Horoscopes | Week of January 5-11, 2009

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Don't wait one more week to kick your new year into high gear. (Remember 2009 is the beginning of your mad Pluto-powered assault to the top of your field?) This is the perfect week to push your professional efforts ahead with style and gusto. Catch the important players during their first week back in the office, and your 'helpful reminder' will pop your name back to the top of their heads. And there's no need to hold back on either your enthusiasm or the many suggestions you've already come up with, Aries. Feel free to dazzle 'em with your well-thought-out ideas and strategies, leaving 'em with the reassuring gut belief that you're clearly a confident and capable candidate to carry out everything you've just described. But whatever you do, don't press for an immediate answer. Don't expect any visible evidence of which way it'll go. Venus, the bestower of gifts and good fortune, is hiding out in your 12th all month… then proceeds to mess with your head by retrograding and moving in and out of your sign through early June. In other words, you may first receive apparent glimpses of one type of reward, only to later gain a view from a different angle and wonder if all that glitters really is gold, before eventually gleaning what it is you're meant to glean. Confusing? Surely. That's why you mustn't be attached to the first- and second-reaction clues you're getting—and why you should be prepared to tread a steady, persistent and patient path to the castle that awaits.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Jupiter's entry into your solar 10th, where he'll spend the whole of '09 shining down on your career/public-reputation house with opportunities rich in meaning and promise, is certainly a wonderful way to kick off your year. In short, you are slated to grow way beyond the restraints and restrictions of your existing role in the external drama of worldly achievement. That is: Your present professional britches will no longer fit by year's end. Of course, such personal growth can develop gently and gradually through increasingly wider renown, expanded responsibility or higher honor—or it can show up in a more abrupt fashion, appearing at first glance as misfortune (e.g., losing the promotion to someone else, getting laid off, 'hitting a wall' in terms of future potential) before revealing its truer beneficence. In any case, the biggest and best outer-world prizes will be yours, Taurus, whenever you can serve loudly as a committed mouthpiece for fairness in your workplace, community, or society-at-large. You'll win major brownie points by speaking up for the powerless or disenfranchised, explaining how this or that person's actions affect the group as a whole, advocating change from a systemwide 'everybody must band together' perspective, and never letting selfish motivations (yours or other people's) come before what's right and just for the majority. This week, with your ruler Venus transiting the 11th, it's an ideal time for listening to what's going on with other key players on your team. In order to know how best to lobby for 'fairness', you must first gain a fuller understanding of what that means to all relevant stakeholders.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The unfortunate truth about a most fortunate situation, Gemini, is this: Though you have much auspicious adventuring to anticipate as 2009 shows its colors, you could easily miss this cause for celebration behind the lens of 'unresolved interpersonal business' that's presently clouding your vision. It is as if, among all the signs, you're the one who's entering this new year with the most profound hangover of psychic residue from '08. But before you attempt a sarcastic 'lucky me!' lamentation, let me point out that you effectively chose this situation by, at one point and another, opting to keep company with whoever now has you trapped in complications. At a certain recent or not-so-recent moment, you wanted this. And now, whether you no longer want it (and are you sure about that?) or can't reconcile still 'wanting' it with the threats it poses to other areas of your life, you must figure out how to best proceed, in order to bridge the chasm between the present situation and how you'd like it to be… and actually resolve the tension. You have about a month's time during which such 'resolution' work is favored—and, just so we're clear, it's simply not possible to skip that one difficult step (you know the one) you've been avoiding. You owe it to yourself to take care of this as cleanly and completely as possible. That way, you'll attain even greater exuberance and more quick-paced evolution, once the more obvious signs of adventure start appearing aplenty in February.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you do not like how it's going with a certain someone, then please take ownership over the dynamic. I'm not trying to be needlessly harsh with you, Cancer, but hoping to shock you into wielding the power necessary to consciously and expressively assert your agency in this relationship. Obviously, you both share responsibility for the tone of your interactions. Yet, if we're talking about you not being pleased (because we mustn't assume the other person isn't perfectly content, regardless of what's explicitly been said), then it's up to you to do something about it. You might initiate a serious discussion to address the issues of your discontent. You might institute a significant change in your own behavior within the relationship, leading first by example, to determine how their behaviors might evolve in response. You might passive-aggressively instigate a conflict, in hopes that, once the tension is cracked open, a cathartic release will occur and restore a prior equilibrium. Or you might make the most definitive relationship move possible and put an end to it (since it's causing more aggravation than fulfillment) once and for all. The common element among all these options, dare I state the obvious, is you taking action. One more possibility I didn't mention: If the 'relationship' doesn't yet exist (at least in the form you're most wishing for), it's also on you to see if the potential is there.


LEO (July 23-August 22): I'll bet you've got a fairly sizable list of pressing items to finally attend to, now that holiday madness has come and gone and a fresh new year is unfurling its welcome mat at your door. Lord knows I do. Actually, most of us probably have enough new-year tasks lined up to last us through mid-February… at least. So how radical an approach would it be for you, Leo, instead of diving straight into your list, to kick off this back-to-business week by offering to assist your busiest, most stressed-out and/or overloaded friend or loved one with their biggest looming must-do? But, wait: Aren't you supposed to reserve your strength for that which first serves you? Not necessarily. First off, you're currently hosting an exalted Mars in your house of getting the day-to-day shit done (the 6th), meaning you've got more steam in your engine than the rest of us—plenty, in fact, to address your most pressing priorities and lend a hand to someone who desperately needs it. Beyond that, the other big news is Jupiter's arrival into your relationship zone (the 7th) for a year of increased focus on togetherness. And even if the concept of volunteering to do even more work might not immediately strike you as appealing, you'll likely come around, once you meditate on the value of putting forth effort for the immediate benefit of a person you care for. Plus, though it is 'work', chances are you'll actually enjoy it… because it's also a productive excuse to spend more time with a desirable companion.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Why is it, Virgo, that my first instinct is to tease you… by excitedly touting Jupiter's entry into your 6th for the upcoming year, and congratulating you on all the amazing opportunities you'll have to put your earthly skills to good use with lots of work? Wait, don't answer that. We both already know: You like feeling productive, and there's nothing wrong with that. (In fact, the rest of us thank you for it.) But I would not be productively doing my job, if I left it at that—especially when the planets are presently framing an ideal astro-climate for romantic canoodling. Whenever I see a mix of 5th- and 7th-house influences (like I do for you now), it means you're happily hosting the perfect blend of spicy fun-and-excitement (5th) and eased ability to get along with others (7th). This would be the time, then, to make your amorous intentions known if they remain a secret… to behave that much more obviously or outrageously, knowing it's likelier to fall on a favorably receptive audience …and to sink extra time and attention into the relationship(s) that matters most. Yes, you have an extra-productive year ahead of you on the work front (so long as you don't overdo it and end up sick, tired, hurt or otherwise overloaded). You also have several months of pleasurable interpersonal activity (not without its share of deliciously devilish complications) in store—and it's just as important.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): All that concern for 'what other people think', which is commonly a trademark of your sign, doesn't belong exclusively to you. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if one or both of your parents (or some other nearly-as-influential figure in your childhood) also entertained a keener-than-usual instinct for which attitudes or expressions would be likeliest to impress the neighbors, cousins, colleagues or community members—and did one helluva job instilling that sense of 'appropriate' (and, of course 'inappropriate') deep into your core. Let's take a moment to thank 'em for it, Libra. Those impeccably attuned social antennae of yours have served you well indeed. But on the other hand, their utility is limited. Other people, and your constant awareness of their every move, cannot tell you who you truly are… which people and activities you genuinely love (as opposed to which seem like they should be well-suited to you, according to logic or social habit)… and which statements, performances and participations accurately reflect your uniqueness of self (rather than what you imagine others want to see from you). In other words, the journey of creative self-discovery is one that must be navigated from within, by listening to the heart's purest desires. Yet, its fruits—the exquisite products of joyously engaging with that which thrills you about life—are meant to be shared. Therein lies the conundrum inherent to creative challenge of your year ahead: to do exactly what you'd do if no people were watching you, but to do it while people are watching, as a pleasurable gesture of generosity.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Keep up the extroverted energy, even if it's beginning to feel like a drain on your inner reserves or to smack a bit of inauthentic 'happiness'. Remaining connected to your pals, though perhaps you'd prefer to privately indulge whatever behaviors constitute 'dealing with my emotions my own way', is an important chunk of your 2009 challenge, Scorpio. The year ahead provides a wonderful chance to attain greater peace, comfort and satisfaction in your personal life… as a direct effect of the attention you pay to creating a warm cuddly nest for yourself at home. That doesn't necessarily let you off the hook, though, when it comes to continuing to pull your weight in maintaining the web of social contacts that uphold your place in the world. One of your lessons for the year: Your old 'disappearing act' simply doesn't work for many of the friends and acquaintances you count on to continue being there. I understand you may believe the only way to fully experience and process your Scorpio-intensified emotions is to ditch out for a while, until the worst is over and the threat of catching other people in the toxic cloud of fallout is diminished. Still, I call foul. As the year progresses, you will need to find strategies for keeping up the motions of social connection, even when you think you can't muster the perfunctory small-talk necessary… all while learning to appreciate that, sometimes, superficial ain't all that bad (nor as 'superficial' as it might seem on the surface).


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): As the new year spreads itself out in front of you, the first few steps probably won't look so terribly different than the last few you took in stepping out of '08. The basic layout of the land is probably pretty familiar to you… and trust me when I tell you, Sagittarius, this is actually a good thing. This familiarity invites you to begin your year's efforts by simply taking stock, reconfirming that everything is where you expect it to be, that your statements neatly reconcile with the actual dollars in your pockets, and that you understand the nature of the work ahead of you. Once you've checked the locks, punched the tires and counted the cash, you can settle into your reality, whatever it may be—and stop anxiously wondering about the specifics. Sure, it's quite possible you'll have to humbly accept that there's still a long way to go before this pile of boulders will rise into the majestic pyramid you envision, the enduring monument to your efforts that'll long outlive your fleshy vehicle. These things take a long time. But the life-enriching joy you're not yet considering is all the camaraderie-fostering chit-chat, social communing and outright silliness you're due to share with the other diligent toilers engaged in this vast task alongside you. In other words, keep that whole 'appreciate the journey, not just the destination' mindset active and alive throughout the coming year.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Tell the year ahead what you expect from it. Why take a laissez-faire approach, when it behooves you to claim central authority over what you will and won't accept in life… and to assert your regulatory oversight accordingly? Mars remains in your sign another month, giving Pluto the kick-start he needs to start acting like the asskicking main-man he is. And thanks to Mars, you have two choices—(1) grab the ball and run with it, decisively aiming yourself (and, consequently, your team) toward whichever goalposts will score you the points or win you the medals, or (2) passively loiter while others tell you what you should be doing, until you get so angry that you either cause overt conflict (directly or indirectly) or silently rage to yourself (ultimately to your own detriment). Don't you think the first option makes more sense, Capricorn? Bottom line: You simply cannot opt out of asserting your will. Inertia, passive as it is, is still a choice being made every day you choose not to act. You either step toward your power or, by standing still, somebody else may step forward to claim it… disempowering you in the process. Taking charge doesn't necessarily mean you will triumph in every case. It is, however, the only method for signaling to the universe (and, perhaps more significantly, to certain individuals in your life) that you assume responsibility for your destiny.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): There is a resounding atmospheric shift now going on in the world of Aquarians. Can you detect its glimmers of optimism, coming, as they are, on the tail end of a superficially unimpressive 2008? Those are emanations from benevolent king Jupiter, who today (Mon Jan 5) enters your sign for his first visit since 1997-98… and promises plentiful opportunities to expand your present purview on life, with new interests and activities and ideas, chances to learn more and do more and see more of the world, and lots to keep you enthused about getting up every morning. What's not to like about that? I encourage you to look around at other Aquarian forecasts, to get additional descriptions of the uplifting, motivational astro-weather your sign should expect over the coming year. (You never know who will have written the one sentence that resonates perfectly with your sense of inner hope.) But while this year ahead will likely be one of the more noteworthy of your life, it won't always feel 'easy' or appear 'lucky', as we sometimes expect from a strong Jupiterian influence. Saturn and Uranus, your traditional and modern rulers respectively, remain in opposition all year, forcing everybody into delicate balancing acts that will often seem impossible to carry off, though they merely require tremendous finesse. The biggest danger associated with Jupiter (especially once he comes into conjunction with Neptune in a few months) is that you'll blind yourself to just how smoothly and agreeably everybody is (or isn't!) playing his/her part in these balancing acts… falsely assuming we're all working toward the same altruistic goals when, in fact, some folks are decidedly not. And the biggest challenge? To hold the faithful optimism but without self-delusion, realistically acknowledging difficulties without ever falling prey to dread or despair.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): To exist as a Piscean, as I'm sure you're well aware, is never a straightforward proposition. As the sign that embodies the profound culmination of the psychic-emotional experiences of all the other zodiac signs, you proceed through life according to a logic uniquely your own… and with perpetual sensitivity to the irrational matrix of transpersonal energies that connects all of us to each other. (And any Pisces knows this account is not especially melodramatic either.) But now that your traditional ruler Jupiter is moving to join your modern ruler Neptune in the totally-Piscean-already realm of the 12th house, where the veil between intuitive enlightenment and blissful self-delusion is virtually nonexistent… where what you do in your dreams, in deep meditation or in faithful prayer is just as foundationally important to shaping your life as your 'real' efforts… and where events make less rational than archetypal sense, providing priceless information on the state of your psyche and stunning inspiration for future actions still to undertake… well, it becomes that much harder to differentiate your experiences in this world from those in others. I am purposely using lofty, cryptic language because… well, because nothing else fits your year ahead. 2009 is a year of mystical preparation, recharging retreat, and magical apprenticeship. Surrender to it. From 2010 onward, your compassionate presence will be in much sharper demand. For now, your biggest challenge remains in establishing and holding boundaries, self-sustaining consistency, and earthly appropriateness in all your one-on-one dealings. Giving of yourself—without giving yourself up—is the trick.