Horoscopes | Week of August 15-21, 2011

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Laugh it off. Crack a joke from it. Please, Aries, apply a good-natured take to whatever's goin' down: Life is an absurd adventure, and if you don't purposely decide to make the light-hearted most out of it, it'll run you over on the way to its next matinee performance. I am stopping myself from raising references to turning lemons into lemonade here, not only since it's an incredibly trite reference (not like that's stopped me before) but because I see no lemons here. Why? Do you? Then you need a night-out with the girls or the boys or whoever's likeliest to tickle and jab the piss right out of you. Perhaps you aren't putting that epic story of your trials and tribulations in its appropriate place, alongside the harrowing narratives of any number of other people sharing this globe's shaky real-estate with you (and yet, somehow they manage to muster a glowing outlook). No one's got a monopoly on anything, sunshine. Yeah, that's right: I'm calling you 'sunshine'. So you better start acting the part, sunshine, or you won't notice the good times passing you right on by.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Though I do support you in your moves to absorb a cushy sanctuary vibe of decadent self-care whenever you can this week, it doesn't exempt you from putting on a game face and your public guise when duty calls. Glancing at your astro-outlook, Taurus, it seems a bit too easy for you to lose yourself in the expanse of whatever feels good in a given moment—and to wishfully block out the demands of your place in the outside world. Without doing your advance diligence to thoughtfully consider what will be needed of you and to plan accordingly, one thing will lead to another… and soon, after a little bit of Facebook and a lengthy cup-of-coffee or -tea ritual, an engaging chit-chat session and leisurely walk, delicious food and/or drink and/or somethin'-somethin', and the day will have evaporated into thin air, though your responsibilities definitely have not. You can help nip this potential problem in the bud before it develops, simply by identifying, early in the week, what really has to get done. You might even have to snip short the last few extra-lavish minutes of whatever you're enjoying, so you're able to live up to your deals.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The specifics of this Mercury retrograde (such as it hitting your 3rd house and combining with a Venus transit of the Sun) bring you, Gemini, an unguarded quality that can work both to your advantage and your detriment. On the detrimental side, as I mentioned last week, you still have a higher-than-usual chance of saying something that goes against an important ethical value you hold. The best way to ward off such an occurrence is to always remember why you strive to be this certain type of person in the world—and to repeatedly reiterate this perspective-setting truth in your head, in any setting where you suddenly feel you're having to please or impress someone, or to defend yourself. But on the advantageous side, you could easily end up telling more of your personal story to someone you ordinarily wouldn't, whether they're a complete stranger or a figure you've previously held at a distancing boundary, for one reason or another. Though you may typically hesitate to flash your guts in such offhand social contact, in this case, it just might work to garner you genuine empathy from folks who can help in ways you couldn't anticipate.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Ain't nothin' wrong with taking care of yourself first, mmm'kay? Periodically, you have to become a bit more blatantly self-serving, Cancer, unless you want to get swallowed alive by the myriad others who seem to have no problem just grabbing that remaining piece of pie in lieu of asking if you want any. Even in situations that appear to be win-win, it doesn't hurt to be a little more pragmatically skeptical about whether the unspoken deal really is as good for you personally. If a few clarifying questions about the specific terms end up infuriating anyone else (a la 'What?!?!? You don't trust me?!?!?'), that only reflects poorly on their ability to comprehend where you're coming from. It's not always about making them feel 'not put out', is it? You've got your own bills to pay, considerations to cover, and sense of secure independence to think about—along with, not instead of, any involvement you're in with anybody else. At this juncture, in fact, protecting your individual interests (and hopefully even expanding them into fuller being) is more important.


LEO (July 23-August 22): If you want to savor your interpersonal minglings this week, Leo, I would suggest not drawing attention to the areas where you don't see eye-to-eye. To a certain degree, this approach does involve some willful ignorance on your part… a denial of at least one crucial difference between you, which, if discussed, threatens to soil the whole lovely illusion. Yes, I just used the word 'illusion' to describe that pleasant, easy flow you're enjoying. Illusion: in itself, not a bad thing, as we often briefly relish the illusory delights of, say, a movie or an ultra-flattering piece of clothing or good lighting, though we never forget that it's also masking a wholly other reality that, for a moment, we've chosen not to gaze at head-on. A couple crucial features of the situation to bear in mind, if you want the pleasure without ultimately screwing yourself over: (1) It's temporary, and (2) there's a less glittery reality behind the slick surface. But still, it can be highly enjoyable, and what's so wrong with that?


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): If I were you, I'd still try to sneak one more week on the sidelines. Don't pull a trip on yourself, Virgo, about how you're not getting nearly as much accomplished as you believe you should. Haven't you yet figured out that every moment in time is not qualitatively equivalent to every other, and that, sometimes, attempting to operate at your so-called 'normal' levels of activity is like hunting for water by hitting a rock (or your head) against a wall? I promise you, by the tail-end of this year and into the beginning of '12, you'll be able to look back at times like this and laugh at how worried you were about a perception that 'nothing's happening in your life'. In the short-term, however, things should begin to turn to a detectably improved state of being as soon as next week, once (1) both the Sun and Venus have entered your sign, bestowing love and light and rosier-colored lens, and (2) Mercury wraps up this particularly wretched retrograde. Use this last sidelined week, then, to curl up in ball or loll around, licking yourself clean of the energetic scuzz left on you from your last chapter of anxiety or stress. A glass of wine or a cup of chamomile tea, depending on your preference, might help.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Though you may presently lack the usual diplomacy skills that enable you to easily form alliances, Libra, it's still smart for you to check in with key like-minded allies during the week ahead… to remind them of where your true allegiance lies, even as superficial signs might indicate otherwise. In the heat of today's turmoil, it would be too easy for those you genuinely consider 'your people' to misread a temporary absence, awkward exchange or relatively minor disagreement—and to overreact, jumping to a conclusion that writes you off for an inaccurate or incomplete reason. In doing so, please don't take the mild, indirect approach; address your concerns head-on, along with offering a distinct statement of desired camaraderie that allows little room for presumptions to lurk. Better yet, explicitly ask if there's something you can add to your present endeavors that'll benefit them at the same time. Two (or more) boosts are surely better than one. Then, prepare yourself for a short lull in witnessing much evidence that what you're doing is working: Late in the week, ruling blessing-provider Venus slips behind the veil of your solar 12th for a bit.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Before you interpret the current storyline as if you're been buried headfirst by all the disparate grains of important business, I urge you to clear the sand from your face, Scorpio, and realign to the description that, presently, you're actually flying high. There wouldn't be any 'important business' if you hadn't made some happen, after all. If you're only seeing a bunch of trees in your face, rather than the beautiful forest of your accomplishments, that tells us you aren't getting enough deep-breathing, stress-defrazzling, perspective-reestablishing quiet time… which, in fact, is a necessary facet of all major success-stories' self-valuing regimen. Please take a minute or two, immediately. If you are too spazzed out, you're also likely making yourself too difficult to approach—and that would be a tremendous shame, since there's at least one consequential individual who'd very much like to hop on your enthusiasm train and ride it with you. They find your whole vision inspiring… when, that is, you're letting that, rather than the tedium of a disassociated to-do list, lead you along.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): While it doesn't take a rocket-scientist to figure out an uncomfortable reorientation is afoot, there are openings for beneficial advancement sprinkled amidst the headaches. If you are unafraid of putting in extra day-to-day effort toward rebuilding habits that, though they may've previously been inefficient or counterproductive or unhelpful, can ultimately prove to radically put the past behind you. It's the same energy (Mars in your 8th) that last week had me cautioning you against 'fighting dirty', Sagittarius, which could also assist you in confronting the broken-down systems, brutal truths or looming shadows that must be dealt with for progress to be made. Over the coming weeks, in fact, your professional and/or public-world circumstances could receive a jumpstart, as a direct result of your contending with this toxic dust that's been swept under the rug. But it'll take an unwavering stare-down of the minutest of details, with an adamant refusal to cut corners. Let's not forget: It was likely a desire not to face those details that originally spawned the pickle.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Rolling your sleeves up, reaching straight into the guts of the beast, getting down-and-dirty with the multitudinous strings of inescapable cause-and-effect—while none of this may be what you're looking forward to engaging with, Capricorn, it is nonetheless (as you well know) what's got to be done. Now is not the time, therefore, to shy away from possibly pissing people off, in the process of straightening out what others might prefer to leave in one giant undifferentiated blob. Your strength of character will help prevent the insistence that sacred-cows remain sacred, when you know you're here to 'get the job done', nothing more and nothing less. (Reminder warning: That doesn't mean you have to sell out your own interests, just to prove this isn't about ego.) For every threatened self-defender who wants to cast you as the evil king or queen, there's likely an ardent admirer who profoundly gets what you're trying to do, and is so very thankful for it. And somewhere in there, filed between the fear and the focus, you also possess pride for daring to be that person.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You like them. They like you. But that's not just because you're subverting parts of yourself you suspect they won't like, is it, Aquarius? I know that doesn't sound too much like the Aquarians we so love, yet this is just the sort of astro-environment in which you might be so wrapped up in personal business that it doesn't seem worth the disruption to air your fullest delightful contrariness. I actually have no issue with that sort of choice, by the way, as long as you're aware you've made it—and are using the effort it frees up toward really getting to that 'personal business', whatever it may be. I suspect that, soon enough, you will end up clarifying the truth about any obscured realities or unsung quirks they may presently be missing. So, therefore, perhaps other people ought to be seen, for this week at least, as the least of your worries. Instead, concentrate on house-cleaning or -reorganizing tasks, bodily-wellness resets, family-related logistics, or inner emotional rewiring. Staying off the radar in your personal relationships will provide a nice momentary break. However, if you think this invisibility potion won't wear off after only a relatively short potency period, you're not grasping the situation at hand. You'll have items to answer to in the not-so-distant future.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Bless your body with at least one gesture this week that symbolizes a happy (not begrudging) embrace of health. As long as you pit physical wellness against self-gratification in a false dichotomy, Pisces, you'll continue to experience those cravings that make you wish to annihilate any sense of bodily responsibility. You're in a sweet spot for emitting attractive vibes, which can lure gentlemen/-women callers to your side based on your particular preferred proclivities (not because that's just who was around)… but any sense that you're playing forbidden-fruit mind-games with yourself can needlessly muck up the signals. When you know you've been 'doing the right thing(s)' for yourself, you won't give off the energy of internal conflict. You'll seem like uncomplicated fun, rather than a whirling dervish of cross-purposes who knows how to have a damned good time—perhaps too much so, for anyone's best interests—but can't help but feel bad about it afterwards.