Aug. 16-22, 2006

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

You just can't go that far wrong this week. All the things that are great about being a Leo are in force at the moment—people adore you and enjoy basking in your generous radiance. We're all even willing to overlook the things about you that normally annoy some of us. All you have to do is play your part: Be benevolent and look out for everyone; give munificently of your time, money, and energy; and generally make people feel good about themselves. Trust me, it's worth it. You'll get back everything you put out there, and then some.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

How long has it been going on like this, Virgo? All the most important pieces of your life are squeezed into the gaps between time-consuming, ultimately meaningless nonevents. Why do these vital and potent bits only get to appear in two-minute increments, while mediocre, uninspired segments can occupy whole hours? Aren't your priorities just a little out of whack? Is it because you've been giving more significance (and thus time and energy) to other people's wants and needs than to your own? That's very generous of you, but at some point it begins to interfere with your quality of life. Please give the important stuff bigger blocks of time. You deserve that.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

You need art that truly inspires you this week— art that makes you laugh, cry, feel warm and tingly, and burst with creativity, all at once. I have a number of things I can rely upon to provide me with some of those indispensable feelings (the brilliant performance art of Kiki & Herb, for example). What are yours? Get back in touch with them this week and see where they take you. If you're one of those unlucky Libras who hasn't yet found her muse(s), get thee to a museum (or street festival, church, forest, etc.), then stay there until you find it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

Some people only rebel to be obstinate. I refer to that acquaintance who actually didn't have an opinion about the subject until you expressed yours, at which point she promptly and loudly argued the opposite view. I wish you never had to deal with annoying losers like those, but unfortunately they're sometimes unavoidable. The good thing is they keep you on your toes. They may be idiots, but they can occasionally force you to refine your game, as they're likely to do this week. Step up to the plate and be ready for anything. You're up to the challenge, naturally—but I doubt anyone will make it easy for you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

Last week I was in charge of a gang of kids playing sports. They demanded to know what prize the winners would receive. Empty-handed, I told them the victors would get a pat on the back, thinking they'd probably be disappointed. To my surprise, they turned to the game with determination and vigor, competing just as fiercely as they would if the reward were candy or money. I thought only you wielded that power, Sag. But if I'm getting away with it, that means your ability to get people to work hard, solely for your praise and approval, must be at an all-time high. If I were you, I'd use it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

Capricorns are experts at compressing emotion. Just as a haiku crams feeling and meaning into a handful of syllables, you can imbue the tiniest gesture with truckloads of nuance, import, and sentiment. A touch on the shoulder, a smile, a carefully worded (but never gushing) note . . . these can all convey ideas you're too shy or cautious to express directly. Thus, you can get lazy about being a bit more up front. However, that's what's required of you this week, since your normally eloquent subtleties will probably miss the mark. If there's something worth expressing, may I suggest saying it out loud, just this once?

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

You're working too hard. A 16-hour workday could kill you. You need to chill. I know, of course, that your work won't just go away. But you can spread it out. Take more breaks. Divide up your day. Sleep less at night and take daytime catnaps. If you don't give your brain, body, and soul periodic bits of essential downtime, you'll regret it. Your daily routine, at the moment, is just too strenuous. I'm not suggesting you abandon everything and forget about all the work you've been doing. But letting some of it go now, before you've collapsed under the pressure, is better than letting it all go later, when you'll have no choice.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

You're up to your bewildering tricks again, aren't you, Pisces? All we want is a straight answer to a simple question, but you insist on obfuscating and clouding the issue with layers upon layers of nearly meaningless extra stuff. Why do you do that? Is it because you don't really know the answer? Maybe what's simple for some of us is simply quite complicated for you. I suspect you really do see the world in a complex, overlapping blend of shades of gray, so coming up with a simple answer is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, it's occasionally absolutely necessary, and now is one of those times. Even if you can't come to a concrete conclusion inside your head, give one anyway to those who demand it.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

I'd be exhausted if I were you, considering all that you've been up to. But here's an amazing thing about you Rams: Sometimes you have virtually limitless energy, like now. You can just keep going and going. This, as impressive as it is, is also your Achilles' heel, my dear, because it tricks you into thinking that you'll always have such inexhaustible reserves, when in actual fact you are as capable of burning out or getting run-down as the rest of us, even if you can continue working (or playing) longer and harder than your average human. Enjoy this moment, when you're virtually superhuman, but don't get confused and push yourself too hard next week (or next month), when you're not.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

Avoid fluorescent lighting like the plague this week. In fact, stay away from anything that's likely to harshly expose and exaggerate your (relatively few) flaws all out of proportion. You deserve a soft focus this week, one that'll more accurately reflect you at your best. This isn't obscuring the truth, it's tapping into a deeper one. You're pretty great overall, but that's likely to be hidden behind a few superficial blemishes if there's too harsh a spotlight on them. Those who are still getting to know you might not know enough to look beyond that pimple (whether real or metaphorical), so they might not bother getting to know how fantastic you actually are, nor you them—and that would be a damn shame.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Lucky for you, Gemini, many people like troublemakers. So your shenanigans get, probably, more positive attention than negative attention in general. But even if that weren't the case, it'd be your astrological duty to rabble-rouse and generate inspired chaos this week. Things need to get turned on their heads, and only you can do it, because of your ability to see every situation from multiple perspectives while acting upon it (unlike those Libras and Pisces, who are often paralyzed by their inner dualities). If that's not enough motivation by itself, however, consider this: It's very likely to be fun as well.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

It may look like a dead end ahead, but that's just a trompe l'oeil illusion. Don't freak out about that brick wall that seems to block your path. You won't be able to tell until you get closer, but there's actually an alley leading off in both directions. You'll have to swing a hard right or left, but there's certainly no need to stop or retrace your steps, which is what you've lately been contemplating. So perhaps "full speed ahead" isn't the best method for proceeding down the path you're on (whether it's regarding a relationship, career move, or any other project), but neither is "stop and turn back." My preferred advice for this moment would be: "Proceed eagerly but cautiously, and prepare for detours."

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