Horoscopes | Week of July 18-24, 2016

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Mobilize your enthusiastic interest in what- and/or whomever you're currently enjoying, Aries, to serve as a symbolic precedent-setting pledge to continue prioritizing this joyful participation. There can actually be rich, life-giving meaning in what one might otherwise discount as mere frivolity… provided, that is, you are purposeful in understanding your very involvement as more than just some fleeting lucky instance of having made yourself happy, but also an endorsement of certain happiness-fostering principles which underscore why you enjoy this particular involvement over another. If this line of thinking sounds like it saddles a simple good-time with weightier life-significance than it might obviously hold, that's exactly what I've intended to do. At this particular point in your self-development, you can do better than having mindless fun… like, for example, mindfully appreciating the value of your choices in contributing more joy to your existence. Because we're each living time-bound incarnations full of challenges and upsets we probably wouldn't have voluntarily signed on for, you take a legitimate stand by using these precious moments of free will to maximize your most-meaningful potentials to enjoy life.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): One main incentive for opting not to be publicly vocal at a time when you ordinarily would, Taurus, is to curtail the extent of your psychological enmeshment in associations unlikely to yield you any relational profit. This isn't a blanket endorsement of staying silent about gnarly issues in the face of challenging individuals, by the way. I'm merely championing the ideal of 'choosing your battles wisely'… which of course, in astrological terms, includes choosing your timing wisely, too. Presently, both the tone and content of your speech would be more highly subjective, self-protective, and emotionally dramatic than at other times—qualities which, in themselves, aren't necessarily problematic, as long as you're participating in a space when your subject-position is respected, your emotions will be valued in all their dramatic splendor, and your tender innards will be safe from calculated attack. I'm just not sure this week's astro-climate can provide you those guarantees, therefore putting you in a vulnerable spot not especially amenable to taking on intense encounters or confrontations without a heightened likelihood of personal hurt. Guard your heart above all else.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In a more emphatic version of last week's edition, I must strongly encourage you to actively initiate, revive, and/or continue to participate in an updating dialogue with anyone you wish to 'be current with'. This is not meant to imply there are particular urgently-critical issues which must be addressed (if there are, you're already well aware of that fact), but to accentuate the presently high value of mindfully investing relationship-building intention in these interactions, regardless of whatever actual 'information' they yield. With both Venus and Mercury forming trines from your 3rd to Saturn-in-your-7th, this is a fortuitous moment in which the un-self-conscious act of speaking off-the-cuff to any companion about this, that, and the other topic on your mind—as well as encouraging them to do the same, while you attentively listen and ask open-ended questions and offer gentle feedback—will naturally support a strengthening of the rapport between you. The causal link between communicating more and developing a closer relational connection doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize, of course. It's just now, by this astrologer's watch, you'll have an easier time with and attain better lasting interpersonal results from intentionally being freer and fuller in what you say.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): This is an excellent week to explicitly connect the dots, Cancer, between (1) the tangible work-efforts you're investing in your day-in-day-out schedule of duties and (2) what you are earning for yourself in compensation, confidence, and/or sense-of-security. While this should seem relatively obvious to anyone who's ever worked hard with the expectation of personal gain, the present astrology suggests there's a lucrative advantage to spelling it out… both to yourself (who may still be repeating outdated and/or self-doubt-ridden perceptions about what you've 'earned', and who could probably use a more concrete fact-based understanding of everything you do) and to anyone involved in 'paying' you, in one manner or another, for your efforts (since they might be partly unaware of how steadily, skillfully, and/or silently you've been toiling at this). If you won't proudly put words to what you're worth, how can you expect others to recognize all the value (some of it hidden) you add to this equation? If you haven't been working as hard as you should, meanwhile, let this connecting-the-dots remind you why to bother doing better.


LEO (July 23-August 22): This week holds an opportunity for you to use your current (though fleeting) astrological advantage, Leo, to position yourself closer to satisfying a more profound, self-defining desire. Such a desire is distinct from the moment-to-moment impulse to catch somebody's eye, win favor, spark some laughs, or enjoy an entertaining evening… mainly because it's a hunger that's harder to quench, requires sustained (rather than variable) attention to actualize, and genuinely reflects qualities which are inherent to you as a unique individual. It's one thing to be liked by others, due largely to performing the main points of general 'likability' (e.g., a friendly demeanor, a warm smile, courteous interest in exchanging niceties). It's entirely another, however, to be loved by certain individuals, based on the characterizing marks which make you different from everyone else. The same logic works in reverse, too: There's a contrast between activities or leisure pastimes you generally enjoy (because why not?) and those you absolutely adore (because they're 'your thing'). Though you're momentarily likelier than usual to enjoy whatever's going on, I urge you to up the stakes—and focus on what you really love.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Here's a prime moment to practice upholding your emotional boundaries, Virgo… especially if someone comes at you with a need for reassurance, companionship, and/or comfort, and you don't really feel up for it. No, it doesn't make you an unfeeling partner, friend, or colleague if you aren't available. What about your availability to yourself, honey? Astrologically speaking, this remains a time when the most self-nurturing moves you could make involve issuing yourself a reprieve from too much obligatory emotional engagement with the outside world… and that even includes people you may love dearly yet still crave a temporary bit of space from, for reasons more about prioritizing your own internal experience than due to anything they've done 'wrong'. You will be better to everyone, over the longer-(and-thus-more-important-)term, by replenishing your stores of patience and presence during the most appropriate times to do so, such as this week and next. The 'emotional boundaries' must also involve actively feeding yourself positive-reinforcement messages about the value of dutiful self-care, to help neutralize any sense of guilt about 'shirking your duty' to anyone else.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Your upcoming week looks to be an exercise in carefully controlling your message, Libra, in order to ensure you're exhibiting the conscientious self-restraint necessary for loyally standing by your allies. I don't often advocate for party-line politics, especially when adopting them threatens to infringe upon one's singular viewpoint… and extra-especially with you Librans, who sometimes err on the side of agreeability over uncompromising staunchness. Yet, for the moment, it appears far more personally advantageous to affirm the social relations which situate you amongst like-minded peers (and/or other folks you respect or trust) than to grandstand for a prominent role in the presentation. The two-cents contributions which will go far? Adding your impassioned voice to the chorus, with a resounding 'amen' or the repost of an esteemed colleague's sharp analysis. Reaching out to your pals on the front-lines, offering them recognition and a heartfelt thanks, asking if they have any operational needs you could help them meet. Actively seeking the testimony of others, both to educate yourself and boost the reach of their offerings. Don't underestimate how great it can feel to be part of something greater than you, without the drive for personal recognition.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Public visibility is presently key to you doing what's best to support your bottom-line, Scorpio. You cannot expect your personal stock to go up on the open market if you're sitting in a corner, certain you hold skills or capabilities or indefatigable mettle that others would be lucky to have at their disposal, yet not advertising that self-appraised competence. Perhaps you're quietly wondering whether you really are as great as your more self-assured side contends… and, as a result, are reluctant and/or fearful to 'put yourself out there' so boldly, lest you actually succeed at securing that stock-rise and then discover you don't know as much as you thought? If that's the case, please allow me to point out that stretching toward a higher level of self-regard (which is, in fact, what we're talking about here) necessarily involves uncomfortable encounters with new experiences and unknown quantities, as we can't be sincerely secure about anything we're still in the midst of learning. At such a stage, it's more important to visibly demonstrate a willingness to commit to whatever it'll take to master the lesson, and to thus raise your stock in the process, than to already know all there is to know.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): As an incrementally more rousing reiteration of last week's horoscope, let me suggest you outwardly express great pride while spreading the word about what you've been up to. Though I'd previously advised you to speak only in generalities, I think it's probably okay to start filling in some of the specifics… but, in continuing this year's lesson in appropriate pacing, I've deliberately stressed the word 'some' as an encouragement not to barrage folks with a profusion of every last relevant detail. Ever heard of dramatic tension? You can help create a riper anticipatory zeal by not saying everything all at once to everyone who might possibly care. I'd like to add, though, I still don't recommend announcing any new ventures or sharp detours. Rather, it's more timely to simply describe what's already been happening, like a tour-guide might confidently walk visitors through facts and features embedded in the historical record, stopping short of discussing future possibilities with similar confidence. This exercise isn't merely about informing others; it's about keeping yourself on that same track you've already dedicated yourself to.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): If you aren't actively engaged with delving into questions about the major ramifications of deepening intimacies, increasingly-joint financial interests, intensifying sexual involvements, and/or pressing life-and-death issues, Capricorn, then fear may be getting the best of you. Funny thing, though: Whatever you won't deal with head-on (to spare yourself and/or anyone else the agonizing awkwardness?) will continue to weigh on you anyhow, merely magnifying the unconsciously reigning fear by not giving it a voice or subjecting it to direct conversational contestation. In fact, there's a direct connection between (1) your willingness to work through whatever's presently making you anxious and (2) your ability to finally clear yourself of some residual disappointment, regret, or hurt from the past that otherwise prevents you from participating fully in the here-and-now. The good news is that the current lineup of 8th-house agents (the Sun, Mercury, and Venus) will help you better articulate difficult truths, ask for tough clarifications, sit productively with discomfort, and actually appreciate the benefits of daring to 'go there' with someone.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It's a week for doing your best to stand in the other person's shoes, Aquarius, rather than stomping all over them with yours. Even if their outlook flies in the face of your most passionate convictions, that is no excuse to overlook their humanity. I promise you they have reasons for being who they are and believing as they do… and while these reasons probably couldn't stand up to your most uninhibited intellectual critique, they're still rooted in this other person's lived experience, which is something you can't take away from them just by holding better-thought-out ideas. Relationship-building is at least as important to the success of any enterprise or course-of-change as marching ceaselessly forward with the emblazoned banner. And just so we're clear, 'building a relationship' in this context—open acknowledgment and acceptance of someone else's equal right to their viewpoint; sincere interest in how they arrived at their conclusion; a willingness to exchange different ideas without personal aggression or disdain—does not imply you should blindly welcome them into your circle. But if we want to be functionally effective (instead of contrary at every turn), we must often build and maintain working relationships with folks we wouldn't otherwise choose to hang with, let alone trust to cover our back.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Don't settle for what 'sounds like a great idea', Pisces. Invest literal effort into finding out whether it'll actually work in a real-world, on-the-ground application. Your ongoing challenge to capably demonstrate you really 'mean business' (in your latest career reachings and/or in regards to a worldly responsibility you've been charged with) won't be satisfactorily met with fancy words, abstract notions, or the best of intentions. You'll have to do something in order to move this forward. But rather than seeing this as a scary make-or-break moment (which, frankly, is too pressurizing a perspective to support actual productivity), think of it as an opportunity to forge a new logistical path or process-orientation by fearlessly investigating the functionality of this or that possible improvement. You can't know the potential payoff until you try it out. With this experimentally empirical attitude, even a disappointing result won't qualify as a 'failure' since any new concretely-useful information gleaned is a win. Plus, no matter whether you discover a miraculous method or merely rule out an unfeasible hypothesis, you're still positioning yourself as a brave trailblazer.