Horoscopes | Week of February 13-19, 2012

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If I were to inform you, Aries, that your stepping toward a most fortunate opportunity will probably also incite a threatened feeling in somebody already perceived as successful in a similar or identical context, could I count on you to respond to their potentially defensive attitude with the utmost sensitivity and grace? I'm not suggesting you bow down and surrender, should you find yourself the victim of an out-and-out attack, but I suspect what you're liable to stir in them will be far subtler than that… and whether you can sympathetically rise to the duty of neutralizing their angst with kind understanding could make all the difference between (1) a rocky start to an eventual alliance or (2) full-on antagonism. If you simply step back from taking their behavior personally (though I know it's hard) and try to imagine what you may be representing to them, you'll hopefully see them in a more realistic, fallibly human light. You are still on the verge of emerging into a new level of respect on the big stage, while they may have already attained such a peak… and could be nervous about a possible loss of position and/or aren't sure what they should be doing next. Be benevolent, charitable even, about this distinction in status: At some indefinite point in the future, you might find yourself where they are.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Ride the wave of team spirit, Taurus, rather than thinking you must somehow maneuver to distinguish yourself from everybody else. Emphasize, to all who will listen, how the assistance and energizing camaraderie you receive from those who've dedicated themselves to the same vision you pursue have been critical to your latest personal victories. Share the credit. Glowingly hail the members of your gang you are too timid or self-effacing to toot their own horns. Dissolve into the collective vibe, not disappearing altogether but contributing your specialness from within the undifferentiated mass of group unity. The unique recognition you alone are due to receive, for the time being, shouldn't be expected to come directly from this participation. Instead, you are going to receive supplemental life-energy boosts in a more subtly personal, though no less magnificent, manner… seemingly unrelated to this team-mindset initiative, yet completely a factor of how sincerely community-minded your actions have proven. Ultimately, of course, all matters of the universe are related—not necessarily in ways we can understand—and you will be self-satisfyingly rewarded for not demanding an outward focus on self.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If somewhat stumped about how best to proceed in the admittedly blurry landscape of your career or public-community life, Gemini, I vehemently urge you to follow your heart. Though this is fairly generic advice with wide applicability, I cannot stress enough the special timeliness of dismissing any straight-line shoulds or ought-tos (based, perhaps, on short-view fears or social pressures)… and instead listening to the faint-but-potent pull of whatever meaningful mission, project or vision is calling you to serve on its behalf. Without a doubt, to prioritize this calling over an immediately convenient (but ultimately spirit-draining) solution for temporarily halting the economic bleeding will create extra work for yourself—including a sobering look at how your standard 'quick-fix' methods are little more than a slow sloping self-sabotage. But speaking from experience, callings are not to be ignored, though they often drive the ego toward uncomfortable choices. If we do not answer the call, It (or Whoever) eventually stops calling... which is to everyone's detriment.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You may not want to believe that another person's uneasy relation to your latest burgeoning triumph holds the potential to adversely impact how triumphantly you can bask in it, Cancer, but you mustn't ignore the reality of human dynamics. Of course, this person may not actively seek to sully your success, but merely covet or curse it under their breath. Perhaps they're not even fully aware of their mixed feelings, or they desperately want to be happier for you than they are and their unintegrated angst pops out in other inconvenient ways. In your handling of it, please don't plug your eyes and ears, la-de-da-style, and pretend this intricate undercurrent doesn't exist. Yet, acknowledging it to yourself doesn't mean you ought to outwardly feed it. With eyes and ears wide open to the interpersonal dynamics, you still should throw yourself into whatever utopic vision is driving you onward—and let those ideals speak so loudly for themselves, they naturally drown out any petty shade being thrown, consciously or not, your direction. While one could easily spite someone else's personal achievements, it's much harder to spite the worthy principled intentions behind 'em.


LEO (July 23-August 22): If you have struggled to voluntarily initiate the 'sobering conversation about boundaries (or at least proper time-management)', Leo, you might find yourself inadvertently ending up in similar territory, anyhow, after one of you drifts right past an important boundary of the other's… only then discovering, presuming the transgressed one speaks up about it, the two of you are markedly different in certain ways. Incidentally, should your work/career life be the backdrop for this realization, it's all for the best in the end—all parties need to be realistically aware of each other's principles and processes, sooner rather than later, and any momentary sting will ultimately be trumped by the application of this usable information. And in personal relationships, it is also crucial to puncture the illusion that you both operate your lives in an identical manner, though I can totally understand your hesitation to spoil the fantastical vibes with tough topics. Still, if it's going to work out beyond tomorrow, you have to confront each other's full selves… and if either of you don't like what you find below the surfaces, it's better to find out before you're in too deep.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): There's a mysterious life-spark quality to each of us, Virgo, that inspires our incomparable individuality… an essence, a strange compulsion to self-actualize, which transcends reductive explanations of us turning out the way we do based merely on genetics, lived history or what we were fed as infants. Once we embrace this reality—though our inner scientist may struggle with fixing the source and location of this squirrelly wave-particle conveniently referred to as 'the soul'—it becomes that much crueler to pin our expectations of a certain conformity onto any other individuals, since who are we to claim knowledge of what they are here to do, or how it ought to be done? You're now at the faintest edge of a whole new appreciation for the brilliant diversity of individual experience… which includes learning to replace any kneejerk judgments you jump to when exposed to folks whose life-paths have clearly reaped them different strengths, challenges, temperaments and worldviews with a first-instinct of curiosity, interest and compassion. Remember that this week: When confronted with a person's odd idea or irrational behavior, simply receive their difference.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Brooding not only won't do you any good, Libra, but it bears the potential to problematize what would otherwise be a presently eased ability to win over hearts and minds. I suspect that, if indeed you have been brooding, one major contributing factor is your undue worry about whether you are adequately managing a certain set of responsibilities. From over here, however, I can clearly see you are needlessly putting yourself through the wringer—perhaps in some replication of an old family drama, in which your desire to please ends up paralyzing you in inaction—when you could simply work on managing those responsibilities and save yourself the meta-level self-torture. Quietly (and maniacally) thinking about it, instead of just doing it, has the uncanny effect of turning the actual set of digestible tasks into an unwieldy phantom of overwhelming everythingness… which is supportive of neither productivity nor mental health. Once you accept that it won't all get done all at once, and that that's totally okay, you can just let the worries go and dive into the first item or two on the list.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): There's presently not a lot to be said for fending off the infectiousness of a lighter mood drift, Scorpio. You'll have to be pretty dead-set on mooning away your hours under the cover of some raincloud you're carrying everywhere along with you to fight off this changing tide… one that promises tons more fun, especially when you're willing to let someone else reset the tone. If you're still working through some behind-the-scenes psyche-scraping, I'd prefer to know that you're committed to wrapping it up in the first half of the week—and then moving decidedly onward, toward something likelier to put an easy smile on your face than to give you anything more to seriously think about. I would never imply that your periodic phases of internal molting aren't a fundamental part of the Scorpio experience, when they're done at the right time and in the right dosage. Yet, life does continue without you during those moments… and seeing as how a fairly entertaining chapter is about to begin, I'd hate for the rest of us to have to enjoy it without you, as we lament how these latest affairs are really right up your alley and what a shame that you're missing out.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Like I told you a couple weeks back, Sagittarius, leave the outside-world headaches on your front porch when you return home each day. Preserving for yourself a sacred zone of unguarded vulnerability behind those domestic-fortress walls is an instrumental touchstone for continuing to 'do the good work' out there amidst the chaos of public life. This is not merely a case of properly balancing personal with professional (though that's always useful)—more than that, you are actually directly supporting your outward ambitions by absorbing as many nourishing nutrients from the loving soil of your home-base as you can. Seeing it any other way, in fact, would be like a truck driver claiming that filling up his truck with petrol was somehow not a direct part of successfully doing his job. The refueling can never be divorced from the motoring-on. Therefore, make sure to continually gas up, never letting the tank fall below halfway-full. That also means bad news if you're sucking up nothing but bad juju from your home-life environment: It's not only detracting from your inner peace, but it's also destructive to your career.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Address any pressing practical tasks as early in the week as possible… so then, Capricorn, when you face the likely temptation to alter a day's schedule at someone else's request (perhaps, even, multiple times), you won't be as quick to rule out considerations of another person's genuine desire and/or need for your presence due to a black-and-white refusal to veer 'off task'. Are you so submissive to your own hard-line agenda of what must get done (though the urgency may be more self-inflicted than objectively so) that you're able to essentially ignore the living breathing human who's asking for your attention? I surely hope not. I sense you'll have to grow increasingly accustomed to your plans getting 'interrupted' more often, if you are indeed understanding and appreciating what a crucial impact a few moments or hours of your time can have on those around you: acquaintances who want a bit more of your friendship, colleagues who see you as something of a mentor, neighbors who are seeking your help in building a greater community vibe, siblings who have always secretly looked up to you. These are not 'interruptions', by the way, as much as they are the soft voice of fate speaking through the mouths of your everyday associates.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): The most progressive, spiritually relevant activity you can charge yourself with these days, Aquarius, is a communion with the reality of your personal material situation. That is, you mustn't indulge the dream-world tendency to underplay the value of a balanced budget, an organized financial data system, and a clear strategy for continued or renewed economic self-sufficiency. Your idealism about how the world ought to work—presumably sans the artificial constructs of money and property—may be forward-thinking, but it doesn't exempt you from abiding by the current rules of society, even while you strive to deliver us into the next chapter of social evolution. If you really don't want to be a slave to superficial materialism, you must rise to its level of expertise. You must meet it where it is and master its rationale… for it's only once you have met the challenge of a clean relationship with these earthliest of concerns that you can then look past their deficiencies to a better world. But as long as you avoid looking this responsibility dead in its face, it'll always have you in its grip.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Say what comes to you, Pisces, when you are moved to share just a few more honest intimacies or your fuller care-invested opinions on someone else's matters. Even though you might be venturing into socially awkward territory by communicating with such unabated emotional realness, it's worth the momentary ego-discomfort to actually connect with whoever's in front of you, clearly in need of the support. Speaking from the heart rarely, if ever, proves to be a wrong step… though isn't a shame how we have all grown so accustomed to couching our words in the safe distance of breezily non-committal appropriateness? Skip the proper etiquette, and take the liberty to address what's really going on, with your trademark sympathetic understanding. If your goal is to leave the other person feeling less alone, ashamed or lost, you can't go wrong. And by the way, be sure to notice how good it makes you feel to slice through the 'I'm fine, thanks' bullshit and speak the compassion into being. This is just a glimpse of the attitude you'll increasingly be modeling for the rest of us, as part of the 'caring is cool again!' campaign.