Horoscopes | Week of February 16-22, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Perhaps the most challengingly unnatural part of adopting the planetary call for some big switch in your life, Aries, is that it might seem you've already done it. After all, as I've delighted in reporting these past weeks, you've recently gone from circuitous tail-chasing to relief-filled, progress-promising movement. But this is all outwardly focused activity, decision-making with acts easily describable by you and results easily observable by other individuals. Alas, the combined New Moon-Uranus energy hits you where the sun don't shine, in the opaque recesses of your lesser-known senses and subtly-felt vibes. And you are long overdue for a recognition of this quiet, receptive, spiritually fulfilling/-ed piece of your personality, which requires that you slow down (for even when you're circling, you're moving at a sturdy pace!) and take time out to let inspiration and epiphany happen to you. The sudden called-for break from before might include a new commitment to more alone time, inclusion of a daily or weekly mystic ritual, a practice of meditation or dream journaling. You get the picture, and I even think you might get how important these things are—as ideas. But I'm not talking about talking, I'm talking about doing, a word you of all people should understand. And by the way, I just want to make sure that Venus in your sign, making a rose-colored sextile to dream-filled Neptune, isn't causing you to inaccurately overemphasize the extent of the hot charm being directed up your alley. Enjoyable, yes. Fleeting, maybe. Exactly as you think it is, not likely.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Students, it's time for me to collect your homework. If you'll recall the exercise assigned two weeks ago, it called for you to formulate one clear short-term goal that you're capable of accomplishing, something that, upon completion, will serve as both foundation and inspiration for continued accomplish-ment. You will not get credit for merely batting ideas around in your head without the commitment. I want you to put it down on paper. Writing things out helps to bring them into being, and you'll be more likely to dedicate daily initiative to the goal if it's staring back at you from its position on your desk or your refrigerator door. The month's Moon cycle, starting at Friday morning's New Moon, is rich with celestial assistance for Taureans in breaking past patterns of inertia by providing additional verve and vigor for completing projects that propel you toward the future. That's why I'm being so pushy about your concretizing a goal and going for it. I'd be shocked if you go so far as to commit to this goal and to articulate it in writing and then don't achieve it. I repeat: Please choose a smallish, easily defined objective so that, once you succeed at its completion, you will be able to ride the rewarding sense of productivity to more similarly defined (though perhaps loftier in scope?) goals once spring is in full gear. In the back of your mind, remember that nothing short of undertaking the social responsibility of epitomizing your specialties is at stake—everyone's further development, not just yours.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Two themes for Geminis (because one is never enough!) from past horoscopes, begging to be repeated now. (1) You are in store for breathtaking earth-shaking in your profession, outer-world reputation and/or sense of external achievement, a shift that both unfolds over many months and yet will erupt at certain special moments of dramatic climax when least expected. (2) You have a highly energized time ahead of you shortly, beginning in mid-March, peaking throughout April and early May, and not fully letting you rest until early August. On count 1, I know I've said this for several months already, and maybe you're thinking, 'Show me the money,' but you simply must keep the faith. Astrobarry would not lie to you. On count 2, that gives you another month to prepare for being dazzled and dazzling. Combining these two insights dictates that now is the time to actively keep faith by releasing the inner voice that tries to convince you to unthink your dreams away. Fuck being 'realistic'. How will you actually effect the sensational outer-world change if you don't even allow yourself to imagine it coming true, in line with your wildest hopes? You deserve freedom of imagination. Don't restrict the fantasies of what's truly possible to minor adjustments in the current state of professional affairs. No, dream big careerwise, and expect that such dreams come true. Everyone who got where he or she wanted to get started at this same place—the dream. And meanwhile, if you don't do this now, you won't be at full imaginative power come March when the kookiness begins. Start this week, and spend the next month removing doubt from your ambitions and suspending disbelief at all costs.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The power for you at this week's New Moon, Cancer, comes through synthesizing the recent and ongoing maturation process (thank Saturn for making you grow up!) fully into the philosophical self-conception of your life (try to say that ten times fast!). Philosophies are stories we tell ourselves about what we believe, about what values are important and less important, and about what entails a meaningful existence (vs. one that squanders our being in favor of shallow pursuits). Stories are our narrative way of containing history, but after they're told enough times, we notice how their historical accuracy becomes tainted by repeated embellishments and increased distance from their source. This is a reminder that you are becoming a much different, wiser, calmer, less emotionally reactive (though not less emotional) individual, and yet you're still reiterating the same rote descriptions of your ultimate values and meanings. Take a break from rehashing outdated formulations of your ethical guidelines. They've changed, only you aren't giving the change its requisite due. The best way to combat your dusty philosophies isn't to start drafting new quotations to live by—that's putting the cart before the horse. No, you need to destroy the old ones first. Write down five statements you've forever used to define your worldly actions against those of others, ones that feel like relics of a past you, and then bury them or burn them. Don't settle for less than these dramatic shows of release. (Pretending to bury or burn something is not the same!) Then, in the empty space provided, you'll naturally and gradually develop new ideas to fill your life with meaning. However, if you don't take my encouragement seriously, you may find yourself over the next few months in heated ideological disagreements with others in which they have the upper hand. Why? Because you'll be arguing points you're not even sure you agree with anymore.


LEO (July 23-August 22): How good does it feel to enjoy the pleasures of one-on-one companionship, whether with a romantic partner or good friend or creative co-conspirator? Wonderful, eh? Good enough to overlook certain other deep psychological urges for specific types of intimate connection? On behalf of the planetary combinations associated with this week's New Moon, I challenge you to evaluate which hard-to-acknowledge parts to your ideal intense relationship are being left unsatisfied because it feels too damn good just to have what you have to demand more for yourself. I will even be so melodramatic as to phrase it in terms of life and death—if you were facing imminent demise in some terminal condition, which interpersonal missing-pieces would you want to make sure to find before you went? Because, might I remind you (without intending to be morbid), life is short and it comes and goes. And while it can be surface-level satiating to automatically enact your part in an effortless already-established union, to breezily bat around intellectual topics without shoveling into the heavy-duty personal-issue shit, it doesn't fully stimulate the human need for transformation. It merely sustains the ego another day, like an addict's fix. Please don't misread these words as a signal to abandon current relationships (or as a signal not to). Simply break from settling for comfort, for using the relationship to escape from psychological difficulty rather than as a vehicle for productively engaging it and unleashing interpersonal profundity in the (admittedly not easy) process.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Back during the holidays, there were a couple instances in which I warned you that not everyone would respond favorably to the rapidly expanding person you're becoming. For those few just tuning in, Virgos are smack in the middle of a beautiful year-long good luck period, where the narrow confines of 'acceptable behavior' (no one knows narrow confines better than Virgos!) are being widened to allow for greater variety, diminished self-criticism and, consequently, a calmer inner demeanor. This week, the New Moon/Uranus destroyer of crusty artifacts falls forcefully in your house of the one-on-one relations requiring compromise and mutual respect of peers as equals. If you really and truly want to embody the new qualities you're growing into, fully from head to toe, and certain individuals in your life continually insist on relating to you based on old patterns and no-longer-relevant concepts of who you are, cut them loose. Yes, you heard me—remove yourself from said relationships with a clean break. 'Is it really that easy?' you ask, feeling bad that you'll hurt these individuals with your swift action. Yes. Easier than you'd think, you'll realize, once the dirty deed is done. Aren't you tired of maintaining false smiles and strained connections for others' benefits? What about you? What about the new folks you want to let in, the brilliant, charming, sexy, energizing, gleeful, silly, serious, accomplished, inspirational guys and gals who can't find you because those familiarly stale sabotaging oafs are blocking the way? You will only elicit attention from your preferred types of people once you demonstrate that you're unwilling to settle for relations with those who don't value the qualities you desire to embody. Period. Simple. Do it now.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Far be it for me to try to encourage you not to get wrapped up in romantic flights of fancy, warm breaths of interest from various interested parties, and unrealistic visions of your modes of self-expression. The present hyper-la-la-la combo of Venus and Neptune enhance all the above-mentioned distraction techniques and the energies of pursuit and entanglement that go with them. Unfortunately, Venus/Neptune also occupy your spirit with an interminable (and impossible-to-satisfy) yearning that pulls you away from an inner psychic peace that requires you keep everything in its place. (Whenever Neptune's involved, it's virtually impossible to keep everything in its place.) I'm calling on you to unleash nothing short of a ritualization of your day-to-day habits, a nose-to-the-grindstone focus on completion of daily tasks and repetition of healthful activities, in order to counteract the dreamy allure of immediate escape from routine, which leads to escape from the very peace that, eventually, can facilitate a longer-term sustainable adaptation of routine to your unique desires. Yes, that was a long sentence and a complex concept embedded within it. I'll rephrase and repeat. Odd as it sounds, you must submit to a fresh work ethic and physical self-care regimen so your fantasies of how life could be ('if only…') don't pull you away from now. This will regulate your patterns enough to help reduce your self-doubt and fear, enabling you to actualize this fantasy life further down the road. You can't get there, though, without sustained deferred-pleasure effort along the way.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): A popular Hallmark-esque aphorism, attributed to Randall G. Leighton, instructs us to, 'Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching.' I have to admit, I've always harbored a distinct dislike for this saying, even though the sentiment carried within it is indeed a fruitful way to live. And yet, it sprung to mind when I reflected on how this week's New Moon-Uranus potency could best be channeled into your life, Scorpio. Let's leave the 'work' part out for now, since that's not where I'm feeling you need adjustment. The 'dancing'—well, it's hard for me to imagine you ever being able to pretend no one's watching, since you're so attuned to others' perceptions and to instinctively shaping your 'dance moves' accordingly. (And incidentally, in my book, there ain't nothin' wrong with that.) Which leaves us 'love'. I do not mean to imply that you are to spend your week loving without abandon, spraying your juices over everyone and everything in some inauthentic bliss festival of bloated proportions. (Not really your style, anyway.) But it is worth acknowledging that, as your heart stands now, you probably don't face the idea of love without the weighty baggage of past hurt slung over your shoulder, forcing your balance off-kilter. That's totally understandable because hurt, well, hurts, and Scorpios tend to feel the force of all emotions, pleasant and unpleasant, with an added intensity most of us can't imagine. You can't—and shouldn't—dismiss hurtful past experiences from your life completely, since they're formative to your makeup and provide depth to your being. Still, it is possible to file them somewhere other than atop your heart, where you're currently keeping them, as if they were still this season's model instead of picturesquely retro. You don't suddenly have to be ready to love like you've never been hurt starting this week. But I recommend you definitively swear that you will, at some point in the near future, love like that. Spend the month opening your heart to the unknown, with its potential to both hurt you again and, more importantly, to bring you pleasures you haven't yet known.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Two weeks ago, I gave you the heads-up that, starting at this Friday morning's New Moon, you'd have a month during which your enduring energy for patient work on projects would flourish and permit you to rally ahead, putting self-indulgence on the temporary back-burner. Well, here we are, and you have to reckon with whether the project has been identified and whether the running start has been taken. Now, let me complicate matters a bit. Though work is favored for you, Sag—and not the get-ahead ambitious sort, but the unglorified behind-the-scenes variety—you won't be able to fully succeed if you don't have a comfortable environment in which to relax after one hard workday and refresh for the next. I'm slipping this recurrent mention of home life in here because I believe part of the work required for you now—though certainly not all of it—involves a renewed commitment to evaluate whether the structure within which you lay your head, the city or town where you dwell, and the multitude of efforts (or overlooked and in-need-of-effort lackings) you take to feel nestled and warm are succeeding at their intended aim of home-sweet-home-ness. Ask yourself: What do I need to feel like my energies are continually being restored, to feel so settled that I can happily complete whatever the world has in store for me? Work hard this month, and while you're working, decide how this work supports your emotional well-being. And accept the truth of your home situation. If you need to move, commit decisively and starting planning the move. If you need a new bed, start saving for one now. If you need a new roommate, start having the difficult conversation with the current roomie.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): I dare you to reject the intent to be right in your communications. Wait, let me one-up that dare. I dare you to reject the possibility that anyone is right, and to incorporate that reformed doctrine into your communications going forward. This unconscious (or is it conscious?) need (or is it desire?) to be right unavoidably ends up saturating even your most casual conversations with a heightened insistence, such that so much more seems at stake than actually is. Incidentally, this defensiveness (and yes, I think that's an accurate description of it) in communicating is part of what you're battling in the ongoing relationship challenges I've repeatedly told you about (Saturn being in your seventh house and all). I know, only a few short weeks ago, I was praising you for what a great lawyer you could be. But that doesn't mean you have to argue and belabor every point, when sometimes the point isn't even there to make. I dare you to engage in social interactions on topics you know nothing about (or topics you think you know about but will suspend what you think you know), to listen intently to what the other person is saying (without automatically preparing a rebuttal or investing too emotionally in the perceived ramifications), to ask questions as a humble and interested participant, and to be open to changing your mind, multiple times if necessary, about what you believe. Repeated behavioral modification in this fashion is the only way you will truly grasp the notion that conversing with the variety of other souls who share the planet with you is supposed to be fun, not a constant battle of wills. There is no global competition for who knows the most, who can present the tightest case, or who holds most dearly to preexisting notions. In fact, it's only those invested in this imaginary competition who will most certainly lose.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): As an Aquarian, the occasion of a New Moon occurring in close conjunction to Uranus, your ruling revolutionary and most-favored eccentric, can be quite good news, emphasizing the possibility of abrupt inceptive shifts in being which draw everyone closer to reform-minded Aquarian ideals. But this one's a bit different, now that Uranus is no longer in your sign and has moved into Pisces. For you, this means a sudden pressing need to deal pragmatically—and thus differently than you have been—with the material-resource conditions of your life's foundation. In the most obvious terms, this need concerns finances, though it's not limited to that. Basically, Aquarius, you require a complete overhaul of the methods with which you organize your resources (e.g., the way you budget, balance the checkbook, etc.), so that it's much clearer how much you have at your disposal and how you want to dole it out as a result. In addition to your monetary worth, you also must take stock of what you find to be your greatest skills and traits (as well as accurately assessing which skills and traits you lack). Without this precise inventory, you will have a hard time moving forward. I know these concerns seem so mundane, but you simply cannot enact the brilliant ideas you possess if you don't pay practical mind to the material requirements for enacting them. And here's the most annoying part. If you ignore this cry for serious practical attention, the shift won't occur by conscious intention, but rather by unconscious happening. Suddenly, you'll find you have less money than you've had before. Or you'll find that the extra money is going to the wrong places, disappearing into thin air or being embezzled due to your carelessness. A skill you think you have will show up as nonexistent, once you try to apply it. Or you'll take yourself out of the running for a job because you think you don't have a skill, when in fact it's one of your most shining glories. See how it works? That said, grab a new hold on what you have, in order to keep it and build upon it, instead of losing it, ignoring it or squandering it.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Pisces, meet cliff. Cliff, Pisces. Now jump. It's time for the big plunge, and you've had your warnings. I've prepared you over recent months, encouraged you to ponder and postulate, experiment and exercise will, all leading up to now. Uranus (as you damn well better know by now) is in Pisces, and this week he combines his chaotic insistence on total future-minded release from past confines with the New Moon in Pisces. If it's not your birthday this week, it will be within the next few. But it would also be helpful to think of this Friday morning's New Moon as another sort of 'birthday', where you are birthing not only one more year of your life but the entire rest of your life. Yes, it's that consequential a moment for Pisceans. Shit, or get off the pot. So what if you're scared? Can the worst possible scenarios really outdo the pains you've already endured, hurt worse than the self-torture you inflict fiercer than anything anyone from the outside is going to do? Regardless of what decisive actions you make starting this week—and you simply must take decisive action now if you want the best results—your life will always entail ups and downs, good things and less-good things. What you fear most isn't what you think you fear most. What you tell yourself you fear are situations that you'd be able to survive and prosper through, anyhow. Basically, and I can't get much clearer than this entire horoscope has been, there is no excuse for waiting, no excuse for not acting, and no way to avoid the Uranus-powered roller-coaster that is your life starting now. Please act from conscious choice now so you don't spend the next few years reacting to events out of your control.