Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
There’s no recipe for the perfect marriage, or ideal child-rearing. Following one formula can only get you so far; individual variances are likely to screw you up along the way no matter what. But two qualities that most successful partnerships and parenting teams possess in abundance are extreme adaptability, and a muscular, flexible sense of humor. Other, more specialized skills are pointless if you’re not mentally limber and perpetually ready to laugh. Forget trying to acquire talents and degrees of dubious merit this week. They’re not important. Instead, give your brain and funny bone a workout. They may not be all you need, but by themselves they’re still 90 percent of it.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Lying to save your own ass is screwed up. That statement’s a tad obvious, I know—but still necessary, unfortunately. The temptation’s going to be hard to resist this week, because nearly everyone you know is likely to counsel you to do just that. They’ll tell you, “You have to.” I’m just here to say, you don’t have to. Sure, playing fast and loose with the truth is easier than taking a fall, but it still sucks. You may need to own up to whatever’s going on; it’s the only thing that’ll get you to the next chapter. By lying, you only postpone the inevitable—you’ll eat that bullet eventually. Wouldn’t you rather bite it now and get it over with?
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
What’s up with people? Why won’t they just shut the hell up? There you are, minding your own business, and complete strangers feel compelled to butt in and give you pieces of their obviously threadbare minds. It’s hard to make yourself immune to this commentary, especially when it resonates with your most negative self-perceptions. It’s difficult to continue feeling beautiful when someone asks you why you look so haggard. Nevertheless, that’s this week’s task; vaccinating yourself against idiots and their opinions. It’s almost impossible to develop antibodies to this societal disease; nevertheless, I believe you can.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
To some extent getting older means a steady diminishment of potential; at some point you inevitably realize you’ll never achieve your dream of becoming an astronaut, teen prodigy, or gymnast. But it’s not as grim as you make it out to be; very few heartfelt dreams must actually be sacrificed. Most are still as achievable as they ever were (although some may require more work and determination than before), and there are new paths opening up daily, opportunities unavailable (maybe even unimaginable) to you before. If you find your age depressing, it’s probably because you’re not being proactive enough in the pursuit of your fantasies. Don’t let your accumulating years weigh you down—use them as fuel to propel you forward instead.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Being swept away by intense emotions is forgivable and expected in a 15-year-old, who’s not yet aware of their transience. Now that you’re more mature, you have, however, drifted to the opposite (and no more healthy or viable) extreme: you’re reluctant to act on passionate impulses because you know they’re more or less short-lived. Love, grief, depression—you never forget how they fade or mutate over time. However, by generating only inaction from that knowledge you make paralysis the most enduring touchstone of your life. Is that really what you’re about?
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
When riding a rollercoaster, you rarely grip the bar; your hands are in the air and you’re screaming through your grin from the get-go. You’re that good at letting go—literally and figuratively. Most of reality is, to varying degrees, overwhelming for you. So you picked up a talent, early on, for surrendering to situations rather than attempting to control them. Some of your peeps desperately need to learn this. Teach them, please. Be patient (you’ve had your whole life to practice letting go, remember) but insistent—for a newbie, giving up (the illusion of) control is terrifying and unpleasant. By their fifth ride, though, they’ll be just like you: dizzy, exhilarated, and ready for more.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Why do you insist on dreaming silly dreams that will clearly never come true? The answer’s obvious: Because it’s fun. It’s also human nature. Quit beating yourself up for entertaining unrealistic fantasies. Refute advice that urges you to be more down-to-earth. You’re practical enough for two people (just look at who you’re taking up slack for, if you want evidence). Let your imagination be huge. The more space you make inside for flights of fancy the bigger your whole life will seem. When someone slaps you and tells you to wake up and smell the coffee, slap them back and throw the coffee in their face. You are awake. It’s those who’ve given up dreaming who sleep; they just don’t know it.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Leo’s power animal is the lion, but it’s largely inappropriate. Sure you’re majestic and beautiful and occasionally lazy, but you have so many qualities a lion doesn’t share. Therefore, I’m hereby giving you a new one: the phoenix. This mythological beast periodically dies in a glorious blaze, but then is born anew from its own ashes. Your incredible power to reinvent yourself and create entirely new chapters of your life is unparalleled, and deserves this symbolic nod. So don’t fear the inevitable fiery death of whatever chapter you’re in—instead, look forward to the surprising new one that’ll come next.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Brewing the perfect cup of tea can be painstaking; steps include preheating the teapot (to help facilitate extraction of flavor from your tea), use of tea leaves rather than teabags (they’re higher quality and better-tasting). You should also never leave the tea sitting in the pot for more than five minutes; your beverage will be too tannic (bitter, mouth-drying, unpleasant); squeezing teabags (a common crime) will have similar consequences. What’s this prissy bullshit have to do with you? Everything; paying attention to nitpicky details (and, yes, ritual) will dramatically enhance your (and everyone’s) experience this week. Ignoring minutiae won’t be devastating, but it could, just like neglectful tea-making, lead to some otherwise avoidable bitterness.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Whether you possess multiple personalities or simply highly contradictory facets of your personality is a question of semantics or psychology that’s beyond me. I personally don’t care which; either is fascinating. This horoscope is addressed to two of your most compelling (and least similar) inner characters: the one most inclined to be silly, casual, and spontaneous, and the one who’s invariable serious (as well as passionate, romantic, and dramatic). Why this pair? Because they’re being employed in ways that minimize their strengths and maximize their flaws. This week, have this duo switch jobs. Be silly where you’d usually be serious, and romantic in typically casual situations. You won’t believe the results until you’ve experienced them.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
This winter’s cold snaps might make you consider burning the furniture for heat. I refer not to your apartment’s furnishings, but to your soul’s; the psychic equivalent of chairs, tables, couches. These long-term mental and spiritual sources of comfort and security (be they in the form of relationships, employment, or faith) are in danger of being consumed inefficiently to provide a blast of short-term warmth. Don’t screw up this bad. These people and situations could gently insulate your life for years to come. Burning them up instead would flash-fry your frostbite now, but leave you vulnerable to an ice age later.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
The good guys don’t necessarily always win. You’ve probably learned that by now, but if not, you’re likely to get a tangible example of it this week, when those with the least scruples, class, or sportsmanship take the lead. Should you abandon your values so you can be in that coveted front-runner position? I guess it depends on how much those principles are worth to you. Somehow, I don’t see you making that trade-off, especially once I tell you how unnecessary it is: being underhanded only ever conveys a temporary advantage—the only time it wins the race is when the “good guys” give up.
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