Horoscopes | Week of August 14-20, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): 'Is this really the infamous Me you're seeing here, as I politely nod and listen to your account of what's going on, without giving even a glimmer of what I'm thinking as you talk? Have I exposed you to my sincerest state of being, which sometimes is an admittedly short-fused directness that strikes many as possessing quite a sharp edge? I mean no disrespect, though plenty of the more sensitive types recoil at the intrinsic assertive quality in my tone, whether I intend it or not. I try to soften the roughest surfaces of my exterior, because I'm really the most genuinely emotional present soul, full of caring toward whatever's in front of me. Still, I can't always swallow the force of my spirit, just because someone less robust is uncomfortable that I know what I want and I take a stand for it. If I grin away my disagreement, it's like I've sold my true self down the river, in defense of a shallow congeniality that hardly qualifies as authentic understanding. I hear your point. I feel your agenda curling its grubby fingers around my hand and luring me onto the dancefloor. But I don't feel much like a tango today, at least not on these terms I can't reconcile with my truth. Instead, I will do you the highest favor and show you the realest Me that exists. I'm warning you, though… you two might not get along.'


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Perhaps you rarely consider the possible damage caused by pandering to the social custom of reporting 'everything's just fine' when, in fact, it isn't. 'Fine' is the blandest of descriptor terms, providing an answer to an interested party that tells 'em absolutely nothing about what's going on with you. It's merely a perfunctory offering of insubstantial content, like a slightly friendly wave across the street to a neighbor whose name you still haven't bothered to ask. This isn't such a big deal, unless you're interacting with a person you think of as legitimately meaningful in your life as a good friend, close confidante or romantic interest. Then, your little white lie of omission—telling someone you're 'just fine' when there's some more specific feeling you're experiencing—stands as a glaring blockade to the very relationships that exist to support you in moments of disorderly emotion. It's akin to sharing only the most squeaky-clean details of your life with, say, your grandmother, to maintain a highly guarded (and sanitized) image of yourself. Except the difference is that your friends know (and care) that you're withholding something juicy… and your mistrustful gesture of feigning 'fineness' (whatever that's supposed to be) serves to keep them at arm's length. So you're still going through whatever you're going through and you're doing it without help. Why? Because you didn't just present a more honest report on how you're doing to people who genuinely care.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Words are shifty, slippery and wholly unreliable representations of the items and ideas they purport to label… a reality that typically functions to your overwhelming advantage, since you are unrivalled in your ability to surf and skim along their surfaces, as they carry you to soaring crests atop their continually changing currents of meaning. Read the warning signs, though: The thought-forms you unwittingly create through offhand remarks and extemporaneous exclamations are arguably more persistent and less variable than the words that gave birth to them. In other words, the consequences of what you say this week will stubbornly stay put long after your mind has slid into another topic or switched its allegiance altogether. Thus, it's the worst time ever to overpromise and underdeliver, to straddle blurried lines in hopes they might misinterpret what you've purposely poorly construed, or to play upon assumed similarities. Though you may sidestep explicit commitments, you're still responsible for inviting them to entertain whatever understandings they've formed about your beliefs. Don't let any misperceptions slide. It's better to chalk out some certain boundaries, even if they're based on ruling something out instead of directly advocating something else, than to remain a purely free agent. Floaters are the scariest game-players.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your number-one priority has got to be looking out for your own immediate short-term stability… and nobody else's business until you've got yourself squared away. As elementary as this statement sounds, its actualization could easily get trickier, if you're faced with arm-wrestling your own excitement-hungry ego for control of the reins. I'm well aware, Cancer, that last week's scope was all about feeding your social sparkle with more swinging activities, and here I am seemingly undermining that advice. But no, I don't want to squelch your interpersonal outreach efforts, just because, at the same time, I'm urging you to watch your bottom line. No fun must be had at a frivolous expense, or by gambling with the time or resources you'd allocated to more responsible (though also, perhaps, more dull) matters. Likewise, while other people are a potent source of entertainment, creative engagement and flourishing flirtation, they may also exert unseemly temptations to 'go wild' that threaten your rational mindset. You might find yourself faced with the need to say no to a certain somebody (or to yourself, with regards to that certain somebody), though another vocal part of yourself resists, kicking and screaming perhaps, this 'responsible' action. Be moderate—the behavior which corrects prior self-imposed isolation does not necessitate tossing away all traces of caution.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Congratulations on the direct access offered this week to the top of your game, in all its splendor and glory. Take a moment's pause to look around and snag a memorable glance at what this vantage looks like, for, contrary to our cheeriest imaginings, it doesn't appear as a seamless utopia where everything happens exactly as we wish it would. 'The top of your game', Leo, is not the same as being in charge of every judgment call made. If it were, you'd be a dictator, not a run-of-the-mill human. To be your best, you need only strive for mastery over what exemplifies the true kernel of you—your strengths and shortcomings, your desires and dislikes—and leave the rest to life's unanticipated successions. A wise individual perpetually reminds herself of the ever-present limits to her domain, and never toils too forcefully to unduly control that which falls outside the bounds. Or, in other terms: Be as clear as possible in defining your position, then let it hang out there to be adopted or rejected by the other players. Expressing yourself to the fullest extent brings you to the logical end of your sphere of influence. You make your stand. They take it or leave it. Everybody's personal dignity is honored and upheld, and you stay at the top of your game… alone, or with only the most appropriate companions.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The verb 'to channel' was primordially born to address the act of cutting or carving a gully or groove into a piece of physical matter, to create a pathway for some coursing liquid to pass through. It was then refigured to describe the manner in which an individual might guide his torrent of unfiltered energies toward a specific purpose, as if similarly creating a path for the structuring of one's actions. And now, in the age of TV-friendly 'channels' like John Edward and James van Praagh, the word has taken on connotations of interdimensional communication and spirit mediumship. Go by whichever definition most appeals to you, Virgo, but make this a week in which you serve as a channel… shaping yourself into a firm, aerodynamic conduit for carrying whatever vital urges or information flow through you. It's not up to you to qualify or corrupt the pure crude substance with judgments or objections, but merely to hold your earth-sign form while the raw materials gush forth. Don't fear the spontaneous expression of 'sloppiness' you wouldn't ordinarily take pride in producing. Spontaneity rules. Unnecessary logic or an exacting hunt for utilitarian applications, meanwhile, serves only to block the currents of transmission. If you and your nagging drive to do everything 'right' would just get out of your own way, things would happen a lot more smoothly. Cosmic genius is angling to emerge. Burp it into being.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): If it feels like someone's testing your loyalty, that person probably is. Behind the carefully phrased queries lurks a not-so-carefully veiled motivation—to determine how firmly cemented in place your alliances are, and how self-serving your underlying attitude betrays you to be. They're trying to figure out which direction your vote might swing in a pinch, despite whatever cordially obliging agreements you toss out the side of your mouth in making conversation. Perhaps they don't trust you (though you're the only one who knows for certain whether the doubt is warranted), or maybe they're just feeling momentarily insecure. Think it through with the comprehensiveness of a politician before going on record with a yea or nay. What you explicitly voice will stick to you like a freckle on sun-kissed skin, eternal witness to the exposure you invited by stepping out with your conviction. Make sure it matters for something, since it'll mark your platform for a while to come. If you want to be seen as someone who counts in one way or another, let them know, as clearly as you can, how you stand in relation to them.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): What you publicly acknowledge aloud as your prime motivating ideas will demonstrate whether you're an appropriate fit for this professional role of yours… or whether your ever-expanding sense of personal power has grown too big to be contained there. I'm not sure it much matters to your ultimate long-term satisfaction which it is, only that you're clever and courageous enough to take note of the signs. As I told you last week, you're bound to stick out like a sore thumb painted purple and pink—exactly what one would expect from the sign being presently extolled by big-hearted Jupiter. The question is, Are the current benefactors of your outer destiny proudly pleased by your distinguishing singularities, or merely willing to 'overlook' what might otherwise be denigrated as 'inherent drawbacks' to your personality? Contemplate your answer carefully. At this point in your development, you shouldn't be willing to settle for simply being tolerated, when so many others are downright eager to foster your sincerely sought-after success. But are you ready to lay it all on the line, with the awareness that, once you remove the mute from your methodically moderated mouthpiece, there's no more pretending to be docile or obedient?


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): The best method for evaluating the viability of a viewpoint—that is, for assessing how well it'll meet the experiential challenges of real life—is to bounce the most irrational or absurd emotional objections against it and see where they land. Livable value-systems must be made to withstand all that our unruly, uncooperative personalities can muster… or are doomed to bow under the stress of a good whine. What you're likely to find, then, is that hardly any extreme or unyielding attitude is built to survive without at least minor revisions or compromises. That's why you've got to be careful what you state as a belief is able to endure even when you're feeling like a moody little bitch, or else you're setting yourself up without the reasonable allowances any fallible human needs. Seek out meaningful conversations over philosophical fine-points, with those folks who you consider as having earned their wisdom the old-fashioned way. Tell 'em about the most nagging internal contradiction you're seeking to resolve, so your periodic emotion-blasts won't undermine the ethics you've set out to live by. Listen to what they learned through trial by fire. And in the end, come to appreciate what you might gain by tempering your provocative proclamations enough so they'll still apply under broader, less self-undermining conditions.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Let me give you a little pointer, Capricorn, on how not to handle potentially precarious negotiations. When the interpersonal temperature threatens to creep up its heat quotient, due to the delicate whiff of not-yet-voiced evidence of your divergent views, please do not resort to strategically trying to make your side stand out as the only reasonable one. The least convincing case you could make compares your 'rational and well-thought-out opinion' to the vast majority of 'calm and level-headed folks out there' (an abstract formulation of your crafty brain) you presume share your outlook… and contrasts it with the other party's perspective, which 'nobody of a sound mind' could possibly concur with. Even if your stance does align more neatly with the broader conventional wisdom in your social milieu, that still doesn't provide a relevant justification for why you should be thought of as right. The majority, especially a presumed one, doesn't always rule. All that pertains to your brokering a workable deal is what the involved individuals (i.e., you and the other player) agree upon. Meanwhile, those who rely too heavily on someone else's convictions (or the generic tastes of 'folks out there' or 'everyone') fall short in masking their unwillingness to hatch a persuasive argument of their own.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You'd better be darn sure what you're telling your partner, lover, colleague or best pal is the most accurate assessment of your current heart-space possible. As everybody knows, you cannot take back words once they've already left your lips and landed on the receptors in someone else's ears… and the ones you speak this week will hold an especially declarative, decisive punch. Therefore, despite the innate people-pleasing pressure to spin your message with an extra coating of wheel-greasing charisma, it behooves you to practice purity and precision in the ideas you convey. This recipe reserves no room for sweet nothings, stretched truths or censored storytellings. If you can't describe your feelings in complete exactitude, confess what you don't know. You won't be doing anyone any favors by saying what you think they want to hear… least of all you, who may be building yourself a Houdini-proof trap with each incomplete admission or unreliable pledge. Don't add that one more flourish or last-minute promise, hamming it up for audiences now but flirting with later regret. Your words will yield their undeniable ramifications, one day or the next. Be prepared for their significance to endure, if you voice them into being.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Are you one of those types who, every couple months or so, unleashes a super-ambitious scheme to lose 15 pounds in two weeks ('All I can eat is grapefruits and oatmeal!') or refurbish the wood floors in the whole house over a single weekend ('I saw this TV program that taught me how!')? If so, Pisces, I urge you to rethink your strategy of grandiosity, at least for this week, and bite off only the most modest morsels at a single time. The grand sweeping reinvention kicks will distract your faculties from one of the most practically productive moments you've recently seen… drowning all your problem-solving promise in too much all at once. A nibble or two of progress is all you need to demonstrate on a given day—a stable foundation upon which to build the next nibble or two the next day, but never so much that you expend a month of stamina in a single overenthusiastic flood and then must compensate by reverting to lethargy. Your goal should be a careful, measured release of mind-power and dexterity over time, not a one-occasion wad-blow, and eventually you'll have a new healthful habit to show for yourself. It starts with a commitment to repetition and regularity, something you can do today, again tomorrow and the day after that.