Horoscopes | Week of November 8-14, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): We definitely shouldn't blame the people we're with for all the unreasonable reactions we have to their behaviors. Sure, they do some things frustratingly out of our control, and we can't help but respond in light of whatever emotions were instinctively stirred up within us. Or so this is the story we tell ourselves. But actually, we can help ourselves to curtail our responses, even if our stirred-up feelings continue that uncomfortable gurgling. And the way we go about revising this reactivity is by reviewing the other times in the past we've felt the same feelings. At some previous—and now quaintly outmoded—point in our histories, we developed this undesired response mechanism as a defense to somebody else's frustratingly-out-of-our-control behaviors. It's quite likely, in our earlier and far less mature incarnations, we blamed our parents or siblings or first-loves… whomever it was that caused us to experience pain or hurt or shame, even if unintentionally. And we replied with our own version of annoying self-interest: avoidance? antipathy? aggression? avengement? But this person in front of us is probably not that same initial instigator of our unresolved psychic wound. Or on the off chance it is (hi, Mom! hi, Dad!), then we must rise to the recognition that we are not the same person we were back then. Instead of lashing out when the urge may be to do so, lash inward, scourging away not at yourself but at the unconsciousness that blocks the ouch inside. Unpack the past hurts behind the present-day reflexes, and those you share intimacy with will thank you by responding with respect.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Like someone who breaks a fast must return to food very slowly or risk becoming sick, it's time for you to reintroduce compromise into your diet after this spell of dutiful self-enclosure. Don't misinterpret by inferring I think you've become selfish—no, I understand you've merely done exactly what you needed to do. Indeed, this drive to serve on behalf of your own well-being came from far beyond self-indulgence; you hardly compromised with yourself, let alone others, in how it had to happen. Now, though, the tides are shifting back into social mode. And in order to reestablish or reaffirm the desired intensity in your most important one-on-ones, you might have to replay old offensives, with the intent of projecting meaningful interpersonal engagement into your encounters. In this interim, both sides of the relationship—that is, you and them—have stiffened into place, out of the practice of bending toward each other. Some instigation, whether it's a bold step forward or a relived conflict or an aggressive embrace, may be required to break the ice and restore vivacity. Don't be discouraged if the first few strokes are difficult and strain your muscles. You may be out of habit, but you've got the tenderness and the tenacity to power past the charley-horse and reenter the world of companionship.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): (Part One) Let me rearrange last week's advice this way: Hold back a little without repressing the tendencies. Still continue to have fun, but in a 'whistle while you work' capacity. Put your own needs first by putting your own needs second. Don't eat the whole cake tonight; eat a reasonably sized piece every night for a week. Do as much as you can without strain, but perhaps more than you might if catering to every indulgent whim. Dream about a better world, but continue functioning efficiently in this one. (Part Two) Have you ever consciously refrained from sex (yes, this includes masturbation) in order to heighten your responsiveness a week or two down the line? I'm not necessarily telling you to do this, but it serves as a model for the combined denial-of-gratification/intensification-of-gratification I recommend for you, Gemini. I suspect you'll gain a lot of perspective and reward from choosing a favorite pleasure you partake in often enough to have cheapened its effect and postponing your next enjoyment of it for a couple weeks. Around Full Moon time, let yourself return to its delight, and just see what you've gained in the process.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you can sit here with a straight face and claim to have been in the same mood for the past week, then I must tell you: I don't believe you. I'm willing to believe that you believe what you're saying, but it's time to question the trustworthiness of the internal narrator whose job it is to fill in the blanks and provide artificial anecdotal continuity to the inherently disjointedness of emotional truth. In order to prove my point that, based upon what actor you've got playing the part of (fictionalizing) historian, you're only recalling a portion of what you've actually felt, I propose an exercise. To mark the concluding days of this eclipse-wearying lunar cycle and Friday's New Moon in your house of creativity and love, why don't you keep an ongoing chronicle—on paper, in words or pictures—of each emotion that comes and goes in the course of a week? Carry a scrap in your pocket to record the breadth and depth of what you experience over seven short days of your life. It can be a simple list of words. Happy… Agro… Downtrodden… Claustrophobic… Needy… Manic… Excited… Scared… Pissed. Or you can let your creative juices run wild with the exercise and get artistic with each entry. A cloud blocks the sun… Pizza, with no calories… Mom yells at me, even though I did my best… Vacuum-sealed and air-tight… Pained compassion for the unjustly imprisoned. The intent is to get you back in touch with the dynamic emotional variability that makes Cancerians so unique. It'll also help you get a handle on the reality of any given day, a challenge that Saturn's continued presence in your sign is asking you to meet.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Last week, I raised the possibility that you might currently be lacking the most comprehensive self-understanding of which emotions you've invested in which people, projects or circumstances. Please, oh please, don't take that as criticism. It's something we all fall victim to, at one point or another. We aren't always ready to recognize our emotional blind-spots until somebody else pokes them with a stick and we leap into the air in agony and/or defensiveness. The coming month offers the promise of delving further into your emotions, to learn more about those things you've momentarily overlooked, so you can better anticipate your personal cause/effect triggers and head off those slapdash responses to interpersonal stimuli at the pass. Alas, in order to get deeper into it, you might have to put up a bit of a struggle—or, alternately, a struggle might have to put up a bit of you. In other words, if you don't consciously fight past the seamless surfaces to get to the mess in the middle, you're likely to elicit one or more combative interactions that force you inward. At least you can take solace in knowing that much of this emotional self-exploration—even those parts which may be instigated through interpersonal conflict—will happen privately. No one will be able to observe how 'in the process' you are. Worry about yourself, and not what anyone else thinks; they don't think nothin' about it.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This could well be prime time to speak up or write down, since you're one of the least hasty of the bunch to speak or write, and we'd welcome some more calmly formulated thoughts on matters. That doesn't mean these must be profound words or carefully calculated communications—don't put that kind of pressure on yourself. I'm speaking more about the casual kind of kind-hearted commonplace crap, the type you offer as a means for drawing others out of their shells. It's been an emotional month, and, if you've been heeding the planets' tidings and sticking close to your own stability-supporting endeavors, your current footing is far more solid than that of the others. You're in the best position to spin us out of psychic wonderland and into the prosaic everyday, with a couple comments intended to lighten the mood and reinstate the social ties among circumspect strangers and world-wearied acquaintances. Deliver to them the kind of messages no one can really have much problem with, or else bait them into silly disagreements about irrelevant topics that will release competitive steam but never be mistaken for serious business. You're smart and secure; you understand what to do.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Used to be, when I worked at a consumer goods company, we'd often discover that the inventory numbers in the computer didn't match the inventory quantities sitting on the warehouse shelves. Believe me, it's hard to fulfill all the customer orders when you aren't sure how much of what is in stock. Instead of using our people-power to sell more stuff, we found ourselves regularly employed in counting and recounting, half-packing shipments and then unpacking them, holding the orders until supplies were replenished. Libra, I would hate for you to squander your steam like we did, by not staying up-to-date on what you've got and what you wish you had, what's on backorder and what's still in production. Fight the urge to assume you know, based upon how things used to be (or how you imagine they should be). Take a physical inventory, and adjust the numbers in the computer accordingly. Once you've got good information to work with, you'll instinctively understand which overabundant items could be placed on promotion to drive extra traffic down your aisles, and which scarce resources must be dispensed with care so you don't run out during this fertile selling season.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): 'A month from now,' I was ready to write, 'you won't know what has hit you.' Until, that is, I reinterpreted the forthcoming astrology—and my innate understanding of Scorpios—to realize that you'll know exactly what hit you, since you're the one doing all the hitting. To clarify, starting with this Friday morning's New Moon in your sign, you will begin to develop increasing energy for busting out of hibernation and forging forward into new territory. Mars is joining the Scorpio party this week, too, delivering enough momentum to fight off those doldrums (and whatever fears lurk beneath their veneer). Get going. No more excuses for working 'smart' (i.e., slow) or 'strategic' (i.e., self-protective). You can't control the outcome, only the effort and enthusiasm you invest. But trust me, it's a good month to start going out to get what you imagine you want… as long as you recognize you don't truly know what that is yet. That shouldn't halt your progress, though. Try your best to remain active and dynamic every day, without worrying about what you're molding this vigor into. The shape of the vessel will make itself known later. Keep hitting the ball as far as you can, into the bleachers and out of the park. Someone will catch it—and return it to you, with some offer attached.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): I feel obliged to mention, Sag, that sometimes the indirect method works better than making the beeline straight ahead. Sometimes, for instance, if you mistakenly assume you're moving 'straight' because the windows are fogged up or you're drunk or lost or you merely lack the necessary insight to identify which direction is 'ahead', the circuitous route is the only one available. Yet—and this might be a stretch for the less faithful among you—everybody always gets where they need to go, sooner or later. It might strain your patience to take seven or eight detours on your way. Or perhaps you'll begin to appreciate that the final destination could end up far less satisfying than the inadvertent pitstops on the way. Maybe, even, following the breadcrumbs led you back somewhere you've been before and regretted having left. Do your best to reserve passing judgment or proclaiming 'We're here!' when you can hardly distinguish 'here' from 'there'. Save the blunt blurtings for exclamatory prayers of thanksgiving, observations of wonder, and nonsense noises. Don't waste 'em on discursive declarations. What you call the back-road could be the main highway, and that forest might in fact be a prairie clearing in the middle of the city.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Despite the fact you've perfected the 'don't worry about me, I'll be fine' self-confinement routine, there have been times when you've rejoiced in a 'we're in this together' camaraderie that defies your obstinate self-reliance. Rather than reject having your destiny inextricably lumped in with the others', you were happy to stand together with them and, if need be, fall together with them. Someone was always there to lend a hand to help yank you up. Whether these are real memories or depictions of an idealized group-think you barely acknowledge a longing for, try to ponder what goes on in that alternate universe where you gratefully resist holding the big burdens on your lonesome shoulders and gladly shrink back from sole responsibility. Perhaps, from this alternate perspective, you'll admit your wealth of talents is overvalued when applied in isolation… and true resource-richness spawns from binding together and inspiring each other in trustworthy allegiance. This week, work on consciously unraveling the fantasy that individual achievement is of greater worth than conjoining forces—and take one step away from self and toward the group to reflect this changing consciousness.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Aquarians are notorious for resisting authority figures of all kinds—parents, bosses, police officers, leaders in the field and masters of the game—almost in unreasonable resistance to the necessity of authority itself. At times, some might argue, Aquarians are simply contrary for the stubborn sake of it. Let's get one thing straight: The world needs the kind of 'nothing is sacred' disruptiveness you're known for providing, or it would become stale and stiff. You ask the right questions to make the power-players think before blindly persisting. And you aren't afraid to stand out by demanding the alternative be heard out. But authority is necessary, I'm not-so-sorry to say—both to keep total chaos from erupting and to enact the types of populist reforms you'd advocate, were you in charge. Someone's got to be in charge, and it just as easily could be you as the people you've fought in the past. Maybe, in fact, it will be you… but it's not likely, until you revisit that past and relive those fights with fathers, flatfoots, feds, foremen and forces-to-be-reckoned-with. You are the flip side of them. How might you have battled for the ascendancy of your valiant ideas without having made it personal? The answer to this reflection could be the path to your own authority. A hint: Someone else need not be wrong in order for you to be right.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): You'd be the emotionally wisest of the signs, Pisces, if only you had unfettered access to the volumes of knowledge encoded in your every nervous, flitting shudder. Unfortunately for your conscious mind, the vaults of eternal cosmic scholarship shut and lock at the close of every lifetime… and along with it, the fullest comprehensibility of everything you know is seemingly lost. This week, though, a lesson previously learned and forgotten will likely hiccup its way back through the portal. You will recognize it as enlightened truth by the way it abruptly appears, unattached to whatever else is going on in the mundane sense… and by how clear it is to you, in contrast to those many other tenuous 'truths' that still riddle you with doubt (for good reason). You will appreciate its profundity because it does little to either bolster or bombard your ego, because, in a way, it isn't really about you… except for the fact that you fathom its perfection, inside and out. It may be a tiny truism or a mammoth maxim, no matter. It has revealed itself for you to teach and preach it, fondly and fiercely, over the next four weeks. Own your emotional expertise as you impart and imbue… just don't reek of superiority in the process, even if, in this arena, you happen to be superior.