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Horoscopes for January 2012 

Aries (March 20-April 19)
This year is about precision. You’ve been feeling this calling for a while, in particular since your ruling planet Mars entered Virgo this past autumn. Your quest may extend to your mental and physical health, your work, and many other factors in your environment. You may apply this as a drive for impeccability, integrity, or even perfection. The problem is that humans are not creatures of precision; we are works in progress. Mars stationing retrograde in Virgo is cautioning you against taking overbearing positions with yourself: pushing yourself too hard, or trying to solve all your problems at once. You would best be served by an approach that works in layers. It’s a little like housecleaning—you sweep before you mop; getting the dishes out of the way is always a good start; you wash, dry, and fold in order. I suggest you take that approach to personal improvement. Meanwhile, beware of overemphasis on the past. You may encounter old issues that are calling for focus. While you’re doing that I suggest you adapt a “clean as you go” approach with present-moment subject matter. Keep your current relationships, enterprises, and work patterns as clear as you can. Proceed carefully and even a bit meticulously, so that you avoid creating new problems. Yet most of all, recognize that shifting your mental outlook will shift the way the world appears to you. If the world looks broken, consider whether that’s how you feel. And remember that your ultimate goal is wholeness rather than perfection.

(April 19-May 20)
There is something about sex that you seem to be trying to work through with every cell in your body. I will start by saying this: You cannot simultaneously exist in a world dominated by vanity, glamour, and the appearance of purity at the same time you reach for authenticity, healing, and being clear about your desires. You must choose to exist in one world or the other. The first set of properties describes a way of life that is based on cloaking yourself in various illusions, while the second is about going deeper than appearances and reaching the substance of who you are and what you have to share. When we talk about sexual healing, we might well ask what exactly we would strive to resolve, correct, or improve. I would propose, first, that you would benefit from being real about what you want, and noticing any fear or guilt that comes up as you name the specifics. Then make an inventory of the situations in your life where love and guilt are transacted as if they are equivalents. Last, check in where you are attempting to experience intimacy without vulnerability, or vulnerability without trust. These three things—intimacy, vulnerability, and trust—together combine to form this thing we outwardly label “love.” The risky territory you’re exploring involves working out just that formula, but beware that to get there, you may have to move many lesser values out of the way. To accomplish that, you must be vigilant.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Your relationship life has been nothing less than surreal the past few months, and you may feel like you’re experiencing a kind of replay of everything that you’ve been through. The question now and for the foreseeable future involves commitment. Relationships of any kind call for being held in a container made of agreements. For you right now, both the content and the structure of those agreements is what is up for review. One particular relationship is calling for a complete revision of the “sacred contracts” that are involved, some of which are not so holy. Once you start, this will naturally branch out into the other relationships in your life. As you embark on that you may notice that your current agreements contain all kinds of odd little clauses, riders, and addenda that take you off the main point of what your relationships are about. These are silent expectations, and many of those you can trace back to your parents and grandparents. It’s similar to how the deed on a house or piece of property can contain requirements on subsequent owners, based on agreements made 100 years ago. Note that the first of those supposed requirements where a relationship is concerned involves the concept of ownership itself, which is infused through nearly all of our ideas about “romantic” partnership or marriage. This is the place to start asking questions—or rather, the first things to question are the obvious ones.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You must accept the fact that a relationship is changing, which does not necessarily mean changing for the worse. Actually, you get considerable influence over what form and direction the change takes, though you’re also being confronted by essential elements that are out of your control. Borrowing from the serenity prayer, you have to sort out the difference. Meanwhile, I suggest you review the history of the relationship. There was a turning point between 2008 and 2009. If the relationship in question dates prior to that era, study the developments at that time; otherwise, consider this date range as a turning point in your relationship history, in total. The changes that are upon you involve both the form of your relationships, and their content. In short, the old forms can no longer hold what you want to express, what you feel, or what you need. They are simply not flexible enough. Yet you may not be aware of what new structure to use. I suggest you allow form to follow function. In other words, what is the purpose and the content of the relationship? Then based on that, how to have the relationship will be more obvious. Yet this is a bigger change than most people think. We tend to put the form of the relationship over the content or purpose. We try to fit people (including ourselves) into preconceived ideas about relationships and this is precisely what is changing.

Leo (July 22-August 23)
Focus on what is necessary. Aim your entire concept of beauty or creativity on efficiency—that is where you will tap your creative power. Do your best to expend every drop of your energy consciously. There is a feeling described in your charts, which is doing precisely what is necessary to get the result that you want. You will find that this takes less effort than you think; the operative concept is leverage—not you being leveraged, but you having the leverage. I have noticed that the value of ideas to get things done is grossly underrated, even by many people who work in the realm of ideas. You might consider something carefully until you have a good working concept of what you want; it’s possible that the idea you need will just come to you. In either event it will help you significantly if you delineate what you want to get done or what problem you want to solve. This way you will have a sense of whether an idea that just arrives, or an idea that you gradually brew up, is the one that might do the job. If you don’t define the puzzle first, you’ll be much less likely to notice whether you’ve fit the pieces together correctly. One other thing to be sensitive to is whether you’ve already worked something out. If you need something, check if you already have it. If something is puzzling you, pause and think back and remember if you’ve already solved it.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)
This month, Mars stations retrograde in your birth sign. This is another way of saying Mars will spend a total of eight months in Virgo, about 10 weeks of which it will seem to be traveling backward. Mars is the most assertive planet, so this backtracking is often considered challenging—but it serves a crucial purpose, for you and for us all. The planets seem determined to teach you how to use this mysterious, elusive thing known as your will. Everything you experience must be filtered through one question—what do you want? You will develop the skill of discernment; for example, sorting out everything in your life on the basis of whether it helps you or hurts you. You can learn new ways to correct what is not working about your life, and what you don’t like about yourself. Mars is a hot, sharp object, and it has no morals of its own. You therefore need to be the intelligence behind the changes, and cultivating that awareness is the whole point. Proceed with surgical precision, getting clear on the mental level, then checking with the deeper emotional level and, finally, making your actual adjustments meticulously and carefully. Take the whole duration of the retrograde (January 23 to April 13) to identify and correct the patterns you don’t like, and to cultivate the ones that you know you want and need. Take nothing for granted. There’s no such thing as too careful—unless you spend your days in hesitation.

Libra (September 22-October 23)
If you want to understand yourself, study the nature of fear. There are a few different kinds of the stuff, ranging from a kind of lurking anxiety to paranoia about specific things. Lately you may be experiencing the fear of specifics: of what might happen if you don’t take care of details, or correct certain flaws that you might perceive in yourself. There is a kind of microscope pointing into your deep hidden nature, and you need to use it carefully. Beware of obsession in any form, or of any violent thoughts you might direct toward yourself. By “beware” I mean be aware, and be wary. Notice these mental patterns and see if you can trace them back to their early origins. Despite your laid-back exterior, you possess a kind of deep perfectionism, though it’s not always the healthy kind. Be especially cautious of what you think that others think of you. This is almost always incorrect, though your projections of what others might think is a good indication of what you’re signaling to yourself. If it’s not already clear, you must send yourself more positive messages, and you have plenty of material to work with. In the end it will come down to a question of which viewpoint is true. Which makes you feel healthier? Which leads to your being happier and more productive? This is indeed a time when you will make many improvements to your mental patterns and emotional habits; it’s just a question of how you go about it.

Scorpio (October 23-November 22)
To what extent do you rely on outside structure to hold up your life? We all do, to some extent. I am always glad to have a house to live in and boots on when I walk outside in the winter. But it’s also essential to have a strong internal structure, so that you’re the person who is actually guiding your life, and whose spine supports your being. If you’re going to put any personal growth project on top of your list for the next year, strengthening your internal structure is the one. Nearly every important transit that’s happening to you is a commentary on some form of discipline, self-mastery, or being conscious of the boundaries of your life. These serve a purpose: To help you contain, cultivate and direct your creative energy. You may feel like you have so many changes to make that you’re overwhelmed at times. You have a feeling for how much territory you’re going to cover before these particular processes are over, but your inner workings also have significant momentum. You’ve achieved more than you think, though at this point there really is no looking back except to check in, briefly, with where you started. Trust that you have a solid beginning. One of the next places you’re going to be directing your energy is your reputation. The question is, are you known for who you really are, or is there something else going on? One of the themes of 2012 for you is impeccability, which in this instance translates to absolute authenticity.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 22)
I suggest you use imperfection as your teacher. Since perfection doesn’t exist except as a concept, you need to put to good use the things you perceive as “wrong” with yourself. What’s interesting is that what you perceive as being a problem and what you perceive as being your best assets may be very close together, so close that they are inseparable. You may notice, for example, what is “imperfect” about your body just as you notice your own beauty. You might observe that you’re in good health but before you have time to appreciate that, you may be annoyed by the one or two persistent problems you have—and the negative can have a way of dominating the discussion. It’s like the small issue gets your attention and obscures your perception of everything else. Obviously, this is not the way to make progress, especially if you want to develop your talents, be of service, and feel better about yourself—all things that are eminently possible right now. You’re being challenged to work with a functional standard of quality and monitor your judgments of what is good and what is not (especially about yourself). Yet most significantly, you need to develop a sense of perspective. Perfection may not be a value, but improvement certainly is a useful one. I often think of what my old friend Melinda scrawled into my high school yearbook: Someone is not a true artist until they can see the flaws in their own work.

Capricorn (December 22-January 20)
Faith is one of the most difficult-to-grasp concepts, but as an actual thing in the world, it’s fairly easy to see. And it’s what you need to be the most vigilant about now. Your solar charts suggest that you’re having a crisis of faith in yourself, so you may notice this quality more by its absence than by its presence. This will work—as long as you recognize what’s going on, and go to the next step. One thing I can tell you about faith is that it comes from inside you. If there is an external source, then by my definition anyway, it’s not faith. Therefore, seek that internal source of connection. At the same time, you seem to be in a colossal struggle to work out what you believe: about life, about yourself, and, ultimately, about what is possible. You may be feeling the effects of disappointments relating to prior plans, or a sense of failing to meet your own potential—and these may be influencing what you believe is possible. Let’s stick with that for a moment. If what was possible in the past is any indication of what is actually possible in the future, then humanity would have made no progress on anything, ever. What is possible today is, specifically, what was not possible previously. Therefore, consider what seems impossible today as an indication of your true potential. If you can gently notice where you lack faith, you’re halfway to being filled with it.

Aquarius (January 20-February 19)
For the next few months, you’re going to be working out the details of a partnership that may have you going over old ground. This is not about backpedaling; it really is about resolving unfinished business. The good news is that once this phase ends, you’ll be able to proceed with actual courage and confidence. The lessons you’ll learn include the nature of commitments and what it means to get into them (and out of them), and how much care you must take to ensure that the fine points are really what they should be; and a big wake-up to the power you have when you step forward with your independence rather than thinking you need others to be involved in every decision. What seems like a review will really be a planning phase for a period of your life that I would describe as a period of achievement. There is a warm-up to this phase, and you’re in it now. The more you have a grasp on the history of recent years (and some long-gone ones), the more successful you will be. In the most positive sense, your success comes down to one thing: knowing what you want. That, in turn, breaks down into several subtopics, including knowing exactly what would get in the way of that awareness. In the process, you will map out your psyche and the maze of your life, and this map will be an extremely useful tool as you move forward.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)
Whatever that thing you’re most dedicated to, that is who and what you are. It’s not that you have to identify with it, but rather that you are free to do so. Remember this. There seems to be a healing process at the heart of the matter. There seems to be something about sex and your sexual identity, and how you contain and express your energy. And you’re feeling a calling to absolute authenticity, which includes giving yourself the space to be yourself. If I had to assign one theme to the next four seasons, that’s the one: hold that space open where you are free to be you. Imagine a large fire in the middle of the space, which defines the room you have to move around, and provides both an energy source and a focal point for your existence. Holding open space to exist may have the feeling of taking back territory. By doing something positive and assertive you may get the sensation that you’re doing something negative and even wrong. No doubt you’ve been through this territory once or twice (or more) but it’s easy to forget. This is one reason why I suggest you think in terms of defining your space (rather than defending it). There is room for you on this planet. There is room for you to be different, and most of all there is room for you to fulfill your purpose. In the coming four seasons, however, you’re likely to graduate to something even more powerful: living on a mission.
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