Horoscopes | Week of August 1-7, 2016

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It behooves you to pause, Aries, long enough to properly organize your ideas, plans, and intentions. Though you've unquestionably got this renewed momentum to draw energizing inspiration from, this surge will not by itself reveal which tasks to handle first, which steps must come before which other steps, which items can be completed lickety-split and which require longer-term commitments, or which jobs call for outside assistance. If you don't carve out a nice-sized chunk of time to think through these questions (and any others like them) in advance of diving in, you're liable to just tackle whatever strikes your fancy or crosses your path… which, considering it lacks any upfront strategy, is an approach unlikely to make the best use of your efforts. (In fact, at its worst, this approach will cause you to do extra work with no pay off, drop an important ball because you didn't take note of everything you were juggling, and/or make a mess you'll have to tidy up later.) Even as impatience breathes hotly down your neck, you'll have to corral your gung-ho instincts a bit, in order to responsibly rally them behind the most methodologically-correct priorities of the moment, first things first.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You are absolutely right, Taurus, to be preparing to delve bravely into the core of that lingering problem, to corner that pink-elephant-in-the-room so it has nowhere left to hide, to speak the shocking truth or to issue that critical knockout punch… whatever it'll take to advance beyond this contested ground, entrenched standoff, or suspended animation. However, this delicate-but-deep operation is not something you should try to pull off with a singular utterance, symbolic deed, or spectacular fuck-you. This cathartic stage is due to persist for several more weeks, which, for maximal efficacy, requires your commitment to its gradual and unerringly-focused unfolding (though, admittedly, once it reaches that pivotal point of no return, you can expect the pacing of consequences to rapidly accelerate). So, presuming you can now brace yourself for this likely intensity to continue into the second half of September, then, I'd like to recommend you don't obsessively spin on all the ins and outs, historic details, examples of offense, and/or intended battle-plans, as if this is the only thing going on in your life right now. Dare I say it, but what the hell: Lighten up a little. Have some fun. Flirt. Remember what stirs delight in you, and take a double-dosage of it this week. The more you feed your heart things it loves, the stronger it'll be when you must defend it against that which makes it hurt.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): With combat-happy Mars back in your one-on-one relationship house (the 7th) as of Tuesday (Aug 2), Gemini, you should expect any unfinished feuds to reignite, unresolved interpersonal issues to resurface, and/or unfulfilled relational desires to reassert themselves. Over these coming three weeks, Mars will retrace steps it recently took twice before already… revisiting any questions about whether you're getting everything you want from a certain relationship (and/or more generally in your relationship life) which you previously wrestled with during March, April, and May. At the same time, however, promising planetary activity in your solar 4th indicates you probably ought to thoughtfully reflect upon the best way to rhetorically explain your present emotional state—hint: aim for a precise schematic which maps out each event leading to a reaction, leading to the next event, leading to the next reaction, and so on, outlining the clear chain of cause-and-effect—rather than just jumping into a fray in some moment of heightened passion. In the short term, you won't want to 'figure it out' with them. You first need to figure things out for yourself… and then present your case.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): On the mundane level of job-duties, health-habits, and/or any other personal chores which require a fair share of sweat-equity, you're officially entering a several-week phase when investing both more work and a closer emphasis on everyday-productivity levels is astrologically warranted, Cancer. With Mars veering back into your 6th, you should expect to feel compelled to amp up your efforts, whether due to an increase in self-motivation, an injection of energy, and/or the (re)appearance of a critical issue or pressing project that requires immediate handling… particularly if it involves finishing up something which has been left dangling over the past few months. However, by my planetary watch, it's also a time for treating all your perfunctory social exchanges, gab-sessions, check-ins, and face-times with fastidious panache—even if these drawn-out swaps of niceties, news-bites, and nothingnesses start to feel like they're cutting into your jam-packed schedule of getting shit done. Your willingness to provide unhurried-seeming, full-attention presence to whomever enters your scene will deliver you subtle interpersonal benefits you'll be glad to collect on later. Don't leave anybody with the impression you're too busy (or perhaps too self-important?) to give a few moments of yourself… though you may, in fact, be that busy.


LEO (July 23-August 22): As badly as I'd like to give you a carte-blanche endorsement to go all the way with this incoming surge of I've-gotta-be-me, fun-time fervor—because not only is Mars bounding back into your house of pleasure-and-play (the solar 5th) like a friggin' rock-star, Leo, but we all know just how much the members of your sign love celebrating your birthday month—I must add a modest warning against any overdrafts on your resource-stores. (I always bring the astrological buzzkill, don't I?) By that, I mean to point out the potential wasted-opportunity in taking the good times too far, at a moment when your house of material security and practical self-interest (the solar 2nd) is hosting a cadre of helpful planet-players. Despite the intensifying impulse to do whatever the fuck you want right now (because life is short, love is all that matters, it's your birthday month, and why the hell not?), you presently possess an enhanced capacity to sort out your finances, increase your earning-power, and/or formulate a data-driven vision for your future… but only if you analytically engage with your current reality, rather than wish away its less-appealing parts. Of course, should you instead throw caution totally to the wind, you won't make any strides here. (In fact, you'll probably just spend too much.)


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Don't be needlessly ornery, obstinate, or passive-aggressive, Virgo, at a time when the bulk of your day-to-day business is otherwise due to start flowing in a smoother groove. That instructive is not meant to disavow whatever discernible mood-dips or anger-flares you might be experiencing… nor to discredit the real impact of any triggering events which might've brought about such inner emotional disharmony. With Mercury and now (as of this Friday) Venus in your 1st, you have an enhanced capacity to mold your every interaction to your liking, as long as you bother to consider what you want to get out of it and how best to phrase your intention-statements for the surest result. However, Mars-in-the-4th's fierce and feverish drive to assert autonomy, independence, and/or radical self-care doesn't particularly favor such careful consideration. This Mars would happily disrupt a pleasantly controlled exchange, in order to prove you're not beholden to anyone and, therefore, won't kowtow to their expectations just so you can receive some small favor or modest treat. While we probably shouldn't totally discount this line-of-feeling (at least in terms of its larger message about the overall arc of your life), allowing it to lead your moment-to-moment behavioral choices right now would be the epitome of 'making things harder for yourself than they need to be'.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I wasn't kidding around in last week's horoscope, Libra: If you haven't already 'spoken your piece' (for whatever reason), then you've spoken volumes to yourself about your gut-feeling that speaking out now would probably be premature (for some reason which perhaps still hasn't made itself clear). Considering that both benefics, Venus and Jupiter, are headed for your sign four-to-five weeks from now, I see no compelling logic nudging you to rush onward into any important conversations… especially knowing you're within spitting-distance of an exciting new chapter ushering itself in, and you'd be wiser to invest all that mental gear-grinding into your own not-yet-disclosed plans, proposals, and projections-into-the-future. However, this week's astrology suggests an elevated risk of becoming unintentionally sparked into heated discussion, due to someone passing off an oversimplifying judgment or glib provocation you feel you must respond to with elucidating facts or a level-headed takedown. Don't take the bait; you'll be unlikely to attain a sensible rapport with any such shit-stirrers under this astrology. Your best 'response' would be to study their supposition on its own terms, and quietly begin to arrange your data into an infallible case-against you could later present to anyone who thinks like they do.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Even as you're finally ready to start proactively collecting on what's yours (after having long scuffled-and-scrapped your way to this definitive point), I regret to inform you, Scorpio, of the clear-and-present danger of coming off as too flagrantly self-serving. Between you and me, we can agree it's absurd to pretend you aren't 'serving yourself' with all this mundane effort and strategic positioning… or, for that matter, that you shouldn't be. Still, the now-forming squares between your solar 2nd and 11th houses show a clear benefit to prudent political moves which situate you as a trusty ally, a team-player, and/or 'one voice among many'. And too much brash concern for your own interests (though, yes of course, you're in it for you first) threatens to spoil that appearance. If it helps, please remember this Mars-in-the-2nd phase of proactively-collecting-on-what's-yours extends for many more weeks, while these fortunate 11th-house influences are more fleeting and therefore ought to be exploited to their fullest right away. With that in mind, don't underrate the impact of speaking a few carefully-selected words of acknowledgment, praise, or interest to whichever colleagues, comrades, or chums seem to be the most informed, connected, and/or pragmatic-at-heart.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): At this very same time Mars arrives back to your home-sign, Sagittarius, you're also hosting Mercury and now Venus too in your solar 10th, the house of your career achievements and outside-world reputation. These simultaneous placements frame a resounding tension between (1) the aforementioned increase you can expect in assertive self-possession, bodily initiative, and antsy eagerness to move forward, and (2) the good favor presently available to you in professional and/or public-sphere contexts, provided you demonstrate meticulously thoughtful care in your handling of key strategic relationships and/or critical data. Though either of these astro-influences would likely be welcomed on its own, their collision could pose problems… especially if you show up as the take-no-prisoners, get-shit-going-again, lone-warrior wielder of Mars energy, when the situation (e.g., an important interview, meeting, or presentation where power-players and/or taste-makers may be present) actually calls for a prudent, vigilant, practical-minded logician, analyst, or investigator. To make the most of these conflicting advantages, then, you must properly discern when to be a bit more diplomatically self-controlled—and when it's safe to let your feral side take a big bite of the action.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In an interesting turn of celestial events, you're now easing into a clearer-and-cleaner immediate relationship to the proverbial 'higher ground', Capricorn… but right at the same time you're once again temporarily losing your most reliable ability to assert yourself out in the world. Astrologically speaking, this shows up as a convergence of happy planets in your 9th at odds with a couple malefics in your 12th. We could read this as an encouragement to simplify your stance toward any recent tangles, by studiously drawing a conclusion or two from what you've learned about yourself in all of this… and then hatching a few specific action-plans for where to go from here, based upon consciously centering certain values or missions over others, as a directional guide for your next evolutionary stretch. For now, though, this should remain a wholly philosophical project and not a call to immediate action. (Your strongest time to act begins at the end of September.) Furthermore, you're likely to disappoint yourself if you get baited into an adversarial dialogue about said 'values or missions'… and end up behaving in an emotionally volatile manner which betrays what you claimed to believe and/or inadvertently attracting others' emotional volatility into your sphere. Deliberate, without debate. Ponder, but don't provoke.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): When discussing, debating, and/or arguing about sensitive issues, Aquarius, please don't allow your assertions to be reductively undermined by talking-point slogans, party-line presumptions, and/or overt concern for whether other allies would approve of your specific line-of-reasoning. For the most effective information-exchanges, you'll want to focus your attentions on the particular individual you've actually engaged with—and not play to any preexisting notions about what 'people like them' allegedly believe and/or how 'people like you' are supposed to think. Based on who this particular individual is, you'd be wise to emphasize certain factual details or objective analyses that address their personal stake-in-the-matter… and to concentrate on winning modest victories, opening their eyes to the sense-making logic you're applying in a certain limited context, with faith that this strategy respectfully reserves the other person ample room to gradually evolve their larger conclusions on their own time. As soon as you collapse too many distinct considerations under a singularly broad umbrella, reference outside parties' stances in order to implicitly bolster your own, and/or self-righteously claim a moral high-ground, you'll sacrifice your constructive clarity.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): It is possible to, at once, both push hard to achieve that ambitious external goal and be expressly kind, charming, and socially accommodating in all your interpersonal dealings this week, Pisces. The key to successfully pulling off this double-header: properly distinguishing between (1) rallying the battle-force necessary to bust yourself through a certain glass-ceiling and (2) unnecessarily battling certain individuals who may be (unconsciously?) perpetuating this 'ceiling' (or who at least represent its privileged perpetuation). Even if you can directly trace a specific hindrance or institutional obstacle to such individuals, that doesn't make them, as people, your enemies. Practically speaking, picking a fight with someone more powerful than you isn't exactly the shrewdest path to a personal victory. Battle for the victory itself, then, seeing your most formidable 'enemy' as your own potential to lose faith, not try hard enough, or altogether give up. Meanwhile, use your current 7th-house leverage to deliberately maintain smooth relational rhythms, even in interactions with folks who could easily serve as symbolic stand-ins for 'everything you're against'. Showing across-the-board respect for everyone, regardless of their position, will help keep your ambitious battle clean… and dramatically minimize the possibility of becoming distracted from your real cause, thanks to complaints about your attitude.