Horoscopes | Week of November 16-22, 2015

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you expect to be taken seriously (and/or to win), Aries, you'll have to make sure there's a consistency-of-logic to whatever viewpoint you're espousing. You won't convince or impress anyone by putting forth a strongly-worded opinion or belief as if it's self-evident, objectively true, and/or requiring no further explanation. To earn another person's respect, regardless of whether or not they end up agreeing with you, you must be willing and able to lay out a coherent argument over the course of an extended exchange… complete with clarifying details to help bridge any unfamiliarities, confessional anecdotes about how you arrived at your conclusion, and a fair acknowledgment that others' dissimilar experiences might justifiably yield contrasting perspectives. As long as you can maintain that attitude, you'll make a very good case for yourself (which, for the record, doesn't necessarily mean everybody else will bend over backwards in concordance). However, losing your temper, treating the holder of a differing view as an ignorant fool, and/or dashing away from a contentious interaction as if you don't have time to back up your position with conversational thoroughness will only disrupt your dynamics with that person, as they suddenly rethink their opinion of you.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Before you go 'all the way there', Taurus, please ask yourself whether such an escalation will position you in the particular level of psychological engagement you actually seek… or whether it might invite a relational consequence you'd prefer to avoid. If, for example, you're trying to curb the intensity or extent of your contact with a certain individual, it probably doesn't serve your interests to lob a provocative shot that essentially demands a response from them and, consequently, continued intertwinement. Conversely, if you'd like to up the intimacy with a special someone, you should aim to be vulnerably honest about what's really going on with you. Otherwise, they'll sense you're not sharing some significant aspect of yourself, and fairly assume you aren't interested in becoming more intimately acquainted. Whatever the case, imbue every important exchange with the same relative depth of emotion you wish to foster from that particular association. Want firmer boundaries or lots of space? Communicate that way. Hope to grow closer or solidify a connection? Put more of yourself into what you say. One possible befuddling influence: worrying too much about what other people outside the situation (e.g., mutual friends) might think, a distraction from properly understanding your own psychological motives, and proceeding accordingly.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): This is a good moment for you to put your all into establishing a dialogue, opening that critical conversation you know you need to have, and/or concentrating more of your mental energy toward reinvigorating your rapport with an important someone, Gemini. Though the content might not be uniformly cheery or chipper (if, that is, you're not attempting to gloss over the ins and outs of your reality), the very act of demonstrating a desire to express care and connectedness will go a long long way. Be quite suspicious of yourself and/or your investment in this certain relationship, alas, if your first response to this horoscope is to claim you're too busy with work or other public-world demands to find sufficient time for such (re)connection. As far as this relationship's concerned, you'll only get as much as give… and by prioritizing other concerns over it, you are surely sending a message. That said, you likely do have other pressing priorities to simultaneously consider which cannot ignored, just as they mustn't be used as an excuse to bail on someone you care for (or at least did care for, once upon a time). To strike the right balance, you've got to properly honor your worldly responsibilities—and, at the same time, leave space to conspicuously devote yourself to the companions who matter most.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Please think realistically about your day-to-day business, Cancer, rather than jumping to careless conclusions based more on idealized imaginings than concrete results. You simply do not have the luxury of 'escaping' from your responsibilities, just because you may see the 'higher' value of an alignment more concerned with principle or purpose than with mundane bullshit like jobs, chores, bills, or other physical essentials. You've got to make some commonsensical decisions about how to most effectively attend to these practicalities, and soon. Yet, you mustn't get yourself into an ethical pickle either, ignoring your conscience in order to mindlessly soldier through… and ending up beholden to someone you don't respect or who doesn't respect you, contributing to an endeavor which betrays your beliefs, and/or selling your soul in some other manner likely to increasingly weigh on your character. Even if you must make certain sacrifices in the short-term, to accommodate immediate needs and/or help you weather ongoing bumps, you should remain acutely aware that's what you're doing—for self-sustenance or survival purposes—and firmly commit to readdressing this issue, as soon as you're able. Meanwhile, reserve some private realm that's wholly yours, where no such sacrifices or calculations are necessary and your emotional gratification is the first-and-only concern.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Strive to express your preferences, Leo, in a manner that doesn't sacrifice your potential for intimacy with someone who perhaps isn't as clear or confident or commanding a presence as you. However, your best intimacy-fostering solution definitely doesn't entail you pretending to be 'cool with whatever'. It can be admittedly tricky to be both unapologetically forthright about what you want and still emanate an openness to someone else's divergent interests, neither overpowering their voice nor pandering to 'em. But this is the interpersonal balancing-act I urge you to fiddle with throughout your week ahead… to keep yourself learning, through trial-and-error, the most effective level of compromise for simultaneously satisfying your personal desires and maintaining a sincere mutuality with those who matter most. You may be especially challenged in really hearing someone else's feedback if it disrupts an otherwise cheery vibe with serious questions or critical comments about the workability or prudence of an idea you're proudly batting around. Don't misread their earnest engagement or curiosity as a personal attack, insisting on your unwavering vision as if its very existence were at stake, at the expense of both creatively fruitful interactivity and a potential increase in relational trust.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Though it's not like you to lose control over your lips and let loose an unfiltered stream of blunt emotionally-charged sentiments, Virgo, you are presently under such a threat… especially if you allow your proud need to righteously express a strong opinion or desire overwhelm your faculties, after having a personal sensitivity triggered by a certain someone. This same threat also operates in reverse: Alternately, you could resist the obvious call to 'come out with it already', in emotionally-charged circumstances where your real truth is rather unambiguous but you're reluctant to speak it aloud out of 'concern' for the other person's feelings. Because we're talking about an applying Mercury-Saturn conjunction in your 4th, you must strive for the most responsible middle-road communications possible—not sloppy or crude or needlessly harsh, yet still uncompromisingly clear-cut and direct, unadorned with pussyfooted attempts to couch reality in wishful words or confusing indeterminacy. Mercury also squares a stationary Neptune-in-your-7th, indicating the potential for your thinking to become garbled by undue interpersonal influence, making it harder to articulate what's in your heart because you're too invested in someone else's possible reaction (whether real or imagined). Real truth doesn't veer this way or that based on who will or won't like it.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Even with Venus along for the ride, having Mars in your 1st is liable to contribute an unavoidable edge of strong-willed assertiveness to your general carriage, Libra… a fact I encourage you not to forget whenever casually speaking off the cuff, in light of Mercury simultaneously applying to conjoin Saturn in your house of day-to-day communications (the solar 3rd). Otherwise, the words which candidly describe exactly what you think, feel, or desire will gush forth from your mouth far more easily and emphatically than you'd ordinarily allow. (This could pose a particular problem if you offer suggestions or assurances before you've figured out how you'd actually follow through with them, or if it's even possible.) If you're trying to play it sly, hold your cards close to your chest, and/or let your thoughts emerge gradually over time, then, you'll have to work extra-hard to pull it off. Yet, if you're conspicuously seen to be biting your tongue, covering your tracks, or engineering your speech too carefully, you may provoke your listener to challenge you for more forthrightness. Be as plain and direct as you can, without ever losing control over your utterances. The moment you become emotionally affected beyond the capacity of this conversational diligence, your own reactivity will become your worst enemy—and your message will get garbled.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): It's definitely time to level with yourself, Scorpio, about your present financial circumstances… but, at the same time, not to allow the conclusions you draw to rouse a trigger-fingered corrective action. Even though you're under increased pressure to gaze unflinchingly at your existing economic outlook (rather than, say, cleverly imagining how it could be), both Venus and Mars remain in your 12th, an influence which (as we discussed last week) doesn't engender confidence in your present capacity to act with any assurance of reliable results. For now, this leveling-with-yourself is best done on the conceptual level first: There's a brewing tension (which will persist for many months ahead) between what you need to do for material reasons and what you want to do for personal fulfillment… between fiscal responsibility and creative inspiration. Neither consideration ought to be ignored or overvalued. The practical interests are more critical, not only because one might argue money is always more important than fulfillment (though one could also argue the opposite), but mainly due to Saturn's residence in your 2nd. But if you discredit Neptune-in-your-5th's call for greater personal pleasure and/or expression, you could end up successfully solvent but yearning for meaning or joy. Because this is such a significant balancing-act, that's why I discourage you from hastily deciding how best to handle it.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Perhaps you're familiar with me occasionally describing the Sagittarius condition as 'foot-in-mouth syndrome'? You Sagittarians are known for speaking exactly what's on your mind, no beating-around-the-bush… and then, when your blunt tone 'accidentally' rubs someone wrong or elicits ire, you open up from your initially-inciting statement into a broader discussion, where you (hopefully) win back favor from the doubters (even if you may still disagree) and/or concede your overgeneralized conclusion could probably use some fine-tuning. Though you're usually pretty adept at making this 'syndrome' work to your advantage, Sagittarius, I'd be less confident in your capacity to pull off the positive spin now, with Mercury in your sign hitting up against both Saturn and Neptune. You should be on high alert for moments when you might say too much too soon—without duly considering (1) whether your immediate intent in blurting this remark is in alignment with larger life-goals, or if it might actually work against them, and/or (2) whether you might be overlooking a subtler emotional need for peace, needlessly causing disruptive friction just to make a passing point. You needn't always voice your beliefs… especially when doing so might interfere with your efforts to live a life which more fully exemplifies them, beyond mere lip-service.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In an odd mix of astro-factors, you'll presently best embody that attention-grabbing leadership capability I encouraged you to model in last week's edition by showing impeccable restraint in all your public statements, Capricorn. In fact, it wouldn't be ridiculous to consider not saying anything of personal consequence or opinion at all… but rather to responsibly act as the facilitator of others' ideas being exchanged, serving a guardianship role on behalf of the relevant topic, endeavor, or institution-at-large. You'd want to come off, first and foremost, as a fair-minded participant—and, therefore, not as someone more invested in securing a victory for your own self-conceived styles or strategies than in arriving at what's best for the project or purpose at hand. Warning: There could be a thin line between (1) translating what one party is trying to say, in order to better relay it to another party, and (2) being seen as outright endorsing that party's message. While I don't recommend getting into any full-on debates about your particular stake in whatever's being discussed, it is probably a good idea to correct anybody's misperceptions, especially if they're assuming you tacitly agree with some sentiment just because you've repeated it aloud so more folks can hear it. Break the silence of your own opinions only if people are reading too much into it.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): With your eye on the bigger-picture, as it currently is (or ought to be), please prepare yourself for exposure to potentially disappointing, discouraging, or downright disturbing attitudes or inclinations to emerge from a certain sector of your community, team, or friend-group. That way, Aquarius, if and when the upsetting or offensive ideas do materialize, you'll be less likely to go overboard in your manner of arguing against them and/or indicting their promoter. I'm not convinced preaching your gospel, talking down to those you consider ignorant, or ripping apart anyone's moral character will reserve you a seat-of-honor at the high-road table. If anything, you'd merely be fighting their repugnancy with a different type of repugnant behavior: active disrespect for other humans who have as much a right to their beliefs as you do yours. This is not, however, me telling you to value all opinions as equally informed or ethically comparable… merely that you'll cheapen your opinion by not valuing all people when your adopt a condescending, know-it-all tone. It's far more powerful to respond with a calm, concise statement of disagreement—which preserves you a certain public dignity that ultimately serves your own interests—all while taking careful note of who the specific perpetrators of this ignorant garbage are, since they're clearly not your people.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): More people will hear you, Pisces, with more conviction emanating off you, and at a louder volume, than you might ordinarily expect. Don't take this responsibility too lightly, please, by assuming one questionable remark or supposedly off-the-record quip won't make too big an impact on your wider reputation. Those who see your current strivings as a direct threat to their spot (whether or not it's a valid concern) would only be too happy to spread word of your 'inappropriate' or 'unbecoming' conduct far and wide, if they feel it might help them to knock you down a peg or three. Due to a stationing Neptune-in-your-1st squaring off against a conjoining Mercury-and-Saturn, you may be especially vulnerable to others' unfair or inaccurate projections, distorting your innocent statement into something far darker or more sinister. To lessen this likelihood, treat all public communications with the utmost professionalism, as if all the folks who might have any critical stake in your next big achievement are listening to every damn word and judging you accordingly. This political diplomacy can never come second to the cold hard truth, though. If what you're expressing involves uncomfortable facts or tense dynamics which must be called out, in order for you to demonstrate competency, you've got to do it… albeit carefully. Being 'professional' also sometimes means going on record with potentially polarizing comments, if (and only if) it's what the job requires.