Horoscopes | Week of May 15-21, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Friends play an important part in our lives… so much so that we often start to dress and wear our hair like them, adopt their speech patterns and haunt their favorite watering holes, and generally morph into strikingly similar replicas of those particular pals we hang with most. That's not as likely to be your habit in friendship, Aries, considering your intrinsically strong sense of individual self. But the invisible tugs of alliance hold a mightier magnetic pull on your thought-patterns this week. So remember: Just because you can feel what's beneath your friends' convictions, that doesn't mean you must go along with it. And just because the flattery and affection you receive from them strokes your ego, that doesn't mean you must return the favor, if you're not feeling it. Come to think of it, what are you feeling? Are you sure you can distinguish it from the pressures of what you should be feeling, according to some other source? Is anyone trying to convince you to assume a role inappropriate to what you truly want? Are they pushing you to spend your money a certain way? No matter the answers, these are important questions to ask yourself… just to reaffirm your self-interest.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You touch it; it melts into pure light. You call out its name; it whispers that you've got it wrong. You write out a plan; the words fade into the background of the paper upon which they were written. At every gesture, the universe responds with the most stubborn of magic 8-ball responses: 'Inconclusive—try back later.' Which means you definitely shouldn't judge the rightness or wrongness of your efforts by the misleading, non-descript and/or indeterminate reactions you receive. To approach the quest for the needle in the haystack, begin by not looking. Who's to say you'll recognize it, if it doesn't quite look like the thin pointy piece of metal with thread-sized hole in the top you're expecting? Step back, and declare to the world: 'I sort through bales of straw—who has a use for my talents?' By following this method, you'll discover your calling through the activities you practice and perform, rather than how you imagine they'll be best deployed. Out in the world lurk golden opportunities to adapt your skills to specific purposes you cannot conceive… purposes you'd find intensely rewarding, but which you can only find by offering yourself up in service. Maybe Rumpelstilskin's looking for an apprentice to help sort through his straw—and seeing as he can turn it to gold, the prospective return on that gig would be lucrative enough to blow your mind. And that's just one possibility.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The later in the week you can postpone your final answer or definitive testimony, so nobody will expect you to hurriedly provide the most accurate detailing of your truth, the better. Neptune is wreaking its own seductive brand of unnoticeable disorientation over your mental clarity, such that your noblest stabs at being practical and concise in thinking are apt to fall prey to a wandering eye and/or a runaway imagination. Which, incidentally, makes the earlier part of the week a fantastic time for soul-searching, brainstorming, vision-questing and otherwise 'thinking outside the box'. (Hell, even 'thinking outside the earth's gravitational force'!) That is, it's a beautiful occasion for envisioning what isn't yet there, but rather rotten for pinpointing and understanding what is. On Friday, Mercury troops into Gemini, followed by the Sun on Saturday night… and once that happens, you'll be much more comfortably in your quick-witted element. Until then, don't let Neptune fool you into believing in the veracity of what's too simple and perfect to be real.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): This could be a perplexing—and therefore troubling—week, Cancer, if you permit the undetectable energies of others' unconsciously calculating emotions get in the way of what you're doing. On the forecast is a high chance of codependency's cloud-cover, obstructing the rays of your recently-more-forceful self-assertion. Ask yourself: Who's feeling so desperately displeased with (i.e., threatened by) the strides you're making that they seek to suck you into drama… to redeliver the script in an unnecessarily pessimistic accent, as if to lure you into seeing things their way… as in, 'Nobody could ever hope to pull themselves up from the same stifling place they've always been,' or something silly like that? Sadly, they'd rather you worry about them (or worry like them) than celebrate yourself. I beg of you: Don't do it. This is a test to see how actively you can still care without diving in headfirst to try and save 'em… only to find yourself drowning alongside. Why let two souls go down with the ship? Save yourself.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Have you ever passed too closely to a fence and gotten your sweater snagged on a nail that was sticking out? If you've experienced this or similar unions with sharp jutting distensions, then you'll understand just what to expect this week—on the psychic level. Neptune's influence over your 7th house gets tangled up with the personal planets, creating both (1) an insane amount of interpersonal sensitivity and (2) the tendency to inaccurately assess others' traits. And this sets you up to snag your aura on somebody else's protruding nodules of coagulated energy. Just as that loose thread quickly develops into a gaping hole in your sleeve, your openness to their vibrations can immediately unravel your mood. Warning: This unassuming (and possibly unintending) energy vampire could be anyone, not just a partner or co-worker. Furthermore, an encounter of only a few seconds could drag down a whole afternoon or evening… though the impact, thankfully, is temporary. By the end of the week, this effect will pass and you'll be back to your good old self. Until then, perhaps it wouldn't hurt to make your week one of those odd Leo moments of introversion.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Throughout the week, you'll receive cryptically clear messages from the planets (especially Neptune), informing you when you've gone 'too far'—too far with work, too far in insisting on one outlook, too far in pushing your body past its capabilities. Though these messages may occur in another, entirely unrelated arena of life (or though it seems), I promise there's a connection. For instance, too much time at the office might be put to a hasty end when an unexpected breakdown in a home appliance forces you to take the day off and wait around for the repairman. One hasn't caused the other, so to speak, but they mirror each other in the cosmic scheme of things. Watch also for computer problems, minor colds and injuries, or other similarly annoying yet not especially profound snafus… all indicating excessive stress in some other area of life. Be patient, and give in to the pressure to sit in traffic, rest in bed, or entertain additional variables that threaten to change everything. Next week, it'll all be much clearer and you'll better prepared for anything—even sharper shifts in perspective—thanks to whatever detours or disturbances this week has in store.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): You will not lose your bearings on the path to professional glory by inviting the romance in waking life to sweep you off your feet. This is not strictly the true-love/perfect-couple brand of romance I'm talking about (though that certainly could be part of it), but a broader umbrella under which beauty can found in all the simple pleasures. On the one hand, there's all the diligent effort and intention you're putting out, to navigate the 'tough issues' with intimate friends, lusty lovers and/or financially investors. (At least, I hope you're doing so… or else flirting with the unpleasant consequences of letting boundaries remain unclear.) But on the other, there's the undiluted, unmediated joy of awakening to the cavalcade of interesting things to look at, hold or eat… opportunities to be friendly, funny, fierce or fearless. Every day holds a million tiny dots of color, any of which holds a dense treasure chest of inspiring elements to delight you, if you pause to look. I'm purposely dragging out my exaggerations to their corniest levels, to give you an example of the sheer magnitude of options on the cosmic buffet for treating yourself. As long as you're alive and kicking, you'll never be too full of experience to justifiably refuse another helping.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): This is a week, Scorpio, in which it wouldn't be the worst idea to keep to yourself. It's not that anything bad is slated—more that a combination of extra-sensitivity and uncharacteristic confusion can accidentally lead you down roads that waste your precious energy. Your ability to gauge a mountain from a molehill is sadly hampered… just as your penetrating talent for figuring out what makes someone tick gets sideswiped by your taking on what they feel. And soon enough, you think it's about you when it isn't. Or you're desperately trying to convey a monumentally significant point (or so you think), and they're just not getting it. No one is necessarily 'wrong' in her thinking, nor will any lasting repercussions befall those with whom you're missing the mark. But why frustrate yourself over a week that'll drift by as fast as it came, when you can stick it out on your own and get through one or two of those alone-time projects dogging you at home? Save yourself the hassle, and withdraw from the risk of irritating disconnects.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): I want to write, 'Don't sweat the small stuff,' but not only is that cliché-est of clichés, it's also little help for someone who's currently not the clearest at differentiating the small from the not-so-small. See, Sagittarius, a whole host of Neptune-in-your-3rd factors line up to present you with a peculiar vulnerability—to total absorption by trivialities, offhand topics of pseudo-interest, certain of other people's passions (which you'd typically find only marginally compelling), and whatever else isn't quite what it might seem to be this week. It's a wonderful quality for observing meaning, symbolism and grace in every piece of trash along the street you're walking down… but it doesn't help you get anywhere very quickly. Not, of course, that there's anywhere you should be rushing off to. Yet, just because you're momentarily engrossed by a catchphrase on a bus-terminal poster or a story about your neighbor's recent experience with the local plumber, that doesn't automatically make the moment more inherently worthwhile. It's entertaining, which is always a good thing, but don't rewire your life because of it. Maybe, instead, I should write, 'Don't overvalue the small stuff.'


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): The most mentionable problems threatening the harmony of your week, Capricorn, stem from misreading the solidity (or lack thereof) of your current footing, and consequently misjudging how much or little you're working with… maybe even resulting in a crisis of pride. 'How,' you wonder, 'might you have made that mistake?' as you curse yourself for (what is it, exactly?) sloppiness, wishful thinking, loose presumptions, stupidity, etc. I'm sure you've got a name for what you'd consider this week's rottenest foible. And yet, I'd propose it's not even really a mistake—rather, an opportunity for adjustment that, caught now, actually alleviates the potential for real mistakes later. If you can swallow this non-self-abusive take on the matter and let yourself off the friggin' hook, you're far less likely to play out the darker side of Mars presently transiting your 7th. That, of course, would be the act of drawing your sword in interpersonal battle. Mars could spur you to hurl your snotty reaction to the week's dashed doings at somebody else… in semi-conscious substitution for what's really bugging you. And why bother with that? If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all—nicely.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It's another of those instances when you're reminded of Neptune's omnipresence in your sign (well, through 2011… which is long enough). Because nothing's likely to turn out quite as you supposed it would. Rather than dramatic upsets, the scene is marked, for instance, with conversations that slyly slide from one topic to another, until you're speaking differently and/or sharing more than you intended… or by efforts that you think are being carried out to one end but prove to net other results. There's nothing inherently good or bad in this influence—if anything, the wackily logicless hand of fate may be nudging you in strange directions for cosmically crucial reasons. That is, if you're open to grooving with it… without the answer, the explanation, or some other token of your supposed in-control mastery. No tokens accepted here, Aquarius, because you're not in control. You flap your wings, but the atmospheric currents blow you toward wherever they so deem… to a more proper nesting locale, where it'll be most lucky to lay your eggs. In the charmingly advantageous air of this phase in your life, trust the crosswinds.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): After pushing you hard for the last few weeks, the planets and I are granting you one off. There's absolutely nothing to do (or not do) this week, except allowing the dynamic energy of change sink in to your consciousness. During the strongly Neptune-influenced days ahead, you'll be able to sense the difference in how you react to all the usual people, places and things—with more engagement, a nervous giddiness, greater compassion, sheer dread, and/or the simple inability to pretend as you once did and have it appease you the same way. It's both a deeply contemplative moment, and yet one that can just as easily become jammed full of small talk. Strangely, these two are not at odds. Much food for thought can seep out the surfacey words… not necessarily through the actual content (or contentlessness) being discussed, but in the weird tangents it gets your brain treading down in the process. Truly, just take it all in. I'll find something new to push you on some other week.