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Week of August 25


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CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Let's discuss the differences between dumb, unproductive pain and smart, useful pain. The former is the kind you keep being drawn back to out of habit. It's familiar, and therefore perversely comfortable. The latter is the kind of pain that surprises you with valuable teachings and inspires you to see the world with new eyes. While stupid pain is often born of fear, wise pain is stirred up by love. The dumb, unproductive stuff comes from allowing yourself to be controlled by your early conditioning and from doing things that are out of harmony with your essence. The smart, useful variety arises out of a willingness to live passionately and with a sense of adventure. Can you guess which type I'm urging you to gravitate toward right now, Capricorn?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): To promote my new book, Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, I've tried to set up lectures at bookstores. One place I contacted was A Clean Well-Lit Place for Books in San Francisco. It turned me down. Ironically, I was later able to score a gig at a spot called A Dirty Poorly-Lit Place for Books. It's a seedy dive in a rundown neighborhood. My audience was a handful of rowdies instead of the well-heeled crowd that might have seen me at the other store, and I sold just one book. But I enjoyed my time thoroughly, as my uninhibited congregation joined me in my favorite rituals, like kicking our own asses, burning money, throwing imaginary stones at heaven, and dancing in slow-motion on tabletops. Would audience members at A Clean Well-Lit Place for Books have done that? I think not. The moral of the story, Aquarius: It'll be very lucky if you, like me, have to settle for your second choice in the coming week.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You don't need to know how your computer and car work in order to use them. Their inner workings may be unfathomable, but that doesn't matter as long as you benefit from what they do for you. Let's apply that same principle to a certain relationship that is perplexing you. You obviously get something out of your alliance with this person, since you've chosen not to leave it. Yet you seem bothered by the fact that you can't figure out what you are to each other and where you're supposed to go next. My advice? For now, stop trying to understand it. Just surrender to the fruitful mystery. Simply let your connection perform its enigmatic magic.