Oct. 11-17, 2006

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

To your eternal dismay, some people actively seek conflict. They desire it. Instead of working on finding a solution to a potentially difficult situation, or being willing to compromise, they attempt to escalate it. Don't try to understand why, because you probably never will. Maybe they're bored, angry, or just plain screwed up. When you encounter someone like that this week—as you're quite likely to—don't expect them to be the least bit reasonable. They're trying to get a rise out of you. Logic won't settle this; nor will duking it out. There's only one real option: walking away.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

You'd never find a self-respecting Scorpio in one of those couples sporting matching outfits, spouting baby talk at one another, or acting pathetically codependent. (Obsessive, maybe, but not pathetic.) Self-imposed restrictions like these are good, but they can be taken too far, such as when they keep you from engaging in other romantic behavior that should come naturally to Scorpios, like making out (or screwing) in public, spreading the love (rather than hogging it all yourselves), or indulging your sense of adventure. Is it possible you're limiting yourself unduly? If so, remedy that this week: Do something fun, sexy, and potentially embarrassing as soon as possible.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

Surround an abandoned building with barbed wire, mount "keep out" signs to its doors and windows, and post a guard. It doesn't matter. If the place interests a Sagittarius, nothing will keep him from exploring it anyway. I respect that your healthy sense of adventure extends to people as well; you're quite willing to ignore walls and warnings from them, too, if something intrigues you. However, please remember that people aren't derelict buildings, ripe for pillaging. If you venture into someone's forbidden territory, remember this karmic rule: Leave things in better condition than you found them in. Succeed in that, and you may even be invited back.

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

Some people wear their self-definitions so obviously that they invite easy categorization. "Oh, she/he's a ______." Fill in the blank: frat boy, dyke, businessman, artist, philosophy student, priest, etc. These people are never Capricorns. Anyone who tries to shove you in a box and keep you there is in for a shock, because you're likely to not only transcend the definition they've slapped on you but completely contradict it. You should encourage people to take you as you are, not as they imagine you to be. Here's how: Return the favor. No matter how one-dimensional someone seems, please expect more. You may be disappointed, but at least you've given them the chance, which is all they should need.

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

One type of lily pad is so effective at covering the surface of the ponds it inhabits that it chokes out all other aquatic plant life by depriving them of sunlight. Sometimes Aquarians are a bit like that—so good at what you do that "lesser" talents never get a chance to shine. But is your way really the "best" way? Is there a possibility that someone else's less strictly efficient or effective way might be more interesting, fruitful, or fun in the long run? Try it. If someone else offers to step up this week, back down, let them, and—this is key—support them.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Even though you're actually better at coping with and rolling with the unknown than virtually anyone else, you also sometimes fear it more than the rest of us. Your innate flexibility, original viewpoint, and creativity make you ideally suited to thrive in chaos and fertile disorder, yet you allow yourself to experience so much anxiety about it. Why? The truth is, you usually blossom under those conditions and wither in safer situations that are more controlled. I hope my unbiased observation can help you feel more at ease when surfing life's uncontrolled messiness. You're good at this shit. When chaos comes your way, don't fear it. Enjoy it.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Forget all this astrology bullshit. Ignore the fact that you're supposed to get along well with Leos and Sagittarians and not with Taureans. In fact, try to forget every kind of preconceived notion about the kind of person you are and the type of person you usually like or get on well with. It's all meaningless, especially this week. Instead, try to simply be open, and pay attention to what naturally happens between you and whoever else. Drop the agenda, as much as you can, and allow things to unfold as they seem to want to. This is hard, I know, but once you let go of your silly ideas about how things are "supposed" to be, it'll get easier. It might—perish the thought—even be fun.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

You're like a spider with prime real estate around a light near a pond. It's criminally easy to get fat here, with curious bugs wandering into your web faster than you could ever consume them. You've even started to get picky, only acknowledging and eating certain kinds of insects, and totally ignoring the others. Bad move. You may have more than you can handle now, but that can't last forever. What if the light bulb attracting all your easy prey burns out? Then where will you cart your swollen, spoiled ass? Enjoy the plenty you have now (instead of taking it for granted), while admitting, finally, that it probably won't last forever.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Making the transition from theory to practice is often a difficult leap. Ask any martial artist; practicing the moves against your fellows, whose actions you can predict and know how to counter, is a far cry from fending off real attackers on the street, who are unpredictable and fight dirty. Nevertheless, figuring out how to apply the knowledge you've acquired in a semi-artificial environment out in the real world is this week's primary objective. If you encounter a setback, don't give up and conclude that your wisdom is actually worthless. You just haven't hit upon the right application for it. Hint: It's probably one you'd never expect.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

You're lucky. You asked for a little vacation from life's strife and struggle, and you got one. This week and next should be relatively easy to handle. What's more, next week's balanced new moon in Libra is your perfect opportunity to set up your next chapter so that its challenges come in a more distributed way, instead of the periodic chaotic surges of overwhelming crap you've so often experienced this past year. Make the right plan regarding how you'll assess and react to life's inevitable challenges, and your feast-or-famine days could actually be over.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

This week you're likely to allow yourself to do something you rarely give yourself permission to do. It's these self-imposed limitations that are the worst, because you rarely challenge them or attempt to surmount or transcend them, as you would boundaries forced upon you by someone else. Luckily, this week's astrological influences are ideally suited to help you ignore the rules you've concocted for yourself and try something new (or something you haven't tried in a long while). You'll also probably experience some form of success (as well as fun) while doing it, which I'm hoping will encourage you to break that rule more often, or better yet, throw it out completely.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

Virgos don't usually have time for artificiality. That's one of the things I love about you, that what I see is (mostly) what I get. It's refreshing, when so many people are trying to puff themselves up or dress themselves down. You just can't be bothered, most of the time. This week, however, you're likely to experience a bit of pressure to hide or distort what and who you are, and you may even have the luxury of trying to do that. I hope you resist, however. Remember, whatever illusion you dream up will be impossible to maintain over the long term, and will ultimately keep you from doing and being what you're best at. You might impress someone in the short run only to disappoint them later. And what, I ask, is the point of that?

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