Horoscopes | Week of March 26-April 1, 2012

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The road to the top is not a straight-shot… a fact which can be a perpetually flummoxing buzzkill to such a straight-shooter like you, Aries. It is neither a foot-sprint where sheer speed will be enough to qualify you as a sure winner, nor a thrill-ride where just mustering the necessary moxie to take the plunge is enough to nail down the victory. While both of those qualities are essential elements for getting you to the finish-line, this feat also demands strategy. All along the way, not unlike a reality-TV-show relay-race competition comprised of a string of different types of challenges, there will be pit-stops and checkpoints at which you're asked to solve a riddle, complete a puzzle, or negotiate yourself past scary-looking monsters who seek to intimidate you into retreat. On this last point, please note I didn't say anything about stabbing these 'monsters' in the chest, shooting at 'em from a safe distance, or trying to sneak through the bushes around 'em. I said negotiate yourself beyond their guard… which means approaching them, face to face, and shrewdly convincing them you ought to be granted free passage forward, pandering to whatever drives in them have led them to this place where they are fiercely guarding something. Now, in the end, you might be forced to resort to some version of the 'kill-or-be-killed' survival mechanism—a last-ditch tactic that, sadly, comes along with a certain karmic shadow that'll follow after you. But the cleaner, and thus far more preferable, strategy involves playing to their psychology… and letting them think they sent you on ahead with their blessing.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A reappearance of certain ethical concerns is beckoning you back from the frontiers of consciousness, where I essentially encouraged you to wander about in last week's horoscope… but whether the content of this call is one which ought to be considered as seriously as it would have you believe, or whether it's a zombie-like apparition of some former guiding-principle that no longer serves your growing interests, remains to be seen. You are presently caught, Taurus, between (1) taking magnificent, life-expanding advantage of this still-fledgling freedom you've recently claimed for yourself and (2) bowing to firm strictures that were instilled in you long ago, clearly stipulating specific behaviors are allowed and disallowed, which are threatened by the encroachment of these new desires of yours that fall either in the grey area or decidedly within the long-standing 'disallowed' category. In other words, what you have been taught and/or strongly believed in the past may, or may not, be getting in the way of your evolution. And pretending this moral dilemma doesn't exist will not make it go away. Instead, you must approach the familiar belief as a debater might: testing its soundness, listening for cracks and internal contradictions, posing tricky questions that reveal its shakier links in logic, and arguing with whichever of its facets seems to prohibit your growth in that frontiersy direction. Only after participating in this debate to its rational conclusion can you know for sure whether this certain tenet of your philosophical worldview need be overthrown, in order for your evolutionary freedom to triumph.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): What if I told you that everybody's favorite planetary lady Venus was hitting your sign early next week, Gemini… and, instead of her usual 3-4 week visit, she'd be taking up a benefic residence in twin-land for a full four months? Would that provide enough of an incentivizing momentum to counteract any tendencies to fall back into the wholly-absorbing dark-cloud complexities that have cast long shadows over your existence this past couple years? Damn, I hope so. You are on the cusp of a more upbeat, attention-grabbing, attractiveness-bestowing interval than you've experienced in quite some time… which is likely to include the appearance and/or reappearance of new pals and/or old friends, new flings and/or old flames, new opportunities and/or old stand-bys, and the proliferation of 'and/or's in this sentence is an intentional representation of the multitude of possibilities from which you'll be able to choose. By, say, the end of June, you may indeed be delightfully (though perhaps also nervously) overwhelmed by trying to discern the lasting from the passing—if, that is, you have decided to move on from where you've long been, and to embrace this outward expanse of unbounded potential—having gone from 'too little' to 'too much' in a few short months. Or you could stay (for whatever underlying psychological reason) totally entangled in the familiar knots, as the possibilities come and go.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Keep a philosophic mindset about any pushback you receive from a certain individual reacting to you diverting your attention away from them. The minute you table your own ambitions, in order to cater to their needy actings-out, you will have lost the power struggle. And while I'm sure your preference, Cancer, would be for no 'power struggle' to exist at all, that seems a bit wishfully oblivious to what's actually going on in this relationship. If they (consciously or not) believe they should be able to call on you at their whim and on their time-schedule—at the potential sacrifice of you focusing on your life-calling, and the efforts it requires you to take—then they are definitely trying to exercise power over you. (Again, this may not be conscious on their part. But a bitchily unsupportive remark or a sad-sap pity-party performance is still a power-move, no matter its indirectness.) If any such struggle is in the air between you and someone else, you must acknowledge your role in it: Either you play right into the drama (which is pretty disempowering as long as you'd rather not be), or you choose not to (because you'd like to continue working on what furthers your life-course agenda). Notice that your triumph in this 'power struggle' comes from assuming your own power to concentrate your energies where you want… and not from overpowering anybody else.


LEO (July 23-August 22): Icarus, that venturesome chap with the waxen wings, flew too close to the sun… and plunged to his death as a result. But before we unpack the metaphor for whatever personal warning it may contain for you, Leo, I'd first like to praise young Icarus for both his admirable bravery and his impeccable vision of life beyond the claustrophobically familiar prison-walls. His motivation—to see more of the world, rather than be contained within an incessant Groundhog-Day reiteration of one certain kind of life—was pure and decent. It was only his careless overenthusiasm that got him into trouble. He knew there were rules to be followed if he wanted to make it to his next destination intact. Any physical object or entity possesses certain distinct properties, along with built-in limits to its efficacy. As long as those properties are taken into account, and their limits respected, it will continue to function as we'd expect it to. However, once the line of efficacious functionality has been transgressed, all bets are off. The results become shoddy and unreliable. Dangerous, even. The purest and most decent of intentions ends up on a collision-course with the bounds of physical reality. You, therefore, must not avoid engaging with the mandatory requirements of balancing vision with physical reality, whether we're talking about your job responsibilities or your household-management duties or your bodily health needs. We don't want to see what'll happen if your wings start to melt.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): It does not behoove you, Virgo, to 'let it go' if you're still in fact holding onto it, or to 'not make a big deal about it' if it actually is a big deal to you. While I'm not advocating you create a mammoth mountain out of a legitimately modest molehill, I do believe you should see any issues about which you hold a pretty strong feeling all the way through… so, regardless of which direction the final decision or resolution goes, nobody (least of all yourself) could accuse you of not making your feelings clearly known. And in case my phrasing has falsely led you to think this advice only applies in potentially contentious situations, let me clarify: It also behooves you to express your preferences and desires, with an unashamed forwardness, elucidating to those who may hold the power to satisfy them that, yes, you are indeed very interested in that certain thing you are indicating a preference or desire for. While 'brash' is rarely a trait embraced by the typical Virgo, I urge you not to unfairly judge such blatantly suggestive behavior as somehow unseemly… but rather to claim it from the other interpretive angle, as a display of the sort of passion that invests life with that extra devotional oomph. Why simply 'like' Thai food, for instance, when you could absolutely adore it with every ounce of your being? Why merely 'dislike' prejudice if it actually makes your blood boil with fury at those who perpetuate it? And why just 'agree to disagree' if you have plenty more to say on the matter? Take a stand, damn it.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Consider your inability to shake off the somber-ish pitch to your attitude an opportunity to deepen your relationship with those who sincerely inquire into how you're feeling. This would not be the first time we've covered the topic, Libra, of your answering something other than the blandly nondescript (though always perfectly appropriate) 'fine' to such inquiries… both as a practice of being consistently authentic about your current state, regardless of whether it might make another person momentarily uncomfortable, and as an interpersonal offering of more of yourself to others. This week, presenting such forthright confessional glances into your psyche via intimate one-on-one conversation also promises an additional benefit: A key source of what's stressing you out may be more logistical in nature than your panicky inner dialogue is allowing you to recognize, and exposing this vexing concern to an outside party could lead to rather helpful, simplifying suggestions for quickly resolving the worry. What's an unmanageable anxiety-provoking burden of epic proportions to one person is just another day on the job to somebody else. Each of us has facets of life that come easily to us, and facets that repeatedly dog us worse than we perhaps feel they should. Don't sacrifice assistance from someone for whom this sort of thing's a piece of cake—and unnecessarily prolong your own headache—merely to maintain a certain appearance.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): The words are dense, with power. They are not merely about what their dictionary definitions denote, but hold a surprising amount of unfinished psychological business that even their speaker may be largely unaware of. Therefore, do not take them merely at face value—though that is not to imply anybody is necessarily being deceptive or insincere, if they aren't wholly conscious their longings or discontentments or fears are saturating their supposedly simple statements or requests. Do not neglect to pause, in your rush to get something moving quickly ahead, to consider why this person said it quite the way they did… and what else they may be conveying, something you'll miss if you don't stay in tune. And do not neglect to acknowledge the dense power of your own words, Scorpio, to inadvertently wound or devalue, should your temper be set off by not immediately finding what you'd expected to find… or, on the contrary, to lift somebody up, by investing them with the earnest esteem all our human interactions deserve, no matter how perfunctory the topic or busy our schedule. (P.S. All of this is also relevant with respect to last week's shitstorm of a horoscope, which stirred a lot of Scorpios to write to me, and not all with kindness. Next time, before you assume it's 'all about me' just because I liberally use the first-person, maybe you should read more critically and imaginatively. Just sayin'.)


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): This is the beginning of the end of my riddling your every horoscope with constant mention of work. All work and no play does make for an uncharacteristically dull Sagittarian, does it not? Starting next week, with the movement of Venus into your 7th house, you'll be gradually ushering in a new preoccupation: pampering yourself with the pleasures you take in the company of a certain someone (or someones). That's right, Sagittarius, your relationship zone is due to receive quite a bit of benefic astrological action… an influence with potentially positive effects in all areas where one-on-one interpersonal exchange is a factor, certainly including, but not limited to, your romantic life. The coming few months, in fact, will bring you a multiplicity of chances to explore different aspects of your existing relationships than you're accustomed to seeing, as well a multitude of options for new friends, flings, collaborators and co-conspirators. Some of these alternatives to your habitual norm, of course, are not destined to pan out on a long-term basis—though some others may well be—but any clingy concerns about theoretical futures ought not to hover over this hotbed of interpersonal commingling. Think of it all as a series of curiosity-quenching experiments. (Perhaps carry along a lab notebook, so you can scribble down your observations for later analysis.) Of course, you haven't quite shed the slate of demanding responsibilities quite yet. As I said, this shift is somewhat gradual… although, as soon as the next couple weeks, you should already spot at least one quick-fire reassurance that what I'm telling you is true.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): I hope you've been using this prolonged Mars retrograde through your solar 9th (which has been in effect for more than two months now) to iron out any confusing wrinkles in whatever tenets underscore your purposeful thrusts forward, Capricorn. Pretty soon, you'll find yourself happily swamped with a million-and-one issues and items that require a few moments of your attention… a grab-bag of errands ranging from lightweight and relatively trivial to profoundly essential, which should guarantee that at least you won't be bored. (In fact, you Capricorns tend to thrive attitudinally when there's a lot to do. Even when you gripe about how much is expected of you, there's a sly smile of contentment lurking just beneath your serious expression.) But it will prove helpfully productive if you have internalized these bigger questions of what is and isn't directly relevant to your central purpose so that, in any given moment, you'll be able to quickly discern the relative priority of whichever task has abruptly presented itself. Much like the dexterous protagonist of an old-school Tetris-type video-game, I envision you rapidly and adeptly sorting the endless stream of to-dos into piles of 'urgent!', 'sometime this week', 'can wait a little while', and 'politely decline'… a brilliant feat that's only possible if you've put in the necessary forethought in advance of this coming speed-up. Thankfully, I also see you enjoying this sort of game-like quality to managing your efficiency. Hone your attentiveness now.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Much more fun is currently on its way toward you, Aquarius, if you'll allow it to just happen. But let's be clear that certain types of 'fun' are actually self-destruction disguised as 'a good time'… particularly when they are hooked into any rebellious urges to escape the reality of your life (as if it's really all that bad that it necessitates an 'escape'), so that you may flirt with transcendent deliveries for those fleeting hours but then, due to their being defined in contrast to 'reality', be forced to suffer the shameful come-down and thus be drawn to repeating the cycle one more time. The antidote is a purposeful walking-away from the expectant paranoia that your future will become a disaster, despite many indications to the contrary, once the shoes start dropping from the sky and kicking the shit out of you. For right this very moment (and so many moments just like this one), everything is wonderful. The type of fun I'd like to see you having, in extra doses over the coming months, is predicated on enjoying whatever's happening as it's happening… instead of, say, trying to engineer some wonderful plan by hijacking the current experience with unreasonable imaginings of 'the perfect fun', then being let down, then needing to rescue yourself from the depths of disappointment, then riding an artificial high, then crashing again. Trying to do too much to ensure something is enjoyable reflects a desperate distrust in life's always-already-enjoyable magic. Calm down, and appreciate what's right here right now.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Things are always changing all the time… including, often, our own minds, which may have only been privy to some of the pertinent information at the initial moment they formed a certain decision but which, once exposed to more information, see the situation quite differently. In fact, Pisces, since late February, much has likely changed in your understanding of what'll best suit your interests—and therefore, you should feel perfectly free (and astrologically supported) to make a sudden about-face in what you'd thought you were so sure about as recently as a few weeks ago. Or perhaps, just as likely, you merely need to reconfirm your decision by talking out the doubts that've suddenly cropped up, with whomever you consider to be your more grounded pals (those who will help you step back and analyze the data). The biggest red-flag to look out for? Whether any of your thinking has been too unduly impacted by some version of peer pressure, as if you're afraid to endorse the right behavior for yourself because you'll probably face disapproval from certain friends or colleagues threatened by your divergence from the groupthink. There's no getting around the growing tension between (1) self-confidently exploiting your economically-advantageous independent streak and (2) continuing to occupy a comfortably non-obtrusive role in the collective. You've got to confront it head-on, at one point or another.