Horoscopes | Week of February 23-29, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Count this as the third week in a row, Aries, in which I refuse to refrain from proffering small cautionary signals against letting Venus take over your life. Yes, the goddess of beauty and love continues her journey through your sign, casting a beautiful and love-filled glow across your person. And in case you haven't noticed, people notice. Regardless of the content and consequence of your actual words and actions, your tone and tenor have soothed even the most savage beast. And now, Venus moves into a snowballing trine with intensity-maven Pluto, ensuring that, this week, your admirers feel even more ardently attracted to you, not only for surface-level reasons but also out of respect for your philosophic profundity. (Yes, now they can see your brains as well as your brawn!) I can't help but (try to) temper this gleaming transit because (1) I know, no matter what I say, you will still be able to enjoy its effects because they're traveling everywhere with you, and (2) I don't want you to get carried away with thinking things will stay this way indefinitely. Why must I be such a party spoiler? The planets tell me they'd much rather you transmute the current vibe into some material store of its power and vitality—something you can touch, taste and/or keep for a rainy day—than follow its fanciful follies on a goose chase until, one day soon, you lose the scent and end up chasing your tail. Instead, bottle the scent and save some for later.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I've had a couple readers tell me that sometimes they are unable to fully enjoy my horoscopes because I'm so firm and authoritarian about the advice I offer. They feel guilty reading my encouragements to act in certain responsible ways—ways they already knew they were supposed to be acting, before my words verified their instincts—when they'd rather put their feet up and eat bonbons. But I'm not here purely to entertain you, Taurus. I've got work to do, and so do you. So I'm going to continue my train of thought from last week (which leads even further back from there) because that's how intensely I feel about you mobilizing your time and energies wisely at this time. Mars is conspiring with the Moon's North Node in your sign, which tells me that this is exactly the moment for behaving in ways that break previous karmic ties with psychologically messy control issues (and the methods of relating learned from psychologically messy and/or controlling people from your past) and move definitively into the future. And you do this by continuing to work toward completing the goal you set last week, proving to yourself that, yes, you can declare independence—through actions, rather than words. With Mars squaring Neptune, you must also commit to wearing a sometimes-uncomfortable set of blinders, to prevent the half-illusory allure of what others are doing from keeping you from what you need to do. Don't let your compassionate nature go overboard in using the pains and passions of others—particularly those in your career or outer-world life—as an excuse to veer from your track.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Following through with last week's New Moon burst of freshness, this is the time for mental inspiration and creativity. You cannot dream up what your next big professional 'thing' is unless you give yourself a frame within which you have no obligations other than to dream. On Thursday, your ruling Mercury comes together with Uranus in Pisces, a mentally stimulating, cobweb-clearing, insight-inspiring and utopia-generating combination that I encourage you to use to your advantage. As many times over the past several months as I've told you about major dramatic change in your external reputation, likely linked to career development or recalibration, many of you still refuse to acknowledge what I'm saying. (Or, more properly Geminian, it's going in only one ear and being retained by only one twin.) If you don't know what to do with my declarations, this is a great week to dedicate a couple hours—preferably on Wed., Thurs. or Fri.—to being alone with yourself, getting into a semi-meditative state (i.e., candles, incense, conscious breathing, turning the phone off) and creatively brainstorming about what you enjoy doing, what your most flattering skills are, what contribution you'd like to make to your society, and what things about your current career incarnation you'd like to omit from your next. If you get this stuff on paper, you can begin referring to it to jog your memory when attention wanders (or your current outer-world life settles into 'everything's-okay-now-I-guess' inertia), when you need a bit of visual inspiration to keep spurring you on. As long as you quit looking back, stop accepting half-satisfaction and insist on staying in motion (no matter how slow it seems to go), you'll be cool.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): I'm guessing that there are one or more individuals with some personality quality that's drawing you in, perhaps past the point of clear ego boundaries and into the ambiguous realm of psychic merging. This could be a romantic situation, professional, familial or friendship-related, any combination thereof. For my purposes, the context is less the point than the planetary message I'm interpreting for you, Cancer, that encourages you to remain a free agent. Now, let me clarify before you jump to any silly conclusions. I am absolutely not telling you to quit your job, dump your partner or cut your sibling out of your life. When I say 'free agent', I do not mean that you should be free from all attachments. (As if that could happen, even if I thought it was a good idea.) On the contrary, it's more that we all want our little piece of Cancerian goodness, and we shouldn't be short-changed because one or more greedy devils are hogging you from us. Of course, if you're being hogged, then you're also responsible for your end of that dynamic. And, in order to maintain a broader and more diversified environment in which you can share your gifts with all of us, you might have to act in a fashion that seems to artificially inflict a border in certain relationships. But here's the thing. If you don't put up a few fences, you simply cannot keep enough of your energy from slipping away and mixing with another's, resulting in you wondering whose is whose and which is which. In fact, you're helping all your relationships to prosper—including the one(s) with the newly constructed boundaries—by spreading the wealth around, stimulating your social senses, and acting from both a practical awareness of the inherent limitations of your attentions and the number of individuals in your life who require some.


LEO (July 23-August 22): There's something quite poignant about whatever's going on in your outside life, the achievements you're finally being recognized for and/or a sense of completion and fruition in your career. In short, you're finally doing it. On the other hand, with aspirations as high as yours and that joie de vivre emboldening you to keep at it, you aren't willing to stop here. (Or at least you shouldn't be willing.) Whatever real observable external benchmark you're hitting now, Leo, can serve as a model for the type of future you want for yourself. When searching for evidence of what this is, stay close to things you can touch, taste, smell, hear and see, as opposed to conceptual abstractions. (It's hard to model future actions after abstractions.) Now, here's the catch. Overly romantic notions about other people, the nature of your relationship with them (or is it one special her or him?) and of relationships in general are likely to get you into trouble. Why? Because, despite the fact this or that person is 'real' and can be touched or tasted (mmm!), you might be letting emotional abstractions cloud the reality of your connection. Of course, a little romance won't necessarily hurt you—in fact, it can feel pretty damn good—but, though this might not be apparent to you, overindulging in romantic unreality can keep you from continuing to develop your real outer-world/career goals. In terms of this interpersonal idealization, I'm not calling for any decisive action (no abrupt goodbyes to amorous admirers nor ascetic insistences on aloneness). Rather, please just stay aware of how the poetic urgency with which you love love can keep you blinded to certain essential tasks and ways of being that your future requires of you. Beyond that awareness, it's your choice which fancies to follow.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Perhaps I'm a bossy astrologer who is overly involved with the lives of my clients and readers, but here is what I'm not going to let you get away with: You simply mustn't allow yourself to escape into the safety of your day-in-day-out routine, following a series of rote responsible steps in order to fill your hours and keep from having to meditate on areas where improvement is needed. I will not stop pushing you to make the most of yourself, particularly now during (yes, here it comes again) such a growth-filled period of Virgo fortune. This is a time for consciousness, not repetitive action. This is the moment when you sit down with yourself and prioritize the most meaningful elements of life, areas where you're less willing to compromise, which behaviors qualify as 'right' vs. 'wrong' for you. I am not talking about a passing moment of self-reflection as you shower or brush your teeth. Such dedication to arranging your big picture (foreground? background?) requires more than casual attention. What goes where? What goes in the garbage? While you're at it, revisit my advice from last week about evaluating relationships, painful as it might be. I wouldn't be surprised if new information (or sudden awareness of old information) shows up now, though it wasn't available last week, to help you make decisions and effect needed change. Habit is the last characteristic by which you should be living now, despite how comfortable it might be. Don't panic that you'll never get to enjoy that comfort again. Habit, in its healthiest form, will return to your life in another few months. But you can't establish what that will entail until after clearing out the old (and toxic) repetitive behaviors, and any people whose presence feeds them.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): As of today (and spanning at least this week), you are the rock. You are the one with the crisp newfangled solutions to inefficiencies in antiquated work processes. You are in the midst of becoming unexpectedly galvanized into physical verve and healthy being, thanks to mental gaps magically being bridged by ideas showing up unannounced. If you're totally not feeling what I've just written, then perhaps you're still falling under the spell of Venus in the seventh house and someone else's verve and being is eliciting your engrossment instead of your dear old self. Don't say I didn't warn you about what you'd be miss by spending all your time playing kissy-kiss, real or imagined. You can still cater to the promised joys of intimate relations (as if you need my permission!) and remain in tune with anticipated insights related to fulfilling duty and postponing fun until work is done. How? By leading rather than following. By letting any and all relating happen on your terms, terms that can dictate a combined respect for responsibility and an enjoyment of romance only after certain important issues have been broached and tasks completed. Rather than skidding along the surface and pretending conflict doesn't exist, you should rise to the occasion of smoking it out before it erupts, resolving difference via peaceful means instead of waiting until the other person forces it to be dealt with by force. You make the first move. You take things to the next level or clarify why it ain't gonna happen. You wield control blatantly or at least admit that you're trying. Stand your ground in order to remain on it, or prepare to let chance—an unworthy actor—sweep you off your feet and/or knock you on your ass.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): With Mercury and Uranus coming together in your super-creative fifth house—and in Pisces, no less—there hasn't been a better week since, say, last week to craft odes and portraits and monuments to the emotional heartache and redemption of love. Last week, it was all about committing to acknowledge and release past and present love-related hurts, and to embrace experiencing more in the future. This week, it's about using your communicative skills, verbally or physically, to convey the acknowledgement and the release, to express emotion and to hail hope. Though Scorpios traditionally keep such emotional content under close wraps, I believe you'll do yourself a world of good by outwardly identifying yourself as both a victim of love and a devoted practitioner. Feel free to partially disguise the specifics within poetic language, skillful stitching, bulbous curves or seductively off-putting color. Bonus points for admitting that you're not afraid to fight for the type of self-stabilizing relationship you want for yourself in the future, and for declaring that only fights fought in uncharted territory (as opposed to karmically-familiar rehashed reenactments of conflicts already fought and unresolved) are worthy of your ferocity. In other words, when the time comes, you will fight for something as opposed to fighting against somebody. Don't underemphasize this combat component to love, letting the fantasy of an impossible future of fused mother-and-child-like wombing with a partner trick you into thinking you can ever go back to that from here. The future relationship-minded Scorpio is an individual first and forever, and a partner only as one facet of self among many.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): After telling you last week to invest patient and enduring work into a project, let me now inform you what is most likely to sidetrack you from getting your shit done. One word: Words. Yes, a whole bunch of words, to and/or from a variety of different acquaintances or neighbors or local retail employees, is what's going to try to lure you away from focus. Different opinions on approaches, on the relative worthiness of certain goals or other aspirations, on what's hot and what's not, all conspire to thoroughly befuddle any clarity you wish you had achieved. I won't tell you to ignore the myriad of incomplete and/or partially uneducated viewpoints because I don't think you can. There's too many of them, saying too many words that seem to contradict each other and your own beliefs. If anything, this is a test, an opportunity to prove to yourself that, yes, you know exactly what you're doing, that you are open to hearing a variety of tidbits of feedback (or static) with a polite ear, without necessarily acting on any of it. Your current state is rich with deep creative vivacity, such that, quite frankly, you don't really need anyone else's input in order to finish what you've started. I realize I'm offering somewhat risky advice, Sag, and I don't want you to misapply it past its expiration date. No, I am not giving you free rein to ignore others' opinions on all matters for all time. Rather, I'm specifically referring to whatever work you're working on now and to a time frame lasting no more than another month. In all other areas and for the rest of the time, you're still required to give and take in social compromise with the rest of us. This disclaimer should give you added incentive to deploy self-centered vigor to complete said project because, sometimes, self-centeredness is fun.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): What held true last week—that is, your need to learn to communicate without trying to be right—is also true this week. But I'd like to put a less disciplinary and more entertaining spin on it for you, Cap, so you don't think I'm being relentlessly critical of your passionate investment in the things you think and say. As I said last week, conversation can be a lot of fun if you stay relatively unattached to the ever-lingering big-picture consequences of your words and just let them tumble unconsciously out your mouth. Mars and the Moon's North Node are hanging out in your fifth house, which represents (among other things) the pure unmitigated joy of creative self-expression, giving you added energy to string together sentences that sound good and bring pleasure to both speaker and listener. I cannot stress enough, the crucial kernel here is to release your earthily ambitious desire to have your communications lead somewhere or bring about some desired result. In fact, with Neptune in the second squaring Mars, it's highly likely that they won't have the effect you desire (or that you're not even sure about what effect you desire). Mercury and Uranus, on the other hand, are conspiring to force you to speak without thinking too much, to couch your feelings in futuristic poem-speak and to try out different manners of exchanging information without worrying if the exchange happens neatly, accurately or in an impressive fashion. Exercises to encourage this rhetorical silly: Speak in rhyme. Start every sentence with a 'Q'. Answer the phone in cartoon voices. Use only playful grunts and a variety of types of eye contact when communicating face to face with self-important types. Draw pictures instead of talking.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): I almost feel guilty bombarding you with advice that seems to go against everything Aquarians are purported to stand for. Focus on money, practical resources, stable foundations and things you can touch instead of wafting concepts. Use forceful concerted effort toward battening down all home-front hatches, securing loose emotional ends and sentimentalizing objects and rooms. Lay the groundwork that will enable you to stay put for a while and to develop an enduring future based on security, regularity and convention. Geez, I don't know if I can continue on this train of thought without literally cringing in compassionate chorus with your instinctive aversion to everything I've just said, seeing as it's boring, stodgy and totally without adventure. I admit I'm both overemphasizing the advice and caricaturing your resistance to all practical matters. But through this dramatization, I hope you recognize (1) the reputation for pie-in-the-sky living you've earned, whether deservedly or not, and (2) that the goals and elements I've listed above actually sound appealing, despite whatever doubts or fears you might foster about whether you can achieve them. The truth is, you're unbelievably capable of being patient, practical and financially responsible. You just don't always try these things because you're busy dismantling mythos and revisioning civilization. Rather than becoming too wrapped up in identity issues involved with 'becoming a more patient, practical and financially responsible person', just do it on the faith that you'll run a smoother and more productive revolution once these personal matters are attended to.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): I'm going to grant you a week off from the pressure to make enormous changes in your life, following last week's New Moon kickoff to the upcoming phase of chaotic reinvention. (I'm also going to assume that, despite being given a week off, you can't help but continue to ponder how all this stuff will play out in your life… though you still have a bit of time to figure it out.) Instead, I encourage you to employ the heightened electropsychic charge circling your aura—these same invisible particles responsible for nudging you toward chaotic reinvention—for purposes unrelated to your own development. In other words, your currently-hyperspastic energetic can also be used to provide automatic intuitive responses to others' concerns, helping them see a path to greater freedom and enlightenment. Here are a few caveats regarding your oracular week ahead. (1) The less intimate or emotionally invested your connection with the individual involved, the more accurate your insights for him/her will be. (2) The more quickly you speak off the top of your head and the tip of your tongue, the less likely that your intuition will become tainted by attempts at rationality. (3) Don't force your feedback on others. Offer it with complete detachment, and move on. (4) Assume only the best possible outcome for everyone you psychically contact, and you'll be assisting that outcome in unfolding. (5) Plan to be equally as open to others' similarly quirky intuitive flashes about your life in coming weeks as you want them to be to yours now. (6) Enjoy your magical powers, but stay humble about them.