Horoscopes | Week of February 18-24, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Think of your week as an unadorned, warts-and-all examination of what you're doing with the bulk of your hours in a typical day's schedule. Do you scoot merrily through meaningful tasks related to your calling, never neglecting to step away from the workpile for fresh-air breaks and nutritional lunches throughout the day… before leaving (at a reasonable hour) to attend to personal matters, like a chunk of physical exercise or a stop to buy yourself a small reward, and later to connect with the people who matter most? Or do you hold your breath and suck in your spirit, in advance of heading through the gates to dreary mundane satisfactoriness, where you do your duty to fill the workstation chair and complete the assignments and collect your $200 for passing 'Go' once more… until the time-clock releases you again, to pause at the local watering-hole on the way home to lubricate your frustrations enough that you can tolerate returning again the next day and, oh yeah, can't forget to grab something pre-prepared and lukewarm for dinner? Likely, Aries, your routine falls somewhere in the middle between 'ideal' and 'dreadful'. But if you don't ask, 'How fulfilled am I with the day-to-day job I'm carrying out?' then you're essentially letting the train transport you to whichever station some union-protected public worker has decided will best suit you… and never wondering if you should've gotten off somewhere else. If you're reasonably content with your daily rituals, then quit sweatin' the small stuff. It could be worse, right? But if you hold very little hope of finding happiness on any regular basis because of the workday compromises you've begrudgingly accepted, you should probably start planning your exit now.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There's little question, Taurus, you'll keep on reapin' in the flattery and affection you've recently earned… as long as you remain 'the reliable one' we can all count on to do just as we'd expect of you. A bigger, better question: Does that make you happy? Does your heart sing the sweet tune of its own true call, when you fulfill the predictable position slotted for you (maybe only because you're more dependable than the alternative options)? If this sense of serving as the community 'rock' does indeed bring you joy (at least most of the time), then by all means, keep at it. You're certainly built for it. And having such a secure niche for yourself already staked out is nothing to take too lightly. Some folks strive all their lives for such a stable foundation and never find it. Yet, if you're still missing something—what some might associate with the freedom to follow passion around every circuitous bend and down out-of-the-way dirt roads, no matter which daily chores will be forgotten in the process—then there is a compelling reason to gamble these easy rewards. The sort of bliss that steals your breath away, to leave you hovering in awe at how much is possible during one brief earthly incarnation, will likely prove to be worth any risk taken in its pursuit… even when it's your uncontroversial popularity partly at stake.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you continue to insist on expecting disappointment from a particular individual, you're merely fueling a bad emotional habit of self-fulfilling prophecy. Ouch. I know there's pain in there somewhere. Why else would you need to protect yourself from somebody you love, holding one hand near enough to the door handle so that, at any moment the psychological 'pressure to perform' (which really means 'pressure to be fully present') gets too unbearable, you can get out in the quickest manner possible? Look, Gemini, you might not be altogether aware of how old wounds from the past still affect your ability to enjoy the best your relationship(s) can offer. Yet, the residue leaks out in a better-safe-than-sorry skepticism you have a hard time releasing, dare another heartbreak sneak up on you, unannounced, and fuck with your life again. The news bulletin you've been waiting to receive is now coming in over the wires: The man or woman currently before you is not the same one who initially delivered the hurt. They are separate entities, and it's terribly unfair to hold the present person accountable for what the past person did. More than that, you have a wonderful chance to move beyond the lurking hurt this week—by being willing to admit to that special someone, yes, history still affects you. It'll help both of you see each other with freshly compassionate eyes.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Too many serious thoughts spoil all the fun… and while I know the 'serious' things you're thinking about are real and indeed require lots of thought, you're nearing the overdose level. Doesn't your face deserve a break from the furrowing? Isn't your jaw just begging to be unclenched? Sometimes it's okay—no, wait, it's preferable—to fritter away a week (or two) on stuff that doesn't really matter all that much. Every single little decision need not be treated like your entire life depends on it. Lighten up. Give your mind a little rest already. All those same life-altering considerations will remain pretty much as they are, should you smartly opt to turn your back on 'em and catch up on the latest nighttime soap or hours of reality-show reruns. You won't miss the boat. You won't pass any pivotal fork in the road that would've required you to stay alert 24/7 until the unequivocally correct branch was chosen and followed. The boat will wait. The fork will still be there. Your mind won't suddenly lose all the analytic subtleties it's attained, simply because you set them aside to waste hours on chat forums or online gaming applications. In fact, that filet of life's meaty flesh might just taste a helluva lot better in the end, if you let it marinate in its juices, unperturbed, for a reasonable spell.


LEO (July 23-August 22): We can chit-chat about whatever personal-growth philosophy or edifyingly entertaining tangent you so choose, Leo… but it won't distract me from knowing that you probably should be concerned with more bare-bones basics like, say, your bank balance. Whether you're swimming in dough or struggling to make ends meet, you're not exempt from the pressing need to carefully study the numbers, so you're well-educated on which resources are going where (and, with that information, can ask yourself, 'Why?'). Saturn has conspired with Wednesday's lunar eclipse in your solar 2nd to strong-arm you into doing this necessary math. Should you refuse to do so (because perhaps you're telling yourself you have a sufficient 'cushion' not to worry), your bottom-line will eventually reflect the consequences of this carelessness. (You might not need every last dime this week… but, over time, that frittered-away spare change will add up to substantial dollars.) And if you need to beef up your bankable totals (and let's be honest, most of us do), it's a prime moment to get honest with yourself about what you're really good at—and what doesn't come as naturally or easily. This isn't about exaggerating your worth, so you end up in a totally ill-fitting career path. Nor is it about beating yourself up for what strengths you lack. There's plenty of marketable qualities you're sitting on, which could be exchanged for cold hard cash, once you've clearly assessed what these most profitable traits are. While you're at it, ask your pals for their opinions, too. Any additional practical info would be useful.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): On the occasion of a lunar eclipse conjoining Saturn in your sign this coming Wednesday, Virgo, you'd be wise to welcome any feelings that arise concerning your ability to define the terms of your own life. Take back the power already. You may be too damned good at following the guidelines set by everybody else, though inside you may be so damned tired of such dutiful obedience. Perhaps it's time to create some new guidelines for yourself… minimal standards that will ensure you live up to your own demands for high quality, but without putatively smooshing you to remain 'in your proper place'. You mustn't let the power to judge whether you're putting in appropriately good efforts fall into other people's hands. Worry about meeting your own expectations, not theirs. The trickiest part, though, is to rewrite the rules so that you're being kind to yourself, not strict or unforgiving. Wouldn't it be a shame to reclaim the glory of laying down your own laws, only to discover you're an even crueler monarch over your own self than any outside party? The whole exciting purpose of grabbing back those reins is to create a more livable existence for yourself, not to increase the internal pressure to be 'perfect'. Establish guidelines with a little wiggle room. Life's hard enough… without being your own worst critic.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): No, you're not crazy. You've just hit a limit to how much of other people's headache-inspiring garbage you can possibly take. Stop yourself before you begin to apologize to them for… I don't know exactly what, but you certainly don't owe anybody an 'I'm sorry' for needing space from 'em. (They should probably apologize to you for filling your head with their yammerings-on, but I wouldn't hold your breath for that.) If it'll make you feel better (and I'd suggest it will), just shut yourself in and scream. Write horribly self-indulgently gothy journal entries. Throw darts at the pictures of them tacked to your bedroom wall. Use vulgar language… a lot of it. But please, Libra, don't bother yourself with the pointless conversations on topics you couldn't possibly give less of a shit about. They won't go anywhere productive. All the while, you'll feel those nagging social pressures to grin and nod and interject enough short phrases to indicate what an engaged listener you are… and all the while, those gestures will actually hurt (in the same way that dark-and-gloomy Wednesday Addams was locked in the 'Harmony Hut' in big-screen sequel Addams Family Values and subjected to scenes from Annie and The Sound of Music until she 'broke'). Are you a masochistic? If not, then get the hell away from the chirpy folks who might otherwise drive you into seizures from the onslaught of their technicolor trivialities. Go home, lock the door, and grumble and gripe to your heart's content.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): The bitter pill you may have to swallow, my dear Scorpio, is that this isn't just your show. I know you know that. Yet, at the same time, when you're being forced to settle for less than you think you deserve (thanks to circumstances that, no matter how deeply you care and how defiantly you refuse to lay back and play dead, are beyond your control), the emotional experience may still pack quite a wallop. I encourage you not to flip your lid, though, even as it seems some new star of seemingly unstoppable proportions is stepping up to the podium you thought was yours and effortlessly shining like they've been waiting their whole life for this opportunity to steal your opportunity away. This is not personal. No matter how worthy of every last success you may indeed be, other folks need their chance to soar, too. This is merely a humbling lesson in how very big the cosmic picture really is… how larger social tides are fostering interconnectedness of seemingly unrelated details, to create a more complicated situation than any one person (yourself included) could possibly understand… and how the universe's clinical notions of fairness may be impacting these current developments, in a way that may benefit the greater whole, though it simultaneously appears to be taking its wrath out on you. What a lesson, eh? And yes, I'd expect it to sting a little.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Feeling blocked? Don't succumb to that deflated, disappointing sensation. It's only an illusion that you've hit a brick wall… though it may be somewhat accurate that you can't go much further down a certain line of thinking. How exactly are you 'supposed' to go about making this priceless project happen? And who are you 'supposed' to be in the world? Chances are, Sagittarius, that some rather outdated answers to these questions have pinned your vision within peculiarly uncharacteristic limitations. If perhaps you thought you were well past the point of brainstorming on your purpose, perspective and/or priority (and well into the far simpler 'enactment' phase), please guess again. It's just not clear whether you're barking up the wrong tree altogether… or merely going about it wrong. But in any event, the most important advice to follow is: Keep your spirits up. Your critical thinking skills will be impaired, should you permit emotional cynicism to defeat you while the game is still so up for grabs. You need to assume you're going to solve this looming dilemma. Then, get to work on analyzing the finer specificities of this so-called 'obstacle'. You might have to attempt a few variations on the existing theme (or else something completely, totally and drastically different), but you're headstrong enough to keep trying, aren't you?


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Be on the lookout for situations that will test certain of your beliefs… by essentially asking you (explicitly or more subtly) to do something that goes against said beliefs. And chances are that such moral pressures will be headed your way from a very close associate (whether your romantic partner, best friend or esteemed colleague), though it's important to remember that this is not an interpersonal issue, so don't get distracted. This is about you and your sense of ethics, which could presently be serving you quite competently or which may be somewhat antiquated (due to having inherited certain ideas from parents, past partners or mentors, without necessarily evaluating them for their personally resonant effectiveness). If what's being asked of you instantly spawns those funny feelings inside, you should probably take that as a clue to breached values—and flatly, unequivocally say no. (After all, without your own integrity intact, what do you have left?) At the same time, though, you shouldn't leap to an autopilot negative, if you're merely obeying some law you had instilled into you long ago but aren't exactly sure if it's a just law (or even a relevant one in this specific case). Upholding your long-held beliefs is generally a good thing… unless, that is, they are holding you back from taking one more giant step into your own power. Being powerful sometimes means departing from conventional wisdom, in order to justify ends that are far more personally significant. And that departure won't deem you 'a bad person' either. Shades of gray, Capricorn… shades of gray…


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Why be ashamed of your feelings? They're a natural part of life for all human beings, even you Aquarians who (no offense) sometimes get downright robotic in your ability to remain 'calm, cool and collected' when engineering your appropriate 'emotional' reaction to some new piece of news. I can't possibly believe that you aren't subject to the same impolite (at times adolescent even) streaks of jealousy, anger and hunger for attention that befall the rest of us. You'll recognize the symptoms when your body tightens and your mind starts swerving across the median divider at unsafe speeds, the moment somebody close to you says or does something that generates a response you're afraid to allow to come forth, lest it lose you the intellectual edge in a miasma of snowballing psychological triggers. Oh, well. Guess you're aren't really feeling the 'I'm fine, thanks' status report your brain insists should be your default line of first defense. So please don't feed 'em that load of crap. Share what's coursing through your blood, underneath that surface of rationality you really mustn't try to sustain (since its cracks can't help but appear extra-obvious in the strangely colored light of this week's full moon lunar eclipse). Be completely honest, even if it's awkward. The target of your illogical, uncontainable emotions may be pleasantly surprised that, contrary to the rumors circulating in certain circles, you really do bleed when pricked.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Broken record alert! I'm being upfront about my repetitiveness. (Is it mine or the planets'?) Therefore, you have no legitimate excuse to act all unwarned about my nosy needling of you and your pesky relationship patterns. This week, I'm using the lunar eclipse, which is conjunct Saturn in your solar 7th, as the backdrop for reiterating that familiar line about choosing yourself first… and, as a result, holding a firm boundary about what is and isn't doable in a present partnership. That means not jumping to consider what he/she will want, need or feel before making any moves yourself. (Talk about perpetually being in 'responsive' or 'reactive' mode.) And believe me, Pisces, this other person has no incentive to initiate such actions him/herself. Why would they change a perfectly good setup of having you dip and duck and dive at their every varying mood? Why would they volunteer to institute additional structures that might limit how much they're going to get from you? Though they may have your absolutely best intentions in mind, that won't necessarily halt the slippery slope of mutual overdependence that Piscean relationships often foster. Someone's got to take the lead, if you want to move beyond a certain standstill in your romantic situation. And I'm betting that someone will have to be you.