Horoscopes | Week of February 9-15, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The challenge is to listen to what your heart yearns for as its home. Close your eyes, and draw this image of your heart living its most comfortable, unthreatened and serene existence. This looks like what? Don't gloss over the visualization technique by haphazardly insisting you already know what's best for you and your heart, claiming you are already basically doing it. You must allow yourself to wonder about the ever-present possibility of growing even more comfortable and more at peace. Don't ignore the perpetual quest for self-improvement because you're in a good mood right now. At the same time, you might as well begin to rule out any possibilities which are no longer useful, compelling or really possible at all. This current challenge favors your efforts going toward practical concerns, real and achievable ways to bring greater comfort into being. Your ability to face this challenge, however, is challenged by those they-come-and-they-go feel-good moments of beguiling bewitchery, which stroke your ego with smiles and kisses. Is it really your true heart to which these flirtations speak? Are you filled with peace or intoxicated?


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Adding wise discipline to your actions, taking advantage of the maturity that you've earned, turns your Mars-inspired surge of extra energy into an opportunity to strategically forge ahead in turning emotional abstractions into communicable nuggets. Now is not the time to allow the allure of peaceful secrecy to overthrow that internal wordsmith, the guy or gal within you who enjoys spinning phrases for casual connection. To act in emotional integrity, you must give everyone their one or two essential truths—not the whole thing, you can rest assured. But when it comes to your magical understandings of how the bigger system works, how the powers that be retain their power and either foster your advances or hold you down, keep those new realizations close to your chest for the time being. Over the next few weeks, as you begin to take your major step and make success of your immediate goal, some of the overly romanticized kinks in your authority theories will naturally work themselves out.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The key to tackling the practical lies inside you. But to dig it out requires enough silencing of the external distraction machine so that you can hear the quietly-whispered solutions and identify them as not another TV punchline or gossiped anecdote. Face it, Gemini, you badly need some self-reflexive alone time, in order to model the temporarily necessary blinders and meditatively force your attention toward rallying your resources. 'What do you possess to work with to get through this narrowed passage?' is a question you can hardly hope to answer if you continue to concern yourself with what other members of the group think about you, how they characterize you and how they expect you to resolve such a dilemma. Granted, it's tempting to bat around these appealing cross-statements of others' viewpoints on you—because, in this context, it seems to be all about you. Of course, the only way to truly make it 'all about you' is to ban other players from the field, to take a few minutes' time-out, and to realistically frame solutions from the simplicity of solitude.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Focus on team playing, Cancer, despite how well you imagine things might go if you were to venture out completely on your own. I'm not dispelling notions that, at some future point, you can be your own independent entity, but this is not the week, despite temptation to the contrary. Don't misperceive smiling gloss for victory over all professional challenges—that's just Venus, temporarily prettying up the public for your eyes and beautifying you in theirs. She wants you to believe that self-satisfying movement in any direction is all it takes, but your newly developing discipline knows better than to swallow the hook on that line. This week, the grown-up you is well aware that among the necessary steps toward maturity is a pressing need to work together well with others. And, just so you know, working well with others does not automatically involve suppressing your disagreements with the party line, nor portraying the willing doormat in someone else's half-baked schemes. No, it's more challenging than that. You must both fight and compromise, push autonomously ahead with everyone's benefit as the primary priority. If you can't do this now, don't expect to be able to smoothly jump ahead to a self-initiated venture without significant challenge. 'Together' and 'separate' are more similar than that.


LEO (July 23-August 22): With Mercury and Neptune conspiring in your seventh house to give you special secret psychic powers, be careful what you do with this transitory talent. Just because you may be able to finish the next sentence coming out of their mouths, it doesn't mean you know what they're thinking on a more general basis. Mercury and Neptune together are purveyors of romantic notions. They do things like converting someone's momentary admiration of you into an undying commitment to eternal love. They turn every bite of apple pie into 'the best apple pie you've ever had', and every idea into a worthy plot for a book worthy of a movie deal. The aspect to this seeming deception that's most confusing is that these romanticisms are based in truth. That is, what you think you see or hear or understand is exactly right. Except it's fleeting. Where you could go wrong, Leo, is in trying to hold on to beautiful completeness as it reveals its graceful grasp on life and existence. Can you learn something from these glimpses of perfect knowledge without being cocky enough to try to explain them, philosophize about them or spread egocentric gospel? Can you feel connection with others without categorizing it, containing it or smothering it? I recommend you try.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Gravitate toward a safe location for sideline speculation. Sometimes adventure can derive from a stereotypically tourist-like skimming of the surfaces of things, enough to get a flavor for expounding upon differences in perspective but without so much exposure to foreign influences that your system revolts with nausea or other such unpleasant sensations. The environment is ripe for fighting narrow worldviews in order to more accurately place yourself in context. But, simultaneously, psychic sensitivities in your physical person are heightened, such that I'd take care with the provisions and diversions you take into your body if I were you. And that also goes for the jolting energies of certain individuals who could wash over you like an allergic reaction to a drug, if you don't hold your own essence tight while in the presence of such radiators. While there's an experiential piece you could miss out on by practicing this restraint, this week is an instance in which that's perfectly understandable, in which the executive summary is all you need to draw the conclusions relevant to you.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I'm obliged to turn last week's polite comments into something similar but more direct for you now, dear Libran. Watch for the thrill of appealing mirages to tempt you away from longer-ranging, accomplishment-based goals. A mind to glamorize the people you meet or know or speak with is upon you. Perfect for writing odes, capturing portraits or inspiring youngsters toward enhanced self-esteem. Less well-suited for elucidating personal feelings in applicable terms, recognizing soulmates among flavors-of-the-month or pledging eternality. You'll do yourself the highest justice every time you stop mid-conclusion and remind yourself that things are far more complex, convoluted and internally conflicted than your boundless heart tells you they are. Dismiss the easy explanations, and insist on digging deeper—deeper than you can possibly get in the course of a week or two—until you discover a truer truth, on its own ambiguous terms. Leave it to your nettlesome astrologer to dowse your romantic parade with a shower of realism.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Maybe you can't get the job done now, though inspiration goads you on. Maybe you haven't resolved the ethical concerns yet (and maybe you even bristle at my lofty mention of 'ethics'). Maybe, in order to settle issues and expel the bubble, you must feel free to have it out, to resist squelching the urge and simply unfurl the conflict. You're a forceful type who can keep it under wraps with the best of them, but sometimes the fight is worth having. The fight needn't be bloody. Nor should you play dirty to win. You can achieve victory—leading to ethical resolution, leading to completion of lingering duty—based on the terms of the battle. I can't say for certain that you're right because I don't know all the specifics. But I do know that somewhere in the muddle of your suppressed expression is a core of simple fairness. Isolate it, and use it as your sole weapon. Everything else is filler of the sort likely to lead you astray. Stay close to the issue at hand, once you can concisely identify it, and you will avoid the stickier bits. In the end, your perceived foe might well agree with you… but not without your having engaged the dispute and made peace with the potential for stalemate.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This week is all about noticing those little details that have been in front of your nose the whole time and yet have remained overlooked. Your brother has that funny way of deflecting attention away from him, just like he did when you were kids, and finally you understand the effect it has. Your sister can't stop talking when she's nervous. Your street looks completely different, almost epic, if you approach it from the alternate perspective, when the afternoon's setting light is just so. The grocery store sells those candies you like, on an aisle you hardly ever travel down, and you won't know unless you spend an extra fifteen minutes browsing while you shop. Get the idea? Now, what to do with these fresh observations? Certainly you may feel obliged to express the outgrowths of your sudden attentions. You hold love for these tiny elements of your life. Just be forewarned that members of your immediate community might bristle at your exposure of their quirky animations. They might not sense the love, or might refuse to sense it, in light of their self-conscious experience of feeling watched by you, eavesdropped upon or tapped like the phone of a government person-of-interest. Share if you want. Or simply sit on what you see, and enjoy it as an entertaining and illuminating motion-picture travelogue of the world you inhabit daily.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Here is me, pretending to be you. 'Now is the perfect time for me to straighten up my business, to tighten my pocketbook, to spend all my energy gaining renewed control over the practicalities of life.' Sure. How about this? 'I'm finally ready to return my focus to myself, to my home and the methods I use to take care of myself. After all, we're all alone in the world and I can only count on me.' Uh-huh. Both of these imitations of my Capricorn comrades are performed for you with love and compassion, as the goals outlined in both cases are worthy indeed. Alas, though these are worthwhile concerns, I'm calling you on having become distracted. These things I've mentioned, you're already quite skilled at. Though they require constant tweaking and continual improvement, they are not where it is for you now. No. Instead, I offer Reminder Number 23. Relationships, relationships, relationships. You cannot avoid accepting responsibility for the unsettled nature of your current relationship status. You have passions (which may include one or more of the following: anger, hurt, sheer disagreement with partner, need for more or different sex, unfulfilled life dream) that want to battle forth from the depths of your self-deprecating heart. You must express, or whatever you're clinging to isn't worth it. (And it will disappear, eventually, under unflattering circumstances.) Be true to yourself, first and always. If others in your life—or perhaps only certain aspects of your relations with them—must be shed, so then should you shed them.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): This week, your sign hosts a conjunction of Mercury and Neptune, the planet that uses words and concepts for sense-making and the planet that uses fog and mirrors to taint sense with pretty pictures and optical illusions. This is an aspect of both epiphany and befuddlement. It's up to you and your relative level of intentional hyper-consciousness to decide which way it goes. Good week for writing poetry, speaking in riddles, reading the minds of strangers in whom you have no personal investment, mixing color in surprising blends, conversing with God, and entertaining contradictory beliefs simultaneously. Bad week for drafting proposals or agreements, explaining yourself clearly, attempting to understand those closest to you based on their self-explanations, coloring within the lines, organizing files, and drawing final conclusions. If you experience an urgent need to translate the creative urges into potentially enduring changes in environment, do so at home, in a private realm over which you have complete control, where others will not be subjected to the unsettling-to-non-Aquarians effects of your latest craze. Then, later, you can decide whether to keep things in this new fashion or to adjust them once your sense has returned to full its full senseness.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): According to my book, it's an interesting combination for you this week, Pisces. On the one hand, a highly productive combination of Mars and Saturn grant you a dose of practical energy for self-expression through well-chosen words appropriate for varying audiences. You should be able to say what you mean and mean what you say, in a way that minimizes misunderstanding without sucking up your viewpoint to avoid disagreement. In this situation, you can disagree diplomatically because you have concrete aspirations underlying your position and aren't willing to back down to be someone else's stepping stone. On the other hand, a highly disorienting combination of Mercury and Neptune grant you a dose of those familiar 'crazy Piscean ideas' which you sometimes have, which have been known to border on overidentification with insignificance, even paranoia if not kept in check. You should feel free to invite them in for the sake of creative inspiration or spare-time entertainment, without passively allowing them to steal the focus from the conscious efforts you're making to externalize real interpersonal issues. Don't let the other internal psychic bells and whistles drown you. Rather, accept that they enhance you but do not define you.