ARIES (March 21-April 19): A few weeks ago, I asked you to examine what it was that made you like or dislike a particular person. I'm assuming that you have, to some extent, done this, even if this process didn't include conscious consideration. For someone like you, who is traditionally self-centeredand I mean that in the most literal and non-judgmental sense of the wordyour life has recently been much more centered around others. Through relationships and collaborations, alliances and arguments, breaking-ups and making-ups, you are learning more about what motivates you by who you are drawn to and repelled by, and how you act around each of them. Independent though you may be (or like to consider yourself), you need love and approval from other people more than you've previously thought. And other people need it from you. One might even say that, during this current couple of months, you're starting to realize that free mutual expression between individuals (as opposed to flowing one waythat is, from youwith no particular audience in mind) is what life is all about. When you hit the most awkward and infuriating parts, and actually stick around to work through them, you'll find the rewarding aftereffects include a sense of (gasp!) stability to which you can return again and again, for refreshment when your self-centered bursts of energy inevitably peter out.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Certain people, fancying themselves mature, reach a point when they insist they're too old for certain activities. They can't stay up as late as they once did, or they don't drive long distances, eat spicy foods, swim or make love. They are done with that part of their lives. Then, there are others who use their age as an excuse to do away with excuses. These young-at-heart feel they have earned their opportunity for footloose expression and unadulterated adventure by putting in years of good practical service. Ripe age is, in their eyes, the perfect time for new beginnings. I say, follow the lead of the second group. Regardless of how young or old you are, it's important to refrain from seeing any doors of experience as being closed. Taureans, as I'm sure you well know, are renowned for unrivalled stubbornnesswhich can work to your advantage or disadvantage, based on how you direct your bull-headed will. In order to keep your life from comfortable but unstimulating doldrums, you must insist upon keeping your options open and trying new things. Use that indomitable Taurean strength to share this philosophy of life with those around you. Keep your stodgiest friends from premature aging. And likewise, if you are feeling shut off in some area of your own life, invite your favorite crazy person in to shake things up.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Among the cast of characters who comprise your composite self, one is a grumpy mean-spirited gossip. We usually don't focus on him or her because of all the other delightful personasthe poet, the party animal, the confidante, the brainwho usually take the stage. Now don't get wrong, as some of you tend to do (you know who you are). I may play callous with my Gemini friends because I imagine you can take it, but I have the utmost love and respect for you. And that means all parts of you, even this gossip of whom we speak today. This guy or gal in you is so engaged with what's going on around him/her, so eloquent in the telling, so precise with the editing (some parts make it into the story, others don't), and totally flawless with the comic timing. All of this is underscored with a fleeting ferocity, which quite cathartically releases your aggressionsbut also produces karmic damage, if your intentions are too impure. Your challenge is to foster the creativity and expressive release of your inner gossip without talking too much shit or hurting anybody. One possible method is to make sure that the people you're talking about are present. Implicate yourself, as well as them, in the account, and keep the whole thing light-hearted and hysterical, with the kernel of cutting truth left helpful and compassionate. Another way is to tinge your commentaries with progressive politics, so that you have a social goal in mind with all your trash-talking. But don't try to silence this side of you completely. It won't work, and you'll find the repressed impulses popping up in the most inopportune circumstances.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Thoughts, like moving water, are comprised of waves. Stuck inside the confines of your head, they can create a turbulent mess; they don't have far to travel before they hit the barrier of your skull, bounce back and collide into themselves. However, if you send your thought waves outward, they are broadcast far like powerful radio from a super-tall transmission tower. The ripples spread gracefully toward infinity. People miles away sense their effects, though they aren't necessarily able to track them to their source or know their true intensity. This is a special talent that you have, and physicists are still trying to figure out how it works. So, though you may be full of peaceful notions that will help the world, they do us no good when they remain with you, held inside your Cancerian crab shell and amplified into anxiety. If you struggle with expressing your social concern in words, then use your consciousness to propel it through space with your mind. Don't expect anyone to be aware of what's happening just yet, nor to recognize you as being involved, because these things take time. You are planting positive thoughts like seeds, quietly raising them through their youth like children, and having faith they will land in the right hands like messages tied to helium balloons. With the greater good as your intent, your prayers will be answered.
LEO (July 23-August 22): Ancient astrologers pointed to approaching eclipses and heralded, to anyone who'd listen, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" All that panic, and yet, hundreds and hundreds of years later, the sky is still there. I can't relate to that because, by nature, I'm not a harbinger of gloom and doom. What's the point? In fact, I like eclipses. They bring needed movement. The lunar one coming up next week is full of exciting change, and its dynamics unfold all around you, with you not necessarily in the center but circumstantially affected in very significant ways. Thus, I must admit, I'm a bit distracted from this current week and have already projected myself into the future. According to spiritual teachings, that's a no-no; you're supposed to stay centered in The Now. Oh, well. All I have to provide you, my dear Leos, for this Now are two simple words: Hold on.
VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Like a scout, you thrive on being prepared for any situation. But, as is becoming apparent in your life as of late, you cannot know what's coming next. Instead of stocking canned goods or pre-planning tight retorts to any comment, you will have to develop a more loose-lipped strategy that you can apply impromptu. Each mini-survival depends on relieving yourself of self-consciousness and allowing your mouth to run itself, like you are an animated wooden dummy and the ventriloquist is nowhere to be found. No, you cannot control yourself in such a mannerbut I thought we just concluded that you don't know what will be dealt to you, so you might as well become comfortable not knowing what you will deal back. It's highly unlikely that you will say something you don't mean, although you might surprise yourself with the things you say and didn't know you meant. Natural conversation is sometimes like those psychological word-association games, except that the doctor only thinks she knows something about you that you don't. The whole exercise requires a great deal of faith in yourself, but with that faith, you'll have less planning to complete and fewer details to worry about before you leave the house. With the time you save, you can get right to work on cleaning out the garage or finishing up that quilt for Cousin Rose.
LIBRA (September 23-October 22): For the next few weeks, cut the demure crap. We've always known that you wear the pants in the family, but we haven't made a big deal about it, to cushion egos all around. Now, with Mars in your sign, approaching a conjunction with your ruling Venus, your charming ways take on a less subtle and more direct character. There's no reason to try and conceal your motivations among pleasantries because everything is just hanging out there in the open, like it or not. You have an unusually sharp focus now, allowing you to expend all your energy in unified motion. This helps eliminate some of the dizzying back-and-forth of the scales in your head, where you continually try to achieve balance and never quite make it. Enjoy a new effortlessness of asking for things your way, and marvel at how people respond to you (though I can't exactly tell you how that will be). Along with this come sudden realizations of how things usually are, in contrast to how they are now. Dare I suggest that your usual mutedness may mask darker manipulative urges? Sometimes peace cannot be achieved, though you usually try, and in your attempts to do so, you may have unconsciously forced others to swallow their feelings or contain their actions. Maybe you didn't notice before. But now that you are so forthright you'll tell people exactly what you want them to do, you're beginning to understand the problems with the ways you usually get them to do what you want.
SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Have you had enough yet? Your life has recently become a collection ground for discarded sweatshirts, partly finished crossword puzzles, mismatched kitchenware, and other half-used and halfway-owned belongings and experiences. It's not unlike the backroom of a Goodwill, where the piles accumulate before they've had a chance to be sorted through. It's likely that, a couple times during this approximately month-long accumulation period, you've felt bombarded and overwhelmed and confused about what to do about all this crap. This is the final week of the "open door" policy before you will have an opportunity to halt additional donations and begin to plow through the bundles. Right now, you don't know what you're going to do with all this stuff, and it all seems pretty damn useless. In coming weeks, you'll be astonished by the numerous treasures you find sprinkled in among the discardable majority. The joy will be in combining these disparate nuggets into a whole beautifully furnished room or a stylish outfit, highlighting that beautiful new works of art can be comprised from recycled junkif you are willing to be creative, discerning and patient. But do you really have another choice?
SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): It's time to start blabbing again. You've been a little self-constricted due to concerns about "the changing you" and trying to figure out what to do now. Well, in the meantime, the rest of us have gotten ourselves into a few pickles. Before all of your recent inner turmoil, you used to spend some of your energy on keeping a watchful eye out for us. You never hesitated to tell us what you thought when we slightly strayed or blatantly goofed. But we've missed you recently. Okay, we'll cut you some slack for dealing with own garbage for the past I-don't-know-how-long. Still, we feel like latch-key kids who, in defiance of the fact that our mothers are at work in order to provide for us, are rebelling by drinking and smoking and having afternoon sex in the house. You've been so busy, you haven't noticed. The good news is, you are starting to emerge from the cocoon, still a bit shaky but otherwise rejuvenated and returning to form. The bad part, of course, is that you have a lot of cleaning up of our messes to do. Stand up straight, raise your voice, and make fresh declarations as to what you will put up with and what you won't. Remind us about how sassy you can be, and enlighten us as to how you've changed. Don't mince your words either. We have other people in our life who'll be polite.
CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In college, I had a small tight group of guy friends with whom I'd drink beer and play cards. Once we even had a semester-long Hearts tournament, the winner of which would be treated by the others to dinner at the restaurant of his choice. We would play about once a week or so, and at the end of each game, we'd compare the running score. The other guys had this little joke they played on me. (I'm not sure why I was singled outmaybe because I would sometimes get a little uppity or whiny or was just easy to pick on). They would snicker and tell me, "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride." Yes, a typical snide comment to make to the perpetual second-best. Except they'd say this to me when I was the one in the lead, so as to pretend that I wasn't winning by not acknowledging it. They thought it was so funny, and they really got me good. I mean, what is the fun in winning a game if none of the other players are willing to admit you're winning? Capricorn, you are doing a good job of playing the game so far, even if you are not getting the credit you deserve (or are being teased, like I was, for something that isn't even true). Allow others to get the attention right now; keep your cool and your sense of humor. The game's not over yet. After all the teasing, I won the dinner. I ordered a big fat steak and had myself the last laugh when the bill came.
AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Consider this a momentary breathing break, in between climbing steep inclines on your way to the top. You have only a few minutes before the eager tour guide insists that you return to hiking, and you're feeling a bit tired, though hesitant to admit it to your traveling companions. Beneath your adventuresome guise and your 50-pound backpack, you are concealing the stubborn and unambitious child who would rather make camp here and sleep off his efforts for a good twelve or fifteen hours. Work is hard. And because the cosmic environment is so favoring your high-achiever right now, it's hard to give yourself a break because you know it's time to act. Don't allow your rational (though odd) and individualistic (though socially minded) side overwhelm your very real emotional and physical needs. Too much of any one thing feeds the tendency to mutate. I've given you this advice before, but I'll say it again: You're thinking too big. Yes, once you get to the peak of the mountain, the view will be outrageously inspirational. But you'll only get there by stringing together a series of single steps, one foot in front of the other. Meanwhile, you won't be showing signs of weakness if you kindly suggest to the guide that you extend this little break another half-hour. You need to regain your strength and finish that granola bar before you keep going.
PISCES (February 19-March 20): While in Seattle, I was treated to a tour of the Crittenden Locks that assist boats in navigating the Lake Washington Canal, a manmade waterway connecting the lake system to the Puget Sound. Alongside the locks is a fish ladder, essentially a lock for fish, which assists the migrating salmon and trout to navigate the elevation change. This engineering feat, with its twenty or so tiered segments, draws the fish in with the strong pull of its attraction water. Then they are directed into its chambers where the Sound's salt water and the lake system's fresh water mix, acclimating the fish to the salinity change while the water levels rise and fall. While I watched the traveling fish through the observation windows beneath the water's surface, I pondered whether these watery creatures could possibly be conscious of the human efforts being made to assist them in their migration. And then, Pisces, I thought of you. I wondered if you were able to detect the patches of attraction water, or specific focused centers of psychic energy dotting the otherwise vast sea of our collective experience, that offer you clues as to places where you might receive assistance in your journey. I also thought about all the engineering-savvy peers of yours who have built contraptions, offered helpful advice or insistent goading, so that you can more easily venture out from your nesting grounds and back again. If you are unaware of all this going on around you as you swim, then, frankly, you're working too hard to be independent and too foolishly to recognize the shortcuts.