Horoscopes | Week of December 11-17, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Consider this moment your ironing-out of the underpinnings impelling you ahead, Aries, so that you truly appreciate the philosophic premise beneath why you're headed where you are. Being challenged (whether by someone else's contentious strike or mere circumstance) forces you to refine your driving focus to only its most purposeful core—a singularly elementary logic which legitimizes that this is your most honorable approach—because all your other reasons are too vulnerable to being ripped apart, on the easily defensible grounds they are emotionally and/or tactically self-serving. While there's nothing inherently wrong about acting with multiple concurrent motives (some naturally more virtuous than others), you really must comprehend the nuanced distinctions between them if you wish to effectively defend yourself against critiques intended by others (whether consciously or not) to muddle these distinct subtleties. Just as you are unlikely to succeed by claiming your obviously personal stakes are more noble than they are, your credibility will thrive if you can articulate an authentic mission-statement that rests on some hard-to-argue-with principle. Keep thoughtfully working on it.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Because none of this is simple, Taurus, you'll do yourself a disservice by lurching toward the seemingly simplest way-forward. This tightrope you're walking has too many potential freedom-impeding hazards along its path to justify your skipping across it in huffiness or haste. Yes, taking your time with this could mean you're expending a continuous measure of psychic energy, emotional labor, and/or financial backing… an investment which surely demands you orient your present temperament to perseverance and endurance (though thankfully these are qualities you Taureans are known for). However, such a thorough and scrupulous investment will pay you dividends, which means you'll getting back what you've put in (not, of course, in a perfectly equal or identical exchange, but with enough value to make it worth your while). If, on the other hand, you don't invest in your future in this manner, the attention you'll later have to pay to the complexities you ignored or the consequences you refused to consider will unfortunately be psychically, emotionally, and/or financially draining.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): We could establish that this latest case of crossed signals, distorting hearsay, and/or different versions every day may simply be an extended (albeit unsettling) chance for you and a certain someone(s) to get to know the multiple sides of each other's subject-position way better, Gemini. The maddening extent of more questions than answers, a comparable number of pros and cons, and/or follow-up conversations which loop back around to undercut the prior supposition enough so it feels like you're starting all over again… all of this (or any other such seeming delays) may turn out to be beneficial for you in the long run, provided you let this press onward despite your impatience or unease. This advice, incidentally, applies just as pertinently to business-related exchanges or customer-service scenarios as it does to your personal relationships: Hanging in through the misfires and fuck-ups will yield more favorable results than rashly storming off before the interaction's functionally wrapped up. You're likelier to lose, meanwhile, by oversimplifying the situation.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): I like the story that portrays the latest hitches, headaches, and hindrances as an instructional step in the process of eventually obtaining results which are better than they would've been if none of this annoying stuff ever happened, Cancer. I wouldn't be surprised if you've had a moment or two that might suggest such a tale is mere wishful thinking… though, of course, 'eventually' is a state-of-being you weren't experiencing at that in-the-midst-of-it stage. I'm asserting it's part of your responsibility to insist on that version, not only in the earnest effort to genuinely keep your cool, but also as a reminder to pay attention to the sources and standards which set any problematic circumstance into motion. If you wish for this story to produce its happiest ending, you can't just toss out the first quick-fix that pops into your head, perhaps patching the most urgent hole or warding off immediate disaster, yet not addressing the root-concern(s) sufficiently so you're helping to create a future where such threats cease to exist (or at least are much minimized). You must want to improve your functionality.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Should you find yourself feeling momentarily self-conscious, inelegant, or clumsy with your words, Leo, please don't fall prey to pitying regret, overblown apologetics, or face-saving denial. Perhaps the most flattering way to handle such understandable missteps (Mercury is retrograde, folks) is to wear your bumbling fallibilities as a proud badge of your humble hominid nature. The more natural and unflustered you seem with having put your foot in your mouth, giving someone the wrong idea, and/or now needing to rescind an already-made proposal, the less of a big deal they are likely to make it. One of the greatest Leo charms, don't you know, is your self-possessed expression of opinions and emotions. When you perform a potentially unflattering behavior without apparent sheepishness or shame, others will be more prone to accept you as you are… to feel freer to follow suit by flashing their quirks and foibles… and, frankly, to find you that much more appealing in your unrepentant individuality. You might mess up here and there, but that doesn't make you a mess-up.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Think about ways you might represent to others what's been going on inside you lately, Virgo, in a manner that emphasizes how fortunate for you this contemplative process has been. Sure, you may still be dealing with some misgivings, jitters, or angst—isn't that to be expected whenever we're chewing on such consequential matters?—but, regardless, you need to be building an invincible case to explain why what you're choosing to do next is an unquestionably good thing, both for your own confidence-strengthening benefit and so you're better able to recruit others' support. You won't want to give anyone too easy an opening to undermine your still-firming-up designs, especially in light of how much emotional work it's taken you (and kudos for that) to distill the potentially misleading impact of their hopes and persuasions out from your inner truth. You will have to believe, in your heart-of-hearts, the conclusion you're arriving at is the best one for your future peace-of-mind… though that doesn't magically resolve all the tricky or troublesome side-effects it threatens to unfurl. If you don't believe it, you can't expect anybody else to believe it either.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): There are very few instances of social oafishness that can't be neutralized by a well-exercised set of good manners, Libra. And I'm not talking the kind of 'manners' that barely conceal an unspoken disinterest or contempt beneath a perfunctory utterance of hollow niceties (e.g., telling someone 'bless your heart' when you really think they're full of shit or destined for hell). At their least superficial, manners are practiced as a sincere courtesy to others, based purely on the fact of your common humanity: Right here in front of you, this is another living, breathing, and feeling person who is just as worthy of immediate attention, kindness, and care as someone you've known and loved your whole life. We rely on polite protocols to show others this basic respect, even when their views and experiences may widely diverge from our own—and even when we suspect we might not really like them that much, were we to become better acquainted. We needn't agree with somebody to treat them decently (though we might quietly choose to do so from a safe emotional distance). Heck, we might find an unexpected common-ground during such an exchange of pleasantries… or at least ward off an underlying potential for nastiness.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): You'll do yourself an economic favor, Scorpio, by transacting and/or corresponding with relevant parties from a decidedly conservative angle. Though Mars-in-your-1st may be inspiring your instincts to hunt for self-reviving opportunities to explore or exploit, the first order of such self-extending business is to nail down what's supposedly been banked already. But don't do so with an attitude of nervousness or doubt (which could end up stirring those same sentiments in colleagues or contacts who had felt pretty secure in their dealings with you). Under the auspices of innocent double-checking (hell, sassily blame it on Mercury retrograde if you must), simply confirm you're all operating with the same mutual understanding. Believe it or not, if you handle such reaffirmational inquiries with the magic touch, you might discover you're actually in a better spot than you knew… either because you stumbled upon a credit or sum due to you from prior efforts and/or you realized you've been meekly underestimating the quality and value of your work. The trickiest part is to avoid coming off as grabby, greedy, or miffed.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Freeze in place please, Sagittarius… but with an opaquely sweet and amiable demeanor plastered on your outward guise. Let Venus save you from being perceived as a suspect, schemer, or shit-talker, as you refrain from trying to do much of anything. Not only will you want to keep your feverish inner machinations from exposure to the public light, but you should probably make it seem as if there isn't a bunch of important concerns swirling around inside your head. If someone perceives your apparent inactivity or opinionlessness as a case of your being a ding-a-ling or doofus, merrily play it up. Cracking a few jokes at your own expense is one of the surest ways to both lighten the mood and diminish any mistrust headed at you, since folks are likelier to find reassurance in people who laugh at themselves. If you're accused of some error, oversight, or slight that could be perceived as your fault (although, on the other hand, might not be), it's a wiser strategic move to neatly accept responsibility for your part (however minor it is) rather than letting your indignance or offense get the best of you. Whatever it takes to smooth over any edges and hold everything in place, without any sharp moves or pointless scuffles…


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): The current external happenings (which admittedly may seem tense, kooky, surprising, and/or grim) don't necessarily mean what those around you are emphatically claiming, Capricorn… though I'm not suggesting you attempt to correct anyone, since (1) you don't necessarily know, beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt, what they do mean and (2) you certainly wouldn't want to spark a quarrel over competing conjectures. And even if there were a convincing-sounding consensus opinion (or perhaps two equally-convincing-sounding possibilities), I'm not sure it serves your ongoing interests to plant your flag on that territory, as some symbol of team loyalty or factional support. To be truest to your conscience, you'll have to decide for yourself what constitutes a triumph or travesty, a promising turn or regrettable decline, a future to eagerly work towards or a past to leave behind. Though we're always susceptible to the larger forces of fate beyond our control, you still bear a significant chunk of personal responsibility for what you make of this life, just like we touched on last week. As such, don't hurriedly adopt others' interpretive frameworks as your own.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): I want to mirror last week's edition by also encouraging you to look closely at the positions, platforms, and turns-of-phrase being used by your allies and comrades, Aquarius, just as I urged you to study what your foes are saying and doing. While your prior horoscope centered on grasping the opposition's arguments and tactics, this one is aimed at reminding you not to toil with reinventing the wheel… not when a like-minded peer or trusted pal has already thought through many of the same issues you're grappling with, and may hold some valuable experience and/or handy talking-points they've created which might save you from repeating their mistakes and/or duplicating the work. Let me be unambiguous when instructing you to only borrow from others with their blessing, permission, and proper credit intact. Presuming you abide by these guidelines of honorable collaboration, you are likely to strengthen your stand by appropriately and attentively aligning yourself with the lengthier social history of fellow enthusiasts, activists, and interested parties. In fact, you might even get a new friend out of it.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): When I tell you your Mercury retrograde is happening prominently, out in the public sector and/or wherever you're being expected to properly behave in some official capacity, please don't assume this fact will make its effects worse on you, Pisces. As Mercury retrogrades into a conjunction with Venus-in-your-10th, you remain in a prime position for reaping positive attention for your capacity to competently tolerate uncertainty, miscalculation, and/or turmoil. Keep a level-headed awareness of the overriding big-picture conditions, so as not to fumble or flounder under the overblown trouble related to a few maddening details. Just because some aspect of what you're trying to achieve or secure isn't going as expected, that shouldn't inevitably doom the entire enterprise to a bleak outlook. In fact, I'll bet certain other aspects are going rather swimmingly (though those probably aren't the ones presently being focused on, since their relative ease may be implicitly assumed). Include what is working well in your analysis, too. While you needn't pretend everything's awesome, you also mustn't woefully assert everything's sucky… because it isn't that either.