Time to exceed your expectations of yourself and be the best you can
Last week, in part one of Style’s horoscope special for the year ahead, Shelley von Strunckel examined how we will have to account for our previous actions in our personal lives. This week, she reveals how the year of reckoning will affect the world around us.
Once, we admired those who overcame the odds to achieve remarkable goals, and valued quality over costly brand names. Then, in the mid1990s, the uncompromising Pluto’s move into the restless, idealistic Sagittarius began a search for perfection. This took place in the midst of an era of bewildering issues – terrorism, the Aids crisis, famines and global warming. Those who’ve stuck to this search have become our heroes. But many have succumbed to Sagittarius’s magpie instincts. We’ve distracted ourselves from these difficult truths by becoming obsessed with meaningless celebrities, aimless travel and expensive acquisitions; and, even worse, by knocking those who actually merit esteem off their pedestals.
With Pluto moving into the precise, practical Capricorn on January 26, for a 16-year stay, the time of reckoning has come. Serious problems in the worlds of economics, business and government reveal dangerously unstable situations – the recent sub-prime mortgage crisis is one example. Meanwhile, there’s a shortage of heroes to emulate. The remedy is striving for the truth, doing sums on every front, examining what’s needed to reinvent the worlds of government and business, and exchanging sleaze for incorruptible ethics. There are no quick fixes – instead, numerous inconvenient truths must be faced.
You needn’t be a campaigner to become one of this new era’s heroes. Anyone can do it, and nobody even needs to know about it. You begin by doing a reckoning of your values, habits and thinking. Then, instead of joining others in complaining, you transform yourself – and the world – thought by thought and task by task.
ARIES, MARCH 20-APRIL 18
At first, you may not understand what’s holding you back – why the glorious ideas or offers coming your way are mysteriously halted. The reason for this is the battle between the expansive Jupiter, planet of opportunity, and the uncompromising Pluto, both of which are influencing the structure of your life, goals and activities out in the world. While the former brings the kind of excitement you thrive on, the ethical questions raised by the latter slow progress. At the same time, they prevent you getting involved in arrangements that are part of the “get rich quick” era, which is now in the past. If, initially, being forced to evaluate your activities is a nuisance, you soon rediscover the warrior within. Helping others and making a difference to the world become as important as achieving your personal goals. In fact, it’s as if the more you do for others, the easier it is to scale previously unimagined heights.
TAURUS, APRIL 19-MAY 19
By early February’s eclipsed New Moon, which triggers a shake-up in your work and lifestyle, you’ll be restless. That’s because, with Jupiter and Pluto broadening your horizons, you’ll be exploring ways to add skills via further education or a stint working abroad. Or perhaps, taking a cue from the year’s theme – reckoning – you’ll add up the benefits of your current activities and decide that you’d be better off changing direction completely. This restlessness applies just as much to your quality of life. Being short of time to relax and pursue activities you feel passionate about makes you unhappy. Now you seek ways to combine your career and your passions. It’s the same with finances. Where once saving cash was your aim, increasingly, you regard your funds as a tool for creating a life that’s as rewarding personally as it is successful in material terms.
GEMINI, MAY 20-JUNE 19
While many Geminis have a remarkable knack for making serious amounts of money, other Geminis’ lives are remarkable for the lack of it. In every case, however, the issue isn’t cash so much as finding activities rewarding enough to keep your busy mind occupied. It’s this combination – cash and rewarding pursuits – that 2008 is all about. You won’t be tackling this alone. With both the bountiful Jupiter and the canny Pluto accenting joint endeavours, what’s most worthwhile involves others. They might simply be the stimulus, but these links are likely to be more lasting. And testing. You’ll disagree, sometimes heatedly. What you learn when resolving these issues, however, could prove more valuable than the assets you acquire. Equally, intense upheaval in the structure of your life holds huge potential. Offers abound, but this requires you to acknowledge unprofitable arrangements, then trade up. The higher you aim, the more you’ll achieve.
CANCER, JUNE 20-JULY 21
As a Cancer, you’re by no means a loner. Still, when you’re visualising new projects or strategising, you tend to retreat first, then discuss your plans. This means that others – partners, associates and agents – take a powerful role, so much so that often you’ll need to revise your thinking. Either they’ll devote considerable time to supporting you or they’ll have serious clout. This means working together and, sometimes, making compromises. If this is challenging at first – particularly from March to mid-April, when Mars’s presence in Cancer boosts your ego – you benefit from what you learn as well as in practical terms. Others help you to capitalise on the exciting, if complex, financial changes triggered by eclipses in February and August. They also encourage you to take chances on ventures you wouldn’t otherwise have considered. Awkward as things may be at the outset, by the year’s close you’re richer in many ways.
LEO, JULY 22-AUGUST 21
During 2008, your first challenge is to differentiate between the worth of developments in material terms and your less than enthusiastic reaction to them. You then face the challenge of breaking once-productive working habits. Ridding yourself of these frees you for a new and unexpected creative cycle. The problem is, you’ll feel that others are taking over, or that you’re enduring unnecessary changes. By the time August’s Leo eclipsed New Moon has shifted your perspective, improvements in your finances and the success of certain ventures are likely to have convinced you that changes are worthwhile. Better yet, their success will have so inspired you that you’ll be coming up with some of your own ideas – pursuits that combine clever ideas and practicality in a new and exciting way. This also leads to a variety of teamwork that, earlier in the year, you regarded as impossible.
VIRGO, AUGUST 22-SEPTEMBER 21
Of the 12 signs, you stand to benefit most from 2008’s planetary activity. True, you’ll still be coping with the presence of the demanding Saturn in your sign. Actually, since it moved into Virgo last September, you’ve lightened your load of unnecessary burdens. Now, offers – some the result of your efforts, but many that are a complete surprise – force you to confront doubts that have kept you from venturing into risky or unfamiliar pursuits. Late February’s Virgo eclipsed Full Moon brings these anxieties to a head. Soon, however, your activities are such fun and so lucrative that they challenge your work ethic. Getting rid of your tendency to feel guilty when things come too easy will be one of the year’s most lasting benefits. But plans you set up almost as a joke could achieve amazing results, too. The sooner you make this light touch your trademark, the better the year will be.
LIBRA, SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 22
While you’re no control freak, you’re still bound to regard the extent to which you are leaving important changes involving your work, lifestyle and various obligations up to others as somewhat worrying. From the outset, however, you realise that these individuals are better informed than you, and have your best interests at heart. New ventures, or those undertaken in an unfamiliar setting, free you of previous concerns or restrictions. The result is successful, and shows the kind of longevity that enables you to regard it as an investment in the future, rather than a one-off. As appealing and frequent additional opportunities arise, you’ll want to revise existing arrangements. That will take some creative thinking, but you’re up to it. The only real challenge is dealing with old mates who are still doing the same thing and still complaining. Don’t despair. By next year, you’ll be in a position to give them a hand.
SCORPIO, OCTOBER 23-NOVEMBER 20
If there is one phrase to sum up this year’s activities, it’s new beginnings. While that should be as exciting and rewarding as it sounds, it also means making changes. This is where you could run into problems, because your instinct is to preserve whatever you can of the past. With your ruler, Pluto, doing a dance – leaving Sagittarius, where it has been for more than a decade, to enter Capricorn in late January, returning temporarily in mid-June, then moving again in late November – change is constant in your life. Consequently, you’re unlikely to recognise just how much better things are in terms of work, achievement and finances right away. Gradually, you do – better yet, you have a new optimism. This makes letting go easier, which is fortunate, since offers, what you encounter and who you meet could shape your life for years to come.
SAGITTARIUS, NOVEMBER 21-DECEMBER 20
Sagittarians have lived with the unrelenting pressure of Pluto since the mid1990s, so many will be surprised by the dramatic changes triggered by its departure in late January. What’s more, because it joins your ruler, Jupiter, in accenting your assets and practical and financial matters, between your own brilliant ideas and surprise developments, improvements appear – and with remarkable swiftness. The only problem is, these won’t necessarily last. Worrying as that sounds, it’s because these are a trial run, or because, by the middle of the year, you’ve figured out ways to make things better. You repeat this editing process several times, and each addition is worthwhile. Your biggest challenge is eliminating past arrangements, especially those with time-consuming complications. Ignoring them is not an option, so the sooner you begin, the less cluttered your thinking will be. This is the start of a new chapter, and the activities you pursue will be the foundation for exciting and profitable activities for years to come.
CAPRICORN, DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 19
Once you understand that it will take you most of the year to recognise the benefits of the changes that are reshaping – and improving – your life, you won’t worry when things seem confusing. With Pluto moving into Capricorn in late January, temporarily departing mid-June, then returning for a long stay in November, you’ll be experimenting and learning from experience – an approach to life and work that’s contrary to your nature as a Capricorn. But that’s what this year is about – becoming acquainted with a new you. And the more you try, the broader your options will be. In addition, with the expansive Jupiter also favouring you, tempting offers make sticking with the familiar – and safe – almost impossible. Knowing this, adopt an adventuresome attitude from the outset. That way, who you meet and what you encounter won’t just be amazing, they’ll get you thinking about what else is out there for you to discover.
AQUARIUS, JANUARY 20-FEBRUARY 18
Much as you enjoy talking to others about what they’re doing, you are often puzzled by those who set, then alter goals between one encounter and the next. You, however, are about to become one of those individuals. This cycle of inquisitiveness and exploration is triggered by eclipses in Aquarius in early February and mid-August, both of which alter your perspective as much as they do the circumstances you’re dealing with. Thus, arrangements on the work or financial front that once seemed a good idea may no longer be as wise. Meanwhile, you’ll be exposed to intriguing new activities. It’s these that lead to the pivotal changes you make around Saturn’s rare and powerful aspect to your ruler, Uranus, in early November. By then, you’ll have realised that not only could those new pursuits be more profitable, they could make your life a lot more interesting.
PISCES, FEBRUARY 19-MARCH 19
Others are advising you to make one plan and stick to it. But a combination of your observations and intuition is telling you that, during this year of change and reckoning, even simple plans must be altered frequently. As old elements of the past go, new ideas appear, to be tried out, then themselves replaced. Obviously, this reshapes your financial and working life. Tackle changes from the appropriate perspective and they’ll lead to amazing opportunities, although just how is something only you are likely to see – at least for most of the year. Consequently, your biggest challenge is to keep that vision alive while discussing plans with less imaginative souls. Ideally, tell them no more than necessary, quietly nurturing your concepts in the background. That way, when the powerful Saturn aspects Uranus – the planet of innovation, which is in Pisces – in early November, and you have a chance to make your move, you’ll be fully prepared.