Horoscopes | Week of November 12-18, 2012

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It's a rather critical 'take matters into my own hands' turn of events, Aries… coupled with an unflinching 'whoever doesn't like it can get in line for an ass-whooping' dedication to engaging (or re-engaging, as the case may be) in whatever backs-and-forths are required for you to freely assert this take-charge attitude. While you probably can't legitimately argue that you've totally moved beyond this raucous rolling-in-the-mud, you're also well aware that you have bigger fish to fry—and time being in short supply, you're under the gun to start really fryin' those bigger fish. Therefore, you may need to get a little more rough-and-tumble in your approach to resolving whatever open-ended situations are dragging on your energy levels. Mars having arrived at your solar 10th bespeaks of a certain timeliness in ensuring your next professional or public steps really count, helping you gain solid strategic footing where you've previously just been trying whatever random actions might keep you in the game. Which means, like it or not, you simply cannot drag out the superficial motions of ambiguity in such cases where you've already determined exactly how you want it to go.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Whether you're in the process of either (1) building deeper intimacy with a certain someone or (2) coming to a more sobering conclusion about a relationship's irresolvable limits, Taurus, you have not yet heard and/or shared all the details relevant to both of you gaining the fullest understanding. Growing closer together or farther apart is almost beside the point when compared with your own personal responsibility to do so cleanly… which means moving one way or the other as a result of total ethically-upstanding disclosure, and not by exploiting loopholes or short-circuiting the conversation. Everybody deserves the right to know what they are agreeing to and/or where they're falling short of expectations. Doing your best in this area sets a precedent for all your forthcoming relationship behavior, no matter who you'll be engaging in it with. Therefore, to a large extent, following through with what's been started is not actually about the other person at all… but rather how you can best express your interpersonal integrity, without attachment to how anybody else rolls with it.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Coming to terms with extenuating circumstances that continually seem to tie your hands is an ongoing process, Gemini… but hopefully more than just an excuse to complain about said circumstances while purporting to be powerless. You've got to have more grit than that. You have to really want to radically alter these dynamics—and, in fact, you must refuse to accept any less—with a survivalist's bloodthirst, in order to summon the daily motivation necessary to pull yourself out. For the record: Yes, I believe it's presently possible for you to ferociously rip these shackles off and grapple your way to freedom. But it won't happen in a single spectacular show of such gumption; it requires waking up each morning, pumped to nudge yourself one more realistic step toward greater control over your destiny, and then practicing this same damn discipline the next day and the day after that. These two months ahead provide you a further intensity for fighting this day-in, day-out battle… as long as you can zero in on your main strategic purpose for all this bother, and then fix it in your crosshairs, important above all else. Can we hear an affirmative growl, signaling your fearless acceptance of this challenge?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You'll probably have to restate your particular preferences, Cancer, even if you believe you already did so fairly lucidly… and this time around, you might need to refrain from moderating your tone or providing any opening for the other person to misperceive you as unsure or susceptible to convincing otherwise. This is not a good moment for allowing yourself to be underestimated. Raise your voice, if you have to. Draw a non-negotiable line in the sand. Stand up for yourself, for pete's sake! Don't fear the interpersonal discord which might arise, as a result of your amped-up self-assertiveness annoying someone who's grown too comfortable with your catering… and if an authentic disagreement's at the heart of the discord, don't rush to bury the fight under insincere peacemaking efforts. The challenge at hand: Partnership (of any kind) mustn't be prioritized over self-expression, or else you'll sign away your pride for the illusion of security and wake up one morning wondering who the hell you are. If somebody's fighting you on this point, perhaps they don't actually like the you who expresses yourself freely.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Emotional self-preservation isn't as abstract a task as it may first sound, Leo. Your fierce insistence on protecting your tender heart at all costs is a call you must heed with a series of very specific pragmatic acts: duties you must make plans to cover and dependents to look out for, good habits to which you must firmly recommit, health concerns to take seriously, disregarded paperwork to organize. Though these are mundane tangibilities, your proper attention to them indicates a more profound acceptance of responsibility for your own overall well-being… a useful signal to meddling family-members or other unconsciously unsupportive intimates that you know better than anybody else how to care for your own needs, physical and (perhaps more importantly) emotional. Note, though, that 'self-preservation' implies only fighting direct threats to your own autonomy—and not merely because you may sharply differ from those in question in any number of other ways. I add that because, in the heat of a righteous defense of your self-preservation practices, you might be tempted to fight a deeper fight… which would unfortunately only destabilize you.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Strength doesn't demand that you analyze all angles from within a carefully controlled environment (i.e., your own head) and then declare an unflappable decision has been arrived upon, leaving no possibility for anyone to actually influence your thinking. What would be so wrong with 'being influenced' anyway, Virgo? Whatever it is that's most presently pressing, I'm nearly certain your personal position would benefit from further discussion (which, just so we're clear, does not consist of you repeatedly 'laying down the law' until the other party folds). This suggestion is the ideal follow-up to last week's horoscope, in which I sang the praises of truly interactive conversation: If you are indeed so serious about reaching your best conclusion, I'd think you would want to take in as much information as possible, without biasing yourself against it before it's even been thoroughly voiced. It's perfectly okay—scratch that, it's quite preferable—for your ideas to organically evolve based on how they interact with others' ideas. Sincere listening is not a sign of weakness.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Securing the foundation is most important. As long as that's done, Libra, go ahead and let all the less necessary details flap wildly in the wind. If something inessential blows away, so be it. That's how you'll help yourself to simplify this otherwise tumultuous amalgam of stray threads, concentrating closely on only that which you depend upon for your survival… and to wish all the rest your fairest tidings, faithfully standing by as the gusts of destiny decide which to leave relatively untouched and which to carry off into the sky. Shortly thereafter, even as you can still hear obsolete souvenirs from yesteryear tumbling down the road outside your window, you'll begin a hunkering-down-at-home interval of regrouping. Your primary task will be to take an up-to-date inventory, noting what's missing and what surprisingly remains, effectively valuing all you've still got at your disposal. Don't hastily write off too much as 'damaged beyond salvation'. Your due diligence ensures you won't ever have to start from scratch again.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): You might be trying your damnedest to play it cool, reliably filling the chair everyone expects you to be seated in, acting as if it's just another day… but, between us, Scorpio, I know too well that this normalcy performance is no easy feat to pull off. If you spent more than a couple minutes reflecting back on where you were—no, who you were—just a mere year ago, you might fast become overloaded with cognitive dissonance due to the not-insignificant contrast between then and now. And this transformation continues, showing no signs of letting up or letting you pretend for even a passing moment that any form of denial is an option. Your every move is under the proverbial microscope, as if some incredibly astute (if not slightly sadistic) lab-experimenter at the Institute of Divine Sciences is waiting to unleash potent strains of instant-karma on you in whatever area of life you most wish not to deal with. Devote too much effort to trying to repress a fear, and it'll instead pop up, through some vividly symbolic actualization, right in your friggin' face. So much for sacred cows. Let the changes persist in ripping through you, no stone unturned: This is what they call a real deep cleaning.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Pulling back, reconsidering, privately licking your wounds or coming to accept whatever didn't happen as you'd expect: This is certainly an appropriate time to humbly partake in such momentary reversals or retreats, Sagittarius. But please skip the self-punishing part, as your hindsight genius has little legitimate right to claim you should've known better. Even if disappointment isn't part of your present state, I suspect there's still been a somewhat surprising outcome to contend with… though I don't think it warrants much more than an 'it is what it is' registering of the reality. The banging of heads against the wall only causes more headaches. The pleading hands raised desperately to heaven only show a crisis of faith, for any built-in assumption that this is somehow a terrible malfunctioning of the divine software is both short-sighted and self-important. This is as it should be… but, perhaps, merely demands a few pauses in your interpretive meaning-making efforts before you can genuinely get on board with that.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): From now until Christmas, you'll be at the center of a lot of developing actions, Capricorn… and how strongly you direct your energies, with explicit intention and initiating courage, will significantly determine whether these actions develop as you'd most like them to. Mars enters your sign this week (where he'll stay through late December), essentially handing you over the keys to a very well-oiled machine and asking you to take it for a healthy spin, to show just what you're capable of accomplishing. It's not as if there aren't potential obstacles on the road, of course—with Uranus still squaring Pluto another few years, how could there not be?—but your success and satisfaction depend on you facing these head-on, investigating and then integrating whatever messages they may be carrying, without cowering in fear. That said, this first week of Mars in Capricorn is also entangled with a solar eclipse in your 11th, indicating a bumpy patch within your social group or community. Let your role in that be to serve as a crystal-clear symbol of a certain sort of leadership, a principled way-forward which will undoubtedly inspire many… but could just as likely threaten others.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Due to a number of astro-factors, it's likely you'll have to put in a chunk of extra effort to signal your seriousness, support a challenging growth-step, and/or repair slip-ups in your career or public-world life… but that's actually not where the real action is, Aquarius. For the duration of '12, you'll be going through a behind-the-scenes slate-clearing, during which you ought to prepare for yourself for a powerful entrée into 2013. In order for you to hit the ground running at New Year's, I suggest getting real honest about what time-wasting habits continue to linger in your day-to-day life, robbing you of vital life-force that would be better spent on items you care more greatly about. This is not a call to guilt-trip yourself about where you fall short, however. Think of this exercise with less of an emotional charge… as a series of small calculations about which practices add up to what cumulative result, and whether you might operate a leaner meaner machine. Of course, as I said at the beginning, your career (or public-life) is probably where the shit's now hitting the fan: When you go to address those concerns, though, ponder their more comprehensive interrelation to everything else you're trying to juggle.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Above all else, this is a question of values. Bearing that in mind, Pisces, is your best defense against your being pushed to participate in something you feel rather confused or uncomfortable about. Beware of anybody who expects you not to ask too many questions or to do as you're told without thinking it over: This is no genuine ally of yours if they seek your devoted allegiance through pressure tactics. In fact, that 'under pressure' feeling is your instinct telling you to buy yourself time to reconsider this whole trajectory… perhaps even signaling you are reaching an irreversible limit to how contently you can manage certain ethical compromises, just to preserve a situation that ultimately doesn't serve what you personally value. You don't have to worry about openly expressing such a major redirection immediately, of course, especially since you're still in the midst of putting the puzzle pieces together. But I do believe that, once you scrupulously contemplate the larger ramifications of staying put inside this pressure-cooker, you'll realize you just can't do it much longer.