Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

My trackpad froze up. My poor aging iBook has had it, I thought. The cursor wouldn't move, and repeated restarts (my only available recourse) did nothing to correct it. When I finally brought the thing in to get it fixed, though, everything worked fine. As annoying (and relieving) as this tale was for me, it's perfectly in sync with your week. Call the doctor, repair person, or therapist, now. The problem you're having will clear up just as magically and mysteriously as it appeared, once you've taken real steps to deal with itbut not before.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

There were "Blackout of '03" T-shirts on sale before some people even had their power restored. Seriously. I saw them, and I thought of you and the way you've been hyping your experience before you've even had a chance to experience it. I know you're excited about your plans, but at least complete them before you begin bragging about them or making memorabilia. Be warned: It's bad enough that any "pregame" buildup dramatically increases your chances of being bitterly disappointed with what actually happens. It gets worse: Your blabbing could jinx you and prevent the much-anticipated event from even happening. In other words, run your mouth about, say, going horseback riding, and you'll break a leg before you ever step into a stirrup.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Your cold and distant ruling planet, Pluto, is moving forward again for the first time since March. Here's hoping that your heart, which has been similarly frigid and unreachable (at least to some people), might seem a little more approachable now that it's more in sync with the rest of the universe. You know what I'm talking about; you may still be such a dynamo in the sack that you think your fuck buds are blinded by their multiple orgasms. Nope. They know you haven't quite been there the way you used to be. Wake up. Knocking boots won't hold anyone's attention for long unless there's some soul-to-soul sweetness, too.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

I fought in a condiment war a couple weeks ago. A couple hundred people gathered in the streets, armed with squirt pistols, water balloons, and squeeze bottles filled with mustard, mayonnaise, syrup, and hot sauce, and joyfully blasted the shit out of each other. Sticky and stinky as I rode the subway home to throw out my clothes and shower off, I thought about you. Conflict may be unavoidable, but isn't there some way you could make it fun for all concerned? It'll resolve itself regardless, whatever method you choose; the outcome is virtually guaranteed. But wouldn't it be better to get there with smiles on your faces?

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Come on, you horny goat. I know you've already gotten off twice more than usual today, but I believe you actually have another one in you. Try a sexy, cuddly catnap. In 20 minutes, I predict you'll surprise even yourself and be good to go again. In other words, this week you may feel that you've already blown your wad. In truth, your wad is, er, bigger than you think. Give yourself a chance to dig deep and find out what you're really made ofand capable ofespecially because it'll be so fun for everybody else, too.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

This week you're likely to laugh so hard you pee yourself, or cry loudly enough to wake the neighbors, or rage so intensely you break furniture, or all of these and more. It's not that your emotions are especially heightened; it's that they've hit a wall. Thus, you don't experience them until they've developed enough force to smash their way through, at which point they're sort of extreme. Don't sweat it. Just go with it, and remember this week the next time you want to make fun of those melodramatic Cancers for acting just like you are now.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

My favorite aspect of the big blackout: that 50 million minds were sprung from their routines. All those people simultaneously shook off the programming of their familiar lives and stopped running on automatic for a while. Hopefully, it wasn't too scary for too many peoplebut even fear has its place, when it comes to shaking things up. What will it take to wake you up and keep you present in the coming weeks? Do you need a jolt of gut-wrenching fear or a fire under your ass? Better scare or motivate yourself, because if you don't, forces in the universe willand they're a lot less gentle than you'd ever be.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

For those seeking a happy horoscope, I implore you: Stop reading now. I'm sorry to have to bring you the kind of news I'm about to disclose. If you lack the stomach to learn of your impending misery, turn the page now. Besides the tragic circumstances ahead, I have only this meager sliver of hope or comfort to offer: Everyone experiences misery, often, throughout their livesand they almost always get to experience joy again, if they patiently and persistently seek it. Now, regarding the depressing forecast (here's your last chance to turn back): You are almost certainly bound to have your expectations built up, then squashed by a load of empty hype this week. Still, there may be a gem or two worth salvaging among the wreckage of your shattered hopes (or dreads).

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Don't join the witch-hunt, Taurus. Even though your neighbors and co-workers have called you out, torches and pitchforks in hand, refuse their urgent madness. It's not too late to cling to sanity and common sense, even when all those around you have utterly abandoned them. You've done well this year, shedding your undeserved reputation for thoughtless conservatism, but here's where you must don the mantle of thoughtful moderation and caution. Only someone as strong and solid as you can hope to do the job; when those around you decide to leap to (and act upon) ridiculous conclusions, swat them down in midair and shake some sense into them.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

It's scapegoat season again, and you're miles from any haven where hunting is off-limits. Your world's shifty right now; even the alibis you use to evade taking the fall may turn on you, if you're not careful. It could be frustrating to take a smack across the head for a sin you didn't commit, but resist the temptation to deflect that attention by pointing your own ray gun of culpability. At least you know you're innocent (even if no one else believes it). Blaming someone else (especially when you're not sure they're guilty) would erase that innocence and only make you deserve the punishments you're getting.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Let's call this Glamour Week for you Cancers. While stylish elegance is certainly easily attainable for you right now, I was referring to the older definition of that word: glamour as illusion. Your sensitivities are highly attuned to crafting a proper deception or alteration of perception, and to what that takes: details, details, details. You've got the skills to pull off whatever big trick you want; flawlessly forge a crop circle in a field somewhere, craft a sexy new history for yourself to tell to strangers you meet, or seduce someone you'd normally perceive as out of your league. You're already a convincing liar when you want to bebut somehow you usually get found out. Here's why: Your conviction is important, but it's the impeccable minutiae around it that seal the deal.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Leos are at once arrogant and insecure. Your self-perceptions are all cast in stark relief, black and white. For instance, you're utterly convinced that every significant person in your life either loves you or despises you, when the reality is usually a muddy blend of the two. I know it's a challenge, when your ruling planet is the sun, to shake off the night-or-day perceptions that have plagued you lately, but it's important that you clearly see things as they are (which, ironically, is not as clear or clean-cut as you'd believed them to be). Look for answers in the twilight, instead of at noon or midnight. That in-between time is where they all live.


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