Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Even knowing what you know about the self- fulfilling nature of your self-perceptions, it's hard to constantly believe in your own fabulousness.

Although your ultimate goal should be absolute ego-freedom from others' opinions, it's OK to accept an outside boost every now and then to help you get back on track. Luckily, this week you have several admirers who've taken special notice of what you've done lately, and how well. Let one or two buy you dinner, but remember: These people are more than just founts of compliments. Anyone who's willing to selflessly believe in and support your magnificence must be pretty great. While you're graciously accepting their praise, make sure they know you know they're hot shit, too.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

If anyone is used to sharing, it's you. You even have to share your ruling planet, Mercury, with those unruly Geminis. But just because you're good at it doesn't mean you should have to do it all the time. Be selfish this week, Virgo. Hoard your goodies, for just a little while. It's sweet to be openhanded, but you've been maxing out on the self-sacrifice. It's time to be generous to yourself. If you don't want to end up getting nailed to a cross somewhere, follow my advice: Don't revert to your old, munificent habits until you've had at least seven days in a row during which you've spent more time, money, and energy on yourself than on everyone else combined.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Like those Virgos, you're good at sharing. Unlike them, you don't get sick of it quite as easilyin fact, you're far more likely to be guilty of over-sharing than any other sign. Hey, that's no bad thing, even though some of the more judgmental signs might sometimes think so. So what? Screw them. Obviously, you're not meant to end up with one of those people. Go ahead and tell everyone you meet everything about you, from old band-camp stories to what you ate for breakfast. You'll know who your real friends are: those people who are genuinely interested.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

I have felt more of a kinship with you Scorpios this past year than with my own sign. I've watched my personal obsessions with sex and death wax and overflow in ways I'd only previously observed in members of your dark crew. I'm not alone, either; many people are identifying with you lately. More people actually get what you're about than ever before. This is bad and good. Bad because you may have to give up the I'm-a-Deep-Loner-Who-No-One-Understands routine that you love so much. But good because your family of kindred spirits has nearly doubled. Here's another good thing: Kindred spirits make great sex partners.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This is as good as it's going to get for a while. I'm not saying start settling for second best. It's just that some times are better than others for making quick progress or improving your lot in life. This week you're likely to encounter incredible resistance when you try to move up in the world. Don't give up entirely. Just cool it for a week or so. Bide your time. Instead of trying to force your way through, wait for the opening that's bound to comeif not next week, then certainly the week

after. If you're not exhausted from fruitlessly trying to forge ahead, then you'll be able to rocket upward with three weeks of pent-up force.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Do it right the first time. That's the gist of the advice doled out by my favorite author, Neal Stephenson. He says it applies whether you're writing fiction or computer code; it's always harder to go back and try to debug faulty code or fix bad writing. This advice is relevant to you, and specifically to the project you've just begun. Since you could do a slapdash, quickie job right now, then spend a period eight times as long fixing it, or you could take merely twice as long as the quickie version to nail your task perfectly (and never worry about it again), I recommend you choose the latter option.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Aquarians make great friends. It's not that you're especially gifted with sensitivity or thoughtfulness in fact, you're often incredibly self-centered (don't sweat it, most fascinating people are). It's that when a friend asks you to do something, you always, always do it, whether it's helping them move, picking them up from the airport, or just listening to them vent. It's really greatfor those who know the secret: asking. That's the key that's been missing from the friendship lexicons of some of your newest pals. Please fill them in, by telling them, "If you ever need something, just ask for it, and it's yours."

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

You can stop trying to figure out who's going to end up with who on Sex and the City now. I already know: Miranda will land Steve; Samantha, Jerry; Carrie and Charlotte will end the series alone. Hey, hey, before you get in an uproar about me ruining your favorite show, stop and realize: I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I made up that shit just like someone else in your life will make up shit to fuck with your head this week. Now that you know how it is, don't let them get you in a tizzy with their totally fake information, OK?

Aries (March 21-April 19)

You're so good at saying just the wrong thing at the worst time, consequently totally aggravating a situation that, say, a politically minded Aquarius could have defused with a kind word and a joke. Another astrologer might throw up his hands and say there's just no hope for you, but not I. At the same time, I'm aware that I can't increase your diplomacy in one measly paragraph. You do have one recourse, however: Parlay your tactlessness into an advantage. Every weakness can be played as a strength. For instance, those who know you're incapable of subtle manipulations might trust (and adore) you all the more, knowing you'll never screw them around.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

You're shedding worse than a golden retriever in high summer. The detritus you've been casting off has gathered in corners, piled in tall, flaky drifts against the walls, and populated the dust bunny homesteads beneath your bed. Discarded relationships and attitudes, forgotten friendships, unhealthy habitsall lie pell-mell around your apartment, office, and gym. You've forgotten what color the floor was under all that mess. I know you're exhausted from your efforts. But you're not done; those bad habits and failed philosophies still litter your existence, even if they're not actively in use. That's like kicking heroin but leaving needles and paraphernalia everywhere. Get that shit out of your house already, before you're buried in it.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You're not used to being resented. You're generally so laid-back, easygoing, and friendly that when peopledespite your mellow attitudetake offense, it catches you off guard. Unfortunately, people are likely to take most of what you say in exactly the wrong way this week. That's the shitty news, that you'll have to deal with a lot of undeserved shade and pissiness. The good news, however, is that all the slights and social punishments you're subjected to are likely to have unexpected beneficial falloutmore reward than you'd ever have gotten if all had gone according to plan.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

The best thing I can say is at least you won't be alone for a while. The company you're keeping may not currently fulfill you in every way, but you're not lonely. After spending many a lonely hour this past year, that, at least, should be welcome news. OK, it's hardly a best-case scenario. But it's not like you're trapped; you can easily extricate yourself, whenever you like. Meanwhile, there are plenty of great things going on, and with a little work, maybe there'll be a few more. Stick it out for a while, without making any insane commitments. See what happens. Maybe your current thing will bloom into prince(ss) charming. If not, you can always run off with him or her when he/she finally shows up.


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