Kwanzaa Tholus on Ceres (source: NASA)

As the caption indicates, this is a photo of Kwanzaa Tholus on Ceres. The reason I chose it to illustrate my annual horoscopes is this: 2017 was a bad year for a lot of people. I want 2018 to be brighter and more colorful than 2017. I want it to be the colorized half of the photo instead of the dull, black-and-white version. I don’t care if it has all the same features as the original, just as long as it’s the nicer, prettier version.

Allow me to put that into context. I lost my job in 2017. On the bright side, it was a shitty job. I gained ten pounds in 2017. On the bright side, it was mostly muscle and I look fantastic. I didn’t sell my book in 2017. On the bright side, I published it anyway and it’s fucking brilliant.

Get it? There were a couple of big shifts in the sky over the last few weeks that are going to make many of the zodiac’s creatures feel as if the color has been sucked out of their universe. Neither Jupiter in Scorpio nor Saturn in Capricorn are going to usher in a particularly brilliant era for most people. The Capricorns will probably like it. People with watery charts should dig it, too. For the rest of you, however, perhaps a change of perspective would help you to see things in a different light.

What most of us need right now is an attitude shift. We need to stop allowing pessimism to get the best of us. I don’t usually preach positivity, but I would be thrilled to believe that we can all get along. Saturn in Sagittarius allowed us to believe the worst of our adversaries while Jupiter in Libra has given us permission to use passive/aggressive tactics to deal with them. We pretended to be the pretty photo on the right while we behaved like the ugly photo on the left. Now that things have changed, I suggest we do the opposite.

Let’s all be nicer for a while. Even if we know it’s all a big act — as phony as a colorized photo — it’s better than the alternative, right?

Anyway, here are your 2018 horoscopes. Now go buy my book. You owe me.

Aries: What happens when bossy Saturn enters the part of your chart responsible for your career? When you’re an Aries, you scream “You’re not the boss of me!” and run for the door. The problem is that you have a couple of years like this ahead of you, and it won’t get any easier any time soon. A sequence of retrograde events throughout the year may have you climbing the walls of your workplace — especially in July and August — but don’t turn your back on your obligations. The opportunity to break free will present itself in November. Until that time, learn to be patient, particularly around your so-called “superiors.” Like it or not, it is their turn to dictate the pace.

Your Mantra for 2018: I will leave my work at work.

Taurus: Just when everything seems to be going your way this year, something will come along to remind you that it isn’t. With all the celestial support you will be receiving, you should be fine — it’s everyone else that you need to worry about! They’ll be asking you for advice one moment, and then blaming you for their problems the next. Soon you’ll start to feel as if you are stuck in a never-ending episode of “Dr. Phil” where your hayseed charm and horse sense have no effect on a bunch of yokels who just want to yell at each other. Help yourself by letting go of the sort of people who refuse to help themselves this year. You’ll be better off without them.

Your Mantra for 2018: I will not reward bad behavior.

Gemini: Since Saturn entered your solar seventh house of partnerships in late 2014, you have had a cosmic monkey on your back. For some of you, that monkey grew fat and began to seriously impact the health of your lumbar spine. For others, that monkey became your trusted companion and lifelong friend. Well, it’s time to set that monkey free. If you have done your best to create a relationship that will stand the test of time, that monkey may spare your life if a “Planet of the Apes” scenario arises sometime in the future. Whatever happens, Karma won’t be a stranger to you this year, so stand up straight and accept your fate. You have earned whatever is coming your way.

Your Mantra for 2018: I have learned my lesson.

Cancer: Saturn’s ingress into your seventh house in last few days of 2017 could make you reluctant to partner-up in the new year, but that would be a mistake. Right now, your fan club needs a president. With your creative talents highlighted through November, it is the right time to surround yourself with the sort of people who have more faith in you than you have in yourself. So what if they demand a piece of the action? If they can coax you to come out of your shell, they will have earned every penny. Don’t let your potential go unrealized in 2018 because you’re too much of a crab to let someone else lead the way.

Your Mantra for 2018: I have plenty to give.

Leo: Are you an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Whatever the case, sticking close to home may be a challenge this year. One day you’ll be sprawled out in a sunbeam, content to be right where you’re at, and the next day you’ll be climbing the walls, eager to be anywhere else. Still, roaming too far from home can get you into trouble this year. And why would you want stray into unfamiliar territory, anyway? You probably have it easy. Even if the world outside your window is fascinating, now is the time to pussyfoot around. Leave big decisions for another day. You’ll have the chance to run free in the final few weeks of the year. For the moment, learn to appreciate what you already have.

Your Mantra for 2018: Domestication will not get me down.

Virgo: Saturn and Pluto, a couple of heavyweights, will be spending the next couple of years in your solar fifth house. For you Virgos, either one of those planets would seem like a formidable foe, but as a tag team, they are even more daunting. Nevertheless, you can hold your own against your opponents because you know that a fight often comes down to a decision by the judges. You’re a technician by trade, and when your perfect form is on display, no one can beat you. So don’t bother trying to land a knockout punch in 2018 unless you’re absolutely sure it’s going to win you the fight. Outright aggression is your enemy now. Finesse and patience are your strengths.

Your Mantra for 2018: So what if I’m a perfectionist?

Libra: In 2017, you had decorum to spare. You won’t be lacking in your signature trait in 2018, but you might have a difficult time maintaining your composure around your less-civil counterparts. Venus’ retrograde in autumn could result in both a crisis of self-worth and actual worth as it backtracks through your first and second solar houses. Don’t let it get the best of you. Develop a routine this year. Pay your bills on time. Work out at home when you can’t get to the gym. Get a good night’s sleep every single night. Any threats to your innate civility will seem far less ominous if you’ve simply got your feet on the ground.

Your Mantra for 2018: I will not sink to their level.

Scorpio: Your sign isn’t just associated with the scorpion, but also with the Phoenix. The mythical bird would die a spectacular, fiery death, only to rise from its ashes. These two symbols provide an appropriate analogy for where you are in your life right now. You feel as if a big change is coming, but you’re not sure whether you need to crawl back under your rock or light the world on fire. Choose the latter, Scorpio. This is your chance to burn down established structures in order to create a better world for us all. So what if you get too close to the flames? Don’t worry about it. Flying in the face of everything that is wrong is your destiny right now. You won’t change the world by lurking in the shadows.

Your Mantra for 2018: Fight the power!

Sagittarius: As 2017 drew to a close, half the planets in the sky crowded into your sign. In a way, it resembled an Instagram post with too many hashtags: there was something there to see, but your eyes just glazed over when you began to peruse the details. You’re not a fan of the fine print, Sagittarius; you would rather look at the big picture. In 2018, the big picture shifts from what you believe you can do for others to what you believe you can do for yourself. Stop trying to get people to look at you — like an Instagram post with too many hashtags — and take a good look at yourself. 2019 promises a revolution of self-worth if you’ve created a self-image that is worth anything more than a cursory glance. Try to gain some genuine value now.

Your Mantra for 2018: If I like myself, I don’t need everyone else to like me.

Capricorn: Saturn, your ruling planet, just entered your sign for a three-year stay. Most people dread the cosmic slowdown that accompanies the ringed planet. It’s lucky for you that you’re not one of those people. You goats peak when the pace is slow and steady. In 2018, find your place in a herd that already has had some experience climbing the mountain, even if it means playing follow-the-leader occasionally. In 2019, a clearer path to the top will become evident, and by 2020 you will reach the apex. This is your time to ascend, Capricorn. Just don’t lose your footing by feeling as if you should rush headfirst into the great unknown. That’s not how goats do it.

Your Mantra for 2018: I will take one step at a time.

Aquarius: I regularly express my displeasure with astrologers who believe that you Aquarius natives are more spiritually evolved than most of the other creatures of the zodiac. It just isn’t true. Nevertheless, now is the time to prove me wrong. Over the next three years, discovering your purpose in life will be the purpose of your life. Exploring the unearthly side of your nature all you want, but don’t forget that it is a personal journey. At the moment, you have the capacity to be preachy and self-righteous. In October, your message will not only be more refined, but it will also be more well-received by your peers. Until then, keep your revelations to yourself. You’re not nearly as inspiring as you think you are.

Your Mantra for 2018: There is more to me than what I can see.

Pisces: You have always been a free spirit, Pisces. Sometimes that works for you, and sometimes that works against you. In 2018, it should work in your favor. Your independence is not only highlighted at the moment, but it is also a constant source of inspiration for those who feel rejected or repressed. Unfortunately, you won’t be inspiring many others if you’re shouting your message from a soapbox. This is the time to seek some legitimacy. Educate yourself. Master your medium. Find a more respectable platform. Draw attention to the infallibility of your argument rather than to the injustices you may have experienced yourself. You’re on the cusp of a personal revolution. Don’t blow it by feeling sorry that it didn’t happen sooner.

Your Mantra for 2018: I am a success story.

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