Astrology GIFS for the Week of April 18, 2016

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Photo: Hubble Telescope, Getty Images

Prickly Pluto is still a planet for astrologers, damn it, and he begins his own retrograde on Monday, the day after Mars started his own. Pluto has every reason to be touchy – he was named after the ruler of the underworld, after all, and then demoted to dwarf planet. Yeah, Pluto’s the King of Pain.

This retrograde makes it clear that we won’t get to enjoy any roses without a few thorn pricks. In general, Pluto is the planetary embodiment of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” He leads us to grit, depth, and real self-empowerment. No one else gives you strength until you’re willing to rise up and seize some power yourself. That’s the Plutonian process. Mars might like the excitement of making things happen. However, Pluto tells the sordid, detailed story of how and why.

Of course, it’s nice to know we’re all stronger for pushing through the ish that comes our way. However, we have to watch out for getting really angry or encountering other angry people. Sometimes we get pissed off because we don’t want to own our stuff and it feels so much better to pawn it off on others with rage or resentment. Pluto can help with that, too. He represents what psych majors like to call “the Shadow,” all the aspects of yourself that are present, but you don’t want to claim. You know, like when your roommate calls you passive-aggressive and you say nothing, but make sure she hears you loudly explain the situation to your best friend on the phone.

The planetary weather report: Use these guidelines to unlock the stars, not to be locked down by them.

With the mix of edgy Mars, problematic Pluto, and Friday’s full moon, it’ll be hard to keep things to yourself. It’ll be better to come clean about anything scandalous than attempt to keep it in.

Read on for your sign’s Sky Code.

Aries (March 21 to April 19)

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As you come to the twilight of your birthday season, you’ll want to push something or someone to the limit. May the Cosmos have mercy on all souls involved, especially yours. What’s fueling your drive to go for broke is perhaps more interesting than what you do with it. You might be inclined to see your actions as noble, but make sure they aren’t coming from a deep fear of boredom. You have to remember that you’re more than a creature born to do something. You can just enjoy life as it is without greedily hungering for more at great cost.

Taurus (April 20 to May 21)

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Don’t succumb to the pressure to have to reinvent the wheel at work or home. Some of the best ideas are ones that are recycled and tweaked. Revisit a few of your old books or browser bookmarks to refresh yourself on discarded ideas. Similarly, you might feel compelled to dig deeper into your mind to illuminate what’s motivating you, as fellow Taurus Sigmund Freud would advise. Are you running from something or toward something? Only you know for sure and there’s no sense b.s.-ing yourself.

Gemini  (May 21 to June 20)

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You might focus on perceived slights or injustices you’ve suffered, recently or a while back. There’s no point in figuring out “objectively” if what you feel is justified or not. That will likely only add to your obsessiveness. Perhaps the better thing to do is to look closely at where these apparent setbacks have left you. You might discover that you have more to appreciate than mourn, like dodging the bullet of an ex who ends up in the newspaper for a crazy crime.

Cancer (June 21 to July 21)

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Resentment usually reveals that we expected more than we said aloud or didn’t pay attention to experiences that contradicted our early hopes. Shit happens, but whether you hold on to bad feelings is up to you. Pay more attention to whether an anticipated change in someone’s behavior is happening rather than hoping it will. Take control. It’s okay to put people on notice. It’s way better than feeling choked up with bitterness later because you weren’t being honest with yourself.

Leo (July 22 to August 21)

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Most creatives, whether writers, designers, dancers, or painters, say that you shouldn’t wait for inspiration. If you wait until you “feel” like it, then you’ll be waiting for nothing or you won’t meet the deadlines, work requirements, or opportunities waiting at the finish line. It’s a lot to deal with, but retrograding Pluto’s pressure isn’t on you so you can rest on your laurels. It’s there to get you back on your grind so you can achieve more. Start simple with a small project, so it doesn’t become a smokescreen for procrastination.

Virgo (August 22 to September 21)

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This season has largely been about strengthening confidence in your competence. You’re not short on guts or a strong work ethic to get what’s yours. However, what makes you good at what you do or want to do? You can’t rely on someone else’s approval because you may do it better than another. But you also just can’t rely on your own assessment, because that could be the stuff of delusions. What you can trust, though, are the moments when you give your very best and see the impact that it has on others.

Libra (September 22 to October 21)

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You find the chops to follow through on your intentions to change your life. If you have to slash once important things from your budget to meet your financial goals, you might be surprised by some of your ruthlessness. Unfortunately, as you get more grounded, others might seem to fall off balance in their own lives. Your first impulse will likely be to think how you can help them. Don’t rush to that. You’re still getting up to speed, for starters. Secondly, you might deny someone the benefit of learning how to find his or her own true grit.

Scorpio (October 22 to November 21)

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Although National Sibling Day was almost two weeks ago, you could still reach out to your actual siblings or people who feel that way to you. In strange and changing times, like this eclipse and retrograde season, it’s important to connect with people who make our world feel familiar and relatable. Dig deep within and open up, whether by email, in person or by phone. You won’t be satisfied with superficial conversations, so you’ll have to trust that you both will know when to pull back.

Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21)

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Your way forward requires journeying into your past. You won’t have to invent a time machine, just break out some old journals, notebooks, or emails. Your mind is possibly so active that you might not remember how good some of your ideas were. You might also need to dust off a practice or habit that helps you move through sticky periods, like consulting your tarot cards for insight or starting to use mint.com again to get your finances back together after tax season.

Capricorn (December 22 to January 20)

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Fittingly for spring, you’re having your own resurrection. However, you might eye nearly anyone and everything with an air of suspicion and a strange cross between curiosity and anxiety. Don’t feel guilty about feeling as you do or think that you should somehow magically lighten up. Instead, follow your inquisitiveness, because you’ll likely perceive problems that previously eluded you. The suspicion and nervousness will abate as you investigate what piques your resilient interest.

Aquarius (January 21 to February 18)

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You might feel that more seems wrong with the world than usual. This may or may not be true. What’s more likely is that there’s more in your world that needs to be addressed. You don’t have to think your life is a mess to focus on yourself and what you’re feeling. It could be as simple as using a meditation app, making an epic entry in your journal, or seeing your therapist. Quiet time with your thoughts, rather than the world’s, will support your journey to better self-care and wellness.

Pisces (February 19 to March 20) 

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Groom the people who help you bloom. Invest time, energy, and maybe even some money in connecting with your friends and associates. You won’t have to put in a lot if you’re selective and that’s perhaps more important than anything. Penetrating Pluto prompts you to look closely at the ties that connect you with others, whether they’re in your life for business, pleasure, or a mix of both. However, you can’t afford to be wishy-washy with them and you can’t permit the same from them. Even though you’d love to be there for everyone, you can’t.

Samuel F. Reynolds is a professional astrologer in New York City and the founder of the Zodiac Lounge.

GIF reporting by Leah Rodriguez.