Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19):
The Harvard Eating Disorders Center says that 40 percent of all nine-year-olds don't like the way their bodies look. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders asserts that "eating disorders among teens and younger children have reached 'epidemic levels.' " It cites kids' dissatisfaction with their physical appearance as the primary cause. Unless you're a rich supermodel who has indulged in cosmetic surgery, I bet you've fallen victim to the contagious spread of this kind of self-loathing. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's now prime time to dissolve the bad habit of wishing your body were different from what it is. I dare you to summon the courage to love what nature gave you.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
Here's how my answering machine message starts: "If you are a telemarketer, please know that I love you and respect your struggle to make a living in this insane culture. However, I do not wish to talk to you about your magazine subscriptions, long-distance phone plans, or other fine products, so please hang up now." Read that passage a few times, Taurus, until you grasp the subtleties of its tone. I advise you to bring the same spirit to your communication with anyone who is trying to sell you ideas and emotions and actions that you don't really need. Be compassionate even as you succinctly express your firm convictions and strong desires.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
Ready or not, it's time to play! Get ready for adult games and not-so-adult games; games you've never heard of and games you unwittingly invent; games that start at the end and work backward and games where you're plopped down in the middle and have to figure out the rules as you go along. Let me get you in the mood for the odd fun with some tantalizing clues that tease as much as they please. One of the most entertaining diversions will be called Undressing Your Defense Mechanisms. Another will be There's Something I've Always Wanted to Tell You, but I Want You to Beg Me. Now get out there and put on your game face, baby.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22):
My acquaintance John fantasized for years about making a pilgrimage to the Himalayas. In his imagination, it became his equivalent of a Grail quest, an emblem of joyous transcendence. At night he often dreamed of hiking along the snowy trails of Nepal's majestic mountains. Finally he made a vow to actually go there. He saved his money, quit his job, and headed off last October. I spoke with him recently for the first time since his return. "How was your trip?" I asked. "I wasn't moved as much as I thought I'd be," he said. "It was disappointing, really. There's very little wilderness and a lot of villages along the trekking routes; the tourist industry is everywhere. But it's OK. Now I have the chance to hunt around for a new symbol of ultimate meaning. I'm excited." Do you see where I'm going with this tale? It's time for you, too, to get a reality check on a long-running dream.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Have you heard of Johannes Jensen, Salvatore Quasimodo, Roger Martin Du Gard, or Frans Eemil Sillanpaa? It's doubtful. Here's what they have in common: They all won the Nobel Prize for literature, but their books are out of print and hard to find. Let this be your starting point in the coming week as you evaluate what you're truly worth. Here are some other questions to ponder. Do you really need to be acknowledged for your greatness in order to feel successful? Do others' opinions count for more than your own when you measure your value? Are you more eager to gain the approval of so-called important people than of the folks whose lives are entwined with yours? Is fame worth squat?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
In "She's on Fire," a song by the band Train, the singer croons, "It's not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life." I suggest you regard this as your mantra in the coming weeks, Virgo. The astrological omens suggest you have a mandate to bring a fierce new intensity to the glorious work of fantasy fulfillment. I dare you to prove just how much you believe in yourself.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
After studying your astrological omens for just 15 minutes, Libra, I realized I couldn't come up with the right oracle for you as long as I was sitting on my butt indoors. Vigorous movement must be in your future, it was clear: an invocation of animal energy, decisive action, and forceful exuberance, and strong displays of willpower fueled by physical agility. So I bolted from my house and ran gleefully toward the hills. My legs were happy. The sun was sweet nourishment. Sweat baptized me, and the wind was my ally. I could smell the bright blues and yellows of the wildflowers and see their heady fragrance. This is the kind of experience I hope you'll seek often in the coming week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
After careful reflection on the cosmic tendencies, Scorpio, I have selected historian Dan Fitzgerald as your role model. He specializes in researching the ghost towns, buried treasure, forgotten oases, and hidden Indian earthworks in his home state of Kansas. Like him, you will derive a great deal of psychic energy in the coming weeks from recovering evidence of past experiences that have almost been lost to memory.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
My psychotherapist friend specializes in couples counseling. With a wisdom tempered by years of mediation, she has come up with an idea about how best to prepare for marriage. Before tying the knot, an engaged couple should test their compatibility with a month-long journey through the third world. If they still like each other after picking the lice out of their hair in Bangladesh and nursing each other through bouts of diarrhea in Laos, they will have earned a license to wed. I think every couple would benefit from tests like this, both in the early stages of their relationship and regularly thereafter. I bring this up, Sagittarius, because it's a perfect time, astrologically speaking, to embark on an experiment in togetherness that'll be a potent bonding experience.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
During baseball season, a professional pitcher may hurl a ball 80 to 90 miles per hour a hundred times every few days. Each throw requires many body parts to be coordinated in a complex motion. If a pitcher inadvertently develops a flaw in his delivery, no matter how minor, he can set himself up for serious muscle and ligament strains. That's why some players visit the Biomechanics Lab at the University of Alabama Birmingham before they get hurt. Doctors there use sophisticated technology to detect nascent bad habits. To avoid having to go through rehab later, the athlete undergoes prehab. I recommend this way of thinking to you, Capricorn. Take preventive action now.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
Today's bestselling poet, the ecstatic Sufi named Rumi, has been dead for 729 years. Prompted in part by his marketability, Time magazine even named him "mystic of the century" for the 13th century. Aside from Shakespeare's plays and the Bible, is any other venerable text still so widely read? I doubt it. As a fan of Rumi's visionary love poems myself, I recommend his work to you—especially during the coming weeks, when you'll be in prime time to expand your relationship with spiritual rapture and erotic delight. I dare you to seek communion with God while making love.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
The fork did not quickly gain acceptance as an everyday eating utensil. Though introduced to Europe in the 11th century, it was regarded as an upper-class affectation for hundreds of years. "Instead of eating with her fingers like other people," a medieval clergyman wrote of a Venetian noblewoman, "the princess cuts up her food into small pieces and eats them by means of little golden forks with two prongs." I invoke this historical fact, Pisces, to draw a comparison to your life. The innovation you're now in the midst of making may be ignored and even ridiculed at first, but ultimately it will become indispensable.

Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, imagine that you once lived another life. Where was it? What was it like? Who were you? Testify: beautyandtruth@freewillastrology.com

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