Horoscopes | Week of November 1-7, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): All this talk about togetherness sounds right enough… you know you're supposed to play well with others, to work out potential conflict through negotiation and compromise, to heed the effects your actions have on others… so why does it sometimes feel so personally encroaching? Perhaps part of this internal rub comes from being a bit unsure about which topics beg for you to just 'throw in the towel' on, and which you can justifiably hold firm on in uncompromising commitment to yourself. Being cooperative does not entail giving in on every issue, putting aside your considerable will, only to later resent those to whom you've conceded and, perhaps, to eventually explode back into independence. Truest cooperation requires some individual work be done first, so that you can personally differentiate between (1) your emotional needs for certain behaviors, attitudes or circumstances in your life and (2) your pride-motivated drives to assert separateness and/or your unconsciously self-centered actions. It would be a shame to ignore this particularly fruitful time for uniting in strong partnership due to issues in category (2), not because what they represent is inherently bad but because this moment is so richly relationship-oriented for you. Meanwhile, knowing what falls in (1) and calmly standing up for it makes you a better partner to whomever's on the other end. Sacrificing core emotional values will not support collaboration; if you feel you're doing this, go back to the negotiation table.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Address the tasks with cordial poise. Do not curse or fight their demands, but treat them with the same polite sociability you would a guest in your home with whom you're not so well-acquainted. It's only been three weeks since the 6th-house solar eclipse called on you to revise your responsibility-fulfilling habits, but that's enough time to assess whether this new attention to service has been adequately synthesized into your consciousness. Well, has it? With Venus and Jupiter conjoining in that same Libran locale, you have another fortuitous chance to revisit this question. The other planetary factors ask that I add a couple more instructive insights, to encourage you to keep tweaking those to-do lists. (1) Don't forget to include wormholes into your weekly regimen, allowing yourself the freedom to rearrange a particular day's activities so you can explore an emotional fancy or two along the way. A successful work process must include enough chances for spontaneous-fun detours (of reasonable size, of course) so life doesn't become sheer drudgery. (2) At this point, other people's opinions—both the actual opinions of real other people and the perceived judgments supposedly falling on you from abstract 'other people'—can't be permitted to pull you too far from what you feel, deeply and truly, to be the work you need to accomplish. Let them (the real people and the ones in your head) know that what you're doing now ultimately benefits them, even if it temporarily pulls you away.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): More inspiring occasions to unfurl the loveliest elements in you, through optimistic expressions of affection and participation in all forms of play, anything that reminds you why living is so delightful. Even more useful is the productive tension that beseeches you to find little ways to do this all the time (not just when astrologers say 'now's the time')—and doing so without overlooking the practicalities of survival. Yes, you can be the careful one and the carefree one at the same time. Just remember that not everybody in the zodiac family is getting an equivalent dose of buoyant enthusiasm. Especially when, with Mercury heading into your 7th house in bluntly-to-the-point Sagittarius, you could inadvertently offend the other person by forgetting to consider his/her less-than-favorable situation when speaking boldly about your own highest ideals. You may be reaching for the stars while they're reaching to pull the covers over their heads. As long as your goal is legitimately spreading love, you should be able to get past the resistance on their end—and learn from listening to their much-different perspective in the process. Just be compassionate if they instinctively bristle upon first contact with you… these are tense times, and you might accidentally serve as a projection of someone else's tension. Don't let it spoil your fun, though. If you stick with it, fun usually wins.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Hold on, muddle through, and ride the wave. Emotions are riding high for all of us, and you, monarch of emotions, cannot help but be greatly affected by the rest of us being greatly affected. As I've repeatedly told you, stay firm on the outside and consciously project a stoic bravery. 'Yes,' your posture should tell them, 'I know exactly how difficult it is to function productively in an environment of overpowering sensitiveness. Grief, rage, shame, sorrow, uncertainty… I've felt them all. Yes, they hover, unattached. Yes, they dissipate when you go to touch your fingers to them, frustrating logic. I know better than most, in my bones, and I sustain through it.' Model the authoritative approach to feelings—acceptance of responsibility, commitment to due diligence, appreciation of future benefits to temporary trials—but never preach repression, since we're all aware it doesn't work. And then, after portraying the nurturing hard-ass, privately and calmly tend to your personal vulnerabilities, safe within shell, tweaked by the public commotion of too much sensation. This truth, you know so well. You're best equipped among us to broker the tradeoff between personal affectivity and communal fortitude. Do it for us, which is also for you.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Keep conversation light, and pursue those topics of thought least likely to incite too much passion on anyone's part. Frankly, there's enough passion coursing through everybody's systems, and you can never safely predict which offhand remark you intend as detached chatter will hit someone else on a sensitive spot. Heck, you can't even foresee your own full emotional investment on certain issues until someone else says that discomfiting something to you… then, oh, you'll know. So practice the fine art of sidestepping controversy, and address everyone with the protocol you would a potential big-bucks client whose personal proclivities and motivations are still a mystery to you—with a combination of caution, platonic flirtation, and bending with the wind. Better, at this juncture, to swallow some of your own pride than to be unexpectedly bombarded by theirs. The floor is littered with eggshells, and you're wearing brand-new shoes… careful where you step.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Circumvent the mob mentality, limiting how much you indulge the collective sentiment and its impact on your unmediated, non-abstract, not-an-ideological-example-of-anything real life. They could all be holding hands and celebrating, sobbing or sighing, and it shouldn't sway you from your overarching undertaking, which is tending to your metaphoric garden. No matter what is in limbo out there somewhere, you are still very capable of keeping dignified care over the qualities and skills and projects you're propagating as a firm base for your future self. You've come too far from where you were to rush this foundation-establishing phase; staying true to practical purpose now is the best way to avoid backsliding. You must envision providing your own shelter and not worry so much about what's being widely reported on 'the state of things'. Don't let them determine your level of security from the outside. At the end of the day, it's still you providing the food, paying the bills, and keeping everything running smoothly. No one can take that from you, but, if you're not fighting the fear machine and staying acutely conscious of your personal goals, you're liable to hand it away.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Limits, self-imposed or otherwise, can be helpful at moments such as these, when everything and its brother is liable to hop onto your dinner plate and beg to be eaten, if you want to keep from expanding to rotund proportions. Now, Librans being the modest diplomats that you are, I find it hard to imagine you pigging out on the world's offerings with such distaste (forget that your inner cravings might rage far past what your civility outwardly allows). Rather than just repeat for the zillionth time how wildly fortuitous your life's situation currently is—and, with Venus and Jupiter coming together in your sign this week, it's still crème-de-la-crème—I'm taking this different approach, warning of the pitfalls of too much opportunity. Lest you climb up on those hind legs and start (somewhat distastefully, I might add) clamoring some crap about 'Where is all this good luck you're promising? When does mine show up?', I must point out that a textbook Libran example of excess would entail total indecisiveness and/or paralysis, stemming from the sheer overwhelming abundance of choices available for you to turn into greatness. Chosen action is essential for luck to happen; otherwise, you're merely a vivid dreamer with a comfortable seat on the couch. To help choose, keep your highest goals in mind and pick those good-luck options that include baby-steps upward to them.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Basically, it's one more week of grappling to wade through the thick mud, pushing to pull, pulling to push, heaviness encumbering each movement of your limbs as it bumps against inertia. Then, next week, it finally breaks—not in one dramatic clean-sweep, but with assistance from the planets in starting over, again, without feeling like every step is a fight. But here, still, in the midst of the mud, can you muster the spiritual courage to stop fighting? Will you admit that you're not going to make it from here to there in the (unreasonable) time allotted? Knowing that the battle is about to get a lot easier, are you willing to appreciate that this stint in the doldrums amounts to some of the best luck you've had all year? I suspect your deep understanding of how human transformation functions hints at the pure silver lining to this stormcloud and, underneath your rightful grief-laden snarl, the beginning corners of a smile are slowly appearing. If nothing else, you must be able to grumble out a guffaw at the utter absurdity of your current position, right? Go on, laugh at how you can't believe where you are—'hey, how did I end up here anyhow?'—and that will serve as the ultimate, life-affirming, loud, passionate banshee shriek that illogically and senselessly clears the path to next week's new beginning. Wallow in surrender to your mess, then grab a towel and turn on the water so it has a chance to heat up before getting in.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): First off, I want to commend you for the possibility that you're a know-it-all… for, when I use that term, which is usually deployed in tongue-in-cheek fashion to imply that someone doesn't know all he thinks he knows, I actually mean it. It's highly likely that you actually do know all that you think you know. Now, hoping that flattery has gotten me everywhere with you, I must append this commendation with a caveat against acting like a know-it-all—even if you are one. I return you to your horoscope for the week of the solar eclipse, which encourages psychological disengagement in order to grease the social wheels and solidify your group allegiances. Back then, I focused on your need to reduce your personal reactions so you could be more open to group-minded efforts toward the shared vision. This week, I want to add that a part of maintaining this group perspective is to remain conscious of others' potential reflexive responses and to smooth the sharp edges from any opinion you feel obliged to offer. As I've said, you may be absolutely positively right in the truths you propose, but emotions are running high… and Mercury in your sign raises your likelihood of speaking too fast and pissing people off. The ultimate test to your present-time growth in group dynamics is to find a way to get your point across without anyone noticing that you knew the answer all along. A little psychic ventriloquism may be in order. Let them think it was their idea. Your detachment from needing to get the credit will only prove how ethically-minded you are.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Candidly put, I'm not wrong about your ability to get what you want in the professional or outer-world domain. The atmosphere remains heightened in providential promise, with Venus and Jupiter coming together in your 10th house of achievement, recognition and authority. But good luck doesn't always show up wearing a nametag that reads 'Hello, my name is Good Luck.' Not to mention that a significant portion of what deems this so fortuitous a moment comes from you learning how to ask—another person or the universe—for what you want. The sign we're talking about here is Libra, which means you have to balance the need for direct communication of your aspirations and desires with an agreeable demeanor toward mutually beneficial arrangements. Too much force toward self-possessed achievement, and you'll threaten the other stakeholders; not enough explicitly expressed desire, and they won't even know you're dissatisfied. Review your past three weeks, and evaluate what you've done well and not so well in striking this balance. And don't forget the 'wild card'-others' desires. If what you wanted didn't mesh well with what they want, the 'mutually beneficial arrangement' part simply could not be achieved. Believe me, you don't want what you want at the expense of someone else's preference… it's better this way… there are other roads to the same destination. Keep it up—the energy supports you, even if you're not sure how.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Keep your eyes high. Not hard for you to do, my aerially oriented pals, but so often difficult for the others. Much of what I wrote for you last week remains true, that you're well equipped to help the rest endure the emotional uncertainty and societal electricity. Thanks to the inimitable Aquarian vision, you can see past this moment's itchy antagonism toward a future of pacified concordance. You instinctively understand who needs to give what to whom, and what they need in return, in order to put all this unsettledness behind us and join together in magical splendor. What you cannot know, alas, is (1) when it's going to happen, (2) what has to change in the minds and hearts of individuals before it can happen, and (3) what incremental measures must be taken, and at what rate, in order to sustain the progress. Patience is not always a strong suit of Aquarius, though that's exactly what's called for on your end, so as not to bring on the wrong revolution at the wrong time and risk worsening the situation by igniting the flames of the reactionaries. Maintain your intellectual and humanitarian faith in the possibility of attaining your ideals, but reach past its abstract safety to close emotional contact with those who can't yet see what you see. Don't proselytize; just offer comfort. Be prepared for longer-term work, and let them come around in their own time.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Known for your unavoidable sensitivities to others' emotional states, you suffer the worst when the deluge of psychic dust hits and you can't see through the cloud to know it ain't your shit. BUT, is the sensitivity that bad when you consciously adopt the mode of compassion, when you willingly take on others' feelings because you're the one most accustomed to the emotional fog and are happy to be of assistance? With your commitment to trivial insignificance firmly in place, you can leverage that shallowness to ground yourself, if you're willing to venture into sacrificial territory and accept the spiritual responsibility for bearing feeling. By nature, Pisceans are self-effacing surrenderers, unconsciously desperate to shed these earthly apparatuses and float ego-free between galaxies, enjoying the rewards of transcendence. Unfortunately, this nature often plays out in unhealthy behaviors—co-dependency, addiction, escape from reality. Now, though, you have a chance to momentarily adopt a healthier role and still attain the same level of ego-release. Let yourself shoulder some of the weight of our collective nebulous emotions… we don't understand 'em like you do… and you're always so willing to help… do it convivially, consensually and within a specific frame… maybe a week or so, no more. Be of service, but only if you promise to emerge healed and refreshed by the service, not strained or overwrought. Otherwise, stick to shallow.