Horoscopes | Week of August 21-27, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Wanting to do it your way, Aries, unfortunately isn't always a motivation that's compatible with wanting to do it right. By 'right', I merely mean that certain unalterable rules physically apply in this dimension so that one chain-of-actions will more successfully create a given effect than another, regardless of whose idea the successful methodology was or how badly you might wish a different chain-of-actions would prove equally as effective. I'm spelling out the obvious because your current astrological outlook combines a continuing intensification of personal desire (i.e., 'wanting what I want') with a Merc-rx-decreed need to pay extra-diligent care to how your daily get-shit-done practices actually work—or how they may not be working that well, despite your sincerest efforts or the best of intentions. I don't think you have to compromise on seeking the experiences that'll most please you, in order to aim a critical eye at whether there might be a more efficient and/or reliable order-of-operations to follow, to attain the desired results with less labor or stress. I'm all about you doing it your way… provided you've arrived at 'your way' not just by willful whim, but after properly examining the pertinent patterns of production and making adjustments based on what the data tells you.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Continue bravely cutting a path through these emotional wilds, Taurus, like a jungle explorer with a machete who must make it across this difficult terrain in order to survive. To stay stuck in here too long (because you were too terrified to take any step at all?) is akin to carelessly allowing the precious traces of sunlight now casting a sight-line into this tangle to dissipate, leaving you back in the relative dark where every wind-blown branch or crumbling leaf threatens to spook you to the bone. Those dedicated to advancing this brave journey should, by week's-end, start to catch glimpses of a brighter light at the end of this thicket-tunnel… not some miraculous deliverance or contrived deus ex machina ending, to be clear, but a promising hint of how to create a better container for protecting your feelings from undue dishonoring or harm. Still shaking in your boots, frozen? It's more dangerous to stick stagnantly around here, a glaring target for those who know all your hiding-places, than to keep moving (even when you aren't sure exactly where you're going). As I said, let your feelings guide you: They don't always abide by a clear logic, but they'll at least point you towards what you must do next in order to survive.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Just go in with the simplest intent, Gemini, to be self-respecting and steeled-in-your-sincerity… unashamed of coming off as fickle or confused, paradoxical or contradictory, highly emotional in focus or filter… and you'll likely begin to find out, not through some singularly dazzling revelation but as the cumulative effect from a series of unremarkable clues, how a certain someone does or doesn't serve as a sympathetic and/or supportive force in your life. Nobody needs to be apprised of the undercover assessments you're making about their relative suitability as a friend, collaborator, or intimate partner. This isn't a call to announce any changes in affiliation or affection, nor to explicitly ask someone for more of this or less of that. Rather, it's a time ripe for noticing how a particular rapport, vibe, or interactive manner makes you feel as you're actively participating in it—and, as you later think back over that phrase they used or the feedback they gave, deciding whether this is an interpersonal energy that bolsters your self-esteem or insidiously chips away at it. If you are spontaneously moved to act in response to a moment's rising feeling, let it be a self-conscious mirroring of the other person's tone or tendencies instead of a glaring call-out… and then see what happens.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Let everyone else deal in abstracts, hypotheticals, and earnestly idealistic suggestions, Cancer. You can serve as the relative voice of pragmatic reason, then, by asking simple questions about how much would have to be spent and who'd pay for it, what might be earned in return and who'd receive those earnings. Wanting to understand the essential economics (in monetary terms and/or other cost-benefit ratios) doesn't make you contrary or combative… though, for those who are married to certain concepts regardless of whether they'd actually work to support the interests of participants like you, even posing such evaluative queries could feel like a threat to their perceived intelligence. Please don't fall for any projection-driven insinuation that you're the one being difficult by wishing to address a sector of your impacted reality from a realistic perspective. An unwillingness to discuss the material logistics is emotional in nature; no rational case can be made for not airing such concerns, in a non-accusatory problem-solving tone, before everyone gets too much farther. Dare they charge it's you being 'emotional', the last thing you should do is react with the very emotion they're hoping to see. Stick with reason. Anyone else's unreasonableness will be even more obvious.


LEO (July 23-August 22): This month's proving to be a test of your authenticity, Leo… for if you've been thrusting forward with a clear-and-present agenda that's authentically aligned with who you are, what you're made for, and/or what you hope to bring into the world, you are undeniably making huge strides at self-actualization. But if you don't know yourself well (or aren't being honest with yourself about it), lack an accurate understanding of your talents (and shortcomings), and/or only seek to gratify your most-immediate desires (without caring much about the overall contribution your life represents), you're probably doing a banner job of irritating those who wish better for you—if not full-on alienating certain friends or loved-ones who just can't tolerate your ego-blindness. If you fall closer into this latter category, please know it's not too late to amend a mistaken impression about yourself (even if you were its source) or backtrack from recent moves which others may've read as too aggressive or greedy. Once benefic Venus hits your sign on Friday (Aug 25), you will begin to receive more obvious signs about who has been digging your latest self-presentation. If at that point you're still getting a lukewarm response (or a really cold shoulder) from someone, I'd be concerned their fondness for you may be fading (or at least strained).


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This is the celestially-ordained interval for screwing your head back on straight, Virgo… not hurriedly, nor by bowing to interpersonal pressures demanding a firm explanation or answer, but in a gradual step-by-step process which may (or may not) involve open-ended conversation with others yet doesn't make claims to clarity or conclusiveness. The more confidently you can moderate the pace of outward developments by not perpetuating any expectations (yours or others') of a quick-and-tidy resolution, the better it'll be for your eventual standing in this still-unfolding situation. All the while, other players aren't so likely to moderate their reactions and responses—and your ability to take in as many detailed observations about whatever behavior you're witnessing, without letting them affect your immediate posture to a point where you're openly criticizing (no matter how constructively), will only strengthen the overall veracity of still-forming conclusions. September is more the month for you to assert your agency than August, with support from first Mars and then Venus that'll enable your efforts to both carry greater weight and elicit more favorable feedback. For now, Mercury's still retrograde in your sign… an astro-truth you should remember before entering any tangle or fray.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): If they want to talk, Libra, let 'em talk. Agreeing to engage in a conversation someone else wants to have, or to continue one that hasn't been resolved to their satisfaction, doesn't mean you now must say anything more than you wish to say or alter a prior answer so they're happier with it. In fact, it seems to me you'll be likelier to wind up in a more personally advantageous position by talking less and listening more… practicing great communicative restraint when tempted to react… reiterating previously uttered opinions or articulations with as close to the same language as you already used… and, if this is the direction it's going, inviting them to metaphorically hang themselves on the rope of their own problematic rhetoric. As we've discussed, you're having a revelatory moment of social-affinity enlightenment, revealing which specific personalities or character-types are your cup-of-tea—and which are decidedly not. But to gain the most insight into someone, you should try your best not to interrupt their free-flow monologuing or bait them with a provocation that might later reflect poorly on you, as if somehow you were responsible for putting those unappealing words in their mouth.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): If you aren't presently in the midst of some maneuver that'll carry you at least one significant step closer to actualizing a central life-ambition, Scorpio, you must be doing a damn good job of fighting against these astro-tides. Should you claim you're unable to concentrate on your own goals because some immense and/or urgent duty to someone or something else is overwhelming your attention, I might pause to ponder whether this dutiful performance is at least helping you hit the heights you aspire to… whether by teaching you valuable skills, nurturing your relationships with strategic connections, and/or setting you up for a near-guaranteed future success. Such self-reflection is essential for determining the role of whatever's now monopolizing your outward expenditures-of-efforts, in terms of its relevance (or lack thereof) to the longer trajectory of your continuing to towards what you've set out to accomplish. If there is direct relevance, take this reminder as your motivation to find a second (or third) wind: There's a method behind this madness, and it's on you to stay faithful to its far-range mission. But if there isn't and you've just passively ended up becoming a laboring operative in someone else's grand-plan, let this be a wake-up call.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Please don't mistake any operational questions or leadership-related challenges as some discouraging sign that you've devoted yourself to the wrong objective or pursuit, Sagittarius. The circumstantial need to ease up on the pace, revisit a directive which was unclear, or revamp a seemingly ineffective method for managing your responsibilities has little to do with what you're ultimately intending to accomplish… but is more a matter of how you've been trying to accomplish it. Rather than overreact to an unanticipated obstacle or stall in progress, as if something is naturally supposed to come easily if it's meant to be (while too much necessitated effort would be a reason not to bother?), I'd take this as an opportunity to reaffirm your dedication. You must be willing to deal as patiently with the most annoying nitty-gritty minutiae of this endeavor as you've excitedly reveled in its bigger-picture promise, if you hope to achieve concrete gains while protecting your public reputation. Mercury's still retrograde another couple weeks, an indicator of the importance of double-checking the specifics and responding to any glitchy situations with outward aplomb. If you aren't into handling such practicalities like a visibly respectable champ, maybe you ought to rethink how badly you really want this.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): If you've been rightly committed to 'full-disclosure release' over 'superficial peace' as I recommended last week, Capricorn, you should begin to spy encouraging returns by the very end of the week… though what you may see as 'encouraging' now might not resemble what you thought you'd be seeing, say, a month ago. Once the whole gnarly root has been dug up and exposed to the light, the resultant developments sure do move swiftly. If you still haven't found the courage to dig all the way in, though, it's not too late. In fact, sometime this week or next, you're likely to be presented with a pretty darn perfect opening for broaching a scary topic, continuing a conversation which was left hanging at a fraught moment, or unifying certain loose ends together into a single (albeit complex) story-line. You'll know this is your optimal chance because you're apt to feel a swell of nervousness surging through your body, like you're about to give a fateful speech to an unsuspecting crowd. Please don't pass it up out of nerves. The worst you can expect is resistance to your message, if not outright rejection… but at least you'll know. Remember: This isn't about achieving a particular outcome (because you can't control that); it's to unburden your conscience.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): By the big astrological watch in the sky, Aquarius, you are not presently expected to be received as an especially easygoing, let-it-all-slide-off-your-shoulder sort of partner or friend, nor a quietly complicit party in some interpersonal dynamic that doesn't suit your temperament or tenets-of-good-living. You're merely expected to show up for the exchange with an unapologetic strength-of-character: 'This is who I am in our relationship. This is what I want out of it. This is what I'm willing to do to help make that happen. So, what's up with you?' You shouldn't attempt to elicit any particular reaction from them (whether winning them over or pissing them off) other than their honest response to your expressed honesty. No manipulation, please, just self-presentation. While it's fair to prepare yourself for resulting contentiousness or conflict, it's also possible your fearless frankness—coupled with a responsible refusal to blame or shame the other person, in the act of speaking your own truth—will constructively shift the situation in a promising direction. After all, Venus is moving into your 7th house late this week (on Fri Aug 25). If this isn't an unbridgeable difference in the pairing (and you don't behave like a jackass), the tension should soon begin to loosen up.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Seek your progress through process, Pisces, not some hastily-made product you can point to as palliative proof that you can now stop working as hard. Go for moment-to-moment vitality, over any conceptual aim or ideal that might fool you into overriding your body's desired rhythms. If that means you must tweak an agreed-upon timeline and/or rearrange your schedule to accommodate the need to sustain certain consistencies, so be it: Keeping the engines running, rather than burning them out or letting them rust, is of paramount importance. But don't just disappear, make a significant change, or stop what you're doing without also having the necessary conversations with those who will be affected, if they are waiting on something from you and/or engaged in work that dovetails with yours. Actually, by adopting the appropriate non-self-effacing attitude in your reachings-out to those you're in cooperation or collaboration with, you should be able to find support and concrete assistance in sorting out what must get done and how to do it. If you have to shift priorities or swap tasks, you'll do it best by sharing the load (and the rewards) with someone else. Just make sure to stay vitally engaged, the best way(s) you can, every single day.