Horoscopes | Week of September 22-28, 2008

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Who says your feelings about a certain person should be all ironed already… or, for that matter, that theirs about you should be too? It wouldn't surprise me, Aries, if one or the both of you were wavering between different mindsets on your relational dynamics. And if indeed that is the case, then everything is exactly as it should be. With your ruling planet Mars all tangled up with a stationing-to-retrograde Mercury in your 7th house, your world of relationships—which, just to remind you, is not merely limited to romance but also applies to close friendships, business partnerships or other one-on-one collaborations—is probably teeming with shifting perspectives, ambiguous attitudes, and/or seemingly contradictory contentions. Instead of concerning yourself with resolving such contrasts, take the opposite approach: Step further into the act of holding multiple notions simultaneously. Straddle the mixed emotions, without worrying about the need to plant your feet firmly in one camp or the other. With this decidedly less strong commitment, one way or the other, you're likelier to learn more about the more surprising facets of your interest. Ease up on the urgency. Things will make a lot more sense a month or so from now.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I often tell myself, as I sit down to craft yet another week's rendition of these horoscopic follies, that this time I'm going to do something more wildly creative, innovative, off-the-map zany, cryptic even… but then usually end up spitting out one more list of dos and don'ts that read more straightforward than perhaps I'd have wanted. This week was no exception. Only problem is, if I did let my so-called 'creative mind' take full rein over my horoscope writings, I might miss making those actual astrologically informed points I consider to be my obligation to you as a committed astro-professional. That said, Taurus, you could face a similar conundrum this week—after having been so damn responsible lately, your eyes may begin to wander to more personally exciting or entertaining (or just plain distracting) pursuits. (For instance: 'What is Mr./Ms. So-and-So doing over there? And how may I get in on the action, please? And by the way, have he/she always been that cute, and why am I just noticing now?) Yet, unfortunate as it may be to your wandering eyes, you're still obliged to fulfill your commitments to the business at hand. But though you may try to stay on task, your attentions will surely be split. That's why, while your 'creative mind' is trying to wrap itself around its own interests in what fun other people are up to, your responsible side should probably double-check any work you do. You could very easily miss something otherwise.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Whenever Mercury goes retrograde, as he does this week, there's always an increased likelihood that reversals in choice-making, conclusion-drawing or message-transmitting will muck up the supposed clarity we thought we'd already achieved ('clarity' which may later prove to have been an illusion all along). But in this specific instance, I'm not completely convinced you ever made such a choice or drew such a conclusion in the first place. Rather, you were probably already up in the air on that certain matter before this onslaught of on-second-thought influences that's headed your way even began to hit. (If you're not officially 'up in the air', then I suspect you somehow still left some bit of yourself dangling out the side door, ready, just in case you need to make a quick escape later.) Please leave any such 'maybe' vibes hanging out there, Gemini, for your own eventual benefit. Impatience aside, this lingering of still-unrealized potential—and its corresponding call to contemplate what might happen if this or if that—helps sustain a certain degree of wonder. And if we're speaking specifically about matters of the heart, well, such a purposeful suspension of clear direction one way or the other will actually keep the flirtation alive and well. Who needs to close the deal right away, anyhow? If you've got your eye on a certain hottie (or some other person, place or thing you really want in some other fashion of interest), leave everything open for now. In such humid anticipation, imaginations can't help but run wild.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Even if your mind is elsewhere and/or your energies are consumed with private emotional concerns, you'll soon begin attracting more and more enthusiastic glances… a trend you can expect to intensify over the coming weeks, even if you don't consciously do anything intended to turn folks' heads your way. I wouldn't fight this tide if I were you, Cancer. Try as your little crab-legs might to whisk you away from their curious peeping eyes, you'd be waging a losing campaign. So you should probably build in the increasingly reliable expectation that you will be noticed—like it or not—into your overall attitude. If that means spending a few extra moments on your physical appearance (so your protective 'shell' of clothing, hair and accessories is adequately in place), squeezing out any apparent symptoms of moodiness before leaving the house, or preparing a couple diversionary tactics to fall back on if they get too close, so be it. Or from another, less anxious perspective: You could just simply relish the attention… without worrying about how you're appearing to them. After all, it can't be all that bad, if they're bothering to look, right? (Of course you're your own worst critic.) Chances are, they're actually enjoying what you've got on display. And increasingly so, they're going to want to see more


LEO (July 23-August 22): If at first you don't succeed at casually directing the conversation toward (or away from, as the case may be) particular topics, then please do try again, Leo… using one more distraction technique, hilarious aside, or other dazzling diversion. Just to clarify, you require no pressing purpose for avoiding this or that discussion other than personal desire. Nor do I mean to imply there are any certain areas you should attempt to avoid. On the contrary, this is more about maintaining your preferred types of social flow than dodging potentially hazardous situations. It's my goal here, incidentally, to spin this week's Mercury retrograde in your 3rd, further rattled by aspects to both Mars and Neptune, away from the typical fear-based characterizations of it as mere bearer of missing paperwork, delayed transit and misbehaving computer equipment. Merc-retro can also be proactively harnessed for an ol' bait-and-switch routine… to adeptly (or perhaps a bit more clumsily) replace one issue or notion with another, without (or even while) attracting attention. One possible motivation for your doing so? Interpersonal generosity. In light of the frenetic stress others may be enduring this week, you might just want to help 'em out, as if a nurse waving a cuddly stuffed animal or colorful comic-book in front of the young patient about to get a vaccination shot, so that he won't notice the long sharp needle penetrating his tender skin. 'Forget about that,' you'd be subliminally telling 'em. 'Look at this shiny thing over here…'


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): I typically spend a lot of energy trying to convince my faithful readers that Mercury retrograde, which kicks off one more time this week, isn't as big a problem as they might fear. Out here in the real world, we've still got to carry on with our day-to-day business, no matter which direction this or that planet appears to move through the sky. And anyhow, much of the time, the worst of Merc-retro's glitches and gaffes are caused by us attempting to 'fix' something that was never really broken to begin with. All that said, however, Virgo, this particular round of Merc-retro hits your solar 2nd, the house of money… and coupled with a Mars conjunction and a Neptune trine from the 6th, it's one that could potentially prove to be as troublesome as its reputation would indicate. Therefore, it's quite important that you watch every business transaction you conduct over these next few weeks very carefully to ensure you're getting a fair deal, you haven't missed any pivotal fine-points, and you've in fact exchanged all the necessary info during the exchange. This week especially, it's way too easy to get double-charged for something, to forget to send the payment or sign the check, or to misunderstand a commitment you're making. Simply put: Stay on top of the nitty-gritty details. If you don't, it's your pocketbook likeliest to suffer.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Here's one questionably true and/or potentially offensive stereotype of your sign—the super-nice-and-polite, quite physically appealing (if not downright gorgeous) specimen who glides by on surface-level appearances and superficial pleasantries, with a bit of bottle-blonde ditz thrown in for good measure ('…because getting along is more important than trying to seem smart…'), leaving the rest of us to wonder what (if anything) is going on underneath. Hear, hear, Libra: I am not saying you are like this. Yet, I'd be lying if I didn't confess that such a reputation syncs up with the most extreme cases of excessive unproductive Libranness. However, under this week's stationing of Mercury to retrograde motion and a conjunction to Mars in detriment, all in your sign, I'd consider how to work such an otherwise unflattering portrait to your advantage. See, though during the week you're far likelier than usual to shove your foot in your mouth or mess up an important detail or show up way way late, you can easily save face by (I can't believe I'm giving you this advice, but here goes) playing the 'oops!' card with a sparkly-though-sheepish smile, a modest 'silly me!' admission of ineptitude (which ultimately isn't exactly your true condition), and a coquettish 'but darn I'm cute!' attitude. For now, luckily, even your mistakes are likable—as long as you (1) take 'em lightly and (2) confess them charmingly.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): This is your week to tidy up whatever behind-the-scenes business or private concerns remain unsettled, as you begin to emerge from your recent 'suspended animation'. Soon enough, you won't have nearly as much time to yourself. (Nor will you want it so much either.) As I told you last time, Venus enters your sign this week, providing an extra-shiny sheen to the outward impression you make. (Who doesn't like that?) Then, next week, your ruling bad-ass Mars also returns to the roost, granting you a much better grip on how best to assert your desires to get exactly what you want (or at least darn near close enough to satisfy). However, before Mars arrives in your 1st, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and rarin' to fight for the win, he must first endure this week's repeat conjunction with a totally befuddled Mercury, flipping retrograde in your 12th house of not-making-too-much-damn-sense-anyhow. When I imagine this influence, I picture a 1970s-era teenager playing her rock-n-roll LPs backwards on the record player, in a supposed effort to uncover the secret Satanic messages or Paul-is-dead clues planted there for just such adolescent investigators to unveil. Of course, I'm not exactly sure what this image means for you in any practical sense. Listen for insights from 'the other side'? Silently laugh at others' bizarre rituals (while taking careful notes on what they produce)? Maybe you have a better idea? Suffice it to say, it's up to you to use these last private moments to follow your own strange whims… for personal entertainment, to glean obscure wisdoms from unlikely sources, to decompress according to methods only you understand, and ultimately to prepare for what's next. (And as a lovely parallel, let's also assume this is your last strange, unclear, impractical horoscope from me for a while.)


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): You thought you could rely on them, and now you're not so sure? Just because you already cemented an alliance, you're certainly not bound to it forever. Yet, if I were you, I'd give the situation a few weeks to reveal additional insight into whether you'll eventually have to jump ship. These latest turns of interpersonal favor could prove temporary and ultimately meaningless. You might have a completely wrong idea about what's going on. Or, on the other hand, the moral decrepitude you're now beginning to suspect in these so-called 'allies' is even worse than you thought… and the truth is only now coming out. I wouldn't want to assume which way it'll show itself to go, Sagittarius—and at this point in the game, I'm not sure you should either. However, there's one point on which I am quite clear. And that is this: If in the end you do want to get yourself out of the arrangement, you really must do it right. That is: No ducking out the back door when nobody's looking. That would be quite a shady move… and may cause you major problems later. If and when you do excise your involvement, you'd better tell 'em what's going on upfront. For now, though, just continue collecting evidence—with as open a mind as possible.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Don't jump to conclusions, misinterpreting somebody else's carelessness as a personal dig… or even as anything more significant than a passing blip on the radar. A big kahuna could ask you a question you've already answered, but it's merely a case of their forgetfulness—and not an indication of the insufficiency of your initial response. The committee chairperson might abruptly switch gears on you, appearing to trash, on a mere whim, all the hard work you put in… when in fact they just weren't fully aware of why you originally went in the direction you did, and perhaps require additional (or repetitive) explanations. Or a person you look up to suddenly seems to look down upon what you're offering them, though perhaps they're just in a grumpy mood and/or their mind is elsewhere. Whatever the case, these odd skips in logic mustn't be blown out of proportion, Capricorn. From the long view, they'll eventually prove not to matter much. But in the meantime, consider this your chance to reaffirm your original thoughts to further stabilize them—or, if need be, to shift your response to the changing circumstances (but only if you authentically feel so moved). If you do change you mind, however, clearly tell 'em that's what's happening. Otherwise, they're liable to misinterpret your evolving opinion as scatterbrained inconsistency… and then it will become personal.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): If you already knew, in advance, how everything was going to turn out, what fun would that be? Okay, Aquarius, we both realize you'd probably prefer that level of visionary confidence in your prescience. (They don't give your sign the keywords 'I know' for no reason.) But despite rumors to the contrary, you are still human like the rest of us… and are therefore subject to the startling discovery of contrasts and inconsistencies within your own behavior, even when they appear to contradict your official belief system. Let me be the one to point out, then: There's no shame in backtracking a bit, if further investigation (or newly-coming-to-light observations about a lingering blindspot of yours) reveals holes in your original concept. Don't allow an unanticipated detour (which could feel more like 'eating your words' to your intellectually proud consciousness) ruin all the excitement you've had going. In fact, being totally forthright about previous oversights—right there in public view, no less—might actually earn you extra respect (perhaps not right away, alas) from folks who prefer the whole gnarly truth to too-glossy sound-bite simulations of it. Whatever you may lose in apparent ideological impenetrability, you'll more than make up for it in the good graces you'll welcome as a result of publicly embracing vulnerability. (Plus, this latest curve will keep suspense levels high…)


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Is there a certain frustrating situation that's following you around like pungent garlic breath after a decadent Italian dinner? The good news is that it could be on its last legs—that is, if and only if you are truly ready to effectively snip those loose ends still dangling, fringe-like, from its edges. But you actually have to want it gone, Pisces. If your commitment to such snipping is only half-assed (or goes against a stronger stream of unconscious yearning for the very thing you claim to be frustrated with), alas, it's likelier to suck you back in for another few laps around this oh-too-familiar course. Thinking that you can simply turn your back and head in a different direction, without taking care of the psychic leash that's tying you to it, is willfully na´ve at best. Hanging threads, visible or otherwise, will catch a snag later on. Of course, if another person is attempting to cut you loose and you aren't quite done yet, such threads can actually work to your advantage… but, most likely, to the obvious chagrin of the other party (or at least that's what they'll want you to think). As they say, it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings—or, in your case, until the floppetty fish is no longer hanging on the line.