Horoscopes | Week of January 23-29, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If your show of love or show of strength verges on developing into a showdown, it'll help deescalate your intensity to get some outside perspective. Preferably, do so before the current situation consumes all interested parties past their point of rational sense. The company of friends—and exposure to their more removed opinions—serves as a constructive reality check. And participation in activities in which you personally 'care less' (that is, you're moved by intellectually distanced curiosity, rather than gut-level emotion) help to cool your flaring blares before they burst into the air. Idealism is generally a good thing… but not if you're idealizing the results of your bulldozing ahead without pause, or its potential aftereffects on your allegiances.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): To 'do the right thing' in your current relationship dealings requires getting outside yourself—and not just, of course, so you can see the others' points-of-view. The vista you need to catch a glimpse of is even wider than that. Put the scene into a context of lofty moral codes of conduct. Ask yourself: 'What kind of person [friend / lover / colleague / partner] do I want to be?' These broader terms will help you find more compassion… and to give you some much-needed breathing room. (Yes, my usually-patient Taurean darlings are close to 'losing it'. Or at least dispensing with the courteous restraint.) And look at it this way, too—how you navigate these interpersonal fireworks has a strong link to your career reputation, even if the person in question is unrelated to it. Everything you do out there on the public stage ultimately reduces to how you treat people. When it comes to respect and consideration, you must demonstrate no separation between personal and professional.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): 'I pledge to spend the next month breaking down the barriers between the various parts of my life that don't match up. I dedicate myself to integrating the loose threads and wacky personae, so I no longer need worry about one "catching up" with another. I am the same person, no matter where I go or whom I speak with. I understand that this does not mean everything I do or say must fit together into a single seamless stream of theme. But neither can I circumvent confronting the complexity of my contrasting selves, by never letting the two (or three) meet, either in my mind or reality. To prove my inner unity, I must be able to explain to one person in one area of my life—or one self in one region of my mind—why I act as I do when with a different person in another area. To foster this dialogue is to embrace my internal consistencies without shame. I secretly know I'm not the only one who regularly contradicts myself. I am, after all, human.'


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The captivating combination of Jupiter in your 5th (the house of sparks, flirtations and joyful excitement) sextiling Venus in your 7th (the house of that special bond between two people) shows it—it's one of those moments when the planets clearly favor love. For you already-involved Cancerians, there's always room to rekindle the romance or to take your main squeeze for an amorous evening out. If you're currently without an object of affection, then seek your enjoyment and entertainment through social-networking avenues. Accept those invitations to events, as well as the offers to be fixed up on dates. What have you got to lose? But enjoying others' company (especially of the enamored kind) mustn't be jeopardized by going too far. Jupiter's square to Neptune increases the possibility you'll gloss over significant details and differences, just because it feels so good. Take it all on its present-moment terms, and don't grant the connection a depth it hasn't yet earned through due diligence. Feel free, however, to continue together on that path to diligently earning it. If you click, it's worth exploring further.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Like I told you, I—and plenty others of us—need your help. We want you to show us you love us with real, concrete actions… not just with sweet-sounding words (although they're nice, too). As creative writing teachers tell their burgeoning fiction wizards: Show, don't tell. (That's how you create a story that genuinely moves your readers.) We need you to pump your every little supportive task and action full of emotion… remembering that what you do will ring untrue, if you cannot muster genuine feeling to put behind it. We hate to put you on the spot like this, but here's how it's going to go down: Either you'll come out smelling like a hero, if you automatically jump in where your assistance will bolster our confidence and provide us great inspiration… or you'll stink like a rotten self-serving egg, if you can't put your own desires aside and quit wondering where your next accolade is coming from. We also feel obligated to remind you that this theme will repeat itself, in this column and in your life, as Saturn in your 1st and Neptune in your 7th continue to oppose each other through the next year and a half. We trust you'll get the message, and we'll welcome your help with open arms. We love you, too.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Talk about what you're doing. Let us know what you're up to. Even if it seems mundane or boring to you, don't keep it to yourself… or else you're inadvertently robbing others of insight into your current state of affairs. Sometimes, the content of what you discuss is less important than making an effort to connect socially. And it's not your duty to decide what someone else's reaction to what you might say might be, before you ever utter a word or share anything of yourself. (Such presumptuousness would be astounding.) Making the effort is a generous show of goodwill, and won't you be surprised if lively conversation soon ensues over a topic of personal relevance and interest. What if you and this other person—a shop clerk, your postal carrier, the temp from another department, a friend of a friend—actually produce, through the unpredictable magic of interpersonal interaction, useful insights that can help you improve upon what you do? And all the while, they were just hunting for a breezy chat and a little face-time with you…


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Life is too short to 'just go along' with behaviors and attitudes that are totally ill-suited to you. The best way to ensure you're using what you've got in a productive, profitable fashion is to check in with how much you care about what you're doing. Your money, energy and time—these are your most truly valuable resources. In any moment you're unobservant, ambivalent or lackadaisical, you are literally wasting your valuables. Of course, it's a matter of stringent spiritual discipline to get to a point where every instant is perfectly mindful and conscious. (I've heard it's great… but no one I know has gotten there.) Still, now is a prime opportunity to improve upon your level of presence. I suggest this week be an exercise in falling in love with yourself, for the first time or all over again. Talk about yourself as you would a paramour, with all the glowing compliments and impassioned adoration. Woo yourself, in every attempt to make yourself happy, just as you'd seek to please your lover. When you care about yourself this much, you can't help but care more about everything else relevant to your life… and it's more worth your while to be here now.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Last week's writings continue to hold powerful resonance, as Mars and Jupiter persist in opposing each other across your 1st/7th axis. Hopefully, this will be the last time for a while that your potential for direct one-on-one conflict is as strong. But for now, caution is still the wisest approach. To bypass the nastiest possibilities, speak only about yourself—your feelings, your thoughts, your personal history. And don't direct your words toward perceptions of the other person's experience. It's likely one, the other, or both of you have misinterpreted each other… perhaps even over a span of a few months' time. You wouldn't want them to assume they know your truth without first listening to you, so don't put them in the same position. Say what you must, then listen. Don't interrupt either; listen until they stop talking. Before any new developments can occur, the old crap must be voiced (on both sides)… then sent down the river to crackle and burn atop the funereal barge. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): A bit of leisurely-paced wandering could lead you to the gold at the end of a rainbow you hardly noticed forming over your head. ('Hey, where did that come from?') Some purposeless babbling or frivolous flipping through books, magazines, websites and TV programs could reveal the answer to a question you weren't aware was lingering in the hinterlands of your consciousness. ('I never knew that!') Glancing away from the spot you've been poring over, in hopes of finding whatever you're hunting for, could deliver the final clue you may not even realize is a clue until another few weeks have passed. ('In retrospect… eureka!') All of this goes to show that the best commitment to make this week, Sagittarius, is to stop looking for and start looking at. By doing so, you will most certainly find something—rich experiences, if not outright discoveries of unexplored moneymaking breaks and logistical hallelujahs. You won't necessarily know what to do with it yet, but you'll know it's useful by the vibes in your body. Collect what you find, and hold it.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Believe me when I tell you, people actually want the chance to rally behind you. Put yourself in their hands, like a willing participant in a team-building trust game, and I promise they won't drop you. Let them float you on their support, both the love and the applied practical assistance. You don't have to 'pull yourself together' or reach a certain level of achievement to allow them into your world. To project yourself into the future like that (a la 'Once I'm worthy, then I'll…') leaves you alone for the present time—and squanders the good graces all around you. And why? To save face in front of folks who already accept you as you are? Besides, it's far harder to get where you want to be without the basic human privilege of company. Start from where you are. It's the perfect place. No matter how out of shape or in the hole you perceive yourself to be, you've already earned a healthy line of credit by your previous deeds. Cash in on your underutilized wealth, and call in the love waiting for you to collect.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): In your current circumstance, taking a stand for yourself equals holding unwavering faith that your genuine efforts to make the world a better place will carry you where you need to be. If you offer up your accomplishment-directed energies for innately helpful and transformational purposes, then whatever's already in the process of being born will continue to manifest to your best advantage. Venus's sextile to Jupiter indicates this week's preferred method for fostering that yearlong professional boon is to take as much pleasure as possible in the unknown. And frankly, apart from maintaining your altruistic intentions, there's not much more you can do. Despite how much you know and how wise you are, a larger plan is in store for you… and you just can't see it from here, no matter how you squint or strain your eyes. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't even attempt to interpret which developments qualify as good or bad luck. Often, Jupiter's opportunities for expansion first show up as a superficial loss. I now return your attention to the first sentence of this scope, in which I pointed out that unwavering faith is the key to standing up for yourself. If you're doing good things, they'll produce great results. Believe.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): As you search for solutions to menacingly large philosophic dilemmas (or more relatively piddling circumstantial stumpers), be sure to discuss the theoretical implications of all the different possible attitudes with your smarter friends and associates. You're on a larger quest in this life ('to find what?' is your question to answer), and while some epiphanies are best hit upon on silent solitary searching sprees in dark woods or along rocky river banks, listening and watching and waiting, others can only form through dynamic debate and exchange. Engage your favorite brainiacs in light conversation on heavier topics, just to pick their brains. Begin from a place of inconclusiveness, without the goal of ending up anyplace else but there, and just toss out ideas. Let them toss back. Volley. Submit willingly to the process of not knowing, in dialogue with others who know more (but imagine they know less), who know less (but think they know more), or don't know what they know or don't know (and don't let it get them down). If we all already knew, what would be the point?