Horoscopes | Week of September 26-October 2, 2016

ARIES (March 21-April 19): That very public splash you've been intending to create for many months now, Aries, is ready for you to make it happen. With six weeks of a wickedly potent Mars-in-your-10th kicking itself off early this week, you'll now have your best shot all year at pushing forward your big professional (or outer-world) ambition, attracting attention to yourself for your purposeful stance, throwing yourself into the ring for a promotion or honor, and/or challenging any institutional conditions which might otherwise impede your continuing advances. Please be aware, meanwhile, that these redoubled efforts on your part are likely to threaten, rile, and/or offend competitor-colleagues, complacent bosses, unimaginative authority-figures, or anybody who feels (justifiably or not) that your further success will jeopardize their power-position. This is no reason to hold yourself back, of course—you have goals and dreams and aspirations, and why the hell should someone else's ego-sensitivities get in the way of all that? However, it's probably enough of a consideration to inform your choice of assertive strategy: If you can control your first-impulse reactions to any snubs or smackdowns aimed at you, you can thoughtfully redirect the culprit's motivating vulnerabilities back at them, mirror-magic style, setting a trap they'll fall right into as a simple result of their own behavior, neutralizing their power to effectively antagonize.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Onward and upward, my Taurus friend! You've managed to haul this stalled vehicle out of the mud that's held it in relative suspended-animation for much of the year… and you can hopefully see that expanse of open pavement stretching out in front of you, promising to reveal a fresh segment of your journey over the weeks to come (and, thank the heavens above, a certain exit from the intensity of that mud-suck holding-tank). So where you off to now? Wherever it is, I suggest it better be by design, rather than a haphazard anywhere-but-here departure. I would be gobsmacked if you claimed not to have pretty strong feelings about a certain still-developing-and-deepening sense of life's-purpose… though you may lack a specific vision for how exactly you might more fully embody those virtues that matter most. Those virtues themselves, however, are becoming increasingly unmistakable, thanks to everything you've learned over the past few years. This is a potent moment, then, to take another monumental step towards actually living out what you claim to believe in and/or away from involvements which seem meaningless, energy-draining, or outright immoral. To nurture your resolve, actively seek to connect with those closest confidantes who'd totally and unequivocally support such a move. Gift yourself these good feelings of interpersonal encouragement.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Now is when it really starts to intensify, Gemini. Now is when the not-mentioning-it, wishing-it-away, pretending-circumstances-were-different-than-they-are phase must come to its inelegant end… which ultimately isn't a regrettable development, you should remind yourself, as the sink-or-swim pressure presently coming to a head will force you to consider all the relevant factors, enabling you to begin creating more level-headed plans for the coming months. To most effectively tap into your own strength, you've got to lay out the specifics of your reality (as you perceive it, at least) right on the table alongside the similarly-frank disclosures of any other party—and, together, eke out an understanding of where these interests dovetail and where they diverge. This is a critical moment in acknowledging, addressing, or engaging with whatever the most unwieldy and/or seemingly unmanageable difference between you is now proving to be. With forthrightness and courage, you can collaboratively find ways to turn this difference into an asset. But even in the best-case scenario, it'll require effort on all sides. Otherwise, that sticking-point you've been hoping to avoid is liable to rear its ugly head… to a level of visibility where it cannot be ignored.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Like I warned you last time, Cancer, combat-ready Mars enters your relationship house (the solar 7th) this week… raising to the surface any interpersonal tensions which have loomed unaddressed, emboldening you to take a firm stand where you've previously let things slide, and/or presenting you a chance to emphatically shift a relational dynamic more towards your liking. This doesn't have to bring an all-out conflict (though it certainly could), especially if you are properly premeditated about your eventual goal and shrewdly lay a trail of innocuous-seeming bait-bits the other person will almost certainly follow. For instance, rather than accusing anyone of anything, it's more prudent to simply describe the situation as you experienced it, while emanating a sufficiently non-committal connection to the events so that the presumed offender feels safe enough to spill the details of their involvement. Likewise, you'll retain the upper hand by not trying to accomplish everything in a single encounter, but instead allowing it to unfold over multiple smaller-scope exchanges which would only lead to some big showdown if it remained necessary. (This also buys you in-between opportunities to have your emotional responses outside the context of the actual interactions.) Just to be clear, these same approaches also work excellently for eliciting notice from romantic prospects: Adopt a well-boundaried, self-composed, emotionally non-clinging tone to your seductive moves, incrementally revealing just enough so they can't help but want more of you.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Don the proverbial workboots-and-gloves, Leo, and put that nose to the grindstone, please. Just as I described last week, you are entering an incredibly productive interval, in terms of how much you can get done on a daily basis… perhaps the most productive of your entire 2016, if you play your cards right and work smart rather than just feverishly. There is a most-functional ordering of tasks and priorities—as well as plenty of other far less logical ways of organizing your workflow—and it's not necessarily the arrangement you might choose based purely on personal preference (particularly if you're the type who tends to tackle the easier tasks first and leaves the least-desirable ones until the very end). That's why I must continue encouraging you to think things through, instead of just diving into the first to-do you come across without pausing to consider if perhaps that item's best possible success might depend on your attention to another item which ought to be attended to first. Don't look at your workplan as a list of distinct unrelated assignments, then, but as a single comprehensive blueprint for achieving overall headway in your relation to earthly reality's countless requirements. That should keep you cruising along systematically, as opposed to with fitful starts-and-stops wreaking havoc on your stress-levels.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Your biggest responsibility over these next several weeks, Virgo, is to make damned sure you're having a whole bunch of rootin'-tootin' good-times… in precisely the manner that's most fun for you. Even if you have to stand firm for your preference over another person's. Even if it might cause less controversy and a smoother flow to just go along with whatever circumstantially ends up happening. Even if those folks who are more self-indulgently accustomed to your bowing to their desires choose to read your assertive defiance as somehow 'bossy' or 'domineering'. (Funny how those types take such offense to anybody wanting to make a different choice than theirs, eh?) You're just beginning to come out of an extended brooding-moment (can we get a cheer for that?), and the best way to rally this continuing emergence-from-the-shadows is to provide yourself enough entertaining, exciting, or enjoyable activities, associations, and interests that you can't resist the impulse to keep getting out. Where's the inspirational incentive in ho-hum pastimes, modest pleasantries, or the mediocre appeal of someone else's idea of a good time? You need the bigger promise of really good times to fuel your overall life-momentum—and I believe you know precisely what that would entail.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I have no doubt you can very skillfully position your public self with a welcoming receptivity, Libra, affording all those who encounter you the opportunity to offer their interest, admiration, and kindness… all the while gearing up your private self to earnestly wage that battle for emotional sovereignty I raised in your last horoscope. Whether you must fight back the influence of a pushy family-member who thinks they have some say over your life-direction, a presumptuous housemate who encroaches on your personal space (much in the way a pushy family-member might), or that rigid authoritarian within you who doesn't seem to believe that wanting something is reason enough to pursue one choice over another, this is a most propitious few weeks for grabbing the big guns and shooting to win. As part of this process, you should probably expect a temporary rise in inner irritability, intolerance, and/or aggressiveness. After all, you've having to sharpen your assertive edges in order to stand steadfastly in your self-salvation mission; that demands both strength and a certain inflexibility. I simply advise you to keep this battle under discreet cover, so as not to perturb your outwardly welcoming vibe—and not to thwart any of your fans or fanciers from giving of themselves to you.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Under a Venus-Neptune trine which has you in its starring role, Scorpio, you're being gifted this week with a utopian-minded creative poeticism that allows you to glimpse into the realm of 'what doesn't yet exist'. Don't, therefore, settle for any version-of-the-story constrictively bound by understandings of reality based on an assumption that things must continue to be the way they've always been. But don't expect other people to easily invest their faith in your imaginative retelling of this tale, just because you are excited about the uncharted possibilities laying latently in wait. You'll have to be somewhat brazen in your willingness to challenge conventional wisdoms or short-sighted suppositions… not merely by describing the alternative(s) you conjured up, but by posing the tough questions and devil's-advocate hypotheticals that will incrementally make a case for how their thought-process isn't so well-thought-out after all. You can strategically dismantle their limited perspectives point-by-point, essentially starting a new conversation by showing how the existing one has stalled—but please no attacking of the actual people bearing such perspectives.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Use this downshifting moment to pay your bills, balance your books, and/or design a systematic approach to enhancing your earning-power during this closing quarter of '16, Sagittarius. With everything that's already happened in your world this year, it's not unreasonable to assume you might've let a few less-spectacular obligations, earthly responsibilities, or finance-related tasks drop off your radar. These few weeks ahead, then, are ideal for quietly restoring a fair degree of order, security, and sanity to your world… with the expectation that this work won't necessarily gain you any immediate tangible rewards, though it's still critically important, but instead establishes a clearer framework for assessing the ongoing sustainability of your presumed next-steps. Put more simply, it's time to figure out whether you can actually afford to keep up this rate of progress without overextending yourself. And before you'd be able to deduce such concrete forecasting calculations, you probably need to confront any still-dangling liabilities with a plan for curbing them or cancelling them out. Otherwise, how could you know what's available at your disposal? Strip out the emotions, and think of this as taking inventory.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Ready? Likely. Set? For a while now, I'll bet. So, then, Capricorn… GO! The go-getter planet Mars arrives to your home-domain on Tuesday (Sep 27), and you shouldn't have any trouble immediately noticing a corresponding upsurge in enterprising initiative, bodily life-force, and/or self-determination. Between now and the second week in November, you have an unparalleled shot to jump-start whatever's been stalled so far this year… to address, through deeds rather than just words, anything you've been observantly waiting to let shake out over recent months… to finally make a play for opportunities which annoyingly took this long to materialize… and/or to fight back against any latest power-moves made by a foe, frenemy, or fiery figure who might have underestimated your steeliness. With Pluto also simultaneously stationing direct this week (and also in your sign), be aware that your reemergence as a vital-and-opinionated player on this stage is liable to ruffle the feathers of those who'd unwisely counted you out or misjudged your mettle. A couple practical suggestions to counteract that possibility: (1) Speak positively in terms of values, concepts, ideals, or intentions—not enemies, evils, or flagrant self-interests. (2) Let friends and colleagues advise you on your tone, timing, and best arrangement of priorities.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Perhaps the most useful exercise you could take on this week, Aquarius, is to remind yourself where you're headed. Holding a vision that continually drives you forward, and which assists you in evaluating potential investments or involvements based on whether or not they'd keep you on this path, will be a tremendous support over these weeks ahead. That's because you should expect to endure a passing period (say, about six weeks or so) of relative ineffectiveness, disorientation, and/or uncertainty… particularly since many of the most significant developments will come at other people's hands rather than your own, and your main duty to yourself simply involves not freaking out. By telling you not to freak out, I'm asking you to look past your first-impulse responses to news that seems disappointing or disastrous, apparently sudden problems with no obvious solutions, and/or a certain someone's odd or infuriating actions. Contrary to what your fight-or-flight instincts might be telling you, there may well be silver-lining upshots to initially unnerving events or discoveries. Besides, your journey to 'where you're headed' might not be as directly and/or adversely affected by what's happening now as you fear. Preserve the public's trust in you by not reacting outwardly with too much will, might, or aggression. Let this play out, please.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): It's another week in which your communications with others could produce a heap of useful information, Pisces. When it comes to your primary partner(s), dearest pals, and/or closest collaborators, this is an unconditionally fantastic time to confirm you each really grasp where the other is coming from… particularly if you're operating on unspoken assumptions or data you received quite a while ago. Should you feel funny about revisiting a topic you supposedly 'already covered', don't hesitate to explain you're simply making sure you two are on the same page, so that you can effectively show up as the best partner, pal, or collaborator you could possibly be. (Who'd be put off by that considerate rationale?) Yet, as far as those who aren't proving so near or dear to your heart are concerned, it's important to confirm your existing understanding of them with additional facts or feedback because this will be your ammunition for any imminently-ensuing clash. You must be able to concretely, concisely, and confidently articulate your main reason why a certain individual or faction isn't in supportive alignment with you and your interests—with as little emotion or drama as possible—based principally on your contrasting aims, ideals, or worldviews. The more rational and reliable your information, the cleaner and surer your victory.