Dec. 21-27, 2005

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

You know you're getting an especially good deal, but does the other person? Sure, you're not exactly responsible for someone else's naïveté, but considering who this person is and the part he plays in your life, can you really in good conscience take advantage of all that trusting innocence? I know you consider rude awakenings one of your specialties, but presenting such a tough, uncompromising front to this particular person might not be what you ultimately want. What would it do to your relationship (whatever it is, or was)? It might be momentarily satisfying, but at what cost? Trust? Friendship? Love?

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

These days, you can't swing a cat without hitting a Sagittarian. For some reason, those perky (and apparently ubiquitous) Archers are infesting your life right now. Why do you think that might be? Is it possible you have something to learn (or maybe remember) from them? I suspect it might have something to do with your current level of honesty, which has, unfortunately, dipped below what your typical Sag would find acceptable. You used to be better at being forthright, even when it seemed harsh. See if you can channel that old self again and simply tell the truth, even if it's unkind.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Talk to crazy people. You tend to do that anyway, but make a point of it this week. This is a weird time of year for people (Christmas and all); it makes sane people not and mad people madder. I'm not suggesting this for your own entertainment, however— despite the comic nature of some of the situations you might end up in. It's more about a virtually unlimited opportunity for you to share something with people, especially those in crisis: learning, teaching, giving, receiving, and all that good stuff. Seek out the craziest person you can find—could be a stranger, could be your mom. Then put in the time. You'll get out what you put in, and then some.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Years ago, I lived with several other impoverished artists next to a crack house, behind which a pair of pit bulls brooded miserably with 20-pound dumbbell weights around their necks, obviously being trained as fighting dogs. They never received loving attention—even their food was simply heaved, still in its bag, out the back door. There was nothing provably illegal about any of this, I learned, so my longing to reduce their misery went unfulfilled when I called the ASPCA. You, too, may find yourself more or less without real options when it comes to helping someone in pain this week; but for your own sake, and theirs, please try your best anyway.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

When someone says they love you for your mind, it's probably true—in that moment. But don't expect it to last. This week it'll surely be eclipsed by other desires, aimed at other places. Be grateful if your admirer turns his or her admiration toward other parts of you—but should it be directed at another person entirely, try not to be too surprised, bitter, or melodramatic. You could, of course, be offended and write the person off entirely. Or you could remind yourself that no one person is likely to be able (or willing) to be everything to another person, and vice versa. Once you remember that, it's no longer an all-or-nothing scenario but one in which you can sagely assess what this lovely friend can be to you—and what he or she can't.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

You're living in a gingerbread house. Something as seemingly insignificant as a glass of milk or a peckish child could do in your sense of sanctuary and stability. Your gumdrop locks are fanciful, gorgeous, and, ultimately, laughable. It's time to up the security on your internal safe haven, and that means taking measures stronger than adding another layer of icing. It's the wrong time of year to be so fragile and vulnerable—too many stresses on too many different parts of you—so beef up your defenses. But don't make them too impenetrable or permanent. There'll come a time, probably in spring, when you'll want to lay naked and exposed. It'd be a shame if you couldn't take them down then.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

A little gold or silver is enhancing; it can make you look rich and gorgeous. Paint whole walls of your apartment silver or clothe yourself entirely in gold lamé, however, and you'll seem cheap and gaudy. Too much makeup makes you look slutty. You know this. Maybe that's the effect you're going for currently, but somehow I doubt it. Take it down a couple notches. It's all way too much. You can wear makeup, for example, but make it look like you're not—like you wake up looking that good. This week, make it so that everything you do is simultaneously effective and undetectable.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

What you think is a mutually beneficial arrangement isn't. You're being—possibly quite subtly—fucked over, ripped off, or simply taken advantage of. Please don't become overly suspicious, however, and start slinging accusations left, right, and over your shoulder. That'll just get you into hot shit on many fronts, while not catching out the one who's effectively robbing you blind, since he'll protest as vigorously as the innocent others. You've got to be slicker than that, and more reasonable in your approach, in any case. While scouting around for where you're getting a bum deal, consider this: It's not that what you're getting is crap, necessarily. It just seems that way when you compare it to what it could and should be.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

Unfortunately for you, we live in a society almost completely devoid of haggling—a skill nearly all Virgos have a powerful propensity for (only many don't even know it). This useful and entertaining side of you is atrophying, unused and misunderstood, like an appendix. However, it's linked to many other fascinating bits of you that are also suffering from its disuse. Don't let this subtle downward spiral continue. This week— or in the near future—find somewhere you can haggle: a flea market, garage sale, used-car dealership. Do it not just for your overall well-being but because it's great fun, too.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

When the wind isn't blowing in exactly the direction they want to go, sailors tack back and forth, using it to move incrementally, at sly angles, toward their destination. You must employ the same tactic this week. You shouldn't interpret all this resistance (or even active opposition) as insurmountable. You can, in fact, use it, however obliquely, to bring you closer to your goal. You've got to be slick and clever. The trick is not letting those who oppose you (since they're not as mindless as the wind) know they're actually helping you—until it's too late and you've sailed right past them.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

In my experience, some of the people I've liked least upon first encountering them turn out to be among my favorites after I'm—for one reason or another—forced to get to know them. This is very likely because those who grate on me the most probably possess some of the traits I like least about myself. Accepting them into my life is usually also a validating act of self-acceptance. I may have mentioned this before, but you still haven't quite gotten it. What you have before you isn't some horribly annoying bitch that you can run away from, exactly. It's a kind of mirror.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

In an ideal world, when you move into a new place, it'd all be painted white. You could start with a blank slate, asserting your vision for your new home unpolluted by the aesthetic of its previous residents. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case when you come into a new space. Any relationship, for example, is unfortunately colored (and graffitied) by those who came before, and you can't very well whitewash all of it. You can paint over small sections and rearrange some of the furniture. The rest you've got to just learn to live with. Look around. Is this a room you can happily inhabit, with only a few minor changes possible? If not, move out, before you make it less livable for the next person.

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