Horoscopes | Week of February 20-26, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Say it with me… 'At last!' At last, Aries, you won't read the words 'patience' or 'security' directed at you from these horoscope-typing fingers. Several months of uncharacteristically sluggish and downright conservative movements have slowly but surely given way to an accelerating momentum… culminating with last week's movement of your ruler Mars out of Taurus (at last), where it's been since Jul 05, and into Gemini. And rather than fostering patience or ensuring security, it's instead time to branch out and test the waters for viable new involvements. Cast an exceptionally wide net, for not every option will fully pan out. (Trust me, you won't want them to.) There's no reason to fear the perceived need to commit… because it isn't actually there. Dabble. And whenever feeling stifled, get out into the neighborhood. Take a walk, or loiter in a popularly trafficked locale, where you're likely to bump into a long-not-seen acquaintance or an appealing stranger… and let one thing lead to another, or not.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You're wrapping up an especially noteworthy phase in your life, Taurus… a period of seven long (and rather relentless) months during which Mars planted himself in your sign, carrying out a highly unusual span of 'unsticking' work. Maybe you're surprised I'm saying that Mars helped you get 'unstuck', since you probably felt quite the opposite effect (that is: 'help me, I'm stuck!') at different points between last July and today. Looking back over this time, however, you'd be hard pressed to deny the truth of it—in fact, you have unstuck yourself. It's just that Mars in Taurus chips ever so gradually away at the pile of work, as opposed to rushing through it and missing a few important steps… but refuses to stop until it's done. Now that Mars is in Gemini, you have the ideal chance to test the results of what you've been working on. Play around with different manners of being different, through real-life social interaction (and not those silly hypothetical situations you invent when home alone). The only way to integrate what you've learned: Talk it out, to make it real.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Now that Mars has crossed the magical border between your 12th and 1st houses, you'll finally be operating on all cylinders, full steam ahead. I probably don't have to tell you this, but all that extra energy is best spent in bringing folks together… spreading the word about one person to another, so that potential allies can get on board with each other whenever their visions mesh well. You are a fantastic instigator of good trouble, possessing that certain spark to motivate those with greater staying power (no offense, of course) to stick around and finish what you started together. Watch out, though, that you're not spinning the disseminated lowdown to portray yourself in a particular light you haven't earned—no unwarranted tooting of your own horn. Don't share those details you really shouldn't be sharing, and don't promise what you won't be able to deliver. Once Mercury goes retrograde next week, it could come back to haunt you.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The current atmospheric switch that's seeming to lift others' spirits or shift them into higher gear has the potential to unsettle you or generate behind-the-scenes anxiety. The basic theme: Too much, all of a sudden. Can you stand in it anyway, Cancer, despite the mopey whispers trying to convince you to escape into a cushiony cocoon and wait out the craziness in seclusion? Here's where Venus's prolonged presence in your 7th comes in handy—seek out those particular individuals who've recently proven themselves to be the most reliable and trustworthy, and ask for help. Go out of your way to actually describe your current feelings with specific detail… no being vague, no matter how uncomfortable or insane you might feel. The intelligent feedback you'll get just may help you structure a new, more useful framework for making sense of these periodic psychic sensations. What you formulate in heart-to-heart one-on-ones now can serve you for a long time ahead, whenever the familiar allure of romanticized moodiness moves to de-center you. You'll feel what you feel, but need not do it alone.


LEO (July 23-August 22): The planets are stirring up the lives of your friends and lovers, with so much more self-absorbing springiness than they're bringing to yours. Surely you're willing to go with the astrological flow and momentarily put your less urgent issues and concerns on the backburner, aren't you? Offer your fullest and best presence (and your least self-involvement) to their ventures, dilemmas and processes… voluntarily stepping aside and leaving them the spotlight. I promise this is temporary, and you'll be able to reap more than a fair share of payback—if, that is, you require that guarantee in order to be so generous. (And if that's the case… I say, Harumph.) To be that kind of person you truly want to be, you crave participation in a network, a team of folks who'll do anything for each other and who always have each other's backs. This week, cover their backs… and eventually, though maybe not tomorrow, you'll get it back in spades. For now, they need it more than you.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The role of 'go-getter' isn't a natural for Virgos, who are usually quite satisfied to let those cruder, pushier types shove to the front of the line… reserving for themselves the quiet knowledge that they've done a good job. Normally, you're more than okay with faithfully waiting your turn to receive due acknowledgment. In this astro-climate, however, you'll be going against the planets—namely, Venus in your put-it-out-there 5th and Mars in the public-recognition 10th—by holding back, pretending to hold no opinion or not to care. There's an inherent charm and excitement in the proposals and suggestions coming out of you this week. And furthermore, you possess an uncharacteristic amount of flexibility with regards to others' standards and expectations. At this point in time, it's more important to insert yourself (forcefully, if need be) into the relevant situation than to continue along in any particular, highly controlled fashion. It would be a disservice to everyone involved for you to sit this one out.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Underlying whatever you've been up to 'out there' in the world you share with us, there's a current of quiet formulation circulating through your cells. The still-in-development meat-and-potatoes of it remain beneath the public radar… but continue to provide you plenty of fodder for self-reflection. You should be midway through the process of creating a practical analytic framework for discovering what triggers the bulk of any emotional difficulties, and understanding which practices will support your improved emotional stability. (Yes, there are actual physical things you can do to stabilize your mood.) But because so much is going on inside, you bear the dangerous potential to lose your here-and-now presence and fall victim to the worst displays of Libran superficiality—all surface, no substance. To combat this possibility without disclosing too much of your still-quietly-formulating personal truth, engage in authentic discussions that abstract the meat-and-potatoes of what's on your mind into easy-to-reference generalities. That way, you can still share something meaningful with others… without sharing what you're not quite ready to share.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Perhaps you're not totally tuned in to how the other person is taking your semi-innocent comments and halfway-intense questions. After all, you're only being half-serious. But that's the half that may matter to them. Stay aware of the high likelihood your full message will be truncated into an abbreviated version—mainly, the one or two sentences most apt to provoke an unfavorable reaction in someone else. Forget that their response may quite possibly have nothing to do with you… other than your uncanny knack for finding just the touchiest sore spot with your involuntary trigger finger. With that in mind, watch that your delivery isn't so dry they miss the joke entirely, or fixate on only one reading of an ambiguous statement. Exaggerate your expression of the lighter emotions, so that nobody could legitimately claim not to notice how friendly and supportive you're being. (And who cares if it makes you feel silly? Suck it up.) At every uncomfortable moment, go out of your way to show your love and admiration… and to blow off steam with a hearty guffaw, always laughing with and not at them.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This week, as a natural effect of your propensity to put yourself out there, you'll find yourself stimulating a bundle of interpersonal electricity. Sizzle, snap and pop! Warning, warning: The magnetic mechanism of attraction and repulsion will show itself to be more complicated than a binary language of zeroes and ones. When it comes to real-life, internally contradictory human beings (a category in which, yes, you indeed belong), the experience of one quite easily transforms itself into its supposed opposite. So which is it: attraction or repulsion? Watch for spontaneous sparring and intentional goat-getting—these are tell-tale signs of a passionate rhythm, like that of schoolyard kids who tease each other as a way of playing out their crushes. Those who you love are certainly known to drive you mad. But be extra-careful of those who drive you mad, because you just might love 'em. And anyway, who cares if you fight, when making up hold such a great reward in store…?


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): With the pleasant mix of Venus still in your sign sextiling Mercury in your solar 3rd house of communication, it's a better week than most to say more of what you're thinking. A sheer multitude of good vibrations can be generated simply, through casual compliments and chit-chatty conversations. Whenever you have the chance, ask engaging questions to incite an acquaintance's hearty response… and suddenly, five minutes later, you've got a new friend (or maybe something more!). These more 'frivolous' social interactions (and any such judgment is yours) are a habit worth establishing, to draw you away from hermit status (where you remain in control, but lonely) and into a land where entertainment doesn't need a reason. For your own highest emotional development, force yourself to contribute an additional 'hello'. And draw out those 30-second exchanges into 5 or 10 minutes—5 or 10 minutes of authentic, absorbing social contact, that is.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Feel free to cheer and hoot, Aquarius, now that you're finally moving past this recent era of increased private time (I almost wrote 'quiet time', but that didn't quite seem to fit) and emerging from hibernation with a fresh glow. Last week brought the first dramatic boost outward, with Mars hopscotching into your 5th house of love, joy and self-expression—this translates to hanging a sign on your door, declaring you officially reopened for business. And next week, Venus will move into your 1st (for real this time, not like her 2-week tease back in late December!) to start delivering on her long-endured promise that good things have been invisibly a-brew for those Aquarians waiting patiently and faithfully. (Those good things are coming, I swear.) For this week, there's not much else to contribute, since a large part of what'll happen in the near future has already been set in motion. All you've really got to do is reintroduce extroversion into your diet… soon enough, your dance card is likely to be jam-packed, complete with backup-plan admirers waiting in the wings.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): This is the time to take care of business matters and other loose ends—signing papers and sending bills, saying what needs to be said—before Mercury turns retrograde in your sign next week, and threatens to scramble your signals. As it is, Mercury's already slowed down and started to behave a little funnily in anticipation of its reversal. But with the helpful assistance of a sextile to Venus in your 11th, you should feel free to rely on your friends and associates to review the contract, reread what you've already written or plan to say. Multiple sets of eyes are far more reliable than one. Make a deliberate point to consult the respective experts in your network, rather than letting pride prevent you from asking for educated advice. Allay the increasing hyperactivity of your thoughts by dragging the details out of your head (or wherever else they may be hiding) and into situations where they can be bounced off the realities of physical reality.