If you know your ascendant, read it too.

GENERAL FORECAST: Only one more week of frantic holiday hoop-de-doo and then we can settle down for, if not a long winter's nap, some quiet balsamic moon delights. Balsamic covers the introspective three-day period before the new moon/solar eclipse on the 25th. Merry Christmas 2000? I think not. The winter solstice arrives on Thursday, the 21st at 5:38 a.m. PST, but before that sacred moment celebrating the birth of the sun, the return of the light, there's a chance we'll be surprised Friday by another unpredictable Mercury-Uranus contact, like we were on Thanksgiving weekend when Harris certified Florida for Bush. Progress on the 18th as the sun and Mars align; do as much as you can while you have the will (sun) and the energy (Mars). Tuesday can be tricky; while Venus and Pluto send out subtle, sexy suggestions, find a way to slip away for a quickie. Happy Holidays.

ARIES (March 20-April 19)

An aura of saintliness, the halo you rarely get to wear, is sporting your name for another week. As soon as your Mars ruler enters sexy, secretive Scorpio on the 23rd you can go back to your wicked, wicked ways. Until then, maximize your present popularity and focus your attention on a life-long goal, because, sometimes these aims are attainable with less effort than you think. The winter solstice marking the rebirth of the sun is always key for cardinal signs such as yours. Do something special on Thursday to commemorate the coming of the light.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

It's your talent for music and the visual arts that is particularly prominent right now. Might this be the time for a change of career or will singing Christmas carols and making ornaments for the tree fill the bill? Although the stubborn Bull usually is the last to admit it, once earthy Capricorn kicks in, you like to focus on purely practical matters, e.g., year-end gains and losses. However, because your Venus ruler is cruising through a Neptunian sea of confusion, you're probably not seeing too clearly; idealizing and overromanticizing, too.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

A well-balanced holiday menu of events, nothing particularly thrilling, but none that throw you off your feed, either. Relationships and your reactions remain your prime motivating force, but, for a change, you can also focus on having a good time for yourself while busily providing happy memories for the others. You're headed for an epiphany on Christmas Day, one of those moments when you GET IT. Until then, enjoy opportunities to hook up with adventurous playmates and attractive intellectuals. No oxymoron here.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

Crabs, more than the rest of us, regulate their lives by the changing seasons, the phases of the moon and the flow of the tides. The winter solstice might not have quite the impact that the summer solstice and the beginning of Cancer does. However, it will shift your focus to significant others in your field of work and the debt you owe them. Where does skiing fit in? Capricorn rules the knees, so make sure you're in shape and fairly flexible before you start schussing. The partial solar eclipse on Christmas Day is major; pay attention to your interior dialogue.

LEO (July 23-August 22)

It's play time for performing felines and just in time for the holidays. Christmas itself might be a bit strange because of the partial solar eclipse/Capricorn new moon. Lions don't do well when their sun ruler isn't shining bright; if, in spite of encouraging planetary contacts, you're feeling depressed, "ain't no sunshine" could be why. Hang with air and fire signs, even though some are full of hot air, to circumvent the blues and the blahs. One of them -- Aquarius or Aries? -- is looking especially attractive and sending signals.

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)

The pendulum doesn't swing very far -- from the neighbors' to your house all the way to the kids and how to entertain them, i.e. from the third to the your solar fifth house. No other interests loom large enough to distract you, to keep you from your appointed rounds. Well, maybe you'll spare a moment to celebrate the winter solstice and welcome the different energy that steady-as-she-goes Capricorn provides. Once the Sagittarius party-till-you-drop marathon you've been on dwindles down, you'll relax enough to experience the quiet joy of Christmas 2000.

LIBRA (September 23-October 22)

One last hurrah on Monday as feisty Mars in your sign provides the motivation and endurance you may need right about now to get through the worst of the holiday season horrors. Traffic, on the road and online, is the one that can irritate you the most. Compensate by concentrating on unusual recreational pastimes with exotic and attractive playmates. While your Venus ruler travels through tech- and folk- friendly Aquarius, whatever is new or out-of-the-ordinary will appeal to and appease the beast within. But not past New Year's Day.

SCORPIO (October 23-November 21)

Listen to your inner voice, especially if it tells you what to buy, when to sell. While other signs may get hunches, when it comes to them panning out, none has the track record Scorpio does. This is also the time to bring more music and art into the house, and to share your taste -- popular, punkish or progressive as it may be -- with family members. Enjoy the tail end of what has been a very harmonious period; as of the 23rd, Mars leaves Libra and couple consciousness for Scorpio and seven weeks of unbridled self-determination.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21)

Assorted aspects of your life -- communication skills, trendsetting stylistic choices, sexual desire and physical energy, the body politic -- flow with an ease and grace not usually associated with this hectic time of year. Is someone else handling the Centaur's reins, planning your birthday celebration? While you keep an eye on the future, let a significant other deal with the present, and the presents, too. Don't spread yourself any thinner than is absolutely necessary to get through the holidays. Precious moments with yourself, for your self are key.

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 20)

Like Santa, Jesus or the angel on top of the tree, you can hover above the holiday hysteria the rest of us are subject to, and not show up until winter solstice celebrations begin. Even after Capricorn kicks in, there are a few days when your presence is not absolutely required. But once the sun is eclipsed by the new moon on Christmas Day, you're back in business managing our transition into the real millennium. Well, someone has to do it. Many wonderful gifts if you drop hints, show pictures, hum tunes. Not all of us are mind-readers.

AQUARIUS (January 21-February 18)

There's a wonderful time in store if you get into the holiday spirit, and with everything going your way, there's no valid reason to drag out your old curmudgeon persona. You're radiating such good vibes and high ideals because magnetic Venus is in your sign. The goddess of love is also making you the object of erotic fantasy and fabulousness. While low-key Aquarians might be embarrassed by the attention, the true troopers, the performers in the group, will respond in kind. Best days to be you: the 19th and 23rd.

PISCES (February 19-March 19)

So much beauty, such spirituality and lofty idealism only comes once a year, during the annual Venus-Neptune conjunction when your ruling planet and the goddess of love merge. You'll benefit from their happy marriage throughout the weekend, but if you don't go too over the top and become mawkish, you can probably prolong an angelic image until the Christmas presents are unwrapped and chaos descends once again. On the other hand, and there always is one, look for crucial information about cashing in on your next career move at the new moon on the 25th.

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