Horoscopes | Week of October 18-24, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Everyone can see what you're doing. It's futile to attempt to sheathe your motivations, to pretend that others' activities won't collide with and complicate your processes. Due diligence over dashing disregard will be rewarded. You'll soon realize how much more you get through the act of giving… and I'm not speaking in valiantly metaphoric terms about procurement of impalpable abstracts. We're talking real stuff, in abundance, by not worrying so much about yourself. Favor patient public strategies, with nothing up your sleeve and a slowed-down concentration of energy expended over extended periods (not puffed away in bursts). You've got more to work with than stereotypically Arien movement and might… try fastidious stacking of pieces upon other chunks atop a base, with steady hand and unwavering observational attunement. People are watching you watch, and waiting to see if you quietly amount to more than your reputation for transience.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Go on, put it all out there. Pussyfooting around will merely reap you responses from the reservoir of superficiality, a result you'll quickly grow to resent. We only reply in kind… so give us some meaty expression of internally unresolved emotional density, and we'll return the favor. Building in intensity over the week, interactions drenched with such watery weight, you'll want to wring 'em out and hang 'em up to dry. Aim not for the readily settled conclusion. Instead, reach into the creamy filling, and mash around in the mush. Resurface with the smudged detritus stuck to your face, and don't try to explain the stain away. Tell us everything we need to know to honor you as an emotionally complex individual whose emotional complexity bears no threat to rooted stability. The water courses through the vessels, nourishing tip to top, but doesn't shake the shoot. Your feelings stick out in show; artistify the choreography.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Have you started working on your Halloween costume yet? I say: Dress up like someone from one of your past lives. Don't believe in 'em? Then occupy some role with particular residual resonance, or play out a story from your dreams in magnificent mirrored mimicry. The point of the exercise I'm recommending over these next two weeks, Gemini, is to take your predilection for experimenting with different personas to a more mystical end and temporarily enact a subject-position with some private or mysterious spiritual meaning for you. If you've always been inexplicably drawn to ancient Egypt, act like King Tut or the goddess Isis. If medieval Europe is your bag, become lord or lady of the manor or some peculiarly revolutionary serf. Pull out your fullest self-expression of this chosen transpersonal archetype, and your fun will hold supernatural power beyond your immediate portrayal. If you're not the dress-up type, use writing or some other creative form for channeling this mythic scenario into being. Otherwise, you're wasting the gift of the season.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Out, from personal to socially enveloping. Out, from paralysis and into tempering alliance with the less emotional. Make your feelings move you somewhere, toward a place where every tiny sentiment needn't mean so much all the time. Sometimes, lived life requires abstracting individual moments into casual tales to tell or bracketed occasions of toughened-up imperturbability. Detached, but connected. Sometimes, finding the distancing strength to dream beyond experience requires a promise to yourself: 'No fleeting sensation will undermine this utopic vision, and every feeling fleets.' Your mind will tell you how it will be, as if it were giving an inspirational speech to the masses and anticipating accountability to the pbulic. There's no wiggle room to veg out, to fan the funk by feeding the feeling, or to call on hypersensitivity as an excuse for excusing yourself from the table. Nowhere but here; no choice but with all of us.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Brace for contending with a wider range of potentially surprising internal reactions to your experiences in the outer-world life, where what you are recognized (or not recognized) for achieving (or not achieving) has a more elaborate entanglement of psychological sensations than you usually fully grasp. You're not simply appreciated or taken for granted, loved or overlooked. Beyond your basic needs for approval and affection lie so many other interwoven puzzle-pieces—fear, envy, rebelliousness, authority, condescension, ambition, anger, loss, competitiveness. A single moment's spontaneous sputter may exhibit no clear symptoms of any one of these feelings, independent or easy to declare… but they're still likely there. Pause in the murk of these strange convolutions, and identify the different voices who, speaking on top of one another, mask each other's core traits. When you feel something, you're more likely feeling several things at once. Experience, extract, extricate, expose. It matters to your external success that you understand why you want it, fear it, undermine it, disbelieve it and/or overidentify with it.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): How I Swam through the Mud and Still Look Flawless, the new memoir from the award-winning author Virgo, details an individual's journey contending with the fear that blocked her from realizing her truest dreams, all the while refusing to whine or resign herself to public messiness. Read how she still grapples with accepting her newfound confidence, as dark feelings of unworthiness continue to burble as subterranean threat. 'I learned, through experience, that every emotion I've ever felt will be with me forever,' Virgo explains, 'but there is a strength in staying connected to—rather than inhibited by—history. Each rising hurt or horror, I call it what it is and squire it to its proper domain, where it is allowed to rest in its full self, comfortably contained without being dishonored.' Virgo, having finally gotten enough emotional perspective and distance from the eye of the storm, shares her recent experiences and several concrete strategies for coping with change as a means for inspiring others to stay steadfast and strong when the world is at its most disorienting. Sure to be a best-seller.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): The eclipse effect persists, along with the stellar setting for Libran magic in all its forms. Leading up to the full moon lunar eclipse next week, you're being pushed to acknowledge that putting your own desires ahead of your typical reactionary responsive behaviors involves more completely fleshing out what those desires are. Desire, unlike simple 'want', is passionate and disorderly and reeks of neediness… it has a basic quality that can offend Libran civility. No matter, my dear Libra lovey-dovey, because you simply have no choice—that is, if you plan to utilize this super-fortunate phase of your life to its fullest advantage—but to ditch the calm-cool-and-collected routine and indulge in more extreme expressions, exhibitions and excesses. You have wildly uncontrollable emotions of various varieties, too… you've just chosen to (try to) control them (er, underplay their importance). But playing it safe by moderating and modulating will merely keep everything as is. If you want to expand beyond previous limits, let your feelings show big and refuse to corral them to suit anyone else's delicate decorum.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): By week's end, you'll have the Sun and Mercury on your side, joining forces to pull head from ass and provide conscious mental direction to your prior confusion. Now that you have some more clear-cut words and concepts at your disposal, reach out and seek help. I don't mean 'seek help' in the go-get-your-head-shrunk sense—although if that rings a certain bell to you, then maybe head in that direction—but more in a basic lean-on-your-loved-ones manner. You have not yet resolved the spiritual issues that block you from finding peace in the chaos, but you're in a better position to describe and discuss and discreetly debate what's been going down. Don't worry so much about 'fixing' yourself, and merely open up to the possibility that one or two random things someone else says might miraculously lead you on a new intellectual exploration of your emotional inexplicability. You'll have a rather dynamic time come November and December, and it'd be nice to enlist the perspectives of allies in preparation for the action.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Please re-read last week's horoscope for you, Sag, because it's still horribly resonant. Basically, there's just so much intensity permeating every smiling step you take, it's quite hard for you to disentangle as much as would help your practical ambitions. Each inch forward seems attached to a personality and, consequently, is hyper-personal. Is there any way to remove people from the equation, to reduce the terms to (1) you, (2) your body and (3) the obligatory tasks you must complete to keep you and your body in functioning order? Can the energy you spend on replaying past relationships, immersing in current intimacies, and fantasizing about future dalliances be redirected into reviewing your own past work habits, restoring your current attention to responsibility, and envisioning a future of more solid health and hygiene? Everything involving everyone else is so highly charged right now, I wouldn't expect the interpersonal to be as productive as the real-world mundane.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In contemplating you, Cap, I'm struck by an acute recurrence of the word integration. I'm thinking it stems from all the recent and current stimulation in the angular houses of your chart, pressuring you to balance self and other, public and private, in a singularly holistic conception that leaves nothing that's 'you' out of You. It's not merely the pleasant professional or punctilious provider who is the preferable You—it's also the guy or gal with the propensity for cruel self-treatment, the angry inner child, the fearmonger afraid of fearing fear, and whoever else co-occupies those bones and flesh. These characters need their conscious say, or their eventual eruptive acting-out will trip you up every time. Don't lash out or self-skewer with that Capricorn brand of self-criticality… those behaviors only skim the surface symptoms. When in such unpleasant guises, pull from the heart to speak or write or draw about the hidden emotions prompting the display. You are not allowed to act ornery unless you agree to include expressions of the root cause, not just a lot of unmitigated bitching. But rise to that cathartic creative challenge, and we'll permit some extra grumbling free of charge.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Days progress. New opportunities develop, turn stale and pass away. Tensions give out. Contractions become exhalations. Movement continues moving. And yet I'm regularly returned to Neptune's persistent presence in your 1st house through 2011, which keeps that fog bank hovering smack over your reflection in the mirror. Sure, sometimes the cloud momentarily drifts higher or lower in the sky, or thins out for a moment before getting dense again, but it never goes away. And due to its lingering obstinate residency in your sign, you're unable to force that hyper-acute knack for seeing the whole as more than the sum of its parts to include you in the picture. Your peripheral views are just as keen, but you can't seem to see into the center. The downside is the recurring self-doubt that arises from never knowing quite how your actions are supposedly contributing to your development into the person you've always wanted to be. The upside, though, is the spiritual freedom to do what you're doing without hampering it with identity questions. I've said it before, and I'll say it again during these next 7 years: Don't worry so much about what it means as whether, in your gut of guts, it just feels right.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): When all the other zodiac signs experience their periodic effusions of emotional extremity, like they're doing now as we go deeper into Scorpio season, they count on your trademark compassion. This time, though, you can offer more than the predictable sympathetic expressions and depressions, your crying of others' tears or the sensing of someone else's anger in your gritted teeth and tightened forearms. You have a number of factors encouraging you to speak words of wisdom, aloud or in writing. Assume a radical form of psychic sympathy by retaining recent advancements in liberation from codependent merging and speaking from the outsider position. Don't go all the way into their feelings, when you can philosophize from the safer stance of your own lived memories. Be bold, and tell them how it is according to you. If the whole act of advising is too risky, then slip a few sentences of guidance into casual chit-chat and quickly change topics. The point, though, is not to shy from the role of counselor when you have knowledge and experience from which to counsel. Otherwise, the emotional wisdom you've gleaned from difficult periods in your life is all for naught.