Lorraine Hansberry, a Taurus.
Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos Getty
On Tuesday morning, Mercury retrograde begins in Gemini, and you may feel as though nothing is going smoothly. Conversations with your friends end in conflict, or your plans keep getting disrupted, or you just can’t get the project you’re developing to work. Right now, the key is to slow down. Give yourself and others permission to be inefficient. Everyone could use some extra grace, at least until June 3, when this retrograde period ends. Then on Tuesday evening, Jupiter, planet of luck, enters brash Aries, where it will remain until October. Though overconfidence can be a risk during this time (Jupiter’s enthusiastic nature might amplify Aries’s more reckless side), it’s more likely that a healthy belief in yourself will be rewarded.
You acknowledge that it’s necessary to adapt to the world that actually exists. Conditions are not ideal, but we all must go on living, so you might as well make it easier on yourself. At a certain point, though, you’re unwilling to contort yourself any further. This week, when you reach that point, remember that you have other options at your disposal. You can walk away from situations you’re unwilling to live with. You can stay and, rather than just bend, respond — build the life and relationships you yearn for. Your dissatisfaction will vanish, but not until you choose to create something better.
When the future looks particularly grim (like it does now), it’s tempting to store up the resources you think you’ll need later, even if you could use them now. Instead of using your power, you save it up for a rainy day. Instead of calling on your friends for support, you stifle your requests in case your need is even greater later on. But this week, better to engage fully in and with the world as it is right now. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to unleash your strength, or to ask for help. Friendships are made stronger, not weaker, when you ask for and offer support.
If someone is trying to pressure you into a quick decision by fabricating a sense of urgency, ask yourself whether they have your best interests at heart, or only their own. What’s more, this week, be careful that you aren’t the one putting undue pressure on yourself. Certain decisions really are pressing, of course. But not all. If you’ve been dreaming about changing your life in a big way, you don’t have to rush into it. You can weigh your options and create a plan. Despite how much you worry that you must act right now or never, odds are you do have time to deliberate.
It’s important to try on a new personality, new habits, once in a while. It’s only by testing out different ways of talking or dressing or moving that we come to know which ones fit best. Acting braver or cooler or more impressive than you feel can help you see just how great your capacity to be all of those things is. This week, remember that you can experiment without making a lifetime commitment. There’s nothing wrong with beginning a new path, then deciding it wasn’t for you after all. You’re allowed to change your mind, and change it back again, too.
Normally, you’re a quick study of the power dynamics at play in any space you walk into, whether it’s a boardroom or a dining room. When you know how to read a room, unfamiliar spaces become familiar. You know precisely where you’ll fit. This week, though, some of the normal cues may fail you. People may play against type, act out of turn, surprise you. Don’t see this as a weakness in your observational skills, but rather a minor miracle. If they can escape the roles that have been assigned to them by other people, or society at large, maybe you can, too.
You’re someone who rarely makes a commitment you don’t honor. You only sign on to work that you’re truly capable of doing, only enter into the friendships and relationships that you honestly want to be in. And so it’s frustrating when others move through the world differently, exaggerating their abilities, overselling their genuine willingness to give. This week, it’s important to remember that you do not have to take everyone at their word. Words are powerful, but they are not enough on their own. If someone says they’re on your side, you’re allowed to demand that they prove it with actions.
You’re skilled at using words and persuasion to resolve conflict, even to avoid it altogether. It’s a valuable skill, and you’re wise to deploy it when you can. But occasionally, your words just come out wrong, or the people you’re trying to reach plug their ears and refuse to listen. This week, if your usual tactics aren’t working to the level you’re used to, don’t take it as a sign that you’re suddenly powerless. Take it, instead, as an opportunity to try something new.
You’ve felt a complicated push and pull lately between your desires for emotional intimacy and for independence. Part of you longs for closeness with others, while another part of you finds it almost unbearable. Maybe this feeling is related to romance, maybe friendship, maybe one of so many possible forms a human relationship may take. You crave connection, but you need to maintain your privacy, your solitude, too. The existence of these competing instincts in you sometimes makes you fear that you’re off. Unfit for love. But it isn’t true. Human intimacy is strange and often uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it, in whatever unique form that takes for you.
Lately, it’s been hard to believe that your actions have a measurable impact on the world. From your perspective, events keep unfolding outside your control, the weather keeps changing, and the people in power keep doing their best to make life worse for nearly everyone else. How can your own small efforts compete? But you keep trying anyway, and this week, you might notice those efforts bearing fruit at last. When positive change happens, don’t imagine that it’s solely down to luck. It’s also the result of the seeds you planted long ago, of the work you’ve been doing all along.
Intellectually, you know that perfection is unattainable, but you value its pursuit all the same. Striving for excellence is how you grow, how you learn, how you expand the edges of what is possible. This week, though, even keeping up the illusion of achievable perfection may be frustratingly out of reach. The world is always reminding you of its messiness, of the extent to which even your best efforts can fail. Should that happen, you can fight even harder, or you can accept the mess, at least for now, and take joy in your humanity.
There are people in the world who keep taking advantage of your natural tendency to be hard on yourself. They keep pushing the notion that a virtuous life requires turning away from all that is easy, pleasurable, sweet. If you want to be good, you must constantly feel bad. But really, you try to improve the world for yourself and others out of a desire to nurture joy, resolve, and connection — not to vanquish suffering. Your duty is not to be pure, but to be human. And while sometimes that means doing what is difficult, sometimes it simply means doing what feels good.
When you talk, you’re not doing it just to hear your own voice; it matters to you to express the truth, to share your ideas, to connect with the people around you. This means that there’s little more frustrating than having your words misconstrued. The problem is that this week, it’s going to be impossible to make yourself completely understood by everyone at all times. And it will be frustrating, to be sure, but if you let it, it can also be freeing. Someone will misunderstand you, no matter what you do or say, so you might as well do what you want.
Read the weekly horoscopes for the week of May 2. The weekly horoscopes for the week of May 16 will be online next Sunday. Get Claire Comstock-Gay’s book, Madame Clairevoyant’s Guide to the Stars, out now.
The longer version: Jupiter is all about excess, so it amplifies both positive and negative aspects of the sign it is in. Since confidence is a quality of Aries, Jupiter in Aries risks overconfidence.