Horoscopes | Week of January 26-February 1, 2009

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Pull the controlling cords from an interim position somewhere halfway concealed by the curtain, Aries… continuing down your personal path of goal-setting, dream-building, game-winning efforts to further your level of public achievement, as described last week, neither insisting on instant recognition nor attempting to obscure your obvious contributions. For this one more week, it's enough to carry on with a super-friendly but wholly non-emphatic tone to mentions of any personal ambitions you might harbor (beyond, of course, ensuring this current endeavor right here right now is a smashing success), almost with a near-indifference to receiving individual credit. For this week especially, practice the art of fostering interpersonal equilibrium. By next week, Venus will land in your sign where—thanks to her upcoming six-week retrograde—she'll play hide-and-go-seek with your heart for a good few months (say, February through May). There will be no shortage of opportunities to reap in the good stuff (love! money! attention!), with you positioned solidly in the center of the cosmic crosshairs. Perhaps too many possibly advantageous angles to pursue will prove too damn perplexing? (And remember: Some will be holographic mirages, too good to be true.) Perhaps you'll be so blown over with excitement at the choices on your table, you won't notice certain other folks reaching their limit with what they perceive as your hideously oblivious self-centeredness? So no need to stress now about whether or not they presently see you. Soon enough, you'll be eliciting plenty of affection and admiration (maybe even a smidgeon of others' mischief-making envy) no matter what you do.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Fighting for principle first, above all else, is a courageous act… especially for you, dear Taurus, who may prefer to uphold a risk-averse attitude when it comes to gambling with your solidest footing, just to prove some point. The pragmatic among you will rightfully ask, 'Why mess with my own well-being?' Rightfully so precisely because, though acting foremost according to ideals (rather than, say, a hyper-prudent view of reality) is surely admirable, it often doesn't reveal its eventual advantages right away. In fact, in the short term, acting-by-ideal can sometimes result in immediate losses… in the form of those certain sacrifices necessary for showing allegiance to whatever principle is worth fighting for. In the end, of course, striving to aim one's ethical compass toward one's own personal 'North', a direction that leaves you feeling proud of yourself, may be a far more long-lasting and profoundly rewarding experience than remaining silent, overlooking or tacitly compromising a belief to preserve whatever status-quo situation(s) provides you (or at least appears to provide) a sense of security. But at this moment in history, are you in a position to potentially invite such losses, by voicing too firm a position? There's no black-and-white answer here, by the way. It's simply a matter of consciously doing the cost-benefit analysis—and rethinking where on the 'pragmatism vs. principle' continuum you want to set yourself.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It might seem like absurdly illogical logic to propose that taking the high road, at whatever current fork is presenting multiple approaches to choose from, would actually first involve staying put in the 'lowlands' until every inch of terrain has been charted. Pause to think about that for a moment, Gemini, and perhaps you'll see what I'm getting at. The 'high road' is so appealing because it rises above all those lower-chakra emotional considerations, the sinkholes and speedbumps that would otherwise stretch out one's estimated travel time to patience-testing lengths… instead offering a scenic overview of the entire landscape, illustrating more clearly how all the finer features fit together. The warning sign at the fork-in-the-road reads: If you rush prematurely toward that higher route, without having properly surveyed the land below from a close-up perspective, it'll be way too easy to skip and saunter right past crucial psychological insights (into you and/or the other person) that, trust me, you'd really rather deal with now than later, when reopening the conversation will have a more dastardly impact. Authentically 'taking the high road', to me, implies there's nothing productive left to explore, talk out or resolve down here… all angles have been attempted, all approaches exhausted… and sticking around any longer would merely constitute wallowing in the crap, rather than progressing further. In that case, you're moving along cleanly. However, jump to the high road more as an 'escape' (because, why? all this processing work is too hard?!?), before you're entirely ready, and you may seem to skate along just fine for now. The crap you didn't deal with, though, will follow you there, I promise. Of course you wouldn't notice that subtle fact; the high road doesn't permit you to see such details that closely.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You'll be in swell shape, Cancer, as long as you place a premium on explicit unpresumptuous communication in each and every meaningful one-on-one interaction you have all week. 'Oh, is that all?' you might moan and groan, rolling your eyes at me, as if the thought of saying exactly what you mean causes you actual pain in the brain. Yes, we already talked about this same damn thing last week. So what? Mercury's still retrograde in your relationship house (the 7th). It begs repeating. Strangely enough, your super-keen intuitive abilities can actually work against you in the communication department. I'm reminded of how our eyes can play tricks on us as we read sentences on a page, rushing past what's actually printed there, instead replacing unusual words or unconventional usages with the more common phrasings and clichés we expect to see there (a la 'I'm so clever, I already know what you're going to say before you say it'). That's sort of how your emotion-based interpersonal connections sometimes work: You may gloss over finer distinctions, exclude certain clarifying details, or skirt around the most direct statements of truth, due to convincing yourself it's not necessary to 'come out and say it' when the feelings between you seem to 'say it all'. In fact, they do not. I can't tell you any more loudly or clearly: Right now, everything boils down to clear, precise, outwardly expressed verbal communication… or at least your sincerest attempts at it.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Against the modest backdrop of doing what you're supposed to, you ought to take the time to appreciate those who are alongside you, humbly fulfilling their duties, too. The very activities and concerns typically considered the least alluring or seductive are the ones which might dare to share their humble zen-life self-gratifications with you this week, should you refrain from telling yourself how much you're dreading taking care of such business. Is it because you've got your eye on something far more exciting to anticipate way out over there, far away from this long string of repetitive days and nights… is that it, Leo? Allow me to boldly suggest, then, you might be entertaining a faulty premise about the unfettered freedoms and inspiring mind-expansive vistas you might expect to find elsewhere—namely, that some magical deus ex machina departure from your current state of affairs will essentially 'rescue' you from certain responsibilities awaiting your resolve. But rather than focus on what you won't find out there, I'd like you to reconsider that some of what it seems you'd be looking for in far-off corners or on grand journeys might be found in that same 'dull' (or so you say) handful of rooms where you've spent many a day… that engaging the familiar people around you in more intimate and philosophic discussions about each other's lives can unfetter you or expand your mind as much as a month in an Indian ashram (with the right mindset, that is)… and that the push-and-pull of seeking inspiration on a heroically independent quest vs. merely stumbling into it through hyper-present interactions with others while living your 'normal' life may well prove a recurring theme over the next few months.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Long-winded usually isn't your style… except, maybe, when you're explaining all the specific dimensions of a certain object, place or process so that everybody is clear on all the details, but not usually if you're telling a story about yourself or some leisure pursuit that merely excites you. It's as if you aren't too convinced anyone will care to hear, at least in any great length, about those things that stir your personal curiosities or add warm pleasures to your life. ('Keep it to yourself,' you might silently advise your inner censor. After all, they might think you're odd, boring, dorky or otherwise unworthy of center stage, right?) Alas, it is not for you to decide, dear Virgo, whether we want to hear from you or not. Please don't take our choice away from us by refusing to present anyone, including those interested parties (no matter how numerous or few), the full breadth—yes, the full long-windedness—of what you'd put out there, if you weren't so uncomfortably self-conscious. You may in fact be quite odd, boring and dorky, for all I know. (Lord knows I've been accused of all those things at varying moments.) But I'm also quite sure, if indeed you are, that your strange or tiresome or nerdly qualities are peculiarly yours… with unique flourishes not to be found anywhere else on earth. Is it really your intention to miserly hoard all this uniquely peculiar goodness of yours, in selfish refusal to share? It's on us to help ourselves or not, but only after the proper offers have been made.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Are we having fun yet? What are you waiting for, Libra? Haven't we already discussed the fact that this commitment to go out into the world and create pleasurable experiences for yourself is an important duty, not to be taken lightly? Now that we're clear on that, I want to honor the possibility that you aren't having as much fun as you ought to be… due, perhaps, to some private torture you're inflicting on yourself? because you fear breaking some needlessly harsh internal rule or standard you're holding yourself to? to that more generalized self-paralysis that occurs when you feel you must provide a rational and purposeful reason why you want to do what you do? and, when you can't muster one, prevents you from proceeding according to desire alone, with no other 'reason' whatsoever? I'm as exhausted from writing that last run-on mishmash as you must be from listening to it, if this resembles your inner dialogue in any way. That internal regulatory voice (the uptight-yet-still-bossy authoritarian) doesn't belong to your pure unmessed-with Self—it's the voice of strict parents, teachers, clergy, power-figures seeking to keep you in line. But you're an adult now, fully able to keep yourself 'in line' (whatever the hell that means), and you may send that voice packing and on its merry way. Your pure unmessed-with Self knows you deserve a break from all the should-ing. And if you're not getting that break? You, my dear, ought to be angry at being cheated out of easier good times—and ought to use the anger to slice that internal party-pooper voice right out of your decision-making process.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I almost went so far as to write a script for you to recite this week, Scorpio, but I didn't want to insult your intelligence. This script would've served as an instructive how-to for conducting the kind of 'superficial' conversations, with just about anybody who happens to cross your path, which you might ordinarily seek to avoid. I purposefully put superficial in the quotation marks to point out this judgment, by the way, isn't an objective fact but stems rather from your personal opinion on what does and doesn't constitute a meaningful interaction. Isn't it too easy to label as 'superficial' virtually any and every discussion about subject matter that simply doesn't interest you? Even those who, for example, go on and on about designer fashion with the urgency of a war correspondent, while you may consider fashion to be a 'totally shallow' concern, aren't necessarily without any social value to you. To extend that example a bit further, though someone's outward personality may seem overly focused on superficialities such as fashion, that doesn't mean there isn't a whole lot more going on inside that coating. (Does her urgent emphasis on external appearances bespeak of deeper insecurity? What inner emotional experiences motivate his outer expressions?) Underneath it all, we all possess a depth that comes along with having families and friendships and romances, good and bad, job struggles and money woes and looming questions about purpose and shit. Next time you're faced with making small-talk in a circumstance you'd typically try escaping from, remember that: Though you might not be that interested in the apparent trivialities at hand, you might care quite meaningfully about the real person— his/her richly complex underlying psychology—reaching out to you over a seemingly superficial matter, at least at first.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Think 'small practical solutions' to local inconveniences or minor annoyances, but don't burden yourself with 'larger questions' right at the moment. Swap out plans for intense hours-long processing sessions for the circumstantial glimpses of mundane wisdom that arise spontaneously from day-to-day encounters. The full glory of all the Universe's creations can be found in your modest cup o' daily joe… in the cracks of the sidewalk you tread as you head to the café to fetch it… and, most profoundly at this current moment, in the conversation with the nice gal behind the counter who regales you with an enchanting tale about her previous evening out on the town and the lesson she learned from it as she pours it (sure, maybe too slowly) for you. Chill out. Don't forget to thank her, and leave her a generous tip. Feed your community with such tiny gratitudes. As long as you possess enough to make it through another week, roof over your head and food in your tummy, all is well in your world. Keep your considerations as local and immediate as possible. I understand, Sagittarius, your thoughts about possible futures do not come without a disproportionately large share of worry-inducing dimensions to them. Destiny, however, doesn't have in mind that you fuss with manipulating its broader strokes for the time being. Shore up what you've already got in the here and now. There will be ample opportunity to return to the wider view later.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): This week features a conjunction of retrograde-tweaked Mercury and super-strong Mars in your sign, Capricorn… so therefore, the most important forewarning I can provide is to remain hyperaware of the pointy, prickly, and potentially jarring tone that might unconsciously (or only semi-consciously) impact the manner in which you state your case, voice your concern, or suggest an alternative. You will come across with greater force or assuredness than you may be aware of (more, perhaps, than you even feel within yourself), with the potential to intimidate, aggravate, and maybe even injure those currently lacking your same strength and/or threatened by it. This, incidentally, could be exactly what's required to iron out anybody's misunderestimations of you. Obviously, you aren't someone to mess around with. You and I already know that. Maybe a certain someone else needs a refresher course? The funniest thing of all: Even still, thanks to Mercury's sextile to Venus in your solar 3rd, there's simultaneous a mildly-favorable influence over all your incidental social interactions. It's almost as if the planets are blessedly looking out for you at the same time you must hold a hard line, drive a hard bargain, or deliver a hard truth, perhaps without knowing quite how much so… Venus somewhat softening those blows Mars might pack into your words.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): The world all around you is increasingly crazy. We all know that. Whether you define this as an invigorating rush of revolutionary spirit or a totally inconvenient mashup of variously dizzying forms of chaos is, naturally, a factor of your mindset… though, thanks to Jupiter's warm embrace of you Aquarians, I'm betting (or at least hoping) most of you are attuned to the former over the latter. Now, here's a different way to envision it: You're presently standing still in the center of a rapidly spinning wheel of fortune, while scores of glimpses of different fates whir past, unsure where they will land or who they are destined for, and there's very little you can actually do to effect where exactly the wheel will stop. More, still, than that: You're not really a passive participant on this crazy ride, though it might currently seem so, since, at some earlier point (which you may or may not recall), you did step up to this wheel and give it a spin. In other words, you were an influential factor in this current proliferation of possibilities. And now as long as the ride's still in motion, which it is, you've got to wait it out a bit longer before seeing where it stops to let you off. One last addendum, just so you don't mistakenly assume there's absolutely nothing you can do: Be sure to train your mind to indeed believe that anything is possible. Why wouldn't your spin-of-the-wheel land on the 'JACKPOT!'? Someone's got to win it…


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Much of the general public, who may merely attend church on the occasional holiday or contemplate Divine Will only when it's convenient, reserve prayer (or their non-religious, hoping-for-the-best, positive-thinking equivalent of it) as a last-ditch effort… as if to imply that God, some sentient 'higher power', the collective consciousness of our combined soul-selves, or whatever else is out there would only provide us with cosmic assistance when all other support-systems have been exhausted. Essentially, we often fail to regularly consider the hand of larger spiritual forces (whatever they may be) in guiding us to where we eventually end up—let alone actually ask specifically for that loving guidance to aim us in a particular direction, all the while rightfully expressing our gratitude for having made it this far so far. You Pisceans, in fact, comprise a good portion of the few souls who probably do treat such divine mysteries with the respect they deserve. This week, I urge you to tap into prayer or anything other practice of direct communication with the Great Unknowable… and not necessarily from the place of desperation that sometimes characterizes such a dialogue. Thankfully pray (or whatever) for continued goodness to shine on you, but let's be more specific: This week's prayers should incorporate explicit gratitude for the people (friends, industry contacts, mentors and dream-nurturers) who surround you every day, and the request that continued social companionship and camaraderie will provide all the tools necessary to meet any challenge that comes your way.