By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
ARIES (March 21-April 19):
"WELCOME HOME!" That's the cheery salutation the festively clad greeters blessed me with as I entered the gates of the Burning Man festival last August. In one sense it was an ironic statement: I would spend a mere week in a temporary community erected in an inhospitable desert environment. But it was also profoundly appropriate. Surrounded by smart weirdos who shared my values, stimulated by endlessly fascinating art and music, I felt I had finally found my power spot on planet Earth. Please visualize your own personal version of this homecoming, Aries. What conditions would render you thrillingly relaxed and gracefully aligned? This is the year to create them.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
The persimmon tree outside my door has shed all its leaves, but a riot of bright orange fruits hangs starkly from its gray-brown branches. Down the street, the pomegranate tree's withered leaves lie in heaps on the ground, but its dark red globes also remain. I love the way these two rebels defy winter's frigid dormancy, beaming their radiant sweetness through the sun's wan light. They remind me of you, Taurus, of your ripe and fertile beauty blooming amidst the world's fallowness. Be extra buoyant as you share all that good stuff with your fellow creatures in the coming weeks. The favors will be returned in kind in February and March.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
In her San Francisco Chronicle column "The In Crowd," Leah Garchik reported on gay actor Ian McKellen's ongoing efforts to purge an ugly pathology from the world's bestselling holy book. Whenever he checks into a hotel that provides a Gideon Bible, he rips out and throws away the part of Leviticus that reads, "If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they should be put to death." According to my reading of the astrological omens, Gemini, you should be inspired by McKellen's purification campaign in the coming months. Choose a political or moral issue that rouses your wisest passion. Then fight for it with relentless ingenuity.
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CANCER (June 21-July 22):
Plants raised in a greenhouse grow faster and are more lush. They can flourish all year round. Cows fed synthetic hormones are fatter and produce more milk. They can be induced to go into heat at times they wouldn't normally do so. But the greenhouse plants are healthy and good for the people who enjoy them, while the hormone-augmented cows often get sick and produce tainted milk. In the coming year, Cancerian, you will experience expedited growth. Whether it turns out to be like the plants or cows will depend on your free will: How will you craft your relationship with abundance?
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
To paraphrase George Santayana, "Those who don't study the past are doomed to repeat it." Meditate frequently on this wisdom during the next six months, Leo. You will be blessed with a host of opportunities to graduate from lessons that have been dragging on for years. For best results, do a memory-by-memory review of your entire life history at least three times between now and your next birthday. It's a time-consuming task, I know; each review will require you to do nothing else for a day or two. But it's one sure way to discern the ancient, moldy patterns that you urgently need to shed for good.
VIRGO(Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
I was invited to a late-night party at a rural estate two hours from my home. At first the trip was simple enough. My host's clear directions led me through a number of turns down country roads. But the last five miles snaked me through shadowy forests along a twisting, constantly forking one-lane road. Determined not to get lost, I stopped the car every few hundred yards and found a long stick to plant upright in the roadside mud as a marker. I felt like Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of bread crumbs through the woods so they could find their way home. Refer back to this story regularly in 2002, Virgo. Your journey will be upliftingly transformative as long as you never lose track of where you are.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
Usinger's Famous Sausage is the Official Hot Dog of the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics. The Official Cosmetics Bag is Robert Talbott's mint-green silk model. When the athletes cry in victory or defeat, they will turn to limited-edition UltraSoft Pocket Packs to dry their tears: Kleenex is the Official Facial Tissue Supplier. If it were within my power, Libra, I would arrange for your tribe to be the Official Zodiac Sign of the winter games. With the expansive planet Jupiter holding court in your astrological House of Command in the coming months, you folks are likely to be at the height of your power, skill, and renown. In fact, I predict that a disproportionately large percentage of Olympic medal winners will be Libras.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
The cosmic powers have an amusing challenge in store for you in 2002, Scorpio. But don't worry, I'll be laughing with you, not at you, as I watch you wrestle with your dual assignment: (1) Learn how to be innocent again, only on a higher, smarter level than you were earlier in your life. (2) Figure out how you can sincerely muster a fresh, updated capacity for having faith. The new models of both innocence and faith must not be anything like your old ones. You can't cultivate an ironic or distanced relationship with them. They have to work well for the deep, complex, discriminating person you have become.