Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

With Mercury finally winging his merry way into your sign next week, some of the profound blocks to your communicationwhich you've been contending with for months nowwill finally be lifted. But events and relationships have, in the meantime, twisted and tangled themselves into millions of obnoxious knots. This past month, you've mostly just thrown up your hands in frustrated helplessness, but since you'll soon actually have the means to untie or snip at least some of those limiting snarls, spend this week determining which ones are attached to things you'll need as soon as you're free enough to use them, like your genitals, brain, or heart.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

I'm sure if you snorted a whole line of black pepper, you'd get a sort of endorphin rush from the intense fits of sneezing and watering eyes that followed; but I don't see you rushing to try it for that lame high. However, you have been sampling things that are actually more damaging (to your ego, at least), just because they've been presented or suggested to you. Recognize the line of pepper for what it is, and realize, at last, just how allergic you are to some of the flavors being offered. Just because something arrives on a silver platter doesn't mean you'll like it, or that it's good for you.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Once Mars slips into Taurus next week, your only decently reliable good-luck charm will have abandoned you. Therefore, you should retire, at least temporarily, consideration of any semistupid (or utterly ridiculous) risk, until such a time when you'll be able to pull it off without breaking both your legs. Besides, there's no need to go jumping out of planes without a parachute or even with one; the Sure Things you've got lined up right now are plenty exciting and ought to have the adrenaline pumping enough to keep you occupied for months to come.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Some people just irritate you without trying. This happens to everyone; I often encounter people who grate on my nerves for no rational reason. Unfortunately, your fur is ruffled and disheveled right now, pointing in all directions, so everyone's guilty of "rubbing you the wrong way." Don't let your midwinter tetchiness fuck up your life by offending anyone you might later want to befriend. When someone makes you grind your teeth, grin and bear it. It's you, not themat least this week. If it's still happening in seven days, it's them, not you, so feel free to bite their heads off.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You're like a germophobe fighting the flu virus. You go to the movies and you just know your enemy is floating around there somewhere, invisible, but there's nothing you can do, short of becoming an antisocial reclusewhich is, of course, counter to your essential nature. Unfortunately, the invisible forces at work against you are about as impersonal as influenza. However, you can take natural steps to prevent being taken down by them. If it was the flu you were fighting, there'd be obvious strategies: Wash your hands, dose up on echinacea, and get a good night's sleep. Luckily, the tactics that will work best for your situation are just that clearso you have no excuse not to employ them.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Yum. This week you're apt to receive nourishment that's dense with nutritional value, like mother's milk, lembas, or royal jelly. Consume it all. Be a little greedy. You're in need of extra spiritual sustenance right now, so accept it, whether the nurture comes from Mom, magical elves, or the humble honeybee. This bounty is all for you; it's the universe providing the strength you'll need. Don't let guilt about your good fortune and abundance keep you from being a momentary glutton; since you'll practically be fasting for the fortnight to follow this binge, you'll need as much soul blubber as you can get.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Don't give too much away. Although in some respects you're a very private person, only sharing your innermost self with a select few, you're awfully open about much that others might not be so quick to impart to strangers. Where you draw the line between private and public is constantly shifting. It occasionally veers toward extremes: On one side, people find themselves hard-pressed to find out anything real about you; on the other, they may witness more of your inner workings than they'd wish. Since finding an appropriate balance between dorky over-sharing and alienating stoicism is essential this week, keep close tabs on how much you give of yourself, and how much you keep.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

The thing people fail to realize about Virgos is that they're almost never actually obsessive-compulsive (even though they are often accused of it). Unlike people afflicted with OCD, you are quick to recognize what you can control and what you can't. You use your organization to serve you, instead of being its servant. That's the essence of serenity right thereknowing when to alphabetize, schedule, scour, and list, and knowing, instead, when to simply throw up your hands, laugh out loud, and let it all go down. Since you'll be doing a lot more letting go than holding on this week, expect (and enjoy) more orgy than organization.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

You're likely to reach such a unique and enviable philosophical juncture this week that I wish I could reverse engineer it, to figure out exactly how you got there, and thus how we could get other people there. I wouldn't call it enlightenment, exactly; you're not even close to having all the answers. But you do have a lot of them, at least for this very moment. You know exactly what you need to do right now to cross off everything on your list of immediately available goals. Go ahead and take a minute to appreciate the golden virtue of being in such a powerful and far-seeing position. Then quit wasting it, and start using it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Negotiate nothing. This is the worst time to try to hash out new agreements of any kind. Generating mutual understanding about anything may be exceedingly difficult, even something as innocuous as where to grab a bite to eat. It sounds rash and rude, but believe me, it's the better bet. If you're unwilling to compromise, you'll actually avoid a lot more conflict this week than you'd experience if you were trying to be accommodating. Basically, that leaves you two options: total tyranny or utter slavedom. Either will work, but since you need to go back to finding common ground next week, choose the one you're less likely to get too used to.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Your tribe is notoriously self-reliant. You take rugged individualism to an admirable extreme, even doing shit like converting your car to bio-diesel or storing your savings in your mattress. Unfortunately, the only times you allow others to really help you is when you have no other choice, at which point you become a big ol' baby. Stop whining, sweetheart. Try to combine your utter need with your usual utter poise. If you ask for what you require from a place of power and confidence, you're much more likely to get it than if you wheedle, whimper, and nag.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Be in good spirits. Even though you're not exactly the most popular kid in town right now, you may be soon. You're a couple steps ahead of most people; they're only just starting to figure out the jokes you told last week, ruefully laughing and shaking their heads and realizing exactly how clever and funny you are. They may not have picked up the phone yet to invite you to supper or on a second datethey're still in the stage of kicking themselves for being so thickheadedbut they will soon. So be patient, and trust that when you tell jokes during Round Two, they'll be so in tune with you that it'll only take them three hours, not days, to actually get them.

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