Horoscopes | Week of July 19-25, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When I describe your present inclination with the catchphrase fragment 'once and for all', I do not pretend to guarantee ultimate resolution. You can utter your statement and take your stance, but whatever reactions you receive from relevant parties or from the universe generally—and there are always reactions—could keep the worm-filled can wide open, with additional twists and turns still to unfurl. Rather, 'once and for all' is merely a description of the tone you're likely to take (or if you're not likely to take it, then maybe you should be…?), which indicates a conclusive refusal to beat around the bush any longer and an ardent thrust to say it like you mean it, in powerful unambiguous terms. Think of 'once and for all' as a mantra to follow for pushing ahead, by banishing taboos and drudging up truths. From 'once and for all', there's no going back—and that's a cathartically very-good thing.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It's not just that you're somewhat compulsively hooked into someone else's psychology (or, if you don't like 'compulsively', then how about 'irresistibly'?), so that, even if the scenarios play out only in your own head (though it's not likely you've kept it as contained as you think), the psychic tie keeps you bound to each other. And it's not as if you haven't observed your backsy-forthsies about how much this binding bond should mean, does mean, could possibly mean or will ever mean, for the relationship (or, dare to be meta, your relationship to relationships) has fallen prey to Venus's mischievous movements (and she's just now working her way through her retrograde shadow). What you might have missed, though, is the power of this other-person-centered bent (which is, regardless of what you tell yourself, what it is) over how you value yourself. Remind us what you'd be doing in a youness vacuum, without this real or imagined other to obsess over, er, I mean, think about a lot.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Though your instinct might (unconsciously) be to squeeze some more of that self-satisfying grace from Venus's epic travels through your sign (Apr 3-Aug 7), I must gently warn against indulging your feel-good drives too much at this time. Truer, more substantial self-nurturing will actually come from letting other people do some of the driving, for maybe they know a couple things about what's best for you that you're somehow overlooking. Bowing deferentially to their potentially stinging advice—for some of the truest truths are not easy to hear, nor to say—can force you to see yourself through another set of eyes. What you choose to do with that knowledge is your own choice, but you won't even make it to the intersection of options if you're unwilling to hear a fuller account of what they are. Making yourself feel better for a moment is like grabbing for the free fish instead of sticking around for the whole fishing lesson—what good will it do at the next mealtime?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): First off, Cancer, I want you to revisit last week's horoscope because it was such a meaty one and contains important themes that should carry you through this entire Moon cycle. As long as the Moon is still waxing (or increasing in brightness, which happens until the Full Moon on Jul 31), you should still maintain a close engagement with unpacking those less favorable elements of your relationships. This week, let me supplement this project by advising you to stay as grounded and practically minded as possible, in order to take fullest advantage of the powerful trine between Mars and Pluto. For you, Cancer, the current trickster is Venus, who may try to convince you that the most appealing way to handle your business is to escape into fantastically romantic visions of what it will take to get your shit done. I say, while a dose of creative visualization will boost your efforts, you mustn't overvalue mysticism right now, particularly when, right here on Earth, you possess the zealous resourcefulness to invest real-life skills to make more from what you have. Deal in materiality rather than abstraction for the best results.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Whenever possible, keep the mood light. As it is, the combination of factors skews heavily in favor of Leonine personalities, which is apt to annoy those who have trouble getting along with your type because you seem even more of all the things that annoy them than you usually do. Obviously, for you, this more-ness ignites your creativity, boosts your energetic output, intensifies your enthusiasm, and (sorry, gotta say it) pumps up your ego. Go ahead, be in love with yourself. And passionately love those who love you, letting them how important their love is to your well-being, even if you don't always pause to show it. But as for those whose 'love' for you is in question, don't question it. You already know what you think you know about their conflicting messages or submerged motivations, and there's no reason to coerce awkward revelations from them. The way the planets are swelling you with spirit is liable to draw envy from others (deceptively concealed as any number of unpleasant reactions). Be kind, at least on the surface, to those who aren't being particularly kind to you. You don't need to spell out the errors of their lack-of-confidence ways. Keep the mood light. You don't need to go there.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Roll out the red carpet, and welcome your ruling planet Mercury back home into your sign. He shows up at the tail end of this week and brings his keen analytical thinking cap for you to wear for a few weeks, sharpening your mind for detail mastery and more closely aligning your spoken and written words with your implicit brilliance. What is ordinarily an uncomplicated piece of good news become more complex this time around, Virgo, because Mercury will be doing an about-face come Aug 9 and turning retrograde, during which time he'll head back into Leo for another dip in the pool of untidy dramatic overstatement. I'm giving you the heads-up so that you don't rush into confident declarations and tightly woven rationales, only to be forced to openly rescind, revise and eat humble pie later. Be particularly careful not to get overly confident in your interactions with authority figures or in the public/professional sphere generally—just because you can see a better way of phrasing, organizing or accomplishing, that doesn't mean you should be smug with those who might be quietly threatened enough to eagerly search for proof you're wrong. Offer polite suggestions, but stay unattached to whether they are followed. Whatever your mighty brain comes up with over the next few weeks will most definitely be revisited in the following few weeks.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): When vexed by inconsistencies, just agree to disagree, whether it's with an acquaintance or an intimate or your own unruly self. The sooner you realize your scales were never meant to be in perfect balance, the more quickly you can begin to enjoy the fun of tinkering with their tiny movements without expectation of ultimate attainment. A healthy debate need not end in a fairy-tale union, with one viewpoint and another riding off together into the sunset on a pristine white steed. It's totally acceptable to identify intensely with one floating sound-byte or tidy argument, and then to gravitate toward another off-topic notion with equal intensity. The only pressure to pick one thing comes from your own discomfort with having to explain yourself to someone else who might view your allegiances as noncommittal or underresearched. Gain strength from refusing to explain beyond a straightforward description—if it veers into moral debate, you'll be driven crazy trying to get him/her to feel it the way you do. No need to go crazy, no need to proselytize.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): The Mars-Pluto combination colors this week with fantastic opportunities to forge a step or two ahead in the quest to make a name for yourself. Whereas other zodiac members will also utilize this fervent energy to push themselves forward, they have less natural affinity with these tricky Plutonian undercurrents than you. They'll more naturally draw conflict and resistance in their attempts to put weight and ferocity into their efforts. You, however, can easily function under the radar by staying singularly centered on the higher prize—building a professional or public reputation for excellence as a leading individual in your field or area of interest—and refusing to bite at any bait dangled in front of you. They need the drama, the intrigue and the fight much more than you do. What you need is to continually remind yourself of the positive feedback loop between (1) self-sufficiency in skills and resources and (2) achievement of outer-world dreams: The more you realize you have, the more you can accomplish with it, the more you earn, the more you have. Other people—as friends, lovers, business partners, bosses, peers, rivals—all come secondary for the time being. They don't even know how much they'll appreciate your self-focus, until later.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): As I've been advising you throughout Venus's long-term, retrograde-included transit through your one-on-one relationship house, I'd remain measured and cautious in allying yourself too closely with folks you don't know so well. It's not that you shouldn't trust them, but it's also not wise to jump right into bed with them (metaphorically speaking or…?) without playing it safe. You have enough philosophic power and forward-moving oomph to make your points yourself—if someone else is encouraging you too strongly to squelch your true feelings in order to maintain the pairing, that doesn't bode so well. As a Sagittarian, your tongue must be given free rein to bluntly speak your mind, or else you're being wrongly used for another's gain. But neither should you bully the other into submission. Offer up your position, and let whoever else is involved decide where they stand in relation to it. The option to agree with you is their willing choice, and make doubly sure they aren't going along with it just to flatter or woo you—because, if that's the case, believe me, it will come back to haunt you.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Don't skim the surface by tallying polite self-contained little measures to incrementally enhance daily performance, resulting from polite self-contained little contemplations of situational rights and wrongs. Go headfirst into the eye of the storm. Risk the contentious veneer of psychic peace for the deep upset, and peel into the dark feelings you fear could overwhelm if let free. They are more likely to take you over when you repress them rather than giving them their proper credence. To assist the process, take a sustained meditative recall of the last couple nasty interactions you engaged in. (Maybe the interactions weren't themselves as nasty as you the way you felt afterward. Or maybe you acted in a nasty fashion…) Put aside who was right and who was wrong, and concentrate on your subjective psychological experience of the situation. Did you feel powerless? Tyrannical? Were you trying to maintain the power, grab it back, push it away? Within the meditative frame, hold the memory of that feeling in your body. Now, unpack it: trace it from the nasty interactions to the formative early events to which the sensation hearkens back. Dwell there; learn; emerge.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Everything about your destiny this week, Aquarius—whether or not you believe in such things—is intricately tied up with other people. Try as you might to act independently (and normally you're pretty darn good at it), you will meet with others whose differing ideas will inescapably whittle your plans into altered shape, like it or not. Well, you'd might as well like it because it will happen—and it's the right thing to happen, too. Even though you've already thought out how you envision your ascent to leadership will go down, you'll be a lame duck without the direct involvement of those whose lives your actions are intended to benefit. Continue to take pride in your motives, to proceed idealistically as if your best efforts will take place exactly as you've imagined, to act and express in any case rather than inertly pondering or shivering in your boots—and then don't be too surprised when you hit creative blocks, receive constructive criticism, and take on unanticipated allies in your drive to restore power to its rightful owners.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): My gosh, if there were a week purposefully designed for you to make a stride or two ahead careerwise, this would be it. The forceful regenerative energy of Mars and Pluto occupy your two houses expressively involved in your day-to-day work and the high aspirations you seek to achieve with that work. Don't necessarily take the safe way, which keeps the walls of your tight cocoon intact but simultaneously hoards all your grandest efforts for your own emotional security. Underneath your sensitivities and the easy ability to follow others' professional agendas rather than setting your own, you are several years into a long-term process of coming into your own power through the public contribution only you can make. Please use this week to bust through an emotional obstacle so that you can get your work done. Until you do, you will continue to relive the emotions, while your work still won't be getting done. The equivalent of a corner office with a fancy desk and a view of the waterfront is yours, just as soon as you dare to behave as if you deserve it.