Aries (March 21-April 19): Are you familiar with gargoyles? On Gothic buildings, they were the grotesque stone creatures designed to scare away evil spirits. I suggest you acquire a scary guardian like a gargoyle to assist you this week. You see, Halloween may be over for everyone else, but you Aries folks still have some spooky business to attend to. Atonements to the dead would be a smart move right now, as would ritual purifications of your bad self and spirit-cleansings of your home. If you've engaged in any flirtation with demons or out-of-control humans in the last 12 months, this is an ideal time to spout, "Get the hell out of my life forever" -- preferably just as your gargoyle unleashes a hearty, growling laugh.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Let's practice the fine art of saying no, shall we? Please repeat after me: "No. No. I can't go along with you on that. No. No. No. I won't take on any more responsibilities. No. No. No. No. I don't want to have to say no again. No!" Now, Taurus, I advise you to compose 10 more negative affirmations sculpted for your specific needs, and practice them until you can chant them in your sleep. (That way, you'll be able to say no in your dreams, too.) By the way, while delivering your refusals, try to maintain a cheery tone of voice, stripped of defensiveness and malice. After all, this weapon is meant to liberate you, not tie you up in nots -- or knots, either.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): My divination skills are so good that I sometimes average an 80 percent success rate in predicting the outcome of football games. Lately, though, I've been wrong far more often than would be expected by chance. It's as if I have reverse telepathy. No problem: I simply bet on the teams my hunches tell me will lose. My other psychic skills seem askew as well. I tried to channel in the spirit of Lucille Ball, for instance, and instead got Lenny Bruce. This backward luck of mine reminds me of yours, Gemini. Your results have been consistently different from your intentions recently, yet they're interesting and even useful. Still, I suggest you cover your assets as I'm covering mine, by warning everyone that you're a loose cannon.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): With the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers recently discovered what they playfully call a "whirling dervish" at the core of the Crab nebula. Actually, it's a pulsar, a small but superpotent star that throws off rhythmic blasts of intense illumination as it rotates at fantastic speeds. This reminds me of what's now unfolding at the heart of another Crab -- you. The state of your soul has more than a little in common with the ecstatic trance of a whirling dervish -- or the lavish bursts of energy from a swirling pulsar.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Are you going to wheeze or bellow this week, Leo? That is, will you emit intermittent and ineffectual little puffs, or hearty, nonstop gusts? For that matter, do you plan to sip or guzzle? Nag or exhort? Tease or pounce? I think you know which one of each of these pairs I'd like you to choose. It's high time to graduate from the ancient struggle between dabbling and mastery.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You know more than you know you know -- and this will soon become thrillingly obvious. Previously unavailable wisdom is already working its way up from the deepest levels of your subconscious mind, preparing to leap into your throat when you least expect it. Speaking in behalf of the whole world, I forgive you in advance if you seem to be even more maddeningly omniscient than an ordinary know-it-all. In fact, I think it'll be rather cute. You'll have at least three answers for everything -- and they'll probably all be correct.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When I worked delivering mail for the post office, I often finished my route early and hid in an alley so I could write poetry. While I don't mean to suggest I'm in the same intellectual league as Albert Einstein or Franz Kafka, both of them also goofed off a lot on company time (Einstein at the patent office, Kafka at an insurance company) so they could ply their infinitely more interesting talents. By telling you this, Libra, I'm not necessarily urging you to follow suit. I don't want to be responsible for pissing off your boss. I will, however, let you know that this is an excellent time to inject more play into your work, or get more serious about your labor of love.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): For months my Scorpio friend Andrew played his golden harp for the flocks of international tourists who scale Mount Brandon in western Ireland. Forever falling in love with the intriguing women he met, ceaselessly intoxicated by the 50-mile views and the lyrical mood swings of the ever-changing weather, Andrew also happened to be in an optimal position to make a whole hell of a lot of money. Ain't that just the quintessential Scorpio fantasy? To be steeped in sexy poetry and get rich doing it? Now it's November, and it's time for him to come down from the mountain -- so he can set to work materializing the paradise he'll be living out next summer. You too, Scorpio. Descend from the heights and get busy plotting next year's dream-come-true.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I don't mean to make an exact comparison between your imminent fate and that of the Norwegian woman who found her long-lost wedding ring in the entrails of a moose her husband's hunting party brought her to cook. But there's something about your story that resonates with hers. Could it be you're about to discover a forgotten or abandoned or stolen treasure in a place you can barely stand to look at or touch?

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Researchers recently found that kids who wolfed down sugary breakfast cereals right before school did better on tests than those who skipped the sweet stuff and ate earlier. I bring this up, Capricorn, because it's final-exam time for you. In the next couple of weeks, you'll be tested and tested and tested to see how well you've mastered the lessons of the past 11 months or so. To maintain a mental sharpness comparable to the children with the soaring blood sugar levels, I suggest you engorge six or seven bowls of Froot Loops every day until the testing season is over. Either that, or meditate your ass off.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Of all the dehumanizing notions foisted on us during election season, few are more idiotic than the idea that candidates who change their opinions lack character. I agree with the Aquarian writer Brook Hinton, who said, "I don't trust politicians whose views stay the same over time. For that matter, I don't trust anyone who doesn't continuously change." Keep this thought in mind as you ramble through the next few weeks, Aquarius. The time is ripe for you to change your mind about everything.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Are you one of those drivers who never stops to ask for directions and never admits you're lost? If so, you'll be rambling in lots of crazy circles this week. There's no way you'll be able to navigate through the obstacle course ahead unless you're humble enough to solicit help. Even your maps will deceive you if you rely on them too literally. By the way, it's equally important that you don't slip into the passenger's seat next to an overconfident pilot who thinks he's got the instincts of a migratory bird.

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