Horoscopes | Week of August 12-18, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Ah, the beautiful music that unconsciously shoots out from Aries with barely an effort from the source of the sound. But then the shock, to suddenly find out, after having sung tenor all your life, you're being moved to the alto section of the choir. Sure, maybe you are just doing what you've always done and hear absolutely no difference in your own voice. That's not how the others experience it, and majority rules. It's time to face the fact that your changing role in the group snuck up on you. What comes out of your mouth may have a slightly altered effect. On the bright side, seated next to you in your new chair is someone you might have already known but hardly noticed, until now.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Hang in. You're at the tail end of those lean times. I know that the most recent past has put a damper on your sense of self-worth, an unfortunate consequence of unrelated circumstances. Maybe you haven't wanted to venture out as much, or maybe you just had nowhere to go. Hey, at least it's given you a chance to take care of some unfinished business at home. Now, finally, life is preparing to throw you a fresh set of outward concerns and worldly goals. And frankly, if I know you, you welcome the responsibility and are quite ready to turn your nose to a new groundbreaking grindstone.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Last week, I warned you that the dreaded copy editor would be showing up to scour your words and eliminate the 50+% that are extraneous and cloud your point. The thing is, your mind is working at full speed lately, developing new and exciting ideas and philosophies to help us better explain the state of the world. Only, as they are still in development, you have a few knots that need working out before you'll be awarded any Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. You must find a way to pare down the core of what you're trying to communicate, sparingly using language so that every utterance is super-meaningful and extra-resonant. This discipline, perhaps not your strongest trait currently, is something you must push yourself toward accomplishing.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Oh, dear Cancer, you cute little crab, always scurrying off to hide under rocks when things get too intense for you. Your hypersensitivity is unavoidable, as you well know, but the fear that often accompanies it is something you can work toward eliminating, or at least minimizing. Over the next few weeks, whenever you feel the drive toward withdrawing into your crustacean exoskeleton, hesitate a bit and dwell a couple moments in the discomfort. What you may discover is that the wave of emotion you're feeling is not necessarily your own, but may belong to someone or something else; you're just the sponge. The reward for battling through the fear and staying exposed is an increased ability to connect with others and a psychological deepening of experience.


LEO (July 23-August 22): It seems like we hardly know you anymore. Difficult to believe, perhaps, since you can't help thrusting your charms into our collective faces at every turn. We can't miss spotting you, cavorting in the limelight, the press coverage, the exclusive gala events, the latest performance. It's getting so that you're so wrapped up in all the glittery goodness surrounding your aura, you've forgotten about the "little people". No, I know that's not quite true. I'm giving you a hard time. But please remember, we can't help being a bit envious. And we all have our own exciting, if not quite as glamorous, things going on in our lives. Maybe you should find fresh new ways to engage us—and help us feel like at least half or three-quarters the celebrity you are.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): "As I undress at the gym, I carefully place each article of clothing into my locker in the reverse order in which I dress. My shoes, which incidentally I always put on right before left, sit at the bottom, with each sock shoved inside its shoe-mate, since the sock has already been stretched out that day to match one foot and would thus feel funny if it later found itself on the other…" Etcetera, etcetera. Sound familiar, Virgo? Though habit suits you well, I'd suggest altering a portion of your daily routines. After all, if you plan to achieve any worldly goals other than what you're already doing with your life, then you must start doing things differently—even some of the most mundane tasks you hardly think about. Isn't it time to change toothpaste brands, grooming rituals, or the route you walk to work?


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): You Librans, with your calm appearance and graceful presence. What may seem like a façade is actually hampering your ability to fully celebrate the wild waves you're riding. If you play it off like you're unaffected, then, well, you're going to be somewhat less affected. Know what I mean? Underneath it all, your urge toward love (of yourself and others) is being powerfully stimulated, romantically inspired and radically altered, although we wouldn't know it, the way you speak about things. Rather than maintaining politeness, you might do yourself some good by forcing yourself into more explicitly foreign situations, so that you can no longer pretend that your life is boring.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I'd be a fool to offer suggestions to Scorpios that might encourage their manipulative urges. But with that disclaimer, I ask you to ponder what would happen if you secretly replaced the rich gourmet coffee your lover or co-worker usually drinks with Folger's Crystals. Would the unfortunate soul know the difference? Chances are, contrary to what the commercials might suggest, yes, they would. I don't suggest you do it; no reason to piss people off, just to be mischievous. Now imagine that this lover or co-worker decided, while you were out at lunch, to rearrange all the papers in your desk. Not fun to be on the other side, is it? The solution, obvious as it may seem, is to spend the day together, alphabetizing the spice rack or sorting through old clothes as a team, so that your private domain gets shaken up but the difficult choices are made collaboratively.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn was that not everyone in the world is going to like me. I used to spend so much of my energy trying to charm those boorish anti-Barry oafs, to prove to myself that I was lovable, all the while ignoring my many actual friends, whose admiration didn't count as much because they already loved me. You, Sag, probably don't have that problem. You likely tell those grumps exactly what you think, then turn away and continue your conversation with the people that matter. Now, since I've developed the Sagittarian ability to cut to the chase and not waste my time on the riff-raff, it might be interesting to see if you can experiment with the other alternative. What would happen if you deferred judgment and spent a couple extra minutes sharing your ideas with people you'd usually deem least likely to understand or care?


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Life is never easy for my beloved friends, the Capricorns. See, being perfect is so difficult. Every time you go to do anything—bake a cake, hang art on the walls, tell a joke to friends—you can't help but recognize how much better you could have done it, if only you hadn't dared to be human. I'll even bet that, sometimes, when you handwrite a letter, you crumple up four or five adequate attempts until you get the curve and tilt of your "Dear John" the way you want it. Dude, lighten up. I'm moved to quote a favorite Yoko Ono song (yes, she doesn't just screech, she also write lyrics) in hopes that you will gain greater self-acceptance: Ask an elephant why he's raising his trunk, and he says, "Dunno, I'm just doing it." Ask a tiger why she's running so fast, and she says, "Dunno, I'm just doing it." Ask a monkey why he's swinging from a tree, and he says, "Dunno, I'm just doing it." It goes on, but you get the idea.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You, my little space warriors, are leading the brigade to the future. Your bizarre rituals, strange costumes and quirky ways of speaking provide that breath of fresh air people need to leave their tired outdated lifestyles behind. And you project that aura of breezy comfort amidst admittedly unusual circumstances, so that you'd make it seem perfectly natural to be sipping chai with 10-foot alien mung beetles while circling the galaxy on a wind-powered space go-kart. It helps others feel more relaxed than they otherwise might. Well, as there may be more mung beetle encounters and go-kart adventures than usual in the next few weeks, do you best to be more outwardly caring, a bit less detached and explicitly nurturing to soften the shock for those more sensitive to change than you. Touching, hugging, unelicited compliments, admitting to your secret vulnerabilities—all are good techniques. Or make up one of your own.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Did you just hear something? Wait, was that…? Oh, don't worry, it's just those voices again. You may not believe this, but you're not the only one who hears quiet messages whispered from the great beyond, wherever that may be. Of course, I'm not trying to make you feel less unique. Your special voices are your special voices, with wise cosmic advice intended solely for you. They are a gift. So quit freaking out if they have something to say, and don't let it affect your ability to get a good night's sleep either. And, odd as this advice might sound, don't blame your home for it either. The walls aren't breathing, the kitchen isn't out to get you, and the bathroom doesn't think you're fat or stupid. Remembering that we've all been there, maybe you might want to share some of what you hear with someone else, so you release the tension and feel a little more grounded.