the golden rule of 'protect your assets'. And each instance requires its own judgment call, which ultimately comes down only to you. All I'm sure of is, more times than not, you'd better pick the pragmatic material rationale. Yet, if you feel that your current situation is compelling enough to be the exception, then toss out the caution and go for it.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This week is liable to provide a glimpse into the 'dark side' of having everything weighted strongly in your direction. Basically, you're so overflowing with initiative, muscle, and tirelessness, nobody else stands a chance against you. But when the third-quarter Moon and a Uranus square to Mercury from your 4th conspire to make you a bit erratic or huffy—and there's essentially nobody able, or willing, to stop you—you hold the potential to behave like a real stinker. Minor inconveniences or obstacles can rapidly become blown far out of proportion. Tiny nagging traits you witness in others may inexplicably draw out your spontaneous venom. Or someone's momentary questioning of your thoughts or actions might trigger you into defensive attack mode. Because the cards are stacked so unequally to your advantage, you're likely to be permitted as full a tantrum or overreaction by others as you're willing to participate in yourself. So perhaps the only immediate consequence will be a guilty conscience (and, of course, the silent judgments made of you by any witnesses to your outburst). That, however, could be the very worst kind. At least when people fight back, it's easier to find blame elsewhere. When you're the sole dominating factor, it's on you to set the stage… for either a blissful, egalitarian utopia or a fickle, fitful autocracy.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In a week where plenty of your fellow zodiac brethren (namely, the fire and air signs) are hankering to stomp their feet down and refuse to yield, you have no convincing reason to put up resistance. In fact, Capricorn, you've got a secret weapon the others don't—shiny, happy Venus in your sign—which makes it easier than ever to small-talk and lip-lick yourself right out of the overheating kitchen. Pump up the superficial (but not necessarily fake) charisma, and turn down the level of actual content in your interactions. You might be surprised how other people will just keep on talking… and how far a few well-timed yeses and nos, smiles, winks and thumbs-ups will get you. Don't allow yourself to be cornered into explicit agreement or dissension. All the while, it's quite appropriate for you to slip off into inspiring daydreams or fantastical happy-places, especially as they go off on their one-sided tirades that ultimately exclude you anyway. It's even okay to project your imaginative vision into 2007, which isn't so far away, and start making plans for kicking off the new year right. You can glide by on absent-minded well-wishes and frivolous non-sequiturs for another few weeks, no problem. It might even seem like another cocktail or muscle-relaxing pharmaceutical is just what the bartending doctor ordered, to help you breeze through the obligatory seasonal greetings. That, alas, is a potentially dangerous assumption. Go one sip or swallow too far, and, without even knowing it, you've misplaced the ability to carry on without actually saying anything. Tastes of your real feelings (e.g., restlessness, perplexity, ill-tempered petulance) will dribble out, and jeopardize your superficially shiny-happy pleasantness. Attempts to 'check out' could have the unfortunate reverse effect of signing you up for exchanges you'd much rather sidestep.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It's as good a time as any for a refresher course on what it means to be a purpose-driven Aquarius. Why? Because the wallop of 11th-house astro-electricity is stirring you to do your special part and stand up for Aquarian ideals more loudly than usual. Above all else, Aquarians recognize the unique beauty in all living beings, from corporate executives to the domestic workers who clean up after them, and every face of every color in between. Plus, you possess the unusual visionary ability to see through and past the arbitrary or situationally specific constructs of society (all those 'givens' that other people falsely assume are 'just the way things are')… to a different type of existence, quite alien from anything the rest of us are accustomed to. With this combination, the bravest Aquarians feel free to flaunt their peculiarities, eccentricities and refusals-to-play-by-the-rules—both in defiance of oppression in all its forms, and in order to inspire everyone else to be as brave and unapologetic in their true selves. (Suddenly, just being a weirdo takes on more pressing significance, eh?) This week is ideal for shirking what's customarily expected of you, to make a point that's ultimately liberating to a wider group of individuals—though possibly threatening to a narrow segment of powerful traditionalists. In the process, you can recruit a bunch of new connections and co-conspirators… and maybe also alienate a couple folks who were never really on your side at all. Whatever the immediate risks, in the big-picture scenario, the rebellious approach is worthier than the safe one.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Tensions with a person in power over you—at work, within your family, or out in the world—are coming to a head, as Mars and Jupiter conjoin in your 10th. This could play out wholly inside you, as your inability to 'take any more crap' bumps up against your hesitance to confront the guy or gal in charge. Or it could show up externally, in the form of Mr./Ms. Power-Player acting all grouchy and domineering, taking out whatever's fueling his/her angst all over you. In either instance, you're hardly likely to feel very warm-and-fuzzy about your subordinate role. From here on out, though, it's your free will that'll determine whether you opt for (1) an all-out battle on the spot or (2) a more gradual strategy to re-empower yourself, inspired by the realization you've had just about enough. Uranus's square to Mercury from your 1st indicates the drive for independence is a potent influence on your communications, so it's possible you'll end up battling before you consciously choose to. (And maybe it's exactly what you need to kick your butt into gear, to galvanize your fullest opportunities for future growth.) But if you sincerely want to avoid the actual conflict, then you'd better start thinking about yourself, first and foremost, as an individual—apart from this contentious relationship that fixes you at a distinct disadvantage. For it to be successful, your strategic campaign must be based in a larger context, beyond the specific dynamics currently being triggered… and not in continued response to this same old push-or-be-pushed routine.