Horoscopes | Week of July 12-18, 2010

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Head down, nose to the grindstone, eyes on your own paper. Too much glancing around and wondering about your current standing in this horserace is counterproductive. I'm not instructing you to muffle your competitive streak, however, Aries… simply to channel it into competing with yourself for your best possible outcome, rather than projecting your drive for success into busybody overemphasis on what other people have achieved. Here we are again, at that same astrological place we've been before in recent months, where I talk up the ripe potential in concentrating on each hard day's work (and encourage you not to get too caught up in the larger arc of overall ambitions and aspirations). Originally, that advice was stirred by Saturn's longtime residence in your 6th, where we respectfully submit to our earthy duties because, after all, that's why we're here in these clunky bodies rather than zooming from galaxy to galaxy on an interdimensional light-beam. For the next few weeks, both Venus and Mars are in your 6th—along with a temporarily-back-in-Virgo Saturn—to cap off the last couple years of diligent work with one last oomph-load of sweat equity. Toil your little rumps off this month, for those final flourishes to a job well done… or, er, almost done.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If there's an 'object of desire' in your field of perception—an attractive acquaintance, an appealing activity, a fanciful fascination—this is your moment to make your desire for it unavoidably known. Obvious. Blatant, even. Such precise expressions of your particular proclivities, Taurus, are your surest bet for actually quenching your thirst for self-satisfaction. You could easily talk yourself out of such 'fussy' specificity, of course, by fearing you're not quite up to the level of that coveted prize. (You're not cute enough? charming enough? skilled enough? ballsy enough to dare? Sheesh, shut up already!) But let me suggest your real resistance may be wrapped up in anxieties about the unknown, about what could happen (including a startling acceleration of developments you won't have time to 'prepare' for once they're set into motion) when you actually receive just what you're after. (And sure, there's probably a bit of 'fear of rejection' at work, too.) Stop creating complicated mind-games for yourself where there needn't be any. Embrace the simple formula: Want it (or him/her)? Take the requisite steps to get it (him/her), then see what happens.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Invest time, energy and/or money into cleaning, improving and/or beautifying the place you call home. Lord knows, you need the respite of a truly comfortable sanctuary… and if there's absolutely no possibility of getting that out of your current place of residence right this very moment, Gemini, I urge you to attack this problem on two fronts at once. Front One: 'Home' isn't always a literal geographic location, so if your present locale kinda sucks (and economics prevent you from desuckifying), then you ought to start working on an alternate strategy for creating 'safe space' wherever you are. Perhaps it's a totemic item of sentimental value that, when clutching it, makes you feel tenderly cared for as you did when you were just a pipsqueak. Maybe it's a reaffirming message you repeat inwardly at moments of stress, to remind you that your feelings are as important as anything else (and that sometimes you must disappoint others' expectations in order to tend to 'em). You get the idea, right? Front Two: No matter your economic circumstances, with enough planning (and a few inconvenient complications to maneuver), you can get yourself out from this currently un-'home'-like situation to one that suits you much better. In the coming weeks, fast-track this plan.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Adjust to your burgeoning self-empowerment. The best reminder of how likable you are—even when you don't kowtow to others' agendas—is to place yourself in friendly situations where you can get experiential reassurance that, yes, they still like you. You can still court pleasant exchanges with local neighbors and acquaintances, Cancer, without bending over so far backwards to accommodate them that you injure your spine in the process. The most effective manner for doing so, however, requires you to take active responsibility for steering the chit-chat toward whatever topics are likely to keep all parties on the same page—and away from any dicier issues that could quickly spark controversy or dissent. Just to be clear about what this advice really amounts to, I am encouraging you to exercise certain controlling tendencies… and though your genuine intent may be to emphasize ease-of-interaction and minimize discomfort, you will be asserting a subtly dominating influence. But sometimes, if we don't grab the reins and aim in a certain direction, someone else will.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Why participate in intellectual debates (whether internally or with others) about how much practical value you bring to the table? In the time you spent weighing one perfectly rational argument against another, you could have instead done something tangible that would've cinched the whole question firmly on the side of 'incredibly helpful'. This theme of hands-on contribution (versus, say, 'official job-description' or 'verbose recognition') is a strain that's been running through many of your recent horoscopes, Leo… largely due to the lineup of planets (first Saturn, then Mars and now Venus) filling your 2nd house with energy perfect for making things real. Incidentally, among these 'things' currently favored for 'making real' is money, a chief symbol of 2nd-house activity, which means you've got a good shot at bringing in the dough—not necessarily with breezy ease, but with the requisite fair efforts invested. The astrology also promises encouraging results to those Leos willing to manage their assets with a precise forward-glancing eye toward ongoing financial stability. Now's a great time to cover your economic ass (or to rescue it from prior follies) by rolling up your sleeves and wisely watching every penny.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): If you aren't ensuring your presence is felt and your opinions known in virtually every context you find yourself, you're still not taking this concentration of Virgo-centric planetary energies seriously enough. These few weeks remain one of your best moments in a long while to assert your sway over any and all circumstances in which you care about the outcome. Does that neatly equate to everything working out in your favor? Naturally I can't guarantee that, Virgo. But I am pretty confident that your hard-earned, astutely-examined understanding of what presently best serves you—which is the cumulative product of your good two-to-three years of having sorted out the inherited 'should's and 'shouldn't's from less-stringent guidelines that are more authentically yours—puts you in a prime position to clarify things for other players (who may be much more confused, freaked out, or in obvious internal conflict), at least as you see 'em. In a way, then, the contrast of your clarity could hit their ears as an ultimatum or a super-inflexible line in the sand. But that's their sense of being threatened which takes it to that level… and not, therefore, reason enough for you to rethink what's already clear.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Good things come to those Librans who create the emotional room for them (a la your three-weeks-ago horoscope). With a plethora of 12th-house activity, including this week's trine from Venus to Pluto in your solar 4th, this amounts to a conscious giving-up of attempts to control the situation… even when these efforts are intended to 'protect' you from the risk of hurt that necessarily accompanies this currently-in-progress 'upping of the ante'. In looking out for yourself, Libra, you're being pressed to transition from (1) anticipatory self-protective measures, such as offering lukewarm statements on red-hot feelings or resisting next-step advances out of fear of what might happen, to (2) trusting yourself enough to willingly enter uncomfortable virgin territory, with faith that you will stand up for yourself on a moment's notice, should the circumstances turn in an undesired direction. In other words, instead of holding certain individuals at a distance, you might want to consider allowing them to approach… understanding that you always possess the power to push 'em back out later, if you don't like what you see once you get closer up. In other other words, consider releasing the emergency brake.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): You can expect to boost your motivation levels by remembering how your intent will benefit not just you but the world at large. After all, why do any of us bother creating something out of nothing, if not because we believe it'll bring new value to a community beyond the confines of our own skin? If you're suffering from burnout or other inspirational deficiencies, Scorpio, you need to reconnect with your comrades in this 'big fight', whatever your version of it may be. Attend demonstrations of others' parallel-vision work. Read the relevant trade journals or blogs. Re-up your membership in the professional networking associations. Offer explicit commendation to those whose efforts you most admire. But most importantly, halt any self-fulfilling mantras you're repeating to yourself which accentuate that feeling of being 'alone' in what you're doing. In fact, you are hardly the only one who cares about advancing this particular cause. Of course, the more convincingly you drill your lone-wolf status into your own head, the more signs you will see that affirm this isolation. On the other hand, if you don't fear the loss of some mark of 'specialness' you're clinging to (because no matter how many other folks are on your team, you're still unquestionably special), your moving closer toward this broader camaraderie will ease your current struggles considerably.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Despite the droning depressiveness that pervades all official news reports about 'The Economy', there still are plenty of hard-workers on the receiving end of well-deserved upward bumps in their compensation packages. While such exceptions to the conventional wisdom may be few or far between, Sagittarius, they do exist… and with a Venus-Pluto trine across your career and money houses (the solar 10th and 2nd, respectively), this is an advantageous moment for proceeding like you're one of the deserving few. Naturally, this counsel only applies if you personally do deserve more than you're currently receiving—not because of your innate wonderfulness, sorry to say, but because you have been working your ass off. So if you haven't been earning a growing keep, then now's the time to reorient yourself: Either forget about expecting a raise, or start behaving like somebody who warrants one. Yet, if you are totally confident you're putting in more than the average bear's share of sincerely valuable effort into the organization, you should consider mentioning your desire for more… and continuing the discussion until you at least glean a clear vision of when to expect to receive what's coming to you.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Let me say more about the 'tradeoff' I described last week: clarity of position on a certain ethical issue vs. compassionate connectedness with a person who's in 'questionable territory' with respect to that issue. I must reiterate, Capricorn, I'm not claiming there's a 'right answer' here. It's just as likely that either (1) you ought to back off from your sharply black-and-white analysis and consider the greys in between or (2) you ought to back off from the person who's trying (consciously or not) to undermine your certainty by leading both of you through the mucky waters of inconsistent principle. (And of course, the ultimate triumph might involve striking a delicate balance, with a bit of both backings-off.) What'll matter most as a guideline for which way to go, however, is an inner sense of liberation from those influences (whether from others' cunning persuasiveness or your own internal stickler for rules) that bear down on you with undue seriousness. It is stressful, no doubt, to care that much about where you and another person diverge in belief. After all, it inhibits you from embracing a live-and-let-live attitude that's less about 'excusing' behaviors you find inappropriate… and more for your own relief.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Don't 'innocently' (ahem) intermingle your thoughts on obviously weighty issues with flippant expressions of bravado, as if to imply you aren't as deeply affected by what's going on as you actually are. You're apt to give people—and certain individuals in particular—a very wrong impression of your complex psychological state by cracking inappropriate joke-references to this 'inner storm' in casual conversation. When you're playing, Aquarius, be authentically playful… but when it's time again to dip into the pool of full emotional honesty, be sure you're properly 'dressed' for the occasion. Should you drop a dirty bomb or two in public settings, you should expect to make those around you feel terribly uncomfortable—and not for any productive purpose either. Instead, you will merely appear as somebody who cannot earnestly handle your feelings… who defaults to a clever quip whenever the barometer detects an increasing density of serious business in the air… and who, as a result, inspires condescending concern (even pity) among observers who can't help but see your present difficulties written all over your snarky statements, more overtly than you imagine they can. Deal with your shit maturely, rather than (humorously?) flinging it at passers-by.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): When you're in the right environment for you (meaning: among friends who 'get' you, colleagues who take you seriously, and/or random strangers whose vibe aligns with yours), you can expect to elicit especially affirming reactions from those who find themselves more powerfully attracted to you than ever before. And when you're in the wrong place for yourself, you're still liable to attract attention—only, you'll find the attention somewhat uncomfortable rather than ego-boosting. Herein lie wonderful opportunities for you, Pisces, not only to enjoy the admirations and/or affections from certain individuals whose niche in life fits neatly with your own… but also to discover, from your in-the-moment experiences, which so-called scenes don't support your self-confidence (but might, in fact, impinge upon it). It doesn't behoove a sensitive soul such as you to ever surround yourself with a crowd whose energies are unsupportive, anxiety-producing or too cool for compassionate connection. Hopefully, you'll receive enough of the good attention to prove my point: that there's no real self-serving reason to vie for the other kind.