Horoscopes | Week of August 16-22, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You're so adept at staying 'in the moment', I almost don't know how to deliver the advice that encourages you to force yourself to stay in the moment past the moment, in order to sustain your given efforts past their exciting beginnings and produce the kind of work that only comes through repetition—especially since, in the same breath, I also must mention the sudden revelations that continue to expose reasons why your given efforts can't quite be sustained in the current fashion in which you're making them, forcing you to stay in the moment. In other words, try your hardest to establish and maintain a rhythm… then let the unexpected pressures that result from your secret resistance to regularity add alternative textures to the rhythm, altering it enough so it barely seems like a regular rhythm at all… without allowing yourself to abandon the attempt to establish and maintain a rhythm. In the context of this advice, intention means a lot.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Get out. No staying in. You locked yourself out of the house. You are naked except for a silly hat and a wacky pair of shoes. You're hungry and have no money. Blow off the shame, and sing for your supper. Stripped down to the bone, all you have to survive with are your sparkling wit and that song-n-dance bit, the one where you go so far in making a so-called fool of yourself that you delight us into a standing ovation. The hecklers only add to the success of your act. Their impolite interruptions spur you on to crack a few good ones at their expense. The thrill of the unknown, the risk of total rejection, drives you to say and do zany things. But what else are you going to do? You cannot go back in. The keys are missing. Your stomach's still growling. Waiting docilely in front of your door, hoping the landlord will show up (though you haven't called him, don't even know his number and can't trust him anyway), is futile and, more importantly, boring. Boring is like death to the soul. Alone, bouncing off your walls, is boring, even if you don't know it. Lucky for you, you're locked out. Develop a corny routine.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Thoughts will likely repeatedly return to home as you continue trying to figure out what feel-good strategies work best at counteracting the craziness of the outside world. Small, seemingly insignificant practices can make a huge impact on whether you feel braced or bonkers. Don't neglect the little rituals, and if you don't know what I'm referring to, it's time to make some up. Do the same thing everyday for the first five minutes you walk in from work. Light a favorite candle, release a scent, pour a cup of tea in the mug that reminds you of Mom, or read one page of a long-forgotten children's book. It's in the unwavering normalcy of home life, deliciously blandly unique as it is for every individual, that some of the most unexpected solutions to vexing questions in your outer life will present themselves. The backdrop of your favored form of soothing hum helps epiphanies stand out with greater contrast.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): What if you're not wasting your time? What if your priorities aren't all messed up? What if one single nugget of useful truth falls out from the chaff of useless crap you've been mutually regurgitating with hundreds of virtual-stranger acquaintances and makes all that trivia-treading worth it? What if everything is already exactly as it should be, and what if you've been inadvertently looking from only one eye… and then the other one involuntarily opens, only to show you that perfection has been patiently waiting in that blind spot on the side of your nose? What if your entire reevaluation of life's most important features sneaks up on you instead of announcing itself as such and then one day you wake up and quietly know everything is different? What advice is there for you to follow when your most trusted advisors answer your questions with more questions? 'Little things aren't so little, and the big stuff isn't that big.'


LEO (July 23-August 22): Confirm that the balance on your statement is correct, then review the transaction details, sorting them by expenditure category to obtain a clearer analysis of where you allocate your resources. The accounting department might be startled to discover the size of the values in certain columns, denoting expenses that have far exceeded the projections in key sectors. This is merely a fact-finding exercise conducted by a team of independent auditors who plan to compile the results in a comprehensive report then step away, not intended for use by efficiency experts from outside their proper jurisdiction who might impose punitive initiatives against those responsible for the alleged misconduct. The purpose is to push information to the appropriate stakeholders so they can make more educated decisions about how to spend their limited dollars. This is your proactive heads-up, so everyone's on the same page, that fiscal knowledge equals fiscal power.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): As part of this Mercury-retrograde-dictated period of reconsideration and rectification, here is the assignment. As you (damned-well-better) know, you're at the end of a yearlong gift from Jupiter, during which time you became a bigger and better version of your previously big good self. But how well do you know who you've become? I want you to make a list of the top ten qualities you possess that have developed into fuller form over the past twelve months. Then I want you to discuss this list with others in your life whose opinions you trust. Please feel free to explain that Astrobarry hasn't stopped going on and on about what a great year this has been for Virgo—even if you hardly believe it yourself—and that you are trying to evaluate what great effects it has personally had on you. Now, here's the hardest part. I want you to ask these folks which of the ten self-descriptive statements you've made is the least true or the most false. In other words, actively solicit challenges to your self-constructed self-image. Their opinions are, of course, just their opinions, so I'm not saying they're right and you're wrong. But it's always useful to hear the opposing point of view. If you don't plan on actually carrying out this activity, the least you could do is make the list and post it to look at throughout the week. Perhaps by week's end, you'll come up with the glaring misidentification on your own. My main point is that this list must be reworked and rewritten over the next month. By the end of September, you should know for sure what's changed in you over the last year—and what hasn't.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Curse them as you may, thank goodness those immediate responsibilities, with their dynamically changing requirements, are around to keep you on your toes. Wish for just a few spare moments to yourself so you can withdraw into dreamland, but don't expect to have the wish granted. Enough curve balls are being thrown at you from the work-health-and-duty realm to keep your mind occupied with mandatory revisions to your plan… busy enough, hopefully, to stop it from drifting away. You must stay awake and conscious to roll with these punches, to adapt your moment-to-moment patterns so they constantly attend to the continually shifting needs. The sooner you realize the retreat you crave is best attained through (1) close focus on each hour's pressing tasks and healthful habits and (2) relinquishment of the stress from worrying about things beyond that scope, the less uncomfortable it will feel to stay put… because the place you want to run away to is the place you already are, and the place you want to run away from isn't really a place at all.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Keep practicing the universal-love drill. It's not that you're unbelievable at it, so much as you are such an uncanny source of powerful and complex reactions to other people, it makes the peace-and-goodwill shtick seem childishly simplistic. Maybe it is. Maybe that's why real communal living never really took off as a workable mode for social organization. People can't get it together enough to look past their own ego issues and unite for the good of the whole, and perhaps they shouldn't. Still, it's worthwhile that you keep trying to depersonalize the details and play the simple part of one man or woman among many, doing your bit with no more relative self-importance than anyone else. All the while, don't pretend away those instances when your gainful self-involvement clashes with the placid party line. Even let yourself win, as long as some internal debate happens. Nothing is more in sync with the love for all humanity than embracing the truth that all humanity is in love with itself.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Keep thinking big. Why are you where you are, doing what you're doing? This question must be answered before you can move on to the other places you want to go and the other stuff you want to do. You must be able to recognize, in retrospect, which point was Point A and how it led to Point B, or else you won't notice Point P when you speed past it on your unconscious way to get another cup of coffee. With Mercury hanging retrograde in your tenth house of professional success and outer-world achievement—the same house that's been brightened up since last summer, with benevolent Jupiter's good-luck juices dripping all over the place—your mind is begging you for a review of these last few steps on your path to glory. Part of planning for the future is really and truly understanding what has come before, reassessing your potential strengths and weakness based on real recent experience, not daffy fantasies about being good at things you've never tried or sob stories that undervalue your treasured skills.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): 'The most meaningful thing in my life is that I lead a meaningful life, but don't get all philosophy professor on my ass and make me explain in eloquently-formed value propositions why love equals the inverse of death or how we are all fundamentally the same underneath our Hanes-Her-Ways… wait, is that a fly on top of my soup or is it the meaning of life or are they the same thing, wait, it's not moving, crunch crunch, it's not as salty as you'd think it'd be and I wasn't getting enough protein in my diet anyways, which would explain why I take everything so damn seriously and still am not able to articulate what I'm so serious about… excuse me, but would you happen to know where the most unusual place I could possibly find myself is located and what the shortest and most inconvenient path for getting there would be so I can ignore your directions and take the long scenic route, or are you just fucking with me by stringing a bunch of unrelated experiences together and asking if I believe in them? The most important thing in my life is that I'm important and enjoy all the benefits that come with the title. In the meantime, are we having fun yet?'.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Those walls that appear to be gradually closing in on you are actually arms that are approaching for a hug. What you fear could be an imminent case of smothering is in fact a cuddly blanket sent to keep you warm. And the flip side of that celebrated 'breathing room' which Aquarians claim to need a lot of is a chilly breezy vacant void where self-protection is so necessary because no one else is around for miles. Freedom can be revered in lots of way, some of which don't require such adamant isolation just to prove the point of independence. Being free also includes being free to meld passions with others at will, rather than always playing it safe by speaking of relationships in abstracts. There's not too much to say when you're busy touching and being touched, no explanations of why certain behaviors are allowed or disallowed once they're already happening, no ends to justify when all we have are means. Out of the head, into the body. Out of you, into someone else. Out of logic, into feeling.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Remember this about your psychic sensitivities, Piscean pals. You may sense my deep sadness and longing, the unresolved angers and anguishes, the soaring mania and the plunging panic… you may feel what I feel, in every sensor on your skin, and sympathetically share my emotions with the widest and deepest compassion known to personkind… but you do not know me. Careful what cerebral conclusions you draw, just because you carry this impeccable emotive wisdom. Behind so many of our personal feelings (which, yes I know, are only our own versions of universal emotional truths) lay specific individual narratives detailing our individual lived histories. You don't know these details, and yes, these details matter. Do your best to occupy a humble form of understanding when you reach out to us, showing that you do care and that we do matter, but without presuming to know better about us than we know about ourselves because, I promise you, when it comes our lives, we are the experts.