Horoscopes | Week of August 28-September 3, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I've heard disheartening tales of dutiful corporate workers being told by superiors, in performance-review settings, that they were 'too passionate' about their work and should probably tone it down. Imagine that—encouraging your employees to care less about what they're doing, to reduce the amount of raw emotion being expressed in the workplace, so as to conceal the higher-ups' own lack of genuine enthusiasm in their work (a la 'Don't make the rest of us look bad.'). And all this because the loyal laborer invests his heart in his daily efforts, displaying disappointment or fury or glee at how his results are turning out. Though such 'passion' (that is, emotional investment in what we're doing) is usually considered a sign that someone's doing a commendable job, it also sometimes stands in the way of the job… especially when a sizable part of it entails getting along with the other personalities, and swallowing the overarching philosophy dictated from a conference room on the executive floor. This week, Aries, you face an increasingly pungent clash between (1) how you literally, physically do your best work, whether on the job or in other areas of life, and (2) the passions, emotions or guiding belief-systems that intersect with the literal work. Will you have to consciously 'underperform', in order to prove your allegiance and agreeability? Or will you screw the ass-kissing, in favor of a job well done… and risk ideological turmoil in the process? Will you surrender to broader social forces, or stay defiantly independent?


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You might as well go along with the kooky plans being proposed by the self-assured social butterfly in your life. What's your other choice… to politely relieve yourself of that horrible claustrophobic pressure to have fun because another torrent of emotive commotion (private and personal? intricately intimately entangled with one other person?) demands your undivided attention? Must I insist, until I'm blue in the face, that you needn't have all your shit sorted out before seeking some leisurely steam-releasing entertainment? You're at a culmination of two main astrological themes that have persisted in dominating your focus over several months: (1) Your increased awareness of the internal bonds that tie you to deep pools of boundless emotion, drawn from your lived past or, perhaps, your ancestral history, which calls on you to (a) admit the truth, (b) get a handle on it, and (c) halt it from controlling your life. (2) The tremendous opportunities for growth in personal relationships, which stem from continually abandoning the predictable and flocking to groups of untraditional individuals in strange settings. The primacy of these two themes goes far to explain why I'm always urging you to suck up your moodiness, leave the house, obey your friends' urgings, and mingle with the oddest dames and fellows. You can ignore me all you want… but devoting every hour absorbed in your emotions won't make them any lighter, and think of what you might be missing out on in the meantime. You can do both, feel and have fun, I swear.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The courageous among you will rise to the week's challenge—speaking from your heart, no matter the fallout you fear will rain down on your head as an immediate result of popping the top off. For someone who talks so much, you've kept an important kernel or two of private frankness rather secret. But as long as what's unsaid is attached to noteworthy feelings of resentment or irkedness, others are picking up the undercurrents anyhow. And oblique circuits of glibly dancing around the topic won't blow the dense air offshore, as if the more you talk about everything else, the fainter the real issue becomes. Hogwash, for sure. Break the tiptoed silence over its head with short, sweet, blunt reality-checks. If you don't say something, someone else will… and then you'll be the one left holding your dropped jaw in your unsuspecting hand. When it's in your head, it's a lone isolated fragment of unresolved reaction, without any chance of morphing and evolving into a complete thought. Once it's out in the spoken ethers, it's free to mate with other ideas… to be eased into, talked down, worked out, let go or otherwise affected by interaction. Don't fool yourself, though—a Mars-Pluto square indicates the real potential for emotionally tense personality conflicts, particularly when your personal emotional reality hasn't been fully respected in a relationship laden with complex dynamics. How, though, can you hope for full respect, if you don't voice the full depths of your root sentiments?


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Stability is yours for all its advantages… so long as you can set your own agenda, build your own fence around the property (i.e., money, skills, self-love) you consider yours, and run the show as if you weren't constantly bombarded by psychic yanks from other people and their annoying issues. Remember last week's horoscope and all the tuning out of toxic energy I encouraged you to do? Well, the same goes for this week as well. In this height of major astro-oomph, there's a whole lot going on around you—and many of the strongest personalities in your life are probably braving some of the tightest, toughest pressures. You, on the other hand, continue to receive benevolent strokes from the universe, whenever you express self-possessed optimism and excitement for how much wider your capacity for new experience could become. There is literally no limit to where you could find yourself in future days, if you sincerely believe you've already got the resources you'll need to get there (though they may require further development and/or fine-tuning). Other folks, unfortunately, severely lack that sort of faith—and will do what they can, consciously or not, to keep you from leaving them behind in the dust-cloud that follows your ascension. The hardest thing for a watery soul like yourself is to resist such suggestibility, instead repeating self-securing mantras of confidence and trust over and over again until your unconscious drinks 'em up.


LEO (July 23-August 22): While you may experience yourself, to some degree at least, as unstoppable, you may discover that certain other individuals don't feel the same. In fact, they'd be quite pleased to stop you in your tracks… to remind you, hey, the world doesn't revolve around you, and why don't you find some other pot to piss in and give someone else a chance at this one. The truth is, you are a rather persuasive, powerful person who's often able to get right where you're trying to go, sooner or later. But another unavoidable truth is, for every powerful person like you out there, there exist other people of power who refuse to buy into the persuasion. They've got their own thing going, and will adamantly refuse to play a role (a supporting one, no less) in your production. They see you as a threat, a distraction, an irritant or an outright adversary. And there's little you can do about. Indeed, each of us is destined to attract both supporters and subverters. The thorniest part to it all this week, though, Leo, is you could be completely unaware that someone is attempting to stop you. Maybe it's happening behind your back, undercover, in subtle maneuvers and barely-there insinuations… or maybe you'll find out because their attempt is finally visibly succeeding or backfiring. But thanks to Neptune in your 7th, it's hard to see the phantom menace. Should you do anything about it, considering your outward appearance of unstoppability remains intact, no matter what else may be surreptitiously going down? That depends on who the obstacle is, what they're trying to accomplish, and whether their gripes against you are legitimately justifiable—and not how it'll affect your plans.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): You are at the center of a commanding week of astro-madness, and your assignment is to render the whole to-do as a magnificent provocation to embrace your absolute freedom. Once I've informed you (1) so much is happening all over the place that everything is up for grabs, (2) the less uplifting, potentially discouraging aspects of your situation are totally beyond the grasp of your understanding, and require nothing of you other than letting 'em flow past, and (3) your luckiest strokes come from fostering an experimental, non-exclusive stance toward whatever arrives… well, then, there's no better combination of factors to spur your unpredictable, outrageous, shit-stirring self into taking the reins. Mercury in your sign opposes Uranus, instilling the comments you make to a partner or close cohort with a 'nothing's sacred' tone—with the potential to incite eruptions, surprises and unleashings of pent-up tension that'll clear the air, if not create a wholesale revolution in the relationship. And Mars in your sign squares Pluto, a punchy thrust for you to externalize and unleash another batch of long-withheld, difficult-to-speak, dense-with-past-residue personal crap—to release the internal pressure, lighten the load, and be boldly real. It's all yours to say, do, make and break. When you find ideal moments such as these, when everyone's already turned topsy-turvy and nothing's quite safe from chaos, you'd be silly not to use 'em for your own liberation.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): A bit out of sorts? Operating out of your element? Blame your 12th house, the domain of all that swirls in and out of materiality… the unsettling dreams, the imagined visions that trick you from the corner of your eye (or are they really there?), the mystifying mood shifts, and everything else defying your ability to call its name or pinpoint its exact position. It's already crazy enough astrology this week—with exact peaks of both the Saturn-Neptune opposition and the Jupiter-Uranus trine—but you've got your own special brand of cosmic klutziness, slippery sensitivity, and pointless perplexity (or so it seems). Rather than sustaining your usual light-footed step through the cursory exchanges of the day, you'll push up against those you meet with an odd, under-the-surface brunt that challenges their comfort zones… without necessarily knowing how it happened or why you bothered pushing at all. Instead of keeping your mouth shut about details that don't directly concern you (or, more properly, you'd usually sidestep for purposes of personal politics), you might offer your offhand observation… and hastily disrupt the previously uneventful carrying-out of rote tasks. This week, Libra, you play the part of ditzy blonde (or, if you prefer, Mr. Magoo), bumbling yourself into and out of precarious situations with the ho-hum attitude of someone who doesn't know any better. But what power there is in your innocent upsets of the status quo! If only you 'didn't know any better' more often, eh?


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): There's sweet fortune in the air for you—specifically of the publicly prestigious, wallet-boosting brand—if you pierce through the seemingly constrained and chaotic surface-level events with a penetrating enough visionary gaze. In order to do so, however, you'll probably need to separate from the pack… for you have little to gain by accepting the common wisdom, the majority-rules consensus, or some other group-mind mindset that subsumes your own self-interested interests into 'what's best for everyone'. And what do they know, anyway? To read the situation from their perspective is to likely misdiagnose this vast opportunity for expanding your current stature as an imposition of limits and ends-of-the-line. To rally for your increasingly prominent (and, don't forget, financially stable) place in the world, you might have to forcefully oppose those who cling to the party line like it'd keep 'em afloat in a flash flood. You know better. The truth, which you possess but which they'd prefer not to address, is that every man and woman ultimately must look out for him- or herself. Period. And in this week's case, you may have to stand firm (and maybe even a little fierce) to protect your own interests… which might make you rather unpopular among the faint-at-heart followers, but ultimately gains you the respect of others like you, the ones willing to cut through the bullshit to create an enduring place for themselves.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): On the upside, give Venus a round of applause for stirring up a glistening batch of enthusiasm in you. If you listen for her enticing murmurs, you can almost hear her egging you on toward something big, new, adventurous and growth-inspiring. As I've told you before, the good stuff starts arrives near year's end, when your ruler Jupiter returns to your sign to celebrate the concept of more. Now's a great time to fantasize about how 2007 will turn your life around, lighten your load and broaden your horizons. On the week's downside, however, come two unsettling and potentially combative aspects—a Mars-Pluto square and a Mercury-Uranus opposition—both centered in your solar 10th house. This is the type of astro-situation in which we might find you mouthing off to your boss or other authority figures, vying against the impediments to your uncompromising power, or otherwise creating some sizable public stink. Think of this as your warning: Such tactics on your part won't likely come off nonchalantly or unnoticeably, but rather will be met in kind by equal force or insistence. Yet, if significant gridlock has been building (and has consequently boxed you into a dead-end corner), then your contentiousness may be inevitable… and just what's most needed. Confront. Let cards fall. Meander through the aftermath. It might not feel 'fun', but at least you're moving things along. But if you can see this flustering circumstance as temporary and find the patience to persevere, an alternate option is to simply escape into your fantastic visions for next year… and leave this crap well enough alone.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In a week such as this, with high-powered astrology pushing many folks to the pinnacle of their recent awareness, you can expect lots of people wanting to share their experiences with you. But will you want to participate in such a processing conversation? Well, that depends… on whether these individuals actually want to hear what you have to say in response, or essentially expect you to smile and nod and offer no probing questions or provocative comments whatsoever. This second option is a not-so-subtle devaluing of what you, as a distinct individual, can provide them in the form of support. So why squander the precious resource that is you? If someone wants to interact with you, then they'd better be ready to interact—in a free-flowing, two-sided, everyone-gets-to-give-feedback exchange, not a free consultation with 'the yes man'. You may well receive unspoken cues to lay off the 'tough talk' (a.k.a. brutal honesty), or perhaps you'll notice you're simply being tuned out. Feel free to respect those indistinct limits which are being placed on you by this other person, or feel free not to. If you have something to say in the spirit of helpful forthrightness, you can certainly say it… and if they don't like it, they'll be perturbed for a bit. So what? In the end, they'll more likely remember (and appreciate) you going out on a limb with harsh truth than feigning neutrality. And if you don't feel they're listening, you can certainly tell 'em, 'Hey, you're not listening to me!' and shock 'em into paying better attention—or ditching the discussion altogether.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You can't hold yourself to standards you previously set. You'll say more, without expecting to. Your cool, lost. Your cover, blown. But hey, is it really so bad to see how far you can stray before being zapped back into place, like livestock who graze to the edge of their pasture, then hit the electrified fence and sizzle like steak? Why not broach the difficult subject? Why not disclose the shameful secret you've told yourself will destroy everything? I'm not saying it will or won't blow up in your face. But, hey, at least there'll be nothing left to hang over your head. Ask for what you're not supposed to want but do. Its fulfillment could titillate you from here to kingdom come. If they say no, of course, you can't really salvage your facade of dignity. But, hey, at least they know what you're thinking. 'Inappropriate' isn't always comfortable for all parties involved, yet it gets the job done. Or you can continue partly-grinning and barely-bearing it, as if strapped into a compression chamber, until the squeeze becomes so acute that the lid flies way off, belching chunks of inappropriate commentary, shameful secrets, difficult subjects and lost cool into the atmosphere. And there you are, overcome with emotion, saying and doing all the things you swore you wouldn't… but without making a careful, conscious choice to do so. Cut out the middleman hysterics, and simply decide to blow the cover.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Your 7th house, the official astrological realm of one-on-one relationships (be it lovers, spouses, business partners, best friends, or other lateral collaborators), is heating up, with both Mercury and Mars forming raucous angles to outer planets from there. Mercury pulls against Uranus in your 1st, setting the stage for surprising, atypical and disruptive communications within a significant relationship. Though it's hard to say which of you will start the verbal sparks flying, you mustn't back down from the encounter until you've made your thoughts known. Neither party may convince the other to accept their viewpoint, but your own independence depends upon you being clear where you stand. Mars, meanwhile, grates against Pluto in your 10th, stimulating a potential power struggle that's rather relevant to your career aspirations. Will you compete with a co-worker for your boss's favor? Need you begrudgingly moderate your outward fervor, in order to kowtow to someone holding your future in his hands? Whatever the circumstantial details, be well aware that more meaty issues crouch in the shadows. (On the most basic level, it's an underlying 'eat or be eaten' dynamic.) With both of these aspects, your relationships are merely the playing ground for the deeper process of continuing to assert your radical individuality. Remember that, Pisces. Awkward moments and tense exchanges come and go, but a well-earned dose of self-respect stays with you for a lengthy while.