Horoscopes | Week of September 11-17, 2006

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It's better to play kind-and-courteous 'second fiddle'—at least in outward appearance, and at least for this week—and allow your partner, collaborator or other such person to take the reins. The general mood around town is one that'll respond better to their type of approach, tone of voice, or mode of action than to yours. With Mercury and Mars conjoining in your Libra-ruled 7th house, the pursuit of any idea or desire will be best managed through socially savvy indirectness, letting decisions and deals arise organically through discussion and negotiation (or, at least, letting it seem that casual). You may lack the necessary patience for what isn't being said or stood up for (though it's obviously on everyone's mind), since you'd much rather plop it into the open. Therefore, you shouldn't force yourself into the position where you'll be expected to sustain that calm civility at all costs, even when it slows the progress or drifts into feel-good conversational irrelevancies. That's why your 'other half' is there, so you needn't pretend to be blasť or saccharine sweet. Rather than you being the one to upset the semblances of cool by stormily insisting on 'moving things along', excuse yourself from such trying encounters and defer to someone else. Then, they can throw out the surprising ideas (or upsetting actions), and all you've got to do is play along. So please plan on playing along agreeably.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Doing what you're doing, being who you're being, and keeping at it: What else is there to worry about, Taurus? You've got all the necessary rhyme-and-reason to continue ahead with a mild-mannered attendance to duty, all while Venus in your 5th helps add an extra-shiny sparkle to your smile. Everything seems like it should be flowing along seamlessly. Well, in a certain sense, it is… as long as you're open to openly swearing off conformity or allegiance-by-peer-pressure. While we're still under the wacky eclipse energy, last week's ideas still hold a power position—mainly because other people's reactions to what you're doing and who you're being are liable to be startling, uncomfortable, impulsive, infuriating, and/or spontaneously indicative of some chasm between you and them. So, in response, are you supposed to feverishly hunt for ways to bridge this gap and restore your outward allegiance, before anyone has too long to speculate on your potential 'outcast' nature? Or is it possible that you've done nothing inappropriate… that the real problem lies in who you're associating with, and the unfair judgments they're placing on you? Who's in charge of what you choose to do and be, anyway—you or them?


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): As Mercury and Mars join forces Libra-style in your 5th house, you'll bear an uncommonly excellent knack for expressing yourself with the smoothest finesse, as if you know just the words that'll most please the folks to whom you're speaking. But people-pleasing in itself seems a bit of a waste of this astro-influence, Gemini, because what you want (aside from giving them what they want) is absent from that formula. One of the things we all seem to want is to be deeply understood by those who matter to us. Now's an ideal moment to use this temporarily immaculate savvy of yours to clear up misconceptions they may have of you—especially those that were born from provocative statements you made earlier, spontaneously perhaps, before you'd had the chance to affirm you actually believed what you were saying, which ended up fostering a misleading image of you in their eyes. Under these good graces, you'll help yourself out by confessing your prior flippancies. If you don't know why you'd said what you said, can't remember saying it or intentionally misspoke, come clean. A couple drops of humble, sincere forthrightness will easily overpower the bad taste you'd previously left in their mouths. And from there, you're headed towards taking each other more seriously.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your week is an exercise in striving for inner equilibrium, no matter the external eclipse-inspired frenzies you witness in short jerky motions all around you. From the inside, Cancer, your utmost concern must be on reliable breathing, in then out, in, out… observing the natural rise and fall of your diaphragm, as well as your energy levels and your moods, then tinkering with your consciousness ever so slightly to even out these amplitudes of 'peak' and 'valley'. No one needs a single clue about this, as it's only for you… though the people who'll be dealing with you will indirectly benefit from your heightened equanimity in the face of increasingly changing circumstances. To them, you'll merely seem exceptionally amenable to whatever comes your way, with the casual acceptance of someone who listens compassionately but refuses to take on anyone else's hysteria. This is your workout for the will, to see how smartly you can pilot your ship to appropriately compensate for any big waves headed at you. A true master at the helm doesn't pretend the waters are placid when they aren't. He steers with the sweeps and surges, to keep the vessel safe and on track toward its intended destination.


LEO (July 23-August 22): There's still something deceptively simple-seeming about your current position that, just as last week's scope advised, begs you to hold tight and see this 'drawn-out lack of resolution' all the way through to its logical end. Oddly, though, as time goes on, you're discovering how your relationship to the literal business at hand—the money or physical property involved, the actual tasks to do, and the specialized skills needed to do 'em—really is rather straightforward. It's the interpersonal issues (and the particular person with whom you share these 'issues') that comprise the wild-card factor. But where do you go, then, from this realization? Well, if you want to preserve untarnished what you personally possess as an individual, you should approach the other person with an exceptionally open-minded, non-reactive and non-committal attitude. Let 'em shake and quake and wiggle the objections and misgivings out of their system, while you peacefully (and perceptively) look on. You'll find out soon enough if this is a necessarily freeing spell on their part, in preparation for a more solidly intimate collaboration with you, or if they're simply too unmanageable for you and thus must be cut loose. Otherwise, you can keep going back and forth with each other in dynamic tension, while the stakes remain high… and risk either winning or losing big as a team.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Use Venus in your sign as the excuse you've been waiting for… to behave radically erratically, saying and doing stuff in your most predictable relationships the other person would never predict from you… and as long as you keep a genuinely rosy disposition while you're blasting expectations out of the water (and refuse to bow to the slightest traces of malice), you'll get away with it. You're the one at the center of next week's solar eclipse. You're the big 'surprise!' hiding behind the corner with the lights off, ready to jump out at unsuspecting guests with a cheer and a song. You're not going to squander this magically mischievous moment on cheap party tricks and frivolous practical jokes, are you, Virgo? This opportunity is nothing less than your cosmic 'get out of jail free' card. Therefore, if anything in a current relationship is leaving you feeling trapped or punished, now's your chance to break out from its burden and pursue personal liberation. Seek your freedom, but speak it with a smile on your face. Those who love you sincerely and selflessly will slip you the keys to your own release, in a show of faithful support… and as a result, the relationship will open up into fuller honesty and trust. Those who wish to keep you firmly as you are, on the other hand, could fight back or grab on tighter. That'll demonstrate all too clearly where their motivations are situated (can you say control?).


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): With a conjunction of Mercury and Mars in your sign, Libra, you'll possess all the mental and physical faculties necessary to serve as 'puppet-master' to the week's proceedings. The words come perfectly; and their delivery, flawless. Plus, your added acumen in attending to all the most strategic interpersonal details ensures you'll cover all bases, presenting a calm-and-measured but thorough attitude to all who are exposed to your charm. But this is also still an eclipse period, which means you can plan on everyone acting all funky and frenzied and fervent in their desire to see everyone else acting all funky and frenzied too. And if you insert yourself too readily into the scene, you'll get caught up in the madness far more profoundly than you need be, when you'd just as soon be functioning independently in line with all the planetary aid you're getting. How intricately do you want to involve yourself with others' whacked-out exploits, anyhow? While you're sure to eventually make some headway in advancing your agenda with them, the cost is likely to include a lot of patience and focus on your part, as well as a hearty dose of perturbation at the ruckus you've been dragged into. Is it a worthy payoff? And besides, if you do get what you want, you'll have gotten it by pursuing it while they're in a dither or under duress… and if you're not careful, the ethics around that can get a little sticky.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): This is not a good week to rely on being sly. You're likelier to fool yourself about what's actually happening than anybody else. Contrary to your usual manner of operating, the week's 12th-house bustle inhibits your ability to keep track of all the different strains of psychological importance in a given interaction, such that you'll have a lesser amount of interpersonal insight at your disposal than you're accustomed to. As a result, when you behave with anything less than fully above-board frankness, you'll come off suspiciously, with glaring manipulative tendencies and/or a desperate need for control—whether or not such an image is warranted. Better, then, that they perceive you as a bit spaced out, absent-minded or dingy, rather than calculating or covetous. Once you surrender comfortably into that remote dreamy role, you'll quickly see its benefits. You won't have to be so darned vigilant, on guard for the latest possibility of losing control, because you'll already have given it up. You won't have to maintain your cover because nothing markedly different than what you've shown will be lurking underneath. And you can focus instead on a more elusive goal than mastering relationships with others—finding peace within yourself.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): When I envision the balancing act you're trying to pull off, I see you with both arms stretched as wide open as humanly possible, each hand struggling against all reasonable logic to hold onto its end of the bargain while allowing enough leeway for the other to do the same. One hand grabs for the career-related (or other outer-world-centered) good fortune, courtesy of Venus in your 10th, I mentioned last week… while the other feels around for something more ambiguously self-securing, an emotional foundation of sorts to root you in your history as you strive for ever-greater heights. The problem is, according to the image I see, you're extended like an overstressed elastic band to the point of breaking. And what'll happen if—or, more properly, when—the band snaps? Before you let it get to that point, you could just let go of one of the hands' grasps. The professional, out-there-in-the-world good luck? Well, you'd have to be a fool (or a tied-to-mommy's-apron-strings kind of person) to let that go. Therefore, your other option is to release the need to hinge your future success on how well it meshes with your emotional status-quo. What's so damn sacred about these certain ties to the past? Ask your friends to lend you an outside perspective on this topic. They'll tell you what they think is holding you back… and can perhaps convince you to leave it behind.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): In the midst of all this continued eclipse angst-and-activity, you have a quiet opportunity to formulate and carry out a bit of professional self-development… so long as you maintain an unassuming tone and an even hand. No one's apt to take too well to a distastefully blatant or blunt approach, since every person's got her own amalgam of interests and issues currently taking up much of the space, leaving very little for a patient reaction to someone else's ballbusting brute force. To get on their good side (and subsequently rise in their esteem), make simple suggestions and flexible proposals that reflect your willingness to work together for collectively advantageous results. Then, leave your ideas out there for the important power-players to ponder on their own time schedule. (If you appear overeager or rushed, it'll stress 'em out.) Meanwhile, on your own time, adopt the same unassuming tactics in your private plan-making. Be courteous with yourself regarding what remains unfinished or falls short of your ultimate expectation. No existing situation is so desperate that it can't benefit from exposure to a process of internal dialectics, a moderate weighing of alternate possibilities and divergences-to-be-reconciled. The key to all your week's efforts is to stay reasonable—even if it necessarily leads you to reconsider more than you'd initially expected to.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): To collect on a more deeply satisfying form of abundance, you just may have to throw in a fair-sized lump of what you've already got… with the faith that, when combined with the efforts and equity of some other key ally or accomplice, it will eventually garner you this aforementioned 'more'. Of course, it's virtually impossible the two of you will contribute an exactly equal amount of deeds, dollars and deftnesses. In light of that, you're likely to feel like either (1) you're being taken advantage of, since you're clearly bringing more to the table at the current moment and thus have more to lose, or (2) you've lucked into a dramatic windfall, since you're clearly bringing less to the table at the current moment and thus have more to gain. But both these scenarios are misleading in their shortsighted glimpse of the situation. All you know for sure is the greater rewards will come through collaboration, which necessarily complicates the situation… and necessarily involves a degree of risk. It's much harder to identify what's soundly yours when it's tied up in compound knots with what belongs to someone else. Your ultimate satisfaction, then, rests on participating in a mutually abundance-generating exchange, so that you can revel in both your wealth and the joy of sharing it with someone else. For the short term, though, you'll need to trust in the amazing power of deliberately synergistic intent.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): If these horoscopic urgings to ooze outrageous non-conformity out your pores sound vaguely familiar, it's only because I'm running out of ways to urge you to break free, do whatever you want, and tell the folks who don't like it to screw off. All the same cardinal houses in your solar chart—the 1st (representing you), the 7th (representing your partner and/or your behavior in relationships, and the 10th (representing your career and/or hard-earned public reputation)—continue to receive astrological stimulation. If you're still not getting the picture, Pisces, I must conclude it's a willful disregard of what you know to be true. What's different this week is the union of Mercury and Mars in your 8th, coated in the kind civility and careful considerateness associated with the sign of Libra. Apparently, the planets want so badly for you to bask in the rapture of explicitly voiced individuality, they're temporarily gifting you the Libran tone of sweet-talkin' smoothness, at your disposal whenever you choose to engage in more challenging discussions with your most intimate cohorts. Last week, I told you to voice your position, as the situation was moving closer to climax. I repeat the same notion this week: Climax is even closer, and the environment is even riper for you to say your piece. The longer you wait, the more lasciviously you're flirting with Fate (and she'll eventually force you, one way or the other, to put out). However, if this broken-record advice has grown tedious because you've already done your duty, then by all means, I hope you're enjoying the upswing in passion (within your relationship or outside its prior confines) that goes along with uncompromised freedom.