Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19):
How frequently do I, your levelheaded guide, hand you a blank check for instant gratification, a free pass for unlimited partying, and a poetic license to indulge in what might at any other time be an obscene abundance of luxurious sensation? Not often, my dear, not often. I advise you, therefore, not to sit there a minute longer squandering your precious hedonistic opportunities. If this week were a chapter in a book or a song on a CD, it might be called "Wisely Rowdy Playtime." (But feel free to come up with your own extravagant title.)

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
For the next three weeks, your power symbol will be manna. In the Old Testament it was the delicious food that miraculously materialized to sustain the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness. The superstars of the New Testament, Jesus and Paul, called it the magical bread of life that provided spiritual nourishment. Updating the concept for your purposes, we'll define manna as any experience that satisfies your soul's hunger (though not necessarily your ego's). I predict that you'll be able to feast on it in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
In Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid, a book edited by Robert J. Sternberg, the stupidity scholar David N. Perkins lists eight common traps for individuals who are usually pretty intelligent. I gently want to bring his catalog to your attention, Gemini, because you're in a rare phase when you may be capable of both extraordinary brilliance and embarrassing foolishness. Please be extra vigilant that you don't fall prey to any of the following missteps: (1) impulsiveness; (2) neglect; (3) procrastination; (4) vacillation; (5) backsliding; (6) indulgence; (7) overdoing; (8) tempting fate. (Thanks to Gavin McNett for his review of the book at www.salon.com.)

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CANCER(June 21-July 22):
"Where is your belly cord buried?" According to an editorial at www.indiancountry.com, this is the question Native American elders pose when they want to find out where you belong. Chances are you don't know what happened to your umbilical cord, Cancerian, so let's find another way to stimulate your imagination as we probe for the whereabouts of your true home. How about this: On this earth, are there any power spots that provoke shivers down your spine or raise goose bumps on your arms? At this juncture in your astrological cycle, you need to be there—at least in your dreams.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Congratulations, Leo. The shrieking gargoyles from the fifth level of hell have decided you're no longer worth harassing. They've headed back to the nasty pit they came from. Similarly, you can disappear your fear about those pious monsters from the garbage dumps of heaven. They've also given up on tormenting you. For the foreseeable future, in fact, there's little likelihood that any more demons, bad guys, or jerks will try to tickle you into hysteria with a vulture feather. You are, as we say in the consciousness industry, free.

VIRGO(Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
If I were your psychotherapist, I'd urge you to talk to me about control and manipulation, about dominance and surrender, about how to transform power struggles into exercises in mutual empowerment. Whereupon maybe you'd blurt out, "No way, man! I'm bone-weary of you always trying to regulate what we discuss. In fact, I'm sick and tired of everyone who tries to move me in the direction they want to go without any regard for where I want to go." And this, Virgo, would be the exact response I'd have hoped to elicit from you. It would blast away your excessive humility, maybe even purge the compulsive aspects of your desire to be of service. I bet you'd then set out on a quest to claim the authority and command you have forbidden yourself from owning all these years.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
I hope no one is foolish enough to underestimate you in the coming days. People who interpret your harmonious grace as a sign of weakness will no doubt be flummoxed when they get an up-close look at the iron fist that lies inside your velvet glove. For that matter, everyone you encounter may be amazed both at how multifaceted you are and how skillful you are at expressing all your facets simultaneously. I won't be surprised at all, of course. As your soul coach, I know for a fact you're less fragmented and more integrated now than you've been in months. In fact, I'd love to see you unveil the whole uncensored truth of who you are: to get out there and be part saint, part wild thing, part beauty-worshiper, and part hardass negotiator.

SCORPIO(Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
I dreamed my horoscope columns were printed on grocery bags in supermarkets all over the world. As a result, teenage boys working as baggers were relentlessly exposed to my counsel. They became enthralled with my secret agenda, which is to galvanize the feminine aspect of the Divine Intelligence. Lo and behold, thousands were inspired to place their raw, macho energy in service to the Goddess. Soon, hordes of young men had created a militantly peaceful supranational fighting force called the United Snakes of Gaia, which strove to reverse the mass extinction of species that is raging all around us. And that's my fantasy of how I saved the world. Come up with your own version, Scorpio. It's time to rededicate your life to a power beyond your own personal glory.

SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
Your IQ is already higher than usual, and it's continuing to rise. Why? Maybe because the arousing planet Mars is joining with the Sun and Mercury to massage your brain chemistry in all the places where it has been stuck. Or perhaps your shrewdness is growing because you're becoming more aggressive about perceiving the world around you. Another explanation: You're tapping into a previously dormant reservoir of what astrologer Kat King calls "creageousness," or creative courageousness. Whatever the cause, milk the mystery for all it's worth. Don't waste time on trivial conquests like crossword puzzles or personality tests in magazines. Try to solve the riddle of the ages, or at least your longest-running personal problem.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
Like many of his contemporaries, Flemish artist Michael Sweerts (1618-1664) painted elegant portraits of rich and famous people. But he rendered his less glamorous subjects with just as much sympathy and respect. His old women have dignity. His peasants radiate nobility. There is even humanity in his destitute charity cases. Make him your role model for now. Give yourself as fully to low-status people as you do to V.I.P.s who can pull strings for you. Expect useful teachings to come from those you've ignored or dismissed. And care for the flawed and neglected parts of yourself with as much love as you bestow on your shining beauty.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
You won't get the ride you want this week—unless you desire it with all your heart. You'll never receive the answer you yearn to hear unless you're brave enough to pop a very big question. You simply cannot snag the assignment you crave or the fun you seek or the wealth you're ready for unless you assert very forcefully how much you deserve it and need it. Luckily, Aquarius, the astrological omens suggest that people are unusually receptive to you right now. Can there be any doubt about what to do next?

PISCES(Feb. 19-March 20):
More and more creative people find they do their best work when they're happy and well-adjusted. I know writers who no longer need to be drunk or sick or in agony in order to shed the numbness of their daily routine and claim the full powers of their imagination. I have musician friends whose best songs flow not from the depths of twisted alienation but rather from the heights of well-earned bliss. For the recalcitrant throwbacks who are addicted to antiquated cultural habits, there may still be a fine line between madness and genius. But I speak for many when I say it's time to laugh that motif into oblivion. Please join the revolution, Pisces. You're ready to embody this sea change in your own personal life.

Imagine that the holy books of your religion prescribe laughing prayers as the best way to know God. Share one at www.freewillastrology.com.

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