ARIES (March 21-April 19): Please be practical about it, Aries. You cannot fast-forward past this phase of the process, just because you're bored with ironing out the nitty-gritty. Leaping ahead now would be akin to decorating your new home with all the designer touches before the foundation has even had a chance to drynot only a big waste of time because the steps are out of order (and, once the house settles, you may find walls have cracked and the wallpaper's now wrinkled and must be hung again), but potentially a safety hazard. If anything, this is the time to slow the whole thing down, so you have an unrushed opportunity to check all the important structural elements. Trust me, you don't want to miss those details, for should the inspector catch the problems (no matter how minor) before you do, you'll trigger his suspicions and likely be liable for a few inconvenient fines for not working up to code. Your worst enemies this week are the loose-and-casual folks in your life who might persuade you not to worry about x, y or z, as if your faithfully attentive efforts are unnecessarily fussy. Don't let such Lackadaisical Lucys get into your head. The last thing you need right now is to be influenced away from diligently managing the tasks at hand.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): To get yourself to a place of greater joy (which we also discussed last week) may require you to express sentiments or enforce boundaries in a way that, in the moment, you won't entirely enjoy. And therein resides the catch-22, Taurus: In order to have more fun in life, it's likely you'll first have to do something that feels terribly unfun. What's at stake here is whether you're spending your leisure hours merely going along with somebody else's vision for what, on paper at least, should offer you a good timeor whether you're actively part of setting the vision (if not calling all the shots yourself), based upon the activities and values you actually desire to prioritize. This theme is presently repeating itself as a potent counteragent to common notions of you as 'easy-going' or 'drama-free', since we all know a Taurean can bear a lot before she finally hits her limit and can't take it anymore. As such, I'm sure you could continue 'going along' (as you perhaps have for a while now) without it causing too much outward agitation. Think of it, then, instead as a statement on your moral character: Are you the type of person who cares enough about your own well-being to disrupt the 'fine with whatever' inertia, to align your recreational self with that which, moment by moment, genuinely brings a smile to your face? (This 'smile' I mentioning, incidentally, is not an abstract concept but a real broad-toothed grin.)
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Watch out for the unintended undercurrents permeating off you, Gemini. While you may wish for your words to be taken at face value, don't underestimate others' knack for picking up what isn't being saideven if you're barely conscious of the circumstance's full complexity yourself. With Mars presently in Cancer, there's a lot of under-the-surface angling going on attempts made by various parties to get what they want through roundabout methods or implied suggestions. It's one of those instances in which it could be said that your lips may be giving a 'yes', a 'no' or a 'maybe so', but your eyes are telling a different tale. So it behooves you to simply accept this potential internal conflict you're unconsciously exuding, instead of fronting full resolution on the matter. That way, you won't be too taken aback if somebody calls you out on the contradictory messages you're giving. You can own the responsibility and confess your uncertaintyand you're not automatically obligated to detail the myriad confusing angles from which you're internally addressing the situation. See, by admitting you're unresolved, it buys you additional time to privately chew on your options whereas attempting to play off an assuredness (when, in fact, there isn't one) will merely open you up to inquiries and examinations, cornering you into defensive conversations that'll ultimately reveal you really don't have your story straight. Why not just start there? 'No, I don't have my story straight. Give me a couple moments, okay?'
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The voice of your internal terror about confronting those 'uglier' elements of human interrelation might argue that you keep yourself safe from the worst of it by not speaking it aloud. Yet, herein lies one of the most self-damaging misconceptions you Cancerians are often guilty of entertaining. What goes unasked, unsaid and undiscussed remains stuck inside you, ricocheting off your innards and, in the process of gathering steam in this endless internal boomerang effect, snowballs into the magnification of your absolute worst fears (or, oddly, its flipside: total denial that anything too serious might be a-brew). You actually prolong the agony, Cancer, when you stay self-enclosed in such circumstances. If there's something you don't want to face (especially if it involves a very important certain someone), it ain't just gonna go away because you refuse to outwardly acknowledge it. This is what I was talking about last week regarding your need to externalize the inner monologue so that it may become a dialogue, opening you up to feedback that'll speed the inevitable along (and save you from protracted pain) or offer you a new way of seeing things that proves your privately held 'worst-case scenario' was not only off-base but totally over the top.
LEO (July 23-August 22): Don't look to anybody else for rescue or diversion, to take responsibility or to play interference, when you know you've got some personal businessnot feelings or conversations, but actual businessto take care of, and you must take care of it yourself. To look outward at others, in hopes they'll hold your hand and walk you through every step and maybe even volunteer to share the burden, is to refuse to clearly recognize that you're already past that point, Leo. They may absolutely adore you, and still they ought not be put in a position where they must hold undue worry over stuff you really can handle on your own. This is for your own maturation process (not to mention your worldly stability) and thusly, if you want to demonstrate you deserve the moniker of 'adult', you'll have to suck it up and contend with the work, the discipline and/or the difficult decision required. And just to be sure you get what I'm sayin', let me add: Going on and on in casual social exchanges about how much you've got on your plate, in hopes of garnering at least a wee bit of sympathy, is a waste of breath. We've all got our own heaping helpings, thank you very much. I know I'm being harsh in this horoscope, but trust me, how much you get squared away now will have a huge direct impact on whether your upcoming several months (with Mars in Leo from Oct 09 through Jun 10!) are gleefully exciting or stormily chaotic.
VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This week, seek to expand the proportion of your statements that include the words 'I' or 'me'. I want you to put yourself in the center of every consideration, Virgo, rather than politely stepping aside and letting other people and inanimate objects speak not only for themselves but for you too. Who or what else is your life for, if not principally for you to make it what you wish it to be? Yes, here we go again, down the rabbit-hole of another horoscope urging you to be blatantly self-concerned, a trend which should now be familiar enough that you may even start to become irritated with me, your lovable astrologer. Am I just another person telling you what to do? Am I making you out to be such a self-effacing martyr that you've had it with the unfair characterization and you're rarin' to prove me wrong? I sincerely hope so. Whether it's me or any other know-it-all who claims to have the perfect solution to your problems ('and who says I've got so many "problems", anyway?'), you have every right to want to reclaim the tone of discussions about you so that you're reporting firsthand rather than receiving unsolicited (and undesired) feedback from folks who ought to mind their own problems. Just remember, though: With Venus still in your sign, you needn't be aggressive (or defensive) about this 'taking charge' merely straightforward and unambiguous.
LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Because this is not a multiple-choice exam, you shouldn't expect to find the list of correct numbered responses in the back of the book. The book has not yet been written. And you will be sadly out of luck, if you're holding onto hope that someone in your life possesses a comprehensive enough logic to deduce which one certain choice is your only surefire solution pointing toward the goalposts of your dreams. If we wanted, you and I could craft a water-tight case for any number of feasible scenarios and trying to decipher the 'right' one, from the mindset of 'making the most sense', wouldn't leave you with a vision any clearer. Seeking personal satisfaction is not an intellectual exercise, Libra; it's a heart-centered journey that, over time, ideally minimizes stresses and anxieties. Keep that in mind this week, and let it guide all your little moment-to-moment decisions. Turn left or right? Whichever way will leave you feeling calmer. No, there's no need to analyze why one or the other has the greater calming effect, nor to assess whether either choice 'makes more sense'. Just go with the irrational instinct. With both Mercury retrograde and your ruler Venus presently in your solar 12th, following this model in smaller-scale scenarios might help you embrace its 'senseless' wisdom on The Big One(s).
SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Why zero all your attention in on this one currently-active emotional situation, to the detriment of every other memory you hold of all sorts of other invigorating experiences that, at the time, may've been just as influential? Put the present in proper perspective, Scorpio, against the expanse of your entire life of ups and downs not only to partly muffle the potential of becoming a bit too indulgent about a week or two of passing feelings, but to reunite you with a wider swath of humanity, which you'd otherwise leave behind by believing your emotional state is singular and sets you apart from the rest of us who couldn't possibly understand. Don't assume we are so different than you that we have no enlightening angles to reveal. We've had our intense experiences, too. We have looked out at the world through romantically gloomy or tempestuous lenses, secretly enjoying the sights we've seen, though they may be purposely overwrought or immoderate. For goodness's sake, talk to us about it and you don't need a 'finished' moral to the tale either, with answers and lessons already attached for dramatic flourish. Get back into the social fray, rather than privately mooning. Let us carry you along for a spell until you're ready to be out and about on your own two feet.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Practice deliberateness in what you state for the public record. This is different advice than my far-too-common warnings to hold your tongue, Sagittarius, because you may in fact need to stop holding your tongue. Or not. The point isn't whether you speak freely or stay silent, but that none of it should happen as a result of spur-of-the-moment emotional outbursts. You should have a clear enough picture of how your feelings are currently sitting to prevent any such 'surprises'. If you're put in a situation that's liable to trigger a reaction in you, then go in knowing that rather than letting it supposedly 'sneak up' on you so that, before you have a chance to catch yourself, you're uttering something you may later come to regret. Likewise, if you're well aware of an important truth you haven't yet voiced (because you don't want to create controversy? rock the boat? speed along an inevitable development?), it may be time to put the words out thereespecially if the alternative (i.e., an awkwardly non-committal resistance to just coming out and saying it) will reflect poorly on you later. But in either case (or any others), I want you to show up for the encounter fully prepared, with a well-thought-out strategy to fit all the likeliest scenarios. Following the script as you've prewritten it is the right way to go. And if anything in the actual exchange does surprise you, do your best not to show it. You can process the shock once the curtain closes, you're safe in your dressing room, and nobody can hear the expletives rolling from your mouth.
CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Try your best to avoid veiled comments, covert conflict, or behind-the-back undermining. All that's likely to become of such tactics, Capricorn, is establishing ill-will between individuals, no clear payoff and the added potential of needlessly creating a new adversary or two. It's far better to disappoint or anger them to their face than to feign an agreement that isn't really there, then knife 'em when they're not looking. I want you to walk with your head held high, knowing you've squarely confronted the moral challengeregardless of the outcomerather than having to hide in the shadows to conceal your devilish doings. You are not on this earth to please people, but to achieve the goals you lay out for yourself. You mustn't fear, therefore, those uncomfortable moments when other people resist the law as you set it forth to protect your interests, trying to guilt-trip or sweet-talk you into coming back around to their viewpoint. If bearing some fleeting interpersonal discomfort is the worst part of your self-preservation efforts, you're doing pretty damn well. However, be prepared for those you displease to continue their attempts to swing everything to their agenda. Shut a door, and they may climb in through a window. Explain your bottom-line, and they could seek to exploit a loophole in what wasn't explicitly mentioned. At each such test, reiterate your stance with an even keel. If you let 'em knock you off balance, they'll have you in a vulnerable spot.
AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You have not risen above the fray still transpiring in the trenches. It is impossible. That's not to take away from the tremendous progress you have made this past year, Aquarius, in growing beyond previous personality limitations you probably didn't even know existed until you noticed them starting to dissolve. But there remains this situation, right here and right now, which was likely put into motion long before the new-and-improved you began to poke your glowing face out from beneath virgin soil, wide eyes and open heart, to suddenly face the world again with 2009's renewed sense of 'something big is out there for me'. I totally understand wanting to unabashedly chase that feeling rather than, say, sticking around in the leftovers zone, continuing to do what you've been doing for what seems like forever (and having to deal with the same all-too-familiar person(s) with whom you've been doing it). First things first, alas. Clearing the slatereally and truly, and not simply by turning around and looking elsewhereis essential. Your regained enthusiasm won't be neutralized by the residual challenges. If anything, be further inspired by your willingness to see it all the way through. New people are waiting to make your acquaintance, once you've made the room.
PISCES (February 19-March 20): If someone is presently bugging you, Pisces, please let them know in as direct and precise a fashion. Trying to 'get back at 'em' is a losing strategy, mainly because they aren't likely to understand the cause-and-effect chain between their behavior (which was probably at least somewhat unconscious on their part) and your rebellious response (which, to uninformed eyes, probably looks to be wholly unrelated). This Mercury-retrograde-dominated week offers a prime opportunity to raise the topic of recent displeasures you haven't yet had a chance to discuss, so don't worry about whether too much time has already passed. However, if you let this window close without utilizing it to your advantage, the problem is bound to compoundto the point where you're no longer reacting to their behavior as much as to your own incessant internal replaying of the situation, which has the power to confuse the facts of what actually happened and, as a result, make it harder to get your point across. If you express your discontent responsibly, the conversation shouldn't actually take that longunless the other person is clueless or disinterested in your feelings, in which case you really ought to take careful note of this flashing warning-light.