Horoscopes | Week of August 24-30, 2009

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If and when you begin to suspect the world (or certain conspiring figures within it) is working against you this week, I want you to entertain the parallel theory that, just maybe, it's you who has it out for the world (or certain frustrating figures within it). Incidentally, neither notion negates the other, Aries… and frankly, it's classic Jungian astrology to stipulate that what we attract as 'outer conflict' mirrors an inner experience we needed to project outward in order to make us more fully conscious of it. As such, hitting against an unfulfilled (and unlikely-to-be-fulfilled-anytime-soon) desire for greater power, prestige or impact in your public life might be best handled not by, say, fighting against the presently prestigious powers that impact your public life with finger-pointing fury, implicating someone or something else in the fact that you are dissatisfied. Perhaps, instead, you'll need to accept the current state of affairs—while, at the same time, strongly prioritizing your need to find satisfaction elsewhere, in a more private and personal context. And another person's all-too-well-formulated and oh-so-calmly-communicated comments on you or your behavior probably ought not to be met with a loud, irrational and/or angry reply, essentially flipping the bird to someone who took the time and effort to thoughtfully talk to you about an issue. Perhaps, instead, you'll need to put in similar time and effort to formulate and calmly communicate your response, so the other person can actually understand where you're coming from. In both these examples, please note the advice I'm giving really has nothing to do with what cards the external world is dealing you—and everything to do with your inner experience of those cards.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your safest approach to the week ahead—and yes, I'm phrasing it in terms of personal safety—involves fixing your workday brain squarely on what you must, or would like to, accomplish and your leisure mindset on how you can snag some private relaxation time. Of course, judging from the oddly ominous vibrations presently ricocheting back and forth between so many folks, one might think this prescription I'm offering you would be nearly impossible to abide by. And it's true, Taurus, that both staying focused and shielding yourself from the bad vibes won't be easy. But you do have a good chance of succeeding… if you refuse to take the bait others might dangle in front of you, as if daring you to pick a pointless fight by spilling some juicily shit-stirring gossip or raising a sensitive topic that bothers you more, perhaps, than it should. The reason it's such tempting bait? Because you probably would make a cogent point, and in the process school them on a thing or two their loose ethics and/or short-sighted logic have obviously neglected to consider. But does it really matter? Is it worth distracting yourself from more productive thoughts? Will you sacrifice personal peace-and-quiet to involve yourself in setting someone straight? While you may likely confront a situation with the potential to be deeply upsetting, it is possible—and, in my humble opinion, glaringly preferable— simply to decide not to bother getting upset.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In a world gone mad this week, teeming with fired-up folks at cross-purposes and apt to toss crap at each other like feces-flinging monkeys, you just might be the one who has a goofy enough wit to produce the words that'll deescalate the in-fighting. Don't hesitate to use your clever charm to get people thinking about something other than how badly they want to cream the competition and snag their version of 'justice' (ahem). However, Gemini, you mustn't make the mistake of expecting 'em to laugh at themselves. Refrain from those type of jokey remarks that possess a smidgeon (or more) of harsh truth within them—unless you're ready for a balls-out overreaction from someone who's already suspicious and in no mood to become (as they'd see it) the butt of your ridicule. Yes, I believe you'd (most likely) have no cruel intentions in trying snarky satirical commentary as your attempt to defuse a situation. But please look elsewhere for your quips… like anywhere that has not a drop of direct relevance to the topic you're trying to slyly change, nor to the characters whose attention you're trying to divert. And if you unfortunately find yourself embroiled in a heavy-feeling standoff, please don't underestimate the depth of angst that may well be hovering just under the surface of the other person's demeanor. Control your urges to mockingly poke and prod. Cornered into a defense, laugh at yourself, not them. You're totally smart enough to dodge the bullet and hold your own stance at 'light-hearted'—but, in this astro-climate, not enough to slip a jab in without their notice.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The time has come to assert yourself, Cancer… and I believe you know exactly what you have to do. (Reminder: That doesn't mean you know what'll happen after you do it.) Still, you are apt to bump up against plenty of muddying resistance—both internal and external—trying to keep you from doing just that. Ordinarily, we'd expect Mars's entry into your sign (which occurs early in the week) to provide enough initiatory impetus to get you up off your butt, inspiring a 'fresh start' that resets your guiding agenda toward that which is most important to your ongoing forward progress. But due to a tense confluence of astro-obstacles, this self-preservation instinct is being resolutely tested, to determine whether you will actually embrace the kind of definitive action required to move things along… knowing that, while its initial impact will almost assuredly be destabilizing, such a move is the only way to effect the change you desperately desire. Mars opposes Pluto in your 7th, signifying the intense power of a certain binding relationship (or your fearful perception of what you owe someone, or other people in general) to block you from taking the action. Yet, if you want to move ahead for yourself, you'll just have to contend with this terrifying blast of interpersonal struggle. Even your own mind may try to work against you, as seen in Mars's square to Mercury (in your 4th), telling you not to rock the boat or create a bigger deal than is perhaps warranted. Sometimes, though, that big a deal really is necessary.


LEO (July 23-August 22): 'Hurray!' for small pleasures, like Venus moving into your sign on Wednesday (Aug 26) for a 3-week stay. Let's hear a 'hell yeah!' for the extra spring to your step, rose-color in your eyeglass-lenses, and smile on your face. And is that another 'hold on a minute!' you're blurting out to whoever's hanging out with you, since you're feeling moved to stop (yet again!) and smell still more roadside roses? So far, this horoscope sounds pretty darn good, doesn't it, Leo? In fact, yours has a much different tone to the others I've written this week, in case you hadn't looked. It wouldn't be totally fair, then, to leave you on this soaring note… without at least letting you in on the potential problem lingering just beneath Venus's surface glow. Here it is: I suspect you haven't really got a clue what you 'ought' to be doing, and/or you don't even really care. You may even be happily serving as a devilish distraction to other folks who are very super-duper concerned (perhaps to a fault) with what they've got to get done, as you encourage them to slow down for a spell so you can glance at the sunset and reminisce about that one time you did that one thing that was totally super-duper fun. Maybe you're eager to stay up extra-late, have that extra piece of pie or just one more shot of Patron, and not worry about what tomorrow will bring. Just to be clear: I have no personal problem with any of that, and there is something to be said for any behaviors that'll brighten the burdensome days so many of us are presently trudging through. But I ask, with all sincerity: Is there any important task, duty, work worry, or health concern you're attempting to ignore or escape from? And is there any chance your devil-may-care attitude could worsen the situation?


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Last week, I posed the question of whether your recent stance was inflexible or wise… and I presume you gave the question some thought (if not some real-world investigation), eh? Now, Virgo, I'd like to reapproach that question from a different angle: namely, would it matter if you were merely being inflexible, for no other purpose than you wanting it to go how you want it to go? Your previous horoscope certainly suggested you rethink your position, if multiple pals were in agreement that your refusal to budge was getting in their way—a premise admittedly based on the notion of 'majority rules' as a superior method of discerning what's right. But you don't have to accept that premise, you know. It's not universally true. And by now, a week later, if you're still grappling with an intense obstinate streak within you because, frankly, you do not want to give in no matter what, then the whole enchilada is worth looking at again. Maybe your solution isn't about either going with the consensus flow or doing whatever the hell you want, thank you very much, no matter who it pisses off in the process. Sure, while that does frame the two poles of the basic issue fairly well, it leaves out the 'middle' way, which just might be your best bet for coming to internal resolution on this. Do what makes the most protective, practical and/or financial sense for your bottom-line stability—whether it momentarily alienates you from the crowd, and/or leaves your truest immediately-self-satisfying desires somewhat unmet. There's your compromise, but it ain't an easy one.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): As Mercury traipses in your sign, you should probably offer him up a token of your gratitude. The diplomatic quality he will bestow upon your mode of verbally expressing yourself (which is already pretty darn diplomatic) shall be in great demand this week, when there's a heightened potential the pressure that's built up inside you might just burst into public view, if you don't watch your words. Events on the job, in the community or elsewhere on the outside stage are liable to annoy the crap out of you, Libra—perhaps more than they legitimately should, were not for the fact that you've been squashing and swallowing broader feelings about your 'fit' for a while now. It's perfectly all right to be fed up, as long as you can acknowledge to yourself that your annoyance is not merely a factor of the latest episode but, in fact, has developed over time and may only now be reaching its tipping point. Once you can manage to hold that perspective, you'll be far better prepared to express your discontent in the most diplomatic manner possible… because, to be fair, you're way more likely to actually achieve some workable relief for yourself if you don't sound like a stark raving maniac. However, if you fall into the trap of falsely believing your upset is limited in scope to this one annoying development, comment or person who's rubbing you wrong this week, your complaints or criticisms will ring false to those who'll know—perhaps better than you yourself—there's more to the story. To be most astutely diplomatic in this case, you must know the full dimensions of what you're dealing with.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I'm afraid you're not going to like what I'm about to tell you, Scorpio, so let's get that out of the way right now. My concern is not only that there's a sky-high likelihood of your being somewhat mixed up about what you think you know… but, more than that, there's also a good possibility you'll actually act pretty damn confident that what you think you know is unarguably correct. However, contrary to what the state of cable-TV news might suggest, the bolder and blusterier you put forth your version of the truth doesn't make it any more true. The astro-cause behind my cautioning, incidentally, is a pretty tight T-square between Mercury, Mars and Pluto in the cardinal signs… an aspect that hits all of us, but positions Mercury (the planet that allows you to process and transmit information) in your spaced-out 12th, the house where rational logic is often swallowed by irrational faith/delusion. See what I mean? Yet, at the same time, Venus moves into your 10th, generally considered a boon in your career life and/or outer-world reputation, and she's the planet who's playing nice with 12th-house Mercury. Thus, this week, I recommend defaulting to a Scorpio tactic that's proven successful so many times in the past: Hold your cards close to your chest, let everybody else have their Mercury-Mars-Pluto meltdowns, carefully and quietly observe the undertones to what they're ranting on about, and use that knowledge to your professional advantage late in the week and into the next.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): A fairly straightforward read on Mars's opposition to Pluto, from your 8th to your 2nd houses, this week would indicate a potentially gnarly power struggle over what belongs to whom… as one or another of the parties involved wants more than the other feels is rightfully theirs to take. I hope for your sake, Sagittarius, that this doesn't play out in as absurdly overt a fashion as somebody daring to, say, draw a literal line down the middle of the shared space (a la the '80s sitcom trope) and declaring, 'Everything on this side is mine, and everything on that side is yours!' so that all the food and drink 'belongs' to one of you and the bathroom to the other. I use this ridiculous example to illustrate the impossibility of separating what's 'independently yours' from what's 'jointly yours' with such reductive simplicity. Even if no outright separation is occurring, there's still presently a need within you to determine how 'in this thing together' you and another party (a romantic or business partner, a family member, an outside entity) are… whether your relationship has recently experienced a change (for better or for worse) or it's merely been a long time since you personally checked in on this matter. Alas, I'm not sure this power struggle is liable to bear much fruit, in terms of clarifying where the line (literal or not) actually lies—unless, of course, you're open to bringing in an outside mediator whose only preference will be for justice rather than either party, such as a mutual pal. Mercury's double-squares to Mars and Pluto seem to show that, presently, the only way 'out' involves reasoning through it from outside the hot-blooded passions all involved parties now possess on this issue.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): When I say, 'Beware of passive-aggressive pokes and jabs in one or more important relationships,' I don't want you to get the false impression that you're merely the victim here. Far from it, Capricorn, I'm sorry to report. Neither does it mean you are necessarily the sole perpetrator. The Mars-Pluto opposition across your 'us vs. me' axis (7th/1st) is spawning more complicated interpersonal situations than that, in which it'll be hard to determine precisely where the source of the initiating shadiness is coming from. On the 'disinterested with personal evolution' level, then, you could be in store for a weighty blend of oogie undercurrents, mean-spirited conflicts about petty crap (which ultimately aren't really about the petty crap they're purported to be about), and unconvincingly innocent-faced portrayals of blamelessness. (Again, please notice I have not specified whether you're on the giving or receiving end of any or all of this.) However, on the 'all I can control is myself' level, you have a tremendous opportunity to be your best self… unabashedly combating the possibility of being inadvertently carried into shameful behavior by these turbulent tides, simply by refusing to be indirect. If you are upset about something, be upset about it—without waiting for the other person to leave the toothpaste cap off one more time, so you can pounce maniacally upon that straw and crush the camel's back. And if you sense they are upset, earnestly assist in facilitating the conversation (even if you secretly feel their childishness doesn't warrant your assistance). I'm not saying you ought to be super-nice, ultra-accommodating or namby-pamby doormattish—just upfront, honest about what you're feeling and observing, and willing to maturely engage.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): A quick perusal of the other signs' weekly missives would reveal, it seems, that virtually everyone is facing a heightened risk of contention, confrontation and/or interpersonal discord. That would be the intense tangle between Mercury, Mars and Pluto pitting folks' minds, muscles and subterranean motives against one another. And the same could be said for you, too, Aquarius… only your tumult is likelier to play out internally, with your worst enemy proving to be menacing (and probably somewhat unjustified) mistrust. While you're moving into a several-week period during which you've got to return to your desk, workshop, treadmill or veal-pen, and finally plow through whatever neglected responsibilities have long been piling up, your attempts to kick it off this week may be met with panicky self-doubt… and, consequently, the potential to sink your efforts before they've even begun. When you start thinking about the pickle you're in, the mess you've made or the hole you've got to dig yourself out of—particularly against any backdrop of questioning why you chose this in the first place, pondering what else you could be doing instead, and pledging not to be so damn short-sighted ever again—you really accomplish absolutely nothing, other than indulging a self-punishing streak that, frankly, just continues to keep you from doing what you must get done. Sure, there might be a few threads of possible philosophic (navel-gazing?) interest lurking in those fears. But for the most part, you've really got to just push through that dark crap and get to work. It won't feel like this much longer… as long as you don't feed the monster.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): You're nobody's fright-filled follower. You're not an envy-driven copycat, overly concerned with fitting into the role slotted for you by the folks (real or imagined) you'd hope to impress so they'd include you in their clique. Are you, Pisces? Truth be told, within what I've just declared you aren't are actual traces of a reputation you Pisceans, at your most permeable and easily influenced, occasionally earn yourself. But just as some of you do at times frightfully follow or enviously copy, I'd also presume it's not a portrait you'd be particularly proud of, should anyone characterize you as such. In light of this discussion, your week ahead promises ample inspiration to buck this impression… prodding your impetus to prove yourself an individual, perhaps in opposition to social pressures (real or imagined) to conform or merely because you feel like doing something delectably transgressive, and so why not enjoy life on your own terms while it's still here for the taking! Not surprisingly, in the process of your lust for personal expression expressing itself, you may find you're purposely pressing certain people's buttons—why? to prove you can, of course! Therefore, please don't act surprised (or innocent) when they push your buttons back in response. Not only is such controversy part of the whole deal of 'expressing your individuality' (since true individuals surely draw more adversarial reactions than those who play it safe), it's actually a big piece of the fun you were going for.