ARIES (March 21-April 19):
When Time magazine reviewed Ralph Ellison's book Invisible Man many years ago, it wrote the following: "Before [this novel] is over, the hero can face up to one of life's bitterest questions, 'How does it feel to be free of illusion?' and give an honest answer: 'Painful and empty.' " I predict that your experiences during the next few weeks will lead you to a very different answer to that question, Aries. If I ask you, "How does it feel to be free of illusion?" on your birthday, I bet you'll say, "Strong and full of possibilities."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
Nothing but good news this week, Taurus. Hope you don't mind my lack of irony and cynicism. The blunt fact is, your burdens are growing lighter and your duties more interesting. A joyless mission is becoming irrelevant, making you available for a fresh assignment that'll inspire you to get more serious about playing. You're in possession of such raw mojo, frankly, that you could probably make your enemies wet their pants just by looking at them. I'd be willing to bet my entire collection of antique tarot cards that you'll soon be wielding influence over a situation that has previously been out of your control.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
The Aztecs were originally nomadic. They wandered through the land now called Mexico, settling briefly in various areas ruled by more powerful people. All the while, an old prophecy led them to believe that they'd eventually find a permanent home in a place where an eagle perched on a cactus as it gnawed a serpent. One day in the 14th century, they finally spied this very sign on an island in a lake. Then and there they began building the city that ultimately became the heart of their vast realm. Do you have an analogous prophecy, O Restless One? If not, conjure one up. If you do, look for the prophecy to be fulfilled. The omens suggest that your personal empire will soon undergo a building boom.


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CANCER (June 21-July 22):
If you were a lobster, it'd be time to molt your shell. If you were a river, you'd be about to flood. If you were an office worker, it'd be time to trade in your claustrophobic cubicle for a roomy new niche. The old containers can't hold you, Big Stuff. The boundaries you knew you'd transgress someday are finally ripe for transgressing. Even now, I feel your attention span stretching. I sense you're ready to stop living week to week and start formulating a five-year plan. Your words of power: Bust out.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Some colleges offer credit for courses in pornography, says U.S. News & World Report. "Students listen to lectures from porn stars," writes John Leo, "write porn fiction, film their own sex scenes, and take part in inhibition-lowering dramas, like donning s/m outfits and being tied up and whipped." As much as I celebrate inhibition lowering, I'm sad to see it done under the auspices of porn's vulgar view of sexuality. I wish it were rooted instead in the loving spirituality of tantric philosophy. Info on tantra is harder to find than porn, but more satisfying to the soul. Keep this in mind now that you're so ripe to upgrade your erotic skills, Leo.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
"As above, so below" is the maxim at the heart of astrology. In other words, the nature of the cosmos is intimately reflected here on earth and vice versa. Everything we imagine to be far away and "out there" has a parallel in the mundane world around us. Many spiritual traditions share this vision, and urge the faithful to base their daily practice on it. I myself usually preach the wisdom of seeking relatedness. This week, however, I recommend that you be cautious about promoting unity. Writer Hanna Blank sets the right tone. "My cat attempted to adorn a prayer rug with a hair ball, and I had to stop her," she says. "There are some instances in which we do not wish all things to be interconnected."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
A friend and I were out walking today. When she gazed at the warm sun and cloudless sky and exclaimed, "What a beautiful day!" I cringed. "Do you mean to say that an overcast, chilly day is not a beautiful day?" I complained only half-jokingly. "Or a drizzly, windy day?" It's almost as if I felt a vicarious sense of hurt feelings on behalf of the earth. From our planet's perspective, every day is gorgeous, magnificent, and revelatory. I suggest you take on this view, Libra, and apply it as an all-purpose metaphor. It will help you get the most out of the lyrical murk and the fertile gunk in the coming week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
Here's a bit of wisdom I gained through hard experience last summer: When you go to a county fair, never play the throw-darts-at-balloons game and win a giant stuffed dragon at the beginning of your visit, because then you'll have to carry the bulky thing around with you the rest of the day. This teaching can serve as a valuable metaphor in the coming weeks, Scorpio. You're entering a phase when fun will continually flood in your direction, and it doesn't make sense to weigh yourself down with the first questionable "treasure"' that comes along. Enjoy the minor thrills that arrive in the next few days, but don't pledge your undying devotion to them.

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