Horoscopes | Week of January 31-February 6, 2011

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When in doubt about decisions to make or directions to head, ask for input from multiple colleagues who have been in the same 'trenches'. The outside opinions will help paint a very different picture than your own voice, which grows louder and louder as it repeats the same story, is able to put together from its limited experience. By the end of the week, Venus, bestower of good fortune, hits the top of your solar chart (the 10th house)… a symbol of you reaping more favorable outcomes from your career or public-realm efforts throughout the month of February, if you remain intellectually calm and composed. And what could nurture such an attitude, Aries, more effectively than soliciting lots and lots of information and advice? This is the moment to call in networking favors from esteemed figures in your field, who may've previously presented offhand offers to have you 'pick their brains' at some undetermined point. Go pick 'em! A few educational conversations will shed tremendous light on 'how things are done' in the relevant context. Just because you like to 'do things your way' doesn't mean you have to reinvent a wheel that plenty of folks are already wheeling around on—with great success.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The busyness in your outward career or community life, which I hailed three weeks back, comes further into being now, Taurus… and your accomplishments in that arena, beyond all other life-concerns, demand your fullest possible dedication. That may also require you taking a certain 'let bygones be bygones' stance on any recent upsets, lifting yourself out of the mud (though not necessarily excusing anybody of their responsibility for the muddiness) so you can progress with what really matters to you. As before, I redirect your attention to the strong morals that ought to serve as your basis for keeping priorities straight: If you simply hold to the boundaries of rightful behavior you've established for yourself, you'll more easily resist any adversarial pushback you face… without making it a personal battle (even if they probably won't see it that way). Don't feed the interpersonal bickering; no back-and-forth is warranted here. You have a jam-packed professional schedule ahead of you, under astrological influences that emphasize successful self-directed strides in building up what the world sees from you. Budget your time appropriately.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): This has all happened for a purpose other than just making your life chaotic or unwieldy. I hope you are far enough along in your process, Gemini, you can catch glimpses of this 'higher meaning'… which, while perhaps not a spin sufficiently silver-lined to completely overpower the undeniable challenges you've endured, at least point toward a life-affirming perspective that'll guide you into your next chapter. Don't feel guilty, then, about looking forward—even if that vantage-point includes you adjusting to a loss and still finding eventual happiness. It's time to start integrating this vision of a future in which you're thriving into whatever sort of in-between existence you've lately been experiencing. No matter how the world turns, you'll need to continue on. It's even possible, in fact, the current source of your most worrisome complication will later transform into the very basis of your most precious newfound connections. Can you begin wrapping your head around that notion… ?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): By the tail-end of the week, you should be ready to pick back up with any dialogues you temporarily put on hold per last week's horoscope. You remain in an ideal spot to serve as benevolent troublemaker in interpersonal situations where the supposed 'convenience' of ignoring pink elephants has led to staleness. If you really care about the other person (and/or about your own honesty in relationships), Cancer, you won't allow willful ignorance to continue on anybody's part. As of Friday (Feb 4), Venus will be in your 7th for the whole month… an astrological advantage that'll positively color all your efforts to attain better mutual understanding in any one-on-one partnership. But with Mercury and Mars in your 8th, the method called for must include valiant engagement with the issues where you two don't easily align. Repeat to yourself: 'Bringing up this topic (again) doesn't mean I'm trying to hurt them.' You may need to rely on this mantra because, well, there is a touchiness to it all. Sometimes, though, the best love you can express is of the tough variety.


LEO (July 23-August 22): If you hope to change the dynamic in a certain relationship—to open the lines of communication, set a boundary, break a long-standing tension or declare your deeper feelings, for instance—this is a good time for you to take the leap toward effecting that shift. The wherewithal to instigate renewed interest (of whatever type) between you two is yours for the claiming… and under these astro-conditions, you should expect even your most modest efforts to generate momentum (of one sort or another) fairly easily. However, Leo, there may still loom at least one area of contention, which you should be prepared to address (with as cool and considerate a temperament as possible) along the way, to get what you want in the end. Your ability to view the situation with more distance and objective 'fairness' will be sharper than it's been in a while, which is part of what makes this such an ideal moment for working it out. Be aware of not pushing for too tidily resolved an outcome too quickly, a too-casual-seeming stance liable to unnecessarily spook the other person. Giving off a 'spacious' vibe instead will leave the other person feeling respected in his/her free will… a pivotal piece of them learning to trust you for the first time, more intensely, or just like they used to.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): You're reaching the height of a beautifully balanced 'work hard/play hard' moment, Virgo, though the pressure's on you not to overlook the necessity of one or the other. I've been writing about what an excellent phase of practical productivity you're in for the past few installments… and considering your general nature, I'd assume you haven't been forgetting to take full advantage of it. With your ruler Mercury moving into the house of earthly service (the solar 6th), where Mars has already been jumpstarting your initiative for a couple weeks now, you can expect to enjoy even greater mental dexterity. This is an awesome opportunity to reorganize your work plan for February, to adeptly capture a progress-report overview and then adjust your tasklist to accommodate shifts in priority. But please welcome Venus to your 5th (where she loves to sing, dance, play, flirt, giggle and guffaw) over the coming weekend. You not only deserve at least one day and/or night of it to be dedicated to party-hardying—your soul craves it. For the rest of the month ahead, grant that partygoer's wishes on a weekly basis.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Instead of reactively grumbling about what you don't like or are dissatisfied with, mobilize your efforts into one sizable step toward what you actually do want. Mourning the past or passively complaining about the present does nothing for you, Libra… other than siphoning your attention away from real-time actions you can take right now, to create a far-more-enjoyable future for yourself. Start by letting your fantasies purposely go wild, in proactive discussion with that person (perhaps someone you're just getting to know better?) who's likeliest to fan your flames of excitability, not rain on your parade with so-called reality checks. The guy or girl who widens your eyes, stirs your imagination and/or encourages dramatic soul-searching gestures is the ideal one for you to play off of. You don't need to possess a logistical game-plan before disclosing big chunks of your dream. In fact, once you begin talking it out, you could become startled by how doable it'll start to seem—especially as this special dream-nurturing someone offers supportive suggestions that, if taken in and followed, could change your life for the better, much faster than you'd thought possible.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I'm begging you, Scorpio, to please beware of hiding yourself away too solitarily… a behavior that, if not kept in check, could too quickly lead you to effectively lose touch with the 'objective reality' the rest of us have all agreed upon as the real one. You're filtering everything through a particularly subjective filter these days. That isn't to say your perceptions are 'wrong' as much as they're presenting you with only one very strong interpretive case… which may be blocking you from a couple key details or subtleties that are easier to see from any number of other viewpoints. In other words, there are multiple ways of looking at your situation. And any sense of being 'trapped' or 'stuck' is less rationally final than merely dependent on perspective. You are at a point in which you need to continue considering possibilities, not fix a single scenario into serving as 'your only choice'. Even if you eventually end up in a position similar to what you're prematurely presuming, it shouldn't be because you never bothered to entertain any of the promising alternatives.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Presently there are a lot of people you need to stay in touch with, for one important reason or another… and even if one reason or another doesn't seem so 'important' while you're in the midst of trying to prioritize these many many encounters, don't prematurely underestimate any of 'em. It's better to spread yourself a bit thin and, in the process, get to everyone… and though you might need to hold each individual exchange to a tight time-limit (for the sake of your own scheduling constraints), you won't want the other person to ever walk away with the sense you're impatient with them (and therefore, they conclude, they mustn't be that significant in your world). In terms of both personal contentment and professional security, Sagittarius, you've got some social juggling to do. Please remember, by the way, this also bears the potential to qualify as great fun—assuming you don't convince yourself that 'the real fun' is something that only happens after you rush to complete all these perfunctory check-ins and chit-chats. (That's a faulty mindset, reminiscent of an adolescent's 'work/play' distinction.) Venus, now in your 2nd, reminds you that affluence flows freer when those around you believe you're worth it… because you left them feeling appreciated, and that's an incredibly valuable result.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Preserve your 'voice of reason' pose. Concern yourself with how everything's going to logistically function, and center any critical feedback of others' ideas or activities from that stance. You won't have to dirty your hands at all, Capricorn, if you fix your unerring focus on tangible measures and metrics. You are an earth sign, aren't you? Be the grounding influence that everyone else seems to so desperately need. Each small gain in pragmatic success and self-assured know-how you achieve now—and let's be clear that every last bit will necessarily be hard-earned—will serve as one more stabilizing root to hold you tall and upright as further branches grow and bear leaves. Venus enters your sign on Friday (Feb 4), to kiss your energy-field with that little extra something for the full month ahead. Throughout February, each day's sincere effort toward embodying both a serious work-ethic and principled leadership (yes, those same themes again) will brighten your mood beyond the limited borders of your professional zone… spilling happy goodness out into all other areas of your life.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Grab the microphone, and let your voice carry. Put it out there, Aquarius, with more brazen forwardness and undaunted gusto than you have in a long while. Now that Mercury is joining Mars in your sign, you're in possession of both the smarts and the muscle required to navigate any and all proceedings in your preferred direction. But please ensure there's a philosophically sound rhyme-and-reason to your management style. Nobody will want to hear tyrannical excuses like 'because I'm in charge and I said so' in an attempt to justify poor ethical coherence on your part. If you are 'doing the right thing' in terms of decisively standing up for an abstract ideal that you want to 'make real' in your upcoming deeds, you will be receiving Venus's sweetest blessings… though you mustn't plan on her revealing very many details now of how this blessedness will manifest later. The first results you'll receive will be the universe's equivalent of a 'poker face'. You can't judge your relative success at outward impeccability of character (which is not the same thing as 'being liked') based on these immediate responses. That's why you've got to be damned sure of your 'right thing'—and fight for it accordingly.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Down-shift in your expectations of what you're likely to get to during the coming few weeks. This isn't the best interval for announcing decisions, rolling out initiatives or ventures, differentiating your latest behavior from past habits or slumps, or gaining much new ground. In fact, Pisces, it's wiser to simply concentrate on holding your head above the water, treading to stay in place, instead of swimming manically against the current (which, if you work too hard at it, will only tire you out and threaten your well-being). With such a concentration of 12th-house energies currently impacting your astro-situation, you'll need to ward off any self-defeating urges to throw in the towel, disrespect your bodily limits, escape into fantasyland, or beat up on yourself until you surrender. If you can hold out for just about a month or so, these nasty voices will quiet down again. And the best foil for your inner saboteur? Staying perpetually connected to your friends, who'll always have something more pleasant and entertaining to occupy your attentions with… and who are likelier to believe the best about you, for the time being, than you yourself are. (This is why my advice from two weeks ago—to discern between which pals are healthy influences and which aren't—is so important to abide by.)