Horoscopes | Week of August 31-September 6, 2009

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Everything you've told me in the past week… could you please tell it to me again? And while we're at it, let me also add this slightly embarrassing warning that you'll probably need to tell me again next week too (and maybe the week after that). It's not that I'm not listening to you, but more that I'm having a hard time hearing the things coming out of your mouth. They are being filtered through this strange echo-machine in my head, which is making your words sound more like something (somewhat unflattering or unkind) that I'd be telling myself. I think I'm actually hearing my fears pouring out of your lips, but (if I'm actually paying full attention to the scene) with a disconcerting mismatch between visual image and aural transmission, like watching a Hong Kong kung-fu master speak perfect San Fernando Valley-inflected English thanks to the cinematic miracles of overdubbing. I apologize in advance if I snap at something you didn't actually intend to convey. It really is nothing personal. I'm really not trying to be a difficult listener. I've just got a lot of stuff milling around inside my private vortex of emotional concern, and it's pretty much drowning out any feedback you or anybody else might be trying to give me. I feel better confessing this to you. Now, can we talk about something else?"


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Irrelevant noise, or useful addendum to ponder? Hard to know in the moment of its blasting toward you, Taurus. Maybe a measured approach—neither dismissal nor wholehearted swallow—is a good mode of taking in the data. Because it's hard to discern wheat from chaff, make sure you have a workable filing system for storing the information, so you can quickly get it back into your hands for future reference, should you need it. Alas, the challenging part of 'leaving it open' is having to willingly accede to welcoming some degree of unnecessary crap into your life in the short term… knowing that, though you can't be 100% sure just which bits are the crappiest, a few sprinkles here and there are probably going to prove strangely useful. Thus, when the business day is done, take a nice hot shower (whether literal or your metaphoric version of a personal cleansing ritual) to get the hustle-and-bustle of the marketplace of humanity off your psychic skin. You surely don't need to hold onto any of it once the bell rings and you've been excused to return to your chambers. While a policy of non-discrimination probably ought to apply to your interpersonal exchanges during working hours, once you make it home, your own self-nurturing requirements should really be viewed as non-negotiable.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You're one of those pals who's just a gas to hang or party with. Always a lively tale to regale the peeps with. Hardly a pause in the repartee. Never a dull moment. Remember that, Gemini, if you're stuck wondering what to do with yourself at any point during the week. Call a friend. Engage in some animated instant-messaging or a spirited web-forum debate. Sit on your neighbor's couch and spit witty cracks at the crap on their TV screen. Stay up giggling 'til the wee hours of the morn. The only instances in which your antics could get to be a drag (and in which it's your fault, not someone else's pissy mood that's the culprit) is if you're trying to get something from the folks you're palling around with, a leg-up or a goodie to line your pockets with. If you believe they won't catch on that your eager attentions are a (not-so-subtle) cover for self-serving motives, you've got another thing coming, darling. There's an inherent wariness in the air right now, and you Geminis, with your shape-shifting charisma, are one of the likelier targets for others' skeptical concerns. This is not a good time for purposeful networking. Instead, stick to fun for fun's sake… and leave the hustling for stuff until after Mercury's out of range from the Mars square a couple weeks from now.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Am I nuts? I feel my body headed this certain direction, and it's as if I can't even really stop it. And I've got almost everyone and their brother—even my friggin' astrologer!—affirming that, yes, I really do know what I'm getting myself into. (Or maybe a better way to say it is that I know what I'm getting myself out of.) The 'almost everyone' exception refers, of course, to You-Know-Who… who is perhaps less than eager to see me 'get out of' a situation they'd probably prefer me to stay in (to suit their needs!). As if. I'm getting to the point where I just don't care anymore who likes it and who doesn't. I really am way past the point of stir-crazy… and I'm totally way too well-aware of what'll happen (that is, a whole bunch of nothing!) if I don't take a stand. So why is there a voice in my head that keeps undermining this proactive streak, feeding me lines of garbage about how I'm going to 'ruin everything' if I continue in this certain direction… how I'm being too rebellious, too reactionary, too impulsive or too what-not… how I'll disappoint the only people who ever really loved me… and a whole bunch of other B.S. I can't even repeat here because it doesn't make any sense? Please tell me I'm not nuts, and that I just have to overpower this voice with my unwavering need to get it all going already…" Cancer, you are not nuts. This is just hard.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Don't succumb to the peer pressure of the 'doom-and-gloom squad'. For goodness's sake, Leo, you've got Venus on your side. While all those poor slobs remain caught between a rock and a hard place (but we have complete loving compassion for them, don't we, even though I just called them 'poor slobs'?), you don't necessarily have a dominating excuse to join them on the pessimistic side of the fence. Sure, life ain't perfect; it never is. But even your darkest clouds are currently double- or triple-lined with silver, gold, platinum and plenty of other pretty metals. So there's no convincing justification for waiting until the (never-gonna-happen) day when all your problems are solved before you allow yourself to revel in all that isn't problematic. Use your winning conversation skills to navigate yourself out of too prolonged an exchange with any Debbie Downers who, if given the chance, would talk your ear off about everything that's wrong with the world and how they're always getting stuck with the short end of the stick. Though, for some of you, the only real option for escaping from the negativity will be to throw yourself a 'celebration of the present moment' for only one guest (that is, yourself), it'll still provide a whole lot more entertainment than accepting the invitation to someone else's pity party.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): If you can't beat 'em—or in your case, Virgo, convince 'em that you really do know what you're talking about—then forget about joining 'em, and retreat into the solo joy of doing it your way, without the hassles of interpersonal nice-making. You don't have to be an asshole about it, of course, but you also aren't at a point where you need to be an ass-kisser either. And even on the off chance (and yes, there is such a possibility) that you're not quite as 'right' about every last detail as you've lately been thinking, you're likelier to realize the errors and omissions through your own double-checking and second-guessing than by being told by somebody else. In fact, the 'being told' might just drive you further into stubbornness, causing you to skim past the necessary editing-and-correcting phase (something that's surely due, considering Mercury's turning retrograde again next week). Unless I'm wrong or unless you really do act like a jackass, I don't envision you permanently burning any bridges by taking some time to work more independently on whatever the cause, project or proposition that's breeding the disagreement of opinion. Sometimes, though, the constant onslaught of outside opinion can be too much for the brain to bear. Regroup in your own manner, so you can process all the info that's recently come forth… including that which you've already initially rejected, which could appear quite different once there's nobody breathing down your neck to sign off with your assent.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): The diplomacy I hailed in last week's horoscope, Libra, is even more important now that Mercury in your sign is approaching a station to retrograde motion (which occurs early next week)… and since that points to the real possibility of having to eat your words, lest you have prematurely committed yourself to too sure-footed a position on one side of the line or the other, the fewer direct statements you make, the smaller the bites you'll need to chew later. Only problem is, the brewing situation at work, in the public eye or the community at large seems to be asking you for a firmer response than diplomacy's 'empty rhetoric' provides. And the more slickly you attempt to dodge the question, the angrier the folks in charge could become, since they haven't put you in your position so you could collect the honors and shirk the responsibility. What to do, what to do? Well, sincere honesty in this case would look something like an admission that, while you may be leaning in a certain direction, your mind isn't completely made up and you're still open to learning more over the next few weeks. And on the off chance you work in a super-crunchy, new-age-ish professional environment, you could always tell 'em that you're waiting until after Mercury's upcoming retrograde is complete—and until his dip back into your solar 12th gives way to a return to your sign—before wagering a definitive judgment. That'll buy you until the second week of October, at which point other factors will undoubtedly have taken over the pressure-cooker spotlight. This excuse may not work, but if you're feeling the heat, it's worth a try.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): Stop crusading for a few seconds, and surprising new answers just might find you. You will not find them, however, if you look too avidly or, worse, assume there's nothing under the sun you haven't seen before. 'Peace of mind,' of the variety currently available to you (should you fend off your own stubbornness), has nothing to do with clutching to some sort of urgent resolve. It's more about choosing to think thoughts that leave you feeling calm and trusting in the Universe's processes… as opposed to pinched and uneasy about the 'unfortunate truth' you entertain as your only option. Give the urgency a rest, Scorpio. Though every external indication seems to suggest you've got to 'have your shit together' in order to reap success, that leaves no room for the mysterious grace of God (or whatever her real name is) to kiss you with inspiration. Should you make peace with the concept of consciously selecting in-the-moment 'peace of mind'—accepting you require no tangible answers in order to affirm you're where you presently are for some beautiful cosmic reason—creative spontaneity will reward you for the retreat from manic analysis.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Do what you do best, and hold the whole picture. If you look out far and wide, instead of obsessively fixating on the relatively small heap of stanky crap someone laid in front of you, you'll see that, in the long run, it doesn't really matter. Now, Sagittarius, I'm not saying you don't have any right to be upset—we're all entitled to whatever emotional reactions we naturally produce. But when it comes to our actual interpersonal response, I'd rather save a seat for you at the 'bygones be bygones' table (which you can claim as soon as you're ready, even if it takes a little while longer) than have to come bail your ass out of the 'revenge is sweet' holding tank. You will not feel clean after sticking your foot out and tripping them, though they may indeed be running from the scene of their offense against you. Screw 'em back, and they'll just get angrier… and then they'll screw you back, and you'll just get angrier… and so on and so on. That pattern could easily continue for another couple weeks. And once it finally calms down and you've gotten your distance, you'll be liable to replay details and wonder if you could've done it differently. If you really want to 'win', you'll wisely recognize that the long view promises you a whole lot more than this. We see only that which we're focused on.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): The temptation may be to tell 'em whatever the hell will just shut 'em up… and then, once they've left you alone, to continue doing whatever the hell you wanted to do anyway and hope they don't catch on and try to obstruct your progress. Am I going to instruct you about the potential ethical lapses inherent to the method I just described, Capricorn? No. That's because you already know all about that. If you decide to follow the path I just outlined for you, you're liable to have some success at throwing 'em off your scent and buying yourself some time to redirect the terms of the relationship to something that seems to better serve you. But that success is just as liable to be short-lived… at which point you'll surely have some 'splanin' to do and, were you to carry out the calculations, may later discover you haven't actually saved yourself much time or effort after all. You've either got to deal with 'em now or deal with 'em later—and should you choose the latter option, you'll also have to provide a reasonable-sounding rationale for why you initially said what you said (which perhaps wasn't wholly accurate) in the first place. It's totally up to you which approach you want to take. Just don't fool yourself into thinking the need for inclusion of the other party's participation is optional. At the end of the day, it isn't.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): You don't have to do it all by yourself, Aquarius. Indeed, the stress of trying to accomplish what needs to get done—when you aren't completely sure which angle to approach it all from—could wreak havoc on your physical system, if you're not careful. If your declarations of confidence are something of a mismatch with your underlying emotional insecurity about the task at hand, seek the loving support and literal sleeves-rolled-up help of your other half or a close ally. The warm partnership that comes easily with Venus in your 7th ought not be squandered, due to distractions from the protracted Mercury-Mars square that's causing you to try integrating two parts of yourself that aren't working together so well. But Venus won't make you embrace the interpersonal support you've got. She merely greases the wheels of relationship, increasing the odds that the other person will gladly lend a hand… and that the collaboration will be an enjoyable exchange for both of you. Why ignore the low-hanging fruit of shared experience, just so you can climb the treacherous scaffolding as a lone hero to grab the highest apple on the branch… only because you don't want to swallow your pride after having said you could do it 'just fine, thanks'?


PISCES (February 19-March 20): What would be the possible reasons why you aren't permitting yourself a full conscious grip on certain risks to your maintaining a psychological even-keeledness? I don't think we have to look very deep, Pisces, to come up with a few good explanations. The first and likeliest one is also the most obvious: Why spoil the fun? I'm not telling you anything new when I report that the ample opportunities presently in front of you, to explore and experiment with whatever draws your attention with promises of 'good times galore', may seem too tempting to resist. And who says you ought to? Too much cool-headed consideration of the pluses and minuses already starts to siphon away the glee of impulsivity… before you even had a chance to get your feet wet. Another dimension to it: The roller-coaster is more of a draw than the merry-go-round. Sure, it might make you a bit nauseous (especially if you've been pigging out on corn dogs and cotton candy, without regard for your stomach's physical limitations), but it's sure never boring. Never underestimate the allure of a bit of high drama. And one other fact I've just got to toss in there: The fun is due to run its course a lot sooner than the full story of everything else that's really going on will be wrapped up in a neat package. If you don't mind the fact of traces and intimations of uncomfortable realities bleeding into what's superficially purported to be 'no worries, no strings attached' (as if), then by all means, enjoy yourself. The complications will still be there later.