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Horoscopes | Week of November 14-20, 2005

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Double retrograde madness isn't necessarily a bad thing, even with retro'ed-ruler Mars implicated in a hairy square with Saturn. See, Aries, Mars also gets a little help from Venus in your 10th, revealing that the key to circumventing personality-clash difficulty this week is stably, gracefully, carefully and strategically assuming your public face… and keeping it calmly glued on. This does not imply dishonesty or inauthenticity is the name of the game. Rather, stand dignified in what you've earned and accomplished—and make no swift or radical moves in any direction. It's one of those pseudo-Zen 'appreciate the moment' moments, particularly with regards to counting your material blessings (and not stressing about 'not enough' or 'want more'). Alas, when strategic dignity lapses into haughty self-congratulation or when mouthy pontification begins blaring from your lips (Mercury's retrograde too, don't forget), there's no accounting for karma and its reciprocal zaps back at you via totally unexpected humbling disclosures and obstructions conducted by others. Ignore my warning, and you're liable to lose ground instead of just adroitly maintaining it.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Tuesday's Full Moon in your sign, Taurus, does little to help normalize these peculiarly claustrophobic times. If anything, the fact that Uranus stations direct the same day threatens to cast the first half of your week further under the cloud of 'what? there's more? will it ever stop?' The answer, of course, is yes, but not before another surprisingly jarring development in the wider context of your life—something which happens to a friend or associate or someone somewhere in the world—affects you more profoundly than you'd have expected. Don't think of it as one more instance why nothing seems to flow smoothly or easily lately. Consider it, instead, as the perfect excuse for a paradigm shift. Let's face it, things won't be ironing themselves out within the next few weeks… but you can always change how you understand life's endlessly bizarre situations, the meanings you attribute to them, and the parables they provide for refining your ethics to razor-sharp precision. Every reaction or circumstance, no matter how emotionally exhausting or philosophically mind-blowing, is a chance for you to get closer to behaving in exact alignment with your ideals. Right now, that's the perfect goal to strive toward… and your best shot at feeling like you're actually doing something.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I don't usually offer such specific instructions in my horoscopes, but I gotta tell you, Gemini… watch what you say, especially at work or in whatever context you're trying to make a name for yourself. This is not the week for offhand comments, supposedly innocuous gossip or personal confessions to folks who are really more acquaintances than friends. Every which astro-way you go, it's like a minefield. Tiptoeing around wouldn't be such a bad idea. Of course, for the vast majority of you who still have places to go and stuff to get done, let the week be an exercise in accuracy and precision. Each additional adjective or tangential detail you add to the story, answer or directive holds a high risk of hitting someone oddly… and all so you can feed your enjoyment of verbosity? (Not that I'm one to judge an enjoyment of verbosity… but anyway.) The overarching cosmic message in this melee of potential communicative chaos is to check and recheck your intentions at every step of the game. Whenever they aren't 110% clean of covert divisiveness, connivingness or purely unconscious unawareness, expect the tainted portion to rise to the top and become overt. It wouldn't hurt to ask yourself before every comment made: Is it necessary? Is it loving? Is it helpful? Is it worth the risk to my well-being?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The pathway out of any binds you find yourself in this week, Cancer, is through letting down your guard and letting others guide and assist you. Just as I encouraged you to project positivity to help shift others' moods to happier places last week, you'll help yourself by allowing the favor to be returned now. With the incessant Mars-magnified activation of your 11th house further triggered by the full moon, mutual reciprocity and a healthy team spirit prove to benefit everyone… and, at the same time, effect little cracks that open your hard outer shell (just enough, not too much, and in a good way) to let support in and inhibitions out. As long as you try to make everything okay for everyone else and dodge direct discussion of your own inner conflicts and concerns, you'll stay stuck in isolation. However, if you're prepared to talk about your business with open-ended inconclusiveness, admit you're a bit fearful and confused about the next steps, and explicitly solicit words of wisdom… then you'll be getting somewhere. Well, maybe not necessarily 'getting' anywhere—but happily pausing for a spell with allies in tow, and with faith that they won't let you fall when you start moving faster again. Trust me, it'll make those future unknowns a lot less daunting.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Repeat after me. 'It's not about me. These are only the perils and pitstops of worldly affairs. I mustn't take everything so personally, and I mustn't make it personal when it isn't. I need to take a step back, put on my game face and ride it out. I won't be selling myself short if I stick to the bare-bones meat and potatoes. That's all I need for now. I'm going to keep my nose to the grindstone and refrain from throwing out wild suggestions and smart-ass asides unless they are clearly requested. I've got a good thing going. It's only my passing insecurities that power me to manically muster for more. I'm just a person living my life. I've got my things to do, and everybody else has his and hers. I can entertain myself just fine, thank you, and I don't need to steal the thunder or hijack the reins. I can be mellow and mild-mannered when I want to be, or when I sense I probably should be. (Like, perhaps, this week?) I'm okay with where things are, right here and right now, in this moment. Sure, I have my worries that life has slowed and tightened because I've done something wrong, that they have it in for me (ssh! don't tell 'em!) and I've got to try to do something about it, to 'right' my wrongs… but then I think better of it and realize maybe I'm being silly, overly anxious or antsy. I haven't done anything wrong. It's just today's narrow, tense situation. I shouldn't take it personally. It's not about me.'


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Your opinion about a certain individual or about 'people in general' (which usually derives from certain formative experiences with certain individuals) must be subject to change… especially when that certain someone or some other someone comes along and does something to startle you into the realization that your assumptions are outdated. Are you woman or man enough to permit new emotions to complicate your intellectualized account of How You Feel (italicized like a title because it's a story you tell yourself?), and to put you back in the game of expecting the unexpected? Life, after all, is far more interesting when we don't assume we've got all its mysteries wrapped up in a nice tight package. And for you, Virgo, the most unexpected developments are apt to occur now with regards to relationships—though they're likely less about particular relationships starting or ending, and more about how you behave (or don't behave) in them and what they mean to you. To be emotionally wise is to understand that all it takes is one tiny look, touch or comment to change everything… and the reasons why may make no friggin' sense. When all of a sudden you feel different, you just know. You know?


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): It's not like you, Libra, to get all messy and public with your feelings… and it's still not like you this week, though a buildup of intensity (whether passion, anger, hurt or some hybrid of these and/or others) makes it harder than usual to keep it all together. Others' expectations tighten like a vise around you, forcing your facial expressions to freeze as you suspect they want to see you—and restricting your abilities to do much of anything else. Except, of course, if you subconsciously decide you've had enough of playing nice and concede your self-control to a blast of uncharacteristic inappropriateness. (What would that look like? Yelling? Sobbing? Ripping your clothes off in public? Only you know what you're capable of.) A principal motivation behind your potential combustibility is a latent desire to break from always doing what you're supposed to. So, you continue doing what you're supposed to anyway—and you break. If you want to avoid the externalizing emotional explosion (and I'm not sure if you do or don't), just give yourself the break. Be silly and irresponsible and inappropriate for a spell, with permission, and those hidden demons will be far less likely to snarl and hiss in a fashion that'll embarrass you later.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I'm finding it increasingly tiresome to conjure up fresh ways to interpret that long-standing Mars in your 7th that don't repeat the same used-up warnings against heightened possibilities of interpersonal conflict. (See, for instance, last week.) Honestly, it isn't as if you're usually such a peaceful, uncomplicated, easy-to-get-along-with type who, quite by surprise and out of the blue, becomes suddenly difficult the moment Mars enters (or enters and stays an exorbitantly long time, as the case may be) the house of relationships. No offense, Scorpio, but we rely on your innate instigating abilities to keep us on our toes. You aren't always easy… and we like it like that. Perhaps I need to reconceptualize this, on the eve of another Mars-Saturn square, and give you the benefit of every doubt. Confrontation, by its dictionary definition, is not a bad thing. It's simply a direct encounter, where two parties face off with opposing viewpoints. You do have a tendency to operate more underground, often playing out differences in a drawn-out, slow-burn fashion… and maybe that's where the current astro-aspects are challenging you. To pare down the terms. To be more upfront. To face off in the light, direct and unveiled. What do you think about that? If you don't buy it, then please return to my original interpretation. Beware of heightened possibilities of interpersonal conflict, and leave it at that.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Whenever I caution you about blurting or blabbing, it's usually because I fear whoever your audience is won't be ready to hear the stripped-down truth you want to offer them. I'm trying to protect you from suffering someone else's wrath, unfairly bazookaed at you due to their issues, not anything you've done wrong. This week, with Mercury still retrograde in your 1st, squaring off against Uranus in your 4th, I'm going to reverse the usual direction of this age-old (and ho-hum) warning and encourage you to let your mouth move freely. But here's the thing—I urge you to talk about yourself, your inner landscape (all turmoil included!), your memories and hurts and fears, and all the like… and not your opinions and ideas and judgments about what other people (political leaders included!) are doing. Just as your fast mind and incisive understandings often startle people when you cut through their crap and tell it like it is, you'll find that you'll be the one a bit startled if you apply the same techniques to mining and unpacking your emotional residue. That is, you didn't even know it was true until you said it. Obviously, you want to choose confidantes with whom you feel safe enough to let go, to recite lengthy extemporaneous monologues about yourself without feeling self-consciously self-absorbed. And I wouldn't recommend involving an immediate family member in this exercise of self-discovery—unless, of course, you're prepared for it to become much more of an intertwined, convoluted give-and-take. (Is your family ready to hear the stripped-down truth?)


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): For the second time in recent months (the first was during Jul-Aug 05), I'm picking up an auspicious vibe that shields you from the most treacherous pitfalls of an otherwise strained pinch of time. I made mention of it last week, when informing you that the others are currently far deeper-immersed in edginess than you. Venus helps out, trining retrograde Mars from your 1st house and radiating a protective glamour that keeps you smelling like a rose. The biggest danger is falling victim to the others' mangled and tangled perceptions of you (colored, perchance, by dribbles of jealousy and nibbles of manipulative desire), which arise whenever you refuse to partake in their uber-competitive loser-takes-all parlor games of Cat and Mouse or Say What You Don't Mean, and Mean What You Don't Say. Look, Capricorn, you know who you are and where you stand. There's no need to condone being unfairly punished for standing firmly in your own shoes, and not getting lured into their traps or swept up in their hysteria. Don't let them drag you in unless you really want to go there. Let them get persnickety at whatever necessary distance you take to preserve your auspicious glamour-shield. It's their problem, not yours.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): I don't usually do this, but for this week, Aquarius, I'm going to advise you to maintain something of a split consciousness. There's the Purposeful Player, who happily-go-luckily participates in round-table discussions and business negotiations and organizational planning sessions with the usual witty aplomb… all the while knowing Mercury's retrograde in your 11th, and thus everything should wisely be seen as tentative. And then there's the Beautiful Basketcase, fully aware (that is, if you've been paying any attention to past weeks' words) that internal detoxification is a plodding, pain-filled process with its grubby paws wrapped tight around your gut right now… and it won't be letting go until you make some fierce admissions (to yourself? to your partner? to those you've inadvertently wronged through emotional unconsciousness?) and feel yourself to freedom. Yes, I know you're already accustomed to keeping a clear dividing line between public and private—but that's in part due to your typical ability to shut off the spigot of logicless sensitivity and talk yourself into something else. This time around, you're in both places at once… and yet still have to perpetuate a seamless external guise, for professional or ideological or social reasons unbeknownst to anyone but you. You can do it, Aquarius, but you'll have to stay on your toes. And you need to employ some hearty friends and companions, with whom you can freely admit you're not okay, even though of course you're okay.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Let me level with you, Pisces. You aren't always the easiest sign for me to read. I'm good with isolated Piscean individuals, but as a group, you're such a grab-bag of temperaments and conditions, I often find it a challenge to come up with weekly words of wisdom that'll apply to an overwhelming majority of you. And that's especially been the case lately. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Is it retrograde Mars, having set up camp in your 3rd house and stimulating your shape-shifting skills to adept effect so I can't always recognize which you I'm looking at? Who knows? Seriously, though, I can't help but feel like I'm missing something… and that you may hold the key to this mystery. Is there one key element to the current Pisces experience that you know I'm missing? Email me and report. Okay, I have another motive here too. The combination of retrograde Mercury in your 10th squaring Uranus and Uranus stationing direct in conjunction with the Full Moon in your 3rd leads me to believe that you possess an urge to speak freely without fear of repercussion. (Remember I brought this up last week?) Well, I'm volunteering myself as an 'authority figure' (hey, I tell you what to do, don't I?), to whom you can safely utter a radical revelation… and hopefully release the need to do so in less sane circumstances. I promise, I won't fire you or lose respect for you or knock you down a peg. I seriously want to hear what you have to say, if you need to say something. Well, do you?