Yoko Ono, an Aquarius.
Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Getty Images
On Wednesday morning, Mercury retrograde ends at last. Since October, either Mars or Mercury has been moving backwards through the zodiac, and while these retrogrades are never exactly easy, they’ve been particularly rough this time around. It’ll take a week or two for Mercury to fully get back on track, but you’ll notice the fever breaking this week. Life won’t be quite so difficult. Time will feel like it’s finally moving forward again. Then in the small hours of Friday morning, the sun enters Aquarius, followed by an Aquarius new moon on Saturday. After Capricorn season’s unrelenting pragmatism, Aquarius season opens the door to weird, beautiful idealism. Instead of doing things like you always have, or doing them on autopilot, take the opportunity to break the mold and try a new tack.
Lately, it’s felt dangerous to be too upfront with your ideas, too vocal with your opinions. People keep taking your words out of context, or criticizing your half-baked brainstorming as though it’s meant to be a polished thesis statement. You’ve been given so little latitude for exploration, for thinking out loud, for making mistakes and learning from them. In an environment like this, it’s no wonder that you’d rather not speak up at all. But this week, the coast will clear. Don’t hide your ideas until you’ve perfected them. Experiment and see what happens next.
Certain people seem to insist on misunderstanding you, maybe because they’re stuck in the past and can’t process the ways that you’ve grown, or because they can’t get past their own biases. Most of the time, you’re willing to live with this. You know who you are, even if others aren’t getting the picture. Occasionally, though, it becomes unbearable not to be seen for who you are. You don’t have to take it anymore. This week, correct people when they read you wrong. Insist on being seen for who you actually are.
You love to learn about the world. Fresh ideas and surprising new discoveries make life richer and more interesting; they feed your quick, curious intellect. Learning about yourself, however, is a different story entirely. It’s often the result of painful experiences, of heartbreak or disappointment or regret. And lately, you’ve been doing plenty of this. At last, though, you’re reaching the end of a rough patch. The knowledge you’ll take away is hard-won, but you might find that it’s made you better prepared for what’s next.
Most of the time, you strive not to make waves. It’s important to you to be generous and understanding, to be considered “easy to work with.” But while kindness is good as a general policy, you’ll occasionally run into situations where you need to get prickly in order to show the people around you that you mean business. This week, don’t tiptoe around others’ feelings as though their comfort is more valuable than yours. It’s a little scary, but do it anyway. You matter as much as anyone else, so act like it.
There’s beauty in the lofty dreams we secretly nurture — an ambitious creative project, a long-yearned-for career change, a cross-country move. When everyday existence gets dull, or you feel you’re treading water, fantasizing about your future magnum opus can bring a sense of excitement and drama back to your life. This week, though, you might get an opportunity to do more than daydream. There’s no point waiting forever to do what you really want. You already have the tools you need. Get started.
Desire (not exclusively sexual but strong appetites of any kind) can be embarrassing. You worry that there’s something a little unseemly about wanting too much, or too openly. To own your ambitions is to admit that you think you’re capable of big things, worthy of getting what you want. Life has been so topsy-turvy lately that you’ve deemed it wiser to muddle through, to hold onto what you already have and try to be content. This week, though, it’s time to admit that you want more, and to ask yourself what you’re willing to do about it.
Resentment is anathema to you, but these days you’ve been experiencing it more than usual. Partly, this comes from giving others too much slack — making excuses for the friend who keeps hurting you, covering for the colleague who always leaves you in the lurch — and partly, from not giving yourself enough. In your desire not to be overly harsh or demanding with anyone else, you end up shouldering an unfair burden. This week, remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with speaking up for yourself or holding others accountable when they hurt you. In the long run, it’s the only way to maintain harmony.
You have a will of steel and are largely immune to outside pressure. Good luck to anyone who tries to force you to take action or make a big decision before you’re ready. And once you have made a choice, it’s nearly impossible to shake you from it, even when it becomes clear that your strategy isn’t working or your heart’s no longer in it. This week, give yourself permission to change your mind. You’ve learned a lot lately, and you can trust that your heart is pointing you in the right direction, whether or not that ends up being a different direction than you originally thought.
You may have to remind yourself this week that there is no way to arrange your life that will insulate you from intermittent periods of loneliness, confusion, and loss. There are no uninterrupted upward trajectories, no linear journeys, no light without shadows. Sometimes joy fades, relationships wobble, or your self-belief plummets. In this latest weird spell, you’ve begun to fear that things will be this hard forever. But they won’t. This season will pass eventually, and probably sooner than you think.
Accepting gentleness probably doesn’t come naturally to you. It might not occur to you that you deserve it, that it could greatly improve your life. You tell yourself that you should be able to tough it out, that self-care is a meaningless buzzword or that it’s weak to ask for help. But that’s not how humans operate — we need other people, and we need their support. You’ve been through a lot lately, and you could use a soft place to land, a chance to recover. Rest and care aren’t luxuries but necessities. Don’t deny yourself what you need.
Sometimes you worry that in any given situation there’s one right way to feel, a single best response that it’s your job to figure out. It’s as if the world runs on unspoken social rules you’re supposed to figure out, tacit interpersonal expectations that it’s your job to meet. To state the obvious, this is an impossible task. It isn’t your job to anticipate and match other people’s ideas of how you “should” be. Let go of that burden. You only have to be you.
The problem with deciding to change your life is that the results tend to be unpredictable. Once you set a plan in motion, you can’t always control where it ends up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’re more adventurous than people give you credit for, good at adapting on the fly. But still, there are times when you wish you could backtrack or change your mind, or just slow down. So many of the transformations of the last few months seemed to happen too fast. This week, you’ll have a chance to stop, to breathe, and finally catch up.
Read the weekly horoscopes for the week of January 9. The weekly horoscopes for the week of January 23 will be online next Sunday.
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