Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Sponges, the most ancient species of living animal, appear to the untutored eye to be inert and lifeless porous objects. Yet they’ve flourished for millions of years virtually unchanged. Their simple, effective structure makes their fierce labor seem like inactivity: They have to pump about a ton of seawater through themselves to filter out an ounce of food. This week, take your cue from the sponge, if at all possible: Since you’ll have to labor immensely for every particle of productivity, eliminate all nonessential activity (like some of your usual time-wasting shenanigans) from your schedule.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
Ironically, in some ways you’re at your best when you’re out of your comfort zone. For some people, being on vacation brings out the worst in them. They’re stressed by the differences from their normal routines and become obnoxious assholes with exaggerated senses of entitlement. Not so you; the more unpredictable a situation is, the more you thrive. That’s a pretty good card to have drawn in the Cosmic Talent Lottery. Someone less specifically skilled at surfing chaos would be quaking in their boots—you, on the other hand, should be quivering with excitement and joy.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
I’ve been watching you. Not like a creepy stalker; more like a proud parent grinning from the sidelines. Although I’m not directly responsible for your impressive progress, countless miniature triumphs, and cumulatively substantial achievements, I feel invested in your success. Rooting for you quietly from backstage with fingers crossed and prayers on my lips, I’m delighted when you validate my faith in you with such modest brilliance and diligence. Although I waited in hopes that someone more impressive would give you the recognition you deserve, I’ve realized that only someone paying this close attention is likely to know how worthy you are. Thus, I hereby present you, retroactively, the coveted Sign of the Year award for 2012. Care to go for two years in a row? You’re well on your way.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Patience and forgiveness are this month’s keywords. Although you may be tempted to blow up at, avenge, or even just address the wrongs done to you, it may not actually be worth it, since the angst-laden fallout that’s likely to result will be far greater than the initial catalytic distress. Besides, if you just bite your tongue, you’ll soon have a reward that will easily take your mind off your problems. Just make sure you don’t carry them with you—that’s where the forgiveness part comes in. Recognize how sweet your life is, and let go of its few minor flaws so you can truly, wholeheartedly enjoy the rest.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Crabs molt. Whenever they outgrow their shells, they crack open and squeeze out of their old selves, and spend a nervous couple days avoiding predators (if you’ve ever had soft-shell crab, you’ve taken advantage of their tender vulnerability) until their new shells harden. Although literally climbing out of your old skin would be disgusting, doing so figuratively is a good idea, coinciding with this week’s New Moon. It might be tougher than peeling yourself out of a sweaty pair of tight leather pants, but when you experience the grateful relief of being able to breathe again after such a task, you’ll be glad you did.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
At an improv workshop this weekend, an accomplished and experienced improviser shared with us his mantra to address the inner voices that still tell him he doesn’t know what he’s doing: Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. Let go of the outcome. This struck me as perfect advice for life—in particular, your life, right now. Follow these four steps for a week or three, then report back. I’m pretty sure no matter what happens you’ll be a happier person, even if you don’t get the things you currently think you need to be happy. Isn’t the end result—your happiness—more important than the way you got there?
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Sometimes, terrified anticipation is worse than the actual event you’re dreading. But your proposed strategy is like breaking a mirror on purpose, just to get it over with. Forcing yourself to suffer a fate that isn’t actually inevitable isn’t the best way to end your anxiety about it. You’ve done that before. But since what you fear isn’t actually likely to happen anytime soon, don’t force the issue. Keep the mirror whole; keeping an eye on what’s reflected in it will do far more to ease your trepidation than breaking it ever could.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Don’t repeat Adam’s mistake. I’m not talking about that whole business with The Apple that got him and Eve exiled from Eden. I’m referring to his first wife (chronicled in ancient Hebrew texts), Lillith. She objected to his limited sexuality; since she considered them equals, she didn’t want to lie beneath him all the time. When he refused to change it up at all, she uttered the name of God and disappeared, leaving a whining Adam behind (God eventually indulged him by creating the supposedly more pliant Eve). There’s a Lillith in your life right now, no? You may think you know exactly how you like it—but that’s not allowing for the possibility that Lill knows some tricks you might love. At least try out the new positions being suggested to you, in and out of bed, before your horizon-expanding friend gets frustrated and takes off for good.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Can you blame people for being envious? Admit it: You’ve got it made. Of course, you deserve it. But now that you have so many of the things you want, there’s a whole new set of worries to screw you up—but don’t let anxiety about losing the good stuff rule you, Scorpio. First of all, although the blessings in your life can last a long time, we both know nothing is forever. Secondly, worrying about them can only accelerate that process. Just enjoy what you’ve got, whether it’s true love, unemployment benefits, or free cable TV.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
No matter how many layers you apply, white watercolor paint is simply not going to be able to convincingly cover darker colors applied earlier. The same goes for what you’re attempting to hide now. The story you’re laying over it is only creating a thin, translucent veneer that actually makes what you’re trying to cover up look much worse than it actually is. Instead of struggling to gloss over your past (which is hardly as embarrassing as you imply) either flaunt it, or use the method many people use to fix up a poorly thought-out tattoo—incorporate it into another, bigger picture.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
I respect that you take your time to make a decision, and that once you do, it’s one that can be counted on. But I worry about your ability to rationalize bowing to fear, explaining it as natural caution. That’s a copout. Break free of the shackles of careful forward movement. It’s the difference between creeping across the galaxy on impulse engines and activating the warp drive. Don’t be left behind. Risk leaving the overfamiliar universe you know and enter the thrilling new one you’ve been craving all along. Quit plodding along and start traveling at the faster-than-light speeds you’re capable of.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Octopi are loosely related to more familiar mollusks, like clams or snails, only somewhere in evolutionary history they shed their shells in favor of mobility and speed. Incredibly versatile, these fluid creatures can squeeze into almost any space, and their amazing skin can imitate virtually any color or texture. Although you lack some of the physical advantages of this ingenious creature, you share some intangible qualities. Like them, you’ve rid yourself of encumbering armor, learned how to blend with hostile environments, and bonelessly slipped through traps that would have snared someone more rigid. Now it’s time to develop a new cephalopodine talent: juggling the many blessings and responsibilities you’ve chosen will require at least eight arms.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)