Horoscopes | Week of September 7-13, 2009

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Mercury's newly-retrograde status in your relationship house (the 7th) makes me envision you as an adolescent of the late-'60s, trying to play your Beatles LPs backwards on your record player to try and decipher any backmasked messages (of pop-star-death coverups? Satanic prayers? production gimmicks?) hidden in the music. It was this thread of potential interpersonal re-readings, misreadings and misappropriations I impishly wrote about in last week's horoscope… with the intention of cluing you in to the likelihood that you (1) weren't quite hearing what certain close allies were trying to tell you and/or (2) were projecting your own internal dialogue outward onto their words, mangling them beyond recognition of their original state. As you now go to play the tracks back again, in retrograde reverse-motion mode, don't become too obsessed with identifying traces of what might have been implied—and end up 'recovering' significance that was never there in the first place. As I hopefully conveyed last week, it is okay to ask them to run the whole conversation past you again… and again and again, if need be. You're likelier to stay on the right track if you attempt to untangle confused meanings in dialogue with them, Aries, as opposed to in your own head, where the other strains of inner chatter will indiscriminately interpenetrate and leave you unfairly attributing your personal anxieties to someone else's attitudes.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): No, it's certainly not too late to pull the plug, rearrange the lineup or approach the task for an altogether different angle. In fact, isn't that Mercury-retrograde's job… to buy us a few additional moments (or weeks) to make sure we've got it how we want it before the final version goes to print or the opening-night curtain slides open? If you're going to take a firm stance on anything, Taurus, let it be an unapologetic statement on seeing the process all the way through to the best result, no matter the delays… as opposed to refusing to review what's already been done, with a defiantly stubborn foot planted unswervingly in one place, because you (arbitrarily) feel that 'what's done is done' and ought to be left as is. A lot can happen in a few weeks' time, you know—and because a lot a lot seems to be happening lately, you just might find that, by the end of Mercury's retrograde (Sep 29), you'll be really glad you didn't rush into irreversible decisions. Be confident in your willingness to adapt, rather than fearing your soft-footed receptivity and responsiveness are somehow signs of weakness. If you feel good about temporarily leaving it up-in-the-air, you'll be able to sell the other important parties on that good idea with little trouble. (They may be secretly relieved you've slowed down this speeding train.)


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): There's always a lighter, brighter side. Who knows that better than you, Gemini, the two-mints-in-one twinsoul who always has another cheek to turn, should one become too overwhelmed in cover by dark clouds? The advice I feel compelled to offer you this week is to keep it light… taking great comfort in the cosmos's kooky sense of humor, the ironic twists with which its epic stories saddle us, and the way in which we're endlessly tempted to overreact to situations out of our control with far too much seriousness when what we really ought to do is laugh at ourselves. Now, don't jump to the conclusion this horoscope is implying you're due for a turn of misfortune that'll require you to dig deep for that 'laugh it off' light-heartedness. The current astro-forecast is less about startling new developments… and more about the unceremonious return of unfinished business which you could've sworn had been put to bed for an eternal slumber quite a while ago. But lo and behold, Mercury stations retrograde and Pluto stations direct and you notice that, despite your best efforts to snip cords and trim dangling ends, one particularly pesky tie to the past unfortunately remains. Think of it as a reminder never to forget where you came from, as well as an invitation to rewrite history from a more mature—and forgiving, though never forgetting—perspective. Of course, don't get me wrong: If you meant to cut the ties but discovered that one still exists, you should probably plan on cutting that one, too. With the additional insight, however, I'm sure you can take care of it with minimal muss and fuss. (No need to come screaming out of your garage with a chainsaw in hand.)


CANCER (June 21-July 22): A deeper awareness into the feelings you've been holding onto, especially with regards to a certain close relationship you have or want or miss, is just now at a dramatic moment of dawning. But you needn't be impelled into instant responsive action to its emergence, Cancer. Sit on it for a spell, as the picture comes further into view and the auto-focus feature kicks into doing its job. And if this dawning enlightenment is at least partly due to the other person's clarifying actions, give 'em more time to finish what they've started. You'll want to see how the story being told by their current behavior is due to unfold. The more information they flash you, the more fitting your reply will prove to be. If somebody's cornering you into giving something you're not quite ready to give, buy yourself a delay… and if that only drives 'em to become pushier, you've just been given another sign that they're in it for what they'll get out of you (rather than, say, because they care about your well-being). There is absolutely no good astrological reason why you'd have to give an answer, sign off on an agreement or express a still-tentative opinion now. If anything, it seems like another good fact-finding conversation (or three) will soon be in order. Be very suspicious of others' impatient streaks.


LEO (July 23-August 22): I want you to read this week's Aquarius horoscope, Leo… not so you can keep up with what your Aquarian friends may be going through, but because it has interesting relevance for your week ahead, too. What I was mainly describing in the Aquarius 'scope was the opposition between Venus and the triple Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction, which obviously affects all of us. Only for you Leos specifically, the dynamic I described is a reversal of the one for Aquarius, in that Venus is in your sign—and therefore, you (with the added influential zing of amped-up charisma and likability) are the one likelier to be, ahem, very eager for interpersonal exchanges to go how you want 'em to go. This astro-effect could have you unconsciously overpowering the dynamics in any one-on-one relationship situations, not because you don't value the other person's individuality but simply due to your apparent ability to put an immediate smile on their face… a seeming indication that they agree with you on certain matters of deeper import. That's not a safe assumption, alas, especially against the backdrop of this latest Mercury retrograde. Be careful not to bombard 'em with an excess of different conversational tactics and approaches, increasing the possibility they'll miss some shade of meaning and mistakenly signify assent (when really they're just confused, overwhelmed or tired of talking) to whatever's riding in the cracks of your words. Snagging 'em on a loophole doesn't make for a very promising future collaboration, after all.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): Over the past weeks in this horoscope column, I've been documenting the heightening of a tension between 'fulfilling your duty to get the job done' and 'prioritizing the drive to fully and sincerely express your individuality'. Ordinarily, Virgo, it's almost as if your very sense of self has been too closely associated with 'getting the job done'… being, as you are, the one who can always be counted on to put personal pleasure on hold in order to meet deadlines, hit benchmarks and root out errors. But now that it's growing increasingly clear that you care deeply not only about getting it done, but getting it done in a manner that is personally pleasing to you, you're hopefully beginning to see there's more to your story than merely worker-bee reliability. For your own development, it's crucial not to discount your self-satisfying stake in the matter. As such, then, it's not exactly fair or honest to continue down the road of advocating for what you want based on some dubious notion that your preference is the most 'logical' or 'reasonable' or 'appropriate' (though, according to some measures, it just might be). Instead, what you may find yourself saying, with the greatest sincerity—if not immediately, then over the forthcoming few weeks—is simply, 'This is how I want it to go.' Including desire in the equation, though it's an entirely irrational drive, is essential to your being most clear and forthright.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Don't be so sure. Mercury somersaulting to retrograde in your sign, Libra, is enough of an astro-event to signal changing minds, reconsidered alternatives and backpedal progressions. In fact, Mercury slides back into your solar 12th (from Sep 17 to Oct 9), which points at a possible need to return to some degree of mental retreat… perhaps to incubate the very decision you thought you'd already made. And even if you end up with the exact same choice, after another go-around of confronting lingering questions and fending off perceived threats, at least you will be damn sure of yourself. Meanwhile, head princess Venus opposes Jupiter, etc. from your 11th, giving you a further opportunity to surprise yourself with what you're capable of taking pleasure in… as long as you're unafraid to toss your cap into the collective pot and go along with the lively suggestion offered by your boldest pal(s). You may well fall into a gigglingly marvelous time before you've even had a chance to declare, 'That's not really my thing'—which just goes to show that you won't always know what's 'your thing' in advance of suddenly doing it and enjoying it. Dare you open up to the wider inspiration such experiences can provide, you might indeed allow yourself the possibility of not being so sure, in a good way, about all sorts of things your imagination was previously closed to entertaining.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): The logic behind your current thinking, upholding its seemingly irrational rationale, is a sealed deal between you and the cosmos… which means you can essentially forget about the rest of us understanding how its Point A and Point B somehow lead to conclusions that sound like they come from Planet X. Do I, therefore, believe your logic is wrong, Scorpio? I'm not so all-knowing or arrogant that I'd assume to have that answer. That answer, in fact, is almost beside the point. We need not possess a cogent, step-by-step mathematical proof in order to sense the fundamental truth in an otherwise cryptic formulation. This is not a high-school science class. (Hell, it's an astrology website. Where's the 'proof' in that?) What I want you to take away from this week's horoscope is the notion that there are still glaring blanks in the chain of concepts with which you might explain yourself… and that, over the coming few weeks, you'll want to fill these in, if you have any hope of getting anybody else to trust that you know what you're talking about. For the time being, from their perspective, you'll merely seem like you're overemphasizing the importance of certain details, making Matterhorns out of mudpiles, with no clear compelling reason why you're interpreting 'em the way you are. Before they finally grasp your drift, they first may think you're intensely exaggerating.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): There's both a warm breeze blowing tailwinds of optimism in the same direction you rightfully acknowledge promises 'greener pastures ahead'… and a chillier undertow pulling you downward into a whirling vacuum of not-easily-identified emotional residue seeking to keep you 'right here where you've always been'. I think of it almost like you've got one foot racing off into the future and the other stuck in quicksand from the past, Sagittarius. For the record (and in order to tell you what I think you'll want to hear), I see the future eventually winning this standoff—not only because you Sagittarians aren't exactly known for inertly wallowing in outdated circumstances, but due to Mars's eventual movement out of the soul-straining 8th and into your adventure-bestowing 9th (a good month-plus from now, that is). Maybe, though, there is some unfinished business that's causing part of your psyche to remain obviously-still-connected to circumstances that are on their way out. Maybe the 'unfinished business' requires nothing more than a bit more time to burn off the attachment. Don't rush the process. Come the second half of October, staying put will be the last thing on your heart-and-mind.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): When I say you can't get away with much of anything, I mean it in a positive fashion… as in, Somehow, the universe really does want to see you transform into your best self (and with self-imposed expectations like those you lay on yourself, we know that's got to be a pretty amazing self), which is why it won't let you skip steps or cut corners without dropping an immediate and obvious consequence to doing so squarely in your lap. Pluto's stationing stand-still in your sign provides just one more reminder, Capricorn, that, during these ever-toughening times, you are to serve as our evolving symbol of conscientious leadership by example. I dealt with this issue in last week's edition as well, urging you not to discount others' unavoidable involvements in what you're doing, since you're not likely to get away with omitting their feedback. This is the same tone I'm feeling for you this week… only with the added pressure of Mercury's retrograde in your 10th threatening to reveal any unflattering behavior on your part to all sorts of glaring eyes. Not only is it necessary to hold yourself to high standards in your methods (which are, at this time, even more important than outcomes), you also must remain aware of the public image your behaviors are spinning on your behalf. Not only must you try your best, you've also got to look like you're trying your best.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): The easy relationship-oriented agreeability indicated by Venus, still in your 7th, has the potential to go too far, now that she's moving into several days of opposition to Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in your 1st. By 'too far', I imagine you becoming so rapt in your connection with someone—at the same time you're consciously attempting to expand your possibilities, rather than limit yourself to the familiar safety of 'the way you've always thought about things'—you agree to go down a certain avenue of opinion or behavior that ultimately doesn't serve you. Now, Aquarius, this could be play out in as silly or trifling an example as a friend convincing you to buy a pair of jeans or get a new haircut which, in the end, just isn't your style. Or maybe you find a conversation veering into unfriendly gossip about a person you actually like, and your tacit participation leaves you feeling like you've done 'em wrong. The most damaging manifestations, however, would be to sign off (officially or by 'gentleman's agreement') on a premise or proposition that challenges your ideas of what's an ethically 'right' or 'wrong' method for attaining goals or fulfilling desires. And it's likely that, in the moment, your partner or friend won't fully grasp your apprehensions or take 'em seriously… instead railroading you (with a smile and a friendly shoulder grip) into coming along. Even if you think you told 'em no, they might not have heard it. In the weeks ahead, be prepared to rearticulate your concerns, more loudly and directly—and be prepared for them to act surprised, regardless of what you already said.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Should you throw your whole self into really getting down-and-dirty, hellbent on finally digging into the core of complexity that's got your life deeply intertwined into someone else's master narrative… before you know it, the week will have totally slipped between your fingers… and though your 'intensity sensors' will have received more than enough stimulus to satiate their hunger for interesting developments afoot, the rest of you might be shocked to discover you didn't get a damn thing accomplished. Yet, Pisces, if you choose not to fixate primarily on that one 'interest' and instead commit to enjoying the prolonged lack of resolution—all while channeling some of that zestful interestedness into that day's to-do list, an organizational project, a healthy workout, or a comprehensive soup-to-nuts getting-lots-of-shit-done—you'll have the added advantage of invisible hands of assistance ensuring your work carries itself out super-easily. Dare I presumptuously speak on its behalf, the Universe wants you to relish the unresolved tension (rather than push it to breaking point), allowing it to fuel a creative passion that'll benefit you in other arenas not directly related to the so-called main event. Intend to use it productively, and an extra synergy (from who knows where?) will mystically multiply your efforts.