Horoscopes | Week of August 20-26, 2007

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When it comes to expressing the truth of your love for a certain person (or toward a particular purpose), it's not enough to just hope for the best… all the while purposely tuning out any and all hints it might turn out less favorably than that. Love may be powerful, but you need more to make the relationship (or your 'baby' of a project) really work. You've been given the ability to think critically for a very good reason, so please, Aries, use it. You will need to turn a problem-solver's eye to what the romantics might otherwise tell you is supposed to function effortlessly. (The disenchanting reality is that romantics are also somewhat deluded.) You may need to test out alternatives to the way things have been going thus far, if you hope to improve upon the present condition… and some of those experiments may indeed fail. But how else to move ahead, if not through trial-and-error? If you want to prove you're serious about the object of your affections, one more box of candy or a flowery declaration of poetic sentiment won't cut the mustard—it's showing your dedication to managing the nitty-gritty details (they're important, too!) that'll move your love from 'conceptual' to 'getting your hands dirty'. Ignoring the finer points of incompatibility, imperfection or difference may be easier and superficially sweeter… but if left unhandled, they will come back to bite you in the butt later on. This Venus retrograde is a prime time for engaging with the terribly unromantic real-life stuff that's part and parcel of true love.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There's no better place than your own home to be, in order to make sure you're looking out for yourself. And there's no better place to look out for yourself than your own home. Those first two sentences are very similar, but not quite the same, Taurus. And in combination, they lay out the two things you want to focus on this week—(1) looking out for yourself and (2) looking out for the sanctity of your home space. On one hand, that involves acknowledging the present astro-climate is one in which it's quite easy to end up in complicated interactions with others… where you might be unduly pressured (though it may not seem like 'pressure' at all, but rather an 'organic development' in the relationship) to give more than you want to give. If that's the case, well, the safest and most self-protective place to be is at home—at least for this week, until the heightened temptation to overpromise passes. On the other hand, if things within your home aren't quite so ideal (leaving you not exactly comfortable to care for yourself as you'd like), then this is a week for dealing with it. If the relationship with a housemate or family member you're living with is turning sour, you shouldn't plaster on a phony smile and report, 'No worries!'—especially if there's money involved. You need your household peace, now more than ever… and you can't be squandering the same home-centered energy you need for your own recharging on unnecessary domestic drama. If it's really bad, you should be prepared to walk away and cut your losses, if it'll ultimately lead to a more desirable environment for relaxation and self-nurture.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You will drive yourself into quite a tizzy, Gemini, if you keep switching mindsets and jumpsuits to try matching up with a certain someone's styles and opinions. People are naturally inconsistent, after all… and when you look outward for a model of attitude and behavior, it's as if you are chasing a moving bullseye. Do you plan to obsessively hound this object of your desires who you're attempting to please, fastidiously observing them for tiny clues about what you should say or do next? Even for an energetic Gemini like yourself, that sounds absolutely exhausting. Now, there's a degree of this chameleonic shape-shifting that's an inherent part of your sign's character, and there ain't nothin' wrong with that. However, in this particular astro-moment (with a T-square formed between Mars in your sign, your ruler Mercury and Jupiter in your 7th), it's both more intense and more obvious to others… and in that context, it could reflect poorly on you, if the other person sees your mutability as equaling a lack of authenticity on your part. Instead of following anybody else's lead, you're primed to continue setting precedents yourself… with faith that doing what's right for you will be enough for them. Of course, there's nothing wrong with sincerely changing your mind or offering your companion multiple options—as long as you are being totally forthright with your versatility, rather than trying to pass it off as a marvel that you're always on the same page they are.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Don't get carried away, Cancer. However you'd like to translate that prior exhortation, do so… whether it's not going too far with your emotional reactions, your partying, your exaggeratory tone when telling stories, or your desire to get as far as away from tense circumstances as possible. Extremes of any kind are both especially tempting this week and not likely to give you the satisfaction or relief you're yearning for. Instead, the best thing you can do is stay grounded, so that any expenditures of your personal time, energy or money are made in moderation. Going too far can feel damn good in the instant it's happening. But not too much later, the negative consequences will already start floating in—and it's your physical well-being that's likeliest to suffer, at the hands of hangover or tummy-ache or nervous anxiety coursing through your synapses. Before you go getting hysterical and letting too loose for your own good, please allow your longtime pals to help… mainly through reminding you about moments in your past that were just like this, which you somehow got through okay or you wouldn't be here right now. There's a lot to learn by reexamining historical occurrences similar to this situation right here. And with just a bit of distance and some friendly advice, you'll easily find basic steps to calm you down without draining your ch'i in tempting escapist actings-out. Keep yourself together—mind, body and spirit.


LEO (July 23-August 22): You'll serve yourself well in the battle with unfair allegations waged against you by fighting for what'll benefit a whole group of folks (which may or may not include you)… even if your participation surprises people, and/or even if it seems to collide with your own self-serving interests. That'll show 'em what you've known all along—that your heart is far larger than your ego, and that when your friends win, you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Of course, on a tactical level, you probably also understand that, in the long run, it's far wiser to fortify your social connections than to stubbornly insist upon doing things as you would if operating solely for your concerns. What you might appear to sacrifice in an immediate sense is merely a token of your willingness to play along well with the team. To further solidify your belonging, you'd be smart not to publicly criticize other people's methods (or even to appear to criticize them), when you are as humanly flawed as the next guy. Instead, take the extra effort to find more politically savvy ways to offer alternatives without slamming what's already on the table… and coming off like you're slamming the folks who put it there. Otherwise, you're opening yourself up to the silent (or not-exactly-silent) judgment being waged against you that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. The best protection from that is to speak from personal experience (as opposed to wishful conjecture), to demonstrate you're actually living it, not just talking about it. And keep posing the open-ended question: 'What can I improve upon?'—not because you're doing anything wrong, but because every one of us can always do it better, and we have a lot to learn from others' opinions.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Can former troublemakers really change their colors? And are you in a position to give them a chance to make their case? These are good questions to ponder right now, Virgo, as we approach the latest round of eclipses, which hit your sign in a particularly profound manner. In considering the first question, you'll need to check in with yourself about your beliefs on change in general… how much is possible (or preferable), and what is gained (and lost) from it. Examine yourself first, to determine how much you have changed over the years, what you'd like to change in the future, and whether you think you can do it. Your feelings about your own relative success at embracing change have everything to do with your stance in relation to those who want another try from you, but who'd need to demonstrate some significant degree of transformation to make it worth your while. If you have compassionate belief in your own abilities, it's far easier to extend that to somebody else; and if you can't trust your own commitments to yourself, of course you won't buy their pledges either. This is a mirroring situation, indeed. In tackling the second question, you'll want to be secure in your truth before opening that door to second-chances, or you risk being sweet-talked into re-enabling those old patterns. So if someone emphasizes how much they're grown and matured, don't take the claim at face value. Know in advance what answers you're looking for, and promise yourself not to veer. Then, test their sincerity by probing deeper. But if you really want to break from the past, stop playing your part in the all-too-familiar mind games. It shouldn't take too long a conversation to get all the necessary information out—the harder part is sticking with what's right for you, not continuing the codependent negotiations.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Keep your tightest chums close—and your enemies even closer. (Are you even sure you know which is which?) It's far wiser to hear what the bad seeds are saying about you upfront, instead of waiting for the knife to hit your back. The feedback is worth collecting and at least considering, whether or not you ultimately choose to embrace or reject it… and those who are 'out to get you' may actually be more likely to tell the uncensored truth about your less-flattering personality traits than those who wouldn't want to hurt or offend you. Whatever makes you most defensive is that which you'll want to take in. This is a good time for extending the ideological olive branch to folks you might not like on a personal level, but from whom you'll gain a lot by listening. To that degree, putting emotional reactions on hold is a smart idea. Plus, if you can demonstrate your ability to stoically endure criticism (of you personally, your loved ones, your work or your moral beliefs), it gives you a firmer set of legs to stand upon when responding with your own observations. And don't mince your words either. The face-to-face or otherwise upfront setting (as opposed to the cowardly behind-the-back tack) gives you a chance to flaunt your cool head and surgical discussion techniques, proving you a formidable—but always gentleman- or gentlewomanly—opponent. The oddest part of all? The way you wage an above-board, no-hidden-attacks disagreement with certain enemies may, in fact, lead you to forge a real lasting peace (or at least deep mutual respect) with those same individuals.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Like a bull being waved down by a swashbuckling dandy with a red velvet cape, you're being lured into a battle that leaves you little room to win. Why? Are you not a daunting, valiant competitor? Well, of course you are, Scorpio. The main reason you're at a disadvantage in this ring is because you're already a winner. You don't need to fight for the crown because you're already wearing it. What's being waved at you is a colorful tapestry of somebody else's underlying desire, cloaked in jealousy and projection (and maybe even lust)… and it's highly likely they don't even know it. No need to point it out. And certainly no need to take their bait. You should be happy to have what you have, without putting it on the line because someone challenges you to do so… and you should be flattered that both your innate strength and your hard-earned accomplishment would be so glorious a target that you face such an attack. Resist the obvious conflict. How shocking would it be for the bull, instead of charging so predictably at the billowing red, to stand upright on two legs, human-style, and invite his supposed enemy to lunch? When you're already the winner, you may hold tight to the sole throne… or you may generously share your winning strategies with those who seek to topple you, out of immense confidence that, no matter what, you're still a force to be reckoned with. And as I said, their underlying feeling is desire. Perhaps you have something they want that you're actually willing to give… and perhaps you may get something in return?


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): In this week's installment of 'Sagittarius: Teacher or Preacher?', we engage with an email I received the other day from a reader who feels misunderstood by recent Sagittarius horoscopes: 'Sometimes I find myself exercising strong opinions because I am trying to figure out what it is that I believe. My conviction more often resides in my efforts to articulate an idea, rather than in the idea itself.' In other words, does the Sagittarius instigate controversial conversations because she thinks she is right and wants to teach-or-preach from that perspective… or does she merely utilize such exchanges as part of her own learning process, a trial-by-fire dialogue that can lead all parties to a greater understanding of 'The Truth'? I am totally with this emailer's position and beg your pardon, Sagittarius, if I've overlooked this dimension to your rabble-rousing, in favor of a narrow-sighted interpretation that has you coming off more smug-and-self-satisfied than open-hearted-and-seeking. The email continues: 'Part of my bluster and "straight-talk" comes from a real desire to get to the heart of a matter, as possibly an attempt (or even as an invitation) to have anyone join me in the kind of truth-seeking that is, for better or worse, part of my nature because it is pretty lonely work.' How poignant is that. Keep these thoughts in mind this week, when you'll have an opportunity to disagree adamantly with someone you actually like (perhaps a lot)… and you face the choice to make this debate a coming-together of sorts (to ease the loneliness of solo truth-seeking), as opposed to acting haughty and dismissing their ideas without listening. Some might say that such spirited interactions, while not everybody's cup-of-tea, indeed add to the passion between two people. Maybe being a Sagittarius is about neither teaching nor preaching, but meeting fellow travelers on the same journey of discovery—and really getting to enjoy their enlivening company.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): As the Sun comes together with your ruler Saturn in your solar 8th, this is an important week for setting clear boundaries with folks who come on too strong or fight too mean. Your participation in any relationship is voluntary, which means you have every right to decide what you will and won't tolerate… and to put up structures to protect yourself when your expressed choices aren't being respected. It's on you to declare what's fair game, as long as you're involved—and what qualifies as 'crossing the line'. Feel free to rest on the laurels of whatever you claim as your guiding ethical philosophy, those strictures which help you distinguish right from wrong… and don't hesitate to quote from them, so long as you're sure you're living by the same words you expect others to obey. When necessary, you Capricorns excel at 'freezing out' the types who get too hot-headed to think straight… and if you have to rely on that method to chill things down, go for it. (Just understand that you'll also be stripping some of the emblazoning oomph from the relationship. That, however, may be just what needs to happen.) Should anybody mock you for trying to take care of yourself, they obviously don't have your best interests in mind. They may not prefer your way of drawing the line, but they'd best stay on their side of it. And so should you, unless you want to regret having lost your cool.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Distinctions between this and that exist for a purpose. They provide us clarity and, in the process, bestow uniqueness on that which is being distinguished from this. While it is a beautiful fact of Aquarianness that you can see beyond the identity boundaries (black/white, rich/poor, male/female, gay/straight) to the indivisible soul of personhood through which we all reflect each other, it can also inadvertently lead you to overlook certain important distinctions… and mistakenly assume solidarity where it may not exist so solidly. In other words, such distinctions may not be important to you, but could be extremely significant to the other person who's drawing 'em. This week, you'll want to be careful not to whitewash differences you may have with others—otherwise, you may be presuming agreement when it isn't there, leaving you to hang excluded (glaringly or invisibly) from the allegiances you sought, while offending them with your presumptuous partial-blindness. You should also be as clear as day about where you stand on one or the other side of certain lines. For instance, if you have a standing commitment to one person (your main squeeze, a lifelong best friend, a favorite collaborator), then be careful in how you present yourself to others. Being purposely vague will not save you. Instead, it merely confuses everyone—in the end, making you look dishonest, though your intentions may be anything but.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Having a hard time figuring out if a situation is really that bad, or if you're just overreacting? You may need some help with this one, Pisces. You're probably too close to it to see clearly, like a butterfly banging its wings against the glass of a bright light… unable to recognize you're no longer a caterpillar, and unsure how (or even if) you're being blocked from communing with the warm illuminating beacon. Though a Sun-Saturn conjunction joins Venus retrograde in your solar 6th, putting the onus on you to choose your next steps based on earthly responsibility and service (rather than creative whim or sentimental pull)… your real shit-stirrer this week is Mars in the 4th, fuzzing up the picture's clarity with first-this-way-then-that moodiness being generated from within. Thanks to Mars (opposing Jupiter in the 10th), you'll be especially prone to reinterpreting outside-world opportunities through a lens of what's going on inside you—with the potential for you to miss something good, so rapt in what feels not so good that you can't recognize what else is out there. The way out of the Mars-Jupiter equation is provided by Mercury, which squares both of 'em from your 7th and suggests the impasse is best busted by recruiting a patient, unbiased pal or partner to bounce your story off of. For this to work, though, you must trust this person to explain how your situation looks from an objective outsider. And factoring in Mercury's conjunction to the South Node, pay extra-special attention to any comments or observations that sound very very familiar to you. If you've heard it before, then it's a pattern… and the common denominator is you.