Horoscopes | Week of August 1-7, 2011

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This blend of various astro-influences, Aries, presents you a unique opportunity to practice articulating a pleasing harmony between (1) enjoying the good times promised by last week's horoscope and (2) taking enough personal time to yourself so grumpiness doesn't sneak up on you. Both effects are operating simultaneously, and you may not know which urge will be more appealing to you at any given moment. Though you are typically pretty astute when it comes to following your instincts to what's most preferable, the awkward rub comes in if you rapidly change gears before other parties have a chance to gauge your current weather. It doesn't help, of course, that Mercury goes retrograde this week… only adding to the likelihood that you'll forget to contact someone with your revised schedule or latest game-plan, which could create a cascading effect of missed meetings, disappointing delays and/or irritating inconveniences. Though it's not your job to smooth over every hurt feeling caused by your turning left instead of right, it is on you to provide the requisite informational updates.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In kicking off your horoscope for this week, my creative challenge entails how to encourage you to indulge your most personal, self-satisfying desires without using the term 'self-indulgent'. I fear the judgmental undertones it carries might turn you off from otherwise useful advice. (Of course, we could simultaneously question how many Tauruses are that uncomfortable with the idea of indulging themselves.) Yet, gratifying one's own emotional senses, by permissively engaging in behaviors that one finds enjoyable, is a crucial part of contentment… so long as it isn't done to unhealthy excess and doesn't infringe on anyone else's fair right to pursue happiness. Even when our preferred indulgences carry shades of 'I shouldn't be doing this', we still must acknowledge the craving—or try to suppress it, with the risk (likelihood?) it'll continue to rear its ugly head with increasingly fiercer potency until given its due. If the shameful shades aren't an indicator of literal danger but merely hangovers from a forbidding puritanical past, you probably should allow yourself the occasional leniency. Your 6th-house Saturn's one-sentence rebuttal: No self-indulgences must be allowed to adversely impact the regularity of your bodily schedules.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Let's assume, for the time being, the sum-total of proliferating details and copious facts will not equal a clear answer to the big question. Will accepting that, Gemini, free you up to take the short-term steps (which are presently right in front of you) likeliest to grant some modest immediate relief? Waiting around 'til the comprehensive solution presents itself, fully formed, is like letting a leaky boat take on even more water because the new decking you ordered hasn't yet arrived from the lumber center (and, meanwhile, you continue to sink). Plug the damn hole already, by any imperfect means available; it'll hold well enough until better provisions are procured. At the same time, certain social channels which may yield you assistance haven't been tapped to their full potential. If you previously got a busy signal or a non-committal put-off, ring 'em back. Now that Mercury's retrograde (starting Tue Aug 2), an incomplete conversation from before may need to be reconvened.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Well, hello there, Mars! Your sign will be the reinvigorated recipient of a six-week visit from the planetary jump-starter (beginning Wed Aug 3), which means any-and-all efforts, endeavors and initiatives you've hesitated to get going on are now ripe for the go-getting. That this Mars shift arrives in conjunction with Mercury's latest retrograde, Cancer, hints at your potential to redo any previously dissatisfying negotiations in which you feel you didn't clinch your rightful piece. Perhaps the last round of talks got too easily off-track due to a lack of conversational focus? Or maybe you didn't even realize what you needed (and weren't getting) until after it was supposedly 'all said and done'? To reapproach this topic, I recommend not declaring that you're here to renegotiate. Instead, under the auspices of 'clarifying terms', you can plug your self-supporting agenda right into the cracks of something that wasn't already totally spelled out—and do a rather bang-up job of changing a lot, without necessarily seeming like you're undoing anything.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Stay consciously aware of, and grateful for, your current momentary advantage. With delicate stepping and an 'I'm not going to mess with what's working' attitude, you should be able to cruise by pleasantly enough… and not get inadvertently entangled in the collateral hubbub of others' less-advantageous going-on. You're tempting unnecessary problems onto yourself, Leo, by speaking too presumptuously from a position of privilege, should you overlook and/or underappreciate someone else's challenging circumstances and/or wounded spirit. A reductive (and, therefore, rather insulting) 'everything's going to be all right' won't cut it. Don't think you must speak the motivational bright-side or provide practical advice, when their 'way out' actually requires something other or more than you'll make it out to be. Take the lovingly supportive hands-off approach. Not only is it probably what's best for them, but it'll save you from gambling away your otherwise fine spot.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Wait… oops… what? Oooh, there it goes, that handle you thought you'd finally grabbed, straight down the drain… bye bye, sensible coverage. Don't act like I didn't warn you it was coming, Virgo, right here in last week's edition where I announced Mercury's retrograde (effective this Tue Aug 2) and the need to treat all 'flashes of brilliance' (or even more modest ideas) with cautious optimism. Without a doubt, your best mode for maneuvering through the Merc-retro mud is to vehemently sink yourself into someone else's pet project, a group endeavor, or any activity where your personal expression or style is not on the line. Without a specific ego-hinging stake in what you're doing, you'll hopefully be less concerned with 'getting it right'… and more willing to do whatever other people tell you, in order to support the master vision. Even if you think you see mistakes, your eyes might be deceiving you—until and unless you have triple-checked the potential error (including walking away and coming back), don't rock the boat. Like I said last week, a more prime time will arrive in the not-too-distant future. Wait it out.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): As this week blends into next, I spy the potential for you to be perceived as something of a troublemaker, particularly in professional contexts and/or anywhere where eyes are on you. In other words, Libra, if you're entertaining a certain goal that's somewhat in conflict with the overall consensus drift, it'll be hard for you to play it off as if you're agreeably along for the ride. And not that you should, either. Only, if you imagine your dissent is being expressed slyly or barely at all, you're kidding yourself. It doesn't take a flat-out statement of disagreement to convey the message that you've got your own thoughts on the matter; the most supposedly 'subtle' eye-roll or sigh will reveal everything you're feeling, but without words to more precisely pinpoint what's bugging you. Your usually-well-polished veneer is leaking an unintended trail of uncontainable truth—and without awareness this is happening, you won't understand how they seem to be seeing into your private thoughts. Therefore, if you don't want to perceived as the troublemaker, you'll have to genuinely empty your head of troublemaking notions.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I'm anticipating your imminent re-emergence as a 'man/woman on a mission', Scorpio… and, along with it, the rise of a zealous fired-up-ness that often accompanies your ruler Mars's arrival in your solar 9th, where we hunt the meaningful in strange new places. Over the coming month-and-a-half, you must be willing to seek far and wide, beyond the usual suspects (and their predictable tedium), in order to affirm you're investing in what's authentically right for you, not just what's convenient or close-by. Please don't allow geography or culture to be a limiting factor. Important discussions intended to yield significant results often require reaching way beyond comfort-zones… which could require you to confess your relative ignorance on a certain subject (maybe even after prior claims of more knowledge than you actually possess), so that you can yield fresh insight from learned teachers and/or collaborators. This is no time to kowtow to your own pride, nor to rule out instructive experiences just because you're resistant to the admittedly awkward personality navigations needed. It's the mission that matters most.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Where principles are at stake, you know as well as I do that you can't afford to get sloppy. So rather than presumptuously reassure yourself that someone's potential lapse in judgment is merely an innocent slight (which, of course, it could be), it probably behooves you, Sagittarius, to double-check that everything is still operating according to your highest integrity. And should you detect a personal belief is being compromised, you may be able to knock it all back into line with a light-hearted, jokey correction—without having to put on your serious voice or threaten to kick some ass. However (and this is a big 'however'), if signs point to someone trying to wriggle themselves free from a commitment or play disreputably to a loophole, then you have no choice but to fight for what's right… to the proverbial death of the precarious arrangement, if need be. At each step, once you explicitly confirm you're understanding the breach correctly, you should do whatever's necessary to remedy it posthaste.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): What may start out, at least in your mind's intentions, as a fairly straightforward presentation of the key philosophic tenets at play can quickly degenerate into a less straightforward, possibly quite impolite battle of words. Beware, Capricorn, of the double-whammy of (1) Mars entering your solar 7th, which tends to stir relational tensions when one comes on too strong or self-important, and (2) Mercury going retrograde, increasing the chances of miscommunications and, once he slips back into your 8th, impulsive low-blows. Simply put, if you're genuinely trying to reach an ethical common-ground, this is not the moment to try. Your intensity can be too easily read as controlling pompousness. Too cool a tone, and you're icing 'em out self-righteously; too heated, and you're acting the aggressor. If it sounds like you can't win, you've already caught the drift: A competitive vibe (which may or may not be consciously present in you) could infect almost any interpersonal circumstance, with little advance notice.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You've got a lot to be gracious about, Aquarius, which should hopefully convince you not to jump on anybody who feels the need to fill your head with backtrackings, self-defenses, justifications, extraneous facts, or any other sort of noise that's more about their need to say it than your need to know it. This present game is tipped strongly in your favor, so please refrain from stating what's painfully obvious to you about the gaps in what they're talking about. Concentrate instead on efficiency… meaning you have tasks to get to that are far more important to you than this nonsense, but since there's no reason to turn another person's manic external-monologue into an interpersonal issue, you might as well adopt the manner that'll get the job done faster (because, let's be honest, listening to all this surely qualifies as a 'job') so you can move on to other jobs more personally relevant to you. If it's not going to prove productive to your goal, it's probably better not to utter it aloud.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I think you'll soon find recent urges to burrow, pout and/or moon are happily transmuting themselves into the drive to giggle, cavort and/or make merry… and I see no reason to fight the tides, Pisces. In fact, during the mid-to-late part of the week, you should be able to mischievously convince a certain someone to join you on the dancefloor, in the arts-and-crafts hut, or behind the bleachers where the slightly-bad kids hang out. Don't miss out on this great chance for you to assert the specifics of how this fun's going to go down. In the workplace (or 'getting shit done') zone, I suggest a gentle joyful continuance of how things have been going… with the caveat that, with Mercury retrograding back into your solar 6th, there's a heightened chance of having to rethink or revisit what's already been completed. The truth is, it's really no skin off your teeth if you find yourself having to reapproach it from a different angle or repeat work. Seriously, don't get upset about the mundane—it's wasteful energy, won't change the outcome, and gets in the way of you enjoying what else is happening.