Horoscopes | Week of December 15-21, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Remember what I wrote last week about your knack for leadership being presently in demand? Everything I wrote there is still madly in effect, Aries. Only thing is, I neglected to mention one less-desirable consequence of stepping more visibly into a position of self-starter. That is this: As per usual, as soon as you start taking matters into your own hands, you immediately become a target for others' accusations that (here it comes) you're only thinking about yourself again. (Golly, that criticism must get old fast.) All that proves, of course, is that your critics are taking personal offense to your intrinsic talk-is-cheap orientation toward taking action, misinterpreting your drive to 'get going' as some statement that you think you're better or more important than everyone else. (Geez, don't they know it's not about them?) Still, an angry or off-putting response to their response is only likely to worsen the gap between you and them—and, let's not forget, taking the leadership role also implies taking a higher level of responsibility for others' best interests (as opposed to snapping at 'em when they act out). As our leader, you'll need to not only lead by example… but also to explicitly reach out to us, in friendship and encouragement, so we have clear evidence that you are thinking about us, too, and that you don't think you're superior.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It will have all proven worth it—the awkward moments, the unpleasant conversations, the raging furies and the snot-oozing cavalcades of tears—if it helped you get one or two steps closer to an important life goal. Though the aforementioned trials and tortures might seem to hold little direct relevance to your professional aspirations or other drives-to-achieve, they actually do contribute (if you've pushed to do a good job with this 'personal growth' aspect) to your gaining a greater sense of authority in the world. And 'authority' is something we all require, if we're going to own responsibility for what happens to us along the trajectory of 'our cumulative contribution to society' (rather than, say, complaining about the 'raw deal' we've gotten while, at the same time, doing a whole bunch of nothing to change it). The ability to confront reality head-on will serve you across all areas of your life, Taurus… and, in recent weeks, it's a skill you've definitely had to work hard to improve upon (unless you rebelliously insisted on not, which merely keeps you in a veritable hell of your own creation). Look back over what you've confronted in the past month or so, and give yourself credit for how strong you were. It'll all prove worth the aggravation, once you realize: 'If I can handle this, just think about what else I can do!'


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Conversations (especially so-called 'important' ones) do not occur in a bubble. Therefore, you should find certain statements (theirs or yours) suspect if, though they may cover all the requisite issues with perfectly proper talking-points, they still appear to contradict a long string of events leading up to such statements. Do people, and the situations they find themselves in, really change their stripes so quickly? No matter what you and/or some other person are trying to work out between you, simply having the perfunctory discussion isn't enough—if, that is, all the tangible evidence doesn't line up with the declarations offered or promises made. It's time for all parties to start connecting the dots, as opposed to entering each interaction as if stricken by amnesia and unable to recognize any continuity between yesterday's talk and the day before's. It's time to draw a conclusion, rather than leaving yourself to wonder 'what it all means'. That conclusion, however, may just as likely be a factor of your own internal analysis of the facts at hand, Gemini… and not necessarily the 'official' conclusion that's been presented (by them or you).


CANCER (June 21-July 22): When, in the act of 'doing what you're supposed to' (and I'll leave the contextual interpretation of that phrase up to you), you come across a particularly pesky obstacle (most likely, in the form of a difficult person) that threatens to stop you dead in your tracks… what exactly do you do, Cancer? I can almost hear you silently reasoning with yourself, 'Well, I didn't sign on for an unnerving encounter with that pain-in-the-ass. Maybe I should just turn around and go a different way?' That's because we both know your diligence in attending to the matter at hand was not supposed to include a potentially contentious face-off with some cog in the system, this bureaucratic nightmare, or the sole inhibiting factor of one stubborn individual. Yet, here you are, facing a situation you hadn't intended to face—and lamenting that it had to happen this way isn't going to change anything. No, you should not turn around and go a different way. You must diligently accept all parts of this duty, including adeptly trooping through any bumps in the road… no matter how much interpersonal maneuvering is required. There's simply no alternative to getting your hands dirty on this one. It's all part of doing what you're supposed to do, in completing this task that's yours to manage. Feel free to rest your case on that argument, should a certain someone come down on you too hard.


LEO (July 23-August 22): 'Why can't we all just get along?' has become something of a riotous satirical notion, as if the desire to alleviate unnecessary interpersonal strife is right up there with wishing clouds were made of cotton candy or automobiles ran on a clean sustainable energy source. But between you and me, Leo, it isn't so ridiculous a rhetorical question. By no means am I implying that all conflict can (or should) be avoided. Yet, if there were a simple goal worthy of your dedication this week, it'd be to merely do your part to ease relations with anyone (or everyone!) you have dealings with. In other words, extend yourself to others with gestures of generosity, worrying more about how best to give than whether you're liable to get all the specific goodies you desire. Through such actions, you'll be demonstrating that the thing you really want is healthy relationships with folks who appreciate you from the perspective of fair mutual participation. Whatever you can do to make another person that much happier, in either small increments or large amounts, please do it. When we're 'getting along', we all end up with more.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The ordinary order of things might involve me cheering someone through the endless mound of work to do, by telling 'em about all the fun they're due to enjoy once the work is done. You, Virgo, necessitate a different tactic. Odd as it may seem to members of all those other zodiac teams, you need to be soundly urged to dwell in the land of fun a little longer… for, never fear, you'll soon have the chance to sink yourself back into the comfortable world of nonstop productivity. Until then, what's your rush? I'm sure it's probably habitual for you to default back into perpetual review of those must-dos still remaining on your list, as if stopping the looping script in your head will effectively lead to massive failure on your part. But that habit is essentially predicated on a lack of faith in your own practical effectiveness… which, frankly , is silly since, if there's anything a Virgo can confidently count on, it's that you rarely let yourself down on some item of practical import. (Sure, you may overlook the need to do something nice for yourself, but that's another story.) For just a moment, then, rest on your laurels as a generally responsible person—and put off the urgency normally attached to 'what's got to get done' until the new year. That doesn't mean you must postpone every last must-do until then, only that you can ease up on yourself for whatever doesn't get done immediately.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Following up on last week's scope, there is one forgivable method to get yourself out of publicly expressing a position on this or that contentious issue… though it'll require a whole lot of personality out of you, Libra. If you hope to steer the tone of an interaction away from certain areas, a subtle change-of-topic or non-sequitur drop won't suffice. You must be ready to confidently take over control of the entire proceeding—and show 'em enough of a rip-roarin' good time that they no longer care about whether you're an ardent advocate or opponent of their stance. It's not that you'll be simply distracting them, as if one flash of a shiny object will be enough to decelerate their opinionated advances. You have to make a serious play for their hearts, by providing a too-appealing-to-be-resisted alternative to reaching mutual understanding and/or agreement through discussion or debate. You've got to demonstrate that solidarity is better achieved through enjoying a mutually pleasurable experience together. That in itself, by the way, is its own defendable position—that finding a common basis for personal connection, beyond all ideologies, is a winning strategy. But please don't preach it; just put it into very casual practice.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): One sometimes-enemy of the Scorpio is a loose tongue. As most Scorpios know (when they're not temporarily hypnotized by a peculiarly adept inquisitor), it's almost always better to say less than to unceremoniously run at the mouth… only to reveal certain dimensions of yourself that you'd hoped to reserve for another time (or keep hidden from all but the most 'inner' of inner-circle members). And as your 3rd house is due to continuing playing host to lots of astro-action, I'd expect the temptation to lose yourself in conversation will persist. Of course, in my wording of that last sentence, the phrase 'lose yourself' can't help but jump out—as a warning of what could happen if the tides of gab are allowed to carry you beyond what you're truly comfortable with, leaving you exposed to their characterizations and implications and judgments, when all you really want is a safe place to rest. Boozy social scenes, daring flirtation sessions, and soul-searing heart-to-hearts with new acquaintances (unvetted 'friends') do not qualify as 'safe' places. Your own home, however, is one convincing candidate.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): What a shocker, my beloved Sagittarians, that so many of you responded so positively to your obscenity-riddled horoscope from last week. Obviously, the notion of irreverently reclaiming the parts of your personality likeliest to rub other people wrong was one that pumped you all up. Well, dear, there's no reason to stop now. I've got you down for one more week of feeding your mischievous independent streak, you'll be happy to know. Wherever sticking points need to be stressed, agendas pushed, arguments furthered and principles upheld, I expect to find you, daring the naysayers to say another nay. But let me add one consideration to include, as you continue whirling through the scene like a virtual tornado: The disputes needn't become personal. More often than not, you're probably pretty clear on the fact it isn't personal beef leading you to stir the pot; on the contrary, in fact. Alas, other folks might miss that distinction… and think you hate them just because you take issue with one or more of their actions or atittudes. Don't leave 'em to stew about your unfriendliness. Be sure to extend enough of a handshake, of one type or another, that they know you're not out to get 'em—merely to challenge one aspect of their thinking. There's no need to make outright enemies out of perfectly nice (if not naïve or misinformed) individuals.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): I'm not too stoked about providing you advice that'll goad you into taking on an even more parental attitude toward the folks in your life. As it is, Capricorn, you have a (not entirely unfair) reputation for assuming you're best equipped to handle the most troubling trials, tasks and challenges… and then stepping in to bear much of the responsibility, whether or not the other players actually assent to your stoic ascension. This week, though, I think it probably behooves our collective best interests if you do put yourself in a custodial guardian-type role, at least in situations where others' impulsive reactions could cause the hasty loss of pay, property, position or other assets. Among the different signs' valued traits, your long-range-minded ability to forego 'quick fixes' (as if they really 'fix' anything) in favor of greater perseverance—and plenty of work in the meantime—is one that presently comes in real handy. But do whatever you can not to make this a battle of wills. Acknowledge that your even-handed safety-first suggestions may sound like a killjoy talking. Then, tell 'em, 'I know I'm sounding pretty darn conservative right now… but will you give my ideas a try for a month or two, anyway? If I prove to be wrong later, little harm will have been done.' (And quietly, you can congratulate yourself for all that you may've just saved.)


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Over these next few weeks, you'll be the living embodiment of light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, Aquarius, it does periodically come in handy to be a visionary that lives several steps into the future, ahead of everybody else. (Admittedly, it usually just leaves you feeling like 'a stranger in a strange land', wondering why all the other folks can't also see past the illusions of 'this is just the way things are'.) And this is one of the moments where too tightly focused a view is liable to cause many of your colleagues, friends and loved ones a considerable amount of anxiety… since, after all, there are plenty of unmistakable indicators of Big Trouble Ahead in evidence everywhere one looks. Thankfully, you Aquarians are prescient enough to interpret any such looming 'crisis' as the big blessing it'll ultimately be—though not before it terrorizes those souls who'd prefer that life proceeded along a single unwaveringly straight line. Privately preserving that awareness, day in and day out, is the best thing you can presently do. In essence, you're 'bearing the water' like a good water-bearer should, helping to temper others' emotional freak-outs with the calm knowledge that this massive transition is both necessary and broadly beneficial. However, save the public pronouncements regarding the Big Whatever Ahead, lest you sound like a sanity-challenged sideshow psychic or panicky Chicken Little stand-in.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): If what I wrote to you last time indeed resonated with your internal sense of what's going on with you, then, Pisces, you'll agree there are crucial life-defining questions presently confronting you. It's possible that the sheer magnitude of what you're facing—and the choice of whether to assert personal agency or passively settle for whatever you're dealt—has snuck up on you, Pisces, after at least a year or so of gradual growth. For instance, what seemed like 'a minor chronic inconvenience' last time you consciously checked in may well have metastasized into 'a soul-crushing albatross'. 'Less-satisfying' situations might've invisibly devolved to the point of 'unlivable'. And yet, if you want to preserve your hope in a much-improved tomorrow, you'll have to acknowledge the circumstances have worsened to the point you must take action—even while your sensitive soul might require some degree of 'shielding' from the most brutal emotional realizations, lest you become shocked into paralysis. If you were to read these words while under the influence of some blissfully intoxicating substance or totally idealistic mindset, they might not sound nearly so mammoth in consequence… and you'd perhaps be better able to swallow the whole truth, though without maintaining much initiative for carrying out the real-world steps necessary to pull yourself out. That what's so ultimately self-defeating about escapist behaviors: They may soften the emotional blow, but, along with it, anesthetize away the sensation of 'crisis' necessary to get us off our asses. I wonder, then: Is it possible for you to achieve a convincing inner calm, based on 'escaping' some of the worry that might otherwise incapacitate you, while still maintaining enough pragmatic awareness of your life situation that you remember to keep fighting?