Horoscopes | Week of June 25-July 1, 2007

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A little strategic planning is in order, Aries, as I just barely began to touch upon a couple weeks back. We can play around with the idealistic idea of freedom (an Arien hallmark) as the true-enough statement that you can do whatever you want in this life. But beneath that rhetoric is the equally-true reality that, in fact, you can't 'do whatever you want'—not, that is, if you still expect to achieve that which you desire the most. This is the inescapable trade-off between pure self-expression in a given moment and a lasting demonstration of 'expression' as that which you've worked long and hard to achieve. For obvious example, you can't tell everyone exactly what you think of them and their behaviors at any given moment… and not wreck at least one heaping handful of potentially auspicious connections, which could lead you straight (or not-so-straight) to your heart's content. This whole 'strategic' model holds especially true for you right now in matters of love and/or pride, where an impulsive act may drastically threaten your chances of winning 'em over or smelling like a rose. Contrary to your natural leanings, you may have to approach slowly, one step at a time… and wait calmly and coolly for an answer that might not come tomorrow. Thankfully, we've got the time. Do you?


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Now that Mars has landed in your sign and pumped up your engine with premium fuel, I'm no longer going to continue urging you to avoid confrontations. Does that mean you lunge full-throttle toward whatever people, problems or projects have been frustrating the heck out of you and beat them to a bloody pulp? Well, that's one strategy, Taurus. With your ruler Venus tied up with Saturn and Neptune, however, it's only a viable one if you don't get so upset as to disturb your own well-being… which unfortunately is quite possible, seeing as how long you may have been holding it in, patient-Taurus-style. And if you overdo it, you'll actually obstruct your own ability to triumph, by blowing your wad prematurely or blasting yourself way off-course. That said, I certainly don't see any necessity in sitting silently by while those around you keep beating around the bush or missing the point, persisting in the same bothersome behaviors you've borne up 'til now. Go on, call it like you see it… and get a little bit unruly if you must. Still, you'll want to maintain the voice of reason (even if it's a very loud one!), which will give you the upper hand but won't make you particularly popular. Of course, we know it isn't about being liked. It's about doing the right thing—and you have all the inner strength you'll need to do it right.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Hang on to your hat, or you'll flip your lid. You're under the influence of rather unbalanced feelings (a 'wild emotional tide' is a phrase that comes to mind), and can't either get clear on what's got you so worked up and/or can't do a damn thing about it. Unsatisfactorily, there's not much you can do, other than riding it out, with your seat belt fastened tightly across your lap. That said, the control you can exercise is over (1) who you hang with during this turbulence and (2) what exactly you say to them about it. (Need I remind you Mercury's still retrograde?) A bit of well-played restraint will unnoticeably fend off those folks you'd rather not deal with right now (or who'd probably get you more worked up, rather than keep you grounded) and steer those undesired conversation topics square off the map. I know you know how to do this, Gemini. (I've seen it in action.) But it requires fighting the temptation to run freely at the mouth to whoever is in closest proximity at the moment the purge starts coursing up from your throat. Venting… good. Venting to the wrong people… not necessarily 'bad', but certainly creates more nuisances and nags than it provides solace or release. Really and truly, there are certain folks, friends and family members better suited to particular types of information and discussion… and there are others whose own inability to cope with deep emotionality makes them ill-equipped (and thus inappropriate) for dealing with you this week. Be smart about it.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): There's only so much to go around. You give it all to other people… there's nothing left for you, Cancer. And so go the pitfalls of being somebody who actually cares. In this astro-light, you may be finally be cornered into picking between what'll make certain folks happy and what's clearly right for you. You know as well as I do: This call's been a long time coming. While it's a sweet gesture to consider in what capacity you'll be compromising, your first priority is to protect yourself. You won't be very kind or genuinely nurturing if you can't even tend to your own needs, or are feeding others from a non-endless source of your own energy. Before compromise enters the picture at all, you must begin by laying down your bottom line—to yourself. The presence of others, with their own agendas, already contaminates your ability to be so self-serving… with the looming psychic anticipation or precognition of their reactions. You're right not to expect 'em to take your decision lightly, or without some sort of pushing back. We also must remember that Mercury is still retrograde in your sign, which makes it likely that this week's proceedings won't be the final end to the story. In fact, negotiations could continue for up to a month more, giving you a run for your money in terms of sticking to what's true for you. But they have to start somewhere—and it appears you've reached that 'somewhere' marker.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Last week's message takes on even more poignancy this week, as the usual color-me-stoked impact of Venus in your sign ties itself into intricate knots unlikely to imminently become untangled. First off, Venus conjoins Saturn in your 1st—which also means it opposes Neptune in your 7th—adding a heavy-duty layer of karmic significance to how you play yourself off to certain individuals, and to what ends. For instance: 'I'm just having fun' is not sufficient for explaining your involvement with somebody, since that leaves what's going on for the other person out of the equation. And though the 'appropriate words' spoken between you two may seem to be enough to cover your butt, it flatly is not. The more pressing issue is one of a higher responsibility to both of you… that everyone's motivations are above-board and on the table, and that no sneaking suspicions about something 'not being quite right' aren't being willfully overlooked, in order to keep the momentary thrills of mutual connection from turning awkward or ending. To throw another boulder in the road, Venus will also be turning retrograde about a month from now—and enters the pre-retrograde shadow zone this week—and you are one of the signs most strongly affected by its queer reversals of priority. (Read more about it here.) As such, some potentially surprising truths about what you really value and desire may bubble up into evidence… hopefully not by accidentally goofing, due to the amazing ego-strokes made by some passing flame or tempting ware, and realizing what you had only once it's gone. We don't often chew on the looming negatives associated with supposedly sweet-and-lovely Venus, which can amount to too much emphasis on pleasure, plentitude and people-pleasing… at the expense of integrity, impartiality and authentic individualism. But that's exactly what you will be chewing on for a couple months, Leo.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Remember this horoscope from a few weeks back? It sprang to mind as I prepared to launch into your latest one, which begins with the following declaration: You are very close to figuring out what'll make you most happy. (Okay, maybe not in every last area of life, but certainly in at least one major zone.) Unfortunately, you'll remain this close—without making it all the way there—for quite some time longer. Maybe you'll think you've finally got a grip on it… and then new bits of data will appear and complicate everything. What I'm describing is a result of the upcoming retrograde of Venus (Jul 28-Sep 8), which happens just as she begins to dip her toe into your sign, and which also starts to bear influence over us this week (as we're in what's known as the pre-retrograde shadow). As of now, though, Venus still sits in your solar 12th, currently forming a double-doo-doo conjunction to Saturn and opposition to Neptune. This might also be called limbo… and in case anyone's asking, limbo generally sucks, though it has its upside of giving you a chance to cover all bases. Over the course of the coming weeks, Virgo, you'll be tempted and titillated and teased by some seriously appealing options (including the possibility of old steadies showing back up to resolve unfinished business, new romances appearing with the promise to be everything you ever hoped for and more, and any weird variations on these themes in love, money or career). Enjoy it as it comes. Dabble with potentials. And most importantly, make peace with being 'undecided'. Until Venus and Saturn join back together (in your sign, at last!) in mid-October, it should all be considered tentative.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): If you're feeling the heat to follow the lead of pushy friends or peer-pressuring community allies, the first thing to do is ask yourself: 'Do I trust these people?' The reply you come up with will tell you everything you need to know about whether to take your jacket off and stay a while… or to just get out of the kitchen. If these arm-twisters are indeed reliably trustworthy, it might be your wisest move to give in to their goading—at least for now, and as long as it won't harm you in the process. Maybe they know something you don't. Or perhaps they care so much more deeply about this specific issue than you do, you might as well go along to show your allegiance and support. After all, if you've checked in with yourself and concluded that these peeps are authentically your peeps, the display of support will surely come back to you at some later date. But if the crunch is coming from folks you don't know so well, or whose underlying motivations are suspect enough to give pauses, it's important for you to hold your defiant ground. Otherwise, you're merely affirming the unflattering stereotype of Librans as 'people-pleasers' first and foremost… inauthentic types who will say or do anything to gain favor with those they deem as 'useful' or 'important to know'. And that's not you, is it? When those you associate with aren't satisfied by your assertion of individuality because you walk funny or wear the wrong thing, voted for the unpopular candidate or patently refuse to drop your old pals in a sign of solidarity with the new ones… maybe it's time to just keep on walkin' or, if you think it's worth it, give 'em a chance to redeem themselves?


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Just as poke-or-get-poked Mars makes himself really conspicuous in your 7th, inciting the need to assert your stubbornness in one-on-one interactions… you're simultaneously facing a major progress-marker, harvesting what you've sown in your public role or professional guise, thanks to Venus intertwining herself with Saturn and Neptune. This culmination of factors saturates your week with glimpses of both past and future—past reenactments of outwardly aggressive behavior (perhaps to differentiate yourself from the crowd?) and future wisdom on all you gain by practicing a little ego restraint. (If these themes sound familiar, it might have something to do with the ongoing Saturn-Neptune opposition.) It's not that you must disingenuously morph into some timid, saccharine-sweet pushover, withholding your penetrating perceptions from others for fear of ruffling feathers. Oh, please, Scorpio—that ain't gonna happen. However, from the panoramic perspective, there may be very smart reasons to tread carefully around bosses, elders or anybody with the power to help either carry you to top or undermine your climb. There's something to be said for showing due respect to those who spent much time and many hard hours of labor to get where they are… even as you might reserve justifiable critiques of just how hard they worked or whether they truly deserve it. (Not your judgment call to make. It belongs to the universe's cryptic machinations.) Find that sincere respect in your heart, flash it unashamedly at the right folks, and you'll win yourself some impressive allies. But act all uppity, as if you're already the big name in town, and you're in for a rude awakening. Everyone pays his/her dues (and kisses some butt) along the way. Don't try to upstage the wrong people.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): You can't do everything… certainly not at once. You've just spent this last sizable chunk of time freshening up the stew in the most invigorating and stimulating fashion possible, chasing causes and creating debates and generally courting the action at every turn. But now you've got so many plates spinning that, unless you do a bit of picking-and-choosing, you're merely cultivating a soon-to-come smash-up of broken dishes and dashed hopes. To make something happen in any legitimate, lasting way, you must walk away from the limelight and back to your workshop… to dedicate yourself to the arduous task of following up on your initial sparks. And unfortunately, there's just not enough time in the day to make it all happen at the same time. So, what's got your interest most interested? What's the most heart-pounding pastime, the most eye-opening topic of study or involvement? It's time to go deeper, learn more, and devote a calmer earnestness to it—if, that is, you hope to get somewhere beyond a bunch of rhetoric. This isn't only an essential exercise in pinpointing your unruly energies toward a finer focus. You'll also feel like a fuller individual as a direct result of developing discernment and discipline in this single area of your choosing. You can't become a sophisticated bearer of said knowledge or experience without self-consciously placing some limits on yourself. And there's nothing more impressive than someone who masters a skill or idea through ongoing effort.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Only ask the probing questions if you really want an authentic answer. Don't flippantly play mind games, trying to get the upper hand by cornering somebody with on-the-spot challenges… and don't flirt with raising serious issues, only to back away before biting all the way in, to see if it squirts sweet liqueur or if you'll hit a hard center. Whether a dense and potentially-sexually-tense awkwardness, an uneasy discussion of joint financial concerns, or a clenched confrontation about some deeply unsettled-or-unsettling issue… if you're going to open that can of worms (or daringly dance around its perimeter), be sure you know what you're getting into. This is nothing to outwardly engage with purely light-hearted casualness. Once you've gone there, you really cannot go back. Now, all that said: I'm not trying to scare you off, Capricorn, because if you really are sincere and determined to delve to the real heart of the hitherto unexplored matter, this isn't such a bad time to do it. I know, I know, Mercury is still retrograde—but what if that fact helps you be less self-conscious and more from-the-heart in how you communicate yourself, forfeiting a seamless performance for the benefit of your most extemporaneous emotional honesty? If you're simply explaining how you feel, it's impossible to 'mess up'. That's not to say, of course, that the other person will politely go along with everything you put forth. We can't know what he/she will do. If you've been forthright, though… in the end, it really won't matter.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Tread carefully in your one-on-one relationship world, now that Venus is all tangled up with Saturn and Neptune. If given an option between (1) presuming everything will be totally fine if you wander off into unclear territory on a whim, knowing the universe is looking out for you and (2) consciously placing limits on yourself, in order to demonstrate loyalty to a person you care for, and sucking up the desire to be completely free in the process… my first instinct is to advise you to pick choice (2). This is a make-or-break point in the coupling, and the attitude you display this week could tip it all the way to 'make' or 'break'. Understand, of course, that the extra diligence and forethought currently demanded is not a permanent fixture of the relationship… and the feeling of constraint or cramped-ness is a passing predicament, which is more than compensated for by all the positives you reap from remaining in. However: If you've gotten this far into the horoscope, Aquarius, and just cannot stand the notion of submitting yourself to even more self-restraint, simply to prove yourself committed to a partner or best pal who hasn't necessarily proven him/herself as committed to who you actually are… well, that's an entirely different story. As I said, it's make-or-break time. Either things are about to get much more stable and secure—or to reveal why it just isn't meant to be. On the same token, this also applies to you Aquarians who are currently flying solo: You just might have to become more realistic about who truly qualifies as 'appropriate boyfriend / girlfriend material'. Ready to cut the crap yet? Oh, no need to fret: You can expect plenty of further developments over the month ahead.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): At the most treacherous end of the spectrum, this week's astrology will make it extremely difficult to get anything accomplished… which is a cruel irony, considering that it's also a fantastic time to put your physical energies to good use. Your pitfall isn't a lack of any manual dexterity, material resources or time (no matter what you might tell yourself)—it's simply an issue of motivation and inspiration. Your potentially high-powered productivity gets severely undermined by the lurking self-saboteur in you, who sincerely questions whether your efforts won't prove wastefully futile in the end. In other words, you may doubt that staying put and slogging away for what seems like forever, with only snips and snails of obvious success to show for it, is the best manner of spending your time. And at the same time, look at all the fun they seem to be having over there… those folks who maybe don't exactly exemplify what you want out of life, as much as they're just cool kids to hang with, and maybe you just miss being able to blow everything off like they all seem to be doing… and when you compare them to those other people, your mentors and role models who've made something of themselves through long-term commitment, discipline and unwavering vision, you wonder if perhaps you've gotten confused and don't belong in the latter club of accomplishers after all… and so you grab a 6-pack of Bud, wave hi to the slackers, and return to the place you know so well. Pisces, it's all a mind trick, this seductive beckoning back to the escapist side of life. It's an appealing option precisely because there's no new turf to tread there (hell, your old seat is still warm!), and therefore no enduring development can come of it.