Horoscopes | Week of September 15-21, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Beware the leaky sway of certain friends' loaded opinions of certain other people… especially if you might draw very different opinions of these certain other people, were you to form them independently, without your friends' outside influences. Be particularly cautious with unconfirmed rumors, phantom suspicions or gossipy judgments that may speak more loudly about the speaker of such questionable tidings than the one being spoken of. The consequences to swallowing someone else's line of thinking regarding a relationship you're actively engaged in can make quite a splash, if you indeed let the contagion of paranoia (or, more properly, this 'helpful' pal's underlying agenda in turning you against somebody)—without at least confronting the accused party with the supposed charge. So, Aries, no freaking out on your partner or colleague unless you have actual proof of they're having messed up, okay? Before picking a fight, try sharing your worries with 'em—from a place of inherent trust, rather than hasty finger-pointing. The meddling remarks of others not directly involved in the relationship in question are simply not enough to go on.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): While I don't mean to imply you're a big bad wolf, I will say that any full-force efforts to huff and puff are almost guaranteed to blow the house down. That is, this is an ideal week to demonstrate where the Taurean reputation as a tireless worker (once those hardest 'first steps' are taken, of course) comes from. Shift into high gear. Insist on staying there. Shoot dirty looks, even, at the peers who are displaying a less-than-acceptable work ethic. The squirrelly folks who'd seek to avoid their own duties may even chuckle out loud at the seriousness with which you're furrowing your brow, focusing your attention, and sweating bullets, just to get the job done. Ignore these and other distractions. You're here to plow through, Taurus. No, this isn't likely to be your most glamorous moment in time. But your accomplishments will speak volumes. Just don't forget to eat, sleep, and drink lots of water. When you're in workhorse mode, it's as if you're a robot whose power switch has been flipped to 'on'—only, you're not a robot, but a living breathing human. As long as you keep fuel in the engine and give it a periodic rest, your huffing and puffing could even tumble the structure built from bricks.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Already hunting for the next crazy party, fun-filled excursion or happy-go-lucky playdate? Good. That's just how it should be, Gemini. You need to give yourself permission to get a little wacky, or you'll miss out on a wonderful opportunity to breathe even more freshness into your day-to-day existence. Fun, in this astro-context, definitely qualifies as the low-hanging fruit, so please stop making things harder for yourself by hunting far and wide for something 'more significant'. (If, for some strange reason, you need a more compelling purpose than 'having a good time', try this one: Sharing leisurely blow-off-steam moments with people you care about is a fruitful interpersonal bonding technique.) The only warning I have for you involves (1) what happens if things start becoming too unruly and (2) you carry out the wrong antic in front of the wrong person (like, say, your boss or a cop). Please play around—but please use good judgment. Don't press your luck by indiscriminately showing your wild-and-crazy side, when there are certain persons who probably shouldn't see that part of you. (If they do, it could spell trouble.)


CANCER (June 21-July 22): It's not really about what you say or do. What happens inside is the important action. Swimming through a waterscape littered with sensitivities to everyone else's dreams and disappointments, struggling to remain afloat as a discrete individual within this vast aqueous body… what else can you hold onto, dear Cancer, but the truth inside your heart? No matter how deeply you care about their way in the world, you must not cheapen the wisdom of your cherished intuitive leanings by dismissing what you're hearing from within. And why would you? Because the ego-motivated side of you is too closely identified with the 'helper' role to walk away from it? (What about helping yourself?) Because to hold any kind of boundary at all feels too much like an impenetrable blockade around your heart? (Isn't there some middle ground?) If you really want to 'help', you'll realize you're not doing 'em any favors by giving free rides for bad behavior. And if you're not holding your loved ones to task, they might be losing respect for you… even as they continue to stick around (for the cooking? the cuddling? the unconditional love and support you give, expecting nothing in return?) as long as you'll let 'em. Are they really 'stringing you along'? Haven't you got a pair of scissors, perfect for the job of snipping such strings, should you decide to opt out? Again, there is no call to action here—merely encouragement to sit with your emotional truth, rather than pushing it away.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Last week's horoscope immediately came to mind, when I contemplated how this week's series of trines to Neptune in your solar 7th (from Venus, Mercury and Mars) might continue to obscure your actual feelings from those in relationship with you. I already warned you against actively encouraging them (through omissions, intimations or other passive behaviors) to adopt the wrong idea about you. So let me put a different spin on it now, Leo. There's nothing wrong with utilizing this socially sympathetic configuration to yield additional personal information about where the other person is coming from… allowing your typical center-stage personality to fade back a bit, to blend into the background while they pour out a wealth of useful details that can help you better navigate your interactions. Listening closely under such a Neptune influence will get you deeper inside the emotional motivations behind what they do, beyond what they might consciously be able to tell you about themselves. Listen, and learn. But when they do explicitly mention that a certain issue is dear to their hearts, you should take their word for it—even if you're able to see through it. Respect their stated concern. Dare you try to underplay or brush off the emotion they're bringing to it (or, worse, act if you know better than they), you'll surely end up with an earful-and-a-half.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): This is not the time to give into self-doubt. Slam the front door, shutter the gates, and firmly refuse entry to those horrid (but, yes, far too familiar) self-criticisms. Despite what those punishing voices in your head are telling you (and by the way, have you ever noticed they sound eerily similar to the voice of a parent, schoolteacher or clergy member from your childhood?), you know exactly what you've got to do for your own sanity. Perhaps you've allowed someone to get under your skin, with skeptical inquiries into your chosen methods or undermining attempts to convince you that you're somehow going 'overboard'? Or maybe you're just so eager to please—to fit their expectations (or what you imagine them to be) to a 'T', whether they serve your interests or not—that you'll turn away from the obviously 'responsible' choice? Don't succumb, Virgo. Resist the temptation at all costs. Making somebody else happy (or trying to) isn't a good enough reason to skip out on duties to yourself. Nor is it worth the endless self-torture you'll expose yourself to, when the internalized authority figure rips you a new one for it. As I said, you know exactly what you've got to do for your own sanity… if only you can ignore anyone (inside your head or out) who'd convince you it isn't a worthy cause.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): A full moon conjunct Uranus hits your solar 6th, with the potential to throw unforeseen snags and hassles at you, scrambling up the order and method by which you'd intended to get things done. But a little thing like some Uranus-powered full moon is no match for you, a Libran superhero with Mercury, Venus and Mars still at your full disposal for one more week, is it? Please remember you're still wearing that magic ring and a colorful cape, tools that'll succeed at helping you circumvent the headaches that might otherwise sink your week. So don't let an annoying inconvenience or minor work emergency spoil your overall plans, Libra, though it might require some quick-thinking finagling on your part to keep all the plates in the air. With the planets on your side, you can surely tackle any upsets to your routine—and still manage to do everything else you wanted. First and foremost, stay calm. Second, give yourself a few minutes to let any surprises sink in, rather than immediately launching into rescue response mode. You'll get a bit of distance from the undisciplined urgency with which those around you are erupting. And third, be extremely grateful all this is happening now, when the planets have set you up to soar through it. Another week, you might've been in deeper doo-doo. The gratitude, incidentally, is a vital part of remaining superbly confident in your superhero skills.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Next week, Venus moves into your sign, which usually points to an overall 'easing up' in life… putting you in a better position to receive the universe's good graces (rather than needing to desperately grab at every last straw so as to ensure you don't get 'screwed'). Until then, though, you're still under the grips of all three personal planets muddling through the strange self-secluding fantasyland of the solar 12th (which goes far in explaining last week's surreal horoscope, complete with video). Immediately, that leads me to point out: Strange or funky moods needn't take over your week. Of course, it's often easier said than done (especially for you water signs), when I instruct you to simply refuse to sink into a funk… if for no other reason than the simple fact that this 'limbo' you've been treading through is on its last legs. Just because the week's full moon in Pisces is liable to magnify these negative emotions, that's no excuse to let 'em win. One way out is to throw yourself into unpredictable social situations, in which somebody will surely utter a random remark or make a crazy move that's bound to shift your whole mindset. (Hiding away, meanwhile, is likelier to keep your spirits glum.) Once out and about, you may in fact feel like creating your own spectacle, in response to the quirky proceedings unfolding in front of you. Do as you see fit… but with the recognition that, come next week, any 'spectacle' you put forth will be received more warmly and favorably, thanks to the Venus effect.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): (1) Not only is it true (whether we like it or not) that we are judged by the company we keep, it's also true that 'the company we keep' (i.e., our friends, colleagues, teammates, etc.) is judged by keeping company with us. In other words, when you are bound to other people through friendship, ideology or group allegiance, you cannot operate as the individualistic renegade you, Sagittarius, might otherwise consider yourself. Bear that in mind all week, knowing that your public statements and action will have consequences for those aligned with you. You are representing more than just you. (2) If you find you're suddenly craving 'space', don't get carried away. It's possible to easily duck a couple non-essential dates, without causing big drama over it. But if folks close to you are in clear need of your presence (or if they just really want you there), come through for 'em. It'll mean a lot. Sometimes, we've just got to fight through that first-reaction desire to cancel our appearance, knowing that, once we drag our hesitant ass out the front door, it will certainly prove worthwhile. And besides, this 'being there for a pal' is a favor you'll definitely be happy to call back in later.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): While, on the one hand, you may shrewdly see the value in cutting through a lot of the small-talk rhetoric being tossed around (to avoid coming right out and saying what's true, perhaps?), you must also remain hyperaware, on the other hand, that too 'cutting' a tone (conscious or not) could cause more harm than good. No doubt about it, Capricorn—you're simply going to have to balance these contrasting realities, or risk wasting these potent astro-effects on either (1) getting nothing done, in order to play it safe or (2) focusing too severely on getting stuff done, and pissing people off in the process. We already addressed the pitfalls of the former option last week, when I urged you not to downplay your strengths. And as far as the latter is concerned? While image certainly isn't everything, it sure counts for a lot this week. One thoughtless remark or short-tempered snip could change somebody's impression of you forever. Do you really want 'em to see you as a rather fearsome creature, more interested in 'doing it right' than treating your colleagues kindly? Be as overtly socially appropriate as can be, tempering the bite to your words, but without playing weak… even when you think your comments are supposedly 'off the record' (uh-huh).


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): While passionate fervor is often considered a useful temperament to foster, there's usually a limit to how much it can help the cause… before it becomes blinding, and ends up turning into more of a hindrance. The question of where that limit rests, Aquarius, is a ripe one for you this week, when the 'big thrills' threaten to overshadow necessary practical considerations that should be taken into account. As exciting as your latest thrust forward may be, you must think through every last nitty-gritty detail. For instance, shouldn't you make sure you have the money to cover all the costs before signing on the dotted line? Doesn't it matter how you're going to pull off your grand plan, once you secure the required approval or the desired support of other key stakeholders? A vision is a wonderful place to start, but it isn't the whole ball of wax. Realism, which can sometimes feel like a big fat killjoy, provides the crucial counterpoint to transform pipe dreams into a brick-and-mortar here-for-all-the-world-to-see achievement. You've now (hopefully) spent a few weeks on the philosophic adventure of fighting for your beliefs, stirring enthusiasm and battling opposition, and generating important alliances with the peeps who'll come along with you on this journey. There's nothing left to do but the actual doing.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): First off, I sincerely hope last week's message didn't cause you to become unduly nervous about something that may—or may not—be going on behind your back. One of the tricks about being a Pisces is differentiating between (1) your amazingly keen knack for feeling your way beyond the surface-level version of the story to the emotional issues it touches in the individuals involved and (2) your tendency to run too far with such instincts, extrapolating way beyond the initial kernel of emotional truth into an imagined scenario of what could happen or what it all might mean. My intention in raising the question of what else might be going on, outside your immediate view, was merely to set your intuitive bloodhounds on the case… to sniff out where the missing evidence or hidden treasure, if there is any, could be buried. But if, after your first instincts subside and you haven't yet detected any hot leads, you're probably safe to drop the investigation. By the time your mind is once again taken over by the Emperor of What-Ifs, you'll no longer be drawing from your intuition… but instead from your own emotional wishes and fears, which offer a far less trustworthy version of the facts. Would it be so bad if this entire exercise were merely a tool for rooting out any naiveté on your part? And if indeed your suspicions were ultimately shown to be unfounded, thank your lucky stars… then, think more deeply about the content of what you were suspicious about. This will tell you a lot about which of your greatest fears were being triggered—and how the person you suspected, however rightfully or fruitlessly, plays right into your psychology.