Horoscopes | Week of June 21-27, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Ramp up the personal flair, so that when you behave however you choose, we'll know that you knew you wanted it that way. Develop a sense of pride in your decisiveness, rather than performing unconsciously stunned that accidental circumstance dealt you your druthers. Forcefulness in personality is no accident, and it's rather irresponsible for you to eschew ownership of it. Eruptions of fate work out to your best advantage when you honestly avow (at least to yourself) your emotional stakes in the outcome—which often include that characteristic Aries will to power—so that you can understand your reactions and anticipate them in advance. Reason through what motivates you emotionally, not to justify your feelings (these require no justification and such attempts generally fail) but to follow the chain from formative cause to probable likely-to-impact-others effect. You needn't corral your emotions, just be able to identify them individually as they would appear in a lineup.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): As the fidgeting of others appears to decelerate, you could be left temporarily feeling like the lone jitterer, an effect of seeming all the more exaggerated in your fluctuations by way of contrast. Don't lose contact, just because they reach out less because they need less from you. You need too, and not always what you think. The best avenue for handling shifts in self-worth perception is to insist on social interaction of the most casual kind. Combat self-talk with small talk. Connections to which you might usually turn for recreation also serve well now as preemptive disciplinary measures, cutting off your own worst poison (i.e., self-induced circular reasoning about what you're good/no good for) with the antidote of others' trivialities and your voluntary involvement in them. Make long-postponed telephone calls and complete off-the-beaten-track errands. Force yourself to talk about not-so-pressing considerations. After using this method to exhaust your brainpower, you'll better enjoy your off time at home by indulging other faculties.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When I was a kid, I loved to play in drapery. I'd start at one end of the fabric curtain and wind myself around in circles until I was wrapped inside, snug like a bug in a rug. Then I'd spin my way back out. This image sprung to mind when I considered your situation, Gemini, at the zodiacal focus of the recent Venus retrograde through your sign. As Venus approaches its station (when it appears to stand still as it changes direction) and starts heading forward again next week, its motion slows considerably. Right now, it's as if you've wrapped yourself in almost the entire curtain and, as of early next week, will start unwinding your way out. You've been cloaked in lots of activity and attention, stimulation and support, dissent and discussion, enough to completely cover yourself and block the light from revealing exactly what you're wrapped in. Soon you'll work yourself back into fuller awareness, unpeeling distractions, figuring out which pieces of fabric can be woven into use and which are discardable parts of the game. Prepare your mind for the discerning task of letting some molehills become mountains, while turning other coaches back into pumpkins. It really begins next week.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): There's a surefire test to determine whether you're truly as nurturing as all the astrology books say you are. Are you aware that some of the most merciful nurture comes in the form of telling difficult truth to those who don't always want to hear it? Such a tough-love approach is usually more associated with your opposite sign, the hard-ass Capricorn, while you're permitted to get off easy by stroking people softly and reassuring them that everything will be okay. Sometimes everything won't be so okay unless intervention is made. And if you say it will when it won't, you're complicit in aiding and abetting. Part of Saturn's lesson for you while he transits your sign is to toughen you up, to challenge you to develop boundaries so that you can deliver care as needed. Hearing your hard words may well hurt or upset the listener, but your sensitivity to her/his hurt feelings is no excuse for your escape into silence. The feelings are not yours, but someone else's. If it helps you, abstract the whole painful exchange from being about you and a specific somebody who you love into 'doing the right thing'. If you really care, you'll do the right thing.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Mars entering your sign this week can be considered a relief. That is, if you're a little sick and tired of either following the group or trying to make your own way but forgetting where you're going. This sign shift gifts you a boost of self-possessed energy and attention direction, not to say that the need for showing solidarity for team efforts has totally subsided. Even with the newfound assistance toward finally doing what you want to do, I'm moved to recommend advancing with care rather than abandon. At all times, keep one eye and one ear open and your mind as clear from unsettling projections into your provisional future as possible. You may be hesitant to reconsider motions once they're in the midst of happening because you don't want to bow to pressure from others. But bowing to pressure from intuition is another thing entirely. It takes a strong, aware individual to pick up the wordless signals and, if necessary, go momentarily against ego out of faithful connection to messages dictating slight changes of course. Stay strong and aware.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): It would be quite a test of fortitude, Virgo, if you were to stumble unobserved into a jury room full of your peers and listen to them debate the merits of your latest incarnation-altering endeavors. The mathematics favor there being at least one or two big Virgo fans, celebrating the huge breaks from entrenchment you've made over recent months and the courage it's taken you to grow beyond your previous limits, as well as a couple harsh detractors, who either think you're all talk and no action or believe you've gone off the deep end and abandoned your core values. Most will probably fall somewhere in the middle, able to weigh different versions as they consider their own. Would you be able to listen to what they all have to say, without forgetting that no one opinion possesses total truth or falsity? Would the shock of hearing group impressions of you send you off on an escapist bender, seeking leave in a few stiff cocktails or ten hours of mediocre television? Or could you swallow the sting and recognize that knowledge of even the most uncomfortable topics of potential criticism against you hold great spiritual power, if you open to them? The worst things they say might not even be true, but it benefits you to understand what they are and build opposition into your synthesized self without judgment.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Have all the fun you want—but when you're not doing that, put some sustained effort into feel-thinking about what you're hoping to accomplish in the public view. 'Feel-thinking' is a compound word I just came up with to describe the process of letting your mind work as usual, analytically processing pros and cons and intricacies of situations, but with the illogic of emotions as your guide. Whether it's a bell in your head or a buzz in your stomach, your special sense will let you know if you are on the right track or not. Neither regular feeling nor regular thinking can serve you completely in achieving a reputation or profession that both suits your talents and stimulates your psyche. While feel-thinking your way through options, briefly consider abrupt work-pattern changes—part-time, full-time, night-time, contract, salaried, volunteer, abroad, temporary, unrelated, crazy. As alternatives are permitted to float through your consciousness, I'll bet that irrationally insightful sensations will clue you into possibilities your rational mind will hardly allow you to contemplate. Though why not…?


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): For this week, I advocate a stance combining an embodied awareness of self with some abstraction-worthy distancing technique. The goal is to enable you to translate the corporeal signals pulsing with information about what you deeply need into terms that frame a basic value system by which you can live. You need to let your body do some of this work because your mind has already been too invested in designing 'workable solutions' to simply observe and describe. You need the distance because you've been too close to what momentarily feels good to continually remember what tenets inspire you to greatness. (And wouldn't you rather be great than feel good?) There's no doubt a latent tension exists between the type of person you want to become and that childlike soul-yearning for a return to warm fetal simplicity. Alas, this life is about striving to be that person. The simplicity part is over until death, rebirth and/or enlightenment. But, in getting that distanced perspective so you know what to strive for, don't overlook the obvious answers in those elements of life which thrill you to an almost nervous enjoyment that spurs you to want to sing or shout.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This is actually the last week I'm officially sanctioning your prolonged indecision. The narrative explanations you've been spinning about how a relationship should be this or that, how being alone is perfect or deadly for this or that reason, how if only you could combine the best parts of Sally and Cindy into the ideal partner… these are nothing more than mind games you're playing with yourself, and with anyone else actively involved. When Venus turns direct next week, your astrological excuse will be gone. Don't try to come up with others to replace it. Just sit with the potentials (literally or figuratively) in a chamber of verbal sparsity, and listen to what you feel instead of saying what you think you should. To ease your anxiety, remind yourself that you're not picking good from bad or worthy from not—if that were the case, you wouldn't be in this pickle of multiple possible satisfying resolutions. Rather, your decisiveness must be based on efficiency of energy. How can you best spend your efforts and have them come back to you in the form of enhanced vigor rather than as drained faculties? Any pull of power away from you and into a separate entity (another person, a fused union, a fantasy, a self-effacement) is an unhealthy setup, and that's where the cord should be snipped… starting next week, and maybe taking a little longer to finish.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Because by nature you are a strategic constructor and deconstructor, I fear that your plan of attack toward conquering relationship challenges (if you've bothered to engage and develop one) is to study every contour of every interaction from every angle and look for loose screws, weak links or missteps. Stable structures, however, must be built on stable foundations. Rather than starting at the top and dangling mid-air as you hunt for areas of improvement, begin at the base of any relationship in which you're participating, which is you. What are you bringing, or not bringing, to the table? What are your attributes as a participant of life? What do you value in yourself, and what do you value in others? What goodies have you earned and banked for eventual utilization, possibly in partnership with someone else? These are the questions begging an answer from and for you. I wonder how long it's been since you've taken active inventory, or whether you're working from outdated, inaccurate or fantastical assumptions. Stop analyzing your outer relations to the world before you better understand the traits with which you relate.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): I've given you this advice before in slightly different form, but it begs repeating. Quit creating a false dichotomy in your mind between enjoying life (having fun, letting loose, playing free spirit) and taking care of business (completing work, maintaining health, postponing immediate gratification). This dichotomy leads you to act out through behaviors you imagine you enjoy (even though they ultimately don't seem like much fun and serve to weightily bond your free spirit) in rebellion against what you sincerely want to get done (in order to alleviate the anxiety related to duty so that you can actually enjoy life). Remember: Feeling that you're finishing the daily tasks and physically caring for yourself enables you to worry less, have more fun, let loose and be free. You need not know beyond these simple building blocks where your life is going right now. Just don't keep yourself stuck in this same self-sabotaging error in reasoning. There's nothing genuinely freeing about sloppy habits, poor health or general disregard.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Your horoscope this week, Pisces, is pretty straightforward. With the lineup of planets in your fifth house making a trine to identity-reinventing Uranus in your sign, there's no better time to initiate and expand whatever self-expressive creative projects linger in your desk drawer, your things-to-do pile or your imagination. In order to become this new individual we know you're on the verge of becoming, you must put out to the universe who you are. It doesn't matter what medium you choose. Journal writing, song, dance, film, poetry, prose, drawing, painting, spongeing, sculpture, design, collage, odes to your loved one—anything at all. Just please please please create something. This is one of the most prized moments to propel yourself past whatever blocks have previously inhibited you, to leap into new territory, to say it in a fresh fashion and to hit on a more emotionally connected form of release. If you are an artist of any kind or even an aspiring amateur, there's no excuse not to spend at least a couple hours this week immersed in your creative process. And if you're a Pisces, there's no excuse not to be an artist of some kind, or at least an aspiring amateur.