Horoscopes | Week of July 29-August 4, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The fire of Aries is usually like that a match. You strike it and a big beautiful burst of flame comes forth. It rather swiftly shrinks to a more manageable size and then races down the length of the matchstick towards your finger. You have a relatively brief window of time to utilize it before it burns out or comes too close and threatens to burn you. And while it is useful to ignite something else with (a cigarette, a pile of twigs, an obsolete legal contract), a match won't warm a room or boil a pot of water. Right now, though, your fire has a bit more staying power and could power a longer effort. That is, if you keep feeding the fire with sustainable fuel and regulate its rate of burning.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There is something strangely attractive to me about the image of Maria in The Sound of Music, making new outfits for the entire von Trapp clan out of old curtains. Sure, perhaps they were made fun of at school for their matching fabric-sack clothes. But, in my opinion, nothing makes a bolder fashion statement than a display of resourcefulness. (Think Molly Ringwald's prom dress in Pretty in Pink.) Since we all know how good you are at reupholstering old chairs or sponge-painting worn walls, why not wow us with a low-cost makeover on yourself? Don't spend money you don't have. Instead, pore over the deepest recesses of your closets and come up with something that reflects your combo of creativity and practicality.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You've grown accustomed to colleagues jokingly rolling their eyes in exaggerated exasperation at your latest philosophical fancy or kooky claim, as if to say, "Uh-oh, here it goes again…!" Your sensitive side will momentarily smart from the knowledge that such jokes always contain a kernel of truth. You know that, sometimes, your ever-changing attempts to explain away the world can grate on people's nerves. What a unique experience it will be, now that your ideas are more calmly communicated, more sensibly grounded, and thus more readily accepted and admired by those around you. Surprisingly unsettling to be suddenly taken so seriously, isn't it? You might have to develop different responses accordingly.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Anyone who's worked retail remembers those extra after-hours shifts during inventory time. After all the customers are gone for the night, you stay late to count every item in the store—at which point you realize how totally off the numbers in the computer are, how many sweaters mysteriously found their way into shoplifters' purses or untrustworthy co-workers' lockers, how much overstock miraculously remains in that corner everyone always forgets about. Now it's time to close your own doors for a day and take stock. With a little breathing room, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover extra psychic goodies you may have forgotten about or never noticed you'd developed. Then you can clear out last season's wares and put them on the clearance rack.


LEO (July 23-August 22): It's the start of something big, but of course you already know that. Otherworldly extrasensory forces have been conspiring in your favor, laying foundation work for you to build upon for your wild new projects and products. The intuitives among you have been preparing all along. If there were ever a time to burst forth with unadulterated Leo confidence and jump right in, it's now. What it all means won't be clear until later. The change could be mildly upsetting to parts of you that crave consistent, predictable affection—but not nearly as devastating as the regret you'd feel years from now for not going for the gold at this crucial fortuitous moment.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the casual charms you're giving off as of late. As long as you remain calm, you might find that simply opening your mouth without hesitation will result in the most perfectly appropriate words gliding right out. The simplest flirtatious smile could drive the whole room wild with desire to meet and greet you. With a little practice, you can harness this talent to enhance your reputation professionally and elsewhere in the world. In the meantime, you might stumble a bit in learning the ropes, be forced to alter the routine a bit and discover limitations in the process.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Order in the court. All rise. The Honorable Judge Libra will now take the stand. The judge has agreed to put aside all secret affections and has become immune to strategically wooings or bribes from plaintiff and defendant. Your Honor will hear the case with alert ears, open mind, and a mild sense of humor when appropriate. This judge is known for being extremely fair and separating personal issues from impersonal justice. What may surprise us, however, is how Judge Libra will later quietly adjust his/her own life based upon the juicy details and shocking revelations revealed in the courtroom proceedings. How much easier it is to learn about consequences through observing someone else's legal struggles rather than standing trial for your own alleged crimes.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I have no doubt that you are feeling free to wrap yourself in the frenetic excitement that is currently altering your role in the world. You have energy, insight, communicability, and passion to create a new public showcase for your talents. Sure, not knowing the outcome can be a little maddening for a control freak such as yourself. But no worries, you must have faith in the sense that you are being carried along the rapids to the place you need to be. It's the confusion and unsettledness at home, on the other hand, that is more likely to actually drive you crazy, as you try to sweep them under the rug. Why wait until spring to do some housecleaning?


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): You move so quickly, your theories and ideas travel from Point A to Point B to Point C without a chance for a single breath. This enthusiasm comes in handy for continually advancing the state of your intellectual thought processes, but it might piss off some listeners who haven't a moment to squeeze in a question or two. Is it possible that there are certain things you haven't thought of yet, in your mad dash for progress and completion? I, for one, particularly hate when drivers don't make a full stop at stop signs. Don't you start rolling through conversational pauses, or you might get in a metaphorical accident, maybe with a boss or a lover.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): I confess, I have a particularly harsh inner critic that prevents me from fully enjoying the fruits of my labor by setting newer, higher bars for success every time I achieve anything. I imagine him to be a Capricorn. Though I try to tame his gremlin voice and alleviate my anxiety, I secretly enjoy his presence. He makes me work harder and maintain high standards for myself. Maybe without him, I wouldn't be as accomplished. This week, the Capricorn critic might flare up with a bit of envy for the easy opportunities he sees for others. Don't be too mean to yourself, even if you push yourself to work a little harder. And, by all means, don't externalize the critic and judgmentally turn him against those whose ease of mind you covet.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Aquarians have mastered that experience of feeling completely alone while in the middle of a group of friends. I'm not talking about sitting in a chair in the corner, picking away at the chips and onion dip while others engage in conversation. I mean, you can be in the center of the circus, laughing and chitchatting and helping others feel interesting and lovable, all the while knowing they can't see you inside your mirrored cylinder, reflecting their images back at them. Right now, it is to your great benefit to truly connect with others, let them in, ask for their guidance, and include their input in the process. Oftentimes, collaborative efforts are the most creatively satisfying, and a bit humbling.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I am receiving slightly mixed messages from the cosmos about you. My first instinct was to advise you to stick to your guns and tell your truths. After all, you are an expert in giving in or staying silent to smooth over a situation. And it may be peculiarly tempting right now to hold back in order to please that very important person. But then I second-guessed this recommendation because I saw how holding firm to your way of thinking could cause some surface tension, particularly if you are defensively reacting to an imagined confrontation that wouldn't have occurred had you not been so bull-headed. The solution to this conundrum? Understand fully why you think what you think. If it is sincerely motivated by a sense of duty larger than yourself, then go for it and let loose. Otherwise, reevaluate for another week to discover what you're reacting against.