Horoscopes | Week of February 15-21, 2016

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Now is a far more appropriate time than last week would've been, Aries, to actively draw other people into the conversation. Thanks to both Mercury and Venus taking temporary residence in your 11th, you're better positioned to apply a more widely relatable outlook, diplomatic tone, group-process orientation, and/or sincere open-mindedness—and, as a result, to receive the imminent feedback (good, bad, and/or ugly) that's an essential element of any effort which requires you to work together with partners or a team. You can expect a lot of earnest, lively engagement on the topic at hand… which should be seen as a good thing, if you can withstand the potential for dissent without immediately barreling head-on into some seemingly unavoidable battle-of-wills. As difficult as such feelings may be to contain (because, hell, you really care about getting this whole thing just right, and could bear legitimate frustration toward those who have invested less than you, yet still hold the power to remark or dispute), I strongly recommend carving out some distance between your emotional responses and the hopefully relatable, diplomatic, open-minded tenor this important discussion warrants.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It would be entirely appropriate to give yourself a bit of a break, Taurus, from any protracted interpersonal engagements (whether they're charged with rousing passion, weighed down with persistent discord, or merely dominating your attention)… and, on account of Venus hitting your solar 10th, to turn an appreciative eye to your career and/or public-world life. As far as your outside reputation is concerned, you're now operating within a brief window of gently enhanced esteem… a time when you'd be shrewd to finesse your professional connections, attend high-profile events, release summarizing statements about your current state-of-progress, and/or facilitate a free exchange of brainstorms amongst your cadre of co-collaborators. You might notice that none of these suggestions necessarily involves you taking any pronounced assertive steps which might be seen to prominently push forward a conspicuously self-determined agenda. Mars is still in your 7th, please note: It remains too easy for you to attract relational conflict whenever you so brazenly put forth a personal desire. Instead, take subtler steps which don't demand anything from anyone, but merely situate you in the center of the collective action, allowing you to hold space and bear witness and be a presence.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You've gained as much direct experience of whatever complex condition (or colossal clusterfuck) has recently absorbed so much of your focus as you presently need, Gemini. It's time for moving on in some symbolic fashion, even if you aren't as unfettered from residual ties as you might wish. Whether you're soaring on a magic carpet of transcendent bliss, still doubled over in agony from the latest gut-punch, or cycling through a myriad of disparate and discombobulating reactions, you mustn't permit yourself to settle into a na´ve, disheartening, or confused expectation that this all is supposed to continue at this high intensity-level indefinitely. Your own mindset is a huge factor in determining if you'll remain awash in this overstimulation (to the detriment of your ability to concentrate on priorities with greater potential to inspire an independently meaningful advance), or whether you can step back from the situation and see what else may be simultaneously developing. It's up to you, then, to reframe the questions of most currently-pressing significance, rather than ceaselessly finding yourself having to respond to considerations others have posed. You get to decide what's most important to you.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): No need to play it off as if this is no big deal, Cancer, when perhaps it is that big a deal to you. An intensifying dynamic, an escalating standoff, higher stakes, deeper feelings, the coming culmination… such symptoms of an unmistakably big deal developing right before your eyes mustn't be chalked up to you just being melodramatic. Let's be brave enough to call this out for what it is. And let's support you in the obvious imperative to explicitly address this upturn in magnitude with the involved party, since, otherwise, you're only going to drive yourself crazy trying to read between lines, insinuate hidden truths, and telepathically communicate sentiments which, frankly, are too significant to leave unarticulated. I want to acknowledge the understandable fear you might have about being the one who raises the undercover realities to the surface, knowing the other person could be nervous, distressed, or put off by your act of slicing through the so-far-quite-polite rhetoric. This is scary stuff, for sure. But refusing to baldly confront it won't make it any less scary; it just prolongs your lurking anxiety. Just like those who might worry about the state of their health owe it to themselves to consult a doctor, you who sincerely wonder how big a deal this may become—and in what ways it could affect your standing—deserve an intimate question-and-answer session with whoever else is in it with you.


LEO (July 23-August 22): The arrival of Venus, along with Mercury, to your relationship house (the 7th), Leo, bespeaks of an immediate interpersonal smoothing-over, loosening-up, and/or sliding-in. Wherever you seek to attain a clearer understanding, a sleeker affinity, or an evener back-and-forth rhythm, you can expect your intentionally affable gestures to land with a welcoming reception… particularly if you bother to go that extra mile in anticipating what they're likely to want to hear from you, and then graciously give 'em what they want. To tap into this astrology's best potential, there's admittedly a certain amount of playing to the other person which is called for. You shouldn't interpret this call as an endorsement of insincere pandering, however. You must truly wish to make this certain someone happy (and, naturally, for their happiness to inspire them to want to make you happy, too) in order to successfully deploy this greasing-of-the-gears toward genuine relationship-building. Otherwise, your every apparent accommodation will smack of whatever self-serving motive skulks underneath the smiles, favors, and compliments. Use this 7th-house influence to woo folks you actually care to partner with, rather than to merely win general favor by indiscriminately kissing ass.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Switch your thinking caps, Virgo, taking off the one that's still actively entertaining questions of preference, direction, and style… and putting on the one that's ready to address the nitty-gritty of how to immediately begin functionally enacting the most-recently-agreed-upon plans. Because you'll now be whirring with enthusiasm at the prospect of finally starting to make this shit real (your favorite part of the creative process!), you may also notice your tolerance for any additional 'pointless noise' (which is how you're likely to characterize the ramblings of those more comfortable talking about work instead of actually doing it) is probably even lower than it's been. I want to remind you that, should you carelessly give off an irked or impatient attitude during any interaction you may feel (justifiably or not) is pulling you away from 'what's really important', you could unfortunately find yourself having to apologize, clarify, backtrack, and/or collaboratively dissect the underlying dynamics of the small exchange you just had—any and all of which is going to waste more of your time than if you'd simply paused long enough to muster composure in the face of being interrupted, given 'em a few respectful moments of your attention, then sent 'em on their merry way.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): This fight to confidently stabilize your present footing and/or complete that pre-established contract of critical tasks, all while spending enough attentive time making sense of your finally-shifting-into-place feelings, is due to soften a smidge, Libra. While you're certainly in no position to totally turn your back on everything you must continue working on—if for no other reason than to effectively clear your slate, over the course of these next few months, in order to make room for bigger-brighter-and-better things—you have reached a spot where a bit more harmless, life-affirming fun is deservedly due. This is a fabulous moment to make a slight downshift in industriousness, while upping the amounts of extracurricular entertainment… more in a sincere attempt to bring greater balance into your current day-to-day rhythms, gradually dialing down the internal seriousness (without defiantly shutting it all the way off) and looking more intently toward friends or playmates or romantic prospects, than as a total 180-degree flip-around. Overall, this is still an interval which demands steady consistency and perseverance… but with enough replenishing pleasures to keep yourself quenched, inspired, and energized.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): As I mentioned last week, Scorpio, I suspect you've already said what you needed (or wanted) to say… and whether or not any other person has readily taken in your feedback, defiantly pushed it away, or pretended not to hear or understand you doesn't necessarily matter. You've earned a few moments of peace and quiet for yourself, and I highly recommend you cash in on 'em. If you aren't feeling particularly mellow or relaxed, consider channeling your extra energy into simplifying and/or beautifying projects around your house, such that every last bit of effort you expend will go directly into improving the quality of your own home-life. Isn't that personally a better deal than investing all that psychic attention into some externalized attempt to help shape whatever anybody else is doing, when they may not even appreciate your investment? Reserve that attention for yourself, and you'll know you're giving it to someone who will gain in happiness. Should those with whom you've been in conversation seek to continue their communications with you, meanwhile, you might want to kindly let them know you need a touch of space first, to ensure you'll be able to engage them with a constructive attitude and the utmost respect a bit later.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Social schedules get busier and lots of little interpersonal demands (of varying levels of personal import) start stacking up, Sagittarius, now that your solar 3rd-house is seeing more planetary stimulation. It's your job to precisely heed the particular context of each interaction and event, who's involved and who they are to you, and to behave accordingly. There are plenty of relatively uncontroversial, lightweight conservational topics which you can choose from, to keep most of these exchanges flowing without revealing very much about what you've been dreaming about, stressing over, and/or seriously brooding on. Going more deeply into areas where your own feelings remain conflicted, action-plans haven't yet been ironed out, and/or fears still lurk, meanwhile, isn't favored at this time. Obviously, if you feel inclined to reach out to very-close friends to talk out residual hurts, burdensome worries, or uncertain situations, please do so. Just select the appropriate person. (Chances are, for instance, it isn't someone who holds significant influence over your professional future.)


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): You could potentially expend way too much energy wondering, worrying, and/or obsessing about what the other people are doing, Capricorn, if you don't intentionally swivel your attention away from such concerns… and towards a reengagement with whatever modest, practical, short-term plans will directly provide you more of what you need to feel grounded, responsible, and/or secure. Don't let yourself get too caught up with frighteningly large visions for your future (or those folks currently presenting themselves as major obstacles to the enactment of such visions), at a time when just a few minor cleanups, reorganizings, attendings-to, and/or back-on-tracks ought to provide some instantaneous solace. Be especially regardful of financial circumstances, particularly in cases where simply paying a bill, asking a favor, making a follow-up call, and/or recalculating the numbers can immediately improve your situation. You don't have to fix everything in order to reap the smaller gains created by fixing one or two things. As soon as someone else's interests seemingly start to visibly compete with your own, it's time to shift your focus to a less contestable to-do item.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Ease up a little, Aquarius, and bask in the self-affirming glow of hosting both Mercury and Venus in your sign for these next few weeks. For your own sense of sanity, it'll probably behoove you not to try so damn hard during this momentary interlude… and instead to just let certain gentle pleasures, happy exchanges, and uncontrived thoughts organically emerge into being. No, this subtle turning-of-the-astrological-tides will not resolve whatever massive effort, big battle, and/or huge responsibility has recently dominated your drives (and which, for the record, will periodically continue to do for some time to come). You are still very much in the midst of having to distinctly prove, over this span of months, you really do have the guts and grit to concretely carve out this kingdom you've worked so hard to claim. Exhausting, yes… but not the only thing you've got going on, please remember. That's why you'll unreservedly benefit by backing away from the nonstop intensity, making room for other less-harrying components of your life to remind you of their gratitude-inspiring existence. All you've got to do is adjust your receptors sufficiently so they're able to handily pull in these alternative smile-sparking signals.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Expect something of a lull these next few weeks, Pisces, in terms of palpable progress with any interpersonal processings and/or concretely visible responses to initiatives already set in motion. With both Mercury and Venus now lying in wait within the holding-chamber of your solar 12th, you needn't concern yourself so much with building bridges or conveying ideas for the moment. Rather, it's more properly a time for quietly talking yourself up, reaffirming the value of what you've been working on by rightly identifying it as your personal contribution to a broader movement, visualizing the future conversations you will eventually be having with folks who lack much exposure to your fundamental viewpoint, and/or nabbing a brief respite from too many direct encounters with others' befuddling energies. Think of this as a psychic-refueling stop on a longer journey to triumph: If you aren't carefully accounting for what's left in your tank, you could drive yourself too far on little more than fumes—and end up stranded in a hostile environment, unsure whether you can continue on. Don't let yourself get to that point. Pause, and refill.