Horoscopes | Week of October 25-31, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Risks are easiest taken alone, so one need not share the responsibility if the final results don't turn out as planned or desired. But though you may act independently, you're not really acting alone and cannot get away from experiencing the aftereffect ripples of others' reactions to actions you take. Still, the decision of what you keep around—and, perhaps more importantly, what you discard—is ultimately yours. Whichever burdens you consciously choose to walk away from (hopefully the most unnecessary ones) will create a radical vacancy, a creative space to which others can respond by delivering unexpected ideas, sentiments, objects or relationship investments to freshen your spirit. Spaces you keep filled, meanwhile, will sustain their current state of affairs. Where do you want to create room for interactive growth, and where will you stay self-contained? Choices made now lead to accelerated response-times.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In an instant of honesty, you can reduce your self-identity to its core. Enough already with the outdated, irrelevant, disingenuous and/or just-plain-silly ideas about yourself, imbedded in uninterrupted scripts that repeat internally hypnotic anti-mantras until you manifest their negativity into being. Stop it. Your emotional development might usually occur in gradual drawn-out motion, but this moment right now could be one of those abrupt surges forward, should you wisely opt to step on the gas during this break in the traffic. To avoid whiplash, hold tight to those four or five qualities dearest to your self-definition—and only those that bolster your confidence qualify. Then, drop the rest at the side of the road, and speed away. If you're having trouble discerning which those core-value keepers are, let us tell you. We see a lot in you, without that squirrelly ego-invested self-protectiveness blocking our view. You must pare down, in order to fulfill that creative service to others you're destined to deliver. You want it; we ache for it; the universe calls for it.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Curiosity comes in different shapes and sizes. There's the kind that generates genius from thin air, the kind that killed the cat, and a host of gradations in between. Geminis are known as curious beings who ask questions and pick brains, scan headlines and skim articles, scurrying from interaction to interaction in hopes of gleaning one more piece of knowledge to add to the batch. To ensure that curiosity incites your ongoing edification and entertainment, do what you can to remain open, open, open. You don't want your thirst for information to be wasted on thirsting for trivial points to support already-held beliefs, do you? Approach your inquiries and explorations without expectation, surrendering as much of your sense-making function as possible. After all, you don't know. The most curious discoveries of them all almost resist description, understanding or apparent relevance to your becoming 'smarter' in some affirmable way. They don't make you surer of anything, though inconspicuously wiser. They only make you more curious, energizing you for further adventure and spiritual engagement in life.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): From inside you, I suspect it may often feel like a profound struggle to maintain a consistent sense of who you are. With that rich though unsteady swell of feelings, this minute 'elated, with a twist of mania' and the next 'guarded; slightly sad; cautiously optimistic', you're kept continually on your toes. Sometimes exhausting, but at least rarely boring. The persistent Saturn-in-Cancer challenge is to disallow your self-conceived identity to vary in correspondence to emotional fluctuations—you're never going to be that person who always feels 'fine, thank you', but you'll prosper by adopting an unwavering stance toward being your same self regardless. No talking yourself out of confidence because you have a momentary downdrift… you've been there before, you'll be there again, and you always come out of it fine. The lunar eclipse in your 11th begs the reminder that, from our perspective outside you, you always look the same to us. Our united group filter is not so unnervingly subjective. We've come to count on you for x, y or z. You're attuned. You care. From our view, you're more consistent than you think. Put on our systemic-view magic glasses for a bit, and etch what appears in the mirror through those lenses into your psyche. That image is an anchor; hold it when the currents pull.


LEO (July 23-August 22): A lunar-eclipse lesson follows axiomatically from last week's horoscope, Leo. If, on the inside, you're apt to meet with emotional intricacies and psychological surprises, you might best weather the squall by portraying the rock on the outside. This is not a call to explicitly hide your feelings or pretend that chaotic self-reinvention doesn't make it hard to stay solid and smooth on the surface. But no matter how conflicting the urges within may be—and no matter how dramatic the difference between who you've been and who you hope to be appears—there's still a certain public reliability you possess, and it's key to your satisfaction. At the root of your being, you're known as a special someone. There's a professional role you can't help but portray, but its most fundamental characteristics are specific and few. The rest is icing. That foundation is the part of your personality you're most sure will stick around while the other parts are reevaluated and, perhaps, left by the wayside. Slap on those safest bits, and keep singing your song. Offstage, you can gasp or gulp or yelp or weep or sleep.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Virgos can be so good at setting up rules and regulations—for themselves to obey or risk losing their own grace, for others to abide by or face being judged accordingly, for the completion of tasks to follow for most efficient and sound results—and, don't get me wrong, this is an inherent personality strength. Only through regularity can health-supportive routines be established, long-term work be accomplished or reliable relationships be sustained. But too much of a good ingredient spoils the taste of the whole soup. To fortify the resoluteness of your most vital guidelines, carry out a hypothetical desert-island exercise: If you could only bring along five golden rules by which to live your life, and everything else was to be left up to a moment's spontaneous judgment, which would they be? Phrased differently: If you were founding your own religion, how would your Ten Commandments read? This ethical operation both helps you articulate your most meaningful beliefs and shed the extraneous petty and punitive policies.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): What can't you do right now? The answer, Libra, is almost nothing. The only thing you can't do is pretend to uphold an unassuming air or try to dissolve into an insincere 'I'm fine with anything' wallflower. It's not just that good-luck Jupiter entered your sign a month ago. It's not just that the solar eclipse in your sign two weeks ago ushered in a gleaming new phase of self-prioritized potency. As of this week, you've got both Mars and your ruling-lady Venus in your sign too, giving you the push and pull, the subtle draw and the less subtle grab, to bring it all together. How many times do I have to tell you that now's the time? One point to add: I don't know if other people generally think of you as mild-mannered, but I know how strong-willed you are. You have a very strong will. That you're so good at managing its expression, out of respect or consideration or strategy, is testament to its strength. At this auspicious juncture, refine your longing to the base level—what do you want so desperately that you'd be willing to take it from someone else? Once you identify that, you can release the submerged hunger that might lead you to act unconsciously (secretly sabotaging that 'someone else' in the process), and go for the gusto on the up and up, getting what you want without anyone else having to inadvertently suffer from your indirectness.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Under the cosmically colored light of the eclipsed full moon, Scorpio, look closely at the people in your life and your attitudes toward them. Your best friends and professional peers, your most-trusted partners and your most-dreaded adversaries all hold solid positions which they may or may not deserve. But you desperately need your relationships right now, for loving support and hard-ass advice, to get out from inside that dark underworld within you. They are your stability… but which are keeping you grounded, and which are weighing you down? (I'll bet there are surprising results in both categories.) Reaffirm your loyalties, and reevaluate your fancies of romantic adoration and knee-jerk antagonism. What do you want from people? You want people who want you to want what you want, who are willing to help you distill your churning desires into palpable goals and back you in achieving them. Reach out, call for those people with passion. Put yourself completely in their trustworthy hands. Then, surrender your ego.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): 'What do you do?' How would you answer this question, Sag, if someone who couldn't care less about titles and credentials and interpersonal affiliations asked? To honor the lunar eclipse full moon in your 6th house of glory-free earthly toil and selfless physical service, I want you to ponder your truest responses in the most mundane terms. For instance, being the CEO of a corporation is not 'what you do'. If that's your position, what you (hopefully) do is provide inspiration and leadership to empower others to do their best work, overseeing the united success of the whole organization. Reduce that further, and 'what you do' is talk and make decisions, or travel and meet people, come up with ideas, sit at your computer sending emails, or boss others around. Think about your daily expenditures of energy in this fashion, and be honest. Do you make things with your hands? Do you bring out beauty? Do you tell the truth? Do you follow instructions? Do you improve efficiency? Do you stroke egos? Once you've simplified your work to its lowest common denominator, then you'll be better able to determine (1) if you're actually using your efforts to provide some service to the world and (2) whether what you do is in line with what you're trying to achieve and/or how you want to be known. If these determinations yield gaps, now is a good time to start thinking about how to shrink them.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): I want to follow up the two-weeks-old solar-eclipse advice, Cap, with a corresponding lunar-eclipse emotional correction. Before, I told you to embrace your ambition and channel your people-pleasing power toward a particular personally-pleasing purpose. Now, under the eclipse-empowered Taurean full moon in your 5th, you must face off with that virtually unmovable emotional nucleus in your center, which reacts with forcefully expressed sturdiness if it feels too much pressure to compromise its essence for someone else's preference. That meaty kernel inside is something to listen to, for it will grow increasingly dissatisfied and resentful if you force it underground in order to achieve some public reputation that disrespects it. But, on the other hand, you can't simply indulge its every self-sustaining whim and expect others to hand you your accomplishments on a silver platter. Which integral values should never be compromised, and which are merely symbols of pigheadedness that are ripe for the trashbin? Only you can know for sure… and don't hastily mistake one for another, based upon whether you get or don't get exactly what you want in the outer-world realm.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Astrological novices often make the mistake of thinking Aquarius is a water sign because of the whole water-bearer thing. Of course, we know it couldn't be further from the air-sign truth. Being a water-bearer means that you're able to shoulder the emotional weight of dynamic, ever-changing situations, whereas others are more likely to become overwhelmed, swept off-course or suspended in paralyzing anxiety. Change, as you know better than any zodiac sign, is the regular state of being. You stand steady in this distanced perspective, holding the vessel in your sturdy hands so others may drink from it. That very chill in your character (which your more intimate companions sometimes wish would warm) helps you keep a cool head. But it doesn't mean you don't have your own emotional needs, in those private moments when no one is calling on you to support or inspire. And admit it—you sort of wish you didn't have emotional needs at all. Aquarius, from that view, is one of the loneliest signs, uncomfortable with handing the basin over to someone else to bear for a while. However, true Aquarian strength owns its emotional vulnerabilities; it picks the few most crucial feelings and embraces them, inviting in the few most crucial confidantes and practicing the few most nurturing behaviors. That rock in its center is strong and vital, not icy and confined. It bears the water for others from a place of connectedness, not emotional isolation.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I'm on a crusade to convince Pisceans to take their commitment to not taking things too seriously more seriously. It's only through the unfathomably penetrating descent into slovenly psychologies—not to mention your perpetual psychic alignment with the nothingness of everything—that you must reemerge into the oddly-colored lunar-eclipse light, wash your hands, crack a wise-aleck remark or two, and get back to discussions of Lindsay Lohan or Hilary Duff. It's a testament to your great wisdom when you can interweave power-packed observations of profound truth with baseball scores, cargo pants and popstars who lip-sync. There's something rather shallow about trying to be deep all the time, and it can be exhausting to perpetually entertain meaningful emotions about every single thing you contact. Ground yourself with a dose of your favorite trivial nonsense. Then spread the goodwill with a healthy helping of insignificant chatter. Believe me, it's significant.