~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

A Malaysian woman survived a showdown with a tiger. Kaliyama was working as a rubber tapper when the big cat slinked up behind her and wrapped its jaws around her leg. "Amma! Amma!" she cried out, invoking the name of the mother goddess. The tiger let go, backed off a step, and glared at her. Summoning her courage, she gazed back at it. After a few minutes of this staring match, the tiger departed, leaving Kaliyama in peace. I advise you to use a similar approach in your engagement with a beastly influence, Aries. Ask for the goddess\’s help, then let your essence beam out through the windows to your soul.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

In the game known as Rock Paper Scissors, each player pumps a fist twice and then displays his or her hand in one of three different shapes: flat to indicate a piece of paper, a fist to symbolize rock, or index finger and middle finger extended for scissors. Each of the three can beat just one of the other two. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, and rock smashes scissors.  For centuries in many cultures, this game has been used by pairs of people to settle small decisions, such as who will wash the dishes this time or who will run to the store to get beer. Though it\’s not usually invoked to determine matters of great importance, you might consider bucking tradition this week. It may be impossible to solve knotty questions through common sense and negotiation. Why not try the Rock Paper Scissors approach?

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

Sixty percent of Nigeria\’s population lives below the poverty line. Yet according to the World Values Survey, published in *New Scientist* magazine, Nigerians are the happiest people on the planet. How can that be? It may have something to do with the Survey\’s conclusion that "the desire for material goods is a happiness suppressant." Sounds to me like the conclusion the Buddhists came to a long time ago: Craving for earthly riches is the source of a lot of suffering. Luckily, you Geminis are in a phase when you have great power to shift your pursuit of satisfaction away from transitory, ephemeral, ultimately useless pleasures and toward the truly gratifying, eternal ones.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

In 1982 I moved into a new home in Santa Cruz. It was just a funky old cottage that had once been a barn, but I was ecstatic to have it. As I opened the front door to begin my first day there, a violet-crowned hummingbird bolted inside in front of me, stayed for a few minutes, then departed. I regarded its visit as a phenomenally good omen, and it turned out to be just that. During my years in that house, I wrote my first book, recorded my first music album, fell in love with the woman I married, and conceived my daughter. Almost exactly 24 years later, I\’m meditating on your horoscope as I sit in my current abode. "Send me a sign," I just said to the gods. "What\’s in the works for Cancerians?" Now a violet-crowned hummingbird is dancing exuberantly in front of my window, peering in, lingering a long time. I take it to mean you\’re at the beginning of a great opening.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

According to the organization Human Rights Watch, there are currently 2,225 American convicts condemned to life sentences for crimes they perpetrated as teenagers. In contrast, the entire rest of the world has only 12 prisoners in a similar situation. I favor the more lenient approach that prevails on the planet outside of the U.S.–not just for criminals but for everyone. Though most of us didn\’t commit felonies when we were young, we all made big mistakes that caused problems for us as well as others. Should we suffer for our sins forever? I hope not. It so happens that the coming days will provide fresh opportunities for you Leos to atone for and correct the wrong turns you made way back when.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

HELP WANTED: looking for a smart operator who has expertise in both rebellion and compromise. Must be willing to break taboos if necessary in order to help people, but must also be a sensitive and empathetic collaborator who\’s skilled at creating harmonious solutions. Are you a rugged individualist with a strong sense of self or are you a community builder who can get along with a wide variety of human types? Both, hopefully. Be a good listener who expresses yourself clearly.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

If you set your mind to it, you could break the world\’s record for most ketchup sipped through a straw in three minutes, or the greatest distance pushing a tangerine down a highway with one\’s nose, or the most jumps on a pogo-stick in the rain at dawn while wearing a leather jumpsuit. For that matter, Libra, you now have the boldness, physical vigor, and slightly crazed chutzpah to accomplish a whole range of precedent-breaking feats, from halting an abuse of power you\’ve been putting up with to overthrowing the soggy status quo that has watered down the passions of everyone in a group you care about.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

The U.S. Congress creates a constant stream of new legislation, but that doesn\’t mean President Bush has to enforce it. Since he took office in 2001, in fact, Bush has chosen to disobey more than 750 freshly minted laws. At the risk of getting you in trouble with the powers-that-be, I\’m advising you to make Bush your role model in the coming week. Try to get away with ignoring any rules of the game you don\’t like or agree with. To maximize your chance of sailing through unscathed, proceed as Bush does–in a stealth mode, not calling attention to the fact that you\’re in a rebel outlaw mode.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Please stick to drinking low-fat water in the coming days; avoid the high-fat H20 whenever possible. Likewise, inhale only the kind of oxygen that\’s low in cholesterol, and don\’t allow your eyes to take in fatty landscapes or other calorie-rich sights. In other words, Sagittarius, celebrate simple pleasures. To make best use of the astrological opportunities, you\’ve got to consistently choose the most raw, basic options.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Last week\’s symbol was a closed fist. The mood was determined, fierce, and intolerant of any funny stuff. But you\’re leaving the zone in which that stance made sense. Your new metaphor is the open hand. Your chances at succeeding will increase in proportion to your willingness to negotiate for peace, seek connection, and accept input. Receptivity is the Truth and the Way. "Why not?" is your power mantra. To prime yourself for the transition, I suggest that wherever you are right now, you spread your arms wide and unfurl your welcoming palms.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

When you obsess on your adversaries, you risk becoming like them. The more you shape your life through your responses to things you don\’t like, you invite them to define your destiny. You\’ll have to be on guard against falling prey to this mistake in the coming weeks, Aquarius. While I don\’t suggest that you totally ignore the forces that oppose you, neither do I recommend that you regularly wake up in the middle of the night and spend hours plotting your next ten moves against them. Confine your scheming to a circumscribed period–say every Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and noon–and devote the rest of your time to creating what you love.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

Actress Isla Fisher won the Breakthrough Performance award at the MTV Movie Awards for her role in the film Wedding Crashers. "For most people, playing a bi-polar nymphomaniac would have been a challenge," she said. "But I just played myself." She\’s your role model for the coming week, Pisces. I hope she inspires you to be yourself, only bigger and badder and brighter. It\’s like you have a poetic license to proceed as if you\’re starring in the blockbuster movie of your own life.

~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

You will have valid reasons for unleashing vigorous critiques in the coming week. For best results, however, I suggest that you dress them up in fine language. Your complaints will be more likely to have a cathartic effect if you make them witty and even a bit florid. To get in the right mood, spend some time with the Random Shakespeare Insult Generator at http://snipurl.com/q1kk. Here are a few, all lifted from the work of The Bard. (1) "Thou jarring motley-minded pignut!" (2) "Thou cockered beef-witted measle!" (3) "Thou unmuzzled dismal-dreaming scut!"

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

"Before you can do something you must first be something," wrote Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. That\’s advice we can all profit from. Most of us have been guilty of trying to skips steps in reaching our goals, hoping to pull off feats we have not yet developed sufficient strength of character to master. For example, there\’s no way I could have been a good writer at age 19, since I had so little life experience to draw on, hadn\’t learned how to cultivate my perceptiveness, and didn\’t have the discipline to sit down and write every day. In the coming week, Taurus, think about whether there\’s a dream you cherish but have not yet earned the right to achieve. Then decide what you\’ll have to do to become more worthy.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

Every year the National Grocers Association stages its own version of the Oscars. Among the honors it bestows is an award for Best Bagger. It goes to the person who displays the most élan while efficiently and speedily filling grocery bags with buyers\’ purchases. The social status accorded the winner may pale in comparison to, say, Hollywood\’s best film actress or baseball\’s most valuable player, but personally I\’m just as impressed with it. In fact, I think everyone in the world should be the recipient of a prize that commemorates the one thing they do better than anyone else. It happens to be an excellent time for you to go after the unique trophy you deserve, Gemini. If no organization gives it to you, make it or buy it yourself.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

During a solar eclipse, members of some indigenous tribes in South America used to shoot burning arrows toward the heavens in the belief that they would scare away the demon that was devouring the sun. I recommend that you try this, if only in your imagination. No, there won\’t be an actual eclipse happening in the literal sky in the coming week. But something like that has been going on in your psyche. It\’s time to fight back with burning arrows.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

According to conventional measures of success, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is a successful man. His movie The Sixth Sense is one of the top 25 money-makers in history, and three of his other films have grossed more than $200 million apiece worldwide. And yet he places a supreme value on reverie. "My life is about finding time to dream," he has said. I urge you to make that your motto, Leo. The progress of your most practical ambitions later in 2006 will depend on whether or not you spend the next few weeks tapping into information that\’s available through fantasies, meditations, dreams, and other altered states.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

"The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions," wrote pioneer psychologist Alfred Adler. If you have inflicted that danger on yourself too often in the past, Virgo, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to make amends. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, a series of really smart risks is lining up to greet you. May you approach them with just the right blend of daring and discernment.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Ancient Greeks called apricot juice the nectar of the gods. For centuries, Europeans regarded apricots as aphrodisiacs and symbols of fertility. According to old English folk tales, to dream of apricots portends good fortune. In the 21st century, however, demand for the fruit is waning. Since 1994, production has diminished by almost 50 percent in California, which grows most of America\’s crop. Is there one of your skills or products whose situation resembles the apricot\’s, Libra? Some fine offering you were born to provide but that the culture seems to be losing its need for? If so, meditate on whether it\’s time to revise your relationship with it–perhaps by reinventing or repackaging it.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Most modern religions propose that we need intermediaries–priests, priestesses, rabbis, imams, monks–to get connected to the divine source. In contrast, many ancient Gnostics believed that every person could be in charge of creating his or her own link to spirit. Indeed, anyone might contribute fresh insights and revelations to the body of ever-evolving spiritual truths. The equivalent today would be if the Bible were regarded as an unfinished text to which every Christian or Jew could add new content. This is a perfect astrological moment for you to try out this perspective, Scorpio: the do-it-yourself approach to creating your own religion. You now have the power to be your own priest, priestess, rabbi, imam, or monk.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

"If you give a person feedback you focus them for a day," says entrepreneur George Reavis. "If you teach them how to ask for feedback you focus them for a lifetime." I mention this, Sagittarius, because the coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to act on his advice. You have the potential to become skilled at consistently getting the exact feedback you need–the kind of constructive, respectful critique that serves as an inspiring kick in the butt.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

In his biography Tallulah!: The Life and Times of a Leading Lady, Joel Lobenthal describes actress Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968) as a reckless hedonist given to exhibitionism and affairs with hundreds of lovers. He also hints that there was a karmic payback for her excesses. It came in the form of a lengthy hysterectomy that was a last-ditch attempt to save her from the ravages of an advanced case of gonorrhea, reducing her frame to a mere seventy pounds. Bankhead didn\’t see it as karmic payback, however. Afterwards she told her doctor, "Don\’t think this has taught me a lesson!" Your own imminent comeuppance won\’t be even a tiny fraction of what Bankhead\’s was, Capricorn. But I hope that after it has been offered, you will thankfully say, "This has taught me a valuable lesson!"

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

The group Reporters Without Borders evaluates how well the world\’s nations respect freedom of the press. Finland, Iceland, and the Netherlands are the top three, while North Korea, Cuba, and Burma are at the bottom. Canada is ranked tenth. The U.S. is 137th (of a total 167) in terms of the press freedom that it fosters outside of its own borders, although it\’s 44th in its own territory. In this spirit and in response to current astrological omens, I inventoried the freedom of expression you have carved out for yourself, Aquarius. I also appraised your skill at creating an environment in which other people feel free to express themselves to you. You\’re doing great in the first category–number one in the zodiac!–but you could use some work in the second. Now is a perfect time to work harder to extend to others the spaciousness you enjoy.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

According to my analysis of the astrological omens, pleasures that appeal to the adult in you may not rouse anywhere near the excitement they usually do in the coming weeks. The best use of your time might be to leap into your second childhood. You\’d probably be wise to do things like making mud pies, rolling sideways down a grassy hill, getting your face painted, feeding a farm animal, going on a scavenger hunt, climbing trees, and creating a papier-maché monster mask.

~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

During America\’s Civil War, John Bell Hood was a top general for the Confederacy. Though initially impressive, he grew increasingly ineffectual as his ferocious courage devolved into maniacal force devoid of strategy. His superior officer Robert E. Lee said that Hood was "all lion and no fox." I mention this, Aries, in the hope that it will serve as a kick in butt. You\’re not as unbalanced as Hood–your ratio is about 90 percent lion, 10 percent fox–but if you want to navigate your way successfully through the coming weeks, you\’ll have to work harder on cultivating your inner fox.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

According to a study done by sociologist Werner Habermehl at the Hamburg Medical Research Institute, sex makes you smarter. His test subjects showed greater skill at performing certain mental tasks after they made love. Habermehl attributes the results to the increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol that are released in the body. I encourage you to do some experiments of your own, Taurus. The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to engage in all manner of experiences that might boost your intelligence, including (though not limited to) regular erotic adventures.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

Using your common sense, you might assume you could swim faster through water than through syrup. But research published by Professor Edward Cussler has shown that\’s not true. In his paper "Will Humans Swim Faster or Slower in Syrup?", he proved that the breaststroke can be done with equal speed in both mediums. Keep that in mind, Gemini. Your surroundings may sometimes feel dense in the coming weeks–more like syrup than water. But as long as you don\’t buy into the fear that life will be more difficult and slow-going, you\’ll be able to glide along with just as much grace as you\’ve enjoyed recently.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

Since it\’s my birthday this week, I decided to take a break from business as usual. That\’s why I outsourced the writing of our Cancerian horoscope to an astrologer in Bangladesh, Farhana Rasel. Here\’s what she came up with: It is an auspicious time to use the good will you have accumulated through your generous deeds. You should ask for favors from people who have enjoyed your favors, and coast along on the currents of the good karma you have set in motion. Luck will be on your side if you permit yourself an excursion into the naughty mysteries of enlightened narcissism. You will be given more slack than usual, especially if you have the nerve to demand it.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

"Prescribed Burn Season Begins" read a headline in a Colorado newspaper that publishes my column. The report said that forestry officials planned to intentionally set easily-controllable fires on parcels of bone-dry woods. By reducing the density of potential fuel, they would dramatically reduce the threat of massive forest fires in the future. The burns would also make habitats more livable for wildlife. I suggest you make this your metaphor, Leo. If you burn a little now, you\’ll prevent a bigger burn later.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Futurologist David Brin talks to a diverse range of scientists. Over the years, he has noticed that many of them have become "much livelier, more open-minded, and more interested in fields outside their own" than they were when he first met them. Physicists are more interested in biology, biologists in astronomy, and engineers in cybernetics. According to my reading of the astrological omens, Virgo, this is a perfect moment for you to have this kind of fun. You will attract unexpected benefits into your life if you wander outside your areas of specialty and check out the action in other genres. It\’s high time for exuberant cross-pollination.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

If you think you need to be fixed, toned down, made over, or recreated from scratch, you\’re reading the wrong horoscope column. Likewise, if you imagine that you\’re a wounded animal in desperate need of rescue or a helpless victim cowering in your closet, I\’m not the proper consultant for you. But if you long to be fiercely understood, shaken awake, and dared to discover your higher calling, you\’ve come to the right place. Now let\’s get started on the next phase of my pet project, which is to inspire you to deal with what philosopher Alan Watts called "the taboo against knowing who you are." There are secrets that your unconscious mind has been longing to reveal to your conscious mind, and conditions are now favorable for that shocking yet pleasurable communication to unfold.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

In the course of my life, I\’ve known five people whom I consider feral. They weren\’t raised by wolves in the wild, but they have qualities that make it seem as if they could have been. They regularly get wild glints in their eyes, and are given to sudden expulsions of anomalous noises that express manic amusement mixed with inscrutable emotions. They can survive while traveling in foreign lands despite having little money, and even when they\’re home they\’re prone to taking long rambles in the middle of the night. They couldn\’t care less what anyone thinks of them, and rarely do what anyone expects them to do. These feral folks are disruptive but not dangerous, and they confound my beliefs about human nature in the most entertaining ways. Even if you don\’t fit this description, Scorpio, you\’d be wise to flirt with your own brand of feral behavior in the coming weeks. It\’s time to untame yourself.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The successful Czech composer Vaclav Halek has an unusual muse: the mushroom kingdom. No, he doesn\’t ingest the psychedelic varieties and write music while high. Rather, he wanders out into the forest, lies down next to fungal colonies, and tunes in to their vibrations. "I simply record music that the mushrooms sing to me," he told The Sydney Morning Herald. Trees and rocks also produce melodies, he reports, but the toadstools\’ compositions are the finest. Given the fact that you\’re in a phase when becoming a better listener would improve your life dramatically, Sagittarius, I encourage you to be open-minded about Halek\’s approach to his creativity. Just imagine that you have the power to eavesdrop on all of creation.

 

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

"What the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow," wrote Irish storyteller James Stephens. It\’s lucky for you that this is true, Capricorn–or at least it will be lucky if you\’re smart enough to trust your heart, which has already figured out a certain truth that your head is still days away from registering. This is not merely a pretty metaphor, by the way. Despite what you may have been led to believe about the nature of the heart, it is actually an organ of intelligence that is capable of deep thought.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

During an outdoor concert, \’80s pop star Cyndi Lauper experienced a rare event that every singer dreads. As she belted out a long, booming note, a bird flying overhead dispensed a blob that zoomed into her wide-open mouth. Lauper\’s grandmother later assured her that this was a stroke of good luck, and the singer herself referred to it as "God\’s little joke." I predict you will soon enjoy a metaphorically similar visitation.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you\’re about to turn into a creative powerhouse–and will remain so for at least a few weeks. That means you\’ll be at the peak of your ability to conjure up artistic masterpieces. But more than that: You will also have uncanny skill at whipping up fresh, crisp solutions to conundrums that have stymied you and your tribe for a long time. It will almost be as if you have found a way to tap into the future, where you can learn novel ways of seeing that are impossible to access in the present.

~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

Is the planet running out of oil? Some experts say yes, others say no. Secretly, part of me hopes we are. If forced to use less of the tragically magic fuel, we\’d get at least some relief from the ongoing catastrophe of global warming. But the whole discussion may become irrelevant in light of the existence of oil shale. It\’s a rock that when heated releases the abundant oil hidden within it. Though expensive to access, two trillion barrels of the stuff lie untapped beneath the surface of America\’s Rocky Mountains. "That\’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world," reports The Denver Post. This is an apt metaphor for your life, Aries. You may seem to be running out of a resource that has energized you for a long time. The truth is, there\’s more to be had, but you\’ll have to work harder to get it.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

A few people look at the world through rose-colored glasses. Many, on the other hand, peer out through crap-colored glasses. Both are unable to see the world as it really is, but instead allow their perceptions to be filtered through a distorted lens. Your assignment, Taurus, is to take off the colored glasses–whatever hue they may be–so that you can gaze at your surroundings with fresh, lucid, fixation-free eyes.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

It\’s Makeover Season, Gemini. This would be a perfect astrological moment to get your whole body tattooed, start wearing wigs of varying color and length, and have a cosmetic surgeon reshape your face to resemble that of your favorite celebrity. JUST KIDDING! I was exaggerating. The omens do suggest it\’s a good time to experiment with your physical appearance and make adjustments in your persona, but not as drastically as I first suggested.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

Listen to poet Robert Bly\’s description of you: You came into this world as a radiant package of cosmic wonders, as an unspeakably sublime bolt of primordial resonance, as a barely coalesced jumble of blinding beauty–and yet all your parents wanted was a good little girl or a good little boy. You should mourn for that discrepancy, advises Bly. He encourages you also to mourn for the fact that you then constructed a false personality in order to please your parents and thus be able to survive emotionally. Now here\’s what I have to say about all that: It\’s a perfect astrological time to express your grief for these calamities, then heal yourself from their damage and start becoming the marvel you were born to be.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

Some psychologists believe it\’s pretty easy to get people to think they remember specific events that didn\’t actually occur. I don\’t have the expertise to determine whether or not that\’s true. But just in case it is, let\’s see if we can take advantage of it. The astrological omens are in our favor: They suggest that your memories are especially malleable right now, and that your imagination is so robust that it could overwhelm so-called objective reality with its inventions. Here\’s what I propose: Visualize in detail, complete with a sensation of effusive emotions, the fabricated memory of some unbelievably happy experience that happened to you when you were four years old.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

New Scientist magazine reports that athletes who suit up in red uniforms seem to be more successful than those who don\’t. In the 2004 European soccer tournament, for instance, red-garbed teams scored an average of one more goal per game than the others. Since you\’re now in a phase when winning is even more important than usual, why not try every little thing that might give you an edge, including the wearing of red clothes or accessories? As long as your motives are benevolent and your compassion is as strong as your will to power, I have no problem encouraging you to lust for victory. What else might get your competitive juices flowing and evoke passivity in your opponents?

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Thinking outside of the box to find creative solutions to obstinate problems sometimes leads to brilliant breakthroughs. Other times it results in laughable breakdowns. And in some cases, it generates changes that are a blend of brilliant breakthrough and laughable breakdown. You\’re now flirting with this third variety. So is there anything you can do to nudge your innovations more in the direction of breakthrough and away from breakdown? Yes. First, make sure your experimental urges are driven by expansiveness and generosity, not revenge, envy, or fear. Second, trust the feelings in your body to give you important clues. Third, get your ego out of the way as much as is humanly possible.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

After playing in bands for years, I ripened into a half-decent songwriter and singer. My last project World Entertainment War was signed to a contract with MCA Records and released a CD, but meager sales precipitated my exit from the music business in 1995. Fast forward to this week. While scavenging around the Web via Google, I made an unexpected discovery: On many music lyric sites, one of the songs I wrote, "Marlboro Man Jr.," has for years been mistakenly credited to Blink-182, a band that has sold over 10 million records. I was shocked. How could it have taken me so long to find out? This incident should serve as a metaphor for you, Scorpio. Find out whether your work, ideas, or energy have been used by or attributed to other people without your knowledge.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

To boost to your romantic fortunes, it\’s sometimes helpful to take an inventory of what has worked and not worked for you in the past. Now is a good time to do that. I suggest you survey memories of your old successes and failures, and extract some fresh insights that you can apply to the conundrums that love is currently asking you to solve. Another strategy you might try is to take yourself about ten times less seriously. Even intimacy\’s most demanding tests will be far easier if you can laugh about them. To aid in this quest, try the Dead Celebrity Soulmate Search at http://snipurl.com/nghr. (It told me my best romantic matches would have been Lucrezia Borgia, Mata Hari, and Agatha Christie.)

 

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

This would not be a good week to cast a curse on God in revenge for what you think are his mistakes. Nor would it be a favorable time to draw blasphemous cartoons of saints, or pretend that atheism is any less of a faith-based belief system than religion. In fact, if I were you, Capricorn, I would utter a few prayers, purify your motives, and do some really good deeds–just in case there\’s even a slim possibility that divine help is abundantly available to you right now. (P.S. From what I can tell, there\’s more than a slim possibility.)

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

As far as the astrological powers-that-be are concerned, you have permission to play hooky. Whether their authorization will carry any weight with your boss and the people who depend on you, I can\’t say. But the pure cosmic fact of the matter is that you should devote as much time as possible in the coming days to avoiding responsibility, following your whims, and indulging in sweet pleasures that in no way serve the values of the cold, cruel workaday world. It\’s time to wander out into a field of wildflowers and chase butterflies. Or something similar.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

I dare you to call everyone "mom" or "mommy" this week. I\’m serious. Pretend as if every single person you meet has the potential to give you some mothering. Expect the entire universe and everything in it to treat you with nurturing attention and thoughtful care. You may experience some disappointments along the way, of course. There\’ll be some people who don\’t quite understand the game or want to play it. But I bet you\’ll be surprised by how many lively folks do respond to your invitation to treat you as their lovable child, their winsome little babycakes.

Homework: Tell a story about the time Spirit reached down and altered your course in one tricky swoop. Write: www.freewillastrology.com.

~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

In all my years of evaluating your astrological omens, I have rarely seen a time so favorably disposed to the value and pleasure of variety. I\’m tempted to conclude that the cosmos is conspiring for you to try all 32 flavors, 46 positions, and 64 loopholes. For a limited time only, you really should be determined to sample a little of a lot rather than a lot of a little. Grazing and browsing are not only fine, they\’re preferable. You have a poetic license to be mercurial, spontaneous, and inscrutable.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

According to my reading of the astrological omens, you now have the best opportunity in a long time to promote yourself without turning into a manipulative huckster or soul-shrunken sell-out. At least temporarily, you have immunity from the phoniness that might infect anyone else who pushed her wares and services as hard as you can push them in the coming weeks. Please take advantage of this grace period to make sure the world knows how valuable you are.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

In her book Strange New Species: Astonishing Discoveries of Life on Planet Earth, Elin Kelsey writes that though scientists have named 1.7 million species, at least 3.3 million others are still out there, as yet unidentified. In a similar way, Gemini, there are many invigorating adventures and intoxicating truths that you have not yet discovered–countless life experiences that remain unknown to you. It so happens that this is a perfect time to jumpstart your pioneering urges and go out exploring those frontiers. In the coming days, I urge you to find at least one new variety of each of the following: allies, sanctuaries, resources, inspirations, and pleasures.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

Blogger Joseph Cannon has uncovered evidence that George W. Bush may be the great-grandson of the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. On his website at http://snipurl.com/pler, Cannon says there\’s a distinct possibility that Bush\’s grandmother, Barbara Bush, was conceived during a ritual tryst between Crowley and her mother Pauline in 1924. I\’m not sufficiently informed on the matter to ascertain if it\’s true, though I can\’t help but note the strong physical resemblance between Aleister and Barbara. I bring this up because it\’s an excellent time for all of you Cancerians, including the current American president, to delve into the mysteries of your past. Secrets that have always been hidden are more likely to pop into view than ever before. If you\’re listening, your ancestors have clues to reveal.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

A team of Japanese cultural analysts was assigned the task of figuring out the best possible pick-up line. The winner: "Rainen no kono hi mo issho ni waratteiy-oh." In English, that\’s "This time next year, let’s be laughing together." I present this expression for your consideration, Leo, because I think it\’s a perfectly poetic way to alert you to imminent developments in your life. As I understand the astrological omens, you\’re about to experience transformations whose power to fascinate and amuse you will not fully ripen until June of 2007. They may be subtle at first, but will slowly build in intensity as the months go by.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

In the course of reducing the mystery of nature to a set of mechanical laws, Charles Darwin suffered greatly. "I cannot endure to read a line of poetry," he mourned in his journal. "I have tried to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have almost lost my taste for pictures and music. I lament this curious loss of my higher aesthetic tastes. . . My mind seems to have become a machine for grinding general laws, out of larger collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive." I bring this to your attention, Virgo, because I want you to be very careful not to let your love of logic and reason damage your capacity to perceive magic and enjoy the ineffable. Ideally, of course, you\’ll always be able to draw on both capacities equally. It\’s a crucial moment in the evolution of your power to do that.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

In a roundtable discussion published in Newsweek, film director Steven Spielberg touted the value of anxiety in stimulating creativity. "Fear is your ally," he said. "The minute you come onto a set and you\’re no longer afraid, you\’re in big trouble. The best performances–from filmmakers and from actors–have happened when there are whole stretches of tremendous instability about the process." I personally don\’t believe this is an absolute law that\’s always true. Some of my best work has emerged during times when I\’ve felt secure and peaceful. But I do think Spielberg\’s theory is likely to apply to you in the coming weeks, Libra. Dare to put yourself in the midst of uncertainty.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

In her poem "Possession," Jane Shore describes how the "La Brea tar pits/ keep disgorging ancient bones, squeezing them/ through the oily black muscles of earth/ to the surface." She\’s referring to the place in Los Angeles where there are lakes of natural asphalt that contain the fossils of ancient mammals. These grails of ancient goo, with their seemingly endless new supply of primeval treasures, serve as an excellent metaphor for the psychic terrain you\’re inhabiting these days.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

It would not be a good time to try digging a hole to China. You\’d have visa problems once you got there, and might end up under arrest. A better bet would be drilling a tunnel to Australia, where you\’d probably get more slack once you arrived. In general, Sagittarius, I heartily recommend any activity that takes you to the polar opposite of where you\’ve been hanging out, as long as you\’re sure you\’ll be welcome there.

 

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

"Race car drivers say that if you\’re heading toward a wall," writes philosopher Jonathan Zap, "don\’t look at it. Instead, look at where you want to go." That\’s good advice for you in the coming week, Capricorn. It would be crazy for you to concentrate all your attention on what you don\’t like and don\’t need and don\’t agree with. Rather, you should briefly acknowledge the undesirable possibilities, but then turn the full force of your focus to the most interesting and fulfilling option.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

In the course of most pregnancies, there is a moment when the fetus first moves in such a way that the mother-to-be can feel it. It\’s often a kick or a punch. I predict that an analogous quickening will occur for you in the coming week, Aquarius. You\’ll arrive at a threshold where a rite of passage will begin. It may be as subtle as a soft, billowing thump or as radical as a raucous yelp. At that uncanny moment, you\’ll become aware that a new force has sprung to life. You\’ll become attuned to a delivery from the future.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

A British man named Adrian Hayward had a dream in which an odd event occurred during a soccer game. In his dream, a famous player kicked the ball into the goal from his own half of the field–an improbable long-distance shot that rarely occurs in real games. Following the dream, Hayward placed a wager with a bookmaker, betting that such a goal would actually be scored in the course of the real British soccer season. He later won $45,000 when a player for Liverpool did exactly what he\’d dreamed. If you take the trouble to recall your own dreams in the coming week, Pisces, I predict you will get at least one hot tip akin to Hayward\’s.

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