Horoscopes | Week of December 14-20, 2015

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you want to be 'the boss', Aries, you've got to talk like the boss. Don't take this merely as a statement about your professional ambitions, please—though, yes, it certainly applies in that context—but as a more general encouragement to consciously communicate with the competent, controlled authority you wish to embody. That is not the same rhetorical tactic as 'speaking loudly and carrying a big stick', by the way. Real leaders don't lead by force or intimidation; they inspire reverence by modeling such consistently upright behavior that nobody could legitimately accuse them of recklessness or haste. During the week ahead, then, it behooves you to think carefully before you speak… not because you'd otherwise be liable to make outright mistakes, but so your foresight sets you up to have the other characters (including those who 'oversee' you) play right into your hand. At every utterance, you'll want to carry the air of someone confident in your capacity to attain the goals you've set for yourself, even when surprises get thrown at you. The likeliest threat to your calm confidence? Being questioned or challenged by a strong individual who may be trying to undermine your power. That's part of being 'the boss' too, though: not letting such threats get under your skin.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Be sure you know what issue or principle you're taking a stand on behalf of, Taurus. As long as you're being intentional in assuming the role of mouthpiece (rather than, say, posturing as if you're engaging in 'casual conversation' when, in fact, you're staunchly pushing a certain point), you'll have an exceedingly effective capacity to deliver your message. Your powers-of-persuasion will get an added boost if you can plainly demonstrate why your position is one with the moral advantage… that you have integrity and/or justice on your side, and it's only a matter of time before history will prove it to be true. Don't, however, haughtily dismiss the contrasting voices as if they aren't worthy of your engagement. That would be a tactical error, pointlessly alienating those who might come around to your way-of-thinking, but need you to considerately walk them through your whole thought-process, tenet by tenet. And as far as those ideological foes unlikely to ever agree with you? They, too, require a respectful handling and/or a patient point-by-point rebuttal. If you react with emotion instead of intellectual rigor, they'll have successfully fucked with your case.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you've been dragging your heels in nervousness or terror about the current state of what might be festering underneath it, Gemini, it's time to just rip off that band-aid. Either the previously-inflicted wound is better healed than you've imagined, or the underlying infection's gotten worse and needs immediate attention—and in either event (or some convoluted combination of the two), you must come to terms with what's really going on there, for your own sanity's sake. Any communications or confrontations which might qualify as such a 'band-aid ripping-off' are best handled sooner rather than later (especially if you didn't heed my gentler encouragement to begin the process two weeks ago)… most importantly because you are due this ultimately-relieving (though nonetheless scary) catharsis, so you may reclaim all the psychic energy that's been taken up by this suspended-animation situation, and redirect it to more productive uses. Furthermore, you can't afford to indulge worries about any possible social after-effects, as if you could justify holding off on this critical exchange just to preserve other third-parties' (surface?) perceptions of you. That sounds too confining a collateral consideration to allow for genuine catharsis.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You now have a much-improved chance of successfully explaining to that certain someone how you're seeing the relationship, Cancer—what you want or need, what they have done too much or not enough of, where you'd like the current momentum to lead you—than you did over these prior couple weeks. Though Mars-in-your-4th still brings its sharp attitudinal edges, the coupling of Mercury with Pluto in your 7th adds a persuasive potency to your one-on-one communications… provided, that is, you deliberately engineer your language to appeal to everything you know about how this other person thinks. The important sentiments contained within your words ought to be, of course, authentically yours. Your choices in turn-of-phrase, however, should be calculated for maximal positive reception from this particular listener. (Is it perhaps possible that your former attempts at conveying this message might have fallen short due not to substance, but to style?) There's nothing distasteful or duplicitous about keeping your end-game aims in mind, considering their possible objections ahead of time and accordingly planning your responses, before taking up a discussion. In fact, it may be a skill worth honing for professional purposes, too.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Enthusiasm is an awesome resource to be able to tap into, Leo, but, in itself, it will not get the proverbial job done. Particularly if you face any hard-and-fast deadlines presently breathing down your neck, you don't have the luxury of spending each day 'doing as much as you can' (according to some vague misunderestimation of the full job-scope), only to let too many vital moments slip through the hourglass (or get sucked up by Facebook). You may not need to work any harder (though that, of course, depends on your definition of 'hard work'), merely to work more smartly, by measure or design rather than instinct or feel. Chop up the cumbersome whole into smaller pieces. Order them according to which must be done first. Assess approximately how long each is going to take. Then, assign it to a slot on your calendar (and don't even dare to tell me you're not using a calendar). And speaking of calendaring, let me also recommend you leave your calendar a bit lighter on the social-commitment side (I know, I know, it's the holiday season and all)… planning instead to spend a larger chunk of time at home, even when not working, to keep your perspective temporarily contained. Believe it or not, you'll probably enjoy the relative peace and quiet.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This is a prime moment for being unflinchingly candid about what you want, Virgo. While I cannot pretend expressing your truest self-acknowledgments doesn't threaten to shake up your relational rhythms with the certain individual(s) most impacted, you probably won't be able to get away with 'faking it' anyhow. (The pained look you'd unintentionally give off when speaking a half-truth or agreeing to an undesired concession would likely expose you; even if they can't put their finger on it, they'll sense something's not quite right.) I'm also not claiming you will necessarily get everything you want, or that you even should. But your coming out with the unfiltered, unqualified version is definitely a great place from which to start a conversation… or, as the case may be, to continue the one which you might've begun last week, now that you're better situated to say 'the thing' you haven't yet come right out and said. I'm not sure there's much more solitary thinking-it-through which is warranted at this point. To understand how such urges or yearnings might actually be addressed, you must expose them to the light of interpersonal reality.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Please don't rush the step of 'getting this off your chest', Libra, whatever your 'this' may be. Right at this integral point in your own process of coming to understand what's really behind your conflicted feelings, you're only just now beginning to be able to coherently articulate to yourself a clear case which seems to do those feelings justice. Inviting any other involved party into a discussion about your still-barely-forming conclusions will only introduce tangents, red-herrings, irrelevancies, and other mind-scrambling variables… which could cause you to lose your confidence, your train-of-thought, and/or your shit. Don't, for one second, mistakenly assume my time-specific observation mean you shouldn't eventually talk openly about it, or that the other party's feedback will not be worth factoring in at the right moment. But before that, I advise you to settle into the emotional narrative you can stand behind: which recent events led to which upsets or confusions, which deeper emotional imprints from older events were triggered, what lessons about your own non-negotiable needs emerged as a result, and how you'd like such sensitive situations to be handled in the future to avoid continuing upset or confusion. Devote some reflective thought to this task during your week, and you'll be so much better at spelling it all out for somebody else… later.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): What a fine week for speaking from your heart, Scorpio… even if what's presently swirling around in there isn't all rainbows and sunshine. (I mean, really, who'd expect only sweet tidings from a Scorpio?) Your words hold extra power at the moment—especially when you dare to trespass beyond the tidy border of pleasantries, in contexts where a bland or perfunctory remark is typically offered as a means for forestalling honest intimacy in favor of comfortable superficiality, and instead give people a potent dose of what's really going on with you. Venus's continuing presence in your sign ups the likelihood that such frank conversational dosages-of-reality will be warmly welcomed (even if folks are fumblingly uncertain in their immediate first-responses), at least amongst those who are similarly aligned to valuing authenticity over making-all-the-'right'-gestures. (Those who aren't? They'll show their depthless true-colors right away, saving you the investment.) Perhaps most surprisingly, your courage in assuming this 'romantic-confessional' stance will actually unburden you, indirectly supporting you in getting past a recent blockage in your work-process.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Make a clear, detailed financial plan for next year, Sagittarius… complete with an identified attainable goal which, once you've achieved it about twelve-months-or-so from now, will leave you feeling more powerfully self-sufficient and capable than you ever have. Angling for a raise, or an altogether better-paying job? Trying to reduce your debt? Aiming to improve your skills, boost your market-value, solidly demonstrate your indispensability? Got your eye on a major purchase? None of these options would be an insurmountable feat for you, if you granted yourself enough time—and created an extended schedule of strategic initiatives and benchmarks which you could follow throughout the course of '16, to keep you on track and allow you to observe yourself making incremental progress over many months. To be fair, it's likely the freedom-loving impulse-chaser in you will not revel in the advice I'm dispensing… not because I'm wrong, mind me, but because I might seem to be telling you to squash the you-only-live-once thrills ('to be… responsible? blech!'), which only incites the inner rebel to resist. That's why you must invite this rebel to the strategizing session, ensuring there's an adequately-planned line-item accommodation for you to be you.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Mercury and Pluto conjoining in your 1st this week means whatever intentions, observations, assertions, and requests you speak aloud will make a profound impact, Capricorn. As such, you mustn't kid yourself into believing you could presently get away with supposedly casual suggestions (when your desire for a certain outcome is anything but casual), innocent humor (if there's a cutting truth lingering beneath the punchline), harmless gossip (as in 'harmless' to you?), or any offhand remarks not meant to carry weight. On the other hand, should you carefully construct a message which masterfully articulates the central core of whatever driving itch, calculated mission, or psychological motive is currently the strongest influence on your thinking, you'll really get your point across—in a manner which very successfully conveys just how important this message is to you. Any ambivalence or ambiguity ought to, therefore, be resolved… both on your part (in terms of eliminating your ability to straddle a line) and on the listener's (since you should receive a pretty obvious sense of whether or not they're on board). Beware, however, of how you respond to their response: If your emotionally defensive fuck-off button gets pressed, you could react with unfiltered material which unfortunately sullies that carefully-constructed message.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): This is an apt occasion for cutting your private deals with the universe (or God, if you prefer), Aquarius… for laying down your most debilitating worries or compulsive panics at the altar of whatever you personally consider sacred, in full acceptance that nobody gets out of this life without their own encounters with the pains and losses of powerlessness, and flatly agreeing to do something amazing with all this raw emotion lurking behind your fears. The only way to combat mortal terror is to defiantly insist on living to your fullest, to counteract paralytic inactivity with life-affirming action. To be clear, I'm not suggesting this is the week for you to boldly dive into such action. Rather, my advice is more about pledging to do so at some not-far point in the imminent future—and, in exchange for promising (to God or the universe) to contribute your robust life-force toward some purpose that'll make life easier, happier, and/or more meaningful for others, asking (God or the universe) for sweet relief from what's existentially ailing you so you can effectively fulfill your pledge. You may not believe such deals work. And I cannot prove to you they do. I'm not even sure I would if I could, since their transcendent potential rests in our audacious exercises in faith. Still, you have nothing to lose by signing on that maybe-baseless dotted line… and a whole hell of a lot to possibly gain.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): It is actually perfectly acceptable for you to demand a certain mindset, level of shared responsibility, and/or attitude toward collective undertakings amongst those folks you associate with, Pisces. Don't be afraid of forthrightly stating your opinions on such issues relevant to the group you belong to (even if we're talking about society-at-large)… though, admittedly, it could spell an irreversible demise for alliances or friendships predicated on you not daring to raise the issue of your uncomfortable differences. You don't have to believe somebody is a 'bad person' or wish them ill, just because you may no longer care to hold your tongue or indulge their objectionable-to-you temperament. This is not a matter of necessarily judging anyone else's character, as much as judging the suitability of accommodating their character in your life—which is nothing more than determining where would be the shrewdest investment for your interpersonal energies. When granting your attention to certain individuals over others, it's fair to expect to receive something desirable in return: camaraderie, trust, mutual support, the synergistic effects of shared effort. Why diplomatically pander to those who can't or won't live up to their end of this bargain?