Horoscopes | Week of August 18-24, 2014

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In recent weeks, I believe I've done an adept job of sufficiently warning you against the sharp, strong, and potentially incendiary edge you're lately wielding, Aries, thanks to Mars-in-your-8th… coupled with just enough 5th-house action to bloat your bravado to boisterously self-secure levels. It's a 'winning' combo insofar as you're even likelier than usual to play to win, which is exactly why you continue flirting with the possibility of going too far. And this week, with Mars moving into a conjunction with Saturn, any undesirable ramifications from such overreachings will be prone to running deeper, lasting longer, and causing more effort to undo than at other times—a compelling reason, in itself, for one more warning. Yet, the positive flip-side of this same situation also applies: If you are trying to honorably get to the root of a stubborn problem, earnestly connect with someone on the level of true unfiltered intimacy, and/or competently clear the psychic slate of burdensome intertwinements, this astrology can really get the job done. Actions taken toward such ends (or similar ones) will create serious ripples of consequence, impacting the situation with unflappable efficacy and changing it forever. So, as long as you're really sure about what needs to happen to either intensify a commitment or firmly limit its sway over you, then this is an extremely potent moment for taking that decisive step into or out of… knowing full well it may be an irrevocable one. With that in mind, please wisely discern between what's genuinely purposefully productive to the process—and what may be a needless ego-flourish motivated by pride or vengeance.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I'm not sure there's much more, if anything, left to 'lay on the line' with that certain someone, Taurus. You would have to be even more patient and risk-averse than your sign's thought to be if you've managed to endure the current astrology without raising your concern, pressing your point, upholding your desire, and/or defending yourself against their wrong-ideas about you. So, you're presumably deep-in-the-trenches with such interpersonal matters (or you know too damn well that you're actively avoiding a matter-at-hand), and all the pertinent issues should be abundantly clear (if not to the other party, due to your stubborn reluctance to 'go there', then surely to yourself). What you're seeing now, then, is what's there between you. Despite the dramatic nature of what I've said thus far, though, a good number of you will be spying reassuring signs in an important relationship… a testament, naturally, to your having consistently prioritized its importance over other priorities, when sometimes it would've been more convenient not to deal with the snags and snarls. Plenty of others among you, however, may be hitting the wall of diminishing returns. The fights have already been fought, but nobody ever wins. Your problems have been raised, yet nothing seems to get functionally addressed. Your discontent remains, only each passing day turns you either more angry or more resigned. In such cases, now is an ideal time to let that increasing anger emerge, for it speaks your truth in this relationship; squelch it, and you're signing on for increasing resignation instead, a self-sanctioned purgatory you're unlikely to derive much relational satisfaction from. This is presently your most important life-work: to settle for nothing less than unflinching honesty in any one-on-one relationship that matters, even if the process of getting there hurts, and even if the ultimate outcome isn't pretty.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The natural effects from your relative industriousness or slack are likely coming home to roost, Gemini… though, if you've veered more toward the 'slack' side, it's probably not too late to remedy your inactivity with a counterbalancing intensity-of-productive-focus like nothing we've seen from you in a long while. In the lives of you industrious ones, I suspect the gratifying rewards of your diligence are fairly obvious: You're probably getting a whole bunch of stuff done, working more smartly or efficiently, and/or feeling better connected to your body's rhythms, thanks to the respect you've recently shown it. The key to such cumulative rewards, as I've told you countless times in the last two years, is firmly rooted in the habits you keep. If you are seeing progress (whether just in the past month-or-so or over a longer time-scale), they are not quantum-leaps as much as gradual improvements made from an ongoing series of small decisions. Meanwhile, the problems some of you may be confronting in your day-to-day work or your bodily well-being, with ever-increasing aggravation, are also rooted in your habits—energy-wasting or health-depleting habits with negative impacts, which your resistance to addressing is causing to cumulatively worsen. Symptoms include poor time management, a nagging sense that all you do is spin your wheels, lethargy or anxiety (two sides of the same coin, oddly), and/or a general discomfort with the laws and limits of the physical plane. This is a powerful pivot-point in your habit-fed evolution: Make the changes now, one step today and the next tomorrow, or the undesirable aspects of your everyday existence threaten to crystallize to an eventual irreversibility.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Progress-report time: Are you doing more of the things in life you really want to do than you were two years ago, or feeling increasingly frustrated at how few things are happening as you'd like them? Are your circumstances more self-determined, or more dependent on others' will? Are you sharing more of your genuine self freely and openly, or working overtime to minimize the appearance of any 'unlikable' (ahem) qualities? Your answers to these questions, Cancer, will tell us a lot about how seriously you've taken your Saturn-in-the-5th work since late 2012… and, during this telling moment as Mars moves to conjoin Saturn, you've got an obvious shot at either (1) celebrating this hard-fought accomplishment by proudly, brazenly engaging in gleeful expressions of preference and pleasure, just because this is what you're moved to do and that's finally a good enough reason for you, and/or (2) decidedly expressing your righteous upset at doing anything other than this former option, not in a reactionary fashion but in a proactive move to finally right this self-imposed wrong. If your current situation makes this latter option a necessity, please realize you are fighting for your right to enjoy your life—any interpretation less dramatic than that is just underplaying the importance. You needn't wage the whole war this week (for such a sensational overthrow in such a short time may be unrealistic), but you ought to at least form a long-haul commitment to see it through. Demonstrating your willingness to forego an easy benefit or gain on behalf of true-heartedness would be an awesome start.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Critical maneuvers in the battle for uncompromised reign over your inner world have been taking place over the recent weeks, Leo, as you've found yourself face-to-face with whatever ingrained emotional complexes (and the legendary parent/parent-type character(s) who implanted them in you) have unfortunately worked against your ability to attain calm self-contentment all these years. And with the planets so assuredly on your side, I have little doubt you're now emerging into a gloriously victorious stance unlike any you've held (at least in quite some time). But for your own clearest conscience, it's just as critical you deliver any punches in a manner that reduces the potential for future re-entanglements, rather than continues to build up psychological resistance or resentment. From your relative (though necessarily fleeting) position at the top of the world, it's way too easy to carelessly lord your present advantage over those who've 'done you wrong', to enforce punishing retaliations, and/or to smugly blame without stretching into empathy. Such tactics will not neutralize your inner turmoil, merely flip the roles you occupy while replaying a similar script. You don't need to kick anybody to build yourself up—you're already pretty up at the moment. Besides, the best 'revenge' is coming to sincerely and passionately understand the hurt behind their 'wrong-doings'… while responsibly deciding not to participate in the dynamic that enables them to continue.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): As the week develops, I predict your grip on the conversation now unfolding in your immediate environment will become increasingly firm and confident, Virgo. Though you may have long held faith that you'd know exactly what to say in a circumstance such as this, you finally get your golden chance to put it out there into the public discourse. Your motive for doing so, incidentally, is probably some amalgam of (1) sincere care for producing precise, accurate results, (2) a helpful drive to open other players' eyes to preferred methods and/or to spark their critical-thinking into action, and (3) a self-expressive desire to demonstrate how good you are at this sort of thing… and, for the record, none of these motives are unseemly or inappropriate. However, it is important to consciously take into account all aspects of your complex motive-matrix, in order to foster the most effective transmission of your ideas—with the least amount of involuntary circumscribing or monopolizing of the conversation. You must acknowledge the personal pride behind your insistence to be heard, or you'll be feigning a detachment that's not fully authentic. You must own that you're trying to teach others something you know, or a potentially condescending educative tone could creep unaware into your words. And, of course, you've got to admit that, though the results may take precedence over catering to sensitive personalities, those results will only matter if you can enlist others' support for the findings. In other words, the results don't 'speak for themselves'; you've got to speak for them. If you aren't able to accept this responsibility, you are the one whose 'sensitive personality' is complicating the conversation.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): For you this week, Libra, I'm thinking self-preservation above all else. This is probably not your best time for yet another daring reach beyond what you're certain you can competently do—especially in light of how many months leading up to this moment were so much about pushing yourself to be more outwardly assertive and me-driven. It'd be pragmatically shrewder to take stock of what's in your coffers right here and now, to remind yourself of what you've already earned, both for an accurate inventory and a self-worth-strengthening. Not every moment, after all, is a favorable opportunity to reach for more. But, gosh, look at what you do have! If that glance raises specters of discontent or discouragement, alas, you've got to look at that, too. If you're underperforming on the self-preservation level, it cuts to the sad heart of what you believe you deserve (or don't deserve) as a factor of your efforts. That's not a 'blaming the victim' spiel, by the way, merely recognition of the fact that certain baseline expectations of our own market-value will necessarily inform how that market values us. (Example: How many people do you know who get paid more than they think they're worth?) It is totally acceptable, I should mention, to consciously decide such material concerns aren't a top priority for you. If that's your story, just be prepared to live it—without self-defeating complaints that you don't have enough, when you've claimed not to care so much. Self-preservation also involves holding true to your self-determined priorities, regardless of how others may perceive your financial judgment-calls.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): What have your past four weeks been like, Scorpio, since the arrival of Mars totally shifted the script you'd been living for all those long purgatorial months preceding? Rather than offer you my judgments on what's happened and what it represents in your wider life-narrative, I'd prefer you to do the judging, in honor of this week's Mars-Saturn conjunction in your sign. It should be no surprise to any regular astrology-watcher that you've been under tightened self-regulatory watch since Saturn first entered your sign back in October 2012, cornered into finding the most ideally balanced and deliberate expression for your Scorpio energy: not too blindly wildly intense, not too fearfully repressively inhibited. By this point, most of you have already refined your game (probably under duress or a real threat of retribution) and grown more confident in who you are (and who you aren't)… or you've suffered consequences from either excessive emotional volatility or insincere robot-like acquiescence. Now, let's draw the distinct parallel between this macro-level trend ('up your game, or face consequences') and the micro-level specifics of whatever current circumstances are being immediately impacted by how you choose to put yourself forth. You know these specifics far better than I could. Do they demonstrate how you've matured? Are you wielding your intense power responsibly? Are you considering longer-term impacts, not just a moment's surge in passion? If so, you are reaping the fruits of your earnest self-development efforts. If instead you are facing a come-to-Jesus collision with whatever personal work you've resisted taking on (e.g., the cultivation of self-restraint, the unpacking of submerged desires, etc.), you are responsible for this pickle you're in, and please let this be your rock-bottom epiphany. It's rarely too late to turn a ship around… but if your ship needs turning, this is the time.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): To be totally frank, Sagittarius, the current astrology is profoundly about discerning which shit is yours—and which decidedly isn't. But sometimes, in the heat of a moment when it feels like your principles are being questioned or a hot-button issue is triggered, it can be much harder to conduct this discernment than you might immediately realize. Amidst the exacerbating noise thundering all around you, your best approach for seeking that discernment must almost certainly include a substantial dose of alone time, removed from the dubious questioners and triggering issues, affording you a shot at calming down and allowing additional perspectives on the situation to gradually emerge. While it could strike you as submissive or cowardly to pass up a chance to defend your integrity and/or fight for what you believe, you, at the same time, just can't be sure that you're actually being doubted, discredited, or attacked in quite the manner you feel you are. And if I were you, I'd much rather pass up the scuffle than risk waging an unconsciously one-sided war the other party isn't even engaged with. Even if what you're perceiving in the heated moment is accurate, you still might gain a fuller understanding of the real battle-at-hand (which may hold such a psychic charge for you because it's been going on far longer than this piddling microcosm-of-the-bigger-situation that's presently transpiring) by stepping back and sitting with your uncomfortable responses. You cannot rescind a carelessly lobbed shot, once you discover you aimed at the wrong target or hit yourself in the damn foot. It's on you to keep yourself out of trouble; the appearance of trouble coming at you from the outside is but an optical illusion, albeit a scary one.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Shaky alliances may not be worth the teeth-gritting and discomfort-bearing evidently required to hold 'em together, Capricorn… especially at a time when those bonds in which you're investing your companionable energies are the ones likeliest to endure, in whatever form is the logical evolution of the dynamics you're now experiencing. Staying 'in bed' with folks (whether as close-chums or even just loosely affiliated) who couldn't tolerate you fully speaking your mind on certain issues dear to your heart will, over time, crystallize in you a sense of mistrust or disappointment in 'people in general'—when, in fact, it's really just a matter of your having settled for a life full of untrustworthy or disappointing people. (Matter of clarification: You don't have to be agreed with to be accepted by others in your fullness, just listened to and respected for your individuality.) But this astrology is not merely about letting undesirable social-contacts fall by the wayside. It's just as effective and influential moment for proactively fostering, strengthening, and cementing friendships and connections with those people who've shown a lot of promise, sincerity, and dedication to covering your back. These are the rare folks who get your wry jokes and dry sarcastic delivery… who you don't have to watch every mouthy opinion around… who will tell you when they like or don't like something, but don't expect you to change on their account… and who, at the end of the day, you'd want on your team, should you be charged with a project or stuck on a desert island together. Who feeds your confident authenticity, and who detracts from it? Act accordingly.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Taking charge of your public destiny sometimes involves asserting non-negotiable intentions, making unpopular decisions, and drawing impenetrable boundaries… not because you're being a tyrannical jackass, Aquarius, but in unwavering stewardship over the responsibilities you've been charged with and/or the personal ambitions you cherish. Though this is not new news, after nearly two years of Saturn's insistence that you 'get real' with what you're trying to accomplish professionally and/or out in the world, the pressure to strive harder-than-ever toward your goals and/or accept the increasingly evident need for a course-correction is hitting an urgent point. You've realized just how much strength-of-character it requires to sustain your hard-earned success, to further your position only in those directions appropriate to your interests and talents, and to say no to the rest. In large part, that's because your personally rightful actions in this arena could well displease other people, disappointing their expectations or leaving them scratching their heads, perplexed by their inability to comprehend what's driving you. While you're not typically seen as someone whose behaviors are meant to get people to like you, you do take your worldly obligations to other people pretty seriously… and you could find it torturous to 'let them down' (whether they are real individuals or theoretical mind-creations), even if it's what you must do to be the most honorable steward of your responsible nature. So, please swallow the possibility that some folks will not like a professional or public choice you must make… and may, in fact, not like you (as a result of their immaturely taking it personally). Reasonable people, however, ought to be able to respect where you're coming from, if they actually care to understand the position you're in.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): This present astrology is pushing powerfully—maybe even painfully—against whatever self-limiting beliefs would convince you to suck up the moral compromises, deflating disillusionments, or unfulfilling resignations which leave you dreading that meaningless and/or uninteresting quality to your days. Should you be living such a drab day-to-day existence, Pisces, I promise you it's not an inescapable result of circumstances, but merely a failure of vision and imagination. Those of you who are engaged in traversing the vastness of what's personally possible—though it may take you far from the experiences and perspectives by which you were raised, though it may demand continual self-encouragement due to how hard some of the steps are, though it may often feel like you haven't a damn clue what you're doing and yet you must keep pushing forward anyhow—rightly understand that the journey never hits a dead-end as long as you refuse to settle at a deadening destination. But you who are still caught in stories which position you as a passive victim of situations beyond your control (though you may have sincerely suffered, and needed some time to lick your wounds) are now being pressured to turn the page already… to forge off onto whatever self-expanding voyage will provide fodder for a different story, to affirm the life-giving truth that there's always something new to see and touch, something new to learn which could change the whole trajectory of your life, if you're open to allowing such a thing. You have to actively sign on for exploring this big world, or your world will only get smaller and smaller.