Feb. 1-7, 2006

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

Imagine this scenario: You're alone on a hike deep in the woods, and you take a tumble, seriously gashing your leg. You apply pressure to the wound, but it's not enough to stanch the bleeding. What do you do? You apply a tourniquet, thereby limiting the flow of blood to the limb until you can get suitably patched up. Other wounds— emotional, metaphorical, spiritual—require the same treatment. You're losing copious amounts of what keeps you going. You've got to limit the resources flowing toward the wound—be it attitude, relationship, or faith. Either find a way to do that or amputate.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Aochan the rat snake's best friend is a hamster named Gohan (which means "meal" in Japanese). The odd couple resides in a Tokyo zoo. Gohan was initially placed in the snake's cage as food, but they somehow made friends instead. Thrust into Gohan's situation, I suspect you'd do the same: befriending your oppressor/predator instead of falling victim to him. It sounds impossible, but that's just the kind of magic you can wield this week. It may be scary and uncomfortable to cuddle up to someone who'd normally screw you over, but it's a lot less frightening than letting him do just that.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

I look back on the handful of Aries men I've dated with tremendous fondness; despite their imperfections, they were unfailingly exciting and romantic. I'm definitely part of the Ram fan club—that group of people who really enjoy what you have to offer. You'd forgotten we were out there, hadn't you? I'm not surprised. Admirers have been thin on the ground lately, or eclipsed by your many critics. You haven't lost your touch, though, as you'd begun to believe; you've simply lost touch with the people who get and appreciate you. Find us again, won't you? We miss you, desperately.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

You rarely had trouble taking your medicine (actual or figurative) as a child. You pragmatically perceived the necessity and/or inevitability of what had to happen, and you just got it over with. Mostly, that willingness to swallow pride and misery has stayed with you into adulthood. Thus, it's hard for you to identify with those who flee their sorrows and hassles and long for sugar to help the medicine go down. Help them anyway, won't you? Asking them to stretch and channel your innate fortitude won't be enough, however. Unless you stretch, too—developing compassion and losing judgment of their differences—any lesson you try to offer simply won't stick.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

If I consume caffeine after 8 p.m., I'm up 'til dawn the next morning. I've learned this the hard way, so now I'm judicious and prudent when it comes to drinking coffee, tea, or cola. You have a similar sensitivity, albeit to something slightly more esoteric—bad news, relationship drama, loneliness, horror flicks, or whatever. You're not, however, very practical about controlling your exposure to it. That's got to change—for your own well-being as well as the happiness of all those close to you. You can't control how full of shit the world is, but you can regulate how much of that harshness you experience, and when. Take charge of your negativity consumption. You'll suffer a lot less, and so will we.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

Indulge yourself. Partake especially in all the things you enjoy that are bad for you. You're less likely than usual to suffer negative consequences from their consumption. That doesn't mean you're immune to hangovers, guilt, backlash, drama, and embarrassment this week; you're just a lot more resistant to them. You may, of course, choose to avoid this kind of trouble altogether, but I hope you don't—that'd be dead boring. If you're ever going to practice hedonistic immoderation, now is a better time than most. Get to it, and don't come back until you're completely satisfied.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

For days, you've turned this idea over and over in your mind; now it's roasted all the way through, like a pig on a spit, and still you're no closer to a decision or conclusion. Has it ever occurred to you that your brain just doesn't have an answer to this one? Or that it's simply incapable of answering it? Your mind is a useful tool, but it's ill-equipped to address primal stuff like sex, death, and love. When it comes to all that deep animal soul stuff, you've got to let yourself be guided by heart, gut, and loins, in whatever combination works. Stop thinking. It's getting you exactly nowhere.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

Your stocks are about to skyrocket. What's with the sudden surge in popularity? A whole host of people (who'd either forgotten or never realized) have just figured out what hot shit you are. Suddenly, legions of overnight fans are intent on drawing you and your indispensable fellows into their lives. I know you love to feel needed, but be careful; no one can meet this much need. Don't be overwhelmed by all those clamoring for your time and attention. Stay cool and be prudent about how far you'll go, and for whom. This is an amazing opportunity, but if you can't keep your head, you'll lose it instead.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

Last month, a confused whale wandered up the Thames. (Sadly, it died while rescuers attempted to return it to the ocean.) I can imagine you identifying with the poor beast, because you've similarly ventured into territory where you really don't belong. Although your mistake certainly won't be fatal, you also may have trouble figuring out how to get out of this mess. In other words, you need some help. Luckily, just as the people of London rallied and cheered efforts to save the whale, those who love you will also gladly offer support and aid for your quest to be free from whatever trap you're stuck in. All you have to do is let them know you need it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

Your most exciting and frustrating chapters have come from sort of inflicting your intensity on people who either weren't ready for it or weren't sure they were into it. You love challenging people to access new heights and depths within themselves. But how often are you yourself challenged in this way? Certainly not very, especially not from other Scorpios, since you recognize and are immune to all their familiar tricks and strategies. This week, however, you have a chance to dunk yourself into water that's truly over your head. We all know how often you've shoved others into exactly this kind of situation. No one's going to push you, though. The question is: Do you have the chutzpah to jump?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

You're an excellent protector—when you're around. In fact, many of the people drawn to you are attracted because of the safety you represent. The irony is that you're frequently so busy having your own adventures that they're left to fend for themselves more often than not. Fair enough—it's not your job to shield those you love from all of life's stresses and challenges. But recognize that lately you've been doing a lot more helping yourself and a lot less for those who need your help. This is a good week to tip the balance back. You're doing OK, so giving them some sweetness and the warm comfort of your arms wouldn't cost you much. It sure would, however, mean a lot to them.

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

Venus has been rowing backward through your sign for ages now, ruffling feathers and generally screwing with your ability to relax and enjoy your life and relationships. Luckily, she's finally given up her upstream quest this week, lifted her paddles, and decided to just flow with the current. That means a lot less boat rocking and turbulence in your life (especially your love life). I wouldn't just chill and take a nap, though. Now that you've got a moment in calm waters, I'd try some of those tricky maneuvers you've been meaning to do. You could almost pull them off in last month's white water. Doing them now will be no sweat.

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