Horoscopes | Week of August 13-19, 2007

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Ask any artist, and she'll tell you… you've got to know when to walk away and leave your masterpiece as is, or else you'll ruin the whole thing by continuing to mess with it. A 'work-in-progress' can stay that way as long as you continue tinkering with it, hoping that just one more additional flourish or a partial-turned-total redesign will at last eliminate the glaring flaws and leave you with something that'll ensure your place in the annals of magnificence. But, Aries, there is such a thing as 'too much'… and if you cannot respect its looming menace to your entire proposition, you'll end up dashing your own desires by going overboard with the very behaviors that, in moderation, can secure you what you want. Think carefully about that idea before you opt to utter one more persuasive word, to ring up the person who told you not to call again for another month or two, or to knock on the door that, just yesterday, was distinctly shut in your face. While I am a firm believer in the power of one's will to get us far in becoming who we want to be, I also must acknowledge that fate sometimes has other plans for us: We may still get where we're heading, sooner or later, but the path could be far more circuitous than we could possibly map—and the gatekeepers may be people other than who we think they are. As far as the current situation goes, in love or any other venture where you're putting yourself on the line to be accepted or rejected on the terms you've defined, you've already made your case. For now, there's nothing to do but live with the results. If you got what you wanted, please appreciate how hard-earned this victory was… without rewriting history in a way that'll mislead the future you into underestimating the work required to replicate it. And if you didn't get what you want, let the current situation rest. Redirect your energies elsewhere for the time being. You just might get another chance once all is said and done—but it's not smart to count on that when planning your next move.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If we look at a particular characteristic typically associated with Taureans, we could say that loyalty and stubbornness are two sides of the same coin, based upon whether we want to think of it as a good or bad trait. And when we apply that trait to your stance toward immediate family members, we could see how it might alternatively lead you to (1) cherish and love them deeply for your entire life, no matter what faults they have or transgressions they've suffered over the years or (2) grip tightly onto whatever grudges you may've developed against them, due to real or exaggerated wrongs they've committed recently or so very long ago. In other words, this same basic quality can inspire you toward a forgiving loyalty or an unforgiving resentment—and it's ultimately your choice which way it goes. Of course, in the first case, what you're holding onto is love… and in the second case, it's hurt. Can you imagine the consequences for your own well-being of clinging to one or the other? With the Sun, Mercury, Saturn and your retrograde ruler Venus all messin' together in your 4th house of familial roots, this is an ideal period of time for burying any related hatchets, if you've been at odds with a family member. Why let the tension drag on any longer, especially in light of its drag on your own soul? You're not excusing those behaviors you disapproved of in them, simply by letting bygones go to some final resting place. Even if you'll probably never agree with them about the little details of what happened, you can still find it in your heart to make peace—not to exonerate them, but to lighten your own burden. Life is way too short to expend your limited psychic energy on old residual crap… particularly since we know that, with a Taurean stubbornness that's also the flip side of loyalty, there's still plenty of love left there.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Everyone knows you've got a lot to say, right? You are a veritable wealth of ideas and avenues for expressing 'em, Gemini… but if you are continually running at the mouth, expelling bits of brilliance at every turn yet intermingling them with fragments of useless nonsense in a totally indiscriminate fashion, you may not be giving your thoughts a fair chance to be appreciated. Reflect on how you could hold back some in your manner of presentation, creating a chance for you to refine your words and craft them into statements that feel more special and valuable to those who pay attention. Forgive my crudeness, but the metaphor that pops into my head is the difference between being seductively-alluring or cheap-and-slutty when it comes to airing one's sexual energy—the former approach creates a mysterious appeal that draws in potential courters who are curious to find out more, while the latter gives it all away on the spot, as if what's being offered is commonly available and thus not worth much. If we then refashion this metaphor to apply to your manner of conversing and connecting, you can see how an excess of things to say and people you're saying 'em to can actually make you seem less important to those around you. And while they may adore you, they don't necessarily want to hear every last thing that's on your mind every time they see you. If you're interested in devising something special and valuable from your clever mind and your gift of gab, think of different ways to express yourself. Jot your thoughts in a journal, or perform them onstage at a local open-mic night at the corner coffeehouse. Start working on a script, a novel, some poems, or long-and-detailed letters that you may or may not choose to send to the addressees. Give the abridged (rather than uncensored) version of the story, and wait for them to ask questions. Leave 'em wanting a bit more, instead of being promiscuous with your intellect. Put your mind to good, strategic use.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Stop looking all around for clues to what you're supposed to be doing. Whatever Tom, Dick, Harry and Heloise are up to have scarce little to do with you… and continual comparisons will provide you nothing but a constant source of anxiety. You cannot and will not 'measure up' because satisfaction in life is not a unit of measurement with easy, clear conversion formulas. The ball is squarely in your court to decide your next course of action… not because it's some logical next step in some pre-printed plan of success available at newsstands from coast to coast. It's about listening to what you most need, in order to create the most stable sense of personal security you can—a certain amount of money, a listing of resume-worthy skills you can include in your repertoire, a desire to live in a particular geographic locale or to work a specific time-of-day shift. And because these must-haves vary so greatly from one person to the next, nobody can make these important judgment calls for you. They can only help you talk it out (if you ask 'em), so you can gain greater perspective on what's going on inside you. But watch out if, in the course of such a conversation, your supposed support system launches into discouraging comments that run contrary to what your gut is telling you. Don't listen to such naysaying, especially if the general intent is to question your abilities to pull off what you say want to do. Only you know what you're truly capable of achieving. After all, it's quite likely that even your best friends haven't seen you do your damned best in every moment. But also, only you know whether you're willing to do the necessary work. And if you aren't, be honest… and choose a humbler goal, at least for now.


LEO (July 23-August 22): For whatever reason, I've recently gotten a lot of clients in my astrological practice who are Leos (or Leo-risings), and I usually start off the session by demythologizing the bad reputation you folks are often saddled with. Perhaps it's because I'm such a Leo cheerleader, but I'm rather sensitive when delivering the news about what many non-Leo-fans say about you—which is that 'Leos always make it all about themselves… me, me, me, me, me!' I wouldn't be completely off-base by revealing that, quite often, this is a cover for other people's envy of your natural ability to put yourself into the spotlight… not because you're trying to hog it from anyone else, but because you're actually being generous with your spirit and (if all goes well) helping others get in touch with their inner stars, too. However, at this particular juncture in time, if you're not careful, you'll give your detractors a good reason for thinking those bad thoughts about you. So if you're truly serious about drawing those you care about out from their bashful shells, in order for them to enjoy some of the same benefits you receive by being bold enough to ask for the attention you want… well, Leo, this is a great week to do it. Prove those negative perceptions wrong by taking a thoughtful, animated interest in what special things others are doing in their lives. Ask enthusiastic questions that follow up on the last conversation you had with them, to demonstrate that you've been listening and paying attention to what's going on with them. (Trust me, they'll appreciate it more than you can imagine.) Assist them to shine the way you effortlessly do. Grab their hands, and pull them up on center stage with you. And if you give from your huge heart the way I know you Leos are capable… not only will you make a big impact on someone else's life, you will garner or cement another loving fan who will happily sing your praises without being asked, and who will celebrate you for the generous creature you are, not the egocentric scene-stealer that you're unfairly characterized as.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): There's not much one can do with such an excess of 12th-house racket as you're currently hosting, Virgo… if, by 'do', we're talking about real-world actions to be taken, with the expectation of achieving immediate measurable results corresponding to what's been done. As I already laid out last week, you are indeed within a mere few weeks of regaining the functional means to effect actual material strides in your life, thanks to Saturn's arrival to your sign for a two-year sojourn. But you are not there yet. And for this week, at least, you'd be better served by retreating somewhat from the game-board of expected moves… and into a fleeting shelter from such expectation, for a few breaths of the spellbinding seclusion that's a necessary part of the creative process. Inside a hermetically sealed chamber of your own making, you won't be unduly driven toward reacting to what others are already doing wrong, what they think you should be doing, and how they'll never be able to see things from your perspective, so blinded are they by their own limitations. As such, you'll want to create your own fantasyland… for the sole intention of resetting, then reviving, your visionary abilities. Once there, you'll close your eyes and be clearly able to picture all your grandest plans for improving your place in life. Of course, once you open 'em back up, you'll be reminded how frustrating it is that there's still some distance between there and here. However, you really are that close to taking the crucial steps. Until then, a nice daydreaming session will help tide you over… and generate even more excitement about your not-so-far-off future.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Boredom is hardly a compelling option… especially if it's the one you've ended up with by default because you're afraid to pursue other activities that might interest you, due to fears that either you won't be able to perform or that folks will judge for trying something so wildly out of your predictable context. If you're running out of things that get you excited, Libra, then you're simply not taking full enough advantage of the outside influences. You know plenty of people who actively partake in all sorts of arts and crafts, hobbies, sports, community groups and social organizations that help make the world a better place. And while you may reserve private judgment on any or all of these participations, for whatever arbitrary reasons you may have developed over the years, you're only keeping yourself from some new source of potential joy in your life. Surely, from all the possibilities available to you, you can find somebody in your life to tag along with to this week's meeting, mixer, game or volunteer opportunity. You just might find yourself a new social niche, with interesting characters to meet and mingle with… expanding your community beyond its current confines, to include a fresh affiliation that's liable to open a surprising door or two. In the meantime, if what's keeping you from branching out is pressure from an existing friend or too all-consuming an obligation to some activity that no longer has you quite so jazzed… well, then, perhaps that's where some dividing line needs to be drawn, to free you up for other things.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): On one level, this week's horoscope continues the trajectory of career considerations begun in last week's offering… since, after all, the planetary energy is still squarely focused on your solar 10th house, where one gleans the public position, recognition and reputation earned from one's outer-world efforts. But on a deeper level, Scorpio, I urge you to look beyond the specifics of your current role, company, occupation and place-in-the-world… to contemplate whether you are in fact achieving all that both you've dreamed of and you're capable of. Are you making the 'right' name for yourself? Is this what you hope to be known for, once you reach retirement (from work or from this life)? Have you given to humankind that which is a full expression of your skills, passions and love? This is a rather ideal 'checking-in point' moment for asking such questions. The reason? Because new commitments made this week—big changes put into immediate effect, trains of thought encouraged to develop, directions to head for attaining what really matters to you—will show real results within two or three months' time. On the other hand, if you refuse to do what needs doing or turn a blind-eye to any burgeoning dissatisfaction, you'll feel even more unfulfilled and even further from your dream life once your birthday rolls around. You have Saturn to thank for this; as 'lord of karma', he merely brings the logical result of whatever's set into motion. So what's it goin' to be?


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): With oodles of 9th-house activity getting souped up by a Pluto trine, this is a ripe moment for making any big announcements or spreading the good word about whatever big ideas have gotten you all hyped up. But just as I pointed out last week, you have to be careful not to let an overbearing tone blare from your face, only to hit 'em like a ton of bricks… because nobody like to get hit with a ton of bricks, don't cha know. (In fact, they'll probably pick a few bricks up and throw 'em back at you!) If you really think you've got some useful knowledge to share with folks, you're going to have to make a few compromises in your approach—that's Saturn speaking up for self-restraint—so you can reach more sympathetic ears. Your excitement must sound heart-felt, with real examples of what you've learned from actually living it out… as opposed to spouting didactic dogma that sounds good on a partisan news-channel's shout-fest, but won't touch anybody anywhere deep or non-politicized. Speak person to person, and you'll make a rather convincing case. People will truly listen. But if all you're able to do is cite ideological studies or revert to simplistic 'good vs. evil' moralizing, they'll probably just pretend to pay attention… all the while whispering 'hypocrite' at you under their breath. Often, the most powerful teachers eschew the podium for a seat alongside their students, never demanding undue deference or insisting they are right. Rather, they show up as a peer, exchanging their wisdom with a calm assurance that they will be taking in as much as they put out in the interactions… and garnering respect the most admirable way possible, by giving it freely without asking for it first.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): No easy ways out. No turning blind eyes to complicated circumstances, whether with lovers, family members, business partners or your therapist. No pretending that your dark side doesn't exist, since no amount of wishing-and-praying will make you into someone other than who you are… no matter if the raw material comprising your insides makes you nervous, ashamed, pissed off or otherwise charged up. No expecting the solution to be already figured out, neatly and cleanly, before launching into the conversations you know must happen, though you may be dragging your heels in instigating that first-and-most-difficult statement. (In fact, it's much much better if you have no expectations whatsoever… other than you're going to go for it.) No thinking that, once you've reached this totally scary point of no return, you can actually backtrack your way back to safety. No backtracking is possible. (What might seem like removing yourself from the tensest part and restoring the apparent safety is in fact not that at all. It is instead digging yourself deeper.) No ignoring the situation, with hopes that'll make it go away. No dynamic that exists today will simply go away—it must evolve in some fashion or another, whether it approaches ecstasy or high-toxicity. No assuming that everybody is on the same page, just because that's a tidier way of tackling tough topics than actually tackling them. No anesthetizing the psyche to lessen the profound ramifications of where you go next. And yes, I know that this horoscope is overflowing with 'no's at every turn… and that is purposeful, in order to block every attempt to talk your way out of being here, a climactic point in your development, Capricorn. Back doors are locked. Attic windows are shuttered tight. There's only one way to go. Just hold your breath, and lurch toward it…


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): When pals approach you, seeking cool-headed perspective on their overheated love lives, you're very likely to give them both a sympathetic ear and some pragmatic advice intended to look out for all parties' best interests as individuals. For better or worse, you Aquarians aren't quite so susceptible to the neglectful disregard for common sense that often befalls those who are in romantic relationships—the overlooking of obvious problems, the idealization of the other person, the codependent desire to maintain the union at all costs. You understand that, in order for everybody to remain true to him- or herself, sometimes relationships must end… or else difficult (and terribly 'unromantic') negotiations must occur, which necessarily blow the lid right off the perfect picture to reveal the totally imperfect human beings that exist underneath. Aquarians, after all, are more inclined than most to value the need for free self-expression over the sanctity of socially acceptable tradition in relationships. That's why your feedback provides such a necessary counterpoint to the happily-ever-after fairy-tale bullshit that's contaminated so many folks' thinking about love. Now that I've said all this, let me pull a crafty switcheroo on you… because as of right now, my dear, you are the one who needs to hear this sort of advice most. You are the one who needs to look at how you're representing yourself—and what you want from the other person—in your relationship life. Are you being wholly accurate? Even one false step is liable to come back and haunt you. So before you start telling your sweetheart everything you think he or she wants to hear, make sure it's totally true. They will remember what you said, and ask you tricky questions about it later. And omission, while it seems to save you from out-and-out lying, is not a viable technique. Your truth may feel like it threatens to 'ruin' the beautiful thing you've got going—but it ain't so beautiful if it's being perpetuated under false pretenses.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): What, pray tell, is the purpose of all these horoscopes (e.g., last week's, the week before's) urging you to fanatically focus on work and avoid getting sidetracked by pointless drivel? Well, Pisces, as I read it, the planets are trying to get you to commit to your own best habits… regular behaviors with regards to your daily work routine, personal health regimen, and other important duties you're beholden to, so that you get to be in full charge of how and where you're spending your physical energies. Contrast this angle with, for instance, you being so darned agreeable and amenable to whatever somebody else determines will work best for him or her that, at the end of the day, you find you have little energy left to devote to activities you've determined are most beneficial to your well-being. This need for you to be the one in charge of organizing your earthly efforts is a prelude to the oncoming dialogue between transiting Uranus in your 1st (urging full independence and freedom for yourself, no matter how unorthodox or disaffiliating its manifestations may be) and Saturn, soon to enter your 7th house of one-on-one relationships (instructing you to be particular and discriminating in establishing interpersonal boundaries) that'll color your life over the next couple years. Starting now to refuse the easy-to-go-along-with options offered by others, which may not serve your purposes, will set you on a good path for later. So if given a choice between enjoying the path-of-least-resistance goodies this week or holding out for a much better prize further down the road, go for the delayed reward. You may cringe when you must tell 'em, 'No, thank you,' but you'll thank yourself later. The really great stuff comes by laboring long and hard toward the big goal, and refusing to settle for less.