Horoscopes | Week of October 23-29, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Once you start pushing back against the interpersonal forces (that certain someone to whom you've recently deferred? maybe somebody new?), just make sure you're clear on why you're pushing. And believe me, Aries, with a super-stimulated 8th house driving this week's action, I'd be shocked if you weren't conducting some sort of push… whether it's an out-and-out shove of brute force, in full view of anyone who'd care to watch, or an underhanded jiggle-and-yank on the denser level of power exchange, where you could just as sneakily feign innocence and disown your direct involvement. I cannot endorse or indict any particular brand of maneuver, only warn that, if you come at 'em sincerely with the passion and intensity you've been bottling, it's unlikely to play out neatly or easily. That's because you've got some genuinely difficult emotions built up in you, and some genuinely complicated desires to resolve. And why, again, are you pushing? Hopefully it's because you're trying to get the momentum rolling toward a satisfying release and resolution… to translate the unsaid to said, the polite pretendings to crude reality, and the safe-and-sealed to risky-and-risqué. This orientation is more about process than final product, and is ultimately worth every thrusting effort. However, should you be concerned with saving face, enacting revenge, proving who's boss, or evening out the score… well, then, your greedy ego is running the show, with little productive catharsis to be gained. In other words, you're eager to produce a victory—and don't really care how. Go at it, if you must, but don't misjudge the official intelligence reports and plan on a quick entrance-and-exit strategy. They will resist.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Oooh, Taurus, even before the horoscope I wanted to write you was fully formed in my head, I thought, 'Damn, the Taureans are going to hate me for this one.' But here goes: On a positive note ('start by buttering 'em up,' I told myself), the sheer volume of 7th-house splendor has essentially engraved a personal invitation to you to please attend the blind date, the singles' night, the romantic table-for-two dinner, or whatever other event or occasion will have you cavorting and commingling, in a one-on-one situation, with another sparklingly chummy face. Whatever you do, you mustn't resist the 'couple-minded' perspective, no matter your current relationship status. For the time being, every activity or idea is better explored or carried out with someone else included. To think of yourself as a lone rock in a solitary wilderness where nobody will ever understand your unique life situation is, especially at this moment in time, terribly misguided. (And herein lies the part you're going to hate me for.) The only thing that'll hold you back from forming or fomenting increasingly significant interpersonal connections is an exaggerated sense of emotional drama within your own private landscape. That's not to say you aren't allowed to feel as you do (duh!), nor should you suppress or discount the realities behind these feelings. But please keep them in proper perspective. You cannot imagine what crazy ups and downs go on inside each of us, unbeknownst to the rest of the world… and thus you cannot assume to be in a better, worse, or somehow special emotional position. Of course, you are special. It's the fact you're moody or melancholy or have faced particular personal turmoil that isn't. (Don't hate me.) We've all been there, in our own ways. And we'd love to swap war stories, too—if you're game.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): To save yourself an unnecessary time commitment (and another excuse to spend all day phone-calling, emailing and text-messaging), feel free to cut and paste the following note to all your friends, explaining why your availability will now be significantly limited: 'Dear Mike, Mark, Jonny, Jenny, Susie, Sue, Lou, Lee and whoever's name I can't recall off the top of my head… Hey, how's it going? I wanted to let you know, you won't be hearing from me as much as usual, considering my astrologer has assigned me to a few weeks' worth of hard work. That's right, folks. I'm supposed to leave far less of myself at the whims of our tempting two-hour chat sessions or off-the-cuff lunches at our favorite food-court spot. Apparently, right now, the more energy I invest in all my earthly stations and tasks, to support my overall well-being instead of a moment's diversion, the even greater payoff I'll observe from my actions. Something to do with a planetary pileup in my 6th house, drawing my attentions toward less glamorous but more practically productive pursuits. Plus, I hear that Mercury is turning retrograde this week as well… which means every attempt I make to explain what I'm doing is liable to come out all screwy anyhow, ultimately leading all of us to waste more time in trying to figure out what we're saying to each other. That's why I'm just sending you this note, so you aren't taken aback when I seem to disappear for a spell. Don't worry, I'll be back… after I've finished up a hearty chunk of this work. Miss you. Love you. Bye.'


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Love is a many-splendored thing—it's also a rose, a drag, a drug, a battlefield, and some even say it's never having to say you're sorry. I don't much care which facet you gravitate toward, Cancer… as long as you spend your week celebrating what you love about life. This is not a time for tongue-in-cheek cynicism, to defend your jaded cred among the nihilist crowd. Who gives a damn if you ooze cheesy earnestness, as you make long notebook-paper lists, in pink felt-tip pen (with hearts dotting the 'i's, no less), of the people, places and things that spur your greatest affections? Romance is not alive, it's contagious… and you are hereby deemed the official carrier of this delicious disease. Go ahead and sneeze it all over everyone you meet. There are too many dark, dreary purveyors of pessimism in the world, trying to convince us to fear every item in our grocery store or hand luggage. The only surefire method for combating that darkness is to shine the light of love into its crevices, with reminders of all the reasons why life is, in fact, overflowing with love at each twist and bend. It's on you to accentuate the positives… and not just to enhance your own experience of bliss. Folks naturally flock to individuals who can help direct their eyes to all the love that's around. Instead of focusing on 'finding' love, just rejoice in the love that's already there. By the innate laws of attraction, love will draw more of itself—including flirtatious attention from those keen on sharing its many splendors with you.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Don't get down on yourself, if a surge of uncontrollable emotional residue swells up and pokes through its usual cover, threatening to spoil your otherwise undeviating ride. While you may be under the pressure to sustain a larger-than-life persona to suit your avid fan base, you're still just a person like the rest of us… and subject to the inevitable higher and lower tides of mood, no matter what else you've got planned. Contrary to the pragmatic concerns your ego's in a tizzy over, you cannot table the rise of uncomfortable feelings for a later moment you imagine will be more convenient. That's just not how it works. And in fact, the planetary timekeepers know better when it's the right occasion to deal (for the first time, or all over again on a new level) with what needs to be dealt with. That occasion is now, Leo, and don't say I didn't warn you. Instead of writhing in uppity exasperation that you have to confront this heap of unresolved reactions to past-and-present wounds and woes (a la 'I'm trying to focus on the future… moving ahead, not looking back…'), cut that short-sighted crap and wade neck-deep in the real goopy glop. Without proper reflection, your future will merely replicate your past—only with more dramatic storylines and wilder colors. If you can grab a couple weeks out of character, in quiet seclusion or heart-wrenching dialogue with a trusted friend, that'll help. If you can't, then keep it together the best you can… without erring on the other extreme and overdoing the happy act, in an attempt to fool everyone. Just fulfill your obligations responsibly, and retire to your room early.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): How avidly can you chase the entertaining particularities of meaninglessness, without driving yourself crazy? Well, Virgo, this challenge—which, in all honesty, is a challenge in not challenging yourself—is yours for the next week or two, as a cluster of planets in your 3rd house entices you to twiddle and trifle with amusing half-interests and silly semi-friendships. Over these past months, you've certainly earned a little time for the trivial tidbits that help life seem far less serious than you often assume it to be. Sometimes, you're too exacting for your own good. Let me be the one to encourage you to drink up your favorite guilty pleasure, whether it's a downright dumb TV program or a few hours of computer solitaire. Let me urge you to start reading more than one book at the same time, without any intention of finishing any of them, now or later. Let me goose you into making arrangements to hang out with acquaintances you hardly know, for an afternoon or evening of frivolous fabulosity that isn't necessarily building toward something more consequential. And while you're at it, take longer than usual to conduct your neighborhood rituals, with less attention paid to economy or efficiency. The last thing you need is a rationale to try harder or work more. Instead, your worthiest efforts should hardly be considered 'efforts' at all… merely experiments, without hypotheses binding them to expectation, in order to provide you glimpses of ordinary stuff you don't normally look at.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): There's little room in your current situation to fuel abstract concepts, sweet talking, or any inconceivably broad field of possibilities. It's time to get down to business… to deal only in concrete reality, rather than promises or potentials. Your best bet in all interactions is to pose those questions that, though they may deflate the fancies of your free-flying colleagues, will ensure nothing ventured is squandered: How much will it cost? How long can you plan on it taking? What will be the return on investment? Those associates who are accustomed to you charming their misgivings away should be excused for mistaking this alternate incarnation of yours for some typical earth-sign Taurean or Virgo—always concerned with the bottom line, at the expense of expansive vision or a little loosened-up risk-taking. Allow them their likely unfavorable reaction to your sudden stickler behavior. They'll thank you later for providing a conservative viewpoint that sought to shield all parties from unforeseen trouble. But frankly, what they think of your stringent methods of assessing value, protecting interests, and scouring the fine print for cryptic clauses and loopholes doesn't much matter. Does it make more sense to look out for your own fundamental security, or to soften your guard to make your peers feel better? (Need I answer that question for you, Libra?) In this case, you're far wiser to carefully test each step for crumbling floorboards or money-pit sinkholes than to dash toward the goalposts as if crossing hot coals barefooted. You want to make sure that, no matter what, you won't find yourself burned later.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): To put it shortly and sweetly: There's literally no stopping you, Scorpio, now that the Sun, Venus and Mars are joining Mercury and Jupiter in your sign. The balance is tipped so off-kilter in your direction, I'd hate to be the one on your bad side. Forget that guise of subtle strength that usually marks your motion through the world—for now, people will sense you coming a couple miles away, and are under no delusion that you'll passively go with their flow. Don't be surprised if, in certain instances, you're greeted with a sharper bluster from those you threaten. Their unconscious danger-detectors are being set off by your sheer power, whether you intend them harm or not, and they may simply be defending themselves with a fierce offense. Forgive them their fear. You're a formidable mo-fo to face off against, after all. Why not, then, use your heightened intensity to escort others through the fire… to help them face their fears by calling 'em out on them, in compassion rather than forewarning, to prove you've got a huge heart behind that poisonous stinger? With this Scorpio superconcentration, it's unlikely you'll lose any standoff. (The exception to this rule: Watch for battles against cops, authority figures, and higher-ups at work. You may be a hardy adversary, but they've got the law or the rules on their side.) The smartest among you will realize that you win bigger when everyone wins… and that the victories reached at others' expense, dishonorably or dirtily, continue to drip the blood of their victims indefinitely.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Last week's horoscope pretty much summed up what's in store for you, Sagittarius… and now let the Grand Bizarre Inexplicability begin. In other words, expect to hold very little control (even less than usual) over what's going on. The lesson here is how a truly spiritual approach—and by 'spiritual', I mean possessing a belief in symbolism or meaning that isn't materially provable but which guides a faith-based holistic attitude toward life—sometimes entails throwing your arms up in the air and giving into the larger forces, without fear or resentment. What you're seeing right now is not all that's there. Much fresh excitement is, as you're sitting and reading this, smoldering behind the curtain of intelligibility… preparing itself to enter your life a few weeks from now and make everything come together, beautifully and with plenty of substance to keep you chewing for the next span of time. All you can do is observe the signs as they pass in front of your eyes. With Mercury turning retrograde in the midst of all this 12th-house rigamarole, you might surprise yourself with the strange slips-of-the-tongue and phantom flashes of brilliance that show up, seemingly by accident or error. These small flub-ups are, at least for the time being, the only glimpses of spontaneous sense you're likely to get. Don't try to wriggle free of the fog. Soon enough, you may be wishing for such an excuse (or the time!) to drift into and out of daydreams.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Friendships make the world 'go round… not just because they bring great joy to our lives, but also due to how they help us widen our perspective on things. If you have friends you can truly trust (and gosh, I hope you do), you can count on their active-listening ears to drink up tales of your mixed feelings, inner dialogues and internal conflicts—and their loving mouths to respond with constructively critical alternatives to your spazzed-out, single-minded way of seeing situations. We needn't front to our friends that we already possess our final answer. Rather, we can drop our messy absences of resolution at their feet, and rely on them to provide a variety of feedback as fodder for continued consideration. No matter your current situation, Capricorn, whether frazzled or footloose, you'd greatly benefit from soliciting some well-worth-it processing time with a gaggle of your favorite comrades. The act of talking it out, as well as the additional bites of insight, will work wonders… the more times, with the greater number of friends, the better. If you're one of those folks strongly averse to asking for help (who, you? a Capricorn?), please don't think of the request as an admission of some deficiency or defect on your part. Most smart people take in a lot of opinions, suggestions and advice before making decisions or changing direction. You're just handling yourself wisely by checking in with your allies.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Step up to the podium. No need to be nervous. You've earned this opportunity to shine—otherwise, you wouldn't be here. There is no need to posture, powertrip, mindfuck or motormouth. Take your time, breathing in the authority you've worked so hard to achieve, exhaling the secret doubt that makes you wonder how you fooled all these people. Don't take it lightly, Aquarius. Not everybody makes it to where you are today… and even if you aren't completely pleased with the present destination, please credit yourself for the rugged journey you've taken to get this far. Lest you be in a moment ripe with surface-level disappointment or still-constant yearning, shift your mindset to see this, too, as a milestone of accomplishment. This, too, is an opportunity… an opening, as opposed to some end-of-the-line bumper. You aren't broken that easily, nor simply satisfied with reaching a plateau and leveling off. At the far bounds of this current reality, expand your vision out just a smidgeon further, as you would a yoga stretch, into the frontier between discomfort and pain. If you aren't uncomfortable, you aren't trying hard enough. This week is a blindingly vivid example of the strain from your narrative playing out publicly, in conspicuous motion, with obvious consequences to your reputation. But it's not about what any one person thinks of you… rather how, in the end, you will leave the world a changed place, as a result of this contribution.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I'm beginning this week's horoscope, Pisces, where the last one left off… namely: The very meaning of your life is up for grabs. If that statement bears little weight to you (other than, perhaps, a fruity blend of lofty-sounding emptiness and devil-may-care irrelevance), then you may as well consider yourself at a crossroads crisis of meaning. In other words, you don't know what you believe in and/or don't really give a rat's ass. Now, I'm not telling you to head to your local airport and join up with the latest cult of spacey flower-hander-outers, just to provide a structure for Belief (capital 'B') in your life. For all that it matters to me, you can believe—or not believe—in whatever the heck you want. But even such a lack of belief mustn't be your default answer, merely because you haven't thought much about it. Contrary to what the day-to-day taskmaster in you might argue, these considerations are as important as a trip to the gym or a scrubbing-down of the bathroom. If you believe in something, now's a perfect week to participate in some activity that draws you closer to that core of meaning—a church retreat, a silent meditation, a communion with nature. If you adamantly don't believe in any religion or spiritual framework, don't kid yourself into thinking that means you have no principles to guide your life meaningfully. What about doing unto others as you'd like done to you? Altruism? The moral differentiation between right and wrong? Pause, to consider the roots of these ideas in your life. And if you aren't sure what, if anything, you believe, then spend at least a couple hours exploring some alternatives (a faith some friend of yours holds true, a philosophical book you've been meaning to read, the local ashram or metaphysical shop)… anything that'll get your mind thinking outside its normal box.