Photographer Lorna Simpson, a Leo.
Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos: Getty
Early Thursday morning, communication planet Mercury enters Virgo, where it can effortlessly express its analytical, detail-oriented side. Problems at your workplace that have gone unnoticed become impossible to ignore; any dissatisfaction in your relationships can’t be glossed over any longer. It’s easy to spin a romantic, big-picture story about the course of your life, but right now, don’t neglect the details. While Mercury is in Virgo, you can clearly see what’s going well and what’s wrong or missing. Instead of pretending that these things don’t matter or that they’re too insignificant to be worth fixing, you can take action to make them right. You’ll be glad you did.
You’ve been struggling lately with the notion that you don’t deserve to be loved. Before anyone can genuinely care for you, you imagine, you must complete a dizzying amount of inner work; before you can share your life with another, you must first become perfect on your own. But this puts so much unnecessary pressure on you. Although it’s valuable to work on yourself, perfection isn’t a reasonable expectation. Close relationships aren’t prizes you win for ridding yourself of all flaws. Instead, intimacy can aid in the process of growing and healing. Other people can reflect your best self back to you and can make you feel finally, wholly alive.
Sometimes, the (perfectly natural) anxiety you experience when you’re forced to be brave — to stand up for yourself, confess a deep feeling, or take a big professional risk — prevents you from doing it at all. You tell yourself that you’re being smart by playing it safe, that things wouldn’t have worked out in your favor anyway. But by declining to act, you preempt wonderful possibilities, too. More than that, you deny yourself the heady thrill of acting courageously. Even if your risks weren’t ever to pan out, they would still be worth taking, if only as a way to remind yourself that you always have the power and freedom to take action.
This week, you may experience an especially strong sense of perfectionism. Relationships that were once fulfilling are suddenly insufficient; the creative projects that thrilled you last week are revealing all their cracks and imperfections. What’s important in this moment is to remember that you can’t tend to everything at once. If you fixate on the small annoyances, you’ll be left with less energy to charge ahead; if you’re to continue pushing boldly forward, you’ll have to let some of the details go. Either strategy can be a good one. Just know you’ll have to choose.
You’re perceptive, good at reading between the lines. Simply by paying careful attention, you can usually tell what people want, what they think about you, what emotions are simmering beneath the surface. But no matter how astute you are, or how often your observations are proven right, there will still be instances when you get it wrong. This week, it’s crucial to remember that you don’t know everything. Sometimes, the only way to get to the truth, to best understand those you love, is to ask and to genuinely listen to what they have to say.
It may surprise you to hear that dreaming big doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It requires a special combination of audacity and imagination and a willingness to look beyond the dull, limiting problems of practicality. You have a rare gift for coming up with thrilling new ideas, based on your belief that everyday life shouldn’t be dreamy but wonderful. This week, though, you’ll benefit from attending to the less-flashy components of your ideas. Right now, dealing with the details won’t deflate you and your plans. Rather, it will help you to bring them into the real world, to actually realize the life you’ve been dreaming of.
It’s difficult to be generous with others when your own prospects and place in the world are insecure. When you worry there’s not enough to go around, it seems riskier to share; when you fear those around you will behave selfishly, it’s tempting to hoard what you have. This week, though, generosity will make your life easier and your relationships stronger. It will remind you how good community can be. Even if you don’t completely trust that giving away your time, resources, or energy is wise right now, try anyway. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll get back in return.
It strikes you that everyone has become needlessly cynical and eager to find fault with everything and everyone, even with the universe itself. They may not be criticizing you personally, but it’s hard not to get defensive. You don’t have to tolerate meanness, of course. Just remember that sometimes criticism stems not from a lack of love but from an abundance of it. What feels at first like straightforward condemnation may, in fact, be an attempt to make things better. And you can follow their example: You can fight for everything you deserve, too.
You have permission this week to stop trying to persuade others of your worth. You may imagine that if you make a strong enough case, if you come up with precisely the right combination of words, you can convince someone who doesn’t care about you to change their mind. In reality, this is rarely effective. Either they see how special you are, or they never will. A better use of your time is to work on proving it to yourself — to act like you love and believe in yourself, like you know you deserve to be here, because you do.
Lately, your future seems so uncertain that it’s tempting to give up preemptively, to assume that happiness is out of your grasp before you’ve even reached for it. The safest move, you imagine, is to keep expectations low. But this week, nothing good can come from setting for the mediocre, from limiting your imagination to feasible but uninspiring compromises. Amazing things are possible but only if you aim for your heart’s true desire. You likely won’t find precisely what you seek (we rarely do in life), but the quest itself will change you and your life for the better.
You can find countless reasons, these days, to be sad and afraid; despair shadows you at every turn. Your friends try to cheer you up, often with limited success. Happiness seems inappropriate when so many people are suffering. You know you’re more than justified in feeling sorrow and fear. But no matter how natural your emotions may be, it’s still necessary to find ways to go on living, to continue to fight. If joy isn’t fueling you right now, try resolve or anger instead. You can find surprising power in the sheer determination not to let yourself be defeated.
When good luck is scarce and you can’t catch the break you need, retreating into fatalism and despair can look like your best or only option. But it’s not. You can refuse to accept the universe’s whims as final, refuse to grant the fight to make your life, and society, better. There are ways to create your own power, your own luck. Not through talismans and magic but by banding together with a group of people. This week, there’s plenty to feel pessimistic about, but when you gather with others, when you believe in your power to do great things together, that’s when your luck begins to change.
Part of you struggles to be confident in your work (and yourself) until others indicate their approval. External validation offers you permission to love and believe in yourself. What’s more, it feels good to bask in the warmth of admiration. This isn’t a bad thing; you don’t need to deny yourself life-affirming interactions. But the goal this week is simply to remember you don’t need them. You are wonderful, you’re brave, you’re living your life the best way you can, and that will remain true whether or not anyone tells you so.
Read the weekly horoscopes for the week of July 25. The weekly horoscopes for the week of August 8 will be online next Sunday.
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