by Eric Francis

Gemini by Deirdre TantonGemini (May 20-June 21)
The matter of belief is one of the most pressing issues of our day. We live in a time when to believe something is to think that makes it true. I am not sure where the subtle elements of proof, substantiation and credibility went, though you will want to claim them back. David Bowie in one of his earlier songs admonished his fans, "Don't deceive with belief," suggesting that to believe something is a form of a lie. Be careful what you accept into your mind, especially if you notice that others are taking a trendy idea as some kind of mandatory doctrine. You may want to stand up to this, if you need to, or if it feels right. But you can do yourself a service by not allowing belief to be a standard for anything. Stick to the available facts, and dig for the ones that are less available. Understand that people are usually motivated to take spiritual or religious positions most often because they are avoiding the two bottom lines of life — sex and death. You don't need to guide other people to that level of the discussion, though you would profit immensely from doing so yourself. Take that chance. Examine these bottom-line values, and the way in which they drive your personal quest for reality: the more boldly the better.

Cancer by Deirdre TantonCancer (June 21-July 22)
This phase of your life is about clearing debris out of the way. You're chief of the karma squad, and your mission is to wrap up old business so that you have the freedom to live the life you want. This can be intense work, though it is satisfying, and it gets results. The more integrity you have, the better you will feel, so this is a process of building your strength and learning how to feel good. One issue you will want to track closely involves the way that you allow others to set the terms of your most intimate relationships. It's as if you feel you must live up to some community standard about what is supposedly right and wrong about how you relate to others. However, once you have established mutual consent with your partners, nobody else needs to be involved with your commitments or process of making decisions. And to the extent that you are, the discussion would rightly include how you feel; all matters related to sex; and having a grounded understanding of your financial situation. It's OK if one person contributes more than the other, as long as everyone is cool with that. And, in all matters where intimate partners are concerned, strive to be transparent. The book Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton (the original, not any derivatives) will serve you well.

Leo by Deirdre TantonLeo (July 22-Aug. 23)
In both family and professional matters, you will be in a position of leadership this summer. That, in part, means that you are going to help defuse controversy and disentangle conflict. Yet be careful not to apply too much force in doing so; rather, gently coax people into seeing reality for what it is. Work on the level of values. Start by getting people to agree on what is important. Therefore, let others state their priorities, and collect that information. Meanwhile, you must know your priorities and understand your own motives, and begin to look for points where the various themes align. This will not happen overnight. It could take a couple of months of patient listening and discussion before you start to get to a point of resolution. Notice the ways that peer pressure is playing a role. The whole world seems to have degraded to a 4th-grade level akin to South Park, though not usually as funny. You need to be the adult in the room. Not the parent! That is a whole different comportment. An adult recognizes the power and the energy of children; a parent cops an attitude. The goal of an adult is to bring the whole discussion to a mature and thoughtful place. The goal of a parent is to get control, which inevitably fails. Thankfully, you have options.

Virgo by Deirdre TantonVirgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Your sign is most often associated with being effective at work, rather than creativity. You're the organized one, the problem solver and the work-horse. However, at the center of your taskmaster is a hot, molten core of creativity. It's this core that you will be searching for as you rearrange your work patterns this summer. Don't expect much to be the same from day to day; use your skill as one who can adapt and evolve your methods. Yet always remember what drives your efforts and what inspires you to excel. It's not merely the desire to get things done; it's the desire to create a better world. And that is a work of art if anything is, fraught with all the perils attending the creative process. For years now, you have been getting the message to honor what is, at once, your passion, your originality, and your quest for meaningful work. Now you're about to be drawn in that direction like you're being carried by a riptide. While you're keeping your mind on the algorithms and the procedures, and the social politics and what the boss wants, stay busy inventing the best way to do things. See the world as you know it can be, rather than what it seems to be today. If something is really a problem, there is a solution, and the solution is an opportunity.

Libra by Deirdre TantonLibra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You have resources: important ones, which can get you through anything. For years now, you've been drilling down into the ground, establishing your independence and your stability. It's time for you to put this all together and step into the challenges that you are the most eager to engage. This will mean letting go of old goals and coming up with new ones — or acknowledging the desire you've been toting around for years on end. Take them out of your bag and put them on the table. Open your secret box of ideas you want to develop. Get out your bucket list and pick three items, and do them soon. This may all feel risky, like you have to acknowledge something deep and urgent in order to take the step and bring yourself to a new place. You may feel like you have to violate every rule you think you have to live by. You may need to go against the grain of what your friends think is right, particularly those who are engaged in some kind of creative profession. Often they are more bound by convention than they let on, and that is precisely what you are ready to challenge. Set out to do the thing you want to do the most, especially if you think it's impossible. Then you'll feel a lot better.

Scorpio by Deirdre TantonScorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Of all subjects we must address here in the Western world, family seems for most to be the most vexing. This tends to get more intense the more independence that you want, whether it's the freedom to move about the planet, or the freedom to think and feel as you do. They amount to the same thing. Family patterns spread into every facet of life: such as anyplace there is a group present. When you experience a group, you may notice that people fall into familiar roles — someone is like your mother, someone is like your father, others may resemble siblings. You can start by seeing these roles for what they are. Identify people not just by who they remind you of, but also how you feel when you're engaging with them. Do you feel small or insecure? Do you feel confident and happy? Do you lose your appetite or need to open a window? Do you feel welcome in their presence, and taken care of? Notice these things with everyone you encounter, and wherever you may go. Part of shifting these patterns is seeing them, and part of it is about establishing new modes of communication and interrelation. This is much more on the feeling level: not the words you say, but how you feel saying them; not the words you hear, but how you feel when you are listening.

Sagittarius by Deirdre TantonSagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
One of the most serious problems the world is facing is the deterioration of literacy. This has effects on every level; because literacy is about our ability to reason, to record the past, to express new ideas and, most significantly, to have a sense of right and wrong. Once words and syntax lose their meaning, it's not long before we're losing our minds, and our collective grip on reality. That, if you look closely at the world, is exactly what's happening. You depend on literacy, in its widest sense, to keep your bearings. The structure of ideas matters to you. Logical flow matters to you. What things mean in the context of one another matters to you. We are all experiencing the impact of "new media," an environment where a tweet might be thought to replace a book and, therefore, a flimsy idea might be thought to replace a solid and tangible one. You will be doing some adapting of your thought process to this new environment, though don't get too swept up in the tides of change or alleged progress. Remember that, at heart, you are a traditionalist. Progress is all well and good, as long as there is some solid core of respect for the nuances of thought, for ideas that matter, and for the human condition. Said another way, progress is no excuse for disrespect.

Capricorn by Deirdre TantonCapricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You'll be doing some financial rearrangement this summer, or finishing such a task that you may have begun in early 2017. Yet finances are a reflection of one's priorities. The record of the money you spend is a mind-map of what you think matters. Rather than trying to change your mind, study the map. Observe how you think, and where you notice your thinking has lapsed. Pause when you run into perplexing questions. For example, you might wonder why you made a certain decision, or why you have a pattern of similar decisions. Pluto has been in your sign for a decade, and Saturn has been with you since last December. These are two influences that are likely to come with some significant changes in the trajectory of your life. Yet these may have come so frequently for a while that you thought you were just following the contours of the landscape. However, when you consider these changes in direction, what do you notice? If you had to plot your course on a map of the landscape, how would that look? How you handle money, and your twists and turns of fortune, and how you think about your role in the business community, are all part of this. In total, what you're looking for is evidence of your maturing process. Take that question right into the present moment.

Aquarius by Deirdre TantonAquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
This summer, Mars will be retrograde in Aquarius: significant news for anyone with a major placement there, be it Sun, Moon, rising sign or cluster of planets. One challenge you may face is how to use your energy appropriately. You need to know where to apply your will, your time and your money, and where to back off. You need to decide when to fight and when to walk away. Most of all, you need to decide what you want. This is the real question wherever Mars is prominent. Though our society seems to be all about fulfilling desire, that's not really true, so far as I have observed. It's true in the context of what we think we're allowed to want, within narrow parameters. It's true in the context of what we think is not going to 'offend' others who are not actually involved or affected. So one project for you is to notice yourself experiencing desire, and then notice how you respond to peer pressure, both from outside yourself and in terms of what you think others might think. Observe when you find yourself playing to rules and, worse, going against your own values in order to please someone else, in theory or in reality. Should you feel like this is potentially dangerous territory, you have some protection. The Moon's South Node will be hanging around Mars all summer long.

Pisces by Deirdre TantonPisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Amidst all the tossing and turning that is life on the planet in its current state, you are being called to consider your long-range vision for yourself. As a Pisces, you're already blessed with the wide view, the long view, and the cosmic perspective. So it's likely that you've been considering your next direction for a while now. Based on a study of your ruling planets, Jupiter and Neptune, this is likely to take three forms. One is your notion of your sexuality, which is intimately mingled with your cosmology. Second is where you want to travel. Have you gone anyplace for a while? Jupiter in Scorpio is encouraging you to take a trip some time soon, and also to dust off your list of places you absolutely must visit. Third is where you're heading professionally. When Jupiter enters Sagittarius later in the year, it will enter your 10th house of reputation and success. You may not exactly feel like your star is rising at the moment, though a lot will unfold over the next six months, and you will be in a position to actualize some of your dearest aspirations. You must know what they are in order for that to happen. They're the ones that might seem too good to be true, or the ones your parents said were impossible. That's the place to begin — and soon.

Aries by Deirdre TantonAries (March 20-April 19)
If you have ever suspected that you are different from others in some significant way, this will be the summer when you test your theory. First, your ruling planet Mars will be retrograde in Aquarius, the sign of groups. This presents a picture of you doing your thing your way, and seeing how others respond. Your purpose here is not to shock anyone or to stir the pot; your purpose is to be yourself. This will teach you how to handle yourself in public situations, and build your confidence. You will learn how to extinguish gossip. Go through this consciously and you will emerge in a position of social leadership. You are empowered by Chiron, newly in your sign: the planet of healing and also of individuality. Chiron will teach you to be a maverick: a person who does what you know is right, no matter what the current trend may dictate. Mars retrograde is what you might call a short-term experiment. Chiron is a long-term visitor to your sign, and you will be using the results of the Mars retrograde experiment for the decade or so that Chiron is in your life. Prepare by paying especially close attention to social situations. Listen to what people are saying, though never repeat it. If you must, go directly to the source, or seek to debunk rumors promptly. The truth is all that matters.

Taurus by Deirdre TantonTaurus (April 19-May 20)
Questions of where your private affairs mingle with your professional and community life may rise to the surface over the next couple of months, though these matters are, in their entirety, your private business. You do not owe anything to public scrutiny; your business is yours alone. The fact that we may live in the age of the internet and everyone expects everyone's life to be inside-out is irrelevant. Still, you will need to conduct yourself impeccably, and make sure you understand every rule before you break it. Know where and with whom power is vested, and ensure you work with that information. And you will need to lead by example, in both your intimate life and your public life — and the place where the two meet, which is your family (where that odd mix of public and private seems to originate for everyone). Handle matters of partnership directly with anyone who may be involved, never with third parties. Go direct to the source, and be willing to hold yourself accountable for your own actions; which would be suitable enough, because you most certainly are. If you recognize that your whole life and all that happens are an experiment in getting to know yourself, you will have your priorities in order and be able to state your position much more clearly.

monthly horoscopes graciously contributed by:

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beautifully illustrated by Deirdre Tanton

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