September 39, 2003

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Turn up the volume. You're expressing your wants and needs explicitly and articulately, but you're not doing it loudly or aggressively enough. Communicating with perfect lucidity is useless if you're so quiet that the people who need to hear what you're saying simply can't. They're mostly so eager to please that they end up guessingand guessing wrong, which leads to all sorts of other wrinkles and annoyances. Avoid having to balance those good intentions against your disappointment: Grab a megaphone and start yelling. It might feel unnatural to hurl your wishes into the air with all the force your lungs can muster, but you'll get over it when each and every one comes true.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Take off your blinders. It's time to stop fooling yourself. You can't blame the deception you're suffering from on anybody else; you're not naive enough for anyone to pull wool this thick over your eyes. The only person who could maintain this unbelievable charade is you. The problem: a war between your gut and your desire. You want something to be true or real, while deep down you know it's not. It's hard to admit to yourself the truth of the situation, because it's anathema to you and your hopes (which are slightly unrealistic, but only for the moment). You'll never give yourself a chance to actually find a situation that fits your wishesuntil you see the current one for what it is and extricate yourself from it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

You need to be cuffed and spanked. Or maybe you need to cuff and spank someone else. The astrological omens aren't very clear about who deserves this punishment, which could be humiliating, sexy, hilariousor all of the abovefor everyone involved. Whether you're the distributor of discipline this week or the castigation catcher, I'm sure you'll have fun (and happily review a couple half-forgotten lessons). Just don't make a habit of this. As exciting and interesting as it can be to tear down useless walls (in your soul or somebody else's), it's more important that you save your strength and time for the impressive construction work of the coming months: structures dotting your shared inner landscape that are more massive and cooperative (and beautiful) than anything you've ever attempted before.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

My favorite architect and artist, Sagittarian Friedrich Hundertwasser, once said, "The straight line is godless and immoral; the uncritical use of straight lines has reduced our cities to concrete deserts." I urge you to consider this message in the coming weeks, when the straight line, although it may be the shortest distance between two places you want to be, is almost certainly the worst path you could take, killing a lot of the chaotic life flourishing in your mental terrain. Instead, when considering your destinations, please imagine the most complicated, spiritually nourishing route, with no regard for efficiencythat's the one you want to take to not only get where you're going but get there enriched, instead of sterilized.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

While I advised Scorpios to participate in some much-needed restraint and punishment, I have the opposite advice for my dear Goat friends: You've been too chained up and taking your normally motivational self-flagellation to unhealthy extremes. Ease up. Unlock at least half the encumbrances grounding/restraining you, and let a few things slide for a while. Pretend you're delicate and fragile, like a freshly cut flower. You need to be lovingly trimmed, nourished, and enjoyed, not worked out and worked over. You can go back to your robust high-speed, high-efficiency employment and amusement next week, when they won't leave you drooping and half-dead with wilt and exhaustion.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Your life is rife with deficiencies. I'm not talking about parts of your personality; we both know you're pretty much one of the most chill, well-adjusted people out there. I'm talking about what you're taking inand what you're not. There's a certain element, as essential as vitamin C, that's missing from your life. You know what I'm talking about. You'd better find a way to supplement your spiritual diet with some form of what's absent, or you may come down with a bad case of soul scurvy. Hint: You already know a perfect (and willing) source of your malnourishment's remedy. It's only a phone call or e-mail away.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Don't disempower yourself. You've gotten a bit lax at keeping your most self-destructive urges in check. You shrug and say, "I'm a Pisces; we're prone to extremes," and don't question it any further. Then you just let yourself go there, when perhaps resisting or moderating those inclinations might be better. The next time you feel yourself sliding down that slippery slope, catch a toehold with the question: "Am I really going to learn something useful and new about myself? Or am I just wasting money, time, and well-being for some empty fun (that's probably not even that fun)?"

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This week I'd like you to concentrate on overcoming the misery of gadgetry. You're too much under the influence of some of the technology that surrounds you, and you end up feeling that you're its servant, not the other way around. Revolt against your cell phone, television, or Internet addiction. Reduce their behemoth proportions to more reasonable priority levels. Your first week off high-dosage tech might be rough, but by week three, you'll be happier and more engaged with the world than you have been in a year.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Your naturally iron stomach may protect you from mild food poisoning, but that's no reason to purposely ingest anything even slightly toxic. Sure, go ahead and exercise your digestive advantage if you have a good reason, such as: It'd be fun to go on a bender with your college buds, impress a chick with your pufferfish ingestion, or kill that parasite you picked up in Zimbabwe. But I'm guessing that none of the reasons you're given (or can think up) are even half as good as the ones I mentioned, so by all means, don't be stupid. If you see something (or someone) toxic, stay away.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You might as well throw in the towel this week, because all your ventures will probably fall flat. If you succeed right now, it'll most likely be by accident, not by trying as hard as you can. Don't abandon your loftiest ambitions, just put them on hold. They'll still be there in a week or two, when the inhibitive astrological influences don't have you pinned to a board. I'd rather you tackle them fresh then, rather than flailing ineffectually at them now, amidst mounting frustration. Instead of aiming high, concentrate on the little shit, enjoying life's daily pleasures: Take lots of showers, stay cool, eat delicious food, play with the dog. When it's fruitful to go back to conquering the world again, I'll let you know.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Hard and fast rules of morality won't serve you well. Sometimes, albeit rarely, violence, theft, or deceit is justified. I'm not presenting an ends vs. means argument; I'm just pointing out that occasionally one of those extremes represents the lesser of evils. I'm discouraging the infamous Cancer Cling on all fronts, but this week most of all I wish you'd resist rigidity regarding your principles. If you can't think outside the arbitrary ethical boxes you've drawn, you won't be able to deal when, like now, all your viable options lie outside of them.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Since you're not currently in their grips, this is a good week to take an objective, practical look at your fears. List them in order of potency, not conquerabilitythe latter is irrelevant just now, because there's no wall you can't topple. Then line them up and shoot them dead. Sadly, this week doesn't herald an end to all fears (like you yourself, some have more than nine lives and will return in new forms), but you should be able to utterly kill (and be rid of forever) at least two or three.

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