Horoscopes | Week of October 21-27, 2002

ARIES(March 21-April 19): If pressed to tell me what makes you like or dislike someone, could you tell me? I don't mean, "Would you tell me?" But can you identify the traits, the attitudes or behaviors that cause you to dismiss Person #1 from your thoughts while pursuing Person #2 to get to know him/her better? I know, for me, there are obvious things like "good conversationalist" and "polite manner" that are no-brainer pluses. But then there are also those elusive qualities that I find hard to describe but recognize when I see them. Aries, as someone who moves quickly and forcefully over your own path, you are able to make energetic decisions about people in a split-second, but I wonder if you are clear on the criteria you're using. (Don't get me wrong. You are often willing to grant people second and third impressions if they rub you wrong at first. But they will rub you one way or another from the get-go. And, no, not that kind of rubbing.) During this time in your life, which favors getting to understand your relationships with people better, I recommend that you try to find patterns among those you like and dislike. More likely than not, you will discover that these patterns go way back in your life, to your earliest interactions with your brothers or sisters, the kids in the neighborhood and your classmates at school. You may not be a grudge-holder, but you probably have ingrained reactions stemming from these past relations—and if you make some effort to heal them, you're less apt to quickly dismiss those of us who subconsciously remind you of your childhood.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): On the eve of transition from one routine to another, your thoughts have likely been centered on earthly concerns. "How will I get from here to there? How much will it cost? When do I have to leave in order to make it on time?" At the same time, as a necessary consequence of these changes, you are reconsidering your position in relation to certain important people in your life. "How often will I see him now? How can I show her how much she means to me? Why I have wasted my energy all this time? Are we in love yet/still?" In short, you've got a lot on your plate. I imagine you seated on the floor in the middle of a stage, in a small experimental theater, going through a large chest full of old belongings, which represent all these concerns and people and thoughts. The heavy top is open, and you bend your body forward, almost into the chest, grabbing handfuls of stuff and sorting it into two or three different piles (keep? exchange? sell? give away?). All of a sudden, the theater goes black. In shock, you make stumbling noises. And then, a single spotlight comes on from another part of the theater, pointed at some previously unlit and unremarkable corner. A voice comes over the loud speaker and begins to speak. What does it say? You tell me. But it's something surprising, enlightening, mysterious, and totally unrelated to everything in the chest.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Occasionally I feel pressure to finish my horoscopes on time, while making sure that all the signs have paragraphs equivalent in length. It's like I'm a busy mother, rushing home from work to prepare dinner for all my children and carefully doling out equal portions to everyone so no one thinks I'm unfair. This time around, as I felt constraints moving in on me (real or imagined, no matter), I realized that, as long as I was honest, I didn't have to measure each horoscope, word for word, against the others. I made the executive decision to purposely skimp on the Gemini one because I thought you could handle it best. Here's the reasoning. First, I appreciate the way that Geminis have fairly reasonable expectations of any one person, as they know there is always someone else to rely on in a pinch. You are adaptable that way. Second, I don't necessarily see anything wildly new or outrageously exciting on this week's horizon for you. You're midway through some process or another, not at a beginning or an end. And third, since this horoscope has ended up being pretty much as long as the others anyway, I figured you'd enjoy the playfulness of tone and the way that I singled you out as special. Which, of course, you are. Have I written enough yet?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): We know you often like to play it safe, nestled into your cozy home base. Try as I might, though, I can't escape the uncharacteristic image of you being bubbly and boisterous, capturing the circle of those around you with charismatic chat and a sparkly smile. Wait, it's not that uncharacteristic, I guess. It's just under rare circumstances that you can feel completely unabashed about projecting your own whimsies without worrying about how they will be interpreted, whether people will be comfortable or uncomfortable, whether you are dominating the scene. I suspect that things at home are feeling extra-super secure and blissfully pleasant (if you haven't noticed, then open your eyes and perk up), such that you will be able to go out into the world with greater confidence, taking riskier risks, since you can rely on being able to return to splendor at the end of the evening. Let them see that self-possessed and expressive side of you. Love, of various sizes and persuasions, could soon be swirling around you, if you start allowing your true uncensored presence to be known.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Okay, enough is enough. You've known that this particular horoscope was coming for a while, but maybe you convinced yourself that life would be Broadway-musical perfect indefinitely. Nice try. Coming up soon, you will reach a distinct crossroads where you must confront the different parts of your life—which you've recently been quite good at juggling while barely breaking a sweat—facing each other square on in a showdown. No matter how charming and talented you are, there is no way the universe will allow you to have both what is in the box and what is behind Curtain #2. Rather than lamenting the necessity of making careful choices and accepting important limitations, I suggest you remember how good you've had it recently. Not all of us have been so lucky. You still have some time before you are forced to turn off in one direction or another, or perhaps even a third. Take these next few moments to consider exactly what each option entails, so you're prepared when you get there. I'll bet, after some thought, you'll realize that one clear choice stands out among the rest. The hard part will be saying goodbye to the others.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): I recently noticed, in myself and others, that many people use different voices at different times to act out different parts of their psyches. There might be a high-pitched childlike voice that tries to be cute in order to charm others into giving in to its whims. Or a whiny bratty one that likes to complain about the inconveniences it doesn't want to bear. Perhaps there are voices that like to entertain, voices that offer calm love and reassurance, voices that boss people around and punish them for not living up to expectations. I'm not a psychologist, but I imagine that this cast of vocal characters is an unconscious mechanism that prevents our main self (the one with the normal voice) from having to cope with integrating these other, more foreign and conflicting parts. For someone as careful with objects and attitudes are you are, Virgo, I challenge you to devote that same super-consciousness to the words that come out of your mouth. What are you actually saying, and which voice are you using? It's quite possible that, even when your own intentions are at the purest, the little voices who share your larynx might have different results in mind.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): My delicate little Libra, I know that you've conditioned yourself not to over-expend energy for fear you might get flushed or faint. How would you possibly be able to glossily utter the perfect phrase for every occasion if you were out of breath? Well, no worries this week, as you have been momentarily blessed with gobs of rip-roarin' energy and enthusiasm to use as you see fit. Will you burn the candle at both ends, cleaning your house and making handicrafts and reorganizing your workplace and visiting everyone else's sick relatives? Will you stay up later than usual, gabbing the night away with all those friends you never see and have yet to meet, hopping from lily pad to lily pad like a frog (or a Gemini)? However you choose to enjoy the extra burst, make sure to mingle across the whole field of flowers as a good hummingbird should. And if you aren't experiencing this energized sensation at all, then you're probably counteracting it with a forceful amount of conscious blasé. Cut it out, lest these vibrations stay unexpressed and turn in on themselves.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21):One time, back in college, I was plowing my way through some assigned reading when I found myself stumped by one of the words. I had to pause and read it to myself again. "Was." "Was?" Though I was quite literate at the time, I didn't recall having ever been exposed to the word "wa" and therefore had no idea how to understand its plural—"was"—in its current context. It literally took me a few repetitions before my glazed-over mind (too much reading or too many college parties?) was able to regain perspective and recognize this absurdly common word for what it…was (giggle giggle). Similarly, sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to find the glaring mathematical error in a column of numbers or the missing pair of sunglasses perched atop one's head. My fellow Scorpios, though you are indeed well educated in those areas in which you claim expertise, you may soon discover that, sandwiched between all the big words you glide over with little difficulty, there is a little three- or four-letter friend who's been sitting right in front of your face but whose meaning has inexplicably eluded you—until now.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Shyness is not a particularly Sagittarian quality. And yet, with all the recent difficulty you've faced in getting your point across clearly to the other person, there may be a part of you that has lost patience and is consciously trying to withhold yourself socially. (I use the word "trying" because Sagittarians are known for not being able to contain their commentary.) Let me suggest that I don't find this a particularly worthwhile strategy for you. Just because your normally easy-breezy people skills are working a little less easily and breezily, that shouldn't mean that you stubbornly abandon your social milieu and pretend you'd rather be a hermit. Oh, please. If a kid falls off her bike the minute her training wheels are removed, does she stop riding altogether or revert to those babyish wheel-crutches? No, she keeps trying until, hips and wrists covered with bruises and scratches, she is successfully able to cruise the block without a crash. Now is ripe for you to remind yourself what a witty conversationalist and life-of-the-party kind of guy or gal you are, and get out there and have some social fun. If certain moments get tense, as happens to all of us at some time, find a non-confrontational way to blow off the steam.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Sometimes I secretly worry, Capricorn, that you are dissatisfied with the horoscopes I write for you. This is not because I don't believe in the guidance I provide you; I do. But rather, you're known to be a fairly discerning audience. And you are also liable to allow your eyes to slyly sneak to other parts of the page, spying other signs' horoscopes and then comparing yours to theirs. "How come Leos always get all the good stuff? Why do Virgos get such coddling and Aquarians are given permission to be so spacey?" In honor of the possibility that these comparisons do occur, and that they might contain shreds of envy, I've decided to grant you a horoscope of another color—consider it a chance for astrological tourism: You, a tree, with boughs spreading wide across the sky, over fences, defying seasons, piles of others' leaves around you, their pointy barren twigs point fingers, while you stand full and firm, ready at last to bear fruits that surprise the harvesters who thought you were a different species all this time. What should the scientists call you? Can they know your nature without chopping you down, sawing thin slices through your trunk for counting strata, slipping under microscopes, freezing or burning? Now you try to figure out what this, in cryptic language native to someone else, means for you.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Yet again, your conception of what you want to become known for is in flux, although you're sure it must be something meaningful, effective and somewhat dramatic. Keep contemplating, but leave the pressure to decide your final historical contribution on the back-burner. You're thinking too big again. It's both a gift and a curse that Aquarians are blessed with, to have their vision attuned to the aerial view at the expense of the details. That's why you know everything. But the details are where the joy of living lies. Have you ever wondered if maybe your creative sputterings, rich with ideas and images and social meaning, never make it all the way because you're too concerned with their finished significance rather than the pleasure of process? As I gently criticize your tendency to project yourself out into the future—stick around, it can be fun here in the present too—I'll also gladly restroke your ego for its amazing insights and cosmic kookiness. It's a wonderful season for you to appreciate a slower pace, a closer focus, and daily ploddings toward smaller victories, rather than perpetually worrying about winning the war.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I was swimming down this long, narrow, hyper-straight corridor. It was like a big hallway running through buildings and past neighborhoods, an artificial river with two perfectly parallel walls. The water was full of other swimmers. Some were friends swimming with me. Some had kickboards. There were also masses of strangers, many acting rowdy as if this were a beachside resort or waterslide park during spring break. What separated this from a vacation scene, though, was that I and many of the others weren't just out for a recreational swim—we were swimming hard, heading somewhere with distinct purpose. One female friend, I recall, was trying to catch up with her dad. I don't remember my exact destination, but I sure seemed bent on getting there. After swimming for a very long time, I suddenly reached the end. I stopped, stood up, and saw two guys (lifeguards, I supposed), standing against the back wall, with red swimsuits and whistles, telling everyone we had to halt and turn back. And until then, I hadn't even known that this weird river wasn't going to continue flowing infinitely forward. I woke up thinking of you, Pisces, and hoping (1) that if you're going to swim the endless channel, you know where you're heading, and (2) that you don't need to rely on some dude with a whistle to tell you when it's time to stop.