Horoscopes | Week of April 3-9, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When I spy a Mars-Pluto opposition on the calendar, as I do this week, the first words that pop into my head are power struggle. And since you're the sign linked most closely to Mars, Aries, you could find yourself inadvertently—or, I suppose, quite deliberately—in the center of one. (A power struggle, that is.) The likeliest cause? That you're treating too casually some idea or commitment that somebody else is profoundly and powerfully invested in. You're merely forging ahead, moving through all these various options and opportunities, sampling bits and pieces… so you can't necessarily be blamed for innocently transferring your attention to some other topic—though this other person might easily get the sense you're dismissing them without due respect. Of course, you are to blame if you're being intentionally flippant with their prize-and-joy, or lording your self-possessed power to move faster and freer over their 'too serious' head. Be careful not to move along so fast that you burn a bridge or two… before you've even determined whether you might later need to cross it. Be delicate with their feelings, please.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): As much of a pain-in-the-ass as it might seem, use every ounce of patient strength to strive for consensus. Before digging in your heels to fortify a particular stance (an unwavering 'yes' or an absolute 'no'), seek counsel from the friends you trust most. Maybe they can help you see the other with greater emotional distance than the actual spokesperson for 'the other side' (with whom you're messily tied up in intimate, familial or financial strings). Maybe it's just a matter of finding less rigid-sounding wording to convey your wants. It wouldn't hurt to rehearse the way you present your case, complete with friends' feedback, rather than opening yourself up to getting sucked into a twister of excessive intensity. Be forewarned—if you let the negotiation veer beyond the limits of the issue at hand, into unresolved stuff from previous business, it could get nasty. On the other hand, adopting the fairest position possible, boosted by pep talks from your wisest advisors, will demonstrate a renewed pledge to interpersonal openness. And it'll win you the most powerful advantage of all—an intact relationship, with the greatest level of mutual respect.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The theme of your week, like it or not, is 'me versus you'. But that doesn't mean it has to turn out with only one winner, or that it need be a fight at all. Sure, you might find their insistence a bit inflexible… and they might find you frenetic or hard to pin down. But that's what makes a lively partnership or collaboration, right? The most probable zone for potential dispute is work—how it's going to get done, who's going to do it, who's going to get credit for it. The other person's got a pretty good point about the best nuts-and-bolts method for approaching the task at hand… even if it disrupts what you were thinking. And you've got a better intuitive flavor of how the final result should look, and how best to 'spin' it for maximum impact. No, you aren't being too calculating or insincere. No, he or she isn't being too unnecessarily difficult or demanding. If you two can reach an agreement, the job will be strategized into a smashing success. If not, watch out for the smashing of other things: plates, windows, faces…


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Be on the lookout for your own attempts to sidestep the realities of an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation… through spacing out, eating or drinking too much, or pretending everything's never been better (yeah, right). These tactics may feel good for a moment or two, but you're ultimately not helping yourself deal. However, belief in your ability to transcend the pain or discomfort—not by denying it, but by moving all the way into it without fear—will both speed up the worst of it and alleviate the extra bits caused by fear-driven delays in coping. Stay unwaveringly confident in the fieriness of your life-force, to burn powerfully through any fleeting bumps in the road. This is not all there is. You're much stronger than any job-related obstacles or momentary blips on your health radar. Don't succumb to anxiety or paranoia, swallowing up your present moment with nagging replays of the past ('if only I'd done this…') or acting out worst-possible futures ('I must be dying'). Concentrate your creative energy on an optimistic, enthusiastic intention for what will come next… without idealizing or underplaying what's happening now.


LEO (July 23-August 22): With Saturn in your sign stationing this week, in its shift back to direct motion, it's quite likely some humbling episode will temporarily zap you. Think of it as a test, to determine how willing you are to accept the bounds of your current capabilities (which are not, by the way, the bounds of your ultimate potential). Maturity involves the realization that anything isn't possible at a given moment—maybe later, sure, but not without putting in the required attentiveness over an extended span of time. In the existing situation, you may well intend to advocate for the good of the whole group… but tiny traces of ego desire and subtle plays for personal power can't help but infect your purported 'team stance'. And the other folks are picking up what you're probably unable to notice yourself. (We've all got our blind spots.) That's why it could come as a shocking mystery that they've seemed to misinterpret your motivations. Rather than being defensive, bite your tongue and listen. If you're truly invested in what's best for all the players, you've got to invite others to offer true (perhaps painfully true) feedback on how you're coming across. It's an absolute must for your emotional growth.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Over these recent weeks, I've dwelled (irritatingly so?) on a deep process of emotional catharsis in which you find yourself… thrusting you slowly but surely out from under the thumb of incessantly-repeated past pains… and into glaring recognition of your own responsibility for taking care of yourself in the here and now. This week offers a chance to try out how much you've improved in owning your own stuff. Often, in the external world, conflicts with others arise as a reflection of some internal tension we're having within ourselves. We identify so much more strongly with one of our inner voices, we deny the other one… and unconsciously let someone else play it out for us. In your case, the current dilemma is an age-old one—between what you're processing through at home in your quiet time, and what you're working to accomplish in the public eye and/or professionally. Potential disagreements could occur with bosses or authority figures who ask you to do something that 'just doesn't feel right'… or with roommates or spouses who accuse you of neglecting your household commitments. In either case, the other person is voicing a view you've also got inside you. And acknowledging that will immediately deescalate the situation. At work, offer alternative that feels better without poo-pooing the whole thing. At home, realize they're playing to your own guilt—disclose the emotional reality behind your recent actions, and promise to try harder. Or deny you've got anything to do with any of it, and live stuck in the conflict.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): There's a good chance you'll get so wrapped up in what you're doing—'the stuff that really matters,' as you might think of it—you miss some of the key details that could easily slip into the misnomer-cracks of 'minor', 'peripheral' or 'irrelevant'. How wrong you'd be to assume all the loose ends should fall under a single umbrella of importance. No one doubts the seriousness with which you're treating the whole endeavor, since you've clearly thought it all out. But there are easy advantages and fruitful rewards from pausing to collect stray bits of potential future interest or supplementary input. And how misguided you'd prove to be by lashing out (no matter how calmly or cordially) or making it someone else's problem, dare another person suggest you look beyond your current focus. They're not trying to steal control from you, but merely suggesting alternatives. It's your refusal to look at it differently that would set the stage for a fight, if you so choose.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Okay, Scorpio, let me lay it on the line for you. No kid gloves. This week features an opposition between Mars and Pluto, your two ruling planets. If that weren't enough, it's across the 'mine vs. yours' axis of the 2nd/8th… and the rulers of those houses are puffing your self-assertion and self-expression levels. All astro-technicalities aside, here it is: Your stinger is out and ready to strike. Maybe you're not aware of it… and maybe you're very well aware of it. But the combined energies swirling around could bring out the absolute worst in you—if you don't stay vigilant. It's no fair to couch unkind inferences or outright insults in the guise of 'just showing my feelings'. Personal digs hurt, no matter how cleverly you conceal them to make the other person feel like they're being unreasonably sensitive. The way out of the aggression is to remind yourself how fortunate you are right now, how well-positioned you are to get whatever you want, and how much power you possess… so much so that they might envy or resent you. But neither that envy or resentment, nor anything else they may feel or say or do, is a threat to you. You don't have to tell them that, though—that would be a move which only serves to make them feel small, and reveal you are, in fact, threatened.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): What if all the anger and impatience directed at that particular somebody, for all the annoying inconsistencies and excesses and other little crap, is actually deriving from within you… from your emotional core, and your difficulty accepting things (and, consequently, other people) as they are? What if you're less than fully conscious of the edge in your voice, or the edging-toward-totalitarian urge to tell everyone exactly how they should lead their lives… even if you never actually say anything that's the slightest bit blatantly critical or mean? What if they can sniff out the need to protect themselves from you, like a dog smells a threat to its safety and starts barking preemptively? What if everything I've written so far is completely true (at least for this week), and you can avoid the worst of its effects by taking it upon yourself to sweeten every exchange pregnant with tension? What if it's all totally untrue, but you play along as if it were, knowing it certainly won't hurt to assume the power to transform nasty to nice? What if?


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Your week's most dire frustrations stem from expecting all the pieces to fit together in a logical fashion… and that, whatever doesn't work according to this order, you'll be able to explain away according to one or another wholly sensible sequence of rationale. That tidy expectation omits the unknown, that exquisitely perfect chaos factor which appeals to a different form of logic—one that none of us (and least of all you) has full access to. The more fiercely you resist the inability to force organization on top of the unorderable or keep insisting that you can come up with 'the answer' if you just think obsessively enough about it, the harder the opposing force of inscrutability will push back. Talk to some of your more mystically-minded pals about what they think—no comment's too loopy or fanciful, but none will hold the instant enchanted solution. Let up on your need to control, to create space for the unknown to wreak its happy fortuitous magic as nonsensically as it has the havoc. If your individualistic projects feel blocked, devote your energies to assisting others push theirs along.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): For someone whose sign is supposedly the opposite of attention-hungry Leo, your self-centered, ego-driven expressiveness this week could go far in fooling us. Of course, opposite signs are actually two sides of the same coin… and in this astro-atmosphere, your tendency toward fiercely loyal adherence to your own cult of personality heats up like a Leo's would. Don't take this as a criticism on my part (of you or of Leos)—leave that to your friends and other members of your community, who are more accustomed to thinking of you as 'one of them' rather than this noticeable 'stand out from the crowd as The Star' attitude emanating from you. Neither role is especially right or wrong for you, Aquarius, but you can expect to get strangely intense reactions (positive, negative and/or puzzling) when you put more of yourself out there. So as not to polarize any important folks against you as you rise into fuller personal power, it wouldn't hurt to defer to them when unspoken tension condenses in the air… as long as you don't sell yourself out. But if you see no other choice that feels right, then prepare to stand alone (at least for now) in your cult of one.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Once again, Pisces, you're the last standing, relegated to the 'none of the above' category… but this week, it's distinctly to your good fortune. See, if you glance through the other scopes, you'll find lots of warnings against conflict and opposition, thanks to a face-off between Mars and Pluto. Of course, you're subject to this same influence—yet, you also have the divine gift of Venus moving into your sign, to join Mercury in an accumulation of Piscean energy. This has the effect of confusing everyone else, since they're on your turf now, a land where few others play as comfortably as you. Yes, you're still prey to a Mars/Pluto-related inner conflict, between (1) trying to get the full story of your personal emotional truth together and (2) outside pressures to conform to an acceptable standard (or the urge to rebel violently against it, which, unfortunately to report, is kind of the same thing). But with Mercury speaking your language, you have the right words at your disposal to navigate between the two. And Venus… well, Venus, she just helps you along, charms your aura, freshens your appearances, and generally keeps you better protected from trouble—that is, if you let her.