Jan. 3–9, 2007

Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19)

Cancers frequently may be inflexible stick-in-the-muds, but you Capricorns are 50 percent more intractable. There's nothing wrong with finding someone or something you like and sticking to it—as long as it works out. But what happens when whatever you've become attached or accustomed to simply isn't available (like this week, for example)? Usually, you just hunker down and wait out the drought. May I suggest a better strategy? Seek out new potential habits. Usually, you'd have to sacrifice a known pleasure just to make space to experiment. This week, though, it's risk-free, since you're already missing out on your favorite routines; you might as well spend that time developing new and better ones.

Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18)

Things simply can't always be good. You think you want everything to run smoothly and for everyone to be happy. But remember the times when that seemed to be the case in the past? You still found reasons to be dissatisfied. Perhaps you even sabotaged the situation—probably subconsciously, but nevertheless, it was you who mostly screwed it up. You need variety, and that means shittier times to contrast with the better ones. This week is liable to be at least slightly crappier than you'd supposedly like, but just remember: It's here not to make you feel bad but to make you feel good—about all the many weeks that are better.

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Screw your self-destructive urges. Whenever you feel down, you're inclined toward crap that'll just make life worse. "Why the hell not?" you figure, and it's all on: smoking, heroin, living in squalor, unsafe sex, or unhealthy overindulgence in chocolate cake. I get it, but I heartily disagree. Since your life's already shit, why not do all the crap you ought to do but just don't want to? Deep clean your apartment. Go to the gym. Eat healthfully. Give it a try. I suspect you'll drag your ass getting into it but be skipping and smiling coming out.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

The brilliance of Alfonso Cuarón's latest film, Children of Men, which is set in the future, is that his version of the year 2027 is eminently recognizable as something very much like today, only more extreme, somehow. It's frightening to consider the future we're setting ourselves up for, and to imagine how today's problems will only multiply and compound themselves as time goes on. Your difficulties are something like those facing humanity and our society: They're actually easier to solve today than they ever will be again. Not that they're easy now, but ignoring them won't erase them. The longer you wait, the more complex and difficult to fix they'll become.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

To a young child, magic appears possible simply because they're not quite sure how reality works. A friend of mine imagined that he could somehow grow up to be Wonder Woman. That seemed perfectly viable to him. Gradually, as we grow up, adults teach us the concept of impossibility, roping off what's available to us, bit by bit. Eventually we call this limited perspective "being realistic." That's lame-ass crap. Realism is for losers. Everyone who's ever done something amazing did it despite the fact that people told them it was "impossible." This week, keep that in mind before you rope off every dream you (and those you love) ever had.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

Cold weather's a lot more pleasurable with someone to share it with. Instead of viewing it as a harsh time that limits your options, consider it a chance to indulge in pleasures unavailable to you at other times of the year; cuddling under a quilt with someone sweet and a cup of cocoa would be a drag at the height of summer, but it's ace now. Try it. In fact, try anything and everything that might transform the present moment from simply bearable to brilliant. If you don't learn this knack, you'll be just as unhappy come summer because it's too damn hot and you miss wearing your favorite sweater.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

As if the last couple weeks, with all that holiday business, weren't stressful enough, now you'll be hit with a whole new flavor of stress, and it'll be one you'd rather didn't exist, like pistachio-melon or bubble-gum walnut. Unfortunately, there's no easy out here, so it's grin-chew-swallow-grin all the way. It will get better, as long as you don't spit it back in the faces of the idiots feeding it to you. It's not like you're about to acquire a taste for this brand of misery; you're simply apt to get better at handling it. Yeah, it sucks that you're being handed heaping platefuls of crap to eat, but the quicker you can choke it down, the quicker you can get to dessert—which will taste all the more fantastic for what you had to go through to get to it.

Leo (July 23–Aug. 22)

Everyone's exploring new ways to commit to each other. Old-school marriages don't often work because they involve (at least for most of our grandparents) a lot of lying, deceit, and self-deception. These days, we want to have our cake and eat it, too. We want honesty and openness, but that involves acknowledging that our actual desires rarely fit neatly into perfect, box-shaped relationships, at least not for more than a few years. Sometimes being the perfect partner means being sexually open or sharing intimacy with more than one other person, or otherwise stretching our preprogrammed ideas about what love and commitment really mean. Yours are badly in need of a stretch; they can't even touch their own toes anymore. This week, work on that, even if it hurts a little.

Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

You've been known to overdose on forgiveness, and I usually counsel you to cool it before you start doling out sixth and seventh chances. But this week, I rescind that general advice. Go hog wild, Mother Teresa. Extend forgiveness to anyone who honestly asks for it, whether it's their second, fifth, or 23rd chance. You're allowed to be cynical, of course, and believe that you'll probably get burned again. In fact, acknowledging that likelihood makes your act of compassion all the more beautiful. It also gives that one person who's really ready to try something new a chance to actually do it, with your blessing making all the difference. Could you really withhold that? I sure hope not.

Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22)

You're such a generous comfort to the people around you. How many times have you talked people (figuratively) down from high jumping places or dragged someone up from the Dumpster behind your building? You're a natural diplomat, comforter, and shoulder to cry on. When, however, was the last time you allowed yourself to be rescued or otherwise reassured? You shouldn't go out of your way this week to require consolation or rescue—but if you do happen to need someone to tell you that everything's going to be all right, please, please ask for it, won't you?

Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21)

I can usually trust a Scorpio to be relatively unmotivated by money. You might have other ulterior motives, but pure profit is usually pretty far down your priority list. You can be trusted to ignore capital gain if it interferes with your principles or other desires. That's why your actions of late have confused me; on the surface at least, they seem to have been motivated by something akin to monetary gain at the expense of more valuable ideals. Is there something more to your recent actions? Or was it a momentary lapse in judgment? This week, fix whatever's wrong: our perceptions or your actions.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21)

I need help letting go, Sag. I've come to you because you're as close to an expert on the subject as we've got. Surely, you have some tricks up your sleeve in this department. We're hopeless. Even when we know release is the only choice, sometimes we just keep hanging on. What should we do when desire overwhelms rationality? How do you let go when you really don't want to? This week, you're the teacher, imparting this crucial skill to those of us in need of it. What's your secret? Clue us in, won't you?

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