Horoscopes | Week of June 30-July 6, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You've received plenty of recent horoscopes encouraging you to behave however you're so moved to, to have a lot of fun, and to not worry so much about ensuring everyone else is on board (with a few small caveats, of course). Well, now, Aries, you must prepare for a shift toward more dutiful and diligent handling of the business at hand… swapping some of those unadulterated freedoms for voluntary enlistment in the unglamorous army of getting shit done. By next week, 'playtime' will be officially over for the time being. In its place, you'll have to hunker down and make the next month-and-a-half of Mars in your 6th really matter. Further down the road, you'll be able to look back and spot how the relative success of your entire 2008 will significantly hinge on how much day-to-day task-mastering you accomplished during the July and August ahead. That's right: You're coming into a pivotal couple of months, in terms of determining whether you're capable of putting your money where your mouth is. (You Aries are renowned for tapering off on the follow-through, after your initial efforts are made.) Whatever last-minute expressions of whimsy or gestures of defiance need be made before returning nose to grindstone… well, just do what you've got to do quickly, without the hassle of a long-winded conversation. (The right people will get the message intended for them.) Soon enough, your hands will be too dirty with actual work to bother.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Enough with trying to address 'Life's Big Questions' for the present moment. By this point, you've now gathered a handful of interesting theories, ripe possibilities and tentative solutions, which will give you plenty to chew on for the next little while. Meanwhile, along this way, Taurus, you've probably gotten yourself totally wrapped up in serious considerations… and completely neglected to appreciate the many small pleasures that already surround you every day. This overlooking of simple delights (right in front of your face!) is natural, given how occupied with your own internal crap you've been, and is definitely to be forgiven. But don't dwell too long on what you haven't been doing lately, or you'll end up back inside your head, rearguing a case against some imaginary judge or jury. Externalize yourself. Pour conscious loving energy into all the casual encounters that comprise your day—smiles at the bus driver, compliments for the receptionist, a helping hand to the stranger trying to carry too many bags or boxes to her car. You might be startled at how a few friendly interactions with folks you hardly know, if at all, can boost you into a fantastic mood. Superficial as whatever the situational terms of such interactions may be, the small-talk itself can actually be quite meaningful… if genuine emotion, such as basic kindness or well-wishing, is exchanged. You'll also experience a swap of energy, which can certainly help a Taurean like you (with the tendency to stay put in or refuse to budge from this-or-that emotional state longer than others) actually shift perspectives, due to a simple influx of fresh input. You've had enough private contemplation for a while. Get out, get reconnected, and get chatty… even if you keep telling yourself you're not interested in doing so. Remember: You're going for a shift, and it has to start somewhere.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Let's begin by reminding ourselves about how Mercury, that mischievous messenger with wings on his feet, has been in your sign for two full months now, thanks to his recent retrograde. While the mental-hyper-stimulation and ease-of-movement Mercury's provided may have been intensely invigorating for you, it's also undoubtedly triggered plenty of nervousness or overwhelm in those of us less innately equipped to handle such a fast-paced proliferation of options and answers. And since you, Gemini, are so closely associated with this quick (almost too quick) Mercurial cleverness and its multiplicity-all-at-once openness, you could find yourself on the receiving end of other people's annoyances—that is, they may project their over-it-ness onto you, unfairly blaming you for being too slippery, hard to pin down, or in it only for yourself. But you can promptly nip these misguided notions in the bud with clear shows of generosity… foregrounding your kindler-and-gentler side (right when they were about to claim you didn't have one) with genuine tokens of how much you really do care. (Even if you feel a bit like you're pandering when you've done nothing 'wrong', you've also got to admit that perhaps your mind has been elsewhere lately.) Once they see how thoughtful you actually are (as opposed to some appallingly self-centered monster they've created in their manic heads), they'll immediately stop holding you accountable for shit you didn't do—and happily accept your heartfelt gesture.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You'll want to keep very clean hands, dear Cancer, since so many fawning friends and affectionate admirers will be eating out of 'em. Yes, now that Venus is comfortably situated in your sign and forming an opposition to Jupiter in your 7th, you can count on being incredibly likable to virtually everyone you come into contact with… perhaps even more so than you may believe you actually deserve. (It's not that you're 'undeserving' in any way, but rather that some of their exaggerated fondness may be a factor of how well you appear to fit some desired bill—as opposed to who you might really be but aren't necessarily displaying evidence of.) As a result, you hold the power to be extremely persuasive… without even attracting much attention to the fact you're pulling magic strings from behind your invisible curtain. (Here's a logistical hint on how best to finesse it: Non-verbal cues make all the difference.) But I wasn't kidding about keeping 'clean hands', despite how they may seem to achieve just what they want with a mere wave through the air. You may have a supreme amount of influence for the time being, but be impeccably responsible with this fleeting authority. Nobody likes to discover, after the fact, that they were manipulated. Without an untarnished conscience on your side, they'll be able to track the misdoings back to you—and eventually give you hell for it.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Finish making any big moves or grand stands still hanging over from the previous month or so… since, by mid-week, you'll be ready for some time away from the bright lights, the loud music, and the starring role in the production. Trust me, Leo, you need a break. Everything that's just happened while Mars has been in your sign (from May 9 through this week) will require its settling-in period. And despite how much fun it's all been, you cannot stay in super-active yang mode indefinitely—it throws off the natural balance of give and receive, do and don't do. Now that Mars will be in your solar 2nd from Tuesday on, you've got some self-organizing tasks ahead of you: balancing and budgeting finances, hunkering down or shoring up, applying analytic skills to plan the rest of your year. (Don't make this harder on yourself than it has to be, by repeating how much you don't want to do this. Without these periodic spells of tighter responsibility, the soaring phases of jubilance would simply sink you beneath a lack of preparation.) Venus also hints at some much-overdue backstage rejuvenation, hiding from public view in your 12th. In opposition to a 6th-house Jupiter, however, her call for a passing hibernation could easily be ignored by you… dare you refuse to recognize there are limits to how far you can push your physical body before it rebels, whether with an actual case of the sniffles or a harder-to-treat influx of the grumps. The only preventive remedy is rest.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): You're about to recapture the get-up-and-go you need to make things happen again, now that Mars is heading into your sign for the next month-and-a-half. Along with the energetic oom-pah-pah, you can also expect the urge to withdraw from the world to begin subsiding soon enough. So 'Hooray!' to all of that, wouldn't you say? Now, Virgo, how do you intend to use this burst of fresh initiative? Well, for starters, I'd suggest attending to whatever loose ends were recently left hanging. (After all, it's quite likely you've been somewhat distracted over these last weeks… which is not actually too much of a problem, now that you can look back and see what other stuff you were dealing with at the time.) The last thing you'll want, moving forward into some of your most productive weeks all year, is to have remnants of unfinished items bleeding over from the past and taking up your precious mental energy. (And we know that, as long as it's still dangling, you're still going to be thinking about it on some level. You're just like that.) If you can clear away those bits of mental clutter (and their evil twin, the time-wasting anxiety), you're going to be so very ready to accomplish huge strides between now and the middle of August. If not, you're going find your wheels spinning round and round—and what a way to squander an otherwise super-efficient-and-effective Mars transit.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Now that your ruling goddess Venus sits atop your solar chart in the 10th, you should intently focus or promoting an 'open-door policy' toward whatever possible developments in your career or other public sector of life are surely presenting themselves. I'm certain your only shortage of such possibilities, should you claim to be experiencing one, is merely a limited sight-line (or lack of imagination). In fact, Libra, I'd assume you have so many burgeoning prospects for how things will be turning over the coming few weeks, you're more likely to overlook what's going on at home… simply because it's not quite as dynamic and, thus, easier to ignore. But if you share your living space with someone (or someones) else, you probably can't get away with completely neglecting the household. Strange though it may sound, your housemates and/or family members are apt to take it personally if you act like you have 'better things to do' than to washing your dishes, paying the rent on time, or giving your feedback on pressing house issues. Sure, you may be legitimately busy, sidetracked by a crunch time at work, or otherwise indisposed… or so you may tell yourself. Yet, you still must make sure to fulfill your end of the domestic details—or they'll think you don't give a crap. Of course, if you actually don't give a crap, that's a whole different story…


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): By placing a premium on your knack for strategy, you'll hopefully set yourself up to contain the heightened risk of blowing lucky opportunities with careless impulsivity. Want to attain that high honor, that precious reward, that lusted-for renown? Then pursue each step, no matter how small, by design. At various moments, your strong-willed ways will either demonstrate that, yes, you mean business… or they'll get you into deep doo-doo, if you can't tone 'em down when the situation calls for it. Reacquaint yourself with what I wrote you last week, Scorpio, because it's quite close to what I'm telling you now. Only in this latest version, I'm definitely emphasizing the importance of continuously upholding your goal in the clearest forefront of your vision—without ever allowing a surge in emotion or a hot-under-the-collar turn in the talks to momentarily overshadow it, with the risk that you'll forget what your main purpose is. In other words, keep reminding yourself what it's all for. Should you lose sight of it, even temporarily, you could find yourself in hot water. And if you stay stubbornly focused on the one big overarching intention, you'll find it easier not to quarrel over the little details, which would only draw out potential problems longer than necessary. (Redirect such strained instances of difference toward areas where everybody agrees.) It's all about knowing when to let tense situations pass… while never neglecting to highlight your unshakable attachment to succeeding at your efforts.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Let's not insult either your or my intelligence, and I'll just lay my observation on the table: You're a totally willing participant in whatever drama's continuing to play itself out. It doesn't suit your purposes, then, to try coming off like you're Mr. or Ms. Innocent. Such denials of complicity will ring disingenuous. We don't often think of you as somebody who sticks around in undesirable encounters, sitting in politely passive silence as other people force you to partake in their tactical games while secretly wishing to be long gone. (Are you really that powerless?) Instead, Sagittarius, we assume you'd have taken to the hills by now if, in fact, the situation was so torturous for you. Therefore, it's safe to conclude you're actually enjoying the act of pushing that certain someone's buttons… though, at the same time, you might deign to complain about their reactions, as if you weren't the one instigating them. Sure, complain if that makes you feel better. But don't dare pretend you have no clue where it's all coming from. You wanted the excitement. You asked for it, even. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of that, since it beats the crap out of being bored… and, along the way, you might learn a thing or two. So, revel in this supposed 'torture'—or else, if it's really that bad, stop already.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Your week ahead provides a couple distinct options, Capricorn, dependent upon whether you'd prefer to follow the influence of Venus or Mars. From Venus's perspective opposing Jupiter from your 7th, you can look forward to stumbling into smooth interpersonal connections… with the sense that typically glaring differences between you and whomever has your attention will seem to magically disappear. The Venus-Jupiter aspect makes for a wonderful ability to get along with just about anyone—but with the danger that, in the pleasant whir of 'getting along', the other person will get the wrong idea about you. To hear Mars tell it, however, you might have trouble getting past certain recently-riled-up feelings or attitudes… and, in fact, experience very little desire to even try, since it's also kind of fun not to 'get along' (why? just because!). Mars's 8th-house trine to Pluto (hiding once again in your 12th) indeed indicates an instinctive drive toward catharsis, perhaps even impelling you to make more of a big deal than a situation requires. Of course, that means sacrificing Venus's smooth connections, in order to feed Mars's shit-stirring tendencies without a clear concept of what exactly you'll gain from it (other than the satisfaction of letting 'em have it). So do you go for the easy get-along, with the heightened potential of being misunderstood (which could end up causing disappointments later)… or do you opt for stirring shit up, with the heightened possibility of finally working through some long-pent-up feelings, but without knowing exactly how disruptive the final outcome will be?


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Just because 'a little' of something may be good, that doesn't necessarily translate to 'lots more' being that much better. Balance isn't just a word the savvy new-age marketers print on snazzy spa candles to get you to buy one. It's a real virtue to bear in mind this week, Aquarius, when you might find yourself on a seemingly innocent downward slope, being temptingly nudged further along by impassioned companions (or heartier party-goers). But you're wrong to imagine there'll be no negative consequences from going too far… which is why you probably want to stay continually abreast of where your limits rest, and to maintain moderation in the face of rascally influences. This just isn't the best time to let naughty pals convince you to push the envelope, though they could make it sound like way too much fun to miss out on. It's not just the next day's strained muscles, stretched-out stomach, throbbing headache or empty wallet (obvious signs of overindulgence) you have to watch out for—these deflating aftereffects, after all, will dissipate soon enough. It's also all the creatively invigorating ideas you'll miss out on generating, developing and expressing, if you're too exhausted to think straight. Maybe you won't even 'miss' what you haven't gotten to… until you sit back down at the empty desk, white page or blank computer screen and wonder what to do next.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): What do you discover when you touch your finger to the stove that's on? Well, whaddaya know… it's hot. So why, oh why, would you expect to encounter a different sensation, should you touch another finger to that same still-on stove? Touch it, and it'll still be hot. With this lesson in logic under our belts then (and I'm only playfully insulting your intelligence, Pisces, with no actual hurtful intentions), we could extend our thinking to the relationship zone and state, with all confidence: You shouldn't expect anything new to happen romantically, as long as you keep on trying the same old thing. If you want it to be different, you've got to do something differently. Really and truly, it could be almost anything… and should require no guarantee that, if you do x, suddenly your other half will begin to do y. This is more of a crap-shoot than that. (Yes, a crap-shoot… in the same way that virtually all risks we take are just that: risky.) If you want to up the stakes, then you'll have to gamble what you've already got. No two ways about it. As long as your hands are busy clutching the scraps of some barely-satisfactory coupling or leftovers from the last one that went bust, they won't be free to grab the next thing that comes across their path. While, as I said, there are absolutely no guarantees, you will know you're onto something good if you have no friggin' clue what's coming next… but you're eager enough to see what develops that you're willing to stick around and find out. If it's predictable, however, we can predict exactly what next week and next month will bring. (Dare I say it? More of the same.)