Horoscopes | Week of December 4-10, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you're genuinely interested in learning something, Aries—and the current astrology indicates that you ought to be, if you don't want to be perceived as an unsophisticated thinker or closed-minded zealot—then I would allow the words of your ideological adversaries to sink in, at least far enough that you can studiously scrutinize how exactly they're making their argument. Dismissing outright an opposing view (or a perceived opponent's view, which might not be as oppositional to yours as you'd imagine) won't develop your intellect any further, but merely gives you an unconsidered excuse to fall lazily back on overconfident dogma. Even if you are 110% right (whatever that would look like), you'll only build a stronger case by gaining further understanding of other folks' thought-processes. Along the way, you'll probably also learn more about the underlying psychological history which informs a given person's beliefs (because our beliefs are always based in our lived experience). But can you resist the temptation to attack them on this much-more-personal level, rather than keeping it about the ideas themselves?


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You could be treading on thin ice, Taurus, if you treat the sensitive, shameful, or potentially incriminating details of somebody else's life with cool casualness… or, worse, if you maliciously use this delicate personal information as a weapon. Even in the most promising or positive relational situations, you're likely to hit a rough patch—if not a full-on conflict, then an increasingly pressing need to reassert your interests—once Mars lands in your 7th house on Saturday (Dec 9). But just because you've been lately immersed in some of the murkier and messier material of interpersonal relations (which has hopefully taught you something compassion-inspiring about human nature, rather than merely fueled your thirst for vengeance), that doesn't mean it'd be a good idea to sling mud as a self-defense strategy. I could speak about the obvious harm you would probably do to the aggravating party, though I worry you're so charged up that you might not care too much. So how about this: Plenty of other people would also be apt to discover what you've done, judge you accordingly, and subsequently readjust the role you play in their lives by quietly disassociating themselves from you.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): As Venus-in-your-7th crosses paths with starry-eyed Neptune, please beware of subscribing to romantically-minded yearnings to 'let bygones be bygones' and/or to sweep recent realizations or disclosures under the rug, Gemini, in hopes of getting back to where you were and/or moving past this stumbling-block as quickly as can be. You may be able to return to a former bliss (if indeed it was ever that blissful) or reach a new level of mutual understanding and respect with this person, but not by cutting the conversation short or attempting to disclaim what you've already spoken. What's the rush, anyway? A few protracted moments of awkwardness, particularly if in sincere service to relationship-building, needn't mean everything's irreparably ruined. And if something is over, taking your time to sufficiently process what happened (if not alongside them, then within yourself) will lower your odds of repeating this same dynamic with anybody else later. Don't let any interpersonal drama divert from other important business-at-hand, meanwhile: With Mars moving into your 6th, you're about to receive a booster-shot of mundane productivity-related initiative.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Approaching last week's horoscope from a different angle (now that Mercury's retrograde is in full gear), please don't let the anticipated earthly-plane glitches cause you to suffer undue emotional reactions, Cancer. Take each setback or snarl as it comes, worrying only about what can imminently be done to address it… and not projecting into worst-case-scenario futures. The biggest threat to your stable footing isn't the latest irritating impediment or pesky problem; it's your own increased likelihood of overreacting, overreaching, and/or overcompensating. I cannot stress strongly enough the current importance of staying intently calm in the face of errors, snags, or delays. As a modest mortal, you're expected to put in a very earnest effort during the allotted slot when it's contextual appropriate… but no more than that. You are entitled to properly boundarying your time, in order to preserve your health and well-being so you're able to bring your best self to the table. In fact, you'll do a far better job by looking out for yourself in this process, rather than reacting with hysterics to an 'emergency' that's only become so acute because you've sounded the alarms.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Though I've already advised you to speak up for what you want, Leo, I'd like to add that your most spontaneous statements of interest or desire, no matter how immediately heartfelt they are, could prove suspect. So, has my prior counsel set you up for trouble? Not exactly. Sometimes, we need to engage in active dialogue (with another person and/or the dueling sides of our own being) to conclusively discern a phantom itch from the real deal. Likewise, you may require direct exposure to the corresponding follow-up reactions (whether another person's response-moves and/or your own retroactive feelings) before being able to determine just how lasting or fleeting a given fancy might turn out to be… even knowing any necessary back-pedaling or mind-changing could create a momentarily uncomfortable situation. Consider any such proceedings (or fumblings?) as a culminating Saturn-in-the-5th crash-course in understanding your truest interests and desires better: What motivates your 'want'? Wanting to prove you can satisfy it? A pressure that you're supposed to want it? Will this actually make you happy?


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Your inner sanctum (whether a literal private-location or some zone-of-discretion within your consciousness) is especially sacred to you these days, Virgo, seeing as it's essentially the only place you're safe to analytically explore the hypothetical consequences of finalizing a certain emotional pledge to yourself. Don't, therefore, allow anyone else to breach the safety-wall of this sanctum just because they want to be let inside, due to their codependent curiosity or self-indulgent suspicion. If you want to invite in a trusted supporter and/or are so confident a particular person will be accompanying you on your next life-chapter, then I suppose that's fine… though please be sure you're not creating more possible confusion or convolution by tackling together what might be better worked out on your own. All that said, you're reaching a point where you'll be challenged not to say something, even if only to vent the pressure that's built up from prolonged internal processing. Mercury is retrograde through this week and the next two, however, so delicately dancing around the direct topic might buy you a bit more time to triple-think it.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): And now, let me turn last week's edition on its ear, Libra, and add a nice Merc-rx twist: It's not only what you say (and how you say it) that counts, but also what you don't say. At the moment, one of the most effective ways to maintain a capable sense of agency is to actively prevent a conversation from veering off-track and/or into any territory you're unprepared to talk about or would simply rather not discuss. But I don't recommend using the overkill tactic of an altogether stonewalling silence, for that's liable to draw more attention to the careful conversational control you'd be asserting… and, as such, essentially beckons the stonewalled person to either attempt fuller engagement (with an even more aggressive tone?) or to walk huffily away with a needless negative impression of you. You'll want to be shrewder and smoother than that—not a straightforward task while Mercury's retrograde, though—and give something sincere of yourself to the exchange, to throw them off the scent of what you >don't wish to give 'em. One last suggestion: If they go off the rails, don't feed their volatility… but don't try to stop it either, or you'll put yourself in the path of their storm.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): With Mars finally moving out of your 12th and into your 1st early on Saturday (Dec 9), Scorpio, this latest trend of hold-yourself-back, reel-in-your-impulses, don't-jump-the-gun horoscopes will be coming to a much-appreciated end. From this weekend through the end of January, you'll have your ardent and assertive ruling-planet pumping up your self-determination, powering any forward onslaughts, and increasing your capacity to compete for the win… even while, at the same time, it puts a more prominent target on your back, daring those who might be threatened by your power to battle you for top-dog. (Being a Scorpio, none of this ought to intimidate you into submission.) Yet, for the time being, that rascally retrograde Mercury is still loitering in conjunction to Saturn-in-your-2nd, warning you to remain extra-super diligent and precise in all your practical and/or money-related dealings. Review all the contractual fine-print at least twice. Make sure you've paid the invoice, signed the check, and hit the deadline. And if some point in a negotiation feels poorly-thought-out or rushed-through, please pause the process for further consideration; don't proceed on bluster alone.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): For a sign who's often quite eager to 'get to the next thing already', you may find it somewhat challenging to accept the fact that you should probably wait out this present turn-of-events, Sagittarius… at least until everything shakes out into clearer comprehensibility. With the dual-action alerts of (1) Mercury retrograde in your sign while conjunct Saturn and (2) Mars headed into your 12th by week's-end, this isn't an appropriate time to attempt bold advances, initiatory actions, or willful claims. You'd be better off securing what's already been landed, reconfirming understandings, reengaging conversations which may need further fleshing-out or repeated emphasis, and beginning to quietly envision how you intend to build upon your recent efforts for greater lasting-power once the timing's better (let's say Feb '18, when Mars is more capably settled in your 1st). In other words, you mustn't take your eye off the ball, so as to avoid getting tripped up by a Merc-rx gotcha… but you shouldn't try to hike it any further down the field either. A strong defense (with a Venus-in-your-1st-inspired grin on your face all the while) would serve you most smartly.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Your Mercury retrograde, Capricorn, is all about cleaning the cobwebs off the lens through which you're interpretively coloring your lived experiences. No single living individual (except, perhaps, the most truly dedicated monk) experiences worldly activity in any objective fashion, for it's always filtered through the contaminating lens of one's sum-total history and the expectations that come with it. None of us sees things the way anybody else sees them. And while this could be received as a rather alienating condition of subjective existence, it also leaves room for the ego-liberating possibility of revamping the filter itself—not shuffling to reshape physical conditions, but simply telling yourself a different story about what they mean—and, in that magical reclamation process, opening a whole new field of potential understanding. For instance, what you've long thought of as a stroke of bad luck or a pattern of unwelcome results might, from an alternative angle, have been a twist of mystical fate which prevented you from enduring something far worse. (After all, you don't possess the guidebook that would decode fate's cryptic goings-on.) What if you've been reading a certain reality with too disempowering or bitter a spin? Are there other conceivable reads?


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It is possible to take in the feedback of irked pals, competitive teammates, or adversarial colleagues, Aquarius, without either buying into it or dashing to publicly discredit it. With a retrograde Mercury hovering nearby Saturn-in-your-11th, it's probably wise to pause and consider the relative virtues of having this information—whether or not it's factually credible or ideologically decent—because of what it tells you about the other players on this field, their mindset and motives, and the likely impact of all that on what you're up to. As long as you're operating within a certain social context (and you always are), you'll only support your efforts by staying abreast of the popular and dissenting opinions, the state of the marketplace, and/or how the general zeitgeist is coloring folks' impressions. But please don't let the sore spots get under your skin, lest you react to others' glaring missteps or provocative goadings in a short-sighted manner that's more about performing a group-minded allegiance than preserving your own practical interests. You should still know what goals and values are driving you, no matter what anyone else is spouting.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): A certain amount of the outer-world goodwill presently being directed your way, Pisces, may be based on perceptions or projections that aren't entirely grounded in your actual deeds or dealings. But as long as letting such glowingly imprecise impressions slide won't enable any greater misunderstandings, mishaps, missed opportunities, or shirked duties, then I'm not spying an urgent reason to address this. Though you may later, in service to your obligations and/or ambitions, wind up displaying behaviors which show you perhaps aren't everything they've built you up to be, you needn't gracelessly draw attention to their overreaching assumptions by seeking to preemptively correct them right away. I'll admit, this advice comes dangerously close to advocating deception-by-omission (which can prove just as dishonest as deception-by-telling-a-lie), and I don't want to sully my good reputation with that, so let's be clear: If they utter a characterizing statement about you that's flatly untrue, you must set the record straight or else you're being deceitful. Otherwise, ride the indirect intimations and unspoken vibes to your advantage.