Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2006

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

Standing in the path of a speeding train goes against all your best instincts and logic. But what if you knew that the train was about to derail? What if you also suspected that you might have the power to stop it, instead of simply being crushed and killed? You'd consider taking that risk then. In fact, I have a hard time believing that you wouldn't give it a go, even if it meant potential death. Luckily, the kinds of sacrifices likely to be demanded of you this week won't be so dramatic and final. But neither will they be easy. However, as you consider them, remember my runaway-train scenario and this question: What is what you may have to give up, when weighed against all that you might save?

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

I've met Libras whose scales were seriously out of whack. They'd lost their true selves within a warped assortment of temporarily assumed personae. In other words, they'd made such a habit of being the person the situation required that they forgot who they really were. Every Libra bears the burden of this risk. You, too, may be teetering on the edge of losing your true self. If that's the case (or if you've already fallen), stop trying to fix the world. Now. It may seem selfish to ignore other people in need while you "search for yourself," but it's not, exactly. After all, you can't lift someone else up unless your own feet are firmly planted on solid ground.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

Of all the signs, young Scorpios have the hardest time bouncing back from humiliation. Everyone experiences some mortifyingly embarrassing situation at some point in her lifetime, but you Scorps, who do tend to take yourselves a bit too seriously sometimes, require a much longer recovery period than most. This probably seems very much like a weakness, but like all frailties, it can also be a strength. How does this hidden asset make itself manifest? Compassion. When comforting the fallen and disturbed this week, remember the times when you were more or less where they are now. Then you'll know exactly what to do.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

Your life's a wheel. Some people manage to climb to the top and stay there for ages, while others seem to be continually crushed underfoot. You, however, get the best and worst of both worlds—moments of success followed by crushing defeat, followed by glory and failure, in turns. As you ride the wheel through the ether and the mud, you're privy to a variety of experience that's the envy of most. Remember that this week when you're craving the one thing you have trouble achieving: lasting stability. Some people live boring, safe lives, but like it or not, that's not your lot. That might seem unfair now, while you're under the wheel instead of on top of it, but once you get a chance to think about it, you'll realize that you really wouldn't want it any other way.

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

You sure know how to haggle. Anyone who pays the asking price for their car, house, or even a $2 shirt at a flea market is, in your opinion, just a fool. Finessing the price downward is part of the game. The problem is, you can sometimes get carried away and start wrangling and quibbling in situations where it's not appropriate; consequently the "price" (whatever it is) goes up, rather than down. Be careful where you bargain hunt this week, as the opportunities to get a real deal are actually few and far between, surrounded by mostly inflexible situations where you'll get only what you "pay" for. Trying to negotiate anyway will only get you kicked out of the shop, and the game.

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

Sometimes you wish you shared that talent for invisibility that some people seem to possess. Because although you're not as attention grabbing as some signs, it's almost impossible for you to escape notice, even when you'd really prefer to, like this week. Unfortunately, fading into the wallpaper's simply not an option at the moment, and trying to will just lead to embarrassment and even more attention than if you'd just stepped forward and presented yourself. I guess this week's keywords would be: "dignity in less than dignified circumstances." Aim for that, and you can't go too far wrong.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

The more Fish I get to know, the more I'm convinced you're actually all just aliens. How else could your point of view be so fundamentally different from most of the rest of ours (and each others')? A lot of people don't know just how weird you are, underneath, but some new ones are about to find out this week. Luckily, we're long past the days of witch-hunts. Most intelligent people are fascinated and respectful of difference. That's why I urge you this week to flaunt, not attempt to hide (probably in vain), what makes you so weird and unique.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Can I just tell you, again, how sexy you are? It's not because you're especially good-looking, well endowed, or talented. It's purely because of who you are. Your confident, playful energy is likely to be greatly appreciated and sought-after this week. May I suggest working it? You're not likely to have this many opportunities presented to you, just because of your very nature, for a long time to come. The coolest part is that your adventure-seeking is cumulative: The more doors you open, the more will open for you. Don't take a chance, though, and you're not likely to get another one anytime soon.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

I've met Tauri who love camping. In fact, communing with nature is right up your alley—only many of you don't know it yet. It's definitely, for you Bulls at least, an acquired taste. You may think of yourself as a totally urban creature, but that's because you haven't properly discovered the sensual beauty and serenity only available to you far away from the dirty hubbub of humanity. You need to connect with your animal nature, and the sooner the better (winter's coming). Find a way to cope with the inconveniences outside of your old comfort zone, and you may just discover a newer, bigger, better one.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

I almost burned my kitchen down this morning, simply because I've been too lazy to buy a new toaster. You've put yourself in a similarly precarious situation. The slightest of precautions on your part could avert a world of trouble, but you've managed to skip that step for ages now. A new toaster could keep my possessions from turning into ash. A comparable preventative measure on your part, one just as easy as shelling out 10 bucks for a counter appliance, could save your ass, too. You know exactly what simple safeguard I'm talking about. This week, take care of it.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

With the full moon rolling hugely into Pisces, that most idiosyncratic of signs, next week, September's likely to be a very surreal ride. You couldn't call it especially bad or good. In fact, I'd be surprised if you could categorize it at all. But "normal" is likely to take on a whole new meaning, and expecting anything would be a mistake. This is surely a test of some of the newfound flexibility and adaptability you acquired this summer. You've already passed some simple hurdles: Making lemonade out of lemons, though, was easy. What'll you do when life hands you children in need or burning houses or starving cats?

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

How much longer will you make excuses, Leo? Shit like "I can't write my novel until I get the right computer" and "I'm just waiting until after this busy period at work to fix my relationship" won't cut it anymore, at least not with those of us who give a shit and have brains. You deserve better. Your ego requires it. You can't be the fabulous star you want to be just because you're charming and well dressed, at least not this week. You've got to actually do something. It's time to put aside all the things you tell yourself are reasons not to get shit done, and just get shit done.

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