Horoscopes | Week of January 9-15, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Keep yourself publicly appropriate, apparently well-controlled, and in adherence to the proper protocols, Aries. You've landed in a brand-spankin'-new year with sleep still in the corners of your eyes, dizzy, discombobulated, and/or not quite yet alert enough to enthusiastically embrace the mundane demands that January's arrival usually brings. This is no problematic predicament, however, unless you're entertaining an unfounded belief that you ought to be in some different mood or mindset than you actually are. We're really just continuing the discussion we began at the closing of last year about the existential virtues of recurrent inactivity, the timely intervals of which often coincide with planetary pictures (such as our current one) that emphasize your 12th house. When you're able to accept these down-time moments as an essential part of all life-forms' vitality cycles, you're less likely to fight against these natural hibernatory impulses… and once you just give in to your spirit's craving for more deliberate stillness, grateful receptivity, conscious meandering, and magical wonder, you'll replenish yourself on the root-level more fully than any list of active self-development tasks and chores ever could. If instead you bully yourself into dutifully and decisively forging ahead when your own energetics are telling you they'd rather dilly-dally or delay, you're only tempting your escapist urges to react in a potentially disruptive fashion: anything to steal relief from the standard everyday grind. So, give yourself the break you're due, rather than tempting fate… all the while communicating the requisite respect for your external responsibilities so as not to put any critical observers on high alert.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Don't drift too far from the comfort and camaraderie of your team, cadre, or friend-circle, Taurus, during these early days of '17. Your astrological outlook clearly favors collectively-minded, collaboratively-achieved approaches over even the most competent attempts to 'go it alone'. And yes, that description applies even in those circumstances where you've hit up against some interpersonal friction amongst the community, since this would be as good a time as any (if not way better) to work through it… in a process which directly involves the other implicated players, of course, not behind their back or in your own head. Venus's presence alongside Mars in your 11th ought to help keep any out-and-out conflicts a bit gentler than they'd otherwise be. But you can do your part, too, by making sure to argue your points purely on their own big-picture logic or moral value, rather than coming after particular individuals or sneaking in passive-aggressive digs. You remain in a good spot to lead others, provided you can wholeheartedly rally them around a guiding principle or shared ethic. Looking at the same astrology from another angle, you should probably take care not to whitewash a peer's or pal's outlying concern because it falls beyond the clear bounds of your worldview. On the other hand, you mustn't betray your own conscience in order to accommodate someone you may care for but whose behavior is bad and/or beliefs are utterly incompatible with yours.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You're strutting into your new year with a pretty prominent public profile, Gemini, in case you hadn't realized it. Continuing planetary action in your 10th house indicates you are being noticed (whether or not you're deliberately angling for attention) by influential colleagues and prestigious clients, high-rollers, opinion-shapers, boss-figures, and others with the clout to help nudge you higher or block your advances. That makes this an excellent time to position yourself to impress… to self-assuredly accept the responsibilities you've been charged with, to propose ways you might step in to expand the grasp of your current venture, to throw your hat in the ring if any tasty opportunities have recently shown up, and/or to outwardly display as eager a can-do attitude as you can authentically rouse. Assertive moves made now in the professional and/or outside-world realm are likelier to make a more profound impact over the coming months than if you were to wait until later in the year. Just make sure, of course, you actually want the additional duties, greater authority, or more conspicuous role you're vying for—rather than, say, indiscriminately grabbing for whatever extras you can get, assuming you can endure anything if it might offer you a step-up. What at first seems like an advantage could end up sucking too much life out of you, if the bigger workload won't immediately lead you somewhere you want to be. Also, be warned: You aren't liable to impress the esteemed players with too much saccharine-sweet neutrality or overt ass-kissing. They're looking for folks who'll tell it like it really is.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): As any 'spirited dialogues' from last year continue into the start of '17, Cancer, try not to get conceptually caught up in how things have always been. The current astrology is tremendously supportive of any sincere efforts to actively pursue a nearer-term future that promotes personal growth, exposes you to new philosophic frameworks or unfamiliar cultures, aligns you more closely on a day-to-day basis with principles you dearly value, and/or broadens your idea of what's possible for you. It's that sense of wide open possibility I urge you to carry into your ongoing interpersonal negotiations, particularly if you've recently found you and a certain someone stuck at in impasse and/or unable to generate genuine enthusiasm for each other's interests. In such cases, you probably need to press the reset button on your dynamic: Stop running back over past doubts, disappointments, or stumbling-blocks from old unfinished arguments, and pare down your respective positions to their one or two most important foundation-points. At this bare-essential level of identifying the main guideposts of one another's lives (minus the habitual reactive emotions), I suspect you'll either see you're not as far apart as you'd thought or the vast distance between you will be gapingly obvious. Should the discussion veer in this latter direction, however, you have a moral obligation to yourself not to muster such excessive amounts of (ahem) understanding that you agree to indulge or excuse something you hold deep reservations about. You can't be too 'understanding' if your integrity's at stake.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Don't freak out if you're so far finding your new year is more confounding or convoluting than we might prefer a 'new' year to be, Leo. As I informed you in our last edition, this is as it should be. Truth be told, I'd be much more suspicious of your current mindset if you feel you've got everything straightened out, nailed down, or neatened up. At least one main source of any persisting uncertainty is very likely out of your complete control, please understand, simply because there are other parties presently involved in co-creating the eventual destiny of this situation… and, despite superficial appearances, you shouldn't believe you confidently grasp what their attitudes, investments, and/or intentions toward it may, in fact, be. Your biggest risks at the moment come from imprecisely assuming a tidier commonality between your individual stances than actually exists, which could easily lead to you not ask the million-dollar question, seek to clarify ambiguities and ambivalences, or make your tacit agreements concrete. At the same time, however, if you're willing to use this current 8th-house-centric astrology to explicitly probe into these tender spots—whether by openly acknowledging whatever personal motive or yearning you're afraid will scare them away and/or bravely accepting your discomfort with something they've shared—you could reach a new level of trust, intimacy, and/or interdependence in your dynamic, based on an embrace of human difference rather than a disavowal of it.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Provided you've recently expended a chunk of sincere effort on asserting your intentions, inclinations, and designs toward that certain someone (multiple times, if necessary) as I advised in your last horoscope, Virgo, your year promises to open with you beginning to attain a better mutual understanding. To be clear, 'understanding' doesn't automatically lead to 'agreement'… but even if you aren't seeing eye to eye, it's still helpful to understand the relational reality you two are living within. This week's swell of idealism in your relationship realm (courtesy of a Venus-Neptune conjunction in your 7th) can provide you the inspiration for committing to the task of working through your differences so you're set up to receive more of what you want, an ongoing process of breaking unhealthy patterns and redrawing boundaries and volunteering more illuminating first-person statements. Or it can inspire you to brush these differences back under the rug and focus only on the positives, happily (if not also speciously) declaring that 'love is all that matters'… unless, of course, your situation is not very good but you believe it's your duty to 'suck it up' anyway, which is obviously its own problem. But 2017 is not a time for business-as-usual approaches, especially when it comes to where you're allowing your emotional energy to be consumed. If you're not getting your needs met, you owe it to yourself to disturb and disrupt any self-limiting agreements that bind you to someone else's psychological maneuvering.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): You'll most effectively kick off your '17 by keeping a relatively low profile, Libra, so that you may set your own agenda for these opening weeks with as little interference as possible. You ought to strive to create for yourself that satisfying feeling of self-directed productivity, a combination of accomplishing items that would otherwise weigh on you with a self-dooming dose of anxiety and then enjoying the emotional reprieve that comes from moving them off your shoulders. Pay special mind to any pressing responsibilities which wake you up at night, interject their criticality when you're trying to get something else done, and/or scare you more than they probably should: These demand your attention right away (even if you aren't liable to finish them any time soon), so that you can assuage your justifiable-or-not guilt by making some progress on them, addressing a certain up-until-now unresolved variable, and/or actively timelining-and-budgeting for your next steps. This is especially important at the moment, due to the possibility that any harbored anxiety may be at least partly a result of refusing to look at this triggering responsibility through a realistic lens—and instead making the experience of its looming incompletion worse for yourself than it needs to be, due to fantastical hypothetical-scenarios having overtaken your brain. Likewise, please be similarly realistic about what actually can get accomplished in a given time-span. There's no surer way to sabotage your competent potential than by setting yourself up for perceived 'failure' by stacking too much on a day's or week's plate.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Kick off your year by unashamedly wearing your heart on your sleeve, Scorpio. During this peak of romantic thinking, you needn't pretend to be perfectly content with circumstances you know could be more gratifying, or otherwise hold a stoic stance that's likely betraying your softer side. Proudly own your longings. Try your damnedest to put distinct words to that ached-for feeling you've previously encountered in fleeting moments of bliss, in epiphanic dream-flashes or the gorgeousness of your imagination. There's no guarantee you'll ever feel it, of course, again or for the first time… but the odds of miraculous success assuredly go way up once you can identify the hunger, give it a name, and release its intention, to be birthed through the magical act of speaking it aloud. This formula presently applies with special resonance to your creative aims, your parental instincts, and/or your capacity to attract love based on your authentic self (rather than a role you might play in order to woo a particular character). But, alas, you could go astray in the act of attempting to name this unnamed-up-until-now ideal with a truly fitting moniker, for we are talking about romantic notions which conjure certain feelings… and it can be too easy to mistake one source of emotional foment with another, as folks often confuse their love for a particular individual with 'being in love with being in love'. That's why I encourage you to come out with your heart's idealistic imaginings, so as to invite clarifying conversations about the specifics with confidantes and casual chums alike. Having to answer their questions won't spoil your vision; rather, it'll help you form it into better shape.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): It's totally cool if you're not bounding into 2017 with a knapsack on your back and a feather in your cap, hunting for the next great peak-experiences, Sagittarius. The new-year's planetary lineup suggests you've got a lot going on inside… and I encourage you not to bother trying to shove it down, hurry it up, or plaster a suspect smile across your face and play like you feel the outside world is your oyster to grab and gobble down pronto. I'm not saying what's going on inside you is necessarily 'good' or 'bad'—more likely, if you're properly inward-focused, you'll notice both peaceful easy feelings and agitating discontentments—merely that it's an appropriate moment to spend some time in there, gaining critical additional insight into your heart's truest likes and dislikes. This is insight, incidentally, you just can't access without granting yourself the solitude or silence required for self-reflection… independent of all the external opportunities, accolades, criticisms, expectations, and pressures that might otherwise distract you from your own inner truth, due to other people's energetic influences. In an odd twist, you're likely to discover this inner truth is more measured, nuanced, ambiguous, and/or internally contradictory than the clear, confident, and/or cocky version you demonstrably brandish for everyone to see. Don't ignore these subjective subtleties, please, just so you can brashly proceed without pause. Taking them into account will help ensure your decision-making is rooted in your humanity… and, as such, less susceptible to later regrets.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Now that Mercury is direct again after having spent the holiday season retrograde in your sign, Capricorn, you should be able to use the upcoming week to screw your head back on, reorder your thoughts and plans, and at least somewhat self-actualize that new-year fresh-start feeling (albeit a week late). The mental sharpness and communicative clarity will only increase mid-week, following Mercury's return to your sign early on Thursday (Jan 12) after its brief dip back into your solar 12th. Once that occurs, I recommend revisiting any discussions or deliberations which were left in a dangling and/or dissatisfying state last month. You will have an excellent chance to sum up what you'd been trying to convey earlier, to clear up any misperceptions others might be holding, and to offer your most distinct statement yet on what you really think about a given situation. On this last potential, let me add how keenly beneficial it will be to share your thoughts not only when you're disappointed or displeased, but especially so when you're impressed and delighted, even in the most seemingly perfunctory or inconsequential social circumstances. The goodwill your unsolicited compliments and expressions-of-gratitude are liable to stir will reverberate between you and the other person in a positive feedback loop of mutual appreciation. And as far as more challenging feedback is concerned? Respectfully-delivered frankness of any kind shows you appreciate this fellow human enough not to blow smoke up their ass.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Craftily open your 2017 by very quietly lining your ducks up in a row, Aquarius… taking care of bits of practical business one after the other, with immediate benefit to your economic standing (or at least your detailed knowledge of that standing, even if it isn't to your liking), but without making very much noise about what you're doing. As long as you're shrewdly concentrating on serving your own interests—that is, what you need to survive or stabilize or see yourself as a success—you are using the present astrology for its best purposes. But as soon as you start muddling your focus or overcomplicating your situation by incorporating others' untested suggestions, contrasting motives, or questionable threat-responses, you'll quickly be working at a major disadvantage. Why? Well, mainly because Mercury (now direct again, at least) must still make its way back through your 12th… which hinders your capacity for functionally effective interpersonal exchange, while increasing the likelihood that attempts to glean ideas or talk out possibilities or join forces will unfortunately devolve into a funhouse maze of detours, distortions, irrelevancies, and maybe even pointless confrontations with phantom monsters. And who needs all that shit, especially when you can just keep your nose out of everyone else's business (and theirs out of yours, too, thank you) and use this time for direct personal profit (of one sort or another)? For extra credit: The universe will provide more to those who explicitly articulate how their own increasing abundance will ultimately make our collective world a better place.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Let me usher in your 2017 by letting you in on a little secret, Pisces, which plainly suggests you've got a lot of favorable energy on your side as this new year gets going: Not only is bestower-of-gentle-blessings Venus currently in your sign (a place it's very happy to be, incidentally) through the beginning of February, but, thanks to an upcoming retrograde, it will be returning to your sign for another four weeks in April. That means you'll be getting a full eight weeks of Venusian love-rays shining directly down on you during the first third of '17 (as opposed to the usual three or four weeks), framing this present phase as an incredibly ripe one for you to reap rewards, court opportunities, dazzle admirers, cultivate relationships, attain creative breakthroughs, and/or beautify your own damn self. These next three weeks are especially critical, while Mars is also still occupying your home-zone with its blast of willful insistence, courage, and self-determination. This is no time to be shy, when your audacity to grab for more than you'd typically settle for—and with a more unapologetically direct approach—is far likelier than usual to prove surprisingly successful. However, please do so with the awareness that you're merely getting things started… and that, due to the impending Venus retrograde, you may see a few apparent (but maybe-or-maybe-not actual) changes-of-heart or reversals-of-fortune before you can clearly assess what's what. Nonetheless, without too much attachment to first-impression results, you should definitely use this fertile moment to till the seeds; something will surely blossom.