Horoscopes | Week of January 3-9, 2011

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Within the first week or two of 2011, Aries, you should already get your first taste of the ramped-up pace at which certain developments will at last begin to flow. After way too many months in your complication-exacerbating 8th house, Venus finally makes it into your enthusiasm-generating 9th, where you'll benefit from a far broader perspective on the year that's now come and gone. Does this mean your days of vacillating between 'hurry let's go!' and 'now what's the hold-up?' are totally behind you? Not as long as Saturn remains in a position to periodically toss interpersonal obstacles at you, which he does throughout '11. But for the next month at least (and during several increments throughout the year), you won't be stuck simply fixating on whatever frustrations are related to other people and your lack of control over them (remember?). You'll see how much else is at your disposal to move forward with… including, hopefully, at least one forward-thinking innovation that not only circumvents the irksome obstacle/person but bears the promise of potentially revolutionizing your whole approach. In fact, your best next successes will hinge on your courage to innovate, but with discrimination—to know when to respect a structural limit, and when to pioneer a self-directed alternative. During this leg of the pendulum swing, gaze optimistically at the alternatives… without, of course, ever taking your eyes off the main goal.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Questions about 'which way to go' with a certain someone (in romance, friendship or business) shouldn't be permitted to linger too much longer in uncertainty as the new year opens. If your past few months haven't provided enough evidence to support a strong case in one direction or the other, Taurus, I wouldn't expect any new tie-breaking information to suddenly become available anytime soon. With optimistic blessings from a gaggle of supporters cheering you on from the sidelines, you should now be contentedly (if not nervously) ready to dive further in or to get the hell out… in either case, with an eyes-wide-open willingness to weather a likely increase in operational turbulence, as you and the other party acclimate to altered circumstances. You've had more than sufficient time to entertain this interpersonal situation from a philosophic perspective—that is, you ought to know exactly what sort of statement your intensifying involvement or decisive disengagement is outwardly making about the type of relationship you will or won't participate in. Alas, you cannot escape from this awareness, no matter if you derive certain sinful pleasures from this connection that simultaneously defy your claimed beliefs. At this juncture, who you commingle with—and how exactly that happens—is inextricably a moral issue.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Take the nonchalant pleasures of easy companionship where you can get 'em, Gemini. You may find you're not quite as 'alone' as you've perhaps allowed yourself to imagine… particularly during those times when you've gotten lost in the labyrinthine bedlam, trying to valiantly sort through the conflicting feelings, dreaded worst-case scenarios and unbridled paranoias. Facing outward again, towards the loving face of someone who's readily available to you, right here and right now, to be appreciated and adored (and, yes, leaned upon, should the need arise), you'll let in some much-needed light to brighten your scene. You both (1) know you've got to recommit to untangling these nearly-too-tight knots and (2) can enjoy the warm company of a close friend or cuddle-bunny while hatching your next difficult-though-decisive maneuver. Such powerful intention-setting, made safer (emotionally) with the support of an interpersonal ally, sets the backdrop of your next few weeks. But in the very short term (i.e., this week), knock out your best effort on one long-lingering work project that, if you want to kick off 2011 with a fresh start, can finally be resolved once and for all. Keep shoveling through.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): 'Other People.' Or more specifically: 'One particular individual (other than yourself).' We will pick up your 2011 where 2010 left off, Cancer. You cannot get away from this compound issue of relationships and relating, interactivity, partnership, collaboration, and/or other forms of one-on-one togetherness… at least not as long as Pluto keeps on poking around in your solar 7th (which is still many years more). Those of you who are more or less 'contented' (which is it: more, or less?) with your present situation as coupled off, loosely affiliated with more than one coupling option, or altogether uncoupled may not, however, write off the compulsive mentions of 'relationships' as irrelevant to you. All of you have some amount of cathartic tweaking to be done in this arena—learning to give each other more emotional space, trying not to 'nurture' in subtly manipulative ways, risking vulnerability for intimacy, speaking up more directly, resisting the push-through required for getting to the next level. No matter your standing, you are no passive victim of circumstance. Nor have you mastered human relations during your time here. Whether you indulge or starve yourself, give or withhold too much, or have simply stopped trying: Is this what you intend to continue ad infinitum?


LEO (July 23-August 22): In a prominent place in the back of your mind, Leo, I want you to plant a non-negotiable pledge to increase your output, efficiency and overall physical well-being in how you do what needs doing. This is not something around which your whole life must revolve in 2011; nor is it an announcement you ought to make into some spectacle. This is a serious promise really only to yourself, intended solely to improve the manner in which your bodily machine (a fleshy device with built-in limits, often run ragged or otherwise disrespected) functions. If not kept, you are the likeliest one to suffer the effects. With that pledge safely secured, then, you can continue on with the immediate state of affairs—a return of some bit of soul-quenching silliness or fun that's been held off for too damn long already! Venus hits your pleasurably playful 5th house by Friday (Jan 7), a happy planetary arrival that'll finally lift you up from the doldrums, out from the house, and back into the center of the good times. And going forward from here, the more willing you are to bust through others' manipulative encouragements to 'keep it in line' (their way, naturally), the steeper the increase in self-satisfied desires. All the while, of course, you're still quietly remembering not to push beyond reasonable bodily limits, since an ever-more-efficient output remains a primary calling… correct?


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Ease into the first full week of 2011, Virgo, by putting your home back in order and reclaiming a generous radius of personal space for yourself. The holidays usually provide enough instances of having to play by someone else's rules, I'm sure you're more than ready to assert your own authority over details both great and small. And as you return items (and family members) to their proper places, in a noble effort to restore as much sanity to your being as possible, I see no reason to participate in any post-Christmas-and-New-Year's bickering or gossiping or complaining that others might attempt to drag you into. The present timing permits you an obvious excuse not to return calls or emails, for instance, since you have 'so much to catch up on' (and we don't mean their drama either). There is one important exception to this advice, however: Should somebody try to cross a boundary into territory that you've already claimed as yours, or should they misrepresent a desire of yours in some fashion, you must hold your ground. Those bullying types are probably counting on you not to make a fuss, as they encroach uninvited or fudge the truth for their purposes, so they may falsely interpret your lack of response as tacit approval of their move. Don't prove them right. With a calm confidence (because too much evident heat will demonstrate they've 'gotten to you'), stand your ground. Then, once having voiced a clear firm statement of ownership over what's rightfully yours, step away and return yourself to the bliss of silent solitude.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): If I had to pare your whole 'year ahead' perspective down into a single resolution to put forth, Libra, it would go something like this: 'I promise, when asked, "How are you?" by friends and strangers alike in the course of casual conversation, to respond to them with the undiluted truth.' Much can be read into this advice, beyond merely addressing the age-old stereotype that Librans will sometimes lapse into partial insincerity, motivated by a sincere desire not to burden anybody with responses that uncomfortably push the imagined borderline of considerateness. (How 'considerate' is it, you might wonder, to saddle others with what could be seen as unpleasant?). Even if the above supposition were correct (which I'm not agreeing to), the motivation would be too centered on sparing others a burden… and what about sparing yourself the one from holding everything in? Mainly, though, I want you to continue practicing the fine art of not packaging your authenticity within a slick container that's already partly disguising the contents beneath incomplete answers and/or other-person-centered small-talk. And when you let genuine emotion come through, it'll immediately shift the dynamic of any exchange in important ways: The people who actually care about you will move closer, and those freaked out by such care will veer away. In the moment, these shifts in dynamic will often prove surprising. Human nature will more deeply impress you, and more deeply disappoint. Released from your tight reaction-managing control, encounters of all types become more vivid.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): As was well-documented in my horoscope installments, your 2010 brought a prolonged 'famine' of sorts… followed, more recently, by a counterbalancing 'feast' of riches (whether financial opportunities, romantic entanglements, or just a sudden burst of attention and the boost in self-confidence that comes with it), thanks to Venus lighting up your sign for much of the last-quarter of the year. Now, as 2011 rolls in, Venus is finally ready to move on to greener pastures—and there's a powerful onus on you to bank the recent gains made, so you may continue to draw on them for a while to come. In other words: Do you want the long-awaited fruits of the past few months to float back out to sea again, or are you hoping to build further happinesses upon them? If you're liking what you've lately seen, Scorpio, then please invest your next month in endeavors and agreements that'll secure a promising future for this scene. Otherwise, don't expect it to stick around, simply out of the kindness of its heart. It requires concentration, maintenance; a few specifically solidifying efforts on its behalf. One hint on how best to do that: Folks all around you right now will have interesting suggestions, one or more of which could prove to be just the trick. That conversational fact-finding approach, alas, necessitates that you openly discuss what you'd perhaps instinctively stay quiet about (maybe for no other reason than pride or secretiveness-for-its-own-sake).


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): It's a heck of a lot easier to stay on top of the practical details—first and foremost, money—when life is dealing you little more than a bunch of humble-seeming opportunities, partially promising positions, or day-to-day responsibilities that must be continually overseen. However, it's a whole 'nother story, Sagittarius, to keep a handle on those same details once the joyous occasions and attractive adventures and chances-of-a-lifetime start presenting themselves… as I suspect they will during the course of your upcoming year, and beyond. Suddenly, after all these recent months and years of learning 'diligence' the hard way, you might not want to preserve those gains only sustainable through reliable constancy. You may be sick and fucking tired of being the 'good' boy or girl. You're probably ready for a lively interjection of fresh material… to build your enthusiasm levels back up, to push your brain in stimulating new directions, to once again give yourself ample reason for giggling like a schoolgirl at the weird and wonderful experiences life has to offer. I swear I'm not just dangling the equivalent of a fresh-baked pie underneath your nose and taunting you with a 'DO NOT EAT' sign. In this cycle of life, you have arrived back at the dessert table, where a few delicious nibbles await your savoring. But you must balance the metaphoric sweets with the equivalent of ample nutrition—and please don't overindulge like those health-food kids who go crazy when finally exposed to sugary junk.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Though this is undeniably a new year—and you'll be damned sure of that by, say, mid-'11, once you've made at least one rebellious stand of independence from a privately contentious emotional standoff—I recommend starting it off with the familiar blend of (1) unerring moral self-authority and (2) very few, if any at all, outward utterances of such authority, which would bear the potential to sound self-righteous. I've periodically offered similar advice over the past couple months, and it begs repeating now, with both Mercury and Venus hidden behind the 12th-house veil of unintelligibility. Yet, Tuesday (Jan 4) morning's solar eclipse in your sign, where both Mars and Pluto also remain, bespeaks of another big astro-opportunity to dedicate your hard-working, far-reaching initiative to some world-bettering, self-confidence-inspiring endeavor that could take many many months to reach fruition. There is no better time than now to bite off such an ambitious chunk of life… if, of course, you agree to get off your own back with the expectation-humbling awareness that (1) it will take a long time and (2) you will make so-called 'mistakes' (which will ultimately enhance your ability to appreciate your own efforts, once you've 'fixed' them and gained further pride in yourself). Make your private deal with the Universe (or whoever runs it), and negotiate yourself some big stakes; then, for now, keep the deal under wraps.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): For the time being, your best friends are… well, your best friends. Meaning: It's better for you to invite people to join you, surround yourself with folks who know you super-well, and (perhaps most importantly) bring along a witness than it is to dart off into potentially controversial zones all by your lonesome. I don't mean to make it sound like you need a babysitter, Aquarius. Or maybe I do. But as long as you remain under this potent 'self-undoing' influence (and, oh yes, you're still under it), you're still vulnerable to the appeal of back-room deals and deceptive doings, forbidden affairs and foolish overindulgences, and other opportunities to fantasize that there won't be consequences to live down (when we both know there will). That's why your friends should come in so handy: If they really have your back, they won't let you fuck up too badly. They'll probably encourage you to rethink, or to moderate… or to not behave like a madman/-woman. They'll presumably remind you about all you might potentially lose. And maybe most productively of all, they'll hopefully engage you in a lengthy in-depth discussion about what's really going on with you—which, might I suggest, is likely the budding call of your deep hunger for a profound 'vision quest' experience, something which rips the covers off a long-held psychological habit that's kept you uncannily discontented with what should be making you happy. This call only gets louder from here, but this is not quite the right moment to dive into this quest. Let your friends help temper and tone the accompanying urges in you… and thus save you from trouble.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Don't bother beginning to settle yourself into yet another year of numbing dissatisfactions. Use this very first week of 2011 to outwardly initiate a new precedent in whatever area(s) of life has felt stale, stifling or soul-sucking. This is a perfect moment for overthrowing expectations, Pisces, before everyone even gets a chance to launch back into last year's habits. Show up for the first day back to work with a sassy makeover, a more professional demeanor, a take-no-prisoners attitude, or some other visible symbol of a defiant new-year's resoluteness. Stop all past-their-expiration-date friendships dead in their tracks, in advance of having to suffer through one more instance of being overlooked or underappreciated. Announce your Wild Plan! for later in the year, with unwavering confidence that it will be happening. Perhaps you might even need to decide upon a new place to throw your coat and keys upon arriving home, a new 'favorite seat' in the living room or kitchen to land in, or a whole different after-work routine that's less about escaping an supposedly inevitable 'downer' vibe… and more an active investment in building something else for the future, which you won't want to escape.