Horoscopes | Week of October 3-9, 2011

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Even-headed negotiation, with moderate amounts of give and take, is the obvious path to mutual satisfaction. I am indeed stating the obvious here, Aries, but the planets (namely, Mercury and Saturn) are telling me to firmly emphasize this point for your present edification. There is little to be gained from slamming your offer on the table with a bold 'take it or leave it!' ultimatum (other than perhaps a new adversary). I readily admit there are times when such radical moves serve you, but this is not one of them. The outcome will be what it is, with no amount of arm-twisting or other hard-sell tactics likely to change it at this juncture. You ought to instead concentrate on the 'dance' of showing exceeding amounts of dignified, respectful treatment of the person(s) behind the dealing… without, of course, selling yourself short. Even if you can't work out a conclusive win-win, you can still agree to disagree, which is a hell of a lot more agreeable to all parties than refusing to accept the disagreement.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The overhead-cloud thought of 'getting it all done' can cast a long discouraging shadow over your attempts to get any of it done, especially if you're answering every request with a kind 'yes' while secretly stressing over the possibility of falling short. Get real about your day-to-day capabilities, Taurus. Frame exactly which tasks are most important for your sense of accomplishing your goals—which may not be the same ones you promised other folks you'd attend to pronto—and map them into well-defined slots on your week's calendar. Then, deal directly with any interpersonal updates required for correcting any missteps in expectation-setting caused by your prior overpromising. You need to do this, both to give anyone who's counting on you (but maybe not as desperately as you imagine) ample chance to make alternate plans and to get yourself off the hook, freeing up your consciousness for actual productiveness toward the highest-priority items. It's not irresponsible to accept responsibility for your very human condition.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Some long-put-off duties and/or increasingly imperative work are soon coming due, Gemini. The deadline for dealing is not, however, this week nor next. Yet, awareness of the approaching escalation in responsibility level will help you prepare, both because you can begin mentally ramping up for it and to make sure you get the most gratifying bang out of your week ahead. By knowing that certain moments of your (relative) leisure are becoming more limited, you'll hopefully put a bit more mindfulness into how you're spending them, so your pleasures are as genuinely pleasurable as they can be. Sometimes, we mistakenly use our 'off-time' (meaning: time when we aren't expected to be 'on' for professional or public-face purposes) to merely waste time… only afterward realizing we have nothing to show for it other than a slate of missing hours. I want you to make something of your week—something that may only be for your enjoyment, but which you've really wanted to do for some time now.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): The recent 'underground' quality to your days—whether you've actually been able to seclude yourself inside the house, or if you've still had to 'put in face time' while your mind was elsewhere—will slowly shift into a more voluntary and enjoyable 'out-and-about' mood over the coming few weeks, Cancer. In preparation for this, I encourage you to explicitly pay homage to yourself for any moves you recently made toward consciously tending to your feelings… even if it meant denying others the 'care' they've come to expect from you, or engaging in behaviors that 'made no sense' other than you wanted to. It remains an ongoing challenge for you to cherish self-nurture with the same high level of import that you value your nurturing acts toward others, though your well runs dry if you don't. If indeed you have improved in this area (hopefully in ways that were noticeable over the past few weeks), pat yourself on the back. Be grateful for the lesson. And if there's still another obvious example where you could do better in an immediate sense, commit to doing so right now.


LEO (July 23-August 22): If you've been biding your time, in wait for a good moment to concisely (note italicized emphasis) express that you really do understand where a certain someone is coming from, a Mercury-Saturn conjunction in your 3rd—which is a defining aspect of your week ahead—is pretty apt for moving forward. The 'concise' part is so important, Leo, because the lengthier your empathetic statement becomes, the likelier that it's veering away from the show of support you're intending to make… and the fuller of you and your concerns it will be. Furthermore, once you've said your concise piece, you'll want to give the other person a chance to take the conversation further (or not). They may feel it's time to tell you more, now that you've proven to have understood the significance of their prior disclosures. Or they may need to correct you, if your understanding seems to them to be partial or otherwise faulty. What's so great about having this discussion under Mercury-Saturn, of course, is that you're likely to find out how 'right' or 'wrong' you were… if, that is, you're interested.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): False modesty (or its evil twin, relentless self-criticism) is an incredibly inefficient use of your time… and, as long as capitalism keeps beating its slightly-dented drum, time still equals money, doesn't it, Virgo? Each of us is better at some things, and not as good at others. You shouldn't be squandering your many-splendored dexterity on deeds best left to those for whom they come more naturally, as if you're scoring big karma points for the torture (hint: you're not). But likewise, neither should you sit politely back while those around you struggle with mastering a skill or deploying a trait that you are well adept at using… particularly if your productivity or economic fate is relying on how it goes. And if you find yourself in an interview situation where you're asked about your qualities and qualifications, please do not downplay parts of you that someone else who knows you would probably rave about. The bucks and other earthly rewards will go to the one who's willing to say he or she deserves it.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Utter it in too soft or accommodating a tone, Libra, and they're liable to underrate the importance of what you're telling them or read into it whatever slant they find most reassuring. But say it too harshly or haughtily, on the other hand, and they'll be more focused on your rudeness or righteous inflexibility… and potentially react with less amenability than you'd have hoped. The 'middle way' here, Libra, is a relatively narrow path. To stay on the trail (as the proverbial park-ranger's signs strongly advise), you mustn't worry too greatly about the other person's reception (beyond baseline courtesy, of course). You shouldn't play to your imagined notions of how they might respond, neither sugarcoating the sentiment in fear they won't like its unfiltered reality, nor sharpening its edges too distinctly to protect against them 'wearing you down'. Confidence in your ability to know what's true for you, and to hold unflappably to its most cogent kernels when exposed to potentially seductive arguments, is the gift-of-a-challenge that Saturn keeps on giving.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): To put it bluntly, your mind may well be playing tricks on you, Scorpio… and you should consider it as a test of whether your critical-thinking skills are developed enough to enforce the warranted impulse control. If only you can hold back the urge to proceed on suspicion or unverified hunch (since one of the biggest pitfalls of your investigative nature is your capacity to sniff out still-unformed feelings in other people, which they might not even be aware of and/or which might never manifest into full being without your probing attention), you could save yourself an incredible hassle. By the very end of the week, Venus lands in your sign (on Sun Oct 9), followed shortly thereafter by Mercury (Thu Oct 13), a duo of astro-movements that positions you in a much more optimal spot than you currently find yourself. A week or so from now, in fact, the situation will likely change sufficiently enough that whatever your inner devil is presently goading you to stir up won't seem so tempting, or even worth the effort.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): By telling yourself the truth (and do we expect any less from the zodiac's most committed truth-teller?), you won't be able to avoid the glaring obviousness of where your ideas diverge from a certain party-line… or where they may, in fact, align with those of people you wouldn't have expected to agree with (and/or don't necessarily like). For your highest understanding, Sagittarius, let the truth speak for itself: Firm beliefs can spawn strange bedfellows indeed. And 'getting along' doesn't always mean 'being on the same page'. Now, in reporting this truth to others, you're charged with a different responsibility—to speak up only if the omission in question would drag you out of integrity, and to keep it zipped when the divergence is relatively irrelevant to the collective attainment of a common goal. In other words, (1) natural affinity or friendship is not always the same as (2) like-mindedness or shared commitment. It's your job to discern which is at play in a given social context, and to respect its purpose accordingly.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Declare your ambitions, unambiguously… if not for all the world (or at least some of it) to hear, then for centering your own sense of overall intent on something. Making the declaration doesn't mean you have to know the detail in each requisite step, nor even that you won't change direction during the process of pursuit. It is no guarantee that you'll ever get there, or that you'll even mind if you don't. But, Capricorn, there is a danger in someone like you refusing to pick a guiding goal to organize your outer-world efforts around: You'll no doubt continue to assess your relative success (because isn't that what Capricorns do?), but with no identifiable progress-markers to refer to, leaving you likely to always feel as if you're 'falling short'. You need something to reach for, to strive toward, to challenge yourself on… simply to channel your enterprising nature into a worthy vessel (even if it's not The 'End All And Be All'), so it doesn't instead turn in on you and chew you right up.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Pledge yourself to the appropriate course-of-action necessary for living a meaningful, well-lived life, Aquarius. You don't have to complete all these existence-defining actions in one fail swoop, of course. In many cases, the only 'action' to immediately take is the decision-making. And naturally, the manifestation of a 'meaningful, well-lived life' is… well, a lifelong process. But you are at a crossroads of sorts, where the direction you choose to next follow can bring you closer to exemplifying your personal ethics—or further into 'settling' compromises that, over time, will devour your soul, one nibble at a time. It's time to finalize (or at least take decisive action toward beginning to finalize) looming questions about further educational possibilities, travel opportunities, or other major investments of future time, money and energy. Who do you want to become more of? What life-adventures will leave you proud of having dared to participate? Are you leaving these questions to chance, or will the answers emerge at least partly by your design?


PISCES (February 19-March 20): You're doing nobody any favors by resisting open, outward acknowledgement of the real-life ramifications of whatever complications you've courted. That is not, however, an indictment of you for having chosen to complicate things, Pisces. On the contrary: I wholeheartedly support any choice you make (got to use that free will like a muscle, or it'll atrophy), as long as you're going into it with your eyes wide open to the possible ripples of consequences that accompany whatever you choose. Remember this horoscope from a couple weeks back? That piece about 'perfect moments' and their impossibility remains terribly relevant. Everything's a trade-off: You receive this glimmering prize, but must sign away that other piece of pure freedom to get it. Your week encourages you to ensure you're explicitly aware of the specific trade-off involved in this latest episode… and not to shy away if explicit conversation about this trade-off is necessary to inform all parties of just what's being traded.