Horoscopes | Week of August 11-17, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Back to work, Aries. Yes, you heard me right—and my demanding commanding tone, too. This should not be surprising advice to read from me, if you'll recall my not-so-long-ago report on how July and August 08 are pivotal work months for you… with the potency to make or break your entire year, no exaggeration necessary. Well, according to my watch, you're still very much within range of those dates. And now, with the added assistance of Mercury and Venus in your 6th giving you a keen head for the details and (hopefully) an even greater appreciation for whatever you're working on, you're well-situated to reinvest your attentions full force, just in case they've temporarily drifted elsewhere. Your week ahead will be especially useful for tackling any steps that require you to meet with important people, represent yourself or your organization on a larger stage, or otherwise make impressive public appearances. Position yourself as being unquestionably reliable. (At this time, ignored responsibilities will reflect quite poorly on you for a while to come.) And whatever you do, don't use this opportunity for spouting self-aggrandizing statements about Purpose or Destiny (what they'd call 'spewing hot air'). Not the moment for it, to be sure. You're definitely still in sweaty task-completion mode, rather than ready for elder-statesman speechmaking. Yet, it's another great week for making a big difference, as long as the appropriate efforts (and then some) are made.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Have you forgotten to schedule yourself some fun again? Do you find yourself so laden with the burdensome requirements of all the roles you've agreed to take on that, now, you have no time left for just being yourself? Have you lost that lovin' feeling? Well, Taurus, far be it for me to belabor a point (why say it only once when you can say it thrice?), but you're flirting with the worst trappings of a joyless life if you won't face up to your duty to simply enjoy yourself. I intend to sound dramatic when I inform you: You cannot afford to rank your own pleasure low on the priority list. (Behind visiting the dentist and washing the car, even?) Carving out a non-negotiable niche for purely personal considerations is a necessary battle to fight in your war for a noble existence. In the other corner, vying to blacken your heart with passive-aggressive dissatisfaction, are the myriad ways you imagine yourself as beholden to others' dictates and demands (or those you've internalized as all that you're 'supposed to be doing', among which 'catering to selfish delights' apparently isn't one). Don't let the dreaded Them win. The only path to victory is insisting on your own contentment. Even if you have to squeeze it all into half-an-hour a day, make those thirty minutes unabashedly yours—and make 'em count. It's amazing how much personal joy you can concentrate into tiny spaces, if you plan accordingly… and care enough.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When I tell you to keep to yourself this week, Gemini, it's only because I want you to minimize the potential for excessive exchanges of emotion with others… merely to save yourself the pointless headache. Looking out for your need to relax is the single most important thing right now, and I simply cannot see how exposure to anybody who might vie for your attention to what they want from you could possibly be 'relaxing'. I'm no dummy, though, and I understand the appeal. What we often find entertaining or exhilarating (the presumptive reason you'd seek out others' company, correct?) isn't exactly the most appropriate vehicle for quietly unwinding, now, is it? So though your inner-child social butterfly (a bit of a rambunctious rascal, to be sure) may prefer the stimulation to the silence at absolutely any cost, you're not doing your spirit any favors by sustaining the noise at normal levels. Until you steal a few quiet 'me' moments, you might actually neglect to notice how maxed out you really are. Relax first, my dear… and ask questions later. If that requires taking a smidgeon of space from your sweetie or saying no to frantic friends or family, so be it. You'll be better because of it, a week or two down the line.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The luminary ruler of your life, the lovely and vivacious moon, faces her very own eclipsing late in the week… and in the days of psychic buildup leading into it (palpable to you and, oddly, Aquarians more than anybody else), you could find yourself tapping into an intuitive stream of other folks' feelings, the one they usually prefer to keep hidden. Treat these traces with the respect they warrant. Acknowledge them as they pass you by, but don't cling. When you stumble upon glimpses of their secret resentments, lusts, panics or outrages, you can't know their full context… how small a proportion of their overall attitudes these may comprise, whether they're relatively permanent or fleeting and inconsequential, or even if your pals themselves are fully conscious of 'em. Please do not assume you grasp where they're coming from, then, my dear Cancer—even if your intention is to 'help' them deal with whatever internal unsettling you're whiffing off 'em. If you've got questions, by all means, ask. But take them at their word. Though you may suspect more than is being said, you can't make a case on reasonable suspicion alone. Another day, or even a different hour, and that which you absolutely know in your gut to be the truth about them may be very far from the shifted reality because, of course, feelings are just like that. They move and morph and misrepresent themselves at every turn, by their very nature.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Hang on to your hat, Leo… especially if it's your hat, dammit, and you might just need it for some important head-covering soon enough. In fact, this isn't the time to let any prospective tools or treasures slip out of your sight, according to some naïve share-and-share-alike logic that's really functioning as a cover for underlying carelessness. You've entered a phase in which it's crucial to reserve your time, money and resources for only the most practical purposes—and particularly those that directly serve your own bottom-line interests. Haven't you read the news lately? Don't you know how wise it is to consider the future, which, with each passing headline of doom-and-gloom economics (at least in the countries I frequent), continues to appear shakier and shakier? Even if your personal situation doesn't appear immediately so bleak, it certainly wouldn't hurt to put a temporary cap on extravagant spending and excessive partying, in support of Backup Plans B, C and D. And while I'm not suggesting turning a total blind eye or cold back to seriously needy friends or loved ones, this probably isn't the best time for indiscriminate generosity. They've got to really need it, and you've got to really have it at your disposal. (Gestures, meanwhile, made simply to come off as the shining-armor-clad savior and/or in order to hook someone into a strings-invisible-but-still-attached 'agreement' are not currently called for, nor favored by the planets.) Poor distributional choices made now could mess you up for a long time. Good ones, on the other hand, might just prove a miraculous investment with copious dividends.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Wield your gorgeousness of character like a pediatric heart surgeon would his scalpel: delicately, with the awesome awareness that your diehard meticulousness can and will save lives. Dare I assist in bloating your head to record proportions (humble Virgo? never!), but in matters such as those you're now facing—where excellence in accuracy and level-headedness is tantamount to overall success—few approach perfection (dangerous word, I know) as closely as you do. Trust in yourself to react in infinitesimally small but exact measures, rather than with clumsy drippy brushstrokes, to barely perceptible shifts in the wind… but refuse to believe anything can really get you down. Sure, there will be obstacles (or maybe there's a less obstinate word to use?) that appear in your path, as there'd be for anyone. Yet, you've got Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn all on your side, and what pesky gnat of a problem could possibly contend with all that planetary power? Indeed, your most defining characteristics (those which in other circumstances might seem reason enough to criticize yourself, or to shamefully swallow others' criticisms) are the very qualities that make you such a force to reckon with currently. (Your biggest enemy? Ghosts from the past. But aren't they already dead?) Hold your own, defiantly. This is your life. Live it exactly as you please.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): You see the phantom motion in the corners of your peripheral vision, but when you turn to face it right on, there's nothing there. The elves and faeries who animate your house during shadowy dusk or late-night gray don't like to have the light shined on 'em, and are apt to disappear back into nothingness just as quickly… playing as if everything that exists in our world is only that which can be touched, tasted, or tested in laboratories. I hope, for the sake of your spirit's need to entertain the possibility of more, that you're willing to consider the passing glances into Wonderland as something real—though, likelier than not, you might also dismiss them as fantasy when letting your logical mind rule the roost. See, Libra, despite what the totalitarian rationalists dictate, it absolutely is possible to both believe and disbelieve in unexplainable phenomena at the same time. It all comes down to intention. While I wouldn't necessarily advocate such an unwavering faith in the factual actuality of mystical creatures literally whispering wisdoms into your ear at night that you stay up late trying to snag photos you can send to Scientific American as publishable proof, I do however advise you to listen to what they're whispering. Why not take the crumbs of profound knowledge where you can find 'em, even when you couldn't possibly explain to an uncompromisingly skeptical crowd how you know what you know (or even be sure of all its dimensions yourself)? Don't waste the goodies that have presented themselves at your proverbial doorstep, on the wings of angels or from the mouths of dead loved ones showing up in your dreams. It'll be our little secret where they came from, I swear…


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Look around, one more time, at all the people surrounding you. If the circumstances you share with them are presently to your liking, you have a collective obligation to celebrate. You have confidently proven the worthiness of binding together toward common ideals, and mustn't let the triumph sneak modestly by. But if you're still displeased with the results you're seeing, Scorpio, then you've also surely realized that something's got to give. That's because (pardon my blunt straight-talk) you're unlikely to ever get what you want with the current team roster… unless, that is, you're just being so rottenly stubborn in your refusal to blend your ideas into theirs ('I thought of it first… and better!') or soften your tone for better group dynamics. Assuming you have done your darnedest to compromise, communicate and consider alternatives, yet symptoms of discord and dissatisfaction continue to be evident, what's really left to do? Waiting for them to change will turn you blue in the face, while trying to go around them shall only yield further incompatibility. Maybe it's time to admit you're on the wrong team. Déjà vu? It's been a month since I proffered virtually identical advice. If nothing's improved yet, it probably won't.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Stop talking and thinking, scheming and maneuvering, long enough to just take in the external signs. What's going on here? How has your position risen or slipped? Where have you seen measurable evidence of good results, and where is the progress visibly lacking? No matter what the specifics of your case may be, Sagittarius, this is no fluke. It is a weigh-station, a junction, a crossroads. Any honors you're now receiving were clearly and unequivocally earned through hard work. They are yours to keep, and should not be expected to float away on the next change in tide. Yet, if you're presently hitting a wall, it is a seriously solid one. That doesn't mean you absolutely won't be able to climb your way over, dig your way under, or find another way around… eventually. But it will take even more effort than you've already put forth, and/or in a radically different manner, since what you've been doing obviously isn't working. (I say that without judging your character, but purely on the nuts-and-bolts functional level. It's not an excuse to beat up on yourself, just to examine your process.) Think of this as nothing beyond a brilliantly informative update… and an ideal chance to reexamine whether this goal, this job or affiliation, is really right for you (and worth all that it requires). The decision is yours, of course, but if you're going to stick with it, make a decisive recommitment. Apparently you still have a ways to go. (P.S. Angrily confronting others about what's not happening for you will not help your case. In fact, it's probably a glaring example of why it's not happening.)


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Let's give one more round of applause to the concept of personal ethics… and to hell with those who wouldn't recognize a matter of principle if it jumped up and bit 'em. We have conducted a series of carefully controlled experiments on the state of internal well-being among those who must make choices every day (and who doesn't?), and our statistics yield a result consistent with the hypothesis that living according to a coherent system of beliefs makes a person happier and healthier. Who are you to argue with such proof, Capricorn? Ignore the voices of fearful meekness that'd convince you not to bother making a big deal, when it's your sense of everything right in this world that's at stake… and nothing less. Yes, you should make the deal, brave defender of justice. Stands such as these, no matter how small or 'irrelevant' (according to anyone too put out by the inconvenient delays to hold much respect for integrity), will indeed build upon themselves for a life you'll be proud to lead. However, lapses of a similar vein—that is, not accepting responsibility for the ripples of consequence created when we overlook correctitude to speed things along or reap selfish gain—form a slippery slope that, before you know it, can lead to rotting morality, a reputation of ill repute and/or the inability to sleep at night. Taking the time to fight the battle when it really matters to you won't, in fact, sap your energy. If anything, it'll pump you up.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): If you're comfortable with the current level of intensity in the hottest-button relationship(s) in your life, then you've obviously done a good job of managing your involvement so that you (1) successfully held the boundary at a point appropriate to your desires and/or (2) put in the personal work, warts and all, needed to achieve intimacy without feeling threatened. Kudos for knowing your interpersonal capabilities (or at least being willing to learn more about 'em)… for allowing yourself to be vulnerable when necessary, but never past the limit that's right for you. But, Aquarius, if your cage of sanity is being rattled to the point of way too much, you should probably put a stop to the no-holds-barred behavior—on both your parts, of course, since it does take two to tango. If a certain situation is taking over your life, distracting you from everyone and everything else, you aren't being a responsible participant. Take a step back. Freeze the whole thing out for a while, if you have to. Don't, however, fool yourself into thinking there will be no drawback to getting in way over your head… as if 'oops, we got carried away!' is any defense at all. Every moment not spent cleaning it up will only make it that much messier.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Whether or not any of us thinks it's fair, we most certainly are judged by the company we keep (sorry, McCain and Obama)… and I'm not even sure that's such a bad thing. When we hitch our car to someone else's locomotive, through friendship or professional allegiance or romantic love, we tacitly agree to share responsibility for where that train is heading… for carrying the freedom fighters to their liberatory bliss, the goods to their homes on store shelves or as donation relief, or the unlucky souls to their final resting place. We were there, after all. We went along with it, didn't we? So, Pisces, solidify your links to those peers and allies of whom you're most proud. Your very acquaintance with them will lift you up, both by inspiration and literal designation of your efforts. You need each other to stay strong. But if you're going along with folks who don't authentically represent what you purport to be about, don't think you can get away with 'loving the sinner' while 'hating the sin'—not without dirtying your own hands. Sometimes, we have to pick sides… not necessarily out of judging others for being less than we are (so you needn't hang anyone out to dry, not to worry), but in order to save ourselves from the unavoidable contagion of alliances imprudent in light of who we want to be. Accessories to crimes are still criminals, by the rule of law, though they may never break a window or pull a trigger.