ARIES (March 21-April 19): I'm putting out a slightly devilish set of horoscopes this go-around, and I thought I'd share with you, Aries, the inside scoop on 'em. If you happened to glance through all twelve of this week's love-poems (not that I'd expect you to, since what possible relevance could the other eleven have for your week-ahead?), you might notice a preponderance of the first-person-singular pronoun 'I' dotting nearly each and every sentence. I am, after all, consuming many hours of my day in authoring these trillion-and-a-half words as an offering to you and the collective unconscious. Why shouldn't I get to put myself into them, and derive a bit (or more than a bit) of self-satisfying contentment out of the process? I have work to do, yes, but not at the expense of making sure I'm drawing something personally life-affirming out of it, too. And if, along the way, I find I need to toss in some disruptive addition or addendum to the mutual understanding we supposedly share about what ought to go on in these horoscopic inches, in order to make myself feel better and to spark my blaze-of-initiative back up to high dancing flames, I will balance my duty to work with being that brashly self-serving. What? Is that terrible? Nobody's forcing you to ride my ride with me, darlin'. (Oh, wait did I forget to mention my suspicion that you also have a very healthfully self-centered sentiment to get off your chest, and pronto, so it doesn't hinder your otherwise productive capabilities?)
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I've got a pretty strong sense of self, in case you hadn't noticed. Even as a youngster, I would joke, when people asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, 'I want to be myself professionally' and though I never foresaw that occurring against this weird backdrop of astrology, I suppose constructing an entire business around my alter-ego 'astrobarry' would qualify as such. I take the creative expression inherent in this role quite seriously, and probably expend more conscious effort in coming off 'just so' than many of you might think. What I put forth is exceedingly sincere but, at the same time, it is hardly the whole story of 'Barry the person', and does a pretty successful job of masking the me who has no clear clue about where I'm getting all of this 'astrobarry' stuff from, and who wonders who the hell do I think I am to believe I'm in any position to dole out metaphysical advice, or whatever, to anyone. (That guy may be anxiety-prone and riddled with self-doubt, but he's sure fun to party with and he's the real mystic.) If you've gotten this far, Taurus, you're probably wondering what the heck any of this has to do with you. Well, you tell me. I can only see into your soul as far as your solid, stable and secure self is willing to allow access. And though this is the side of your personality that represents the most significant chunk of you (and which, by my astro-watch, is at a peak of confidence), there's another facet who's only now barely emerging who is shaky and unsure, desperate to believe in the sort of miracles your pragmatic mind would rather disavow, and wants to try something way radical. Invite that piece to lead you on a treasure hunt. What you're looking forand what you findis none of our business.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I feel like I've been cleaning out closets and corners and containers of old emotions for weeks now I mean, months I mean, friggin' forever and somehow, these storage spaces keep filling themselves up with crap I thought I didn't want (thanks, mom and dad), though if I really didn't want it, I probably should've gotten rid of it by now. This is a never-ending process, it seems, one which could easily trap me at homefor productive good-reason, of courseevery day for the next decade (or at least through to the second part of April). But where my peeps at, yo? I'm not the solitary type. Though I certainly enjoy my moments alone, I also rely heavily on my circle of folks to keep me grounded, inspired, and full of that loving feeling. And they really mustn't be left hanging, especially since I secretly take such pride in the way my presence adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that gets them talking and laughing and spreading their enthusiasms like wildfire. This contagion then comes back to reinfect me with an enlivening spirit-force I need to persevere through the personal purging process. Surely you know what I mean, Gemini. I'm not going on and on about how socially provocative (though deliciously benevolent about it) I am, simply because I'm high on myself. It's because you are so much a 'glue-that-holds-the-community-together' kind of gal/guy yourself, you need to be out and about, lovingly touching your group's experience with your je-ne-sais-quoi. This will continually reenergize you as you persist in kicking yesterday to the curb.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I still owe a few friends a follow-up Facebook response, a catch-up call, a check-in on the state of their affairs (some of which, frankly, worry me a bit) and all that sure sounds like a much easier, if not just as time-consuming, way to spend my afternoon. But you and I both know, I can't get away with skipping a horoscope because some old pal or space-age cousin is having another mini-identity-crisis and needs two more hours of being talked down from the ledge. I have a reputation to live up to not just because I'm vain (though that helps me feel less self-conscious about packing your advice-column with pointless details about my life), but because I have worked long and hard to reach a point in my career where this vessel I've created from scratch holds the space for me to extemporaneously riff and still get my job done. How the hell is this relevant to your life, Cancer? You too have tremendousand tremendously personalefforts to pour into your outwardly visible contributions at the moment, and over the coming few weeks, and there's an eagle-eyed (though presumably adoring) general public who's eager to respond to, and/or engage with, that thing you've been working long and hard on. You can put forth an even saucier, more self-expressive and iconoclastic version of it, for that pleasurable feeling of personal release. But you mustn't dick away hours or days you cannot afford on acquaintance-centered social-nicety b.s., less taxing on your ambitions though it may be. There's a torch to light, main thoroughfares to run through, a fire to proudly carry high above your head for all to see. Take this lead, rather than being led down someone else's side-street.
LEO (July 23-August 22): If it weren't for practicalities, I'd probably be in constant travel mode. I'd say I'm an explorer by nature, always interested in journeying somewhere to see something I've never seen before which sometimes makes it hard to sit in this same spot, week in and week out, comparing one planet's position to another's and building respectable value as someone who translates this strange language for readers' edification and joy. A personal conundrum: While I basically attribute all my earned financial success to repetitively doing the same thing over and over again for a span of years, my spirit craves the continual adventure of exposure to novel and foreign inputs, a yearning that, at its core, defies repetitiveness. However, you may have noticed, Leo, that this week's episode is a mold-breaker a purposeful (and, yes, astrologically relevant) reaching outside the comfort-zone of consistency, with the inherent risk of alienating potential paying-customers, in my personal quest for a novel and foreign perspective on my very routine role as a weekly columnist. The seeker in me has demanded I push the envelope, to see what other experiences might be contained within this structure in order to provide myself the exhilaration of transgressing boundaries while, at the same time, still fulfilling my earthly obligations. You too could probably benefit from a dose of purposeful transgression, particularly in light of the mundane economic considerations you've lately been forced to contend with. But be deliberate in the seeking of 'what else'it ought to mean something.
VIRGO (August 23-September 22): I'm purposely making a total fucking mess here in this horoscope column this week, Virgo. Oh, trust, I have a logic, though its specifics are none of your damn business. I am taking the ruffneck shit-disturbing shaman's approach, by which I openly incite and rile and roil enough to rouse some response to my seemingly selfish and rude attitude but with the intent of your mystical healing. I'm a bad-ass genie that way. I take my humanitarian duties to you quite seriously (despite the fact I question whether I even like people very much), which is why I'm forcing you to confront the at-times shrill consequences of developing a long-term relationship with me. (Or with anyone, really.) I can be really fucking annoying. I'm a human being, you know, not just a horoscope-writing robot, expected to perform repetitive tasks on command without food or water or the legally-prescribed breaks between shifts. If you want to get down and dirtyand, trust me, you doyou're going to have to look this egomaniacal, misanthropic, antsy-to-get-back-to-what's-mine-in-the-world flesh-tyrant (who also happens to be an earnest, loving, vulnerable bundle of adorable nerves) straight in the eyes and acknowledge my humanity, though it's probably inconvenient, since this is surely not what you were looking for in a frigging horoscope. I'm sure you have plenty of more important occupations to fill your time with. Yet, if you want something from the other characters in your life (your astrologer included), you also have to contend with their unruly, irrational and/or occasionally insane mess-making ways. It's good for all of us.
LIBRA (September 23-October 22): The other night, I needlessly endured a couple hours of private anxiety on someone else's account, which was then immediately neutralized by my sending of the 'is everything all right?' text and, within about five minutes, receiving the reply that proved I'd been acting silly. I had hesitated throughout those couple hours about whether to send the text or not, to bother this person with my indulgent worries though, once I did, they apparently weren't at all upset by having to answer my simple (albeit emotionally needy) question. Trying first to take care of things inside my own head, however, was pretty ineffective, and squandered quite a bit of my energyand all in the name of what? Saving face? Pretending to be unaffected by someone else's actions? Portraying 'the mature one'? For now, I am done with that. I am presently so willing to voice my concerns and observations and impressions about whoever I'm contending with, I'll even interject my personal life into an entire workweek's worth of horoscopes just to not get lost in the worst-case hypotheticals of my own self-destructive making. I will involve others, like you, Libra, in a dialogue about my goings-on. I will share. If I were to deny my urgent need to shake up our relationship, yours and mine, by instead composing rote warnings about Mercury-retrograde or feel-good encouragements to hang in there, I'd probably end up drunk before noon and hating myself about it tomorrow. Instead, I'm getting drunk on crude forthright creativity, in partnership with you, dear reader (and, simultaneously, obediently serving my cosmic duty). Might you consider doing your version of the same? Out of your head, and into interactive exchange, no matter the content.
SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): I love writing horoscopes for you Scorpios. You bitches can take whatever shit I'm tossing out on any given week, without flinching or batting an eyelash. I certainly can't recall a single example of a Scorpio emailing me about how I'm being too mean to them in that week's installment (though I definitely get those emails from other signs who shall remain nameless). We both know what the deal is: I'm not here to win over your heart with saccharine-sweet promises that, if you wear pink today and embrace your lucky number, a gorgeous stranger will appear from the sky and make all your dreams come true. I'd rather earn your respect by giving it to you straight, pushing you to take responsibility for your own destiny instead of playing the new-age blame game, and tossing expletives at you all along the way. I have a job to do, after all and if it requires me to be gruff or profane (or, in the case of the edition you're reading right now, unapologetically confessional and self-obsessed), then that's how I'm going to be. Which, naturally, means that certain people will not become fans of my work (and, as a corollary, will probably not become fans of me personally either). That's the breaks. And that's why I always tell prospective clients who are considering booking a consultation with me to read my horoscopes to snatch a sense of my tone and see if I'm for them, since, as I put it, 'I'm not for everyone'. Whatever job you've presently got to do, Scorpio, may require a similarly uncompromising position, particularly if you want to do it in the specific type of exceptional manner only you are capable of. If that makes you unlikable in certain circles? Oh the fuck well.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): Have I ever confessed my recurring desire to tease one zodiac-sign or another by writing them a horoscope that's only one word long or the same short sentence repeated over and over again for an entire paragraph or a simple and lovingly bitchy remark like, 'Just get the fuck over yourself already, mmm'kay?' and then get on with the rest of my day, so I can go to the beach with the dog, or fly a kite, or pound shots of tequila with my homeys? Can you imagine the kind of angry emails I'd get from the recipients of that type of 'wisdom', when I already hear enough ridiculous claims from readers about how I must be particularly hatefully biased against their sign (though we all know I'm an equal-opportunity hard-ass to all of y'all)? Who needs those hassles, right? So, on a day like today, when my preference might indeed be 'short and snappy', I instead find myself going on and on and on in lengthier-than-usual segments and honorably fulfilling my public role as a potty-mouthed planetary prophetbut only after having first committed to having a damn good time doing it. You, of all the signs, should feel me on this point, Sagittarius especially considering the heavier-than-usual burdens of respectability, due-diligence, and precision you've been pressured to shoulder recently, when you're usually more irreverent and loose than the stereotypical burden-shoulderer is imagined to be. I hope my ridiculous ways this week serve as an example of how one can (1) honorably and respectably manage one's business and (2) fuck aroundboth with utter sincerityat the same time. Now can we drink to that?
CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Does every frigging sentence I string together and publish have to be so damn inspirational or meaningful? Sometimes I fear it does particularly when I'm feeling way more moved to skip away to the kitchen and conjure up a big pot of soul-enriching stew or that batch of rosemary lamb burgers I've been craving all week than to sit at the computer again and wiggle my fingers back and forth across a keyboard until the horoscopic gospel has been delivered. I do have a very rich private life, by the way. Activities occur in my home that shall not be discussed, but which ensure my cup remaineth full enough to bubble over with these weekly transmissions from the galaxy. There is a real person back behind here, one who often must choose between serving the people or finally cleaning his fucking bedroom. I'm sure you can relate, Capricorn, to the sense that your surprisingly runty or moody or whiny or lazy human-self is usually pretty well concealed behind the wizardly curtain of that incredibly impressive and well-put-together guise others know you by. We are correct in wanting to put our best face forward, for reasons not the least of which is a burning desire to adequately represent our particular viewpoint or life-philosophy with a certain seriousness. I've even been actively putting direct pressure on you Capricorns these days to do just that. But between us, I now also encourage you to indulge whatever sort of 'burger-craving'preferably of a type that's neither meaningful nor appropriate for public consumptionwill whet your inner appetite. Nobody needs to know what's going on behind your closed doors. Make it good.
AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Over these past couple months of Mars retrograde, I've uncovered all sorts of unexpectedly unresolved dimensions to psychological issues I thought I'd already mastered, with admirable self-help aplomb, years ago. Yet here I found myself, behaving, by underdeveloped complex-drive, toward people and situations as if I still felt as threatened or envious or ashamed as that adolescent kid being teased in the halls at school though my actualized adult-self hardly resembles him anymore. Or so I thought. More deep reflections, disturbing dreams, desperate unpeelings of more layers of onionsall useful exercises, sure, but does it ever fucking cease? Yes, Aquarius, it ceases as soon as both of us, you and I, simply decide to talk about something else. These may be my issues I'm filling your horoscope with but, damn, if it isn't way less unnecessarily taxing to listen to somebody else's problems for a change! Or to decide that 'problems', while perhaps real and worthy of some note, sometimes ought to be filed away for a few hours or days, to give us a different tone to our exchanges, one that's not so edgy or uptight? Steal a social tangent or twenty-two, with friends astute enough to understand the subtle difference between (1) deep life-hindering denial and (2) a more measured choice to just temporarily table the drama and laugh off a couple afternoons. We can return to the self-analysis clinic for our lifelong personal-development course-of-treatment another day. Today, let's grab a soda.
PISCES (February 19-March 20): Ah, at last the final horoscope I have to write for the week. Once I'm done with this, I can begin the recreational portion of my day. Hip, hip, hooray! I hope you aren't too worried that, by this late point in my creative process, my passion for wisdom-administering has already dried up. For all I know, you entertain such worries often; I mean, you are the last sign of the zodiac wheel, which could be considered similar to being the last person picked for the kickball team or some other end-of-the-line sacrificial position. Let me reassure you, I am so conscientious about whether you'll get the short end of the horoscope stick due to being last in the zodiac line, I actually use a random number generator each week to determine which order I write the horoscopes in, to ensure fairness in case any sign might receive more or less attentiveness from me based upon where they fall in my workflow. (It just so happens you came up last in this week's randomly generated list.) Yeah, I'm that considerate. I think about others' feelings, and want what's best for them. Ain't I great? On the flip side, I am also a selfish bastard who has other things I need to get to, in order to support myself and take practical care of my own needs, besides all that damn consideration of everyone else. For instance, if I gave my all to everybody who wanted something from me for free, I wouldn't have enough time for those who are willing to pay me for my consideration not to mention all the stabilizing tasks and self-nurturing efforts I must manage, to maintain that I might actually possess something of worth to swap with the world. This example better touch a nerve in you, Pisces. You're a selfish bastard, tooor at least you'd better be, just like I'm about to stop concerning myself with you and get on with my day. You've got your own stuff to independently handle. Later.