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Your Gift Guide for Scorpio, the Sign of Death, Rebirth, and Horniness

Download the Astro Guide app by VICE on an iOS device to read daily horoscopes personalized for your sun, moon, and rising signs, and learn how to apply cosmic events to self care, your friendships, and relationships.Scorpios might be brooding and mysterious, but even they aren’t too cool for gifts! The surest way to bring…

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Your Gift Guide for Scorpio, the Sign of Death, Rebirth, and Horniness

Download the Astro Guide app by VICE on an iOS device to read daily horoscopes personalized for your sun, moon, and rising signs, and learn how to apply cosmic events to self care, your friendships, and relationships.

Astro Guide app banner

Scorpios might be brooding and mysterious, but even they aren’t too cool for gifts! The surest way to bring the sweetness out of a scorpion is to surprise them with a thoughtful present. Scorpios love receiving things that are sentimental and rare. Below, we’ve compiled some ideas.

Scorpio is an intuitive water sign, and most are curious about the occult, and the veil is thin during their season! This means it’s easier to connect with spirits on the other side—for better or worse! A Ouija board can help, but always do a proper banishing ritual before and after using it to protect yourself from potential negative entities…if your Scorpio friend believes in that kind of thing!

Ouija board

They may enjoy gifts to show their sign off, like this death-themed necklace, or a beautiful, dark “shadow crown” because Scorpio’s ruling planet is Pluto, the planet of death and rebirth. For something more subtle, a scorpio pendant.

Skull necklace
Shadow crown
Scorpio necklace

Scorpio is symbolized by the scorpion, which can be found in the desert. This mesmerizing shifting sand art would be a perfect statement piece for your Scorpio friend’s living space.

shift sand art

The phoenix, a bird from greek mythology that dies in a burst of flames and is then reborn, is a symbol for transformation, a theme deeply tied to Scorpio. Get your Scorpio friend this phoenix candle or pendant for rebirth, magic, and healing.

Phoenix candle
Phoenix pendant

To match the season’s themes of death and rebirth, it’s probably no surprise that mysterious Scorpios also love to shroud themselves in wine red, autumnal oranges, muddy brown, and mystical purples—and they like silks and velvets!

Velvet tote

Most Scorpios have gone through a goth or metal phase, if they aren’t still in one! Anything studded or in black leather is sure to delight them, like this studded bag or a classic biker jacket in real or faux leather:

studded cross body bag
Biker jackets real and faux leather
Biker jackets

Reconnecting with nature helps Scorpio remember what’s important in life, and provides a fun way for them to bond with their friends, whether they’re going to the botanical gardens to sketch or taking a hike with their crew. Take your Scorpio friend on a tour of a garden like the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers (or somewhere local), where you can book this private tour by horticulture experts, including some seasonally-scary sounding carnivorous plants, complete with a visit to a beer garden!

Botanical beer garden

For something a little different, pick up a Scorpio-worthy picnic backpack in black, or this travel bar with chambers and leather straps, to have lunch in a graveyard in the spirit of Halloween (probably one of your Scorpio friend’s favorite holidays).

picnic backpack
Picnic bar

You can also help your Scorpio friend get festive with these or a pumpkin scent for the bathroom. This black cat candle melts to reveal a metal skeleton.

Cat candle
floral snake stud earrings

If your Scorpio friend is into something even more adventurous, help them prepare with a survival kit tucked inside a military grade aluminum flashlight.

survival kit

While Scorpios love an adventure, they crave control and comfort in their surroundings. Gift them something that helps them carve out their own space while they’re away from home, like a portable espresso maker so they can have quality espresso anywhere.

Nanopresso espresso maker

Noise-canceling headphones can help them tune out strange noises:

noise cancelling headphones

A cute frame lets your Scorpio friend bring something along that reminds them of home while they’re away:

Photo frame

Travel-friendly loungewear that is packable and washable, so they feel comfortable in any new place:

Washable silk loungewear

Scorpios who prefer to stay in can still get in touch with nature. These plushy, nature-inspired “stone” pillows are great as floor cushions for hanging at home with friends:

stone floor pillows

Each zodiac sign rules a body part, and regenerative Scorpio’s is the genitals. Your Scorpio friend may enjoy this beautiful illustration by Robin Eisenberg, the artist whose illustrations can be found in Astro Guide, or something sexy like innovative condoms or lingerie with an edge.

Blood moon by Robin Eisenberg
Hex condom
Constellation Bodysuit
Harness

Even people who aren’t familiar with astrology know that Scorpio is a sexy sign. Hook them up with some items for whatever their preference is in the bedroom, like a luxurious rabbit vibrator, cock ring, or prostate massager.

Scorpio is known by astrologers as the detective of the zodiac. Themes like security and privacy are important to them, so they’ll appreciate a tool that helps keep their digital life on lockdown.

Last Pass password manager

If your Scorpio friend wants to take their investigation skills up a level, they may enjoy taking an online course on computer forensics.

Computer forensics course

For entertainment, they may enjoy a good murder mystery like this set by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Robert Galbraith novels

All Scorpios fantasize about revenge! Get them a classic revenge story, or make them a mixtape (playlist) with the best revenge hits. For some inspiration, check out Astro Guide’s Scorpio season playlist.

Count of Monte Cristo

Scorpios are fascinated by money. As the sign of death, they know they “can’t take it with them,” but they still enjoy reading about it, especially when it comes to things like long-term financial planning and foreign currency. They may enjoy this memoir in which Andre Iguodala parlayed income from his career as an NBA player into tech investments and his other passions.

Sixth Man

Intuitive Scorpio is fascinated by psychology, and also by communication. Your Scorpio friend may enjoy reading up on psychic self-defense or essential negotiation strategies.

Psychic self-defense
The Essentials of Job Negotiations

Scorpios love having high-tech home goods that no one else owns. They’ll love showing off a robotic bartending system they can load up with liquor and mixers, that makes drinks to order in seconds. If they have a cat, they’ll be dazzled by this futuristic looking, WiFi-enabled, self-cleaning litter box.

Robot Bartender
Litter-robot

For something less bulky but still impressive, your Scorpio may like this automatic pan stirrer.

Automatic pan stirrer

Scorpios are hugely creative! Get them something that helps expand their imaginations, like this painting set inspired by Bob Ross (who was a Scorpio) or box full of ideas.

Boss Ross paint set
Spark ideas box

Scorpios love to be challenged by martial arts, boot camp, or survival-style workouts. The sign is also ruled by warrior planet Mars, and the planet of destruction, Pluto, so remind them how unfuckwithable they are, with an open ticket to participate in a Tough Mudder challenge next year!

Tough Mudder

Scorpios may also overexert themselves and end up dealing with swelling or headaches. Learning to slow down and unwind is also important! This on-the-spot relief for headaches is a great thing for Scorpios to have on hand.

Origins Peace of Mind

Scorpios are intrigued by fate! Gift this astrology book about the nodes, that explains the key to discovering hidden talents, deep desires, and true life purpose, to help your Scorpio friend explore their destiny.

Astrology for the Soul

Transformation is a major theme for Scorpio. Breathwork is a powerful modality for inner-healing and reconnection to self and spirit.

Breathwork office

Scorpios have very intense emotions, which they can ride more easily when they’re connected to the present moment and their surroundings. Meditation can help them achieve that! A meditation bench can help them create a space for it at home, but there are also tools to take the practice with them wherever they go.

Meditation bench
Meditation kit

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The 9 Best Sex Toys to Give (or Receive) in 2019

In the midst of whatever holiday excitement you may be feeling (or not!), it’s good to also celebrate more intimate moments with a partner—or on your own. In the spirit of giving and receiving, I’ve rounded up my favorite sex toys of the year that can be enjoyed solo, with others, or both. Pick up…

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The 9 Best Sex Toys to Give (or Receive) in 2019

In the midst of whatever holiday excitement you may be feeling (or not!), it’s good to also celebrate more intimate moments with a partner—or on your own. In the spirit of giving and receiving, I’ve rounded up my favorite sex toys of the year that can be enjoyed solo, with others, or both. Pick up a gift that everyone will enjoy this season and well into the new year.

Fun Factory Manta stroker

manta stroker


The Manta is hands-down the most innovative new sex toy for people with penises, especially for boosting masturbation or receiving oral sex. The stroker’s tip is contoured to grip and encircle the shaft of a penis for a tailored massaging effect, and its lubricant-friendly ridges keep liquid contained to enhance the glide.

Aneros MGX Trident massager

aneros trident

This prostate massager is a necessity if you’re ready to explore deeper sensations for the first time (or whenever, really). The Aneros’ “T” shape fits your or your partners’ body with arms that sit along the perineum and an insertable stem for G-spot or prostate stimulation—which is amazing, because sex that accounts for the P-spot can unlock incredible orgasms, even surpassing those that come with straightforward ejaculation.

Unbound Bender vibrator

bender vibrator unbound


The updated rerelease of Unbound’s popular Bender vibrator is stronger, thicker, and better than ever. The new version features an improved battery life and a stronger motor. The durable seven and a half–inch toy is flexible enough to reach the deepest reaches of your or your partners’ G-spot areas, and it can be used flat or bent into a curved shape for internal and external pleasure—whatever you prefer, or, of course, both. It comes in two cute colors—mint green and quartz pink.

CalExotics Packer Gear stroker

packer gear stroker

This is the ideal toy for transgender men who are looking for a stroker specifically designed to maximize physical pleasure after taking T. The stroker grips and uses suction on your or your partners’ genitals. The toy offers maximum genital coverage designed to emulate squeezing and massaging along the lines of masturbation, and it’s especially effective with a water-based lube.

Lelo TOR 2 ring

lelo tor

$115 (on sale, usually $139); Lelo

This sophisticated cock ring is a stellar companion toy to elevate the sensations of penetrative sex for everyone involved. It’s designed to fit over a dildo, strap-on, or bio penis, making it a great gift for people interested in changing things up without having to learn all new moves or techniques. Its six pleasure settings range from soft vibrations to intense pulsation to benefit both the TOR’s wearer and their partners.

Maude vibrator

maude vibrator

Maude’s personal massager is discreet, silky in texture, water-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing. Given its unique shape—it looks kind of like an expensive cone-shaped paperweight in someone’s fancy office—this 100 percent silicone vibrator may have you wondering, How exactly does this work? The answer: exactly like most other vibrators, except stronger than most other vibrators, despite its innocent looks. This toy is especially recommended for travel (and even comes with a travel mode)—the TSA won’t know what it is, either. A note: This toy, for all its benefits, should not be used with silicone- or oil-based lubricants, which will degrade the silicone in the toy.

Womanizer touchless stimulator

womanizer

The Womanizer, which emulates oral stimulation with soft bursts of air against a person’s genitals (and especially their clitoris), has been rereleased on its five-year anniversary in a chic white design. A claw shape provides suction and massaging air waves to send targeted sensations directly to your or your partners’ most sensitive areas for touch-free pleasure. You can literally sit back and let this waterproof toy do all of the work.

b-Vibe Rimming Petite vibrator

b-vibe rimming petite

The slightly higher-tech toy Petite does double duty to simulate a rim job: Its vibrating head can be inserted anally for prostate or G-spot stimulation, and the rotating beads at the bottom sit against the nerve endings at the base of your or your partners’ anus. A remote control allows you or your partners to cycle between five different speeds/intensity levels as you go. Use a water-based lube with it—and feel free to take it into the bath or shower with you.

Doc Johnson Crystal Jellies double-ended dildo

jellie dildo

Twist, bend, suck—use this double-ended dildo any way that you see fit to enjoy double penetration alone or with your partners. This jelly toy is firm, but soft enough for safe, easy vaginal or anal entry, and its multi-textured 12 inches create wave after wave of excitement as you go—whether you’re sharing it with a partner, or one of you is taking it all for yourself.

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Lufthansa scraps 1,300 flights in 48-hour strike

Image copyright EPA Image caption The union has warned that further strikes could come “at any time” Lufthansa has cancelled 1,300 flights after it lost a last-minute legal bid to halt a strike by cabin crew.The two-day action over pay and conditions began at midnight local time. About 180,000 passengers are set to face travel…

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Lufthansa scraps 1,300 flights in 48-hour strike

Flight attendants take part in a demonstration at an airport in Munich, Germany,Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

The union has warned that further strikes could come “at any time”

Lufthansa has cancelled 1,300 flights after it lost a last-minute legal bid to halt a strike by cabin crew.

The two-day action over pay and conditions began at midnight local time. About 180,000 passengers are set to face travel disruption.

The UFO union said it would hit all Lufthansa flights from German airports.

Flights by Lufthansa’s other airlines including Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines are not affected, the airline said.

Lufthansa has cancelled 700 flights on Thursday and 600 on Friday, amounting to about one-fifth of its planned flights over the 48-hour period.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Thousands of passengers are set to face disruption

It said it regretted the inconvenience caused, adding: “We will do everything we can to minimise the impact of this massive strike on our customers.”

On Wednesday, a Frankfurt labour court rejected Lufthansa’s application to prevent the strike, which is part of a long-running dispute at the airline.

Lufthansa has said passengers travelling between German airports can exchange their tickets online for rail tickets. Other passengers will be offered alternative flights.

The union’s vice-president, Daniel Flohr, has warned that further strikes could come “at any time”.

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‘I was kidnapped and now only travel by train’

Image caption Mannir Awal Addo refuses to travel by road after his kidnapping ordeal To avoid Nigeria’s notorious kidnapping gangs thousands of commuters pack on to trains each day between the capital, Abuja, and the city of Kaduna.Mannir Awal Addo, a trader in Abuja who has family that he visits every weekend in Kaduna, was…

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‘I was kidnapped and now only travel by train’

Mannir Awal Addo

Image caption

Mannir Awal Addo refuses to travel by road after his kidnapping ordeal

To avoid Nigeria’s notorious kidnapping gangs thousands of commuters pack on to trains each day between the capital, Abuja, and the city of Kaduna.

Mannir Awal Addo, a trader in Abuja who has family that he visits every weekend in Kaduna, was kidnapped on the Abuja-Kaduna highway earlier this year and held for five days.

He told the BBC that he paid his abductors $1,300 (£1,000) for his freedom: “It was a traumatic experience.”

He was affected by polio as a child and said he could not run away when kidnappers attacked the vehicle he was travelling in.

“Since then, honestly I don’t use car transport because I am afraid of the road. It’s better for me to take the train because of its safety.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Armed police officers accompany the six-carriage trains

By road the 150km (93-mile) journey between the two cities is cheaper and shorter, but it has become a matter of life and death as dozens of travellers are kidnapped along the highway – and many are killed.

When, thanks to a $500m Chinese loan, the train line linking Abuja to Kaduna opened in 2016 people used it more for its novelty value, given that most the country’s railway system is a relic from the colonial era.

Brawling for tickets

But now it is hard to get a ticket for the four round-trips made each day, with 5,000 commuters packing on to them daily.

The demand is high because nine armed police officers are on board guarding the train’s six carriages.

A one-way ticket is sold for about $4 for economy and $8 for business class – and there are usually long queues to get them.

Many passengers miss scheduled trips because of the huge demand. Many of the civil servants who work in the capital live in Kaduna.

In August, users posted images of stranded passengers brawling over tickets at a train station.

Officials have also been accused of hoarding tickets and selling them at inflated rates in a racketeering scheme, prompting the government to say it is considering automating the process.

Those who have tickets but cannot find seats have the option of standing for the two-hour journey for the same fee.

You may also be interested in:

When I joined 600 passengers on the 09:45 from Abuja, more than 50 were standing in my carriage.

Others were squeezed into the spaces between the carriages and by the toilets.

Image caption

Many are happy to find foot space to stand for the journey

It is a choice many are happy to make rather than use what has been dubbed Nigeria’s most dangerous road.

The highway is bordered on each side by thick rows of neem and baobab trees, providing excellent cover for the armed gangs hiding in wait.

Kidnappers in Nigeria are not fussy. They abduct both rich and poor, often collecting ransoms of up to $150,000 and as low as $20 – sometimes killing those whose families fail to pay.

Image caption

The passengers feel safer on the train than risk being attacked on the road

“At its height, the road had 10 kidnappings per day with 20 different groups operating on the route,” says police commander Abba Kyari, who heads a special unit fighting kidnappers.

The true figures are likely to be higher, as some families, like that of Mr Addo, choose not to report to officials, deciding to negotiate with the kidnappers directly.

Train passenger and postgraduate student Idris Mohammed, who used to travel by road to Kaduna for the weekends, is happy to pay more for his safety as “the roads are too dangerous now”.

Why don’t people live in Abuja?

For most of the civil servants who work in the capital annual rents as high as $15,000 are just too expensive.

Many live to the north in Kaduna, the commercial hub of northern Nigeria, where housing is cheaper. A cosmopolitan city, Kaduna is very different to Abuja, bristling with divergent interests, but with simmering tensions over ethnic, political and religious issues.

By contrast, Abuja is a slow-paced, administrative city. It became Nigeria’s capital in 1991 and has grown up from a small village to become home to many diplomats and foreign NGO workers. It was chosen as the capital because of its central location – which means that many people come from elsewhere in the country to work there, so on weekends it really empties out.

And its fairly well-heeled daily and weekly commuters are prime targets for kidnappers.

Bus stations suffering

But the popularity of the trains is bad news for buses.

Despite buses charging at least six times less than the trains, many of the big bus stations, which used to be bustling with passengers and luggage, are now empty.

An official from the transporters’ union told me the safety the trains could provide was the main reason.

Many of those who still use the road do so in private cars and set off at mid-morning or early afternoon.

Image copyright
Nigeria Police

Image caption

The Abuja-Kaduna highway is now travelled by only a brave few

Those who travel later place their faith in the several police check-points along the road to try to deter kidnappers.

Though the police have recorded a few successes against the kidnappers, including the 2017 arrest in south-west Lagos of an alleged kidnap kingpin, some people still question the seriousness of security agencies in tackling the problem.

Image caption

The Rigasa station in Kaduna is the final terminal point for the Abuja train

For now the train is a welcome haven – and the only recent security issue has been over cattle.

In September last year, the armed police escorts fired live rounds into the air to disperse villagers on the outskirts of Kaduna who had gathered to attack a train after 50 cows were crushed crossing the track.

The train journeys have also become a meeting point for Nigeria’s rich and poor and they sometimes bring together those from feuding communities – now all fleeing one common enemy, kidnappers.

When my train finally arrived at Rigasa station in Kaduna, some passengers raised their arms and murmured a prayer: they had lived to die another day.

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