Taurus (April 20 to May 20)
Sometimes life has a way of throwing a challenge your way that’s the very last thing you want. But maybe that’s OK, because there’s nothing more positive than overcoming a long-held phobia. And with your tough bull’s hide, you could be well equipped to power through. Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Perhaps you’re at a dinner party, or on holiday, or at a leaving do. A ring has formed. People are taking it in turns to enter the circle and show off in various expertly elaborate and hideously spontaneous ways. The spotlight is coming round to you. The panic rises in your stomach, your throat; your head beats unbearably. Your turn when it comes is a tearful shitshow; you tremble, you falter, you fail. Your inability to just be part of things, be like other people, coupled with their new knowledge of your species betrayal, leaves you shuddering with despair. Sometimes confronting your worst fear just reminds you how scared you are.
Lucky Krispy Kreme doughnut: the nutty chocolatta filled ring.
Gemini (May 21 to June 21)
Single Geminis could be lucky in love this week. New love’s name begins with an S. Mercury is getting into bed with Mars right now, and who knows where things could end for you?
All night your search continues. Her message was cryptic, but it’s all you’ve heard from her in months. It’s been so long since she wanted you. Your heart will break if you don’t find her, but you know that the longer you take, the less likely she’ll still be there. So, you follow an exhausting trail of clues to her whereabouts across an anxious murk-scape of labyrinthine grids and alleyways and dead ends, where each lead is fainter than the one before. As dawn breaks, you hear that she is in a city of the exact same name and layout… but on another continent.
Better to have loved and lost, as they say. Meanwhile, a surprise is on the cards for a pair of conjoined twins of your acquaintance.
Cancer (June 21 to July 22)
Your wellbeing chart is a mix of the spontaneous, courtesy of Saturn, and the super-organised (hat-tip to Mars). So, when a friend comes knocking about an ambitious fitness project, don’t dismiss their idea out of hand. When you set your mind to something, there’s no telling what you might achieve.
Mind you, it could be a day of contrasts. That scan is probably nothing, if a dark shadow can ever be nothing. No point second-guessing your chances, though, not till you get the results at least. The fact they want to see you in person probably isn’t a good sign, mind. Let’s face it — you’ve made a few bad lifestyle choices over the years, and if the chickens decide today is the day to come home to roost, clinically speaking, well you can’t really blame them. But of course, it’s not just illness waiting there in the wings; pain and terror are there too.
Funny how horoscope rhymes with endoscope. And how your star sign is actually the C word.
Leo (July 23 to August 22)
A chance remark takes you back to your childhood, and the memory of a long-forgotten formative moment helps you understand where you are today.
You are seven years old. You are being chased by a rabid Alsatian. You scream and whimper like a child. (You are a child.) You run into your childhood house, lock myself in the bathroom. You stamp in panic in an inch of water because you remember someone told you that dogs can’t follow a scent across water. But the Alsatian is at the window, on to the roof of the porch outside the bathroom. Your dad is knocking at the door but he can’t get in. Perhaps he’s scared too. You scream. You will not wake. You realise that no one else can ever really protect you.
Meanwhile, a sudden influx of cash is in store for that scary man who sits in his car outside your house smoking skunk all night.
Virgo (August 23 to September 22)
You’re the sort who lives to think about the purpose of things. Nothing stimulates you more than a good old natter with close friends about the meaning of life, universe and everything. So an invitation to explore new ideas and beliefs this week is likely to be greeted with open arms.
The meeting grows in fervour. People begin to sway and chant. They raise spontaneous arms in the air, shout divine messages, improvise their own harmonies to the hypnotic music. I open up my heart, Lord… fill me with your love… Your deepest instincts are at war with one another. You do not want to succumb; this is the opposite of everything you stand for. But something stirs deep with you, in spite of you. The fervour is infectious, the urge to let go and float on this sea of shiny-eyed faith. Suddenly you are on stage, singing with abandon, and an army of raised hands salutes another miracle.
When a friend asks you about spiritual matters, speak from the heart but refrain from talking in tongues. Lucky fruit: pomegranate.
Libra (September 23 to October 22)
Librans are known for their shy, gentle natures, but under that calm exterior there beats an ambitious heart. Look out for an opportunity this week to show the world more of what you really want. Embrace the dream — and let yourself get carried away by the moment!
You come to as if from a trance to discover that you are sitting on top of a stone altar. There is a mutilated body on the rough floor before you. There is blood all down your face and chest. Like everyone else, you are naked and fully aroused. A circle of demented-looking people are chanting your name. The first human sacrifice is always the hardest.
Lucky S&M prop this week: the all-leather body bag.
Scorpio (October 23 to November 21)
As productive and thoughtful astral bodies align in your house, the worth you place on your own projects is what will matter today. A great many constructive things could come together for you, especially in the workplace.
There is a moment, just after the middle of the day, when the work has been assigned and the tasks are under way, and the moment is just you doing your work and the aftertaste of margarine from the lunchtime sandwich. And suddenly you wonder if the typing and the sandwich aftertaste are all there is, or ever will be. And this feeling is at once a source of strange comfort but also the occasion of the shrillest existential panic.
Lucky sandwich: tuna mayonnaise. Lucky bodily fluid: bile.
Sagittarius (November 22 to December 21)
Sagittarians have such a vivid imagination, it’s easy to forget that the way you see things can be hugely affected by your mood. Sometimes we dress things up with our rose-tinted specs; other times, when we’re worried about something, we can get things out of proportion. But with Mercury entering Mars just now, there are opportunities in store for those who can see things as they are today.
The walls are smeared with shit. Violence lurks in every dark corner. Torture squads stalk the corridors. The man with the spider’s web tattooed across his face wants to dose you. Grim-smelling monsters debate your fate. Razor blades on biros, the shards of a CD pressed between willing knuckles, a scrotum dismembered with a plastic spoon. Your effete education means nothing to them; in this world you will always be victim, prey, bait.
Colour of the day: red. Definitely red.
Capricorn (December 22 to January 19)
As Pluto sneaks through your chart at a snail’s pace, the Moon reminds you that not everything is at it seems.
You hear them at night, when everyone else sleeps and the floorboards creak with the weight of unseen beings. Their whispering is a kind of faint white noise that nibbles insidiously at the very edges of your consciousness. They want you to do unspeakable things, and they’ll never leave till you do. Sometimes you’ll feel as if you’ll get no rest till you put your head through a pane of glass.
At such times it’s wise to remember there are no such things as ghosts. No, they’re just the voices in your head.
Lucky personality disorder: Borderline.
Aquarius (January 20 to February 18)
The terrific trio of Jupiter, Venus and the sun are getting together in your astral house this week to remind you just what a star you yourself are and how far you’ve come.
You’ve worked really hard to get to where you are, in work and in your relationships, so now is a great moment to pat yourself on the back and appreciate just what a difference you make to the people around you. Family, friends and colleagues all have very positive things to tell you, and magic and profound joy await. Worries and obstacles are receding, and the good stuff is all to come.
All you have to do is accept your own wonderfulness. What a pity it would be if you never managed to shake off the suspicion that you’re a worthless piece of crap.
(Also this week, steer clear of people in professional services with a B in their name.)
Pisces (February 19 to March 20)
Hello, will the real you please stand up? Sometimes you’re so quick and decisive, but at others you’re so unclear and hesitant that people don’t know whether you’re coming or going. Now is the time to come clean — to yourself especially — about all the unhelpful thoughts that are blocking your progress.
After all, there was nothing you could have done. The seas were high; the wind and the waves made it impossible. The more you struggled to hold on to her, the weaker her grip became. Yet everything seemed to stand still for a moment as she slipped beneath the surface. No one blames you. You could have saved her — or save yourself, and you barely survived either. The last thing she did was call out your name in despair. You tried your very best. Didn’t you? And unlike most of us, you know what it’s like to be put to the ultimate test. You know that, when push comes to shove… people can rely on your utter cowardice.
P.S. Someone with a birthday this week could be the one.
Aries (March 21 to April 19)
The sun sweeps into Jupiter this week, which could leave you feeling a bit disconnected and out of sorts. Sometimes it feels like no one else speaks the same language, and you keep thinking people are upset with you. Is it just you or has the world gone mad?
Don’t worry, it’s just you. Family and friends all seem to be looking at you in a funny way, as if you’ve said or done something to hurt their feelings, only you can’t remember what. There is an elephant in the room, but you don’t know what it is. Every song on the radio, every soap opera storyline, every star in every horoscope seems to be sending you an urgent message that you can’t quite follow. You have a nasty feeling that you are the elephant.
It’s funny, but some days it just feels like all your nightmares are coming true.
Dan is the winner of the 2018 Riptide short story competition, and was highly commended in the Manchester Writing School competition 2018. Other competition shortlists include Flash500, Sunderland University/Waterstones, To Hull and Back, Fish and Retreat West. He has words in Ellipsis, Reflex Fiction, Cabinet of Heed, Bending Genres, The Esthetic Apostle, Spelk, Ginger Collect, Fiction Pool… His first collection of short stories, Hotel du Jack, will be published early 2020; he is also co-author of a comic novel about a writers’ group, Kitten on a Fatberg, available now to pre-order from Unbound.