ARIES (March 21-April 19): The main reason why shit has gotten so hard, Aries? Because life is not easy, and this shit (whatever it is) serves as integral a role in your life as all the myriad issues and experiences you've been fortunate enough to welcome with far less strain. And though you might wish to punch me in the face for spewing that 'life isn't easy' line of trite crap at you, I'll bet you also know I'm right and that you are, convoluted and headache-inspiring though this situation may be, exactly where you need to be. Is it ugly? Perhaps. Does it inspire an unstable mixture of at-odds emotions which you can't seem to wrangle into a single coherent conclusion of 'this is how I feel'? Probably. And does it therefore demand an unapologetically full-throttle immersion in its everythingness, in order to ensure you are signing on for (or maybe instead trying to disengage from) this intricate involvement with eyes wide open and feelings very well-considered? Definitely seems that way. Things that are this hard bring rewards which are that much more valuable, seeing as you neither lucked into them nor scored by taking convenient advantage of a certain god-given talent, but indeed earned them, blood-sweat-and-tears-style. (Oh, the blood! Oh, the sweat! Oh, the tears!) Since you're obviously still 'in it', let me suggest you use your everyday work and/or your physical-fitness regimen as channels for healthfully releasing whatever psychic stress is building up in you as a result of this all-consuming circumstance.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): To verify the legitimate strength of your most important relationship(s) under this eclipse-crazed, 7th-house-heavy astrology, Taurus, it definitely behooves you to be specific, deliberate and precise in showing the other person how to satisfy your silly, spunky, sensuous and/or sexy side. Even the person who's known you the longest or loved you the most cannot be expected to read your mind to intuitively gather that you prefer being touched in this way but not that, you'd like Thai rather than Vietnamese food for dinner, and/or you want to go salsa-dancing instead of raving on your big night out. But please don't be na´ve about what often happens when such detailed expressions of want are proffered: There can be fruitfully awkward moments of disconnect, in which one or the other becomes self-conscious about not having been this clear before, about having previously fallen short in this arena, about not being good enough to provide what's apparently desired, and, perhaps most uncomfortably of all, about not wanting the same thing their cherished partner does. Such disconnects are standard features of any relationship deep enough to engage with our truest feelings, and are not to be seen as bad omens. It is how you muddle through this awkwardnesshopefully with willingness to engage a series of varying emotional responses, over a length of time, on the path to eventual synthesisthat determines whether the pairing is a gorgeous means for mutual evolution or merely a don't-rock-the-boat arrangement of convenience (which, if so, probably isn't feeling so 'convenient' these days).
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Over the coming few months, I spy the likelihood of your stumbling into discovery of some unexpected silver lining to that certain dark cloud, Gemini, which has hovered over your being for so long now you can barely remember it not having been hovering. This gradual turn-in-perspective will not erase all traces of the unquestionably rough ride you've put been through but still something in the way you'll gleefully notice fresh green sprouts of new growth rising from the ashes of that scorched ground, an unambiguously promising development which would never had occurred without your first having borne this struggle, makes you wonder if maybe, just maybe, this was all worth it in the end. (Or maybe you still fall short of experiencing outright gratitude for the whole series of events, considering the toll it's taken. Yet, who would you have been without all this?) I'm trying to give you this slightly-longer-term outlook as an incentive not to fall prey to moody preoccupations with past, praying for a rewind and/or racking your brain with regret. You've still got (ahem) WORK to do which is not only a reminder that earthy responsibility continues to exist no matter what state one's emotions are in, but also an opportunity to demonstrate your unshakable durability (the solidifying of which serves as one meaningful slice of this 'silver lining', does it not?). You've been toughened up all right; now it's time to put this tougher constitution to more intentionally triumphant use.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Piggybacking on last week's encouragement to express your preferences and desires in a more pronounced fashion, Cancer, I now want to add an explicitly interpersonal facet: This is your moment to adopt a more assertive tone in relationships great and small, to let the other person know not only you what you want in a general sense, but what you want specifically from them. Relational situations are ripening to a critical point at which you may begin enjoying a significantly increased amount of personal pleasure from your participation but may also bring a heightened level of dissatisfaction with those relationships that don't deliver obvious pleasure. And as a result of this contrast, you're due to become, over the course of the next four months or so, more consciously discriminating in terms of who you choose to spend time with. Turns out you need not fill your precious life-moments in contorted poses, catering to others' whims, alleviating their anxieties and/or fulfilling their fantasies (unless maybe you're receiving parallel solicitousness from them). You get to decide what kind of life you want to live, and then to assess the relative suitability of certain individuals for playing certain roles-of-import in that life you've selected for yourself (as opposed to, say, supporting their life-vision with all the care you've got, and then squeezing your own needs in wherever there's a bit of spare room). Relationship's got to start with your priorities upfrontand only unfold into a commitment from there.
LEO (July 23-August 22): Hard as you might try, Leo, you simply cannot wish away whatever serious family-related business or other internally-unsettling emotional issue continues to cast a shadow over your days. There's probably not a single cathartic conversation or act-of-daring on your part which could astonishingly deliver you from the agitation, anxiety, and/or pain and that's not because you're doing anything wrong. This is, in fact, a lesson in learning to bear the psychic experience of a not-quickly-or-easily-resolved situation that runs deep, without trying to prematurely ditch out on the protracted heaviness (and short-changing yourself of an important maturation benchmark) but also without letting it color every last feature of your life in gloomy greys. In a weird reversal of logic, it's the ditching-out, which appears to put you in some kind of motion, that will actually keep you stuck whereas staying-in-it, right where you are, to a point of near-excruciating confrontation with the originating complex-of-hurt, is how the real progress will be made (even as it feels you're being boiled alive in a pot of steaming broth). Yet, in the meantime, you can't allow this one segment of present reality to take over everything. You've still got some practical concerns to manage, and they require you to preserve a nice-sized hunk of optimistic belief that shit won't always feel this heavy, in order for you to serve as their best guardian. Plus, one more week of Venus in your 5th suggests at least one more party-time event or activity is yours for the taking, to help counterbalance your ongoing responsibility to this emotional staying-in-it-ness.
VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Among all the signs, you are probably the one best situated to push a particular self-selected endeavor forcefully forward at this very moment, Virgo with the potential either to motivate those who are just as happy as you that your take-charge time finally came around or to annoy those who are affronted by your audacity to assert so pointed an agenda. Whether somebody falls into one or the other of these categories could, incidentally, have less to do with your purposefulness than their own lack of confidence or preparedness. As a result, I don't think you should bow to any pressure which might restrain your enthusiasm for getting these engines cruising, especially after all those long weeks of watching and waiting (which I probably needn't remind you of). And in terms of which direction you wish to move things along in, I also don't see any flashing indication that x would be right or y would be wrong. In fact, on the contrary, this does seem like a situation which warrants you proceeding in whatever manner leaves you feeling most creatively stimulated (because, of course, that will set you up to do your very best). The big 'however', however, is your non-negotiable requirement to express your intent clearly to any- and everyone holding a role relevant to what you're up to to give them a chance to hear you out, to also hear them to the fullest extent possible, and to leave this dialogue open. It's pretty damn awesome when your horoscope supports you in advancing in whatever fashion you best see fit. However, you must communicate the details impeccably.
LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I am admittedly a bit nervous about that insurgent Mars travelling through your 12th during an eclipse week, Libra, not because I think impending danger looms though it probably does behoove you to treat other people as if they're about to do the most irrational, reckless, emotionally unstable and/or dumb-ass thing possible, and to protect yourself accordingly. (With the 12th-house influence, mystical measures such as protective prayers, charms, amulets, potions and candles will be more effective than usualif, that is, you get into such witchy wonders.) But rather than freak out and start boarding up the windows and doors, let me clarify another way to handle this energy, one that's totally in line with the eclipse's 2nd-house focus: As long as you are concentrating on what you have to do to take care of your most pressing practical matters (to the best of your ability considering Mars-in-your-12th might slow, though not halt, your progress), it will be far less directly relevant to your life what anybody else is doing. In other words, an excellent method for 'protecting' yourself from others' unruly behaviors is to create a virtual impenetrability by staying busy with your own tangible initiatives, anything that supports your sense of material security (which often has a direct parallel to feeling physically secure). The minute you start concerning too greatly with someone else's activities, you're opening yourself up to the pull of their gravitational force and letting yourself get drawn further into the eye of the potential drama.
SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Here, in the height of the annual Scorpio season, we continue to trudge through a Saturn-conjoined Mercury retrograde and this week greet a solar eclipse, both events also in your sign and so, in light of all that, this is a very special moment in appreciating the perfect peculiarities that make you, Scorpio, so irresistibly fetching (and, simultaneously, a bit frightening). Your penetrating gaze might stir nervousness in those who hope not to be seen as fully, but what do you do? Stop looking so intently at the world? Pretend not to notice the subtleties of human behavior which are your specialty? Fuck that. Your knack for asking that very personal question or offering that bit of uncomfortable feedback has surely caused plenty of folks to squirm, but what the hell else should you be discussing? Tomorrow's weather forecast? How pretty her dress is? Save the superficial bullshit for those better equipped to wade through it. Not only is this a powerful time for accepting who you are (and, likewise, refusing to lament the reality of who you aren't); more than that, you're being urged by the masters-of-the-universe to put your exhilarating (and, at times, terrifying) intensity into greater social circulation. Approach this invitation with both (1) an unabashedly loving interest in the diversity of ways we're each uniquely fucked up, as well as an earnest desire to help us make meaningful connections in the never-ending act of putting our pieces together, and (2) a certain humility in how you broach these sensitive topics because, though you might indeed be picking up something in their makeup which they aren't yet fully conscious of, nobody responds well to a know-it-all analyzing their behavior. You just might finally become that toughlove hero we all yearn for, and be afforded all the perks that come with the hard-earned honor.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This nutty, Saturn-weighted, Mercury-retrograde-messed, eclipse-rattled astrology we're now experiencing has a markedly distinct vibe for you, Sagittarius, versus what's in store for everyone else. Your biggest duty remains holding onto whatever faith you require for restraining your reactivity, which may begin jonesing to flare up based upon observations representing a very narrow sliver of the full story of what's really going on. If you're not careful, you're likely to judge the size and scope of a situation by its surface appearance, when in fact there are a whole host of invisible machinations, secret developments, and/or not-yet-settled decisions still being batted about which you are decidedly not seeing but which most definitely will have an impact on how events unfold in the months ahead. So, dare you take an action predicated upon such a premature judgment (and especially so if it involves your professional life and/or anybody who could be considered 'official'), it's apt to miss the mark. By a lot. And for no good reason, too, since you're not actually under any pressure to take action (other than the pressure coming from your nervous mind if it refuses to take solace in the suggestion it hold onto faith). If you feel you've got to do something, let it be a spattering of very small moves meant simply to decrease your exposure to the undue effects of others' erratic and/or shady behaviors. Rather than pull any rip-cords, focus instead on quietly fortifying yourself from any fallout which might occur should someone else pull a cord.
CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): As we covered last week, Capricorn, it just doesn't serve your farther-reaching interests to go forward alone, solitary ship upon the waves, ready to either make it to shore or sink to the sea-floor based purely on your autonomous efforts. I want to place obvious emphasis on this truth now, in advance of next week's arrival of Venus to your sign typically a fairly lovely three-to-four-week influence that increases the kindness with which you're received by others, but in this case an inauguration of four full months of Venusian loveliness invading every inch of the Capricorn being. (This unusual length-of-visit is due to an upcoming Venus retrograde from Dec 21-Jan 31 14.) Having Venus in your sign, along with long-term resident Pluto, only makes it that much more tempting to ditch the so-called hangers-on, considering her presence will help so many different aspects of your life flow more smoothlywhile, at the same time, the continuing need to integrate your fierce leadership capacities with the varying strengths of other teammates or cast-members remains a difficult piece of interpersonal workthat you may start to believe you don't actually need anyone else. But Venus's blessings and easings-up are far more fleeting compared to the longer-lasting consequences of Saturn's eclipse-triggered 11th-house call to responsibly embrace your role in the collective. Don't falsely assume things will always flow as smoothly as they may soon begin to, nor let such an assumption embolden you to squander valuable alliances. The others might appear to need you more than you need them at the moment, but circumstances change quicker than you realize.
AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You are face-to-face with an unembellished progress report on what you've been striving so very hard (or, perhaps, not quite as hard) to accomplish out there in the world. Some ambitions continue to be tackled with capable aplomb; others seem as if only the barest of advances have been made, even after having tirelessly smacked your head against their stubborn surfaces. Likely, the juncture you thought you'd reached just a few brief weeks ago may be a place other than your recent surveying had indicated (whether it's a higher peak, a lower valley, or merely somewhere else). Don't let this awareness freak you out, especially if it's revealing that, yes, even more work is demanded of you if you wish to push beyond this stall-point or build further success upon this well-established foundation. 'Even more work?!?!?' you might wonderingly mutter, in anger or resignation. It's true: This is a test of your mettle, your grit. You've got to want it badly enough so badly, in fact, that you're willing to jut your aspirational tentacles into the most uncomfortable territory, to probingly ask outright for the goods, to push against others' tender spots so as not to let unresolved relational matter block your climb, and/or to confront any demons which might be whispering pointlessly pessimistic sentiments in your ear. The 'more work', it turns out, has a powerful psychological dynamic to it. And just so you know, this work might take until March '14 before you can clearly and unmistakably taste the delicious spoils of these effortsbut, reap-what-you-sow-style, it's totally worth it. So, Aquarius, how serious are you?
PISCES (February 19-March 20): Don't let any disagreements devolve into a sloppy case of two sensitive egos vying for dominance, Pisces, when, for you, the stakes are far higher than just who put in a better argument, with a louder voice and/or a more convincing personality. This is a matter of knowing, without a doubt, what you stand for what kind of values you might say your life is about and, consequently, what sorts of people will support your upholding those values, instead of undermining your confidence in their importance. This is at the root of whatever interpersonal tussles or tug-of-wars may now be playing out. So, in a certain sense, this understanding could simplify your worries about how the other person is faring (because, as a Pisces, you'll somehow still care even at the height of your frustration): It's not a fight against them, but rather a fight on behalf of a principle you hold dear. And so you therefore needn't feel as badly, should the combination of your belief and theirs pit you two on opposite ends of the pickle, since (please, oh please, absorb and integrate this truth) this difference is not personal at least in the sense that you're not opposing anyone based on personal style or likability, but on a very particular life-philosophy question. That said, the pressure's on you to disallow too much leakage of anyone's out-of-alignment-with-your-ethics influence into your life, since their devil-on-the-shoulder mischief-making will only chip away at your efforts to hold a firm boundary about what's rightand not rightfor you. Or don't you care about 'what's right'?