Horoscopes | Week of January 10-16, 2005

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your reputation precedes you… and that's not always a good thing, though often enough, it is. With Venus and Mercury shining down from high in your 10th house, it's a perfect moment to tactically consider those least favorable elements of your public standing, whether or not you're previously thought them to be reasonable judgments against your character. Sorry, you don't get to pick what other people think of you. However, you can use their harshest opinions as a fount of priceless information about your greatest latent strengths, which exist in their rawest form as those behaviors that pester and perturb your professional cohorts. Are you brave enough to listen? Are you humble enough to admit? Because, let me tell you, if you can grab onto the threads of truth within their admittedly difficult feedback and proactively address those concerns, directly and without shame, you'll demonstrate such a high degree of self-awareness and willingness to grow from criticism that they will be extraordinarily impressed—and in that act, you will have healed the pocks on your permanent record and increased your esteem immeasurably.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): What matters most? If pressed for a deathbed summary of what basic themes underscored your life's journey from there to here, how would you answer? What will you have learned? The New Moon lineup of planets in your 9th, including a cerebrally favorable Mercury-Venus conjunction, encourages disciplined consideration of these issues, if for no other reason than to help you ensure you're spending your time and energy efficiently, in support of whatever you've decided best warrants their expenditures. Otherwise, you're wasting precious moments of alive. Just say no to distractions that, while you imagine them to be insignificant enough to hold little relevance to those subjects of substance, actually contradict or undermine (even if in convoluted causal chains) what matters most. Speak it out or jot it down, just don't take your rational eye off the self-determined prize. Keep the highest philosophic values in your crosshairs, and what you do with yourself will stay maximally meaningful.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It's a week to halt any interpersonal running away and to stare the uncomfortable, intense, possibly painful and potentially transformational state of psychological affairs square in the face. Sometimes, you Geminis are unduly critiqued for staying superficial because of your first-rate multi-faceted sociability. And sometimes, the critique is justifiable, when your activities exemplify you'd rather frantically spin titillating tales of relative irrelevancy than crawl through the mud with little to add to the conversation except unflattering reflections of emotional turmoil. Maybe there's nothing clever or sense-filled to say, just a slow burning mass of intricately enmeshed sensations, from exuberance to grief, anxiety to envy to anger to hopelessness, from which you must untangle yourself. But you can't address what's in front of you, if your eyes are on someone else's paper or if your lips are busy lamenting the breakup of Brad and Jen. Strip off the protective gear, and dive in naked.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Take a hard, ball-busting stare at any relationship patterns of which you're not so proud… then remember that the common denominator is you. In astrology, we look to the 7th house—the site of this week's New Moon, as well as a conjoined Mercury and Venus—to show those parts of ourselves that come out in our one-on-one relationships, through the manners in which we treat our partners and the projected behaviors that show up in them. Please remember, projection (i.e., we think it's them, but it's really us) is not a bad thing, for oftentimes the surest way to discover those lesser-conscious parts of ourselves is by observing their shadows in the actions of someone else. But when they show up again and again, rousing out-of-proportion emotional reactions in us, we should probably let the reality of our implication in the scenario pierce our consciousness and send us to glance in the mirror. You have not done it 'wrong'. You have simply met up with the souls who had something to learn from you and something to teach. You choose when you've had enough—of certain individuals or certain lessons—and, consciously or not, you choose what you're ready to move onto next.


LEO (July 23-August 22): You and I both know that you care about far more than your own delicate ego, though the detractors out there who admire you the least would have us believe otherwise. We see through the occasionally self-serving displays of bravado to what truly motivates your dramatics—a sheer love for your fellow humans and the smiles you hope to bring to their faces, as well as your defining quest to meet up with those who'll feel the same for you. It is ultimately through such generosity and enthusiasm, the kind I egged you toward last week, that the purposefully exaggerated strokes with which you paint your life will take on the power to inspire others to similarly bold greatness. And to that end, your humble being can be of crucial vital service to the entire universe. Bring out the qualities that separate you from the pack, and do so for the sake of we who cannot express such vast talent, no matter how hard we try. Simply, you've got 'it'… and you've been given what you've got to share, to cheer, to light up, because you can and because it's fun… and… this is serious business… because it's your duty as a child of the bright Sun.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Begin by reading this week's horoscope for your zodiacal predecessor, Leo. Then, pause to digest. My description of Leos as instinctive sharers of the Sun's bright life energy may even stir up some envy in you, seeing as you aren't necessarily the most automatically expressive or bold of the signs. You're more apt to excel at those areas in which duty calls, where you're expected to apply precision and logic and diligence behind the scenes in a most un-fun fashion—and rather unlikely to complain much about it. In oversimplified terms, Virgos work and Leos play. Well, just as I tried to get my Leo lovelies to reinterpret their drama-queen behavior as a necessary service to us all, I want you to readdress your need to sing your songs and dance your dreams and let your light shine immodestly bright and unreservedly loud as a compulsory task rather than optional frivolity. You are charged with loosening up and boogieing down, and you'll be evaluated on how exuberantly you let it all hang. And since I've already involved Leo in your business, might I recommend asking the Leos in your life for five off-the-cuff suggestions of ways in which you can be more like the parts of them you most admire or envy.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): In contrast to your mild-mannered and easy-going persona, the tough guy underneath the allure isn't always as kind to you as you are to others. In order to fulfill your private emotional cravings, away from the glare of obligatory public politeness, you'll need to wrest control over your self-care away from him—using his own most ruthless tactics. Be a hard-ass with yourself, with regards to your non-negotiable requirements for sanity. Otherwise, your 'others come first' default dominates, and you are left wondering if they'll be enough left when the serving bowl makes it to your end of the table. A boost of crisp, refreshing flavor is yours to sport, if you spend sustained efforts now to fortify the structure of that quiet place inside, so it provides a more delightful and energizing escape from the pressures of the outside world. Don't starve yourself for affection. Rest your head, stroke your skin, and sweetly remind yourself that you are loved more than enough so that everything will work out all right.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): For those of you unfamiliar with the long-running TV quiz show Jeopardy!, it pits competitors against each other in two rounds of answers-and-questions in six categories of knowledge per round. It's the kind of game in which the big winners are folks with craniums crammed full of trivialities of various denominations, and the rest of us look or feel stupid. But, as with so many things, there's also a huge element of chance to who prevails and who's stuck with the consolation prizes. Contestants will only thrive if Lady Luck deals them a set of categories that meshes well with the particular brands of trivial crap they know. And each of us has a few trivia specialties up our sleeves, a hypothetical set of 'dream categories' that, if they showed up on the board, we'd clean the floor with our opponents. I bring this up, Scorpio, because the New Moon in your 3rd house denotes an opportunity to get momentarily serious about six or twelve of your favorite sideline subjects, to make a sincere and strenuous effort to invite your mind to wander into these areas, so you can learn more about more without needing the information to be immediately relevant to the central struggles in your life. Collecting a few new famous names, surprising facts-and-figures and potent quotables is just what the doctor ordered, and don't bother wondering why. You never know when the question to that answer will net you a hunk of cash, a trip to the Tournament of Champions, or the simple respect of someone whose favor you seek.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): In setting priorities this week, show favor to those efforts involving fruits that can be touched, held, or used as currency to purchase that which can be touched or held. The key is to weigh yourself down with responsibility, but in a healthy grounding way. After several weeks of accentuated adventure, manic movement and/or whirlwind whatever, your earthly well-being eagerly expects some form of anchor to slow the swing and better equip your grip. It's the week to balance the checkbook, stock the shelves, profitably dispose of yesterday's treasures, and make those difficult decisions that batten the hatches and benefit the bottom line. The thrill, as it has recently played out, is unsustainable. Its most beneficial elements, however, could be sustained with the proper strategizing and a degree of restraint not currently in usage, though some of the shinier stimulations must be allowed to run their course. Commit to a few practical steps, and choose which carefully.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): It's perfectly likely that some (though probably not all) of the grounds upon which you launch your characteristic attacks of self-criticism are somewhat (though probably not completely) valid. You have a tremendously keen knack for envisioning the most successful outcome to any project, interaction, circumstance or expression of self—and, consequently, a tremendously keen knack for zeroing in on areas where you have fallen short of these highest standards. In honor of Monday's New Moon conjunct Chiron in your sign, I challenge you to own the perfect perfectness of your imperfections as the source of your deepest wisdoms, that knowledge which only comes from challenge, perseverance, improvement and incorporation. Drop your judgments in favor of faithful appreciation that things are just as they should be, and be damned to those who'd seek to inhibit your radical self-acceptance with their own unreasonable assessments. With optimism on the brain and shapely communications promenading out your mouth (thank you, Venus and Mercury uniting in your 1st!), the energy you pour into your exchanges this week goes a long way in creating an exceptional '05—one which couldn't happen the way it will, unless you were as 'messed up' as you've previously been. Thank those lessons for what they've taught.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Go on, throw your hands up in the air and admit you have little control over the circumstances of your life. Well, you do… but you don't… you know what I mean? You lead the horse to water, and it decides whether or not to drink, regardless of what your preference might be. I know you understand this on the fundamental plane of intellect, and I believe a part of you embraces the not-knowable as a factor of what makes life interesting. Yet, on a gut emotional level, you still fear the ramifications. Have you done enough, you wonder, to conceptualize the best possible realities in order to make them real? But what would happen if you believed first and thought later? Could you jump into the pool without ever having been taught to swim and trust that you will make it across? Aquarius, I want you to feel a union with the mystical forces that keep the wheel of fortune spinning, rather than merely paying lip service to mysticism. You should already experience thankfulness that the universe has birthed you as an Aquarian soul, which excuses you from playing by the same rules that impede everyone else's liberation. Now, sanely and safely, go off the deep end, and let your highest spiritual orientation lead you to confessing your ignorance of the end goal and your faith in the process of getting there.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Following up on last week's generation of creative abundance…get a little detachment into your perspective. Step away from the passionate over-investments. Ask the cantankerous critics the difficult questions. Let gravity do its trick, pulling pieces into place. Be part of the team, with full acknowledgment of your possible problems with teamwork—namely, knee-jerk acceptance or rejection of various propositions, potentially leading to resentment due to martyrish submission or alienation due to psychic insolence. Don't stake your emotional identification on the free marketplace of ideas; just go there to exchange. Thoughts are tiny dots that only draw a picture with distance and profusion. The cage door is open, and you are free to go forth as you choose. Forgive yourself for not having seen the opening earlier, for having chosen indentured servitude instead of the loneliness that comes from wandering. You did what you needed to do. Now, find solace in companionship with intellectual allies and idealistic twin-soul theorizers, those who are willing both to envision a better existence and to work for its realization. Meanwhile, keep the thirst for touchy intimacy quenched at a handshake.