Horoscopes | Week of September 26-October 2, 2005

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When I think of you this week, Aries, I imagine a raccoon whose paw has been ensnared in a sharp claw-like trap, all because some shiny piece of treasure has lured you into grabbing it and refusing to let go. As long as your hand is firmly clasped around whatever object, wad of bills or self-satisfying fancy, you're stuck. And to keep matters complicated, there's also some breathtaking beauty or intriguing interest, a love of your life or a person with the power to take you to the moon with him or her (or to leave you behind and laugh at your refusal to participate)… but you cannot grab his/her hand, stroke it and receive a stroking in return, and walk off together into the sunset unless you let go of the spoils you so desperately want and free yourself from the trap in which they're kept. Clutch the goods and remain a captive, or walk away at peace with a partner-in-crime, wondering if another chance at riches will soon come your way.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): No, Taurus, nobody will be able to budge your bull-headed butt if you don't want them to move you… especially now that Mars is standing still, then shifting retrograde in your sign. You can be as stubborn as you please, and remain the likely winner to any standoff. But the effort and aggression to fight off everyone in the world, simply so you don't have to answer to them, may be an inefficient use of your personal energy. Venus is in your 7th, in opposition to Mars, providing plenty of pleasurable reasons to balance the willfulness with conscious yielding, to let others merge in and drive alongside. Due to Mars's influence, you exude such dogged dominance that they could unconsciously fear getting involved or not care to bother chipping away at it. To make life more interesting than insisting on immobility just to prove you're strong and in-charge, take the lead on interpersonal contacts by inviting challenges to your sole charge. Ask them their advice. Let them decide what you'll do for the evening. Use your inimitable power to come closer to us, rather than standing further away, frozen like a statue.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Your internal twins are liable to engage in a lively match of 'Good Cop/Bad Cop', particularly toward week's end, as an opposition between Venus and Mars falls across the houses of physical reality and metaphysical beyond-reality. For every urge to chow down on shredded wheat and soy milk, expect the other hand to grab for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and refuse to rest until all that's left is the salty spicy powder at the bottom. Perhaps you feel like meditating, or is that the devilish itch to escape droll business through less spiritual and more intoxicating means? The best method for handling the 'Bad Cop' twin is to quit calling him the bad guy and start respecting your need for periodic rescue from the mundane… before it becomes too much that you swallow a fifth of Jack Daniels or someone else's prescription tablets, just to get the inner 'should-be-doing-this-and-that' voice to shut up for a few minutes. Try a long walk, a short story, a visit to a garden or church or the local tourist attraction you've never been to because you're a local—these are escapes of the healthier variety. If you frame entire chunks of time away from your boring work-life existence, within which you do nothing related to the work, you'll actually get more work done when you get back from the couple moments gone.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): It's a creatively rich time for you, Cancer… but whether you can actually turn it into something worthwhile to you, or whether it will be frittered away with giggles and blushes, depends on others' influence over you. The larger organization or social milieu in which you find yourself exerts a lot of sway (overtly or under the surface), and you're either (1) at a high-point in your own involvement or (2) hankering to break party ranks and make your own waves. To be creatively satisfied and/or personally proud of what you're doing, you must take inspiration from your allegiances with others—the powers of shared dreams, the joy within camaraderie, the ideas and the advice that come from your conversations—but then do your own thing with it. Otherwise, you may end up resenting the very folks who are your most supportive cronies. You needn't piss anyone off by forging off into side projects. There are diplomatic (and less diplomatic) ways to step away into independent ventures and still maintain affiliation.


LEO (July 23-August 22): The restless-aggression-inducing Mars, switching to retrograde motion at week's end, sits atop your solar chart in the 10th house, daring anyone who crosses you to battle it out in full view of the whole crowd. And this goes both for individuals who jealously seek to topple your authority over them and those who hold your not-yet-secured key to the executive washroom in their regal hands. Is it worthwhile to go all the way into it? Can you wield your power respectfully, refusing to be knocked down but also refusing to wage an all-out war, which could get ugly and ultimately post a surprisingly extensive roll of casualties? Hold your own, without trying to get too big for your britches and push ahead another couple notches. You will get pushed back. Beyond all power struggles, be mindful that what I've just described is merely one section of your life, not the whole thing. For peace and quiet, find simple pleasures at home and shut out the noise of needing to be that certain Somebody. When no one's watching, you can just be you, for or against nobody or nothing else.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Any communicative mismatches or outright arguments are liable to occur as a direct result of each party approaching the other on somewhat foreign terms, in that no answer will satisfactorily resolve the conflict because there are two (or more) different questions being debated. It's like one person is counting only the apples, the other person the oranges, and neither can provide the truth about how many cherries it takes to make a banana cream pie. (Truth: Zero.) Possibly, no one even knows she's speaking a language someone else cannot (or doesn't choose to) understand. Until now, that is, because I've clued you in to these dynamics, Virgo, and there's no longer any excuse to carry on with verbal excesses that lead nowhere conclusive. Instead, I recommend finding a place in your heart to appreciate the different perspectives that make the world go 'round. (Maybe you appreciate his artful way of phrasing objections or unconsciously winking with one eye when he's nervous. Perhaps her burgeoning anger is oddly endearing.) Reflect that appreciation… but without being condescending because, notice, I haven't told you you're right either. Then, leave it hanging.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): As things in your own life continue to shake themselves into something new, thanks to next week's eclipse in your sign, watch for the consequences to your relationships. I'm not just talking romantic ones either, though those could suffer the worst brunt. With Mars converting to retrograde in your 8th, the expression of profound difference between you and someone else could turn nasty… in either the 'mean' or 'lusty' senses of the word. Opposites attract for many reasons. Some involve deep healing. Others resurrect age-old conflicts, which may have little to do with either of you and more to do with people you've each seen come and leave but have never let go of. When you're in such a dynamic period of personal development, it can be too easy to let insensitivity toward others accidentally invade your temperament—or to let others' insensitivities slide too far because you're busy doing other things. Don't get sloppy with interpersonal interactions, even if you think it's inadvertent or due to a lack of sufficient time to take care. Carelessness will only be met with more of the same.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Beware of mixed signals, and mixing up whether you're the one sending or receiving 'em scrambled. Venus and Mars together so intensely overtake the Scorpio consciousness, you cannot be sure where one polar extreme of the dichotomy leaves off and the other begins. You are powerfully attracted, yet repelled. You want to embrace, then kick and scream. Which urge is more strongly coming from you, and which from her or him? Lather, rinse and repeat. Good news: A lot of passionate electricity crackles and churns between you and the other person, a rare sort of energy that promises charmed conversation, earnest eye contact, seductive stroking and whatever else the magic holds in store. Bad news: As deeply as you feel the passion, that's how fiercely you can demonstrate wrath when the getting-along devolves into blood thirst. When the more dastardly possibilities come closer to happening, the best way out is to surround yourself with those folks who you love the most, with the least amount of complication, and let their goodness soothe that wild beast inside and save you from viciousness.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): When the daily chores gnaw away at you until you can barely take it anymore, it's okay to daydream about faraway lands and bottomless checking accounts. But you can't stop feeding the dog, mailing the mortgage payment, and scrubbing the kitchen counters clean of old scraps. These things must continue, or you'll sink into a hole much harder to get out of than the growing annoyance of responsibility. I'm sure someone as resourceful as you can find 101 different methods for taking brief journeys to your secret play world… and then returning again before the buzzer, bell or alarm goes off and your next stack of important paperwork is due for review. The worst result for you, Sagittarius, would be if you lapsed too far to one extreme—either refusing to have any fun at all ('too much to do!') until you finally run out screaming and swear never to come back, or escaping so completely into la-la-land that you wouldn't hear duty knocking if your head was leaning against the door (because you're passed out?). Let off the stress a little at a time, in order to ward off one big disruptive break. And thank your imaginary friends for helping you giggle and relax.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Leverage the social favor being granted you by Venus in your 11th to up the ante with how forcefully you put yourself out there. Over these past two weeks, Capricorn, I've tried to convince you to downplay the drive to spew forth uncensored, to refrain from standing out too much because of possible consequences to your outer-world reputation or career circumstance. Presuming you stayed under the radar during those tense couple weeks, you should be ready to step out of the shadows and start playing the game again, with less subtlety and fuller disclosure. There are plenty of people rooting for you, so draw strength from them when facing strangers or less ardent supporters. You've got an invisible team behind you at every turn, so rest on them for added confidence. The biggest battles are with your self-critical self, who finds it somewhat unsavory to be so open and unashamed with what you want and need and feel. But doesn't having pride entail letting those things out into the open, so others can see you being who you are without apology?


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You're fighting with yourself on the inside again, aren't you? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone… and they're not likely to find out either, in case you don't remember what I told you last week about letting them see you as they will, without agreeing or disagreeing. Venus is still atop your chart in the 10th, providing a gloss and a glow to the public's perceptions of you, so your internal struggles aren't going to leak out if you don't want them to. It's Mars holding firm and turning retrograde on your ass that's making you battle against the inevitable emotional ebbs and flows, instead of just accepting you for who you are—that is, imperfect, fragile, sensitive, frazzled, rigid. Fighting it makes it worse, Aquarius. All those ugly warts and glaring flaws and childish behaviors are excuses to love yourself, just as you love those same 'beauty marks' on the masses of unknown humans upon whom you take such mercy. Extend the mercy to yourself, and ease the internal turmoil. Or just give yourself a friggin' break.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Getting caught in the little shit could easily pull all your attention away from the broader picture, where all the good luck and promise is located. How can you envision the future journeys, the self-discovery retreats and intensive life-changing educational programs, if you're too busy arguing (with yourself or someone else) about which entrance to the mall has the least traffic and the best access to Ruby Tuesday's? Screw the crap, and think big. But do so without disrespecting those who insist upon concerning themselves with crap. After all, no one wants to be told his concerns are less important (and more crappy) than someone else's. So, as you rise above the useless trivialities and put your mind to farther-reaching goals and topics of greater moral or religious import, don't act all lofty and annoying toward others. Indulge them their interest in celeb gossip or their own ever-changing hair color, without insult—and without being sucked into a debate that will prove meaningless an hour later.