Horoscopes | Week of September 8-14, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Every once in a while during the life of your sign, the Aries will realize s/he would do better to turn down the defiant independent streak… and pump up the super-slick 'nicey-nice' routine. That time has come, at least for the coming week or three. So if you want to lure the unsuspecting prey to your lair, you're going to have to sweeten the pot. After all, it's far easier to draw flies—or, in your case, a certain appealing individual or attractive proposition—with words and actions that drip with proverbial 'honey' than with a drawn sword and a demanding statement of desire, with such directness that it might prove rather off-putting to the person who holds what you want in their hand. Both in business and in pleasure, you'll only help your case by playing up your charms, going nearly overboard with flaunting everything that makes you such a good catch… but without coming off like a pompous self-bloater (because you 'flaunted' yourself so damned smoothly). To do so successfully, you'll have to think a few steps ahead, asking yourself if what you're about to tell 'em is indeed something they'll want to hear. (The answer you want is 'definitely yes'.) As long as you're spinning every last sentiment in this gossamer web of perfectly considerate and pleasantly seductive tones, all for the sake of keeping your audience happy, they won't be able to resist you. (And FYI: There's nothing wrong with laying it on a little thick!)


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You have every reason—or at least one big one—to be excited about what's ahead for you. If you're not in tune with that feeling, chances are you just haven't looked up from whatever's right in front of your face right now… and into the future, where those items currently consuming much of your attention will no longer be as pressing (or even relevant) because, if everything continues on the path it's now on, you'll soon be several steps beyond these limiting concerns. Yet, Taurus, I almost want to encourage you not to glance away from the matter at hand, and get yourself all jazzed up about developments not yet ready to unfold… especially when there's plenty still to do right here and now. But perhaps you need the 'excitement'? Perhaps without this broader view on why you must remain at your proverbial desk, filling out forms and typing out statements of purposes, wrangling the details and reorganizing the drawers, you're apt to lose your impetus? Well, if your sign's reputation as 'steadfastly enduring' is indeed true, that's not likely to happen. Instead, you might just plug along at the busywork—without the joy required to transform cold hard labor into a labor of love. So look ahead to the exciting prospects, just long enough to steal the necessary drops of inspiration to motivate your continued caring for what you must continue working hard at now… but not so long that it seduces you into skipping these crucial (but tedious) steps. Otherwise, the work will bury your heart. And still, it must get done.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Love! Passion! Intrigue! Drama! Any week with a horoscope that kicks off on quadruple-exclamations must be worth sitting up straight in your seat for, eh, Gemini? I simply will not accept any oppositional contentions that you are somehow not facing a truly titillating opportunity to let loose into some pleasurable wonderland, whether or not it's specifically a romantic dalliance. If you're wondering what else besides relationship-type love such a 5th-house lineup might augur, then answer me this: What do you enjoy doing on your off time, purely for fun? If you're a parent, you might rightly identify that goofing around with your kids brings you a sheer joy unrivalled in other areas of your life… and I might tell you to hang out with them a lot, taking 'em to amusement parks or toy stores or anyplace where you're likely to fall into giggly play-games right alongside 'em. If you are a creative type, you should probably think about throwing yourself into your art this week… completely losing track of business-world time, while you paint or scribble or dance or snap photos or poeticize whatever kooky ideas have recently been spinning around in your manic little head. And, well, there's always the (good) chance that this week's planetary energies are about romantic love… in which case you need to quit worrying if she or he loves you or loves you not, since there's no reason to force a serious question if you're having a good time right now. Who cares if s/he loves you forever? Make the most of every moment, and leave it uncomplicated—at least for a few weeks.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Despite any external indications to the contrary, your week is not a wholly-owned-and-operated subsidiary of somebody else's agenda… or even, for that matter, an open-and-rolling debate on who will get how much of what she/he wants from the other person. No, Cancer, your week doesn't call for you to drop everything, to dash to somebody else's rescue or service (or whim) on behalf of the sanctity of the relationship. You might be easily fooled, however, given how the other party might represent the terms of the exchange. To hear the trio of 4th-house planets tell it, your main focus should instead be on attending to your own sense of inner peace… which hinges on not giving more consideration to others' needs than to your own, just so they'll see you as 'caring' and 'helpful' (instead of what? 'self-serving'? god forbid!). The hardest part of holding that focus, alas, will come from close family members (or very intimate friends who are so 'in' that they trigger you emotionally like only 'family' can) who, due to the closeness you share, feel they can treat you any which they like—and fully expect you to behave exactly the same way you have for all the years you've known each other. Though you may have put in a lot of effort to change how you behave (more assertive or direct? less passively resentful? better balanced in give-and-take?), our family has this wonderful ability to drag us back into acting like our former selves. So should you rush to their aid, or not? My whole point is: The answer is up to you. And it is okay to provide your loving care and support only if certain (self-protective) conditions are met.


LEO (July 23-August 22): When I inform you that your 'people skills' are operating an unusual high, your mind probably jumps to all fantastically positive ways in which you might put this fact to good use—smoothing over rough spots with friends, boosting your sales numbers with a few friendly calls, reaching out to possible collaborators with tempting offers, impressing casual acquaintances who heretofore hadn't formed much of an opinion of you either way. And yes, Leo, all these possibilities are certainly favored for the current moment. I thought, then, I'd direct your attention to the likeliest problem with an otherwise smooth-and-lovely combination of Libran planets in your 3rd house of everyday communications, hopefully ensuring you won't fall victim to it. Be careful that your on-the-spot words don't get the best of you, leading you down a path of potential hazard where you find yourself promising something (perhaps without using the word 'promise', but no matter) you can't or won't follow through on later. This is indeed what could happen, if you focus so much energy on fostering a good interpersonal connection that you neglect to correct the other person when they make false assumptions about you… or if you become swept up in a passionate story or explanation and add a few exaggerations that official fact-checkers might call you out on. Put your personal appeal to work for you, to be sure—but not at the expense of factual accuracy, integrity or true self-expression, unless, of course, you enjoy backpedaling.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Ultimately, the buck always stops with you. And just in case you're wondering which thread of metaphoric meaning I'm getting at here, Virgo, let me clarify: I'm being quite literal. We are talking about your actual bucks… and your ability to stay on top of securing all your material needs for yourself, without being convinced by the voice of your inner ascetic to 'just make do without'. (Don't you deserve to directly profit from the fruits of your own efforts?) If you are too accustomed to default 'we' thinking, you've perhaps relied too steadily on someone else to cover the bills… or perhaps you've become resigned to struggling twice as hard, stretching your hard-earned pennies so they'll cover two (or more!) people's required expenditures. Neither of these scenarios is a bad thing by any means. But they can make you a bit careless, when it comes to affirming that you personally, as an individual, are receiving a fair and self-sufficient payoff. Where you've become dependent on others, it's time to take back the purse strings—or at least think about how to carve out a small financial niche of one's own, whether through side jobs or investments (or simply a frank conversation with your partner about each other's individual self-worth). And where you're holding the broader burden of support for others beyond yourself, reaffirm that this is indeed what you want to be doing. ('Duty' without actual desire to fulfill it can be a self-sabotaging trap.) Even if you are happy with the arrangement, you mustn't forget to set aside a chunk of dough for treating yourself (only you!) to a selfish indulgence every once in a while.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): You've got 'em eating out of the palm of your hand this week. So first off, at least make sure that whatever you're feeding is actually good for 'em, right? After all, they'd probably even drink poison Kool-Aid, if you asked nicely enough… and despite how sweetly your surface-level persona might convey the request, they'll also catch a whiff of that currently super-potent 'win at all costs' strength lingering underneath. As a (probably largely unconscious) result, those underlying power dynamics could have 'em faithfully obeying your every wish more out of intimidation than real desire to do what you're gently (but forcefully) recommending. Please own this power, Libra—and ask yourself whether it's worth 'winning' if you only secure the victory via politely pushy-and-pressurizing strong-arm tactics. I tell you this because, as long as you commit your full energy to something over these coming days, you essentially can't miss. Don't be shortsighted. Obviously this selfishly-favorable influence is a temporary one… and should you let it go to your head, without properly observing the unspoken laws of fairness, you'll get exactly what's coming to you from those who might've coerced into giving you your way, once they come back into power.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Sitting by the window, watching the scenery pass by (or a filmic reinterpretation of 'reality' far more picturesque than the real one), you catch glimpses of entire worlds reconfiguring themselves… people seeming to lose their cool, their shit or their minds… natural conclusions to events set into motion some time ago finally presenting themselves to the wider consciousness, as if nobody could've guessed this is where it'd all lead… newly rapidly changing circumstances leaving you little option other than to crack open that bottle of Orangina [warning: video link] and chuckle to yourself, while everybody else may later prove to be nothing more or less than computer-generated animations of supposed life-forms. I found the above-linked video by pure chance after googling Orangina, but its musical-circus-like surreality it presents syncs up quite well with the subjective absurdity of what you're currently witnessing, Scorpio. (Ah, the oracular Internet…) All you can really do is settle into your temporary observer's seat, gobble popcorn and candy while Nero fiddles and Oompa-Loompas weave mischief in back laboratories, and take a few moments away from these bizarre proceedings so you can think. This technicolor projection only becomes a true nightmare if you accept what you're seeing as frightening (you're braver than that, right?) or unilaterally disastrous (which it's not). And you'll only interpret this fleeting 'holding pattern' as a cage if you insist upon fanatically hunting for an escape hatch… rather than just settling in and enjoying the show.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Share the wealth, brothers and sisters. There's no way in hell you could've done it alone, is there? While I know you must appreciate their slaps on the back, shoulders to rest (or cry) on and encouraging words intended to keep your fires burning, the powerful independent streak you emit could mislead folks into believing you see yourself as a wholly self-made man or woman. (Yes, you likely earned that self-contained strength from all those years of Pluto weighing your sign down with psychological challenges and obstacles; let me give you credit for that.) Prove their misperceptions wrong, and offer generous displays of gratitude to the pals and teammates who've proven to be solidly supportive of you, even when the chips were down and you doubted that anybody understood where you were coming from. These folks are definitely due some effusive loving recognition, which, once you get going with it, you'll truly enjoy giving. Just because you gravitate toward the 'Lone Ranger' model of hopping aboard your steed and galloping through life's adventures unencumbered, that doesn't mean you don't also get something from that feeling of belonging. And who else do you 'belong' to, if not the people who've shown themselves to 'have your back'? Don't you think it behooves you to keep those peeps happy?


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Here's how you convince yourself to stop downplaying your strengths, just so the delicate flowers and inept power-trippers and hangers-on feel at ease with your presence. Remember this: You are actually helping them, Capricorn, by operating at your fullest capability level. Your job well done will necessarily up the game for everybody else involved… forcing the lazy ones to get their asses in gear, the all-bluster-no-action types to put money where their mouths have been flapping, and the fearful duty-dodgers to read the writing on the walls. The more diligently you perform, the more powerfully the consequences for those who aren't performing will bear down. The weakest links will show their true colors, and may even become scared enough to dash away (if not to merely quake quietly in their boots, praying to not be found out). But don't worry about them, either by trying to save them from their own self-sabotage or feverishly helping to push them out the door with fiendish delight. Keep a cool head and an ambitious mindset regarding your own potential, without using it a personal message (or vendetta) toward anybody else. Show everyone exactly what they'll get with you—and if that ends up sinking other people's already-leaky boats, it really has little to do with you. It's their own shoddy workmanship.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): In the process of writing your horoscope, dear Aquarius, I actually paused overnight to let the apparent contradictions in what I intended to advise you to do work themselves out. There's a certain complexity to your current position, which I didn't want to gloss over by proceeding too glibly. See, when I glance back at last week's installment, it appears I was warning you against too assertively drilling your surefooted version of The Truth into the not-necessarily-open minds of those who disagree. And yet, the triple conjunction of personal planets in your 9th house evidently point to a heightened need for you to talk out what you believe, if not explicitly endorse it with vehemence (though hopefully one step short of proselytizing). I wonder, then, if perhaps you are supposed to go ahead and push your ideas onto others… less in order to convert them, but more so they can give the logic behind your views a proverbial 'kick in the tires' to test it out. I suspect what you'll find, if you pick a enlivening debate with a similarly outspoken individual, is that your conceptual thinking is actually pretty good—but, at the same time, may be missing the boat when applied to real-life behavior. That's because outside the intellectual bubble of thought lives a whole helluva lot of people who base their actions and decisions on emotion, an unpredictable variable in every equation that doesn't play by the rules of logic, couldn't care less about what's fair, and seeks to serve the subjective comfort of its bearer. In other words, your argument may be completely valid… and yet fall apart when faced with somebody's spontaneous impulses. You may be right, as far as dispassionate air-sign thinkers and scientists are concerned. However, plenty of other folks care more about feel than 'just the facts, ma'am' rationale.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): You're certainly smart enough to know there's a lot more going on behind the velvet ropes, in that super-special-secret backstage-area hidden room accessed by a very select few, than what everybody else is able to see. In fact, you just might be one of those 'select few' conducting those super-special-secret doings, if we can make a preliminary judgment from your horoscope from last week. But what I wouldn't want you to neglect to consider, Pisces, is the counterpoint to your own involvements—namely, that someone else may be carrying on in some super-special-secret manner that you are presently missing. It's not possible that you're the one who's having the wool pulled over your eyes, is it? Sure is. (If you simply cannot make sense of anything I've written in this horoscope or the last, it's worth thinking about it all again.) I cannot know whether or not you're being boondoggled, but I do think just asking the question is useful enough. And I don't mean 'asking' it in your head, with no way to gauge an answer. Ask the suspected boondoggler(s) straight up, if certain names or faces have popped into your mind during these last few sentences. Then, don't simply assess by the words they mutter. Feel 'em out. If, during your 'perfectly innocent' (uh-huh) inquiry, you push a button that causes the person to somehow light up (that is, give an unusually emotional reaction), you'll know you've hit upon something. Keep on pushing it.