Horoscopes | Week of September 25-October 1, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Many of the nearer-by planets are gathering in your polar-opposite sign, Libra… and consequently in your house of other people. Therefore, much of your week's action is, by extension, an exercise in attuning yourself to their initiative, their perspective, their manner of negotiation, and how they would like things to go. Even if you were to use every ounce of your strength to try hijacking the focus back onto you (and, just to be clear, I'm not recommending this as a guiding stratagem), you'd still find yourself mired in reactivity. And it would still be all about them—but instead of working with them, you'd be fighting against them. In order to keep this potentially combative 'vying for' game from dominating your upcoming days, Aries, just go into your interactions with the mellowest, least assertive attitude you can muster. Be ready to respond with an open heart and mind to the unknown factors, fancies and formulas that each partner or friend will deposit at your feet. Already expecting to listen, mull over, suggest, adjust and/or compromise, you cannot possibly be caught off-guard because your guard won't be up. (Obviously, this is a more fruitful approach than holding your breath, hunkering down, and fortifying your existing position exactly as it is… ready to snap as hastily as anybody else presents another idea heretofore unconsidered.) Be a confidante, a cheerleader, a sidekick or a steely support beam. Let them steer the ship, and gladly come along.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Freedom and excitement, especially as they relate to how you offer and accept love, are begging for you to come and claim them as your own. But there's a love from your past—a person you called 'love', a mode of showing your love or seeking it from others, a distinct image of what love should look like—that's been clutching your heart for dear life, refusing to let you move on. Or is it you who won't let go… maybe because you simply can't imagine it could be any other way than it already was (except for a few changed details), or perhaps without even knowing you're holding on at all? Please trust me, Taurus: There are other ways. Your current or future lover(s), in all his/her blessed uniqueness, needn't be reduced to an eerie rerun of your former flame. If you see a pattern, I'm afraid the common denominator is you. Your automatic behavior in those moments when you're stirred to put your heart on the line isn't the only action you might take. Flip it, and reverse it. If you tend to come on slow and subtle, try a faster and franker advance. If you're 'all out, all at once', tinker with moderating the flow, giving only teasing bits and pieces at a time. And if you usually do nothing, then please experiment with doing something. (Anything, really.) To truly stimulate your passions, whether in a relationship or in seeking creative fulfillment, it's got to feel risky. And 'risky' means rebelling against the expected, refusing to replicate patterns… and rejecting any fixed rules about who to love, how to love, or when and where the next appealing opportunity may show up.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): This is your safe space to admit, between you and me, what a crazy few weeks it's been. Eclipses, major outer-planet aspects… hell, even Pluto isn't immune from having a rug ripped right out from under him. Thankfully, your ruler Mercury is giving you a couple soft, sweet, supportive sextiles to help you reconnect the dots, now that everything's been shaken up to the point of disarray. Get back in touch with the key allies and acquaintances who've been absent, due to your combined schedules of super-busy business having sucked up much of the 'quality time'. Take all the chances you get to extend the conversation an extra couple minutes or hours… to compare stories of adventure or angst, to share opinions on each other's matters, and basically help set your own self straight on what's recently gone down. This process of interpersonal exchange supports you in clarifying which version of 'the truth' will serve you best, in explaining to yourself and others what distance was covered from there to here. In the act of speaking, you'll marvel at how that previously disorganized jumble of feelings and reactions restructures itself into a decent encapsulation. Until you put your mouth into action—to socialize not just for the fun of it, but as a backdrop for molding sense out of the recent chaos—an emotionally intelligent take on your current state of affairs will elude you. And the experiences themselves, if undiscussed or kept secret, may misrepresent their significance.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Keep a watch over the wandering mind, which probably can't help itself from reintroducing certain habits, diversions or obsessions (of little true relevance to your life, to be honest) to tempt you away from the job at hand, a sweaty afternoon at the gym, or a day of healthful cooking-and-eating. Suddenly, your old sticker collection or boxes of improperly categorized newspaper scraps and playbills are back out, dragged from the closet's back corner and strewn across your living room, begging for you to happily fritter away hours with trivial reminiscences. And then you're grabbing the phone to ring up your junior-year date to the homecoming dance, seeing if he remembers the after-party with the same vivid detail you do. A few more calls, to check up on former roommates and long-overlooked third-cousins, and, pow! the entire day's disappeared into thin air. Plus, you forgot to go to yoga class (or opted out) and haven't picked up any groceries for dinner (Domino's it is) and the house is a freakin' mess. The result? You've taken a perfectly harmless hobby or pleasurable pastime… and turned it into an anxiety-provoking activity, based solely on not having kept it relegated to its proper place. The danger isn't in a bit of off-the-cuff time-wasting, to blow off steam from a hard day's work or recapture a little light in an otherwise joyless afternoon. Problems only arise when the side-dish starts taking over the entire plate, leaving insufficient room for everything else that has to get accomplished.


LEO (July 23-August 22): I encourage you to reread last week's eclipse-inspired call to action, an outright endorsement of increased social circulation, because this current week is a fantastic time to dive right into it. The gracious interactions between Mercury and both Saturn and Pluto serve your communicative interests well, with an added emphasis on courtesy and charismatic kindness boosting your ability to genuinely 'click' with those you encounter. A measured approach to choosing your words carefully is smartest—not to squelch your fire-sign spontaneity, as much as to preemptively interject consideration for how the other person is likely to respond, before you put 'em on the spot. While it might sound to you, then, as if I'm advocating more of a 'safe' approach than a 'risky' one, that's not exactly the case. What you sacrifice by tempering your tone, you can make up for in boldness of content or generosity. Just because you spend the extra effort in massaging your words to best suit their ears (with honest responsiveness, as opposed to vacuum-packed presumption), that doesn't mean you have to compromise your message. In fact, you shouldn't. You should feel quite free to assert whatever belief you hold… so long as (ahem) you actually believe it, and so the folks you're chatting with feel free to agree or disagree, without peer pressure or retaliatory consequences.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): When are 'you' not you? Most commonly, this occurs when you're greeted by somebody wielding a potent mix of beliefs, emotions and past experiences that have absolutely nothing to do with you—who then proceeds to inaccurately translate your language, interpret your actions, and judge your relative decency, based solely upon these beliefs, emotions and experiences that have absolutely nothing to do with you. Before you interrupt with the obvious pronouncement that each one of us carries our personal load of psychological residue to every interpersonal encounter, with the ever-looming possibility we may mistake what's ours for a quality we think we're detecting in someone else… yes, I know all this. (Even your cherished astrologer himself has occasionally fallen victim to such projections.) This week, Virgo, you may be likelier than usual to suffer at the hands of others' delusional miscalculations of you—and particularly with regards to how you feel about them. You may seem uncannily familiar to folks you don't know you. Casual acquaintances could easily take liberties they haven't legitimately earned. Friends might erroneously perceive there's 'something more' between you. Even people with strikingly dissimilar ideologies than you are prone to assuming you share certain ingrained assumptions that, well, you instead find rather repellent. Handle all these sticky interactions with care, while calmly and repeatedly correcting their misshapen perceptions of you. Because you don't know who the 'you' is that they're relating to, you can't predict how they might treat you (or 'you'). Thus, it makes sense to protect yourself a bit.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): If traces of formless unease hang over you during the first part of the week, please refuse to pander to them. Midway through the week, your ruling goddess Venus comes home to roost in your sign… and, rather briskly, she alleviates the nagging 'not-right'-ness and reminds you why it's so great to be Libran. The elegant appearance. The charming demeanor. The refined appreciation of all that's beautiful in the world. And, of course, the unrivalled proficiency in going after what you want… in such a perfectly polite and smilingly sideways fashion, nobody even notices. For the next few weeks, you'll actually have both Venus and Mars in your 1st house, putting you firmly at the center of everything that's happening in your life (whether conspicuously or less obviously). 'Second fiddle' is a part for someone else to play. You hold the personal planets' blessings to set the tone for all interactions, to gently direct the flow of exchange toward your preferred goal, and to use your magic in making such subtle suggestions that the other person imagines he thought 'em up himself. (And why should you care who takes the credit, as long as the whole thing goes your way?) If you take on none of these duties, alas, you're still setting the tone—only it's one of inertia, submissiveness, boredom and/or fear. Do something more with this once-in-a-while astro-invitation to take control. With all you've got on your side right now, you won't even come off pushy.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Rely on every bit of your nimble shrewdness to maintain equilibrium throughout your week. And I'm not talking purely about regulating your internal temperature, so your emotional temper remains relatively level regardless of what transpires around you. I also intend this advice to extend to your external circumstances, too, such that you use your crafty wiles to keep things relatively the same, particularly regarding career and/or money issues. Don't be fooled, though, into believing that 'keeping things the same' won't require constant movement and effort on your part—a dart to the left or right at just the appropriate time, an unwavering awareness of where all the other players stand, perhaps a little ego-stroking for those you'll want to keep happy. And just because your horoscope for this week essentially recommends restraint against too much abrupt change, that doesn't go true indefinitely. Haven't you already witnessed enough hi-powered flux, in your life or among those you know best, over the past few weeks? More is on the way, for sure. But for this brief moment, you've got far too many planets in your 12th house (meaning, essentially, that they've 'disappeared' or escaped your most conscious grasp on them) to bank a reliable future on what you do this week. By next week, Mercury will have traipsed out from behind the veil and into your 1st, bestowing a firmer grip on your mental and communicative capacities. Wait until then before making grand declarations or final decisions. For now, no sudden moves.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): You know what they say: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or, in the case of this week's astro-scene, I'd addend the old saying with another line: And even if you can beat 'em, join 'em anyway. Every bit of planetary boost seems to indicate that you'd do best to stick with the group, rather than wandering off on your own… even if you have audacious aspirations far beyond where this aforementioned group is headed. Think of these upcoming few weeks as only one leg of a longer journey, to keep from losing your patience with those co-passengers who lack this farther-sighted vision. As such, you're climbing aboard a more modest, community-minded vehicle for this segment of travel… a sort of 'commuter plane' that'll shuttle you on the short trip to the transfer station, where you'll later bid some or all of your current companions adieu before switching over to the 'jumbo jet' you'll ride to The Next Big Adventure. Remember, therefore: This is not your last hurrah before reaching some final destination, merely a pitstop. So what if the attendants are only serving soft drinks and a paltry half-portion of stale pretzels? You've got a delectable five-course meal (or an equivalent), awaiting your arrival a few more miles down the skyway. Though you won't make it the full distance this week or next, at least decide to enjoy yourself en route. A relaxing read, a bit of social mingling, a nap or a general appreciation of all you've already earned will each help pass the in-between time.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): There's really nowhere to hide. The astro-effects of the past few weeks have now accumulated in such a manner that more eyes are fixed on you than in recent months. Every step you take, it seems, has an immediate impact on your public position—for better or worse, depending on how judiciously you stepped, knowing they're watching you for clues that you deserve more or less of their regard. I have little doubt, Capricorn, that, should you choose to make the special effort to pander to your curious audience and charm their reservations away, you have everything you need to pull off a pleasing routine. What I'm slightly more worried about is your inner grumbling grinch, who has scant tolerance for the perfunctory games of heightened interpersonal interest and enthusiasm that are required for massaging your image. You're likely to notice a breeze of ornery obstinacy gently blowing at you from the inside, as you gather your strength to outwardly exaggerate how much you care about these people and what they're telling you. As we both know, you're not one for feigning superficial niceties. That's why you shouldn't overdo the performance by forcing unbelievable statements or contrived smiles. Be your controlled, unassuming self. If you exude the slight chill of professionalism, so be it. You can stick to the business as usual, without kowtowing to the so-called VIPs (or not-so-VIPs), as long as you stay cordial and unambiguous. The minute you let the slightest resentment slip into your speaking (as if you might sneak an oh-so-subtle jab into the undercurrents, assuming they won't notice), you're toying with trouble.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It's important to look up from the computer screen (or whatever other sharp-focused apparatus of specificity-centering currently has your attention) periodically… to prevent your eyes from tiring of the same specialized sights, and to continually reattune yourself to the much larger picture. You face a very real temptation to fixate on minute details, particularly those housed within a rather insular bubble of intimacy you share with only one other individual—and to consequently forget about the rest of the world, which still begs for your involvement in everything else that's going on. While the issues between the two of you are undeniably complex and powerfully compelling, they needn't be as all-encompassing as your unmitigated emotional urges may try to convince you they are. In fact, some of what's calling for your attention is old business… habitual patterns or already-dealt-with feelings that are springing up again, as a roundabout method of grounding you into something familiar, while all sorts of newness erupts in other areas of your life. Don't ignore what comes up. Honor it for the role it's played, and continues to play, in keeping you connected within your most intense relationship(s). Just refuse to allow it to take over your whole week with reenactments and reprisals. There are bigger reasons why this specific matter is coming up at this exact time, coinciding with some other seemingly separate development in another sector. In the larger picture, it's all related. Can you see?


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I'm well aware, as I'm sure you are, of my constantly bombarding you with variably phrased appeals to shake things up in your current relationship (or mode of relating to relationships). At the same time, though, such drastic transitions usually don't unfurl themselves in a neat line, as if the path from A to B isn't paved with eighty detours and pitstops and attempts to reverse direction. This week could be one of those temporary digressions, as the very seductive rationale behind how you ended up here to begin with sucks you back in. Will the ex-lover make an irresistible move to get you back… at least for a night, if not for eternity? Will that one non-negotiable sticking point, which you've been holding firm on for weeks now, finally succumb to a moment's weakness? Will you suddenly remember all the best parts of your situation—and conveniently forget everything that sucks—and yearn for 'the good old days'? If your answer to any of these questions (or ones suspiciously similar) prove to be 'yes'… well, by all means, forgive yourself the human frailty of mixed emotions. Don't feel guilty about having one foot each on either side of the line. You won't help yourself by pretending you don't feel as you do. But you also won't support a healthy, dynamic future by proposing unrealistic commitments or concluding that a few days of paradisiacal reprieve means that the problems have magically disappeared (ha!). While you might as well enjoy what fleeting positives you glean from your week, please keep it all in properly moderate perspective.