Horoscopes | Week of October 17-23, 2011

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Sliding back down the slope, de-escalating from whatever crescendo last week brought, you'd do well to catch your breath and re-gather your senses. If a moment got further out of hand than you'd have liked, due to flared emotions but not necessarily an ultimately antagonistic motive on either side, the smartest approach is probably to let it rest for now. You can pick it up again after next week's New Moon… though remain alert to continued tensions in the astro-climate, which may leave a pinched dynamic in the air between you two, despite good intentions. However, if the heating-up felt justified in your thinking—and you aren't done 'getting your say' in the situation—I also recommend waiting 'til next week to finish what you started. You'll want the time to think about your wisest winning move, which, if unfurled under next week's astrology, is likelier to put you smack in the center-ring, to really duke it out. If you proceed by strategy, you very well could wield the knockout punch… and leave 'em cold on the floor, if that's what you really want.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If you just allow them to do it their way, you may well find they will have done it for you… which means, even if there are certain small features that you would've handled differently, at least you won't have to do it yourself. To be economic with your limited attentions, Taurus, is to make the necessary calculations for (1) how much time you save based on (2) how much control you're willing to give up. Are your controlling tendencies really worth all that extra effort required to maintain your firm grasp? By focusing on areas where you can delegate, collaborate and, most importantly, trust others' ability to (co-)manage the important business (though, admittedly, using their own 'strange' methods), you'll not only immediately lift some weight off your shoulders… but you'll also be investing progressive energy into the relationship with this partner, which will continue to offer you benefits well into the future. Even if you choose to step back in more directly as soon as next week, you can at least loosen this week's schedule up a bit, with a little help from your friend(s).


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The clock is ticking, Gemini, and I believe you know precisely what you ought to be focusing on accomplishing. So, for the time being, your once-legitimate excuses for dodging the workpile have lost their credibility. Even in the worst of extenuating circumstances (and I sincerely hope you aren't suffering from those), you still have your regular business to keep up with… or the difficulties merely intensify, with an unnecessary bunch of even more red-tape that comes from fixing these additional problems you created for yourself. Unfortunately, there will be no shortage of socially engaging lures on your attention… people who suddenly want to chat for an hour at a time, a barrage of relatively unimportant calls and emails to return, friends popping out of the woodwork to convince you to take another long lunch and go shopping with them. This will be your central struggle over these weeks ahead: doing what you're supposed to, when you really want to do something else that's much more interactive and thus fun. Oh, well. It's a struggle we all face, at one time or another. Please be an adult about it.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Be aware of being slightly more tone-deaf in perceiving how your communications are being received by others than you usually are, Cancer. The thrust to express exactly how you feel is apt to overpower your typical awareness of how what you're about to express might make someone else feel. Though you may therefore assume a more dominant role in your interactions, I also want to suggest this doesn't unilaterally qualify as a problem. Sometimes, your sensitivity to your audience's presumed (or imagined?) responses can inhibit you from speaking more freely from the heart, uncensored by so-called 'consideration' (which shields them from your fullest truth). Rather than worry about possible ramifications from this astrological influence of heightened tone-deafness, I advise using it as an excuse to be more direct, unabashed, ballsy and/or irreverent in your attitude. After all, since you're less likely to actually notice anyone's put-off reactions, you won't have to experience the emotional discomfort of potentially displeasing them. (Freedom!)


LEO (July 23-August 22): Lay relatively low, Leo, as this moon cycle wanes to darkness and that quiet voice of self-nurture invites you to take a load off. You needn't muddy your waters with too much interpersonal pull, which threatens to leave you confused about what exactly you're feeling moody about. (Hint: It's probably not really about the small irksome thing someone else did.) Next week, when still-in-your-sign Mars spars with both Venus and Mercury, you could suffer a more pronounced unrest involving other people… especially insofar as they express annoyance with your straightforward approach to tending to your needs. You'll be less likely to strike back—because who the hell are they to have a problem with you taking care of yourself?—if you've taken this week away from others' incessant complaints, for some special one-on-one time with your own feelings. Though you'll probably still end up defending your self-directed attention (and why shouldn't you?), the clash will be decidedly less messy… and your counterattacks, aimed toward them, (hopefully) less personally hurtful.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): It's worth checking out what your neighbors—the folks who live next door, the co-workers who sit next to you, the other similar businesses nearby—are working on, Virgo. You will get a chance to stretch your legs a bit, at the same time apprising yourself of the most current alternatives… and potentially building an allegiance with those other members of your local community, without whom you'd be more isolated than you probably imagine. 'Small-talk' goes farther than its colloquial label would suggest, since you're presently a bit challenged to get outside the encompassing umbrella of preordained 'significance' you've set for yourself without the happy disruption of others' interests. Tap into your genuine curiosity about how they're filling their time, minus the temptation to offer unsolicited corrections for their supposed 'errors' or implicitly pit yourself against them in competitive comparison. Simply set out to learn more about the varieties of human ingenuity, no 'higher purpose' necessary.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I want to amend a sentiment I mentioned in last week's edition… about how you mustn't rely solely upon deals you have with other people to cover all your material concerns. Perhaps I didn't stress the word 'solely' strongly enough, Libra, lest you get the idea that, should someone want to give you a chunk of dough and/or treat you to a few financially-lucrative gifts or blessings, you're supposed to politely decline the offer. Pardon my French, but: Fuck that. Of course you'll want to seriously consider accepting that which they're willingly providing—as long as you're also seriously considering what they might expect in return, whether overtly demanded or subtly hinted at. It might prove not to be as a good a deal as it first sounds, if your presumed reciprocation ends up absorbing more of your time and energy than you have to spare. See, you still need to be expending your efforts on self-sufficiency-related endeavors first… and only allowing others to step in and help as one of multiple simultaneous strategies, the others of which should not be sacrificed just to appreciatively repay a debt to someone else.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): The trend over this week and into next indicates you taking charge in a more dramatic manner than we've seen from you in recent months, Scorpio… and that, alas, also includes a developing potential for conflict to arise (likelier next week) with those folks who feel their own authority is jeopardized by your increasing assertiveness. Not, of course, that this should serve as impetus for holding yourself back—we both know, in nearly any battle of wills, you are the one to beat. But with that lurking potential in mind, I suggest using the week ahead to clear away any residual cobwebs of unfinished business, which might otherwise convolute what should be a relatively simple and direct path forward for you. In other words, by thinking a couple steps ahead, you ought to be able to eliminate snags which could possibly hook your maybe-adversary into side-battles that distract from your self-determined 'main act'. Moves made toward resolving the existing question-marks, in a modest show of respect to others, will better prepare you to get what you want from them.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): A couple weeks from now, you'll be in a far more effective place to move forward. Until then, as long as this potent 12th-house influence persists in muddling your earthly clarity, I recommend settling into a retreat of sorts. While I understand you may not have the luxury of literally escaping from your worldly demands, Sagittarius, I still think it's possible to snag some of the advantages by consciously lowering your expectations for being productive. Over these couple weeks, you're facing an inner philosophic debate of sorts—at least I hope you engage it as 'inner' instead of projecting it into an outward manifestation—that hinges on how to integrate a more 'inappropriate' or 'forbidden' urge with the more codified ethics you proudly identify yourself with. You mustn't try to suppress the urge, just because you believe there's something wrong with it; otherwise, it'll keep popping up in the most inconvenient, and potentially embarrassing, ways. Instead, you'll need to sniff out where your black-and-white thinking has a little wiggle-room, since not everything we want to do makes clear sense at first.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Maybe you don't know everything they're about to tell you within the first couple seconds of them starting to talk. Expectations backfire, Capricorn, more often than not… both the ones you have for yourself about how it's 'supposed to go' and those you harbor toward others involving their supposed predictability in not understanding the 'real issue'. Therefore, please dismiss the voice in your head that begins deconstructing others' suggestions or advice before their thoughts have been completely expressed, or else the counsel I provided you last week will prove totally ineffective. Receptivity (rather than cocksureness) is a timely practice in the days ahead. You cannot know in advance what passing phrase or peculiar perspective of someone else's might trigger a creative renaissance inside you; even a seemingly tangential scrap of insight could be all you require for leapfrogging toward the next promising avenue. So shut up for a few moments, and absorb the raw materials others are now exposing you to. You never know what you might make of 'em…


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Keeping your spirits high, by any and all means necessary, is the practice most currently critical to your success. Whether you get to everything on your enterprising agenda on any given day, or whether (more likely) you discover a full earnest workday still can't accomplish it all, what really matters is your sustaining enough of an upbeat attitude to return again tomorrow, with just as much willingness to invest yourself. Even the most magical hands, Aquarius, will be at an unfortunate loss to produce good results if they are too busy plugging your ears, in a valiant attempt to block out the debilitating self-talk. Treat yourself with lush godlike self-praise, the incentive of actually taking in warm feelings about your awesomeness for bothering to expend so much effort. You've got to preserve your inner achiever's momentum with lots of positive reinforcement—or else the inner truant will start taking extra-long smoke breaks under the bleachers, maybe even skip entire afternoons altogether. (And what a waste of the current 10th-house influence that would be!)


PISCES (February 19-March 20): You're not normally the preachy type—'live and let live' is probably a more fitting description—which is why I find the possibility of you getting uncharacteristically fired-up about a particular point, issue or bottom-line so, well, titillating. Yes, Pisces, I said it: I'm titillated by the image of you disturbing the casual social flow, in order to unceremoniously school someone on the moral erroneousness of their limited thinking. Of course, that shouldn't be cause to go out hunting for ignorant assholes to tell off, considering there's an endless supply of those wherever you go (and who has the time to shoot all the fish in the barrel?). Yet, should an opportunity present itself in which an unjust, disrespectful or flatly bad sentiment is expressed in your immediate vicinity, please do yourself the favor of not letting it slide. Sure, you can always explain away someone's small-mindedness by compassionately looking at where they come from and kindly cutting 'em slack… but, for now, I think it's more efficient to just tell 'em why they're so friggin' wrong.