Sign Language

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

At 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the weather makes you crazy. The charcoal sky dumps chill rain over a perfectly good snowfall, converting those perfect, clean, beautiful expanses of pure white to foot-soaking gray slush piles for you to plod in. Frustrating, ain't it, especially since my weather metaphor refers to your inner world. Don't fret too much about the miserable state of your soul's streets, since there's nothing you can do about it until the sludge makes its languid way into the sewers. In the meantime, slip into some hip waders so you can do what you gotta do, slush or no.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Robin Hood, save us. Although no one expects you to actually steal from the rich to give to the poor, something akin to that feat is demanded of you this week, at least on an emotional level. Borrow from the well-adjusted (namely, you) to care for the spiritual orphans in your life. You can facilitate healing by eliminating distractions or obstacles to successful life strategies. It's a win-win situation. For having such a self-centered reputation, Aries, you sure feel good about helping other peopleand in so doing, you help yourself. I guarantee you that for every person you lend a hand to, your peace of mind will increase accordingly.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Mission accomplished. Only you didn't even know you were on a quest until it was over! Sometimes good things happen that way, like this week, when your best successes will occur almost totally by chance. If only all accidents were this happy. Don't kick yourself for not thinking of the brilliance you stumbled on. You manifested your serendipitous circumstance somehow, if only subconsciously, and you deserve it. Plenty of time to plot a host of genius coups later. For now, enjoy your unplanned triumphs. No one else need know they were mostly unintentional.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Before you embark on this whole trip about feeling persecuted, examine the circumstances surrounding your supposed discriminatory maltreatment. You may have reason to feel singled out, but the universe is not out to get you. During an extended visit at my friend's house, his puppy chewed both pairs of shoes I'd brought with me, leaving the dozens of other sneakers, boots, and slippers next to them ungnawed. I may have been the only one who suffered from his teething rituals, but I'm not feeling like Job. Nor should you. Accept that your solitary tribulations were unplanned and move on.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Second chances rock. I rarely count on doing things correctly or well the first time I attempt them. But I gladly and gleefully repeat the activity as many times as it takes, each time improving and expanding on the last version, until I've refined my method. However workable my approach is, it's also time-consuming and frustrating. That's why I envy you weeks like the next two, where not only is any ambition easily within your reach, but you can conceive of accomplishing it in a way I can hardly imagine: doing it once, without practice, and getting it exactly right.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Trust the universe, my beloved Lion. Before you pawn your precious heirloom jewelry to pay the rent or sell your tender ass on the street corner to keep the electricity on, take a deep breath. It's rough when things are this tight, especially for luxury-loving Leos. Don't panic or sink into doldrums of regret. You will be taken care of before you're forced to resort to extremes like those I mentioned. However, you might have to skimpfor a little whileon the lifestyle to which you've become accustomed. So what? Tighten your belt and console yourself that at least you're thinner and cooler (poverty builds character) than you were before.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Impatient skepticism will be your predominant feeling this week, as you're forced to endure annoyingly pointless events like canine birthday parties or globally organized protest marches. Futile exercises like these don't accomplish anything besides wasting timesomething you chronically have too little of. However, I suggest you endure them with good grace, saintly patience, and a smile. Since they're unavoidable (especially because shirking them would lead to more tedious or awful scenarios down the line), you might as well make the best of them. And who knows? They might do somebody, somewhere, some good.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

It's your party, and you'll cry if you want to. Fine. But that's been your attitude about a lot of things lately, and some of us are a little tired of it. Your adamant determination to feel bad about things that aren't, in the grand scheme of things, all that bad is confounding. I yield the point that you've had to deal with some shit lately, and you have every right to grouse about it. But keep in mind this one fact: The lousy times will continue as long as you whine about themand only that long. So quit your bitchin', already.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Few take life more seriously than Scorps. That's why it seems odd that so many of you are so funny. You seemingly effortlessly elicit more smiles than whole hordes of clowning Geminis. I believe it's because you've tapped into one of the essential truths of existenceif you can't laugh at futility and unknowability and, ultimately, tragedy, you might as well die now. Humor is the only antidote to the poisonous misery that life periodically throws at you. Scorpions know venom; that's why you make such amazing healers. Work your magic on the people around youthey need it more than usual right now. Make them laugh, cry, and laugh some more.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The phrase "too much freedom" does not compute in your world. Unfortunately, you're in the minority. Many people fear the great responsibility that comes with space and choice, and the self-motivation requiredmost people just don't know what to do with themselves most of the time. It's a failure of courage and imagination that I hope you'll never be guilty of. However, don't be too disparaging when people fall short of your standard. Hope for the willingness to embrace absolute liberty, but don't be too harsh when they hold out their wrists to be shackled. Excite and instigate, don't judge and condemn. Your role as arbiter: tired. Your role as catalyst: inspired.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Cappies are hardly the most innocent sign of the zodiac. But you're so closemouthed about your exploits that sometimes you come off that way. The truthas you and I know wellis that there's almost nothing you won't try, given the right circumstances and a certain amount of discretion. Often, the most important factor determining whether you're up for something is "who will find out." I urge you to discard that inhibition, at least temporarily, because it's very important that you explore some interesting and slightly controversial stuff in a setting where people will certainly notice. Instead of worrying about who will find out and letting that thwart you from what you really want to do, assume everyone will find out, and . . . "So what?"

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Walls can be built many different ways. You can stack stones, mortar bricks, or pour concrete. They each have advantages and disadvantages: Some are cheaper or faster; others are more durable but more painstaking to construct or too expensive. This week, although you feel compelled to erect an internal barrier against theoretical dangers, I suggest using the cheapest, fastest, most slapdash method you can conceive of. I predict that in a couple weeks you won't feel so threatened by those perceived perils. Spend less time now, so you can spend less time later demolishing the suddenly useless blockade. If it needs emotional dynamite to come down, it's too sturdy. If it'll blow down under a strong sneeze, it's just about right.

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