Horoscopes | Week of April 19-25, 2010

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Think twice about diving into what 'feels right', if such an act has the potential to impact the security or well-being of others who are counting on you to exercise responsibility and restraint. You're in a situation, Aries, where you could unfortunately earn yourself dreaded labels like 'thoughtless' or 'self-centered' if you're not careful. Be particularly vigilant about detecting any rises in your rebelliousness, which might lead you to grab at the first offerings (with a 'let's get this thing going already' hunger for rapid development) before the entire bevy of possibilities have even emerged into view. Those folks who get 'stuck' with consequences from your too-quick reactions won't take too kindly to having doors prematurely closed in their faces—even if you eventually prove to have been on the right track, your presumptuous methods will leave a bad aftertaste. Craziest of all, it may ultimately be you who suffers worst from jumping the gun. Contrary to your usual state of affairs, your first instincts may not be correct under this temporary planetary climate.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Of the three-and-a-half weeks of Mercury retrograde your sign is now hosting, Taurus, the week coming up poses the worst threat for heated misunderstandings. The cause? A square with Mars, the pest of a guest who's long overstaying his welcome in your 4th. This Mercury-Mars square (waxing all week to exactitude on Sun Apr 25) puts you at the center of flaring tempers, likeliest to rupture whenever you dig your heels in and refuse to budge. To be clear, such occurrences really aren't about who's right or who's wrong… but instead hinge on how emotionally invested you become in 'defending' your 'freedom to make your own decisions'. Need I point out such emotional insistence makes it very difficult to have a fruitful interactive conversation with you? Due to this passing astrological effect, you're liable to feel more personally protective of your stance than you probably need to be. That said, if there is an important issue on the table for discussion, it might behoove you to postpone it a week—or three, if possible.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Creating additional noise or activity won't, unfortunately, increase your likelihood of productive thought or progress. If anything, Gemini, I advise the opposite approach… which would entail staying as relatively quiet and still as possible, and holding onto perceived solutions or realizations with only a very loose grip, while the unfolding continues all around you. As I reported last week, Venus at last arrives in your sign by Sunday (Apr 25), and her presence there through May 19 promises you a modest reprieve from feeling totally powerless or jinxed. Will she work the miracle(s) you're wishing for? Please keep realistic expectations. What she will do, during her four-week visit, is start to point out appropriate paths for channeling your energies toward benchmarks you can achieve—in other words, showing you what you do possess the power to effect—during June. Think of now as your time to collect fragments of a map that, only later, you'll have gathered enough of to finally patch together and use for navigational assistance.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): This is no time to be doggedly independent, Cancer… not unless you want to purposely block out potential insights, out of some ridiculous notion that progress only matters if you achieve it purely from your own isolated efforts, with no assistance whatsoever. That's like refusing to utilize others' successful inventions and innovations, such as cars or phones or computers, for no clear reason except foolish pride. Why waste your time with carbon paper when there's a copy shop down the street? Forget reinventing the wheel. Just like last week's horoscope spells out, there's already ample brainpower permeating your social network. All you've got to do is tap in, with sincere inquisitiveness and a handful of well-thought-out questions. The most challenging part may be not taking it personally if and when somebody directs you to a seemingly obvious detail you'd overlooked. Resist reading this as a glaring failure (your peer's not the one judging you, ahem). Sometimes, we all need outside sets of eyes to look over what we've already seen a thousand times.


LEO (July 23-August 22): The seemingly never-ending presence of Mars in your sign (a month and half still to go!), dear Leo, has repeatedly kept you in the hot seat… aspiring to greater heights, instigating interpersonal tensions, and/or serving as easy target for others' envious projections. In some cases, you were probably an innocent victim, caught in the crossfire of fed-up friends or competitive colleagues who aired frustrations at/on you. In others, you stirred the pot by single-mindedly concentrating on what you had going, at the expense of considering its wider impact. This week presents one of the more challenging moments of this whole Mars-in-Leo transit: a square with retrograde Mercury in your 10th, tempting you toward defiance with bosses or important clients, family members, authority figures, or anyone with the power to impose restrictions on you, should you displease them by, say, mouthing off. Even with few words and a seemingly friendly tone, you might still send out a holy-than-thou attitude or silent superiority that annoys 'em. Avoid such potential pitfalls altogether.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Philosophical debates would be ill-timed. Attempts to reach an internal consensus on which, among many, is the morally superior option will prove fruitless. This just isn't an appropriate instant for seeking overriding conclusions or explanatory purposes. If anything, Virgo, I'd persuade you to explore the farthest reaches of your existing knowledge… and maybe even step over the fence into conspicuously foreign frontiers, where you don't fully understand the language spoken but find its pronunciations abstractly musical in your ears. Like an unformed child who glimpses modern art for the first time, before having been exposed to its traditional antecedents (and the deafening word-wars about whether it actually possesses merit), relish in the startling colors and textures of new ideas. Let yourself be overcome by awe-striking curiosity. Forget as much about what you thought you knew as you possibly can, without completely losing your bearings and ending up lost in the woods. Unshackle your mind, and it may well surprise you by what it attracts.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): From one corner blares the voice of togetherness, unblushingly advocating for you to continue participating in the situation that, even after all this time, still exerts a powerfully irrational pull on you… while, at the same time, sucks up a whole lot (perhaps too much) of your energy. From another corner, you clearly hear the distancing logic of some hypothetical highly-skilled attorney, arguing on behalf of your freedom… raising examples that'd sound, to most juries' ears, as if you've been an unwitting victim of manipulation or disrespect. But what's hardest for you to listen to, Libra, is that third whisper, barely detectable beneath all that back-and-forth: the simplifying bliss that can only come from within, which makes you involuntarily giggle, which doesn't give a rat's ass about keeping a certain someone happily unperturbed (for whose ultimate benefit?) or living up to abstract standards of 'right' and 'wrong' (for whose ultimate judgment?), and which therefore doesn't suffer such worries. Here's a prime occasion for your justice-loving self to weigh all the evidence with a sound mind.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I presently endorse 'interpersonal generosity' over the more instinctive 'competitiveness'. Both influences will be in effect, Scorpio… but the 'competitive' aspect offers you nothing novel, merely another round of a now-too-familiar game of trying to get yourself heard over the din of big-egoed attention-hogs. Mercury's retrograde square to Mars, longtime thorn in your 10th-house's side, simply sharpens the blade on the words you're tossing out—useful, I suppose, for 'standing up for yourself' (or vengefully reminding 'em you're nobody to mess with), but not as effective at actually conveying a point. And if a large life-goal is at stake, you might not want to be perceived as quite so combative. Yet, should you shift gears and concentrate on how genuine connectedness in relationship (isn't there a relatively new cast-member who hasn't yet had the chance to fully revel in your heartfelt confessions?) is the best remedy for counteracting worldly disappointments, you could swiftly rescue yourself from unproductively spreading grouchiness. Tenderly expose your raw bits, and a certain someone won't mind lovingly licking your wound.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Your continued diligence in handling this 'responsibility' stuff, frustrating though it might be, will ultimately prove to cultivate your skill level to a previously-unknown apex of hard-earned ability. While I don't want to exaggerate the sentiment and prematurely label you an 'expert', Sagittarius, I will mention that the experience you're currently receiving is as close as one could get to an on-the-job crash-course. Perhaps that view of the situation, then, will highlight your best reason for sticking with it (even when you repeatedly think you've reached the end of your rope and would rather cuss up a storm than gratefully assent to more headaches): This educational process, with all its highs and lows, is cementing your self-confidence in that certain area. There is no better esteem-builder than a stubborn series of problems, confronted head-on, step by step over some length of time… and never set aside until a viable resolution is reached. The persistence you foster now is a skill you'll be relieved to rely on later.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): And now a word from your conscience, who'd like this chance to check in with you, Capricorn, to ensure you aren't about to purposely poke a certain someone where you know it'll hurt, for no better reason than an unhealthy compulsion to get a stir out of 'em. You wouldn't do such a thing, would you? There's presently a razor-thin line separating (1) the statement you're dying to make, since we only live once and time's apparently speeding up and so why the hell not just do what you've been craving for eons now and (2) the extra barbed zing you'd like to add to this statement, in order to show that certain someone they shouldn't have underestimated your capabilities, lorded anything over you or otherwise harshed your game-play… and to maybe squeeze a smidgeon of revenge into the message. Need I preach which side of the line I think you ought to stay on? Making your statement is about you. Shoving it down someone else's throat, however, is really more about them.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Head-to-head conflict doesn't promise you very favorable results for the moment, Aquarius. For one thing, your supposedly 'level-headed' impressions are informed by far more subjective wishfulness, emotional resistance, or fear than you might lead yourself to believe. And lacking the clarity you may falsely assume to possess, your argument is essentially begging to have major holes shot into it by any halfway-decent adversary. At the same time, if you proceed without clinging to your opinion (which, in case I wasn't clear about this, is really only half-formed), you can authentically bring a non-committal-seeming transparency to the situation… and, without giving too much concrete feedback in any direction, score some brownie points simply for good behavior. Yes, it does appear that, for the time being, 'good behavior' goes further than a passionate stand on one side of the fence or another. Should they receive the imprecise impression that you're always this well-behaved, you can correct 'em on it another week.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Too much socializing isn't a bad thing, but it does hold the potential to knock you somewhat off-course from doing what needs to be done. You're especially susceptible to being convinced that you're working too hard, going about it all wrong and/or occupying yourself too fully with something that (to hear this harmless-mischief-making character tell it) could just as well be left for another day. You're so easily influenced in this context, Pisces, because part of you would like to believe what they're saying—that it wouldn't be such a big deal if you clocked out early, hung the 'out to lunch' sign, and cavorted for the rest of the day (or week) with your pal(s). Likewise, that same part could also be swayed into pushing the limits or taxing your physical body (which wouldn't otherwise seem so appealing to you), just because of someone else's offhand suggestion. However, the wiser part of you knows exactly what you should be doing, how to do it, and that it needs doing now.