Horoscopes | Week of September 27-October 3, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The lineup of Libra planets opposed to a full moon in your sign this week, Aries, can only mean one thing—an emotional evaluation of your stance in relation to each vital partnership in your life. You're primed to discover the invigorating providence that comes from offering up entire chunks of your life to compromise in peaceful coupling(s)… but you're only able to do your best in relationship once you know yourself as well as you possibly can. That's what the light of Tuesday's morning full moon is intended to show you. Take stock of which parts of your self-knowledge are secure and well-grounded and which are admittedly unformed and ripe with unexpected cosmic possibility. (We've all got some of each type, so don't let bravado drive you to play like you have it all figured out.) Then, extend what you know outward toward the lucky person(s) or in open (but never desperate!) invitation to the universe's accommodation… and let the unformed parts begin to more fully develop, not in the codependent 'somebody-else-completes-me' mode but in the spirit of learning more about yourself through someone else's eyes.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): When I tell you that you can never escape, I expect you to take that metaphorically as well as literally. No more likely will you be allowed to skitter away into a dreamy wonderland of your own imaginal creation than to actually pack your bags and skip town in the dead of night. Responsibility, in the broadest and most moderating sense, beckons from every corner of your life… and more still, the pleasurable calm that comes with fulfilling it beckons you too, should you decide to reject retreat in exchange for obedient everydayness. This is odd advice to propose for you, Taurus, the sturdiest and most reliable of my zodiacal clan. But there's something in that 12th-house full moon romanticizing isolation and the possibility of emotional fog interfering with the regular regime. To refute that idealization, you must find the aesthetic bliss in your daily humdrum. To do so, imagine your entire week is a performance art piece… and listen to the spectators commenting aloud, 'Mmm, what a graceful simplicity in the way that Taurus moves through the tasks of his/her world.'


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In honor of 'Geminis, Have Some Fun' season, you are expressly permitted and encouraged to oblige the impulse to make some good-ol'-fashioned noise among the group, to lead a self-satisfying cheer for fiery social unity, whether or not anyone other than yourself is on board with the ruckus. You shouldn't bother being artificially appropriate or catering to the unavoidably conflicting perceived desires of the possibly more influential members of the peanut gallery. Do what you want to do, and—dare we forget the whole point of this season—have some fun, and you'd be surprised how those you'd most want to impress (of course, without seeming to want to impress them) will naturally be impressed by your self-motivated performances of glee, gravitating accordingly to you. If you want the love, you must not only show the love but must also be the love in expressed human form. And what is more loving than doing what feels good, just to make yourself happy by making others happy by being yourself?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): I want you to assume an uncharacteristically self-centered subject position, in order to make a gut-level assessment of your personal power and satisfaction levels in the outer-world scene. The reason for this is linked to the kernel of 'winter comes early this year for Cancerians' truth from last week… I want you to be prepared for directing a lot of pleasurable care inward toward your private self over the next few months (and, I venture to say, you'll innately crave this). But it is wholly unacceptable to condone any back-steps in external position or credit, simply because you want to spend a little more attention on your personal emotional needs. That's why you must understand, to the fullest of your ability, where you stand in your professional achievements, your public reputation and/or your ascension to earned authority now, so you have a point against which to measure yourself during this developing period of privacy. It is perfectly conceivable (and just fine) that your external progress will slow or stand still as you turn your energies elsewhere… just be sure to expend enough observational intentness outward to stay your ground—and not lose any—until you're ready to emerge renewed and continue climbing to the throne at the top.


LEO (July 23-August 22): I repeat: Small talk is preferable to talk that gets too big too quickly. The difference this week, though, is that you've become accustomed to a certain ease of interaction over the last few Venus-in-Leo-inspired weeks, which has let you get away with a wide margin of types of communications with very diminished potential for ego clashing with the stronger-willed folks. Now you may face off with the temptation to go past the chummy conversation and spontaneously start espousing all kinds of beliefs in this, that or the other, with the capacity to come off more single-minded, self-obsessed and/or preachy than you'd intend or they'd prefer. Under the surface, work as hard as you can on decorum… because you won't know you've offended it until after it's happened, and then whatever follows in the conversation might as well be a bunch of garbled static, since you'll have lost the listener's regard for the remainder of that interaction. Don't belabor any point past a few casual sentences, and stay as perpetually polite as if you were meeting your lover's parents for the first, or maybe second, time.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): The healthiest approach to take to the forthcoming period of your life is to appreciate the slowed-down pace and to warmly greet the opportunity to make something from your new spot. The still-developing calm is an ideal environment for demonstrating what separates Virgos from the crowd—your ability to flawlessly implement the process of ideas becoming things. Events of the recent past exemplify more the exception than the rule, and you can expect to relish a return… but to what? The idea of 'returning to normal' is inapplicable, since there is no approved standard for normalcy—and there's no going back to where you once were, now that you've made it here. It's more a reestablishment of your natural rhythms, a deescalation in the pressure to radically reinvent, with ample space and time to settle in. Grow fertile through a combination of familiar patterns and unfamiliar products. And when Venus enters your sign at week's end, you'll have her favorable influence to smooth any rough edges and help you better envision the most aesthetic manner in which to fit everything together again.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Add Mercury to the mix, and now you've got four planets aligned in tight conjunction in your sign. Your engines fire together, in intellectual sharpness and physical dexterity, with conscious intent and in unconscious evolution. You needn't follow anybody; you set the tone yourself, and invite followers along for the ride. To sit still in fear is like saying, 'Yes, I feel your fire burning inside, arousing me to fullest enactment of potential… but I can't go right now or else I'll miss this rerun of The People's Court (which, incidentally, I've already seen).' You will damage yourself with inertia, so don't do it. If you don't believe me, appeal to one or more most-trusted confidantes and ask their opinions on the matter of what you desperately wish you were doing with this concentrated force and how you are or aren't doing it. They'll tell you as soon as I will what you already know inside in deepest truth, if only you weren't a bit too timid to bare your hungry gums and go for it. Trust me, you won't offend if you start to stir the pot and throw timidity to the tigers. And please leave a window open for Spirit (otherwise known as advantageous coincidence) or else, when it comes to grab you, you won't even detect its gentle fortuitous summons.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): If there were ever a moment for willing felicitous surrender to a higher power—or, if you reject such fancies, then, say, surrender to your own unequivocal powerlessness—it would be now and these next few weeks. Don't get all panicky, as if this means bad news is coming your way because that is decidedly not what I'm saying at all. What I would like to point out, however, is that your usual Scorpio abilities to remain in control of situations (thanks to having an uncanny predilection of getting into others' minds and reading their motivations) will serve you less reliably, since so many upcoming situations will be marked by a total lack of sense. This can work to your advantage, against it, or somewhere in the neutral zone. Whatever the case, though, you won't be able to play to the expected reactions of others, with this air of unpredictability clouding the truer spirit of their interactions with you. The only things you do have control over are whether you accept things for what they are (instead of what you imagine they might be beneath the surface, despite my warning that you're less likely than usual to be right), whether you go with the flow (or fight it with every ounce of psychological fixity in your power, though we began by admitting you are powerless), and whether you believe everything is exactly as it should (or shortsightedly curse perceived missteps or misfortunes without having the whole story, which is simply inaccessible to you).


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Everything in our lives happens in context. It's quite unfair to unilaterally universalize what we experience (and to hold others in judgment based on it), considering how much of what goes on is a direct or indirect factor of where and when we were born, who and what we've been influenced by… and we only have control over how we respond to these conditions. The cluster of mild-mannered Libran planets in your 11th house beseeches you to work in alignment with the spirit of the times, as opposed to against it or in an assumed (but ineffectual) vacuum. There are unique opportunities—as well as inescapable limitations—for you to heed as an immediate result of the combined presence of those you share society with in this specific time and place… that's why it's at least as important to pay attention to what they're doing as it is to focus on your own path to success and esteem. Turning off and/or tuning out may work for some of the people some of the time, but it's not currently the best path to your highest fortune. On the contrary, active participation in community organizations, advocacy groups, discussion sections or other conglomerations of shared or dissenting opinions will keep you connected enough with the cultural zeitgeist to ensure your work is as socially relevant as it is personally fulfilling.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Make something of yourself, sonny-boy or little-lady. Excellence comes too easily to you for self-sabotage to obstruct your way. There's no danger that you will compromise your aspirations too early (is there?), when you naturally have such high standards for what you know you're capable of accomplishing. Your personal mold for success need not match up with any socially sanctioned versions; what's most important is that you've continued to work toward achieving what you have. But regardless of which ecstasies you choose to toil on behalf of, as long as you're still alive and kicking, it is never enough to settle on mediocrity or even maintenance of the status quo (which might have qualified as excellence years ago, when you first made it here); it would be a misuse of the authority granted by ruling master Saturn to you by virtue of your being a Cap. And no, being able to accurately catalog the self-critical reasons why you have opted out of the bustling pursuit of better and greater and more does not count as challenging yourself. Self-knowledge is no replacement for actively challenging yourself past the comfort level. Thought (or self-talk) does not equal action (or self-shutting-up-so-you-can-actually-do-something-about-it). The planetary balance tilts toward strength in your 10th house of exemplary outer-world participation, and nothing—no private dreams or 'if only' excuses or fears of looking foolish—will substitute.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): So often in my horoscopes—and not just the Aquarian ones, but for different signs at different times—I encourage my readers to refrain from coming off as too didactic, earnest or domineering in the doctrines they espouse (see, for instance: this week's Leo 'scope)… for very rarely do any of us want to be so deliberately schooled in one individual's truths, as if they unquestionably apply to all of us all of the time. But with the rare congregation of four planets in your 9th house of scholarly excellence and philosophical insight, you are the exception to this admonition, Aquarius. You have a lot of important ideas that beg to be shared, and the Libran influence of this planetary concentration lends a polite and conciliatory tone to your moral testimonials. Plus, being an Aquarian, you can propose an iconoclastic blend of intellectual rationalism and unassuming esoterica with the unique power to inspire rather than frighten the less open-minded. The catch, though, is to remember the 9th house is also about an individual's personal mind-expansive journeys and discoveries… and your enthusiastic sincerity in expressing your life theories must also be met with an equal openness to listening, so that debates (as opposed to monologues) create knowledge growth for all participants. Yes, Aquarians are brilliant and the world is in dire need of their outlook, but they can also be so pigheaded that they refuse to concede the podium to anyone with dissenting opinions. Teach, but also learn.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Yes, I am going to continuing dwelling on you and your relationship to relationships… but what else am I supposed to do? That's what the astrology keeps telling me. Your 7th house, which represents your orientation toward compromise and partnership in one-on-one relations, has recently seen a lot of action, including a visit from Mars (often bringing a need to assert your own will in relationships, if not outright conflict) and a retrograde transit of Mercury (garbled communication in relationships and/or confused interpersonal reasoning). This pair accompanied Jupiter, Mr. Good-Luck Growth, on the last leg of his journey through that same house. Now, though, all three of these guys (along with the Sun) have moved into your 8th house in peace-loving Libra, while Venus has crossed over into your 7th. I see this as an indication that whatever active movements, difficulties, conflicts or conceptual snafus you may have faced (or refused to face) over the past month or two have given way to a much more pleasant affirmation that you've grown (or refused to grow) as a partner and thus as a person. You can now enjoy that deepening of your bonds with those whose relationships with you benefited from your effort and motion—or, if you've been lazy, you'll now be able to cruise through and pretend none of that ever happened, for the time being anyway (which, scarily, could put you in a worse place later). Either way, though, you're still being more stimulated by an interpersonal mindset than, say, stand-alone individuality. But now, at least it should be easier and more explicitly amorous.