Feb. 15-21, 2006

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

A few months ago, you did the metaphorical equivalent of dropping a piano on your toe. By the time you'd finished screaming, the nail had already started to turn black. You'd subsequently almost completely forgotten about it. Meanwhile, a whole new toenail has been growing in underneath, in secret—until now. This week, the gross, damaged outer layer is ready to finally fall off, revealing the tender, unblemished virgin surface beneath. In other words, now that your injured, protective shell is out of the way, you're ready for someone to appreciate what's underneath. Finding the someone who will is your next important task.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

An essay by Barbara Kingsolver describes the mysterious activities of her pet hermit crab, which would retreat periodically into his shell for days at a time. Eventually, she guessed that he was responding to tidal forces, even though he was miles from any ocean. I thought of this essay when contemplating you, Pisces, because your internal rhythms, especially this week, are just as inexplicable— perhaps to you as much as to the rest of us. Trust them anyway; they're responding to something bigger than yourself, for your own good. You don't need to explain them, just accommodate them.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Last week I urged you to enlist your nearest and dearest to help you identify the five main things (which you can do something about) holding you back. (If you haven't yet done this, get on it!) Now comes the phase where you unlearn the habits and thought patterns that keep these shit blockades in play. This isn't something you can do overnight, but you ought to start today. It might not even be clear what you can do to knock those barriers down for good. That's where your friends— and I—come in. Ask us for help. Drop me a line (caeriel@yahoo.com) describing the five things you are doing to hold yourself back. My team of Aries-loving Reality Benders will do our best to help.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

According to Maya astrology, we're about halfway through the last 13-year cycle of their Long Count calendar, which ends in December, 2012. The Maya believed these years would profoundly alter humanity; during the next Long Count, our lives would be unrecognizably different. I doubt a rational Taurus would be freaked by ancient prophecies. Nevertheless, consider what our new lives could look like. Please put aside the all-too-likely-seeming possibilities of civilization-collapsing calamities. What significant changes could occur in the near future that would make our collective lives better, not worse? Life is changing, Maya predictions or not. Shit will go down. But good shit can happen, too, especially if you're working on it. Start today—there's no time to waste.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Geminis are hardly immune to codependency. But you'll rarely hear one bragging about her soul mate or making theatrical avowals of eternal love. It's just not your style, thank all that's cool and righteous in this world. However, I hope you don't let your cynicism/realism keep you from experiencing some of the delicious intensities of love. You can have them, you know, without succumbing to delirious delusions of soul-mating and dramatic declarations. You can even acknowledge that most passionate connections are ephemeral things and still go there. In fact, the poignancy of life's fleetingness is likely to make them better, not worse.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

As part of my process to enact my 38 New Year's resolutions, I'm attempting to become more of a morning person. Naturally, after many years of being a total night owl, I'm encountering heaps of internal resistance. But I won't give up—at least not for a long time. I'm willing to give this venture a few months before I leap to the unlikely conclusion that this new schedule simply doesn't work for me. You, too, will need to be persistent and less thin-skinned when trying to bring about certain changes in your life. Don't be daunted by your clever subconscious attempts at self-sabotage, which are likely to take many forms. Doggedness will be rewarded.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

Buddhism is tricky for Leos. It's those crazy-ass supersized egos of yours. While you can recognize how your ego is perhaps keeping you from enlightenment or oneness with the universe, it's hard to shake how it's also a big source of your power. It's where all that shine comes from. Isn't it? I'm not so sure. Of course, believing you're the shit can gift you with heaps of attractive confidence. But isn't there a way you can be confident while acknowledging that you're—when viewed from a more objective standpoint—fairly insignificant? It's freeing, in a way—which is, naturally, another fantastic source of shine.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

You've spent too much of your life marching to the beat of someone else's drum. How much of your schedule is set by you, and how much by forces outside of yourself—your job, lover, family, responsibilities? I know Virgos who give every moment of their day to someone else; they're constantly cleaning, cooking, working, counseling, or traveling to yet another selfless task. While this is all very noble, it's also very unhealthy. Your superhuman energy levels make it possible—for a time. But it has to end eventually. Why not now? Make your inspiring selflessness more sustainable—ironically, by carving out a little time just for you. Start with five minutes today. Add five tomorrow. Keep going until there are at least three hours of your day (not counting sleeping) that no one can lay claim to.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

People who have excellent recall don't necessarily have superior brains so much as superior techniques. By associating information with emotions, or linking them to visual, auditory, or olfactory stimuli, or using a trick like creating an acronym or memorable sentence, they can remember piles of seemingly random information. What they don't do, certainly, is constantly tell themselves and others: "Oh, I have a terrible memory," "I'm bad with names," or, "I suck." See where I'm going here? Stop reinforcing your flaws. You have the raw material with which to excel. All you have to do is find the way, and that'll happen as soon as you stop declaring that you can't do it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

Yes, astrology is all bullshit. But it's also not. Because it deals in archetypal forces common to all of us, it has as much validity as you care to assign to it. It can be a powerful tool for understanding yourself, others, and relationships. For instance, it can't accurately predict when you'll die or fall in love, but it can help you figure out how to more gracefully do either. I've never known you to shy away from exploring your psyche's darkest crannies. Why start now? Use whatever tools—astrological or otherwise—you can get your hands on.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

Screw the honeymoon period. Sure, it's sweet when everything is so new you can just project whatever you want onto it and get away with it. However, I much prefer the chapter that comes right after—the one where familiarity generates comfort, but enough remains to be discovered to make things exciting. We don't acknowledge or enjoy this phase enough. Your task this week, and in the weeks to come: Enjoy the honeymoon period with whatever's new in your life—be it person, job, or new surroundings—but concentrate on stretching out and milking the stage that comes right after, because that's when the really good shit goes down.

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

Capricorns believe in insurance. It's not that you're necessarily negative by default (although many of you are). It's that you believe in taking precautions. "Just in case," as an idea, makes perfect sense to you, and you're probably right in believing in it. But applying this philosophy across the board simply doesn't work, and trying can cause some serious havoc. Love, for instance, can't be insured. It's a leap of faith with no real safety net. There are a few instances in your imminent future when you won't be able to make everything safe and secure ahead of time. You'll just have to run, close your eyes, and jump. Prepare for that, if you possibly can.

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