Dec. 20–26, 2006

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

You think of yourself as a hard-nosed realist, but there are times when your supposed realism is really more like idealism—for instance, when you choose to believe that a straightforward presentation of the facts will get you what you want because the facts are all in your favor. Wrong. Sometimes people will overlook facts in favor of flash, dazzle, and drama. It's an awfully stupid reason to get rejected, but it happens. You don't have to suffer that fate, though. This week, try giving your presentation (whether it's a job pitch, a wedding proposal, or just a straight-up play to get laid) a bit of drama. It's the facts that will do most of the work, but it's the wow factor that'll seal the deal.

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

This atypical week is rife with exceptions. Since it's unlike most other weeks out of your year, there's space for the unusual to occur. Don't let these mildly astonishing events convince you that anything's really changed, though. It's just luck and circumstance. Within the next month, things will return to normal, and you don't want to be stuck in a state of paralyzed culture shock because you've forgotten what "normal" is. In other words, enjoy this week's exceptions to the rule, if you can—but don't forget the rule. It'll be back in force before you know it.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Couples fail because people don't let it all hang out from the get-go. During the courtship phase (and often long afterward), they present an edited version of themselves. But the facade can only be maintained so long, and when it comes down, people are frequently disappointed, horrified, turned off, or—only very occasionally—accepting. Sure, being relentlessly real in all your imperfect glory will scare away many people you might otherwise get involved with. But those who are interested anyway are the ones who are likely to stick around. How many more breakups would you like to endure, after all? Wouldn't you rather get them over with before you invest time, emotion, and energy, rather than after? Just be real, Pisces. Let's see who can handle it.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Duck! Get used to dodging obstacles this week, Aries, because the likelihood that people will be hurling things at you is quite high. Maybe that's just your family dynamic, or maybe you're simply good at pissing people off right now. Try not to take it personally. These little tantrums will pass quickly, if you let them. Let the flying ashtrays whiz past you, and don't get too worked up; escalating the tension will only ensure that it'll be around for ages. Forgiving and forgetting, however, will feel better, and smooth things over before New Year's.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

The holidays are especially rewarding and stressful for you Bulls, mostly because you choose to take on so much. You generally consider the whole family thing pretty important, so you put plenty of effort into making sure it'll go well, and in a perfect world, it would. Unfortunately, like everyone else, most of the people in your family are at least slightly screwed up. That means there's bound to be some tension when they get together, regardless of how nice the situation you've helped create is. How much of that you take personally is directly proportionate to how much you'll actually enjoy the holidays.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Before you start your holiday self-medication, pay attention: There's a lot of shit to put up with around this time of year. Much of it's an ordeal. But regarding it as simply something to "get through" isn't very useful. That'll virtually guarantee it'll be a total drag. Isn't there some enjoyable angle on the whole thing? Could you pretend you're in some kooky dramedy and laugh heartily at your perhaps tragicomic circumstances? Or perhaps it's a spiritual challenge, surmounted by a decision to simply be happy, regardless of your less-than-ideal situation. Find a new way to navigate through the weeks ahead, or they'll be just like every year—stressful and lame.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

I know Cancers who've wasted months or years waiting for things that obviously would never happen. Their ability to obsess, self-delude, and cling were relatively unhindered by actual reality. How are you doing in this department? I suspect you've at least improved since last time I checked; when caught desperately holding on to an untenable idea, you let go of it more swiftly than you used to. You still haven't, however, really mastered letting go completely, even before you've had a chance to get a proper grip—a move, incidentally, that would give some more fragile ideas a chance to grow and thrive. This week, may I suggest giving that strategy your best college try?

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

I know you often have a tricky relationship with the workaholic (or too-cool-for-school) Capricorns in your life. You frequently feel like they disapprove of you and your (relatively) lazy, lackadaisical ways. The truth is, they secretly admire you (or are at least jealous of you). This week, you're able to understand each other better than usual and put aside much of the baggage that keeps you from connecting in heartfelt or intimate ways. Whether you want to actually do that or not is up to you—but I'd give it a try. Some of those Capricorns are hot.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

Because you've played the martyr more than once (don't bother denying it), your ability to tolerate (and even thrive in) difficult situations is remarkably advanced. That's why you sometimes don't properly notice it when something has moved out of the realm of the reasonable (a friend going through a rough patch who needs extra TLC, for example) and into the land of the batshit insane. I've seen Virgos tirelessly wasting themselves trying to carve out solutions to scenarios that simply have none because they just don't know any better. Be alert. There's only so much you ought to put up with. Draw a line that no one should cross. Then stick to it.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

You're torn to pieces by conflicts between people you dearly love. You Librans are hardwired to be diplomats and moderators, so it's nearly impossible for you to not intervene, even when you know it's best to stay out of it. You get involved almost despite yourself, then reap all kinds of misery for your trouble because the clash escalates or mutates, and suddenly everyone's mad at you. How can I get you to resist the urge to stick your well-meaning nose where it doesn't belong? What if I assure you that you simply can't help, at least not this week, and that trying to will definitely only make things worse? Would you be able to resist then? I guess we'll see.

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

In a military situation, everyone has a rank. Who's in charge of whom is clearly delineated. In life, however, we're all supposed to be more or less equals, even if it doesn't always work out that way. Some people give other people power over them, even when that's not the best idea. They might not even be especially aware they're doing it. You are, though, and are occasionally (like now) incredibly tempted to intervene. I can't tell you, in this case, what to do. Knowing when to take a stand and when to stand aside is an incredibly tricky decision, especially when either route you choose is likely to elicit some ill will from one or both of the parties involved. Nevertheless, it's exactly that puzzling conundrum you're likely to face this week.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

With the new moon in your sign this week, you're in a unique position to set the tone for how your holiday season is going to go, or at the very least, how it's going to go for you. You choose how much you're going to let touch you, and how much is going to roll off your back. How much will you give, and how much will you take on? These are important questions to ask yourself before their answers become relevant. Decide ahead of time what and where your boundaries are, so you don't figure it out after they've been crossed.

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