Horoscopes | Week of July 23-29, 2007

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This Week's Golden Rule #1: It's not safe to assume anything about what your pals or co-workers are thinking. A potentially blinding square from your ruler Mars to Neptune can make it way too easy to project your own self-interest onto others' silences (not intentionally, of course), leading you to conclude they approve of what you want to do. Though it might make you feel silly to go out of your way to confirm their opinions on 'obvious' matters, you should double-check that everyone's on board with the same directives. If you really want to know what's happening inside their heads (and I sincerely hope you do, since it definitely impacts how your interactions will go down), then I recommend asking what they think—then attentively listening to their feedback. This Week's Golden Rule #2: Be especially open to taking in any nuts-and-bolts suggestions your peers offer you—without taking 'em personally. If you shut down because you start to feel criticized, you will miss out on information that can help you work smarter, whether it's on job-related projects or your own personal health and well-being. Because, as I mentioned in Rule #1, your perception skills are little whacked, you sincerely cannot know for sure what their underlying attitudes toward you may be. And since that's the case, why not assume they're generously looking out for you (as opposed to, say, correcting you as a way to 'get a dig in'? Or if you can't be that trustfully magnanimous, then think of it this way: Who cares why they're telling you what they are? Take the insight for what it's worth, and politely ignore any personal issues that may be attached… no matter if they're actually there or you've merely mistakenly invented them yourself.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Just keep doing your thing, exactly as you'd like to do it, with as little compromise as you can get away with (that is, without being rude or purposely dismissive)… then let it hang out there. What happens next is out of your hands, in terms of the responses you get. If you don't stick with that program (i.e., releasing the need to try managing their reactions), you may end up getting back in your own damn way by refusing to grant them their freedom. If you can believe this, Taurus, the most challenging part for you could prove to be accepting the recognition being thrown your way, with the grace and gratitude required. 'Are they praising the wrong person?' you might wonder. 'Have they mistaken me for someone else more qualified, smarter, prettier, thinner, less [whatever]?' Do not question it. Too often, we are the last to learn about our own high value to others—and it takes an outsider (or several outsiders) pointing it out, before we're willing to accept that we are indeed worthy. However, if you refuse the glory outright or start picking their compliment apart with conditions and exceptions, you'll actually insult those who are showing you such great respect. How fucking rude would you be then?!? You mustn't succumb to poor manners, just because your modesty routine won't allow you to take in positive feedback. For goodness sake, let them celebrate you.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Home really is where the heart is… or at least where it should feel its most nurtured and safe, if you're treating the concept of 'home' with its proper respect. This would be a really great week to revisit your relation to your home, whether it's the place you're currently residing or the house in which you were raised or the town that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, so you can better appreciate all that it's provided you. A generous expenditure of appreciation is in order. If the folks you think of as beloved parents or caregivers are around and available, they'd sure sparkle at any gesture you can offer in acknowledgment of the love they instilled in you. Whatever good feelings you have about yourself (and we've all got the good and the bad), they came directly from someone teaching you to value yourself. Now's a chance to return that favor. Of course, much of this reflection on home might be carried out alone, internally, and hopefully wrapped up in the cozy creature comforts of your own making. And whatever you can do to add to the comfortableness of home, well, do it, Gemini… except if it involves a ridiculously unnecessary impulse buy. Will it really make your home that much more special and rewarding… or will you forget about this decadent indulgence a few weeks from now? A quick glance at your checkbook should be enough to bring you down to earth. But if it isn't, please be warned it's a terrible time for making expensive purchases. (If you can grab a steal of a deal at some secondhand shop or going-out-of-business sale, that's a different story.) So on top of all the sentimental reasons to appreciate your sanctuary and thus spend more time there, I have one more good one: It's cheaper to stay home, and there's plenty to keep you occupied.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): On the one hand, you're holding a more comprehensive awareness of just what you're feeling than you have in a long time… or at least I hope you are. (If you're not, I must confess, I believe you're under the spell of some heavy-duty wishful self-delusion.) This puts you in a great position for articulating the moral core that underscores why you've taken a stance toward certain individuals (or, more properly, certain behaviors of theirs), in perhaps your clearest manner yet. In a rare instance, you actually possess the right words to describe a fairly complex emotional climate. And to a large degree, the gumption you model in actually putting language to it can serve as inspiration to the many folks around you who don't even try to describe their feelings, since it's often so difficult that many quit before they've gotten very far. From this perspective, you should see yourself as a leader. However, on the other hand, who you're sharing these prized disclosures with makes all the difference… for while a broader set of friends or peers may be inspired by your choice to speak out, they don't actually need to know the intimate details of your attitudes toward the particular individuals in question. In other words, beware of turning your private dispute with someone into a nationally televised news story. Drawing more and more characters into the drama, under the auspices of 'venting' (when 'gossiping' might be more accurate), won't get it resolved any faster. If anything, it'll make it even harder to find peace—and gives this other person a strong case against you. Do the 'working it out' part person-to-person and face-to-face, maintaining discretion with the personal specifics.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Maneuvering my way through the astro-weather of your week, Leo, I can't escape seeing the potential threat of somebody exaggerating his or her worth. Now, is that person you… or someone else who's got your attention? Are you the exaggerator, or the one being subjected to exaggeration? Out in the world, nobody likes a guy or gal who talks a big game, but cannot back up the claims. And this week, the possibility of some unfavorable result unfolding (maybe not right away, however) increases hugely, if bold-faced promises (or promises of promises) are being offered in an attempt to get something (money, probably) from an important person. So if we're assuming that you are the candidate likeliest to stretch the truth—even if your intentions aren't dishonest, but you get caught in a moment and your mouth runs away from you—then please keep your name-dropping and ego-boasting in double-check. If you aren't exactly accurate, they will call your bluff… sooner or later. (Plus, on the off chance it was on your mind, this is not the right time to ask for a raise. Hold off until October.) Now, if we flip the situation and go with the version that someone else is playing the puffer-upper… well, then, I'd advise you not to swallow the line they're towing, at least not without reserving full judgment or commitment for later. You may well be under the influence of a very persuasive character who'd be happy to sell you a box of Tinker-Toys and tell you it's the Brooklyn Bridge. (After the check clears, they'll probably say: 'Oh, you must've misunderstood me. I said you could build your own Brooklyn Bridge with what I was selling…') Just as you shouldn't paint your self-portrait unrealistically, nor should you believe the amazing technicolor dreams being so movingly outlined to you, just because their story sounds convincing—especially if you're being expected to pony up some cash to bankroll the next stage. I'm not saying there's nothing worth exploring. Just don't presume the best-case scenario is the one that'll occur. Be discriminating, even if it costs you some time.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This is it, my fine Virgoan lads and lasses… the week that Venus stands still and shifts it into reverse ('retrograde', as we astro-folks call it) in your sign. Big deal, indeed. You've heard me mention this here before, so perhaps you're somewhat prepared. Let me add a few Virgo-specific details, since I know how much your bunch loves the specifics. (1) Venus retrograde is notorious for dredging up old flames, either to reopen a book you thought was already closed or to remind you why you've since changed your reading material. Sure, there really might be unfinished business between the two of you—or are you just asking for more trouble? The answer isn't necessarily clear at this moment, but, as long as you're not betraying commitments made to others, a little experiential testing isn't such a bad thing. Just keep it in perspective. (2) If someone wholly new shows up in your life, go ahead and enjoy the thrills… for what they currently are, not what you imagine they might be later. Haven't I already warned you that this story won't fully unfold for weeks to come? (3) The longer-term backdrop to what's immediately transpiring is the ongoing transit of disruptive Uranus through your 7th house, which rules one-on-one relationships. Uranus, incidentally, doesn't build anything—instead, he likes to shake up and/or destroy, just to make sure we're living our most exciting, enlightened and liberated existence. Even if no external figures (familiar or brand-new) arrive to raise the issue of reevaluating what matters most in relationship, you're still at a moment to be asking yourself those questions anyhow. And whatever's not working for you needs to be tossed out the moving car's window and left for the orange-vested cleanup crew. Come September, you're entering a Saturn-dominated period of getting serious about using your limited time and energies wisely. This is your prep phase. Whatever you do now will make your work that much easier (or not) in the months to come.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Everyone loves a good mystery, right? Actually, most people don't. The not-knowing can be torture, for sure. And yet, when it comes to the realm of unspoken sparks cracklin' and poppin' between you and someone (or 'someones' plural) else, sometimes figuring it out and pinning a single particular meaning onto the cryptic dynamic actually smothers the flames. In fact, sometimes it's better to leave the mystifying passion as it is (at least temporarily)… so it can continues to thicken the air between you, allowing the what-ifs to dangle, uncomplicated by actual carryings-on. The air currently surrounding you, Libra, is dense with possibilities—though, by the definition of 'mystery', you shouldn't expect to understand what it's all about (or even exactly where it's coming from). Like a kid's 'secret admirer' guessing game, the fun is in reflecting on different potential scenarios, with your romantic visions left to run wild without necessarily affecting reality in this immediate moment. But though you needn't go on a hunt for the source of the emanating excitement, it certainly wouldn't hurt to put yourself out on the line (on the psychic-energetic level, if not literally)… to see who might take a bite. When things feel like they're intensifying in a given interaction, dwell in the ambiguity, rather than asking direct questions that force the other person to define the situation before they may be ready. Leave it all open. The attractions that develop could be rather surprising—and where they may be headed is truly anybody's guess.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Of all weeks, this is not the one for getting careless with your emotional outbursts. I know I spend quite a bit of column space urging you away from conflict, snippiness and the like… when the truth is that Scorpios do help the rest of us deal with our crap by being 'difficult', drawing out our own difficult parts and forcing us to engage with 'em. However, there are times when this approach is likelier to backfire—and this is one of 'em. If you lose control when lashing out at a friend or loved one, you just might risk the whole relationship. With Venus going retrograde and Mars in your 7th house, you're liable to receive entirely different reactions from others—more venom? less patience? a willingness to walk away?—than you've come to expect. And even if the resulting problem doesn't end up being permanent, it may well drag on much longer than it usually would (or certainly longer than you would like). In short, there are major consequences for sloppiness, Scorpio. Now, don't take this mean you absolutely can't confront somebody, if you have a real gripe that needs to be dealt with. Disagreements that require some processing need not devolve into a fight, especially if you go into it with clarity and consciousness. But you must stick to the main point, without veering into the frontiers of unpoliced no-man's-land. (No bringing up ancient history. No taking potshots that you know will hit 'em deep. No menacing eye contact or body language.) If you must negotiate your differences, be civil. Otherwise, you'll be sorry you didn't.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): I'm going to tell you right now that all the 'obvious signs' are not as obvious as they may appear. It may well walk like a duck and quack its little tail-feathers right off… and end up proving itself to be a smartly disguised platypus with a extra-prominent (though misleading) duck's bill. That said, you mustn't succumb to wild reactions over what seems like self-evidently 'good' or 'bad' news, particularly in the professional or public-community realm. In either case, it's not necessarily all that it declares itself to be. And you can forget asking anybody else, such as your next-level-up supervisor or your well-connected colleague, to assist you in finding more clarity about the circumstances. It's no use—they don't have the clarifying data either. The likeliest outgrowth of initial information being disseminated now is not exactly a foregone conclusion. You can only respond to the immediate (and inherently limited) direction being indicated, and take it from there. The hardest part, Sagittarius, is to continue plugging along on the day-to-day stuff, maintaining consistent habits every step of the way… without letting these new (and partial) revelations rattle your concentration too disruptively. They might hint at the fact you're getting a major promotion or being phased right out of the office, and still you've got to show up to work and keep at the same familiar methods as if nothing happened. That's because nothing has happened to excuse you from these duties. (For those few of you that have legitimately been excused, I beg your pardon.) I may be a bit hard of hearing, but I don't hear the fat lady singing just yet…


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): There's a lot of action going down in the zone of romance—especially insofar as you are the aggressor or instigator—so it's high time to start working your love mojo more boldly than ever. The vibes you're giving off suggest to others, whether you're aware of it or not, you're looking for some thrilling involvements that'll put you out on the line (and get you out of your damn head!). To that extent, it would be good to indulge the 'escapist' tendencies inherent to the week's Mars-Neptune square, in that you usually err on the side of overly practical… at the expense of your own pleasure. (Ding-dong! That's pleasure ringing your doorbell. Please let it in.) By following this revitalizing itch, rather than continuing to hold yourself back for all those 'responsible' (joy-depleting) reasons, you will also help yourself revaluate some of the ethical codes you live by, which often serve to persuade you it's better to strive for preposterously high standards than to allow yourself the humanity to have a little light fun. (Did you follow all that? I know it was a long friggin' sentence.) Sometimes, living so purely by principles—which may be more arbitrary than you want to admit—merely swaps out the trial-and-error experimentation of daily life for a watertight dreariness. Go on and chase the adventure of love… whether it means brazenly pursuing a certain someone, stirring up the magic in an already-simmering brew, or recommitting to the wacky world of dating, for all the peaks and valleys that come with it. As long as you behave in a manner that represents who you really are, you won't lose your wits—and you won't jeopardize your hard-earned integrity.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You should already be in the act of forgiving yourself for being unable to get a comfortable distance from your emotions. If not, start. Though you might prefer to exist on the upper echelons of cosmic awareness, in terms of grasping the aerial-view understanding of our combined purpose as a vital rainbow of humanity… on the mundane level, you're still stuck in this burping, farting body that sometimes dares to deliver its messages in the form of feelings that cannot be reasoned through, may stand in your path to that calm-and-cool 'higher consciousness', and at times hurts like hell. [Excuse me a moment while I maniacally weep my eyes out in solidarity with my Aquarian brethren. God, what a friggin' mess!] Let's face it—this earthly life is full of misery and heartache, which we only get at through totally crass, wretched and unevolved displays of our lack of reasonable perspective that accompanies being totally 'in it'. And yet, without all that jazz, the amazing high of breaking through is an impossible dream (or, in more standard Aquarian terms, 'a mere intellectual exercise'). This is a large part of what we're here to do. Otherwise, we'd be out dimension-hopping with the Pleiadeans or attending some other such intergalactic gala. So though you might seem rather bonkers to those around you, there's a beautiful silver lining to these storm clouds. To the right people, who can be as close-up and in-your-face as you let 'em, that crazy look in your eyes will be a huge turn-on (whether romantically, sexually or in a deep-friendship kind of way). The funny thing? There's nothing more human than behaving out of your element, pulled by an emotional tow that trumps anything your brilliant mind can create to try talking yourself out of it. When you share that part of yourself, shame-free and snot dripping from your nose, authentic individuals will respect your bravery—and adore you for it. (But just wait 'til they see your more aloof side resurface…)


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Everything you thought you knew about relationships? Toss it out the window… or at least temporarily suspend your belief that you know what's going on. You'll find that it's far more intriguing to leave the possibilities open, though it may require admitting you were wrong. But what the hell, right? This message is being brought to you courtesy of Venus, who's chosen to go retrograde in your house of relationships (the 7th)… to spur you to reexamine what you think of as the most important qualities to foster in your one-on-one interpersonal bonds. As a Piscean, I'm sure you're quite accustomed to the notion of falling for someone because of their true essence… the beautiful soul, beneath the surface-level garbage, that few people see. That is a gorgeous quality in you. You then may come up with ways you might be able to help bring out this best self in them, due to how much love and attention you're willing to lavish in support of their growth. A valiant notion—and also where so many Pisceans go wrong. Let's flip it, and pose the scenario another way: What if you only fed and fostered love with people who are already living at a fairly evolved level (or at least not way below you)… and instead of worrying about how you might be able to support their growth, you are able to use their maturity and wisdom to bolster your own development? What if they helped pull you up, instead of you having to do all the pulling? These are just open-ended questions, of course, and if they don't speak to you, so be it. Let me point out, though, the admission you might've been wrong before is a small price to pay for rediscovering the joys of love (without the headache of taking on boyfriends or girlfriends as 'improvement projects')—though the love may be with someone other than who you'd originally thought.