Horoscopes | Week of August 17-23, 2009

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This week's advice is basic, straightforward and promises a substantial payoff if followed. You might even be shocked at its obviousness, Aries, but there are reasons I must spell out the seemingly self-evident. Here goes: Start your week by making a list of the most important things you need to accomplish over the coming days. Next, each morning, create a shorter version of the list, with just enough items that you are undoubtedly confident you can accomplish in the course of that day. Then, spend the rest of your day completing what everything on your list. 'Where's the catch?' you might be wondering. If there indeed is one, it'd likely stem from any of the number of unforeseen variables, surprises, mood swings, spontaneous plans to socialize or other compelling-sounding excuses for shuffling your schedule around and postponing today's tasks for tomorrow… a day which offers no guarantees that it'll have any fewer unforeseen variables, surprises, mood swings, spontaneous plans to socialize or other compelling-sounding excuses for shuffling your schedule around again… and before you know it, the week will have escaped through the cracks of your improvisational whim-indulgences. This is a week to follow a pre-established routine of diligent deeds needing to be done. Can you keep to such a contract with yourself, no matter what else the universe tosses at you?


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There's an easy likability that comes with simply being yourself this week… a pathway to moment-by-moment joys (of the small subtle variety that remind us we needn't look far and wide for signs of why our lives are so special) that I'd hate to see you squander, Taurus, by taking 'image' or 'positioning' too seriously. You're already putting yourself under too much unnecessary strain, if the notion of hanging out with pals or putting in face-time amongst the crowd that's eager to mingle with you feels like work. Don't think that much about it in advance—just get out into the scene, and put forth whatever feels most genuine at any given instant. Yes, that means if something's aggravating you, you needn't plaster on a phony smile and giggle as if you haven't a care in the world. You can be honest about both your mood and whatever may be behind it. Rather than concern yourself with worries you'll come off like a party-pooper or buzzkill by sharing your authentic self, have faith that your ruler Venus is currently characterizing even your foibles or grumps with a certain humanizing charm that people will respond favorably to. And once you've seen clear evidence that it's okay to be whoever you may be, right here and right now, you just might find it a whole lot easier to show up and circulate among the peeps… without the need to control which of your angles they'll get to see.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You've got to keep yourself in check, Gemini, unless, of course, you're fully prepared to own the 'feisty rebel' role that may be unconsciously (or totally consciously) calling your name. Looking at the week's square from Mars in your sign to Uranus in your solar 10th, I want to warn you that pushing your own agenda too baldly—without taking the usual procedures, official recommendations or traditional chains-of-command into respectful consideration—has a heightened potential of blowing up in your face. I'm willing to believe, however, that , at least for some of you Geminiian souls, a climactic blowout or stalemate-busting advance is precisely what you're poking around for… in which case, as long as you're prepared for anything to happen, it's a pretty suitable time to rock the boat. With Mercury's coming-together with Saturn in your 4th, alas, I just want you to be sure you're, in the process, owning your shit. In other words, if you're going to make waves (since you just can't keep on with things the way they've been going), don't hastily presume that all the existing problems and perturbations are other people's fault. It's cool to stir the pot… but be clear you're doing it because you are dissatisfied and are looking for a little liberating controversy to keep things fresh for you.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Many of the same sentiments from your two-weeks-ago horoscope seem to warrant repeating now, Cancer, lest you miss an optimal time for speaking the words that you've been somewhat hesitant (or downright terrified) to let pass through your lips. Whether you're afraid to validate their truth by saying them out loud, whether you fear the response you might receive from a certain someone or simply hate 'making a big deal' of an issue through 'having the conversation'… none of those reasons are going to disappear if you continue to wait. In fact, Venus in your sign sextiling Saturn in the 3rd indicates that confronting this reluctance now will actually make the whole process play out significantly more smoothly than it otherwise would, releasing your thoughts onto more accepting ears. And Mercury's opposition to 9th-house Uranus implies you may have some 'surprising' statement about your ever-evolving belief system that's ready to be disclosed, though it may startle those who thought you were more predictable than that. Mercury's conjunction to Saturn, meanwhile, suggests that if you don't take the necessary communicative steps, you just might find some of your more mundane social encounters becoming a bit more pinched or forced, due to you tiptoeing around what you refuse to just spit out. But once again, let me reiterate (putting my spin on Mars's present 12th-house residency): Don't try to manage or foresee what will happen next as a result of speaking your mind. Merely focus on saying exactly what's true for you, and let everybody worry about him-/herself.


LEO (July 23-August 22): 'Maybe it's true you'd better take care of your own business' is where we left off last week… mainly in response to the likelihood that others wouldn't take too kindly to you concerning yourself with what they were up to. And now, in an odd mindfuck reading of the other side of the same coin, you may become vulnerable to their critiques precisely because you're looking out for 'own business' (i.e., protecting your assets, covering your own ass) rather than bending over backwards to accommodate them. Yes, Leo, you are often unfairly accused of making yourself the number-one priority, in denial of the innate generosity you possess toward those who ought to appreciate it. But in this current state of astro-affairs, you'd be a fool not to concentrate, first and foremost, on preserving what you have—no matter if anyone else would like to project their disadvantageous position onto you, pointing shaming fingers at you for not gambling your solid footing to benefit them. Despite what their erratic stance implies, you'll do nobody else any good by jeopardizing your own stability. If anything, they should let you take care of your own business first, so that you'll be in a better place at a later time to help 'em out… without it threatening to negatively impact you. We must secure our own oxygen masks first before assisting other passengers.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Are you being hopelessly inflexible, or self-assuredly wise? It wouldn't surprise me, Virgo, if a certain someone with a disruptively discombobulating influence over you tries to convince you of the former reading—that you are so entrenched in your singular perspective, you're stubbornly rejecting other compelling options and approaches sitting right under your nose. Or are they just trying to help 'liberate' you from self-imposed limits unnecessarily holding you back from a more satisfying existence? This is worth considering from both sides (including asking yourself what this other person's personal agenda might be, other than 'a desire to help you') before jumping to a conclusion. But with your ruling logician Mercury conjoined with Saturn, it's a safer bet to trust your own rational analysis on a given matter… and therefore to proceed according to reason rather than interpersonal pressure. One possible hint that you're being too strict and unwielding: If at least two other people (co-workers, teammates, friends) besides that certain pushy someone will be impeded, inconvenienced or upset by your inflexibility, you might want to rethink it. But if it's primarily the one individual with the personal agenda who'd (ahem) 'suffer', you can remain fairly sure of yourself… though they may likely continue voicing their disapproval.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Rather than focus my comments on any of the more potentially stressful astro-elements of the week ahead, I'd prefer to kick off your horoscope by hailing the Venus-Uranus trine occurring in your two work/career houses (the 10th and the 6th, respectively). This indicates gentle unobtrusive luck in your external existence, so long as you're willing to be free-moving and innovative in how you tackle your daily catalog of chores. In other words, you'll keep the people happy by remaining unattached to certain hours, methods or priorities for getting the work done. After all, who wouldn't respond well when faced with your charming responsiveness to ever-changing circumstances? By focusing on this angle of your astro-forecast, Libra, I also hope to minimize whatever case of jitters might be working a number on your nervous mind, trying to get you to worry about weighty philosophical questions that, truth be told, really don't need to be answered right now. You'll help yourself out by playing tough-love disciplinarian with those voices in your head: 'Thank you for your concern. I hear you, but I won't be addressing this issue right now. It's not the right time for clear thinking on this matter.' You won't miss an opportunity or spoil your chances by temporarily dismissing the topic. Don't force yourself into a judgment call under internally-imposed duress.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): It's not enough to say the so-called 'right thing', Scorpio… especially if your behaviors paint a decidedly different picture to anyone with a decent set of eyes on their face (or at least with ears closely attuned to the whispers of the grapevine). The complex cast of astro-characters playing off each other this week serves to create circumstances in which your impromptu doings (because, hell, you just felt like it!) may contrast sharply with the well-oiled rhetoric you've offered up. And lest you be caught in a glaring case of concrete contradiction, your pride-fueled anger at getting caught with your hands in the cookie jar could only exacerbate the situation. The Mercury-Saturn conjunction in your 11th seems to suggest a broader ability to maintain your 'game face' when outside observers—not including a particular individual who's at the center of this storm alongside you, due to either your tense standoff or your illicit comminglings—are around. Leave it to a Scorpio to keep it cool and collected when there's a certain position to protect. Yet, it's the Mars-Uranus square (from the 8th to the 5th) which concerns me more, an aspect with the potential to generate a lot of impetuous noise between you and that one individual… particularly if you vent your frustrations full-steam in their face, and/or try to tiptoe through the in-between spaces of your arrangement, in search of loopholes that'll regain you your alleged 'innocence' (while hanging the other person out on the line to drip-dry). You could make a tense situation worse by lashing out instead of just 'fessing up.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Allow me to readdress last week's offering from a different angle… namely that, instead of threatening to inadvertently invite professional/public disaster upon you, the present astro-stresses would actually assist you in your defiant refusal to kowtow to popular opinion. Even while you're fully aware there may well be consequences to pay for fixing yourself firmly on your own uncompromising version of what's right, you could find you're quite willing to face up to 'em—that's how strongly your mind has been made up. As long as you know what you're getting into (and, in the process, are prepared to kiss a certain alliance goodbye), Sagittarius, then clutch securely to your truth… and let the cards fall where they may. While your recent horoscopes have suggested you play it somewhat more judiciously, in order to strategically look ahead to your longer-term goals, it's just as possible that staying passively-and-politically put where you are is interfering with your greater ambitions—if, that is, you're legitimately hitting your head against a glass ceiling. Only you can determine for sure whether this is a passing annoyance or an ultimately unresolvable obstruction. If unresolvably obstructed, break yourself free.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Thankfully, composure is one of your more stellar traits. It'll come in handy, Capricorn, if you proceed in the direction I recommend… which is to open the dialogue as wide as need be, to let those who disagree take the conversation wherever they want (yes, even to severely kooky or totally 'out there' places). You will not prove yourself impenetrably insightful, not to vocal opponents or firm allies or your own damn self, unless you can respond coolly and rationally to any and every well-thought-out argument or wing-nut straw-man fallacy. And this may be incentive enough to pull out all the even-tempered, exquisitely-expressed stops: to prove this is not just another case of digging your heels deep into the sand because you get off on being right, but is in fact a simple matter of you actually being right. I'd be willing to buy that—if, and only if, you can refrain from getting snippy or snide in your defense of 'right-titude' and instead address all points with a sincere desire to explain the intricacies of your position. When in doubt, engage further rather than disengaging… though being sure to never let 'em see you sweat. There's no real reason to sweat, actually, if you've really got it all figured out. So if you do start to sweat or lose your composure or get angry at the ridiculous ideas other people insist on entertaining, you obviously have more to think about.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): This is no time to be loosey-goosey in your important interpersonal agreements, Aquarius. I don't care if you tell me you trust this person with your life. That doesn't exempt you from the need to be explicit and precise in any and all discussions and dealings which require you to share responsibilities, resources or the proverbial reins with another person. In fact, if at all possible, get it all in writing; have a third party read it over even, to see if you missed anything. Acting on assumptions, on the other hand, is an even riskier maneuver to make than usual… and you, with the dreamy-eyed Jupiter/Neptune business continuing to stoke your idealistic fires, would be the one at the likelier disadvantage, should carelessness characterize the flavor of the commitment. If you fear the other party will end up feeling tense or awkward if you insist on nailing down all these fine points, explain yourself in terms of your preference to 'simplify the arrangement' by eliminating ambiguities for the good of the work / the project / the entity itself. Make sure you let 'em know it's nothing personal (even if you quietly have your suspicions) because ultimately it isn't. It's not about hammering them. It's about protecting yourself.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): In a recurrence of a familiar theme (thanks to Saturn and Uranus hovering over your 1st/7th axis for a long while), you should expect one-on-one relationship boundaries to face further testing. It remains to be seen, however, who is asserting where the appropriate boundary ought to rest and who is the one doing the 'testing'. For your sake, Pisces, I hope you are at least willing to share responsibility for establishing the proper ground-rules for a satisfying relationship, neither (1) struggling to singlehandedly hold your own against a limit-defying button-pusher nor (2) pinning the other party into the lonely role of 'reasonable one' while you do whatever the hell you want. The necessity to reach mutual agreement on what is and isn't acceptable behavior and to stick to it may, at times such as these, feel like more work than it 'should' be… at least according to your idealistic (or is that unrealistic?) beliefs about how relationships are supposed to be. 'If we care deeply about each other,' you might argue, 'the rest will work itself out, right?' I'm not that sort of believer, alas. Call me unromantic, but regardless of who we are in relationship with, we all have certain behavioral requirements that must be met by potential partners or friends. If you and/or the other person cannot meet each other's requirements, it doesn't matter a damn bit whether you're in love, destined to be together or what-have-you; the relationship is still based on a foundation of disrespect. I'm just sayin'…