ARIES (March 21-April 19):
Your birthday is your personal New Year's Day, the launch of a fresh astrological cycle. As you approach this glorious holiday, I'd like to provide two assignments that will help you take maximum advantage of the hatching energy. First, promise yourself that you will be voraciously observant. Each day, find at least three details you've never previously noticed about the familiar environments you inhabit and travel through. Secondly, use all your ingenuity to figure out how to be motivated by fun rather than conscience or guilt. Everywhere you go, substitute "I want to" for "I should" as you cultivate a relentlessly experimental capacity for joy.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
I dare you to unleash a convulsive confession, Taurus. I challenge you to dredge up every last festering seed of unacknowledged truth. Grab a pen and paper or put your hands on your keyboard and write nonstop until you've churned out a piercingly tender testimony about your raw secrets, wild sorrow, unspeakable guilt, and strange yanks of destiny. If there's any smoldering joy or hidden pride or unclaimed triumphs in there, mix that in, too. Send the whole mess to me at Box 150247, San Rafael, CA 94915, or zenpride@freewillastrology.com. I will conduct a ritual of purification, burning your offerings in my sacred cauldron. As I do, I'll think fiercely compassionate thoughts about you and visualize all the reasons why you deserve much more of the smartest kind of love.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
It would be a great week to learn a foreign language while playing chess by cell phone as you improve your skills in operating a forklift and retrain yourself to breathe deeply from your diaphragm. You might also consider writing with more crazed freedom in your journal as you increase your time on your exercise bike and listen to music sampler CDs so as to track down a new selection of songs to inspire you. In other words, Gemini, bust through the limitations you've previously set on how much intense versatility you can muster. You won't believe how much you can get done during the next seven days.


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CANCER (June 21-July 22):
So I bought an unassembled piece of furniture at Ikea. I'm not stupid, I told myself. How hard could it be to put together? Many frustrating days later—beset by poor instructions, missing pieces, and parts that barely fit together—I'd discovered a valuable new secret of magic. Cursing alone didn't work, nor did prayer alone. But if coordinated in short bursts of alternating rhythm, flinging both curses and prayers turned out to be an excellent way to attract divine help. I'm convinced I'd still have a pile of wood on the floor if it hadn't been for the supernatural interventions I was able to conjure. I recommend this approach to you during the coming days, Cancerian, when you'll have to perform the equivalent of constructing an Ikea entertainment center.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Don't bother trying to use logic to figure out the plot twists this week. If you do, you'll miss the point every time. A better approach would be to cultivate what the poet John Keats called "negative capability." In other words, learn to dwell comfortably "in the midst of profound uncertainties, mysteries and doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason." If there's any sense to be made of upcoming events, Leo, it'll be on the offbeat, in the odd coincidences, and out of the corner of your eye.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
I haven't hitchhiked at all in recent years, but when I was between 18 and 22, it was my preferred means of travel. The first key to success—not always feasible—was to have a woman companion. The second rule: Stand right in front of a spot that's easy for a car to pull over to and stop. In other words, make it hassle-free for your potential benefactor to give you the gift of a ride. A similar approach is advisable in many other situations where you're angling for an offering: Remove all obstacles that stand in the way of your getting the object of your desires. I urge you to keep that uppermost in your mind during the coming week, Virgo.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
You will attract a lot of cosmic assistance if you apprentice yourself to the arts of sacred intimacy in the next few weeks. As encouragement, here are three riddles for you to chew on. (1) What are the qualities in yourself that tend to sabotage your love life? (2) What exactly would you have to do to achieve an elegant balance between giving too much and being too self-centered? (3) Could you actually thrive on the fact that a close, loving relationship periodically churns up the dark sides of both partners?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
Prickles, twitches, itches, and stings: They're not always bad, and may even serve a worthy purpose. My allergy to freshly cut grass, for instance, meant I never had to waste my Saturday afternoons mowing the lawn when I was a teenager. And that creepy-crawly sensation that came over me when I first met my sister's smooth-talking fiancé: If I'd heeded it, I wouldn't have lent him the money he never paid back. Moral of the story, Scorpio: Make your icky feelings work for you this week.

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