Horoscopes | Week of February 11-17, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Following up on last week's counsel, you'll have to be the one to conclude how amiably you were able to 'go along' with others' agendas and urgencies… and/or whether, for you, such a notion of groupthink went down easy as pie or bitter as a pill. It's important to check in with yourself about this, Aries, because the issue might not be the advice itself—but more specifically a question of which other people we're talking about here. See, if you're feeling unsure about certain friends, restrained by allegiances that no longer promote your ongoing development, and/or simply displeased by the folks surrounding you right now, then it's probably high-time to expand upon your social circle… and, if need be, leave particular dead-weight colleagues by the roadside so you can lighten the cargo load and make better use of your time. But you needn't rush to give old pals or antiquated acquaintances their walking papers just yet. Start with seeking the new team members first. And that's as simple as grabbing a drink with that new guy or girl at work, the one who seems nice but who you haven't gotten to know well enough yet. Or calling up a favorite co-conspirator from the past, to reestablish contact and connection along a creative pathway that's previously proven fruitful. Explore the potential in underdeveloped friendships and still-green professional associations. Then, once you find a fresh face or two you click with, you can start snipping the due-to-be-snipped cords.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Okay, my bullish brethren… prep time is over. Hope you're prepared to take action, at last. I'm giving you a bit of crap, Taurus, even though I have deep understanding for how these big leaps usually need ample time to germinate inside you before they're ready to publicly present themselves. But sooner or later, you must swallow your fears and put your money where your mouth is. (Talking about all the amazing potentials is a blast, for sure, but it doesn't actually start any balls rolling.) Well, at this juncture, sooner is far preferable to later. You may run at a certain tempo, but humanity's rhythms keep on speeding up… and you don't have a zillion years left to continue chewing on every last what-if scenario like some architectural engineering expert who must test how each possible act of nature might impact his state-of-the-art skyscraper masterpiece. It's highly unlikely that whatever move you choose to make now will result in whatever embarrassment or catastrophe you dread—especially now that Venus is joining Mercury and Neptune in your house of outward earthly accomplishment. Over these next few weeks, you're due to ascend to some new 'level' of something. The factor likeliest to hold you back at the moment (as represented by a pestering Mars)? A split consciousness within you about your self-worth. Part of you believes you deserve it, while the other part has a decent argument to counteract this 'inflated view of yourself'. Don't let the naysayer win out. 'Inflate' away.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Isn't boredom a total waste of energy? Glad we agree, Gemini… which is why you're so totally busted, if you've permitted yourself to slip into any boring situations whatsoever for more than a few passing moments. If day-to-day has become too tedious to perpetually provide sparks of interest here and there, you desperately need more 'living-life-to-the-fullest' adventures to fill your spare moments. Or maybe you're going to argue that your current existence doesn't leave any 'spare moments'. And I'm going to counter with the interjection, 'That's absurd!' because we must make these openings, rather than wait around for them to present themselves. Even if every waking second is crammed with work that must get done, kids and housework to attend to, and relationship issues to smooth out, there's still a important distinction in mindset between the dreary 'more of the same' read and the upbeat 'life is a journey of self-discovery' interpretation. (Review: Your life's meaning.) You've got a clever brain. If you're stuck in a rut you literally cannot get out of, at least create imaginative games in your head… preferably those that eventually yield goals and hopes and dreams to anticipate fulfilling in the months and years to come. After all, without anything fun to look forward to, you'll have no choice but to bounce your thoughts off the same familiar walls—and start to drive yourself mad.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): For just a few moments, Cancer, please drop all resistance to pushing the envelope that you might be holding due to fears, pessimistic expectations, your own ultra-sensitivity and/or plain exhaustion. If you simply step outside those predictable reactions you often begin to experience before you've even assessed that moment's psychic temperature, you'll likely find you're actually looking forward to continuing this tempestuous journey you've found yourself taking alongside You-Know-Who. Look, no one said it would be a flat straight shot to the celebratory circle. If it were, you might get complacent—and that doesn't serve anybody's interests, does it? And pardon your prior near-sightedness, too, should you have just recently decided not to make a big deal out of 'it' (whatever that cryptic pronoun refers to, exactly). Move quickly past any regret, once you suddenly find yourself back in the enmeshment, carrying on like a crazy person. Those confounding feelings that popped back up? Don't feel bad about 'em for one second. They represent the deepest streams of passion , which you might've attempted to cram down into non-existence, so you wouldn't get bowled over by their intensity. Too bad the bottled-up act ain't workin'. Actually, it's not too bad: The fuller reality needed to reemerge, one way or another. The best part? Secretly (and maybe unbeknownst even to you), you're having the time of your life.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Here's your prime shot to show 'em how thoughtful you are. Putting yourself in the other person's shoes can offer more than just a demonstration of your sympathies. It can be a practical guide for all the things you can actually do, simply to make him/her feel ultra-special. Organize outings, adventures, projects or parties that are all about him or her. Wear their favorite color. Cook their favorite meal. Invite their closest friends to join you, and party the night away in a supporting role, dedicating your creative instincts to helping this special individual come out smelling like a rose. So many of us, Leo, face a difficult uphill battle in celebrating our own greatness. It can seem terribly crass and unsavory (at least to our inner critics, those unforgiving bastards of judgments) to summon the blatant attention to ourselves we secretly crave. Yet, who doesn't want it on some level, if it's sincere (and we don't have to ask for it?) I'd even go so far as to posit that, just maybe, you Leos get such an unfair flailing in the reputation department because we envy your ability to forthrightly serve your heart's hankerings for adoration. That's why you'd do 'em a great service by applying your generous spirit to his/her cause, bringing a balls-out exuberance to toasting everything that makes him/her so damn great. Believe me, my dear: Your precious someone will definitely appreciate the effort.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Have you fiddled with that frustrating task long enough? (And is it still not finished?) Well, Virgo, with your ruler Mercury spending one more week retrograde (before spinning back to direct motion next Monday), you're not quite done yet. But the light at the end of the tunnel is close enough to catch occasional glimpses of its near-blinding sparkle, whenever the factors combine just right. Please clutch devotedly to these fleeting flashes of hope because you will (eventually) get it done, most likely to your liking. In the meantime, ask for help. Let someone else bang their head against the wall alongside you for a spell, so they get a firsthand experience of what you're enduring. It's important, Virgo, for you to step up to whomever else is in charge, and fill 'em in on all the gnarly details. Otherwise, they won't see the problems you've dealing with clearly enough to empathize. You must tell it to 'em straight. And be prepared to try something drastically different—even if (gasp) it'll mean trashing everything you've done so far, to get to a more optimal result. (Occasionally, a particular pathway will hit an impassable dead-end, true?) Most crucial, however: Don't get too aggravated about wasted time, poor reflections on your skills, or any of the evaluative nonsense. The whole shebang will, in the end, be better off because of this protracted process… though your short-term sanity could be a different story.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Life recently threw you an introspective loop, didn't it? For a while there, you had so many deep reflections saddling your innards with serious-mindedness, it didn't much matter what was going on around you. But if you can thank the recent eclipse for anything at all, Libra, it should probably be directed to those winds of Neptune-inspired acquiescence… which have hopefully impressed upon you the great value of going along with it all, knowing you're not likely to 'get it together' this week or next (no matter how much time you spend interpreting and dissecting and strategizing), so why not allow yourself to intermittently enjoy other things while simultaneously sorting through the inner clutter? That said, you're way overdue for some kooky exploit that'll put a huge grin on your face. Surely, you've heard that silly urban legend (or is it true?) that smiling releases endorphins, which actually boost your mood. Whether the science in that idiom is valid or not, the practice certainly won't hurt you. You need to arrange a kitschy day-trip or outdoorsy outing, an evening of bowling and arcade games, or some similarly youthful jaunt. If you've got kids around (your own or someone else's), you'll earn extra-credit for horsing around with 'em. However, points will be marked off for every 'adult' worry you allow to invade your head. For a week at least, strive for carefree.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Sometimes I feel like my whole collection of Scorpio horoscopes is merely an ongoing updated schedule of when to embrace your provocative, shit-stirring urges… and when to avoid such confrontational encounters at all costs. In case I've been unclear about it, I want to be direct in telling you: We need this 'go all the way' gusto from you, Scorpio, whether in achieving intimacy or processing interpersonal business or engaging in full-on conflict. Your need to make life matter is greatly appreciated by those of us who feel similarly… and dreaded by certain others, probably because your ability to go there forces them to deal with their crap. Oftentimes, then, what I write to you amounts to nothing more than advice on timing. (And isn't that ultimately what astrology's about, anyway?) At certain moments, it makes sense to restrain your emotional instincts for a spell, so you may see beyond the first reaction to a more accurate read on the situation and thus prevent a preemptive strike you might wish to take back later… or to bide your time until the planets say it's likelier you'll score a victory. At other moments, the setting is perfect for unleashing the scorpion's fascination, longing or wrath. Over these recent weeks, an opening has been created for you to approach the gooey core of a serious issue with a certain someone. Need to call 'em out on bad behavior? Ask a probing question? Raise the hot topic? Make your move? Now's the time to let 'er rip… or, more precisely, closer to the end of the week.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Sometimes, togetherness is best enjoyed when you two are 'together, but not together'. And by the time I finish typing that sentence, I'm already aware of at least two markedly different (yet, I suppose, somewhat related) readings of it one might adopt. The one I originally intended, Sagittarius, was to advise you and your principal partner-in-crime (e.g., your sweetie, your best pal, the person you can never seem to get away from) to explore more ways to socialize together but separately. That would mean, for instance, mixing it up with additional friends and friends-of-friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends (note: I just added that last one because I thought I'd be fun to write)—but without spending all night at each other's side. Then, whenever you two swap knowing glances across the room, it'll create a special moment, like you're sharing some delicious unspoken secret that connects you but doesn't pin you down. And later, after the evening's over, you'll have a giggly ol' time swapping stories about who told you what about whom. But of course, there's that other reading, too… which interprets 'together, but not together' in a more casual-dating, friends-with-benefits, no-strings-attached manner. That reading also works, I suppose—as long as everybody involved has explicitly sorted out what that means in the specific context and agreed to it. Have at it, then, my friend. Enjoy being 'together', and enjoy being 'not really together'. In my book, the crucial common thread between these two readings is the realization that, no matter how great you may think a certain someone is, it's nearly impossible for any one individual to fulfill all our needs. (But whether these 'needs' are social, romantic, sexual, intellectual, or something else entirely is your business…)


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Want a productive week? Center your sights on tasks and projects that directly benefit you. 'Oh, my gosh!' might someone exclaim in a whisper from over your shoulder, 'I can't believe how damn self-serving that is!' And aren't such hypothetical observations just the external judgment you fear, Capricorn, when you convince yourself to tone down your aspirations so that you adhere more strictly to your current prescribed position? Believe me, it's not as bad and wrong to baldly look out for your own interests as you might believe (and/or as you were taught). If you don't take care of your own needs first, how in the hell are you supposed to help others do their thing without suffering from seething resentments? Please be sufficiently defiant of any message (real or imagined) that seeks to 'keep you in your place', so that others might benefit from your refusal to branch out, grow, expand or otherwise leave them in a lurch, once they discover they need you to continue serving them. Ha! You ain't fallin' for that crap anymore, are you? You're here to work hard for yourself, in whatever capacity you decide… not to docilely fulfill a purpose somebody else has slotted you into.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): It's a 'me, me, me, me, me!' world out there for you Aquarians this week, so please try to forget about angling to do right by everyone else. Venus will be scooting her fine derriere into your home sign by the week's end, but you should already be feeling the tailwinds of her hot breath nudging you toward the front of the crowd, in preparation for taking over the spotlight for a few weeks. And once Mercury turns direct early next week, you'll have a wonderful mix of smarts, charms and forward propulsion to successfully mount your ideas on the large podium you see ahead. Don't even attempt to squirrel out of this stardom (because it might be more comfortable to refute your distinctiveness and 'blend in' with the other weirdos). You're supposed to be number-one for a short spell. (Think of it as preparation for 2009.) Of course, when any individual dares to claim a larger portion of the collective attention for him/herself, there are the corresponding ruffled feathers and covetous egos to contend with… and that's no exception here. But it's also no reason to halt your personal path of progress, just to soothe their wounded spirits. You can love 'em without catering to their self-defined deficiencies. Here's another helpful hint: They'll forgive your transgression of self-celebration much more quickly, as long as you're sweet about it.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): While I would agree that any combative urges you're experiencing are probably connected to recent difficult interactions with a family member, roommate or close friends, I wouldn't go so far as to lay full blame at their feet. You know better than that, don't you, Pisces? It takes two to tango. You may be overwhelming aware of what inappropriate and/or hurtful things they said or did in this latest brouhaha, but that's only one round in a lengthier series of matches… with residue from this illustrious history hanging far over any single exchange, contaminating the emotionscape of one or both of you with long-held (maybe even habitual) crap. I won't presume to know which of you is holding onto the past more ferociously, only to report that hunting for a tight settlement to an amorphous mass of interpenetrating details, vibes and hurt feelings is an unrealistic quest. Go on, fight it out if you want. Or spend long hours recapping each fine criticism of the other's behaviors, until you each reach that same conclusion, which is that you were right all along… and the other, dead wrong. But it's not about the so-called 'facts', not at all. It's about getting in true full-body touch with your feelings—the full range of 'em—before attempting the truly cathartic tête-à-tête. If you want some instant relief, go break an old plate. Exercise like you've never exercised before. Shriek like a banshee. Give yourself a good release first… then worry about processing.