Horoscopes | Week of July 11-17, 2016

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You're due for a modest reprieve from the recent introspection, introversion, and/or emotionality, Aries. By mid-week, you ought to be more than ready for an injection of light-hearted, soul-lifting, guffaw-inducing playtime… and just as ready to put a resounding voice behind your personal desires, so others are undeniably clear about what you want. More than a mere fun-sparking influence (although that's pretty damn good in itself!), the coupled arrival of Venus and Mercury to your 5th also makes it a better-than-usual moment to clear the air with your children, directly express your love and support (rather than assuming it already should be obvious), and enjoy an extra-special activity or two together. In addition, creative types can look for a fresh surge of aesthetic inspiration to sweep over their works-in-progress, breathing in new life where style has grown stale. And we can't forget to mention the enhanced romantic advantage you'll hold, making it easier to attract admirers wanting to know more about you. The only caveat? All these immediately-available good times won't miraculously nullify the other heavier stuff you're still dealing with. Should you 'escape' into the fun too completely, you'll only further embroil yourself, in the long run, in whatever else you're trying to ditch out on.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): As promised in your last edition, this would be an appropriate week to pivot your attentions back inward again, to more private concerns and/or domestic-based contexts… and away from that seemingly constant need to hold your own in any continuing saga of relational discord. That's not to say the discord itself is over and done with; it's already gone on long enough for you to know there will be no easy answers or quick fixes. Yet, the marathon quality to this self-protective involvement does warrant that you take periodic time-outs. Otherwise, your emotional stores will run dry, much as you'd deplete your drinking-water supply if you didn't stop to refill during long hikes, causing you to lose strength and self-assuredness—and thus impeding upon your capacity to confidently secure a satisfying outcome. So, start staying home more, for your own comfort and joy. Partake in closed-door pleasures intended solely to nurture your inner spirit. Quietly and unobtrusively make yourself happy, by any means necessary. The only hitch? If the 'relational discord' is situated in your place of residence, you might have to get creative about where else you can go to experience the comfortable pleasures of 'home'.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Precisely because you've been in the trenches with whatever day-to-day work, health, and/or household-chore issues just won't to seem to let up—or, at least, you know you should've been, Gemini—you're reaching a point where you need some novel social input to refresh your senses. Other people's offhand observations, informational dispatches, neighborhood updates, dishy first-person accounts, even their without-personal-investment responses to what you're working on: Any and/or all of these interpersonal offerings, graciously received and interacted with by you will do wonders for shifting your own perspective, if only because you'll no longer be looking at the same set of conditions from the same set of eyes and repeating the same interpretative tales you've told yourself many times already. Odd as it may sound, it's not the content of your exchanges which matters as much as the very act of social exchange itself, the swapping of warmth and smiles and friendly vibes in that dance of personal contact meant to remind us of the innumerable gorgeous variations between each individual soul and the next. Few realizations are more life-affirming (and, thus, re-energizing), especially for a Gemini.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): A gently emboldening quality to your week ahead, courtesy of a Sun-Mars trine across two houses of self-assertion-and-expression (the solar 1st and 5th, respectively), extends the impact of last week's horoscopic advice… and continues to frame this moment as a ripe opening for fully and frankly identifying what you want, Cancer. With your remarkable intuitiveness, you ought be able to indisputably feel which particular target(s) your body's been pulling you towards (or away from)—gradually, over quite a while now, I might add—even though your practical mind sometimes convinces you to doubt yourself. Now, with Mercury and Venus headed into your 2nd, it's time to work out this tension with your practical side… to calculate how best to present yourself, in order to appeal to those whose endorsement, patronage, and/or confidence in you is essential to your ability to collect concrete gains. Yes, a bit of showpersonship is probably required: nothing which veers into insincerity, of course, but nonetheless an attitude that demonstrates you want to make a good impression. Massage their egos a smidge, while playing yourself up as a valuable asset.


LEO (July 23-August 22): To best capitalize on this week's double-arrival of Venus and Mercury to your sign, Leo, please be free, open, and expressive about what you've lately been feeling. Because there's still a lot of stirred-up wateriness flowing through your emotional body, you're understandably more sensitive to certain ultra-personal triggers… and consequently less 'well-put-together', in terms of seamlessly performing charm. But at this auspicious moment, your genuine spontaneous self will naturally read as charming because of those very sensitive responses you might otherwise attempt to whitewash, sugarcoat, or distract attention away from. Lead with your vulnerability, then, rather than a gallant monologue of conspicuously all-good news. At the same time, don't sheepishly back away from that unashamed self-respect in 'putting yourself out there' which you Leos are celebrated for. Being generous enough to crack a warm, humanizing smile, even in the face of simultaneously confessing a hurt, venting an injustice, or wiping away tears, will remind everyone how much they love your huge heart.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This week marks a critical astrological shift for you, Virgo, with Venus and your ruling-logician Mercury together gliding into the otherworldly back-recesses of your solar 12th. During these three weeks ahead, you'd do yourself a huge favor by decidedly stepping back from having too firm an opinion and/or too vocal an observation about what's going on in your external world. Both your data-processing mind and your outward relational demeanor are hungering for a break from having to be so 'on' all the time. They crave a retreat from others' invasive interpersonal energies… their expectation you'll be kind enough to explain every factual nuance they're too self-occupied to arrive at themselves (and in language they'll understand, no less!)… their undue interest in those details of personal business you'd prefer not to discuss (can't they take a hint?)… and/or the basic social need to properly balance 'give' and 'receive' (when sometimes you just don't fucking want to). You might still be required to officially show your face, but that doesn't mean you must all-the-way show up. Meanwhile, grant yourself lots of leeway to fill your off-time with private, self-indulgent purposelessness.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): On the heels of a few-weeks' worth of distinctly distinguishing yourself from the crowd of less-impressive candidates, Libra, it'll now serve you to deftly swerve back into the collective mix. With ruling-queen Venus traipsing into your 11th hand-in-hand with Mercury, your most effortlessly favorable results will come from joining together again with your trustiest colleagues, comrades, teammates, and/or friends-'til-the-end… reaffirming the importance of any interests you share in common, using any recently-clinched leverage to help lift peers you'd want by your side, and/or inquisitively gathering feedback from those who possess knowledge you lack. In terms of your own communications, please be mindful about speaking in a manner that actively seeks to foster a sense of community—but without falling into the presumptuous trap of speaking for anybody else. Explicitly present any opinion, narrative, or analysis you're offering as yours, neither universalizing your experience nor co-opting theirs. Then, happily hand over the microphone, and encourage others to join in. For your immediate benefit, the less you dwell on your own story, the better. Meanwhile, it's an excellent time to nail down a key alliance (or three).


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): As the week transpires, it would be shrewd—and potentially quite personally advantageous—to remember there's an audience of impressionable opinion-shapers, game-changers, and power-players watching you ever more closely, Scorpio, to see if you can suavely 'work the system' as adeptly as you handle this or that individual task. By my calculations, you've gotten where you are thanks to a currently-unparalleled mix of passion, principle, and self-determination… but that, in itself, may not be enough to suit the voracious egos of those who are also looking for someone who scrubs up real nice, puts on a purposefully chummy air, and charitably speaks (or dare I say 'panders'?) to their interests. Wise as you are to human motivations, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise. However, the ongoing influence of a soldiering Mars-in-your-1st—now direct and ready to 'finish what it started'—could inspire you to wield an uncompromising, take-me-or-leave-me edge, as if audacity or fearlessness would trump all other reputation-building traits. Keep asserting yourself, sure, but don't underestimate the essential benefits of being approachably likable.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): As Mars continues to creep its way back out of your 12th, Sagittarius, you remain on the edge of your seat, hopefully waiting for a far-more-appropriate time to take your next decisive action. (Reminder: That 'time' begins the first week of August.) Over the course of this week ahead, you should expect another wave of anticipatory excitement—which could also be interpreted as 'chomping-at-the-bit fidgetiness'—to hit your shores, giving you an even clearer and more enticing vision for what you'll soon be making happen. Instead of urging you to resist the energies of this incoming swell (which goes against my job-description), let's make a compromise: You can allow yourself the joy of starting to speak more openly, but only in generalities, about the new life-elements you're intending to build, the values you'll be more distinctly foregrounding, and the personal reasons why this turn is so important to you. Fuel the excitement. Tap into the energy. Spread the (general) word. Just please stop short of official detailed announcements, critical departures, or irreversible deeds… for now.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Nothing much of substantive import (let alone cathartic benefit) will happen, Capricorn, if you beat around the bush, sweep things under the rug, and/or try to be as carefully controlled or 'civilized' as possible. To better position yourself with the unrestrained, unburdened stance most amenable to really making progress in a given situation, you need to expressly address what's really going on there… and not tiptoe around the red-button issue, as if your reluctance to wake a sleeping monster will magically cause the monster to cease to exist. Please do wake whatever 'monster' you've not wanted to rouse until now—and why not, exactly? because it'll be deeply uncomfortable, or even painful? because you're afraid to hear their side? because, once it's awakened, there's no going back?—mainly due to the currently-likelier-than-usual potential to receive a promising response. Note: A 'promising response' doesn't mean there won't be any awkward moments or difficult pills-to-swallow, but rather that there'll be a clear opening to an eventual outcome you'll be satisfied by, if you stay with the process. Also: Too many outside-the-situation opinions will only muddy your perspective with others' irrelevant motives.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Time to deliberately carve out larger chunks of your day to dedicate to those you appreciate the most, Aquarius. While there's no doubt you've lately needed to meet your everyday obligations, so as to demonstratively rise to the responsibility-level you're fighting to attain, 'all work and no play' is a surefire recipe for one dull, demoralized human. My advice specifically refer to this week's dual-action arrival of both Mercury and Venus to your one-on-one relationship house (the solar 7th)… the sort of astrological shift that better enables you to understand and support, communicate with and listen to, please and enjoy the most central individual(s) in your life. It would therefore be a real shame if you focused so singlemindedly on meeting goals, handling business, and getting everything in order, during a few-week period that's celestially ideal for fostering greater in-the-moment appreciation of your key partnerships. I'm not talking about merely spewing a few social-media niceties or having a token gift delivered either. Reward the ones you most care for with your presence, attention, and engagement. Funny thing about relationships, you'll also be rewarding yourself by honoring the blessing of their existence.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): If all these months of hosting an oft-stymied-by-retrograde Mars in your 9th has helped you clarify anything, Pisces, it probably relates to which principles, belief-systems, areas-of-inquiry, or cultural values most instinctively rouse, rally, and provoke your passion to seek a fairer, more promising existence for yourself and others. Change-makers aren't nearly as effective when they're only following a strict script of appropriate ideological compliance, a cerebral exercise in performatively 'doing the right thing'. They're much more powerful when their spirit roars with a compulsion to do that righteous deed, because, otherwise, they'll feel their moral weakness gnawing away at their bones. You cannot deny your capacity to feel such compulsions, including (or especially) the one which has made itself increasingly (even unbearably) obvious as 2016 has shaken out: What bad behavior have you regrettably signed off on? What opportunity to improve the state of humanity (or a certain slice of it) are you letting pass by? Are you wasting precious time? For these next few weeks, mobilize yourself to complete at least three concrete to-do items that'll set you up to begin regularly attending to this bone-gnawing passion.