Horoscopes | Week of July 7-13, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Rome wasn't built in a day, was it, Aries? And one big show of strength (even though, yes, you're really strong), without the necessary follow-through, just isn't enough to cut it. There's no way around it—the single most important value for you to uphold over the coming weeks is consistency. As I already said, you're hardly lacking in strength. You currently possess the power to move mountains… but only as long as you put in methodical, undeviating effort on a day-by-day basis. This applies in your work, your household duties, your self-care regimen, and any context in which regular expenditures of energy toward a task or project will reap cumulative progress that builds on itself. Despite your fearless ability to start things from scratch, reach right into the engine when something's not functioning, and dash away if it's clear it'll never go anywhere, certain accomplishments are simply impossible without longer-term repetition. What I've written here merely adds to what I wrote last week, about how these several weeks represent a crucial period within your whole year, insofar as minding good habits is concerned. You'll either create yourself a solid foundation for continuing such habits on a lasting basis… or you'll miss a chance to refine your skills and enhance your expertise, just because you're too darn stir-crazy to do the same thing every day.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The recommendations I have for you, in response to this week's Mars-Saturn conjunction in your 5th, will vary as a result of how much 'me' time (or related 'me-centered' activities) you've recently indulged in. If you've grown more accustomed to getting chores done than creating experiences that make you happy, this is your official invitation to start focusing more on yourself. This self-focus, however, does not include fixating on everything about you that isn't right, so you may have more excuses to feel unworthy or bad. We're talking about fun 'me' time, Taurus… when you deliberately set aside a few hours to explore your own fancies, like a child who knows nothing beyond the need to satisfy his or her own curiosity. Of course, when you're running through your overly crammed schedule of commitments and to-dos, you might try arguing that such activities simply cannot be fit in. That's why I mentioned deliberately setting aside time. Write it in your book in pen. Making room for joy is at least as pressing a duty to yourself as any number of other 'must-do's that end up on your list, so don't ignore it. On the off chance, alas, that any of you have been indulging too greatly in 5th-house activities—partying, game-playing, overdramatizing, seeing the world from only one self-centered perspective—it's now time to rein it all in. Going beyond the appropriate limits in these areas will have harsher consequences throughout the month. You are absolutely important enough to engineer some time for you… but, on the other hand, no more important than anyone else. Saturn's challenging you to find that middle ground.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Snip and snark all you want, but you'll be nitpicking your way through a losing battle. Why? Because, especially if you're dealing with a family member or somebody you live with, this whole dynamic is much much larger than the specifics of this episode or the isolated details that, by themselves, would tell a highly edited version of the story. And what's worse, it won't be 'over and done' by any stretch of your imagination, even if you were to score an apparent win on the conversational (that is, argumentative) front. After all, you will continue to have a relationship with them next week and the week after… and the deeper issues that weren't resolved (perhaps because they just let you get your way since it was easier than yelling and screaming) will follow you into the future. That's why going for the immediate victory might ultimately prove to backfire on you, Gemini. No matter where you actually stand in relation to them (and whether what's bugging you about them isn't merely a smokescreen for what's really got you worked up), it's probably better to nip such intimate disputes in the bud by talking less and listening more. Taking the extra effort to demonstrate your respect for their concerns will certainly ease the short-term tensions. Please note, though: I am not dismissing your gripes as illegitimate, nor favoring your housemate or family member over you in this showdown. I'm merely pointing out your surest path to a productive week: you behaving well on the homefront. And if they pull a power trip on you, let 'em have it—for now.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): This week's horoscope doesn't veer too dramatically from the previous installment… only now, the emphasis rests squarely on communication. You still should have very little problem getting along with most everyone you come in contact with. And there's still a better-than-usual chance of your truest self, with its own unique attitudes and motivations, being misunderstood by those who presume to know you better than they actually do. But on your end, Cancer, you'll want to watch the specific content of whatever nervous chatter trickles (or gushes) from your lips… and, if at all possible, keep it to a minimum. What's so terrible about conversational pauses, anyhow? For your own benefit, let the pauses hang there, rather than filling all empty space with small-talk. Contrary to your first instincts, it's not always your job to ease others' social discomfort by dancing in circles or jumping through hoops to occupy their otherwise-anxious attentions. Over the coming week especially, the more you say (unless it's absolutely necessary), the likelier it'll be the 'wrong' thing and/or continue fostering their misperceptions about you. Be sweet, if you've got it in you… but use your words very judiciously. Mean exactly what you say, or don't say it.


LEO (July 23-August 22): You'll get closer to your desired outcome by using a gentle touch than by adopting any approach that might qualify as 'overkill'. Don't worry, Leo, nobody will mistakenly forget about you or look past what you're trying to do if you take a few steps back, rather than perpetually loitering in their faces with all the subtlety of a walrus in a sundress. (In fact, they might appreciate the breathing room.) Yes, it is entirely possible—and sometimes preferable—to look out for your own interests without making a big production of it. Heard of the 'soft sell'? Study up on it. And tact? Follow it to the letter at every turn, even as you wonder whether they'll actually be able to read between the lines. (The answer is: If they can't, then they're too dim to invest your success in.) The absolute last thing you'll want this week is to leave anybody with the impression you're being boastful. When offering on-the-record remarks (and let's be clear, you're always 'on the record'), be quite cautious in discussing those circumstances in which you might feel a sense of ownership. Those are the 'dangerous' topics most likely to get you talking yourself up, without necessarily meaning to do it. And in case you're resisting all the advice I have to offer, let me soften it by saying, come next week, Venus will be in your sign to bestow upon you a lot more leeway. You only need to be the 'tact police' this week.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The beginning of July signals that 2008 is already halfway in the can… and considering it's such a defining moment in the lives of you Virgos, due to Saturn's ongoing presence in your sign, I wholeheartedly urge you to use this time to spell out your 'mid-year resolutions'. Yes, Virgo, doing the right thing is distinctly extra-important for you this year, and therefore it warrants a midpoint check-in—to recommit to your top priorities, to revise the plan if need be, and to refortify yourself against any threats from the outside. Though 'the right thing' means something different to each and every one of us, I'm a believer that we all know (deep inside ourselves, below all the piddling self-talk we use to justify our lapses in judgment) what's 'right' for us. And this week's conjunction of Mars to Saturn in your sign shoots an unusually fierce amount of discipline through your body, making this an ideal week for getting serious with yourself. Any pledges made now will be potent… and as long as you hold up your end of the bargain, you should expect amazing results over the coming few months. Yet, applying the same logic to any resistance on your part, your rejection of 'responsible' choices will produce its own potent after-effects. For instance, you may find the excesses you refused to corral could wreak further havoc than they already have. Or unmade decisions could lead others to decide for you, leaving you to moan about your victim status… when, in fact, it was ultimately your own doing (through 'non-doing', that is). If you've been biding your time, waiting to muster the strength to do the dreaded deed or draw the lasting line, I think the moment has arrived. You're strong as hell—now what are you going to do about it?


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I'm actually a huge fan of thinking things through and talking things out, so I don't want you to get the wrong idea, Libra, when I advise you not to bother with such heady mental activities this week. The constant preoccupation with analyzing small details of the situation, coupled with seemingly helpful conversations with everyone and her brother about the different pros and cons, is liable to do more harm than good in the immediate sense… at least when it comes to providing you any internal solace whatsoever. There are simply too many variables to allow you much clarity right now—though I must add (so as not to contribute to the anxiety, hopefully) this will not be the case beyond the short term. You're in a bit of a circling pattern, and no amount of intellectual acrobatics will magically clear you for landing. (Would you rather leap out the escape hatch and pray that dusty parachute is functional? I wouldn't recommend it.) Don't fight the reality of your moment. Settle into your temporary stay in no-man's-land, and kick your feet up. Hibernate for a brief spell. And if you're expected to participate in important negotiations or perform some slick oratory presentation, bow out if you can… and let someone you trust do the talking.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Without adding a bunch of links to so many of your recent horoscopes, I think I can make a case for this week's offering as a symbolic culmination of several weeks' developments… and it comes down to this: You're either going to have to accept the group's thinking once and for all, though it may clash with your personal views, or cut ties with 'em. What, after all, are your other choices, Scorpio? Continuing your attempts to wear 'em down by endlessly promoting your alternative, when they've clearly indicated it's not for them? That sounds like craziness to me—not to mention a recipe for an eventual explosion, from one side or the other. If your colleagues feel that strongly about their position, you may have to suck it up and 'take one for the team'. After all, isn't it better to maintain these valued connections than to make a fuss over one stalemate, whether big or small, and end up alone? I understand, however, the answer to that question could be a firm 'no, it isn't!' If your entire experience of this disagreement has left you wondering, 'With friends like these, who needs enemies?' then perhaps you've hit the no-going-back point with this particular allegiance. But let's be clear about the real decision you have to make: Are these folks around you really 'your people', or not? If they are, stick with 'em, no matter the sacrifice. If they're not, read the writing on the wall.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): If that big goal is that important to you, you should probably substitute the intense vibe of urgency you're giving off with a responsible dose of patient resoluteness… or you just might burn your own chances, simply by refusing to follow the appropriate methods. You certainly won't want to exude an air of 'I want what I want right now, on my terms, or I don't want it at all!' because that's just the sort of backing-'em-into-a-corner that's liable to blow up in your face. The Mars-Saturn conjunction in your 10th unambiguously dictates taking a measured approach to pursuing professional success or public acknowledgment, using carefully engineered steps, taken with the utmost precision, for gradual progress—as opposed to making firm unilateral demands and expecting them to be met. Small gains made now are actually far more significant than they appear. But going too far too fast, without any respect for the structure within which you're working, is a recipe for irreversible disaster. (Irreversible, that is, as far as the current players are concerned.) Add to all that a Mercury-Pluto opposition across your 7th/1st, and virtually all your one-on-one communications bear the potential to quickly become power struggles… even if that's not your intention. If you're having trouble getting through to someone, it may be your intensity is putting 'em on the defensive before you've even opened your mouth. Naturally, you can see why this isn't the week to challenge authority and expect an easy win.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): I hope I'm not revealing a prejudice that'll get me in trouble with the others, but I must confess my special interest in you Capricorns. You all are perhaps the most misunderstood of all the signs, at least if we're going off the generic intro-to-astrology cookbooks, which would have us believe every last one of you is a type-A corporate executive whose ambition (a Capricorn keyword often misinterpreted as purely about business) will have you clawing over everything and -body that might block your way. Most Capricorns I know get a hearty chuckle at this notion, so far is it from their personal experiences. My 'special interest' in you comes out, in part, through my personal desire to help y'all get a clearer vision of what I think is meant by 'ambition' in relation to your sign—the ability to strategize several steps ahead, achieving each milestone while continuing to keep your eyes on the prize (whatever it is, but definitely not merely a powerful career position), all the while making necessary adjustments based on changing circumstances. And because of that long-range vision, you're often seen as somewhat 'conservative', likelier to forego the immediate (and easy) result for the eventual realization of goals. This week, Cap, it pays to respect that conservatism in your approach toward all dealings. With the strong Saturn feel in the air, you're at a decided advantage… as long as you don't sell your own beliefs out. You might indeed be tempted to just go along with someone else's shortsighted plan. (Why? To prove how 'easy-going' you are? Uh, not.) Don't do it. Once you lose self-respect, it's hard to get it back. You rightfully see the long marathon our lives are, and thankfully possess the wherewithal to pace yourself (where others around you do not). Why throw it away for a quick sprint toward a still-shifting finish line, and for what?


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Nothing good can come from being nastier than necessary, Aquarius… and while you aren't usually the type to go straight for the jugular (too messy), the combination of Mars and Saturn in your don't-mess-with-me 8th house has you closer to such do-or-die tactics than you're ordinarily comfortable with. There's a good reason for that, of course: You deeply care about fighting this fight. Whether it's on behalf of an ideal you hold dear or whether it's against an especially strong adversary (who, frankly, isn't as 100% wrong as you'd like to believe), you are far too psychologically invested in achieving the outcome you want to simply walk on by, treading some self-righteous high road like you built the damn thing. That's why you'd sell yourself short by not staring the beast in the mouth, with courage and fortitude and an unflinching refusal to back away from the testy topic-at-hand. Together, Mars and Saturn comprise a formidable opponent—in both you and the other person. But at the core of this struggle and its significance for your growth is not who wins. It's all about how you defend yourself and your beliefs. No matter the situational outcome, you will emerge with honor and self-respect if you're a focused contender, sticking to your target and not veering off-course to squeeze in an extra jab or two, speaking from your experience rather than trying to universalize your perspective to belittle other views, and still considering the 'opponent' as a human being worthy of compassion (no matter how much you can't stand 'em right now). Do this well, and you'll encounter the next similar situation much better equipped to face off—without deliberately harming anyone. Do it poorly, alas, and the mess will follow you around 'til you clean it up.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): If you're just joining us, we've been speaking with the gorgeously romantic and infinitely understanding Piscean… about whether there are, or should be, certain limits to how far one extends his/her gorgeous romance (e.g., 'love is all that matters'; 'I can't help but see the best in them') and infinite understanding (e.g., 'I forgive their trespasses because I know where it's all coming from'; 'they didn't mean to hurt me, they were just feeling emotional'). The reasons for such limits? Without them, of course, many Pisceans might continue bending over backwards until they break their friggin' backs—and still, from the hospital bed, they wonder aloud to their adored ones, 'Is there anything I can do for you?' There's nothing new here, is there? But before you shoot off angry emails about how I'm so mean to Pisceans, let me be frank. It's not me talking. It's Saturn. And now that he has Mars to team up with in your 7th house, this may be the time to examine where those interpersonal limits (if they currently exist) are standing… and whether they're in an appropriate place. In doing so, you might need to proceed toward a one-on-one confrontation, rather than away from it. Yet, this isn't about opening the flood doors on everything you've ever been unhappy about in this relationship. You'll get absolutely nowhere with that. Instead, you must stay focused on one or two primary issues—the dealbreakers—and remain calm and on-point throughout. Do that, and the other person is far likelier to hear you loud and clear… though it's still on them to decide whether they can abide by your requested guidelines.