Horoscopes | Week of August 9-15, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Paying a bit of attention to detail every once in a while certainly couldn't hurt you. And even if I told you that, no matter how hard you try to catch every last silver ball falling from the sky, some of the very most important ones will unavoidably slip through your fingers and perch on the edge of the drain to nowheresville, it's still important to try. One of the quirky characteristics of discipline (and ask any Virgo or Capricorn, if you don't believe me) is that sometimes you're supposed to bow to it just to prove you can. Sometimes, despite how soft and fluffy and yearning for a scratch behind the ears you are (and are likely to get what you desire, you cute kitty you), you still must set aside a time for rote mechanical duty. Being the embodied burst of fiery initiative isn't always enough. There won't always be someone else to finish what you've started, to remind you to show up on time, and to close the circle on your dangling conversation. If you don't start taking this seriously, I must assign you to scrub the same spot on the floor with a toothbrush every day for two hours—and whether it already looks clean to you is simply not the point.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Play to win, but not in competition with anyone else. The goal of the game is to put as much of yourself out there without coming off as a know-it-all. You don't know it all, not even everything about yourself. But that's no reason to hold yourself in. What, are you waiting until your life is perfectly figured out before you invite others in? How, then, do you expect to figure it out with the same old self-contained perspectives bouncing around inside the confines of your hard head? You need to play them off other people. The game is life, and if you're not here to win, then you're selling your skills as a player short. The good news is that, if we play our cards right, everyone can win. I'll show you my hand if you show me yours. You first. The astrological energies dictate that, right now, you lead. 'Right now' as in: Right. Now.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): On some level, you're ready for a little rest and relaxation. Your physical energies are turning inward, as you dig your claws into the bed and snuggle into the cocoon to refresh. Yes, it's been quite a whirlwind few months (but I don't have to tell you that!), so you know that you've earned the necessity to escape into privacy. Alas, Mercury turning retrograde won't simply let you get all the rest you need. (Nothing's ever that simple!) You were all ready to turn off the machines and tune in to a whole bunch of nothing… but that was before a whole new set of titillating news stories starting pouring in over the wire. There's not that much to do about the fresh info, but your mind won't let you miss a single juicy detail. Thus, while you may otherwise be ready to hunker down for some nesting, your mind wants to keep racing. It is indeed possible to grant your cerebral side its desired social stimulation another few weeks (for summer isn't over yet!), while still downshifting your physical and emotional selves into semi-hibernation. Feel free to do a big portion of your communing remotely, with phones, faxes, emails and short visits, instead of resentfully enduring marathon party sessions, a hundred appointments a day or constant face time. For the actual face-to-face social encounters, stick to the ones that matter most and let the casual folks fall temporarily to the sidelines.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Leave it to you to celebrate Mercury retrograde (Aug 9-Sep 2) with an increase in words, from trickle to torrent, while everyone else seems to be choking on their own tongues trying to get them out. Maybe it's because, since communicative Mercury works in a convoluted way during his backwards travels, this is your way of turning your usual non-verbal communications on their ear by actually verbalizing them. Thank Venus for crowning you King or Queen of the late-summer carnival, and take advantage of your title by disseminating glittery good tidings far and wide amongst your subjects. For a short period, your sensitivities are not so receptive that you must perpetuate a panic about self-protection; instead, you're the reflective and projective one, so use this unusual opportunity to explore past your normal reaches. This is the time to visit foreign lands, in every figurative sense of the phrase 'foreign lands'. Risks are far outweighed by the powerful positivity you put out as you probe and pioneer.


LEO (July 23-August 22): New Moon in your sign this weekend, brothers and sisters, a fine time to recommit to keep doing what you're doing. In a certain sense, I'm temporarily out of major advice for you, Leo. It seems like you hardly need it. I can't tell for sure if you're speeding splendidly or sputtering slowly along, but either way, you're in the middle of a sustained somethin'-somethin', and there's not much change of direction to insinuate into your scenario. Well, except… speaking of change of direction… Mercury starting his retrograde first thing this week. As far as you're concerned, this equates to one tidy tip-off for you to take: Don't go signing away your money just yet, and indeed, if you can help it, don't go signing anything at all, as far as financial and other such resources are concerned. Though it appears the details have all been worked out, they haven't. Ego-related emissions and additions are likely to complicate the picture over the next few weeks. If at all possible, wait on dealings that deal with your sense of sensible stability until the middle of September. If not possible, read fine-print three times… and then ask an earth-sign friend to read it again.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Things are heating up for you, Virgo, with Mars entering your sign this week for a month-and-a-half stay. This is just the energy boost you've needed to fully appreciate this last bit of Jupiter-provided inspiration and grow your life beyond its previous boundaries. If your last ten months or so have been spent visualizing a bigger existence than you've ever known, then this next few weeks is the time to finally push your way into it. You have more drive to get things going and more self-motivated will to do them your way. Alas, the minor downside is Mercury's retrograde, which pushes your ruling planet backwards into the realm of incomprehensibility for a spell at month's end. As you keep the activity levels up, keep the intellectual cockiness down. Your efforts won't necessarily turn out exactly according to plan, but that doesn't mean you won't like the results. Use your precision toward consciousness of your behaviors in the moment, rather than wasting it in forging too much pre-thought that won't pan out. If you prepare ahead of time for a few detours in your path, they won't even seem like detours once you meet them—and that's the best (and only) plan to have. Now quit dillydallying with conceptual logistics, and start moving your hands and feet.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): I'm not sure which direction you will take the influence of Mars perking up your 12th house, where angels and goblins and balls of healing light or whatever other symbols of kooky irrational otherworldliness occupy your alone-time reside. Periods of 12th-house accentuation usually denote some degree of isolation, whether this is utilized as a positive spiritual sanctuary or a drink-and-drug-fueled escape from reality (or, more likely, something in between). But I'm also watching to see if you don't also use this solitude as an opportunity to fight with yourself over your imperfections, pandering to phantom hard-asses who recite scripts of supposed acceptable behavior, the lines of which you cannot seem to memorize, despite the fact that the performance is tomorrow night. In other words, you are less prepared to deploy aloneness as a constructive tool than you might try to argue. Painful as it may be, continue to seek social connection, even when you feel it takes every ounce of strength to drag yourself to face others. Doldrums are fleeting, and really good times are ahead, starting next month.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): There's something that's always bugged me about the word 'community', even though the idea of a group of like-minded people coming together to support each other is such a comforting one. I think my irritability with the term probably derives from witnessing the misapplication of its group dynamism, used to uncomfortably join heterogeneous individuals under some relatively insignificant bond and/or to coerce them into advocating for a cause that doesn't truly suit their collective needs. Community is important for you to consider now, Scorpio, because (1) you are poised for growth and leadership, as supported by the collective social matrix of a community rallying behind you, and (2) you can potentially undermine your relation to this community if you too transparently use their support for selfish, rather than collective, gain. It is a delicate balance to strike, since all members of a community have a degree of selfish intent latent in their involvement (or else what is their ultimate impetus for joining forces?). Do some further private thinking on the details of what you hope to accomplish before going to the group with specific needs. In the meantime, stay involved and lend your support to someone else's grand plan for a while, generating good will—and the potential to call in future favors later.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Chalk it up as another week during which to watch your tongue. Oh, Sag, please don't think I'm being hard on you or not appreciating your skill for justly cutting to the chase and keeping conversation on track. I just want to remind you of the delicate fallibility of we human creatures, who often shy from statements of the truth (and thus don't always want to hear them from you!), just to protect our tender public characters. Perhaps you've gone through these fleeting occasions yourself? As much as you may resent laying your gospel aside to bow at the altar of someone else's ego, it may suit you far better in the short term than sticking to your guns. (Note: 'Sticking to your guns' is a rather aggressive and potentially homicidal metaphor.) Keep verifying the veracity of your version, even if you think you've thought it all through, and defer the testimony. One tiny missing morsel, if discovered by the opposing counsel under cross-examination, could undermine the whole case—even if you know, without a doubt, that you are right.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Last week's advice creates ripples with wider ramifications than I may have mentioned. When you take greater risks and explore the Venus-inspired pleasantries in your one-on-ones, you don't simply benefit by gaining increased confidence and familiarity in those individual relationships. You also get to apply that confidence to the sillier, less meaningful social moments—once you've established firmer ground with the ones that matter, you get to loosen up and have some experimental fun when gibber-jabbering with the ones you barely know (and barely need to know). Suddenly, the cavalcade of emperors and empresses are wearing no clothes, and you couldn't care less if they know you know. Boy do they look silly naked, so please have some compassion, instead of generalizing their insecurities into a polemic about the problems with people, no matter how satirical your tone. As long as you remain goofy and good-spirited (rather than indulging that tiny part of you who hankers for applying your loose tongue toward vengeful purposes), your lighter mood will enchant coffee-break chitchatters and busmates and artful eavesdroppers alike, not to mention yourself.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): While there's no fighting the building intensity (so don't even try), you may have a bit more explaining to do, to yourself and/or others, regarding the merits of cooperation and compromise. See, Aquarius, the same egalitarian methods you apply so well to your comprehensive worldview seem to make you far more nervous once you reduce the number of players down to two—that is, one other and you. I sense you are willing to confess your hesitation to share as readily when under this one-on-one microscope, even as your cravings and passions push you further into the abyss of possible intimacy. Confession is a good start, and all you've got to be willing to do is start. The finished product is so many steps from completion, and, in cosmic rebellion against your usual visionary abilities, you are unable to see what it's supposed to look like. ('Supposed to'?) Therefore, you can stop trying to categorize each rung on this interpersonal ladder according to what lesson you think you're learning or which stage of relational development it symbolizes. Allowing your hands to get messy in this one, without a tidy explanation of how you plan to clean them later, is part of the fun.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Your work is far enough from done, you'd have a difficult time waging any victorious conflict that rests upon a sanctimoniously meticulous listing of the other person's stances, gripes or perceived failings. As they say, those in glass houses should at least have enough Windex to cover their own fingerprints. Before you start pushing buttons in someone else's elevator, demanding she see the errors in her rationale, finish sweeping the detritus off your own stairway. (By the way, you missed a spot.) Obviously, you're free to your opinions. But, believe it or not, you'll gain a lot more respect for them if you admit they are what they are—your opinions—instead of striving for supremacy in the (illusive) realm of common sense. There's no need to hold back on what you've got to say. Simply take a little more joy in the expulsion, and a little less worry that your version is tight. (Because it isn't. Which is okay.) Let up on the seriousness factor, and relish the freedom.