Leo (July 23–Aug. 22) Talk about barking up the wrong tree. Persistence won't help you here; it doesn't matter how determined you are if you're looking in the wrong place. You'll never find what you seek there. You may have to face the possibility that what you want just isn't out there and available to you right now. That doesn't mean you'll never find it, just that there's no real point in pursuing it at the moment. You already kind of suspected that all this effort you were putting forth would ultimately lead to disappointment; why not just call it quits now, and put that energy into one of the numerous things that are going well? Virgo (Aug. 23–Sept. 22) When you screw up, you get more negative fallout than you fairly should. This is because you rarely make big mistakes; it's like the straight-A student getting caught cheating on a test. You get more than your share of disappointment, and perhaps even punishment, than the guy everyone thought would copy the answers if he could. It's not the least bit fair, but complaining about it won't change much. When you get flak for screwing up this week, just suck it up and move on, and realize this is what you get for elevating people's expectations. It's better than being expected to fail, isn't it? Libra (Sept. 23–Oct. 22) Encourage scrutiny. The interesting and appealing thing about the scenario you're facing is that the more closely someone takes a look at who you are and what you're up to, the more impressed they'll be. A cursory glance at your agenda is not likely to catch anyone's attention, but if someone manages to give it a second look—to give you a second look—chances are they'll stick around to find out more. The trick is getting them to give you that crucial double-take—figuring out just how to do that, of course, is this week's challenge. Scorpio (Oct. 23–Nov. 21) Forget second chances. You already blew that shot. You probably don't even deserve a third chance, to be fair, but this week you could land one anyway, if you wanted to. Before you go there, though, make sure it's what you really want. After all, you already botched this twice. Don't knock on, open, or walk through that door unless you're pretty damn sure that this time you're ready for what you'll find there. I think it mostly goes without saying that this wouldn't just be your third chance—it'd be your last one, too. Sagittarius (Nov. 22–Dec. 21) There's a time to get pissed off about the status quo, and a time to simply accept it. Determining which this is depends on you. You can change things if you want, although it might require tremendous effort. Are you willing to make that effort? Bitching and moaning about something without bothering to try to change it is a waste of time and energy. Don't bother. If you're going to let yourself get fired up, then you'd better be prepared to step up and put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, I advise just letting it go and keeping your mouth shut. Change it or live with it. No griping allowed. Capricorn (Dec. 22–Jan. 19) It boggles my mind that some scientists believe Earth is the only place in the entire universe where life exists, just because we haven't yet discovered empirical evidence to the contrary. It'd be much harder to believe that in the vastness of the cosmos, nowhere else had the conditions to produce life. Sometimes it's safe to make assumptions based on overwhelming odds that something is so, even if you have no proof. This is one of those times. You don't know the specifics of the situation, but you have every reason to believe that your guesses are right. Given that it would be shocking if you were wrong about your hunches, stop wasting time waiting for confirmation and just proceed as if they were proven fact. Aquarius (Jan. 20–Feb. 18) The sooner you realize that most people are assholes who don't give a crap about other people until they're given a reason to, the better off you'll be. Once you embrace this cynical extreme and acknowledge the grain of truth in it, you can stop expecting people to be more than selfish or self-centered. At that point, instead of being disappointed because people don't live up to the angelic ideal you wished for, you can be pleasantly surprised that hardly anyone is worthy of the pessimistic assessment I described above. Most people, of course, fall somewhere between saintly and criminally selfish. Learning to treasure them for their generosity will ultimately make you much happier than reviling them for their shortcomings. Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20) Be as scientific as your intuitive, logic-shunning brain will allow this week. You need to be analytical, scrupulously methodical, and above all else avoid leaping to conclusions, because whatever assumptions you make will almost certainly be wrong or inaccurate in some crucial way. Acting on hypotheses will get you into all kinds of trouble, and will probably be embarrassing too. Everyone—and I do mean everyone—must be considered innocent until proven guilty and receive the benefit of your doubt. This doesn't mean ignore your suspicions just because you can't prove they're right, but it does mean keeping your mind open and your mouth shut about them until you can. Aries (March 21–April 19) You know that thing you keep butting your head against, with only a headache to show for it? Guess what? It's not going to change. You already knew that, but your stubbornness forced you to persist anyway. Give up. Once you accept that it's immovable, your choice becomes simpler and easier to make: love it or leave it. Discard the options in between. They're just compromises that will only delay the inevitable. If you really can't come around to accepting and embracing what's before you, you need to walk away. There's no point in sticking around, since it will just make it more painful when you split later on. Taurus (April 20–May 20) Whatever you decide to get into is totally OK; just make sure you own it. Doing something halfheartedly or in secret is likely to backfire on you right now, so it's best to make your decisions and do your thing as openly, enthusiastically, and transparently as possible. If you really can't be that honest about your actions and decisions, you may have to allow for the possibility that they may be the wrong ones. Reassess your choices and why you think you need to keep them hidden from those who care about you. It's time to come out of the closet about what you're up to or quit doing it altogether until you can. Gemini (May 21–June 20) You haven't really done anything wrong, although I understand why you're apologizing. In your head, taking the blame often seems the easiest way to move through a conflict and just put it behind you. However, it's hardly fair, and doesn't really give you much ground to stand on if and when you ever decide to take a stand. It also doesn't allow for actual resolution of the conflict, since you can't solve a problem you're not really causing. Stop undermining yourself for the sake of simply avoiding conflict, and start addressing the real roots of that conflict, no matter what it costs you to do so. Cancer (June 21–July 22) I'm not a big fan of all-or-nothing solutions. I don't think completely cutting someone or something out of your life is necessarily the answer here. However, it could be the temporary transitional solution you need to get to a healthier place. Give yourself some mental breathing room and order a total blackout on a relationship that isn't currently good for you. Make sure you have at least a week (or longer, if you think that's what it'll take) to think about what new place, if any, this person or activity should occupy in your life. Of course you can ignore my suggestion and just keep on as you have, but be warned: That path will lead to the all-or-nothing scenario I think you want to avoid, and when you get to that point, there'll be no turning back.