Horoscopes | Week of April 19-25, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): As you finish scattering the last handful of seeds across the field, you should feel a big smile spreading over your face. You've succeeded, over the last few months, in pulling on your work boots, grabbing a shovel and hoe, and seeding your environment with germs of fresh intent. As spring gives way to summer and your babies sprout and shoot, the trick is to remember to tend to them, day in and day out, if to do nothing else than sing them lullabies or concentrate your psychic 'grow, babies, grow!' energies at them. It's an obvious enough piece of advice to offer now, but you might find it easier to overlook stationary works that flourish gradually, due to lots of short-lived, fast-paced external stimulation that pull your attention away. A quick love affair, a passing obsession with a book or a film, a scintillating chat that removes you altogether from time—all of these might only take two or three days out of your life. But two or three days is all it takes for a drought to fall, a pack of gnawing rodents or a weevil infestation to destroy those tender tendrils still struggling to stabilize their existence. Are you as flighty and self-absorbed as your harshest critics would have us believe? Or can a big-picture perspective hold enough sway over your wandering eye to inspire regular patterns of resource provision and reservation? Not only might tiny chlorophyll-filled life forms be depending on you having the right answer, so too does that quiet (and oft-overpowered) part of your being who does care what other people think. It's time to prove the critics wrong, to cultivate to completion… and not just those items you can't stop your active self from working on, but also those that are easily passed over when pretty shiny distractions show up.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Two weeks ago, it was on the tip of your tongue. Two weeks later, you may be only slightly closer to knowing what 'it' is, but it's starting to roll off. You can't help yourself. You've been chugging up that roller-coaster incline, anxiously seated in the front car so you can see every twist and turn… and now you've reached the top, and you're begin to come over the peak, and the speed will start picking up, and the wind will start in your face, and the screams will start erupting from your mouth, and you've never been more scared (in titillation-fear mode, not life-or-death-terror mode). And never had more fun. The hardest part about all this for you, Taurus, is that disorienting feeling of not knowing where each next step will lead your foot to fall. (Even after you the ride stops, your body still feels like it's going!) Expect multiple responses to any audit you make of your monies, your most appreciated traits, your values and valuables—it's near impossible to get a clear picture when you're in such motion. You might have to rely on trusted friends to give you their impressions, but even those may vary widely from case to case. Two more weeks from now, you will be able to see so much more. You will be able to speak so much more consciously. And you will also know a lot more about the longer-term ramifications of any interpersonal shakeups that are occurring during this period of dynamic change.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The more you think you understand, the more you are barking up the wrong tree. Sure, you've got a good grip on the logistical realities of your situation. But in terms of far-reaching meaning, forget it. There is simply too much going in your life to have a clear perspective. That is not to contradict last week's assertion, in which I declared there to be some method to your madness. Just because it's there, though, doesn't mean it's accessible to you. At this moment, the Gemini life is characterized by a host of suitors and naysayers, lovers and loathers knocking at your door to get a piece of you. Of course, you may or may not be home, since 99 different social obligations or professional-ambition strategies or mysteriously exciting errands beg to be squeezed in, at the oddest or more predictable times. However, I believe one realization will rise to the surface of this hyperactive illogic, so long as you aren't holding yourself back from the pressures to externalize: You are far less casual in your interactions than you think. Perhaps one or more unexpected reactions (i.e., intense adoration, harsh resistance) will prove this point. Just because you're smart, it doesn't mean you can outthink intention or mask psychic leakage.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Authority is in the process of becoming decentralized. Instinctively, your mind molds its musings in relation to the boss, the parent, the panel of experts, some imagined external keyholder from whom you're delicately pleading entrance. Starting now, the events of this month will help dismantle this childhood-based fiction and reveal the true methodology in operation: rulership by consensus. With the otherworldly effect of fragmented messages materializing then disintegrating, you must combat tendencies to compile the fragments into manifestoes (and to attribute them to false figureheads)… instead, have faith that the energetic cloud of collectivity will nudge you into proper positioning. If you don't achieve a marker you've been vying for, the situation could be success in disguise. In this overwhelming atmosphere of open-ended possibilities, let some of the doors close. Together, we will all share responsibility for ensuring your talents will be used and your acquisitional needs attended to. Perhaps only 80% of these words are yours, and you may need to cross out the others with heavy black pen. But just think of the maddening 20% of irrelevancy you've ruled out by knowing yourself so well and not assuming I have any more answers than the fictitious president of kings and queens.


LEO (July 23-August 22): It's been a few weeks since I warned you against taking stands or promoting agendas on the public stage, out of concern you'd be misunderstood and unfairly branded with a reputation that doesn't really fit. It's still not quite time to start espousing knowledge systems—I'd wait until after Mercury goes direct (Apr. 30), if I were you—but you can feel the momentum building and prepping you to stand up for your truest beliefs. Since February, you've had a lot of activity in the outside-world, professional-achievement, see-me-here-I-am part of your life, with Mars and then Venus parading through your tenth house. That was a lot of action, but without the necessary calm and perspective to reason through its consequence and meaning. Calm isn't coming, but the ability to incorporate new ideas and to speak eloquently about them, to redefine yourself in relation to this action, is. And from this more stable platform, you will be able to use your position to speak up, to further your personal sense of justice and higher good, and to get some attention for it. I repeat: You might have better results if you wait until May, with Mercury the messenger traveling forward again. Be prepared, though. Many members of the group may be inspired by your decision to speak out and by the content of your message. Some, however, could get pissed off and urge you to return to your seat and refold your hands on your lap.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Whenever the weight of pursuing professional freshness or public performance in multiple arenas bears too heavily, remind yourself why you're doing it. Virgos are not naturally ego-fueled, self-obsessed career showoffs. No, you work so hard because it is 'the right thing to do', because you have a responsibility to the world to deploy your gifts rather than let them atrophy inside a shell of fear. Part of this duty involves trying out your gifts through different methods and toward different goals, to see if the universe has secretly snuck talents into your personhood that you weren't supposed to discover until now. And, gosh, it might feel excruciatingly emotionally awkward to be testing out these latest hunches in front of the world… but fuck it. If you need to be literally pushed out of the nest, through the door or onto the stage, so be it. Ask for the push. If you must relocate, to surround yourself with strangers in order to muster the courage, do it. If the only way you can break free is to dye and chop off your hair, make the appointment today. Sure, your personal comfort is important—but not if timidity is selfishly keeping you from sharing your talents. And you know you're not selfish, so…


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Like it or not, the stakes have just gotten a lot higher. Let me start with the challenging part first. Your sweet-tempered catchall cannot contain the intensifying rise of bold emotions—too ecstatic, too enraged, too depressed or horny or anxious or dissatisfied or triumphant, and too invested in what he or she is doing over there. Oh, the sick pleasure of watching a Libra unable to polish the surface voraciously enough to erase traces of uncontrollable passion. Your truest colors are seeping through the cracks, I'm happy to say. And along with that, be prepared for emotion to drive you to contradict yourself. Here's where the advantageous part comes in. Don't shy from the self-contradictions. Don't be ashamed or angry with yourself. Instead, recognize it's only through these enhanced stakes that you are even able to capture the complexity of personality that occurs when feelings intrude upon carefully-thought-out bullet-points of belief. Now, you don't have to shoulder the burden of explaining each facet of the tight package. You are allowed to extend beyond the boundaries, to let someone else assist in showing you where your own strict polite ethics force you to swallow any elements suggestive of psychological entanglement. That's why the intensification is so right, and why it sometimes leaves you feeling naked. (And need I mention that naked is usually a good thing?)


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): When it's the right person, you won't have to spend any energy looking around for him or her. S/he will just be there, with little effort, doing her/his own thing right next to you, not interrupting or distracting or intruding, simply alongside. I hesitate to even raise the question of whether this person is already around in your life, because that could lead to more thought, more effort, more interruption and distraction and intrusion, none of which will be terribly fruitful at this juncture. Don't ask. Don't tell. Just follow the natural progression of your workplan, your obedience to duty and the instinctive direction you're heading as a single individual. In the course of obeying duty, you might find yourself called upon to ask for help in a difficult fashion (when you'd feel far more satisfied to offer help instead). Let the decision of who you'd feel most safe in asking produce new insights about the nature of that relationship (and, of course, the decision of who you won't ask also produce relationship insights). The people in your life are resources, their strengths to be drawn upon at times when you need an extra dose. That's why you can't go looking for the right people; they're just there when you need 'em.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): First off, this is a momentous time for getting true expression off your chest, without necessarily worrying about what chips are forced to fall as a result. Ferocity is nothing to shy away from now—and conflict is a predictable consequence of speaking fiercely. At the same time, shooting your mouth off for no good reason might produce a passing sensation of release, as if propelling any old words out your larynx is enough to decompress the tension and feed your self-satisfaction… but any old words won't do. Here's the challenge. The detector operates according to whether there is a higher purpose, a potentially self-sacrificing element, to any forthright statements: Are you risking your own momentary comforts or forestalling pressing desires to act from the 'Universal Heart', as if possessed by duty? And to up the ethical ante, can you speak ego-defying (though ultimately ego-supporting) truths, only in line with your higher responsibilities, without spending too much time pondering or analyzing chains of reason to support your decision to speak? Because this is not a time to ponder. Yet you must be painfully honest with yourself as you move and utter, to ensure you aren't just tossing anger or unresolved emotion around because it makes you feel better. It must make the world better in the process, or you're simply being self-indulgent—and self-indulgence is not a good reason to enter potentially conflict-ridden interactions.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Isn't life fun? 'No,' you say? Well, I can understand why you might feel that way sometimes lately, Cap, but you've got to take my word on it. Life is fun. Even when it's not. Even when, like you, one has a lot of work to get done and yet feels like there's a mystical suck-hole operating in reverse gravity, tugging against one's efforts and making every bit seem twice as tough. First, here's the truth about the suck-hole: It comes from deep within the collective psyche, and it exists to provide you double the reward, once the work is done. Repeating the logic: You are working twice as hard for what seems like the same result, but in fact, the result will be worth the double effort once achieved, a few months from now. Second, the next few months are also about rediscovering that life is fun, even though specific moments or events (that come and go) aren't always a bowl of cherries. Somewhere, there's a piece to your personality that inherently knows life is an adventure, that everything will work out if you can muster an upbeat attitude, that enjoys experiencing the fullest range of emotions (even the tough ones). That's the piece you must return to, whenever too much pessimism threatens to overtake you. Incidentally, fleeting moments of escapist fun are not the same as life itself being fun (for escapism is near-antithetical to life). Go for the gusto—for life-affirming fun—over coming months, a position from which to appreciate the fruits of your latest efforts. Your work really is leading somewhere.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): During the next couple weeks, your assignment is to create a quilt sewn from your favorite snipped photos and xeroxed articles, sentimental matchbook covers, menus from local takeout-dining establishments and promotional materials hailing tested-and-approved products. Lord knows you've collected your fair share of above items, and hopefully even more lately, as the cosmic pressure has recently been encouraging you to wade among the information overload and take souvenirs. My intent with this advice is to goad you into sorting through the shit for the most valuable, and then to craft a durable care-providing instrument from the mass of ephemera. The best and most appropriate bed to lie in is the one you make for yourself, and won't you feel so comfortable amidst a blanket of your own interests. Remember your adolescent-age bedroom, how the crap on the walls spoke volumes about what went on inside the teen who lived there. Let people inside to see what you've assembled and what it speaks about your joys in life. Expect some to be more surprised than you'd expect ('I thought they knew me better than that!'). Some might want to nominate you to chair the committee, based upon this reflection of your resourceful creativity. Some might want to reject you in a more outright way than you've experienced in years, if ever. All of their opinions matter, in the sense that opinions matter… but perhaps they shouldn't matter so much to you. Either way, you're going to sleep well.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Do you curse yourself for being different? Do you generate anxiety—and pretend it's a haunting from outside you—because you can't just settle on not settling? Do you compare your apparent unfocus to the scores of straight-liners surrounding you, who seem so satisfied to pick one thing and spend decades excelling at it? If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then you may well suffer from ONPS, or Overrated Normative Paradigm Syndrome. Symptoms include: enjoying experimental periods trooping different life-paths; refusal to fully allow yourself the enjoyment of said experimental periods; confusion as to why you might define 'achievement' according to unconventional criteria; emotional sensitivity; and the ability to understand all perspectives, except for the perspective that doesn't understand you. Treatment involves: attending support groups with recovered ONPS patients who have learned to embrace their condition as a gift; reading accounts of miserable straight-liners who wish they had a quarter of the life experience under their belts that you do; deep breathing; very limited exposure to political propaganda, alumni association newsletters, and economic theory; regular meals throughout the day (to prevent blood-sugar peaks and valleys). Also, the Association of ONPS Research and Understanding is seeking articles by Pisceans who have grown to embrace their expertise in the areas of sampling life and valuing experiential knowledge over external markers of success and are willing to share their stories.