Monday, March 31, 2008

March 2008

by Fernando Magnifico

Buongiorno to my good friends! The Lady Asterisk is unavailable this month, for she is suffering with the stomach cramps from eating too many strawberries. But do not worry, for it is I, Fernando Magnifico, and I shall be your astrologer today.

When Fernando journeyed to Ankh-Morpork from his little village on the sunny slopes of Brindisi, Fernando visited many places and saw many things. In Lancre, Fernando was fortunate to see the (in)famous Witch Trials, and the bellissima donna Mistress Weatherwax, whose fame has reached Brindisi. From Mistress Weatherwax, Fernando learned many things about the magic, and from Mrs Ogg, Fernando learned ... many other things, which Fernando will not speak of, except to say that Mrs Ogg's scumble reminds Fernando of Uncle Rafael and his grappa. The witches, they do not like to teach their craft to men, and the wizards of Ankh-Morpork do not share their secrets, but Fernando is very persuasive, and where persuasion fails, Fernando can learn from afar, for he has the eyes of a hawk, the ears of an owl, and the memory of a mouse! So this month, Fernando has cast your horoscope to learn what the stars have to say about the mystic occult arts - magic!

The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

The stars suggest that Hoggers consider becoming hedge wizards. Fernando is a great lover of the unspoilt wilderness, so long as it is not spoilt by dragons, wolves, snow, forest fires, brigands, bears, wild trolls, dwarf war parties, hungry gnolls, elves, rogue cheeses, druids or pineapples. Hedge wizardry is a very good job, nice outdoor work in the sunshine and fresh air with no heavy lifting. The trees sometimes answer back but rarely argue, and there is only a little topiary.

Gahoolie, the Vase of Tulips 21 Apr - 21 May

Deep in the jungles of Klatch, the witch-doctors make dark and terrible magics, and do strange and mysterious rituals with the citrus fruits and coconuts. The stars say that this is a good month for you too to learn the secrets of shrinking heads, cursing your enemies, transforming into a hyena, and raising the dead. But do not fear, for Fernando reads carefully the collected adventures of Howondaland Smith, transcribed each week in the A-M Times Octeday supplement by Mr CMOT Dibbler, and I am sure that there is nothing that can go wrong. You just need the right herbs and powders, and a few spells, and perhaps one or two sacrifices. I am sure the Howondaland gods will accept a goat or a sheep instead of a beautiful Morporkian maiden -- and as Fernando has learned since coming to the city, there are very few maidens over the age of sixteen in Morpork.

Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

This month is a bad month for mirror magic. Fernando has a magic mirror -- whenever he looks in it, he sees an incredibly handsome man looking back at him! Ha ha! Mirror magic is bad every month, but this month it is particularly bad, with the stars warning Hernians to stick to simple protection spells, good luck charms, and magic to find the items which are lost. Especially the items which are lost, like Fernando's favourite gold medallion, which Fernando is sure he did not leave down the back of a lady's couch.

The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

Magic brings life to many fine creatures, like the trolls and centaurs and dryads, but every magic has it's opposite, and there is also magic in and from death, the terrible dark magic: necromancy, or post-vital communications as the wizards call it today. But the stars do not forget the old ways, and necromancy is not just for talking to the dead: the dead can walk, and there is death-force as well as life-force. Fernando does not like to dwell on such matters, for Fernando prefers to make new life, not death, but the stars say that this is a good month for the dark arts of necromancy. Staffies with their own shovel who are not afraid of the consequences will find power and profit in the necromancy. Beware though of mobs with pitchforks and flaming torches.

Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

The art of oenomancy, wine magic, was first discovered in Brindisi's Seven Hills long ago, and today Brindisians are famous for their skill at turning water into wine, bad wine into less-bad wine, and in the case of Fernando's cousin Tony, a single bottle of fine Brindisi red into three quarts of the yellow water. Fernando doesn't know how he does it. For Bilians, this month will be a good month to become an oenomancerist.

Mubbo the Hyena 24 Aug - 23 Sept

Fernando is always very successful in the romance, but not everybody can be as fortunate as Fernando. It is sad but true that some people cannot find true love. If you are a Mubboon suffering in this way, the stars have good news for you: the signs are good for love spells this month, especially those that call on Vyagreh, the god of disappointed swains. It may not be true love, but it is cheaper than hiring love by the hour. Fernando knows this well.

The Small Boring Group of Faint Stars 24 Sept - 23 Oct

Sometimes the Gods laugh at Men, even at Fernando, and this month they laugh at Boring'uns. Why else would Boring'uns, who want nothing more than a quiet, uneventful life, be fated to have a magical career in the exciting and cutting edge area of thaumology, or technomancy? (Not to be confused with thaumaturgy, a very different and rather low-paying branch of magic. Fernando hears that this causes much confusion during enrolments at the Unseen University.) You can push back the boundaries of reality, split the thaum, send yourself down the wrong leg of the Trousers of Time, and experiment with new and exciting ways to destroy the Disc.

Fernando does not approve of destroying the Disc, and hopes Boring'uns will simply avoid magic altogether, and grow cabbages instead. Or figs. Fernando approves of fig trees, especially the leaves.

Androgyna Majestis 24 Oct - 22 Nov

Androgyna Majestis is the seven-plus-oneth sign of the Zodiac, and so it is no surprise that Andies are often the eighth son of an eighth son, or a sourceror. For you, there is nothing you cannot do, even more so than Fernando, for the sourceror is the source for calling the raw magic into the world.

But what of those who are not the eighth son of a wizard? Never fear, the stars say that for you, there is always the Conjurer's Guild, meetings on Tuesday and Friday nights, tea and biscuits provided. For the gentlemen, cards and rope will be provided. Ladies please bring your own spangly tights.

Great T'Phon's Foot 23 Nov - 21 Dec

Fernando has learned from Mistress Weatherwax that there is much magic in your head. The gods themselves rise and fall according to belief in the people's heads, do they not? Witches get much power from this belief, the power of headology. Footies, Fernando knows, are born headologists, so this month is a good time to practice your headology, perhaps on your bank manager.

Fernando also knows that there is a dark side to the headology. This is the sort of headology practised by those dishonourable pigs known as Quirmian footsballers, for how else could they ever win any footsball match? Pah! Fernando does not recommend this sort of headology, no, especially if you are a Quirmian Footy footsballer.

Hoki the Jokester 22 Dec - 20 Jan

The stars say this is the month for weather magic for fun and profit. Keeping rain away from high-society garden parties is an obvious way to make money from your weather spells. But Hokians are as interested in fun as profit, and weather spells offer unlimited opportunity for mischief. A sudden cold snap, a patch of icy ground, a fat man carrying a cake... what Hokian could resist the opportunity to laugh themselves silly at another person's misfortune? Fernando never laughs at others' bad luck, but Fernando also does not judge others who do.

The Rather Large Gazunda 21 Jan - 18 Feb

Fernando knows that magic can be used for both good and evil. Sometimes the same spell can be used for both, depending on circumstances. The same weather spell calling in rain can be good or evil depending on whether the recipient's house is on fire or they've just taken the thatch down off the roof to replace it. This month, Gazundians who take up magic will be faced with that choice of doing good or evil, for the stars say that this is the month for both healing spells and curses. But who is to say that curses are always evil? There are some Quirmian footsballers who need cursing until their legs fall off.

Lesser Umbrage 19 Feb - 20 Mar

This month, according to the stars, is good for making magic objects. Umbragians who are good with working metal can make magic swords. Do not let the sword eat your soul. If you wish to have somebody teach the sword to sing, Fernando can help, for he has an excellent singing voice, and Brindisian songs are so very romantic. "Quando la luna colpisce il vostro occhio come una torta grande, quella e molto dolorosa!"

If the magic swords are not for you, perhaps you could try for magic rings. Or if you can get the sapient pearwood, you could make the wizard's staffs. If you find out why they have a knob on the end, please let Fernando know, for he is very curious.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fernando has an announcement!

The stars, they are not fixed in the sky as Great A'Tuin swims through the great void, and the star signs do not remain constant. Fernando has checked his charts, and over the next few months there will be some new star signs! But do not fear, for if the lovely Lady Asterisk happens to be indisposed again, Fernando will be here to guide you through this period of change. Ciao!

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