Slow down. Breathe. Center. Life has been moving in measured strides since June 25, when expansive Jupiter ended a yearlong visit to Gemini and nestled into Cancer, your second house of work, money and daily routines. With the Sun also in Cancer until July 22, life could adopt a pleasant hum of predictability. The big surprise is that your adventure-seeking sign actually likes this rambling pace (ain't nothing ho-hum about it). After a whirlwind year and a flurry of new ideas, you're ready to settle into a steadier groove.
Aiding your streamlining efforts, on July 7, restrictive Saturn ends a five-month retrograde in Scorpio, your sixth house of efficiency. Since February 18, you may have found it challenging to stay organized and healthy—or perhaps you found a serious need to revamp your systems. Stress may have reached critical mass at moments. A key person who helped you stay on task (babysitter, assistant, housecleaner) might have moved on, leaving you to shoulder the burden. Time spent on fitness or a detailed project may have come in spurts or short supply. The good news: If you stepped up and managed your time diligently, you're now poised to forge ahead with a stronger team, structure and plan. Hello, success!
Midmonth, the stars get testy, thanks to a cardinal T-square (three-way struggle) between Mercury, volatile Uranus and shadowy Pluto. You're pulled between the practical details of work and life, a desire to escape, and an allure to go deeper…all at once! Do you plumb the depths of your psyche, focus on day-to-day matters or just run away from it all? Your mood (and agenda) could change by the minute. This clash gets even stronger at the end of the month when hotheaded Mars enters the fray, adding financial or job stress. The limits of your patience and commitment could be seriously tested now. Make sure you have some healthy outlets—both to blow off steam and process the emotions that come up.
On July 17, unpredictable Uranus goes retrograde for five months in your eleventh house of teamwork and technology. There could be a few kinks in a group project or a friendship. Since retrogrades favor returning to the past, you might reconnect with old collaborators or redesign a website. Have you drifted away from a pet social or political cause? During Uranus retrograde, your inner activist might get fired up again. Power to the people!
The Sun shifts into Leo, your social third house, on July 22. Time for some much-deserved play after a month of hard work! With Mercury now direct (forward), too, there should be some respite from the previous week's tension. Also on the 22nd, an Aquarius full moon illuminates your visionary ninth house. You could have an opportunity to travel, launch an entrepreneurial venture or enroll in an inspiring course. You could see the fruit of your efforts come together around a dream project now—or just have an aha moment about what your true "dream" niche is. Think big, Gemini!
Mark your calendar for horoscope history: Monday, July 29 features an incredibly rare aspect known as a Grand Sextile. It's essentially a six-pointed star, or hexagram, comprised of seven planets that form harmonious angles (trines and sextiles) to each other. This synergistic seven are all in "feminine" (earth or water) signs. Many astrologers view this as the moment our culture will take a step toward embracing feminine principles.
The effect on Gemini? This Grand Sextile soothes your scattered mind. You tend to spread yourself in a million directions, leaving loose ends, unfinished projects or just exhausting yourself trying to juggle all those irons in the fire. Now, your nervous energy could get a permanent "chill pill," making you better able to sit still, focus and do one thing at a time. For some great and intensive training on the power of being present, check out Gemini Josh Pais' Committed Impulse online program at http://committedimpulse.com. Learn how the two simple words "I'm back" can shift your entire life!
LOVE & ROMANCE
Heads are turning! For the first half of the month, sizzling Mars is in Gemini, your first house of self, helping you effortlessly captivate the masses with your sexy charms. Enjoy the attention bestowed on you from all corners: the super-friendly barista, your former coworker, the hottie from spin class. Your desires are on display…and you have plenty of suitors willing to fulfill them. You also have just the assuredness to get what you want, whether it's entry into the VIP lounge or sneaking a kiss with your flirty crush. Since you're feeling pretty fly, you might as well line up the Manolos to match your heightened confidence. In the words of fellow Gemini Marilyn Monroe, "Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world." (And even if you're not female, we like to think that sentiment applies…)
Adding to the playful vibe, magnetic Venus is in Leo, your social butterfly third house, until July 22, boosting your overall joie de vivre. Whether single, committed or somewhere in between (as is a distinct possibility with wily Geminis), line up the fun dates. Plan an impromptu mini-golf outing, or go visit that local trapeze school. Explore hotspots in your 'hood, such as the sexy new tapas place or the Italian spot with a romantic outdoor garden. Venus in Leo loves some bling, so don't hesitate to get all decked out to hit the town. You're red hot, so why not show it? Sparks could fly with a friend. Your powers of persuasion are at an all-time high, and perhaps it's your gift of gab or innate enthusiasm that draws this friend closer…close enough to kiss, perhaps? Whether or not you take action, flirting with the idea could be titillating enough.
The second half of the month is more low-key with sultry Mars in Cancer, your second house of luxury and security, from July 13-August 25. With stability on the brain, you're less likely to engage in sexting when you should be prepping for a pitch meeting or sneaking off for a two-hour lunch with your new amor when there's an inbox to clear. Still, you might enjoy planning some sophisticated, indulgent nights with your sweetheart, as a well-deserved reward for logging those long hours at the office. Get dressed up in your finery and head out to nosh on caviar, a five-course tasting menu or award-winning homemade pasta. Work hard, but play harder.
Personal matters are in the spotlight on July 22, when love planet Venus moves into Virgo, your fourth house of domesticity, putting you in the mood to nest and cozy up with your loved ones. The pace slows a bit, and you're happier sitting at the beach with a good book and your love than exhausting yourself with party and BBQ-hopping. Family bonding is favored, so this is a great time for a sweet escape with your clan. Or, if that's not logistically possible, dial up your mom and get grandma's secret Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe and then put together a pot for your honey or for close pals. Pregnancy might be on your brain, since the fourth house rules motherhood. Or, you might channel those maternal instincts toward your peeps, especially your female friends. As you refill your emotional tank, you'll feel heart-centered once again…remembering that is exactly where home is.
MONEY & CAREER
Check and double-check! Along with the Sun, communicator Mercury is retrograde (backward) in Cancer, your second house of work, money and stability, for the first three weeks of the month. There's nothing more pressing than your bottom line right now (not even your daily dose of news via your iPad). No matter what your situation, revamp your budget. Are you covering all your bases or is some belt-tightening in order? Check in with former clients and employers. A routine "hello" could yield either more work or an interesting connection. Retrogrades rule the past, and therefore contacts from yesteryear are extra favored right now…as well as former money-makers. Is there an old cash-generating skill you can revive to pay for your summer getaway or summer play dollars? Maybe you were once an expert grant writer, and you hear of a non-profit who could use your help to score some funds for operating expenses. Or perhaps you can tap your design skills and build a colleague's web site. Logging a few extra hours will be worth it when you can finally sink into that lounge chair overlooking the lake, sipping on a glass of cab.
Here's the caveat: Mercury retrograde (backward) could bring miscommunications with coworkers, resulting in workplace tension. On July 13, assertive Mars moves into your second house of work and money for six weeks, once again increasing the chances of some friction at the office. Mars brings equal parts energy and stress. So, you might get an exciting assignment that demands long hours and the sacrifice of precious shuteye. Or, you could get a chunk of cash, in the form of a raise or commission, only to have an expense pop up at the same time, gobbling up part of your windfall. Adopt a zen attitude when it comes to money and responsibilities. Be mindful of your budget so that you can still live life to the fullest (with the occasional sushi and sake night out), while safely covering all of your costs. Nothing tastes as good as security feels. Also, if you're struggling with your income, may we recommend Barbara Stanny's excellent book Overcoming Underearning, which helps elucidate the link between your earnings and your self-worth.
Midmonth and end of the month, messenger Mercury and fiery Mars square off with volatile Uranus and transformational Pluto, which could bring up some volcanic anger or steep resentment. Beware a tendency to project old issues onto a coworker (sure, your dismissive officemate reminds you of your withholding father…but must you play out this drama on the job?), or to get overly involved in interoffice politics...just because you can be the unofficial U.N. doesn't mean you should. When progressive Uranus goes retrograde (backward) from July 17-December 17, technology and group efforts could be adversely affected. There could be some unforeseen delays or interruptions in digitally-based or team projects, but you'll just need to navigate. There's not a whole lot you can do if the person in charge of paying the bills forgets to renew your web hosting on the same day you get a big publicity hit. Instead of erupting, take a deep breath and remember that this, too, shall pass. If you're working on a project that involves technology, make sure you have a solid strategy in place; web ventures could be rooted in genius ideas, but that doesn't mean you don't have to dot every "i" and cross every "t." Going into business with friends isn't advisable now—at least, not without spelling everything out in crystal clear terms, e.g., different communications rules apply when dialing up a friend for a work matter versus a social matter. Of course, your internal need to break free from a certain group could become very strong now. Use the retrograde period to assess whether or not this is really the pool you want to be swimming in.
Don't worry, there's more to this month than sidestepping pitfalls. In upbeat news, the July 8 Cancer new moon in your second house of stability breathes new life into a work or moneymaking opportunity. Over the next six months, you'll have a chance to align (or realign) your work with your most cherished values. Want to close the gap between what you do for love and what you do for money? Set an intention and watch the pieces fall into place. If you need some helping figuring out your priorities, check out fellow Gemini Danielle LaPorte's amazing guide The Desire Map, which will help you create goals sprung straight from your soul: bit.ly/odesire.
To aid in your soul-searching, a July 22 full moon in Aquarius, your ninth house of optimism and horizon-broadening, brings some helpful perspective. Perhaps you have an epiphany about your core philosophy that helps you with career or overall lifestyle decisions. For example, if you're a study hound who hasn't picked up a book in months (and, no, Fifty Shades doesn't count), perhaps you'll reconnect or commit to your education. You might even enroll in a course or degree program, such as that M.S.W. you've been contemplating. Or you might get news about a travel opportunity, perhaps a Doctors Without Borders mission to sub-Saharan Africa or some other trip that stokes up your altruism AND wanderlust. Perhaps you'll connect with a kindred spirit, possibly from a different cultural background, who inspires the heck out of you, a la this line from Cee Lo, a fellow Gemini: "My heroes had the heart/to live their lives out on a limb/And all I remember/Is thinking, I want to be like them."
How do you measure up to your own personal mythology? If you're called to be a leader or entrepreneur, check out Tribes by business guru Seth Godin. At this full moon, one of your grand Gemini visions, something you've been visualizing and working toward all year, could come together brilliantly, affirming the importance of never giving up on your dreams. (Besides, as the zodiac's natural storyteller, you know there's nothing like a dramatic twist of having been on the brink!)
But to get there, you need some bona fide help, which arrives after July 7, when taskmaster Saturn moves direct (forward) in Scorpio, your sixth house of efficiency, systems and support. For the last five months, Saturn's backspin through this detail-oriented part of your chart made work a bit tough. Files may have gone missing. Or worse, a key assistant or service provider might have flown the coop, leaving you with more than your fair share of nitty-gritty work. While your sign actually likes having a hand in the everyday and sometimes miniscule matters, this was perhaps a bit too much, because it got in the way of your overall functioning. (If you never have to update an electronic record again, that's probably just fine with you…) With Saturn marching forward again, Team Gemini could finally get some decent help. Beef up your business by hiring someone who can simplify your life and systems. Perhaps they help you write a rock solid business plan, crunch numbers or just look after the small details, like note writing to your regular clients. Your prayers have been answered.
HEALTH: MIND, BODY & SOUL
Oh, the stresses you've known, Gemini. Just when you thought that that knot of anxiety in your chest was there to stay, realistic Saturn moves direct (forward) on July 7, after a five-month backspin through your sixth house of wellness and vitality. Soon, the obstacles to your health will be gone…or at least dialed way down. If you experienced health setbacks, you probably had to consult an expert physician or practitioner. Or perhaps you decided to get serious about your vitamin intake and learning how to take five instead of devolving into an angst-ridden mess. As you started bucking up and juicing or making your greens intake a priority, you probably also became more attuned to the vibes around you, realizing that you're not Clark Kent and could actually use a little stress reduction in your immediate environment. No more putting up with loud, AC/DC–loving neighbors or tolerating a gossipy coworker whose addiction to complaining definitely sours your mood. Hello, earbuds…
Of course, the best way to keep cortisol levels low is to commit to self-care. On July 22, harmonious Venus enters Virgo, your homey fourth house, kicking your nurturing (and this includes self-nurturing) instincts into high gear. During this receptive time, put your alpha side in check and consciously experience your more feminine side. No matter what your gender, we all possess within us both "yin" and "yang" energy. To revel in your softer, more intuitive side, spend some quality time with the women in your life. Perhaps you want to host a brunch, cooking up a caramelized onion and smoked ricotta frittata; or just order in some healthy fare from Whole Foods and sip mimosas. Take some quality time to catch up and really hear about what's happening in one another's lives, instead of the shiny Facebook version of reality. Since the fourth house rules family, you may want to hop in your car and spend some bonding time with your kin. Or, if you're not close enough to drive and getting home isn't an option, make good use of FaceTime or Skype.
Under this influence, you'll want to tap into the natural rhythm of your body and soul. So, in case you haven't guessed by now, that means not muscling through an ambitious errand list on your only day off. You can't be there for others until you're there for yourself, so if you need an evening staring at the lake or sea, just reveling in your own emotions as soft, heartfelt music plays in the background, just do it. Light candles. Enjoy the sounds of silence and learn from the watching clouds pass swiftly over the horizon. Your buzzing sign doesn't get enough of this kind of quality downtime, so take full advantage here. As your Gemini brother Raymond Carver once wrote, "There isn't enough of anything as long as we live. But at intervals a sweetness appears and, given a chance, prevails." Ah…now that sounds like peace.