Horoscopes | Week of July 16-22, 2007

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Take your partial victories where you can get 'em… and be happy you were able to address even that much of what you're trying to get to. Despite the strides, you mustn't convince yourself that it'll be smooth waters from here on out. For just this week, you have a few brief energetic openings in which to get some practical stuff accomplished, before your ruler Mars enters a morass of obstructions, courtesy of getting tied up with Saturn and Neptune. The earlier in the week you try, the better chance of reaching some modest resolution. Then, once you achieve a smattering of results that you like, hold tightly to them so nobody can take them back. You may hastily dismiss the notion that you could potentially lose the very parcels of ground you're appearing to gain, but Venus, who's approaching an about-face retrograde, is known for just such take-aways. And because she's spinning around your 6th, the reversals are likeliest to occur in matters of work, physical fitness, and mundane responsibility… which increases the threat of having to redo certain tasks because you skipped a step, overlooked a key ingredient, or misperceived the whole point of the exercise. (In real-life terms, that could mean having to rework a project from a different vantage, having to start from scratch on a household chore, or reattending to the same stubborn extra ten pounds that have reappeared around your waist.) So whenever you do move some chore from the inbox to the completed pile, appreciate the progress, no matter how meager.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Whereas before I might've goaded you (subtly or not) to swallow your commentary or reconsider your thoughts on the looming matter, I now advocate the opposite approach. Now is as good a time as you might hope to find for coming out with it, saying whatever's been weighing on your mind without concern for the fallout. Afraid you'll stir up some commotion? Fears of such repercussions are no excuse for withholding your true opinion. In fact, the key individuals involved probably need a good stirring-up, anyhow. And as far as the mental processes that formed your now-ripe ideas go, you've already gotten as advanced an understanding as you possibly can… at least while it's still all happening internally. What you've been thinking, though, doesn't yet function as a signed-and-sealed strategic plan for anything—it's just one perspective that needs to be weighed in relation to constantly changing real-world facts (and others' slip-sliding stances), to produce more conclusive conclusions further down the road. But without the resultant social evolution that only comes through outward hashing-out, Q-and-As, debates, defenses and the exposure of awkward inconsistencies, as carried out through conversation with others, it simply can't get any further. Theories, opinions and feelings are fine enough. Ideas, however, only become something when they're put into action. The necessary first step is revelation.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Most people dread the act of resume-writing… probably because, if you're at a point of reviewing your achievements and synopsizing them for a potential screener or interviews, chances are you're unhappy in your current position and/or need a new job fast. It's a shame, then, we usually only find ourselves composing our list of valued traits, skills and experiences when we are most in need—and thus exuding an underlying desperation (invisible perhaps, but significant nonetheless) that undermines our case for ourselves. Even if you are perfectly content where you are professionally or not especially eager to make an imminent change, Gemini, it's worth organizing your most effective, impressive and bankable assets into some usable format—written is ideal, but you can do it in your head if you promise to remember it all—so you more clearly see what you've got to work with. If you're a run-of-the-mill human being like everybody else, there will be some things you do exceptionally well, some that you suck at it, and a whole bunch that you perform adequately but not amazingly. Some are innate talents, and some are hard-earned expertises reaped from your own efforts. Some you have no business pretending to be able to pull off. Can you provide a brief summary off the top of your head? No fibbing aloud (no 'exaggerations' or 'elaborations' either), since this is just between you and yourself… and the whole purpose is to refrain from fooling anyone. I'll bet you won't get very far before exclaiming your first 'eureka!', which is the sound of your solid realization, beyond the shadow of all doubt, of what you're capable of doing next (and what you should probably stop bothering to try). Loiter here in this sense of clarity, though, rather than jumping headfirst into actually following through. You've waited this long—another couple weeks won't kill you. Besides, you'll have Mars on your side in August, making it a far better month for making stuff happen.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): After these past few weeks of Mercury madness mucking up your zodiacal homebase, you've now been remade into arguably the most insightful of all the signs (at least temporarily). I was about to call you 'the smartest', but paused at the sound of nuclear engineers, forensic anthropologists and statisticians in my head, rallying their combined brain mass to belabor an objection. In any case, insight may prove even more beneficial to you than so-called smarts at this juncture… as I believe it carries with it both an implied humility (for pride has certainly been known to blind) and an awareness of the inescapable subjectivity of the human condition (alleviating the requirement for one 'right answer' to serve everybody's needs). If you'd like to read a fuller description of just the type of awareness I'm crediting you with, click here for my poetic take on the recent situation. Hopefully, you've lately begun to see (and believe!) that this world is much much larger than the little sliver of it you know so well. And while there's nothing wrong with hanging close to the comforts of your literal or metaphoric home (after all, it's a trademark of Cancerian being), you also can't help but contemplate what you might be missing as a result. Is remaining safe (or, more properly, under the illusion of 'safety') worth the eternal question mark of not actively undertaking the next big exploration currently unfurling itself in your consciousness? Don't leave your reply victim to your own cocoon-prone devices. Look to those pals of yours who enjoy living on the edge for your inspiration. Confide your secret dreams of adventures and exploits to them, so they'll push you that much closer to making 'em real.


LEO (July 23-August 22): You're absolutely jumping the gun if you believe you've resolved all the conflicting threads in your head… though, in all fairness, you have done an admirable amount of mental angling. It's just, Leo, you can only enlighten yourself up to a certain point, without running into the inherent blindspots we all have when accounting for our own motivations. Feel free to stake a claim (until you're blue in the face, even) on the version that explains your creating such a fuss due simply to how you care so deeply about pushing a certain process along. We're willing to agree that this explains your behavior… to a moderate degree. But then, there are also the faint intimations of a deeper personality issue underscoring your dissatisfaction ('with the process', of course), which outsiders can't help but acknowledge—even as you yourself might miss 'em. Go ahead and argue that you're simply making 'harmless observations' about where the ball has been soundly dropped or never securely caught, but please don't pretend it's wholly irrelevant who the said ball-dropper-and-misser actually is. Do you have any unresolved beef with this person? (Are you totally convinced?) You want to be entirely sure to ask yourself this question—and to provide an entirely trustworthy answer—before dragging outside parties (such as your boss or a mutual friend) into it. You definitely won't be happy to have somebody whose opinion matters greatly to you present and watching, should you and this other person suddenly end up in a catty power struggle. In this case, protect your image by doing the situation justice and clearing out any dusty grudges.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Because, at this point, the story is far from over (as I've already told you), you really and truly don't need to have an ending to even this current chapter figured out yet. In fact, it's probably to your advantage, Virgo, to remind yourself about one of my guiding principles as an astrologer… that the future has not been set in stone and it's always in our power to effect the final outcome, whether by small influences or huge impacts. In this stage of the game, you should be having lots of provocative conversation, both with the individual at the center of any interpersonal intrigue (your current squeeze, your next potential love, or your pesky ex) and with your friends about this individual. When it comes to the first case of 'meaningful' one-on-ones, give yourself free rein to make controversial shit-stirring remarks. Screw the subtle hunting-and-pecking. The surest way to test their real ethical values is by putting 'em on the spot—and reading their first reactions as the telling clues they are. And as far as the gabbing with chums goes, the type of things you're saying (even if you're just 'blowing off steam') will speak volumes about your state of affairs. Are you aware of what exactly has been coming out of your mouth? Hopefully, you are. But on the off chance you're somehow missing the profound perceptions residing in your own offhand chatter, please ask your pals to repeat back what they just heard you say. You might be surprised how much clarity is hiding among your lack of clarity, waiting for an outside party to crack the code.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Your mind should be forcibly focused on what you need to do to get ahead… even while your body may clench or recoil with upset for the unanswered-for antics someone else recently carried out. Stop besetting yourself with concern for this other person. It's a red herring, not a fruitful deployment of your energy. Don't pick the fight that you believe will offer you the chance to put 'em in their place. If you want to be a 'squeaky wheel'—and there's nothing wrong with that—do it because of what you'll personally gain in the context of moving closer to a measurable success. (Smug satisfaction, incidentally, does not count.) The real 'problem' to be solved is related to how you'll get more accomplished on the job or in a super-meaningful personal project, though you may already feel as if you're at full capacity… and not a matter of vying for superiority with a perceived threat or rival. All this advice, Libra, is not to discredit whatever feelings you may have related to this certain somebody. Hate their guts for all I care; just don't spend your precious passion on such negativity because, believe me, you won't feel like elevating your productivity levels after hurling hefty jabs (to their face, behind their backs, or in your head) for a while. In the end, you can judge how your conduct is transpiring based on whether you're feeling (1) mean and petty or (2) disciplined and wise.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): If you've got romance on the brain (a little or a lot), then I say, Indulge it. More properly, take on the initiator-instigator role. Mars's current situation in your solar 7th is fantastic for pushing buttons, which works just as well for getting someone interested as it does for pissing 'em off. Don't confuse the flow of the exchange, though—you are establishing the dynamic more strongly than the other person. And when we throw in the other astro-influences, Scorpio, it becomes clear that shock value is the smartest game you can play. Off-the-wall comments, sexy outfits and an unusually forward attitude will get the cuties all riled up. Knowing that you're working a slightly naughty, more-than-slightly unruly attitude this week, you might as well skip the perfectly polite pretty-boys or prim-and-proper prisses… and head straight for the rowdier dudes or outrageous chicks. Subtlety is an approach that'll be totally wasted in this context. Let it all hang out, even your most lascivious leanings. The worst thing likely to happen is a colorful verbal sparring, in which you both make wild statements that seek to make a public mockery out of each other—but ultimately all in good fun. To work this to its hilt, you must remember: Things won't get really hot unless you're willing to get your hands dirty. If it eases your OCD at all, remind yourself you can always wash 'em later.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This week's key to handling any and every bump in the road is keeping consistent physical habits. Stay rooted in your body, and remain perpetually aware of your commitments to certain mundane regularities… even if, all the while, you squirm for more marked excitement. Rather than ripping into someone who's annoying you straight away, check if you've eaten recently. Grab a PowerBar, then mull over the consequences for getting shit done that'll unfurl themselves as a result of letting 'em have it. As your blood sugar returns to healthy levels, you might find that you're now perfectly happy to release the petty crap and get back to more important matters. If you're feeling nervous or stressed, postpone the all-too-tempting meltdown and head thyself to the gym. About a mile into your run or fifty pounds of cold hard weights later, the tension will have transmuted into bodily might… and you're once again ready to attack the pile of chores. And if you're about to burst into tears because enough is now officially enough, it's possible you just need a nap. Don't underestimate the basics, Sagittarius. Through the filter of exhaustion, things can take on a weepier tone. But just because I began this scope with the recommendation to keep consistent habits, that doesn't mean they must closely compare with anybody else's. Feel free to express your freedom-fighter side by choosing odd hours to eat, sleep or exercise. As long as you attend to all the fundamental building blocks of health on a daily basis, organize 'em however the heck you want.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): You'd better dig that 'Chatty Kathy' hat out of the very back of your dresser drawers. If you're open to playing the cards that the planets have dealt you, then, first and foremost, you can't hold 'em so close to your chest. While there have certainly been clear advantages to staying mum while watching the proceedings from the spectator's box, it's now time to make some uncensored remarks. After all, the friend who slipped up may have no clue that you're miffed… and you're doing nobody any favors by permitting resentment to build up, pinning a tight faux-smile over your lips to allegedly cover the tracks. And that guy or girl who makes you tremble when they approach, thanks to how badly you want to feel their skin against yours? This object of your desire may simply believe you're just shy (or, worse, chillier than a cold fish), rather than harboring a secret crush yet displaying none of the symptoms. For goodness sake, tell these people what you're thinking about 'em. How else, do you imagine, will they ever learn the truth? Unless, of course, you don't think they're worthy of the hassle on your part… in which case, that says a whole lot more about your lack of interpersonal generosity than their value. At its very worst, Capricorn is deemed a miserly sign, due to how much you're apt to hold back in order to protect your own interests. But what may work for practical matters or monetary concerns is not an effective strategy for managing relationships (and even the word 'managing' should be a red flag about the perils of excessive discipline or rationality in this context). Share what's recently gone unspoken, as a gesture of openness and engagement. Otherwise, folks will read into your blanks—and maybe even write you off, based on their assumptions about what you haven't said.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It's okay, in small doses, to shut yourself off from the outside world so you can get some personal work accomplished… and it doesn't much matter if that is interpreted to mean focusing on household projects, tackling a pile of paperwork you dragged in from the office, or sorting through your emotional disarray for a few organizing strains. Other people may, in fact, be just as much of a pain in your butt as you imagine they might be—who needs to them to add another layer of 'something I need to do', in the form of having to slap on a pretty face and pretend to be fully present? Let's be honest about it, anyhow, Aquarius: In defiant contrast to your manner, you're currently sporting an inability to obstruct the full view others have deep into your soul. That is, they will know just how hunky-dory (or not so much) you're feeling inside, merely by looking. That usual distance you can keep, without trying? Not far enough to obscure your moods. Yet, as long as you feel their eyes on you, penetrating into your walls and posing unasked questions about why exactly you're where you're at, it'll be hard to relax. Only once you get enough peace and quiet so you can actually ponder will you be able to untangle the crossed wires that've caught you mid-understanding for a few weeks. In this context, blocking out too much unnecessary social activity—for your own internal well-being—is a small price to pay.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Goody gumdrops, Pisces, for this is one of the best weeks I've seen for you in a long time for attracting yourself a lot of attention—and using it to self-consciously set the agenda for all your social interactions, including those with the possibility of being romantic (or moving a relationship 'to the next level'). Even if it involves you shouting across a crowded room, climbing onto stages and acting zany, you're missing out if you don't insist upon being noticed on your terms. If you're too careless, you can too easily become one of those souls who sympathetically melds into whatever scene you find yourself… drinking a certain drink or wearing the appropriate clothes to appeal to those who appeal to you, which is, in the end, a strategy that eventually backfires once you get tired of aping others' lifestyles. Indeed, as we speak, that would perhaps be your least favorable approach to getting yourself out in the mix. This should be another week that's all about letting loose, and not stopping to wonder what people might be thinking. The ones who matter will let their reactions to you be known. And should you encounter any grumpy party-poopers, be sensitive to their torment (without, of course, permitting it to drag you down.) Don't get mad—give 'em a hug.