LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS
Your love life is poised for a major transformation in 2011, as planets dance between your seventh house of marriage and your eighth house of sex and intense intimacy. From January through April, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Neptune will tour these houses, igniting a more urgent desire for a fulfilling partnership. Although you’ll be busy with work, traveling and other social commitments, you shouldn’t ignore Cupid’s cries for attention. It’s possible to reach that elevated state of true love in 2011; you’ll just have to trudge through some deeper issues in order to get there.
Since 1998, fantasy-fueled Neptune has been stationed in Aquarius and your seventh house of romantic relationships. From April 4 through August 4, Neptune jumps forward into Pisces and your eighth house of sex. Consider that four-month window a sneak preview of what’s ahead. Although Neptune will finish the last third of the year in Aquarius, it will re-station itself in Pisces on February 12, 2012, and stay there for 13 solid years.
Having Neptune in your marriage house for the past 12 years has not exactly been a picnic. Neptune rules fantasies and illusions. While you may have had the fairy-tale wedding or the picture-perfect romance, the behind-the-scenes reality may not have measured up. Neptune is also known for blurring boundaries. You, Leo, are such a strong individual, but hello? Where did you go? Neptune’s tour of your partnership house taught you how to blend your energy with another person’s, but was some of that co-creation to your detriment?
Recall, if you will, Leo-Leo supercouple “Bennifer,” whom the public was forced to endure from 2002 to 2004, near the beginning of this Neptune phase. The workouts with a celeb trainer, the rose-petal engagement, the gambling trips to Las Vegas, the ginormous pink diamond ... their every move was documented by the paparazzi. But it turned out that the image of Hollywood romance wasn’t enough to get Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck to the altar. Now, as Neptune ends its seventh-house tour, both stars are married to low-key celebrity BFF types. With their two kids from Marc Anthony and Jennifer Garner, respectively, and semi-normal lives, Lopez and Affleck have been decidedly under the radar.
As Neptune prepares to move on to Pisces, there’s been talk of an Oscar nod for Affleck’s film “The Town.” Lopez has signed on as the new judge of “American Idol.” Both Leo stars are re-emerging into the spotlight.
Why does this matter to you? Because, like the former Bennifer, your heart really isn’t into being “normal” or low-key. You’re the zodiac’s great romantic, but if you got burned in love while Neptune was in your seventh house, you might have become notoriously gun-shy. That’s why it’s so crucial that you capitalize on this short phase of Neptune in Pisces (April 4 to August 4). This is absolutely a turning point for you, Leo, whether you’re single or spoken for. You can either go deeper into the depths of your Honeycomb Hideout, living an even more low-key lifestyle, or you can step back into the world, possibly becoming one half of a high-visibility power couple.
Warning: Your appetite for self-destruction will also be whetted by this Neptune-in-Pisces phase. It would be frighteningly easy to fall for one of those brooding bad boys this summer. Sure, they’re exciting, but Leo, that’s not the kind of thrill you need. These dangerous liaisons could become downright addictive for you. If you don’t want to spend your summer obsessing or addicted to a toxic, love-drugged relationship, please avoid the first drink from that cesspool.
June 15 is a big day, as there will be a lunar eclipse in your house of romance. This is the first of a series of eclipses on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis in 2011. The other two happen on November 25 and December 10. Eclipses are giant catalysts, forcing you to take action or make changes that can qualify as “extreme.” The June 15 eclipse comes smack in the middle of Neptune’s preview tour of your eighth house. Single Leos, you could meet a partner through a social outing or by participating in a humanitarian event. You might feel the push to get out there and date again. Lean on modern-day support structures like Internet dating or even hiring a matchmaker. You’ll get by with a little help from some friends.
Coupled up? You can expect to come face-to-face with both desire and denial near the June 15 eclipse. If you’ve fallen into a codependent trap with your sweetie, you might hit your personal rock bottom. Consider it a good thing. When you love, you do so fiercely, but that can put your relationship in jeopardy if you take it too far. Are you enabling your sweetie’s bad habits, colluding with them, or covering them up? Although your relationship might look bright and shiny on the outside, you’ll never know inner peace and trust unless you let go and see if your honey holds up his or her end of the bargain without your help.
If you’re in a healthy, balanced relationship, this eclipse could push you to add some sizzle and excitement to the mix. Buying that dream house, planning an over-the-top second honeymoon, starting a business together … it’s fine to start fantasizing about these co-created ventures, but don’t rush to apply for that bank loan. Your relationship will suffer if you put too many financial burdens on it. Allow your creativity to soar, but keep these ideas in the imaginary realm until you’ve worked out all the practical details. P.S.: That could take a couple of years.
Surprise pregnancies also fall under the domain of these eclipses. Mark these dates on your calendar if you’re hoping to add to your familia: June 15, November 25 and December 10. It also wouldn’t hurt to circle those days if you’re not in the market for a bebe this year — you’ll be Fertile Myrtle then, and will want to “double protect.”
From July 28 through August 21, love planet Venus stops off in Leo, helping you regain your sense of self. You’re blessed with extra magnetism during this phase, and you might have to fight off contenders who are vying for a place on your dance card. While romance will be alluringly entertaining, you are also focused on finding the right balance. How do you fall head over heels without losing yourself in the process?
The summer is also a great time for exploring what S-Factor founder Sheila Kelley refers to as your “Erotic Creature.” Who do you become when you allow yourself to shamelessly tune in to your desire for pleasure? Leo Madonna once chronicled this in her “Sex” book. (Will the Gaultier cone bra come back out of hiding, Madge?) While you might not want to go full-on exhibitionist this summer (the eighth house is more private than that), it’s time to peek out a bit. Try a pole-dancing intro or burlesque workshop, or take a couples course in tantra.
When Neptune moves back into Aquarius on August, you’ll need to do some recon work in your romantic life. The landscape will have shifted, and you might even have a bit of an identity crisis. This is not the time for making sudden moves, like filing for divorce on the basis of boredom and bad communication. You’ve got some deep inner work to do, Leo, that’s for certain. Still, that work can take you on the most fantastic voyage to intimacy if you are willing to navigate some choppy seas along the way. Paging Dr. Phil!
As the year draws to a close, you have two final eclipses, in your romance and pregnancy house, on November 25 and December 10. These can catalyze genuine progress for you. Communication planet Mercury will also be stationed in Sagittarius, the ruler of your fifth house of true love, from November 2 through the end of the 2011. Like a cosmic couples counselor, this Mercury phase helps you voice your needs honestly and strengthen your ability to truly listen to dates and mates.
If you want a second chance or do-over with someone you messed up with earlier in the year, Mercury will be retrograde from November 23 till December 12. Retrogrades rule the past, so muster up the courage to call and make amends. If you do so from a genuine place, and give the other person permission to be honest without hurting your feelings, you could have a Tony Robbins–sized breakthrough to celebrate as the year ends.
WORK & MONEY
You’re poised for a major leap in your career this year, Leo, but you’re going to have to create the opportunities you crave. On January 22, lucky Jupiter shifts into compatible Aries, charging you up with entrepreneurial firepower for six months. On March 11, Uranus will also move into Aries, staying for seven years. You’re in the driver’s seat again, and it’s up to you to take the initiative. Expand your search radius. Long-distance professional relationships may be more prosperous than the ones close to home. Good thing Web-conferencing technology has made such major strides. You can hold meetings with people around the globe without having to hop on all those red-eye flights.
Overall, you are ready to work more independently. Whether you’re setting up a new department for an existing company or diving into an entrepreneurial venture, you just can’t have people breathing down your neck this year. Working for a small, start-up company may hold a strong appeal. You love being in on the ground floor of a business, as this is where your creativity shines. The best time to explore this is between March 11 and June 4, when Jupiter and Uranus are both in your ninth house. Although you may only do a short-term, consulting stint with a firm like this, it can reenergize your convictions and boost your confidence in building your own business.
Some Leos may decide to enroll in a degree program. Before you fall back on school (which can be a crutch for your sign), make sure you’re picking a field that promises to be profitable in the new and ever-changing marketplace. Or, go ahead and get that master’s degree in Greek philosophy, purely for passion’s sake, but know that you’ll also need to bone up on some skills that pay the bills now.
Until October 6, 2012, structured Saturn is in Libra and your third house of short-term education. Sign up for those training seminars, download DIY manuals and begin to plug away. Learning new technical skills can boost your income significantly before the year is through. Got a business venture to promote? Learn how to use social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to create a viral buzz. If you’re an entrepreneur, this is the year to build or upgrade your website, and maybe even test out building a mobile app.
From January through June, give yourself time to grow and develop your ideas out of the public eye. You don’t want to start spreading the news until you’ve got something solid and certain to share with people. Wait a little while to plan a launch party or celebratory cocktail hour. Friends will be happy to toast your success, but they need to see something tangible before they can genuinely celebrate. It would be a good idea to ask a small circle of supportive peeps to be your “test market,” if you plan to develop a new venture. Let them critique your works in progress and help you strengthen them each step of the way.
From April 4 through August 4, Neptune tours your eighth house of investments and shared property. Whose finances have you merged with yours? From roommates to bedmates, you may need to carve out new agreements for who pays what bill. This summer, you won’t be able to split everything down the middle. It might become necessary to barter — for example, you might agree to let your roomie use your car in return for her paying an extra hundred dollars of the rent.
This Neptune phase also highlights inheritances. You might be gifted with a piece of property or a sum of money from a relative. Warning, Leo: This can be a mixed blessing, as it might provoke some squabbling with a sibling or cousin. If the relative who left you the inheritance wasn’t exactly playing fair, you may choose to redistribute the goods equally once they are in your possession. The family rivalry won’t be worth suffering through.
Do your background checks before signing any contracts between April 4 and August 4. Although a lucrative offer may be extended to you, Neptune can conceal people’s true intentions, and you have to be careful not to make any “deals with the devil.” A joint venture may need to be dissolved so that you can move on to more profitable pastures. Don’t skimp on lawyer’s fees. Spending a couple hundred bucks to have an attorney read the fine print on a lease or work agreement could save you thousands later on. You might have to push a little harder in negotiations, especially since people are used to you being nice and polite. Don’t let people play into your emotions — and make sure you aren’t taking professional conversations into the personal realm. When it comes to money, business is business. If you’re not good at playing hardball, hire someone to negotiate on your behalf. This is a year where you can command the money you’re worth — and possibly more than that.
Do you need to raise your financial IQ? Learn about real estate, especially buying foreclosed properties this summer. Although you might not make an actual purchase in 2011, you could put yourself on the path to a future revenue stream. Joining an investment club can help you tap into the “buy low” prices of the market without picking the wrong stocks.
On June 4, lucky Jupiter shifts into Taurus and your ambitious 10th house for an entire year. Your career goes from a canter to a gallop at this point, as you begin to home in on VIP connections. Take what you learned in the first half of the year and apply it to your professional path. Instead of scattering your energy in a thousand different directions, narrow your focus. Even entrepreneurial Leos may decide to take a job with an established company in the name of making connections and honing some skills. If you’re a die-hard independent, upgrade your fee structure and offerings so you can attract more well-heeled clients after June 4.
Fortunately, you’ll have motivator Mars in Leo from September 18 through November 10. This gives you an extra push to make a name for yourself in the fall. Although Mars in Leo will form a challenging square to Jupiter, you’re ready to face any obstacles and do what it takes to leap over them. Regulate your energy with care. You simply can’t be the social butterfly you were in the first half of 2011. The goals you are set to achieve require focus and energy. Getting enough good-quality sleep is as important as putting in those hours at your desk. You may find yourself making more public presentations while Jupiter is in Taurus, from June 4, 2011, through July 11, 2012. Good thing you’re the zodiac’s spotlight-stealing performer! Bring some of that theatrical energy into the mix while remaining poised and professional. A well-timed joke or moving anecdote can do wonders to keep your audience engaged.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Trying to quit anything cold turkey rarely produces lasting results for you. This year, explore the psychological motivations behind your bad habits. You’re no stranger to overindulging, Leo, but what subconscious forces are lurking behind those desires? Tune in. What emotions come up when you “need” to have a cigarette? What has you reaching for sweets when you’re well past the point of being full?
Perhaps that smoke break is the only time you let yourself breathe deeply and relax. Food is a socially sanctioned form of pleasure, and meals may be the only time you allow yourself to indulge. Leo, your self-discipline could wind up being self-sabotaging if you drive yourself too hard. That’s when you swing to the opposite extreme and wind up abusing your body with nicotine, caffeine and sugar. It’s time for an overall rebalancing of your life this year.
Stress management should be the first order of business. Loosen up some of those high-pressure timelines you’ve placed upon yourself. Ease up on expectations of perfection. Your competitive nature needs to be kept in check this year, in the name of overall serenity.
Working in the subconscious realm can also be healing, especially over the summer. Hypnotherapy, energy healing and Reiki can get the stuck energy flowing again. Keeping a journal and seeking support from a counselor can also be helpful in identifying your self-destructive patterns.
When Jupiter moves into Taurus on June 4, any issues with skin, bones or teeth may be exacerbated. It’s time to schedule that dentist appointment, or see the dermatologist about that pesky patch of dry skin on your arm. Maintenance checkups are what will save you from eventually having to go in for a root canal or knee-replacement surgery. Don’t stall on self-care; err on the side of early detection if you’re feeling aches and pains.
Take special care with reproductive health this year, especially from April through August. Your diet may be affecting your fertility or related issues. Working with a nutritionist or acupuncturist, or cutting back on certain foods can bring your “goodies” back into balance. If the summer finds you on a Samantha Jones–style sexin’ spree, be diligent about using protection. Your partners may claim to be STD-free, but symptoms don’t always show. There’s no room for blind faith here. Use a condom, Leo, and don’t be afraid to ask a prospective partner to get tested.
HOW TO MAKE THIS THE YEAR OF YOU
Your 2011 Mantra: I’m Ready to Go the Distance
Whether you’re delving deeper into an intimate relationship or traveling to another part of the globe, this is the year where you stretch wayyyyy beyond your previous limitations. Say “buh-bye” to your comfort zone. It sure was getting boring there anyway, wasn’t it?! Those awkward moments won’t last forever, and once you get through them, your life will open up in unimaginable ways.
LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS