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):
To drive home the point I want to make this week, I have gathered a compendium of bumper-sticker slogans about what makes people decelerate. "I Brake for Leprechauns" is my favorite, but I also like the following: "I Brake for Hallucinations," "I Brake for Whales," "I Brake for Overturned Payroll Trucks," "I Brake for Tailgaters," and "I Brake for Mel Gibson." I hope these inspire you, Aries, to come up with your own personal version. Why? Because you can't afford to keep barreling onward with heedless abandon. All the good stuff in the week ahead will come to you when you're slowing down or stopping.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
On your behalf, I invoke the inspiration of all shedding things. Your tree of power shall be the eucalyptus, whose bark peels away to reveal a fresh layer beneath. Your magical symbol will be the molting snake. You will have a secret bond with the silverfish, an insect that bursts through its exoskeleton as it grows a new and bigger one. As you prepare for your season of casting off the old skin, Taurus, I exhort you to learn from these role models; I urge you to realize that the shedding process is natural, and that any discomfort you feel as you lose your old surface will be followed by a brisk sense of renewed elasticity.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church branded cats "ambassadors of the devil" and called for their mass extermination. The virtual disappearance of felines from Europe was an important factor in propagating the Black Death, which killed 25 million people between 1347 and 1352. The disease was spread by fleas that lived on rats, whose populations had soared in the absence of their natural predators. Moral of the story, for you and me and all of us: Be careful whom you demonize. Of course I don't mean to imply that your creeping urge to create enemies would be anywhere near as dangerous as the example I cited. But why stir up any unnecessary karma at all?
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A Novel by Rob Brezsny
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CANCER(June 21-July 22):
I know a woman who has decided to live without cable TV. With the money she saves, she pays for the services of the Live Orchid Club. Once a month, for about the same cost as 75 channels of psychic garbage, she is visited by a deliveryman who fills her house with blooming orchids. Each time, he takes away the previous month's batch and returns them to the central greenhouse to be spruced up by expert gardeners. I recommend that you make an equivalent trade-off in the coming week, Cancerian. What boring "pleasure" might you sacrifice so as to make room for a real thrill?
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Five planets are now hanging out together in the same little cozy patch of sky. Look to the west just after sunset and you'll see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. According to astronomer Robert C. Victor, we won't witness a similar spectacle again until 2060. And what does this mass gathering of heavenly bodies bode for you? It means you should brainstorm about your career, finish up old business for good, and supercharge your social network with the sweetest discipline you can muster.
VIRGO(Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
Sacred is trendy! Among the many recent books that invoke the concept are Sacred Flowers, The Sacred Art of Hunting, Sacred Hoops (about basketball), Sacred Monsters, Sacred Hunger, Sacred Landscapes, and Sacred Sexuality. It's fine with me, really. I'd like to sacralize the whole damn world. But a recent class offered at a New Age expo, "The Sacred Art of Publicity," tested even my capacity to find holy meaning in the mundane realm. What's next? Sacred shopping? Sacred TV-watching? I suppose even these might be possible. In fact, if anyone can make them so, you can, Virgo. You have a hot line to God these days, so why not milk it for all it's worth? I dare you to pull off the sacred microwaving of a frozen dinner and the sacred eating of it in the car on the way to a class in sacred investing.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
Is there any sense in which you might be able to live forever? Last week I asked you to purge your fixed notions about the subject and let your imagination run wild. So have you had any epiphanies about the eternal nature of your soul? Any dreams of being alive in a different body 800 years from now? Keep prying your mind open even wider, Libra. Meditate on the fact that although most everything you've heard about reincarnation is a fairy tale, the mystery schools teach a far more profound and subtle version of the theory. And take a glance at a book called The Physics of Immortality, by physicist Frank J. Tipler, who mathematically proves that everyone who has ever lived will be resurrected from the dead.
SCORPIO(Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
A cosmic extravaganza is unfolding in the night sky. Gaze west after sunset and you'll see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn bunched closely together. What does this rare gathering symbolize for you? It means you have a chance to intensify and refine all your uniquely Scorpionic powers. I suggest the following: Identify where your selfish desires overlap with the needs of your collaborators; penetrate surface appearances and explore what's really going on beneath; and purge any bad, hurt, or twisted feelings that interfere with your ability to tap into the beautiful heart of your emotional power.