Horoscopes | Week of August 21-27, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You've been here before—maybe not literally (unless we include those quantum curlicues of the time-space fabric), but in familiar enough a place that you should rather readily spy the parallels. This week's astrology revisits all the familiar themes of the past several months: (1) the struggle for purest selfhood, (2) the too-quick-to-snowball influence of certain intertangled intimates in swaying you away from it, and (3) the overall unreliability of others in leading you to appropriate avenues for expressing it. The main difference will come down to how firmly you set forth your stance, stabilize your pride in knowing what's right for you (and what isn't), and put the question of whether so-and-so likes you for who you really are on the line. As you speak, your words will bear a power even more direct or fiercer-sounding than your usual no-bones mode, they could provoke an actual physical reaction (a cough, a stumble, a jump-back) from your listener. (If you'd prefer not to come off near-scary, then you might want to consciously tone it down.) Folks might not like what they hear, especially the children in your life, who don't always take kindly to the strict limits of respect that often accompany responsible parenting. But you're setting the guidelines for how they must behave, in order to meet you in the middle of mutual free-flowing love… and this is important work.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): This has all been (and continues to be) a test, Taurus… to see how well you know yourself, and whether you can hang tough when it comes to caring best for yourself, even if it might be easier to just do what everybody else wants you to do. These previous months have included a lot of private soul-searching—maybe the folks in your life are aware of what you've been up to, and maybe they're not. It's okay, though, since you're not beholden to anyone to mitigate your cool blues, raging reds or wild violets, to satisfy them with how you explain your behavior. Your inside colors are yours… to loll around in, highlight, preserve for posterity's sake, or paint over with a neutral taupe. It's simply been an intensely personal period for you, where it's often made more sense to withhold excessive outward commentary and keep rather self-enclosed. These moments come and go. Your most supportive relationships have continued to provide you all the space you need, without the other person taking your intermittent disappearing acts too personally. (If they haven't gotten the picture by now, you must be getting a bit flummoxed. Rightfully so.) At this juncture, don't neglect to honor that hushed pleasure from having looked out for your tender innards first, at the cost of more effortless interpersonal flow. If you haven't done so, though, you've got to be hankering to be left alone.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The most dangerous avenue down which you could stroll this week, Gemini, involves drawing improper generalizations. Frighteningly, it's way too easy to glom onto a fragment of someone's cogent argument, one particularly striking detail of the story, or the last five minutes of a heated conversation… and conclude you've taken in all you need to hear. Not a problem in itself, if you're consciously puddle-jumping around these islands of information, tourist-like, snapping shots of the high points to slip into your scrapbook. But, indeed, a big problem, if you believe you've learned enough to respond (publicly or behind backs), agree or disagree, offer suggestions or criticisms, and otherwise err on the grounds of assuming you know more than you do. And even more menacing in light of last week's 'words are superpowerful' influence still in effect. Whatever you do, don't stretch that one fragment, detail or five-minute snippet into a longer, more elaborate (and exaggerated) feature in the retelling. Better yet, don't retell at all… or else painstakingly echo it word for word, and offer it up from the middle-man perspective of 'this is what I heard, but it might be incomplete'. This is another excuse to practice total precision with every if, and, and but. None of us want our ideas to be sloppily re-presented.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You are potent. You operate a gravitational force of your own making, hauling in what you silently ask for, on imperceptible ropes of the sturdiest fiber. In deploying this primo vibrational tool, you must cope with the baffling truth that much of the rest of the world—the loudmouths, the know-it-alls, the multi-million-dollar show-offs—plays by different rules. If you engage with them in debating the manner in which your instincts recommend you to court success (e.g., calmly, in a sideways serenade, assuming the best), they'll probably try debunking your entire enterprise. According to them, you're missing the boat. You're na´ve. You've resisted coming to grips with reality. Please don't allow even the faintest traces of this dismissive toxicity to enter your energy field. (That's what the Cancer's crab shell is for, silly… to block out the shit from other people's issues.) The only 'grip' you need is both hands around your own flag. See, you already know what you need to do. You're probably already doing it, too. You just need to put in the time… without the horribly misleading viewpoints of less sensitive folks unsettling your self-confidence with their potentially persuasive jargon. Keep it up, and tune 'em out. Dig your feet in deep, and refuse to budge.


LEO (July 23-August 22): The double-edged sword of Saturn's prominent prolonged placement in your sign (Jul 05 thru Sep 07) is that you can't seem to escape the attention… which is something Leos are supposedly insatiably thirsty for, but which can also start to get a little old when it isn't always flattering attention. Is it a gift, or is it a prison? That's up to you to decide—based, most likely, on how you're feeling that day or what underwear you've got on, now that the paparazzi have caught you with your pants down again. This is another of those recently-more-frequent weeks in which you're thrust into the figurative headlines, and it's on you to handle it humbly and honorably. How? (1) Be friendly and unashamed, no matter the hot-seat you're put in. If indeed you made some mistake, that's no reason to publicly belittle yourself. Even the most gruesome of alleged criminals can manage politeness for the sake of courtroom decorum. (2) Tell the whole truth, even if it threatens to momentarily embarrass you. They'll forget the blush as quickly as you do. (3) Don't apologize unless you're really sorry for something. It'll come back to bite you in the ass, in the form of someone's misperception of what you're accepting responsibility for. (4) Assume this too shall pass, without any enduring negative consequences for you… but with the requisite justice being served. If anyone can turn a tight spot into a winning PR opportunity, my vote's on you.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Being a Virgo just hasn't been the same lately, eh? It's as if the planetary gods and goddesses have broken their contract with you… you know, the one that guarantees you'll be the sign with the sharpest, shrewdest, most seamlessly specific way of seeing the world's nittiest, grittiest fine points. You're wholeheartedly justified in wondering where your mental mojo wandered off to… which isn't to imply you're suddenly dumb (not likely), as much as sort of 'off your game'. In place of your usual lock on the most correct details, you've met a wider expanse of possibilities and potentialities that all possess some respective value. Instead of your innate ability to neatly prioritize one set of problems-to-be-solved over another, you've faced an undifferentiated mass of projects and prospects that weave inconsistently in and out of your focus, with little organized reason. And your typically-happy-to-oblige pool of self-discipline is more confused than ever as to where it should devote itself. Notice, none of these indications I've mentioned are bad for you—merely offputting in their uncooperative defiance of everything you've come to expect from yourself, in the form of predictable strengths and weaknesses. You may be encouraged to hear that this week will shift you back toward proper alignment, with your ruler Mercury heading home to your sign and a New Moon in Virgo as an inspiration for returning to basics. But once you sense your well-tuned rationality is beginning to reappear, I wouldn't be surprised if you also start to miss the 'alternative' way in which your thoughts have recently functioned. Is there, perhaps, a lesson to draw from that?


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): How do you know who your real friends are? This is a week in you can literally live out an answer to that question… if you sincerely want the information it'll provide. The surest method to determine who'll be there for you is by making some form of a request, to see whether you will actually get what you've asked for from the person you asked for it. I know this sounds suspiciously like you're testing your friends, a rather ironic slant on last week's scope, which proposed that someone might be testing you. This eerie correspondence is no accident. The buildup of energies in your 11th house—including Saturn, which conjoins your ruler Venus this week—implies a tightening-up process in terms of who you're associating with. Whether it's you doing the assessing or being assessed, the end result is the same: being absolutely sure that you're linked tightly to the right folks, and free from the influence of those who (blatantly or more subtly) are holding you back. Trust the wrong person, and you may lose credibility among other people who'll link you with that wrongness into perpetuity. Cement the bonds that best fit your higher goals, however, and you're set for life with enduring friendships.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Your astrological profile for the week smacks of the same taste as another week about two months ago, a time rich with symbolic signs indicating how you're handling this phase of your career development. Grab your appointment book, and flip back to the days surrounding Jun 18 to review what you were doing back then. Did those former events cause you to amend your approach, or did they confirm you were on the right track to lasting triumph? And when we review last week's horoscope, we can't help but notice similar ideas showing up again: Are you a good fit for your current role, or have you somehow outgrown it? With Venus on top of Saturn in your solar chart's power position, you're bound to reap something this week—a bump-up in pay, a better office, a prestigious project, or the kind regard of a superior. Or instead you might reap a reprimand, a warning, a piece of constructive criticism, or your walking papers. Your toughest challenge, should you glean the lesser-desirable latter returns, is to interpret any stinging course correction as an indirect show of good fortune. I've told you before: You are more than just what you achieve out there in the world. Maybe, just maybe, a door slammed on your face in one arena is all the motivation you need to try a different knob… which just might open up onto the kingdom of your dreams. Of course, if you like how things go this week, it's the best inspiration to keep industriously chugging away.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Information only turns to 'overload' status when the presence of too many founts of excessive trivia fill your eyes and ears past your ability to summarize their main gist in 25 words or less. More than that is fine, as long as you've filed the crap under the appropriate heading ('Distractions') and let it move through you as quickly and easily as it came in. At any moment, though, you must be completely prepared to cut through it all… to, unequivocally and without a doubt, step forward with a short list of the most important concerns in your life. We're talking the big stuff here—matters of life and death, right and wrong, meaningful and utterly worthless. Your highest priorities should be ready to fall off the tip of your tongue at the slightest request to explain your purpose. But (and this is a big 'but') the stringency you practice in defining what matters most mustn't come off as closed-mindedness, for you'll still want to remain accessible to others on their terms, according to their interests, and without sounding pretentious or disdainful. Know where the end of the line lies for you, but don't impose it on anyone else (or risk emanating zealotry). For you, simplicity is strength. For others, it may be a trap.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Are these elaborately intertwined psychological strings—you know, those various complicated circumstances that keep you suspended in their turbulent tailspin—worth every bit of the psychic energy currently being demanded of you? Scan your memory banks for compelling explanations, straight from your personal history, of why you bother at all. Are you quick to understand (and defend) how you let yourself get here, or are you completely clueless as to how it happened? Some hassles are necessary… for working out kinks and dumping dead weight, to ultimately lead to the most unflinchingly honest sort of interpersonal involvement possible. Others impose themselves on us through the backdoor, unbeknownst to our better judgment, and stick around out of habit (or maybe even masochistic pleasure). Do yourself a favor, and differentiate between these types of drama, and be able to identify which of these (if not both) is currently calling on you. This is quite important at this juncture because Venus and Saturn are asking you to see the pandemonium through to its logical end… which, of course, fully depends on whether these complications are to your ultimate healing advantage or are mere time-killing toxins. If the end justifies the means, in terms of the deep heartfelt value of the close relationship you're wrangling to work through, then put your whole soul into it. Don't whine about the emotional tenor; dive to the bottom. But if you can't figure out why you're expending effort on the circular quarrels or semi-conscious cat-and-mouse games, then perhaps you should cut 'em completely off.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): 'Barry, if you dare to go on for one more minute about my friggin' relationship life, I'm seriously going to spew burrito chunks. I've heard quite enough on the subject of my limitations in that area… that I've somehow proven self-centered (or at least 'too wrapped up in my own work to care') and forgotten my duty to compromise and concede and play well with others. Look, you can tell Saturn, stuck in my solar 7th, I've gotten the message, okay? I'm not going to sit here and try arguing with you about it, since I know I'm not the easiest person to hatch an equitable one-on-one partnership with. (Please don't tell my unsuspecting enthusiasts who, from a distance, have no clue that I sometimes chill to the point of glacial when confronted with someone else's emotional needs.) There's no getting around it—right now, my relationship (or lack thereof) weighs heavy on my otherwise free-flowin' lifestyle. But, being Aquarian and all, I'm smart enough to see past this illusion (i.e., 'if only I didn't have to deal with [insert lover's name or "being single" here], then everything would be perfect'), to recognize these difficulties are necessary to my continuing to develop maturely. I can tell you, with all seriousness, I regret none of it… the lumps of inconvenience, the humps of resistance, the bumps that force me to slow down. And with that said, Barry, I'm ready to make a fuller commitment to…' How will you finish this sentence, Aquarius? By recommitting to your long-term partner? By finally committing to your new love? Or with a total commitment to your truth, which might create even more troubles with a certain someone, at least over the next several days?


PISCES (February 19-March 20): This week's Pisces horoscope is sponsored by the word 'conviction'… and though you're free to run with whichever definition of that term suits you best, hopefully it isn't the one that implies a long sentence behind bars and a pockmark on your permanent record. The preferred 'conviction' is that belief so deep-rooted into your psyche, you'd fight for its maintenance with every last breath. You do have such convictions, right? If not, then there's your excuse for why you've meandered from here to there, sometimes without understanding where you've gone or why you even exerted the wherewithal to leave bed this morning. Newsflash: You won't want to get any work done, if you don't know what it means to you or why you believe you should. Your inner subordinate demands a purpose to underscore the duties he's called upon to fulfill, or else he'll rebel. For good reason, too. Who expects to get much accomplished, if nothing much matters? That's why, in order to rouse your engines into firing at their highest capacity—and so you'll actually gain some fulfillment from the work that's piling up—explain to yourself (again or for the first time) what's behind your need to be of service in this capacity. And if you don't find conviction lurking back there somewhere, you'd better start looking for some… and pronto.