Horoscopes | Week of November 30-December 6, 2015

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Before you jockey for that clear victory (or knockout punch, as the case may be), Aries, please be mindful of any extenuating power dynamics which might position you on unequal footing (on one side or another) with the other involved character… and/or which might cause one or the other of you to suffer some larger reputational repercussions, for undertaking the wrong fight with the wrong person and/or deploying dirty tactics. A real 'victory' (or should I say 'successful navigation of interpersonal difference') won't be clinched by sheer force alone, even if immediate appearances superficially suggest otherwise. Rather, it must address this very power-differential, the contrasting motivations and complex matrix of contributing considerations, which a simple battle-of-wills would inaccurately reduce to a 'fair match'. You have to attain a deeper understanding of what's personally at stake for any opposing individuals—what their underlying motives are, what their ultimate payoff would be—or else you can't possibly know whether your efforts to persuade, provoke, curb, or thwart them actually did the intended trick. You might, on the contrary, elicit stronger pushback or a further-down-the-road retaliation (much in the way certain military assaults actually serve to strengthen, not neutralize, the opposition) if you can't quite grasp what they're fighting for… and instead proceed by presuming it's your stake which defines the standoff, a dangerously incomplete perspective on the situation.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Though you may find yourself wrestling with how to handle an array of logistics in the manner that feels most 'honorable' or 'correct', Taurus, you needn't design the best game-plan all by yourself. In a timely turnaround from last week's edition, you can expect a general improvement in your capacity to collaborate with others on finding most-effective methods for getting jobs done… though such collaborative success largely depends on your willingness to honestly speak up about what you're finding difficult (rather than posturing as if you've got it all beautifully handled, thank you very much). Without putting confessional first-person words to the palpable undercurrent of your aggravation, the other player is too likely to assume you're aggravated with them—not the greatest vibe from which to then ask for help. If instead you can demonstrate your flustered feelings are really a response to all the urgent business you aren't quite sure how best to address, then they'll be far more amenable to tossing out suggestions and/or rolling their sleeves up and pitching in. Dare I state the obvious, however: You might have to abandon certain stylistic preferences (which, to be frank, are more about 'what's easiest for you' than 'what's wisest for the task-at-hand') in order to follow their recommendations or accept their help.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You're presently sitting on rich opportunities for emotional growth, Gemini, as a direct result of how intimately you dare to share what's going on inside you. But in case that opening sentence made it sound like your week is all about overly intense, heart-to-heart, come-to-Jesus conversations, without much room for more cheery-spirited fun and games, please guess again. In fact, continuing to feed this perceptual conflict between being emotionally real and having a good time may be a central facet of what's previously held you back from fuller emotional integration. It'll always be in a Gemini's nature to conduct a fair amount of compartmentalizing, showing certain people certain faces depending on what'll keep the social gears most smoothly greased—and whether their impressions of you are liable to irreversibly change, in a manner you cannot control, should you say too much or behave in a way they've never seen from you before. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with intentionally deciding who to expose to what. It's simply that the 'controlling' aspect of such choices implicitly inhibits your ability to genuinely grow closer to people you like… not to mention how these social tactics hinge on a self-effacing assumption that certain parts of yourself do pose a threat to your likability, an emotionally repressive indictment of your own inner makeup. Make a different choice, and you may lose some control… in exchange for a more thorough embrace of who you are, both from within and from those eager for a chance to love all your parts.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): This week's Mars-Pluto square across your solar 4th and 7th houses, Cancer, indicates a likelihood of continued emotional inflammation… which, though it would derive from inside you, could lead to a power-struggle or conflict that may or may not be directly related. In other words, don't be so sure you know who you're upset with, or for what reason. The inflaming individual in question might be an overly controlling influence in your life, causing you to feel impelled to fight back against their self-serving manipulation, on behalf of your own independence—or they may merely be the safest person in your world to lash out at or vilify, due to the psychological intimacy already established, rather than a legitimate target for your wrath. Please be warned, then, both the intensity of your reactions and the direction you're aiming them might not be circumstantially appropriate. Which is not to say, for the record, the feelings themselves aren't wholly worthy of your own respect (in terms of them signaling some deeper discontent with how you make the self/other tradeoff); you just won't want to rush into finger-pointing or tongue-lashing. As before, this same emotional edge can be constructively channeled into drafting plans for a professional plot-twist or game-change, this impulse to 'prove yourself' instead going toward a personal ambition.


LEO (July 23-August 22): While you presently possess an exceptional capacity to tell compelling stories and appealingly engage a wide variety of folks in vibrant chat, Leo, there are certain physical realities which you unfortunately cannot talk your way out of. In fact, in situations where there's no functional substitute for sheer nose-to-the-grindstone industriousness, your impulse to socially connect (and/or cavort) with other people actually poses a threat to your ability to attend to an essential duty and/or accomplish what must get done. I certainly wouldn't fault you if such tensions between pressing obligations (to your job, your health, and/or other chores which demand your attention) and the near-irresistible allure of interpersonal mixing-and-mingling(-and-canoodling?) are causing you to feel irritated and/or resentful. Naturally, I want you to make sure not to misdirect this reasonable frustration toward any individuals who may seem to 'represent' the responsibility you presently wish you didn't have to deal with. You aren't really beholden to them as much as to the actual task-at-hand; they're merely serving as the messenger or symbolic embodiment. To be fair, you have no choice but to swallow this pill of unavoidable necessity, without blaming anybody else for its bitter taste—and then to make the absolute entertaining most out of all those other moments you aren't obliged to 'be responsible'.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Even though we spoke last week about considering others' feelings alongside yours, Virgo, your mind is still making its latest calculations with a peculiarly subjective self-focus. Because you typically aren't that person who interprets the data according to what best suits an underlying emotional need, you should therefore make yourself keenly aware of this fleeting tendency for you to see a situation from only certain angles—and, possibly, to completely miss the insights offered from others. This heightened subjectivity could translate interpersonally into awkward exchanges with folks who aren't sure whether to point out what you're overlooking (maybe they don't want to be rude? maybe it's just easier not to?), or who call you to task for that blindspot in a way which triggers a defensive reaction in you. It could just as likely manifest as an internal conflict between your practical side and the part of your personality who's tired of always doing the 'practical' thing and wants something more interesting or fun… in which case one of these voices is liable to be so loudly demanding your attention that it drowns the other out, though both have a valuable contribution to make. In either event, your most important take-away: You're not as closely aware of all the pertinent details as you ordinarily would be.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Concentrating responsibly on your own financial, professional, and/or practical interests, Libra, can hopefully save you from behaving like a jackass. You're exuding 'don't fuck with me!' from every pore, now that Mars-in-your-1st is clashing with Pluto… though the exact reasons why you might strike others as a bit scarier than usual won't necessarily be immediately obvious to you. However, once you start actually talking to other people about how you're feeling, you might find that attitudinal sharpness seems to naturally soften (unless, that is, you're trying to get them to give you something specific you desire which they're not sure they want to cough up). In light of this, I must recommend the most self-evident piece of advice: Stay in regular communication with friends, not just with the latest gossip and trivialities but also about how you're feeling from day to day… and especially make a point of reaching out whenever you notice surges of frustration or ire rising in you. Don't be under the mistaken impression, by the way, that talking out your stirred-up feelings with pals will miraculously resolve any inner tensions. We're looking to temporarily alleviate the symptoms, sufficiently so that you don't do anything rash or reckless… an urge which might otherwise lead to unwise self-sabotages in your earthly-security sector. Any trigger-fingered temptations to rampage ought to subside soon enough.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Even as I launch into my inevitable warning to still not take decisive outward action—not only is Mars still in your 12th, but it's also squaring potent intensifying-agent Pluto—I also have a spot of good news to deliver you, Scorpio. Benefic charisma-carrier Venus slides into your home sign late on Friday (Dec 4), providing your personality that extra somethin'-somethin' which turns heads, tugs on hearts, and charms the pants off people… an influence which extends through the end of the year. But though this is undeniably an promising astrological development for you, it isn't enough to altogether rescue you from the temptation to make snide insinuations, subtle digs, or transgressive innuendos, based on a miscalculation of just how sly and smooth you're being (as if your targeted party is too thick-headed to actually understand your subtext). Don't, therefore, think you can 'get away' with investing your communications with more than the face-value of what you're saying—not without the other person picking up on a hidden motive, even if they aren't sure exactly what it is. A better way to work with these dynamics (i.e., minus the risk of hurting someone's feelings): purposely, conspicuously, and cheekily playing up that seductive sense of mystery you Scorpios are known for emanating. Instead of trying to pull a mean-spirited 'fast one' on someone you don't think highly of, why not focus on enticing those who do appeal to you… indirectly letting them know there's much more to you than meets the eye, and tempting them to want to find out what else is there?


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): That larger-than-life quality which continues to magnify your presence wherever you go, Sagittarius, can definitely be used to your advantage… or it can cause you to regrettably limit your worldly growth-potential by needlessly alienating a certain segment of the population who might otherwise become part of your future audience, market, or community. This connection between your self-chosen position among the wider society (and/or within your specific slice of it) and your longer-term material outlook may not be immediately obvious to you, though it's hard to deny that the more narrowly you define yourself by drawing absolute lines-in-the-sand, the fewer diehard supporters you can reliably count on to back your efforts (whether with vocal endorsements or actual dollars-and-cents). While I wouldn't expect you to sell your ideological soul to the devil for a few extra bucks, there are ways to promote your cherished ideals without (purposely?) provoking antagonism or enmity from those you believe to be 'on the wrong side' of what's right. Much rests on the tone you use (cleanly straightforward, or unapologetically shaming?), and on whether you're speaking on behalf of something or against somebody else. If you think economically, however, you'll understand that gradually earning yourself a stronger foothold and greater staying-power will ultimately enable you to be a more effective fighter in the long run… and to buy yourself a bit more security and comfort in the meantime.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): If you presently harbor visions of making the world (or at least your little part of it) a better place, Capricorn, please devote that fervor to independently working on concretely supportive endeavors upon which your future actualization of such visions can eventually rest. That directive should be understood in contrast to what isn't presently favored… which is any sort of grand proclamations or presentations, attempts to recruit allies or persuade doubters, or other such outwardly interactive efforts to communicate a vision in words rather than deeds. All your most fertile mental maneuverings are currently inward-facing (and, oh, how rich those big-picture brainstorms and self-reflective ruminations now are), while the energy you're externally emitting inextricably smacks of Mars-Pluto (i.e., powerful leadership, indomitable will, brutal strength) whether you wish it to or not. Therefore, should you make socially-oriented moves to influence others' opinions at this time, it'll come off more domineering or hard-assed than you might intend… or if that is what you intend, it's not so likely to win hearts or open minds. On the other hand, by quietly dedicating yourself to initiatives which will create tangible proof that demonstrates the viability of your vision, you'll essentially be doing the same advocacy work—but by a strategy better suited to the present astrology.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Your struggle for coherent directional and/or life-purpose clarity, though somewhat improved over these past few weeks, remains irresolvably challenged by the 'unknown factor' which stubbornly refuses to reveal its face to the light, Aquarius. Some scary monster may indeed be lurking in the shadows, waiting to jump out at you as soon as you falsely assume it's safe to proceed. Then again, you may be totally inventing phantom bogeymen out of thin air, fueling ridiculous fears about what could befall you which keep you unwilling to step onto unfamiliar ground… though, until you do, you'll be stuck right where you are. We just don't know. Nor, at this point, can we. But your fears are likely to only get worse—whether they are justifiably shrewd or utterly irrational—as long as you lay in wait for some perfectly enlightening awareness that's probably not going to come, at least not in any way that'll put all questions or doubts to rest. Since you can only effectively function within circumstances which already exist, you're just going to have to make enough peace with the unknown so you may keep progressing in the here-and-now, based on the commonsensical assumptions you can draw from your current observations… well aware these could abruptly change, complicate, or confound at any point. Because that's always the case, for everyone. Aren't sure how to cope with such realizations? Talk to your friends about it; among them are living examples of how to faithfully move forward while still capably contending with anxiety or dread.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): At this moment when fateful shots and irreversible assertions can be so easily lobbed, I won't attempt to discourage you from firmly holding your own, Pisces, with a bit of added force if necessary. But before you get that far, you should probably think a few steps ahead… and imagine how you might convincingly explain, to an opinion-forming bystander or member-of-the-jury, exactly what principle or value you're this passionately compelled to champion. Merely wanting to 'win' and/or vengefully angling to 'destroy' the other party won't qualify as a particularly heart-tugging explanation of your motives, not to anybody outside this heated dynamic who is seeking to understand whether your heat is an admirable asset or a lawless liability. To argue a convincing case, you must be able to rise above the level of interpersonal he-said-she-said (which could sound somewhat petty or hypersensitive)… and instead present this as a clear example of a certain virtue being dishonored, an ethical lapse being committed, or a difference in life-philosophies becoming too obtrusive to bear any longer. Such a perspective lifts you out of that stance which is mainly about what a particular person did wrong, and into one which you can use to positively define yourself by what you believe.