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):
You missed the annual summer Redneck Games this year; begin prepping for 2003. Held every July in East Dublin, Georgia, this alternative Olympics features the watermelon-seed spitting contest, bobbing for pigs' feet, the bug-zapper spitball competition, the armpit serenade, and the mud-pit belly flop. While it's true you may not have had a chance to develop an aptitude in these areas, your talent could grow exponentially in the coming months. With the expansive planet Jupiter in your astrological House of Hog Heaven, you will excel at activities that involve losing your dignity for the sake of having goofy fun; you will thrive whenever you shed your self-importance and explore down-to-earth pleasures.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
I have cast a judicious and discerning love spell that will be triggered in the heart of anyone who reads the following mantra: blisssavvy. Ha! You read it! Soon you'll be in the grip of a sizzling yet moist vortex of tender devotion, moved to commit sagacious acts of lust and thoughtful outbreaks of horny compassion. Don't worry that the spell will lead you to do impulsive things you'll regret later. In formulating it, I made sure it'll inspire behavior that is in strict accordance with your highest ideals and best intentions.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
As global warming continues apace, glaciers and ice fields from Alaska to Central Asia are melting. Scientists are excited about gathering the ancient artifacts and fossils that are being exposed by the thaw. I see an analogous process in your life. A deep freeze is losing its grip on parts of your past. Repressed memories are becoming accessible again. Stories from long ago are returning for another look, perhaps even a reinterpretation. The historical evidence, laid bare for your review, may have a very different meaning now than it did before.
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CANCER(June 21-July 22):
It's a favorable time to moonlight as a cashier at the drive-in window of Jack in the Box or Taco Bell. Doing so would dramatically boost your levels of empathy for people who aren't as fortunate as you, which is exactly what the astrological omens suggest. Your part-time gig selling junk food to regular folks would also increase your humility, which would diminish your false pride and boost your soul's confidence. Finally, wearing a grimy white uniform while immersed in greasy air for a short time would make you feel tremendously grateful for the blessings in your life. This, again, is one of the gods' primary prescriptions for you right now.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
"The strong, independent part of me resisted the embarrassing truth for a long time," my Leo friend Lannie told me, "but I finally came to accept that I'm someone who craves overwhelmingly vast amounts of love. Ever since I totally surrendered to this need, it doesn't nag me all the time, like it used to. In fact, it feels kind of comforting, like a source of sweetness that never goes away. I never thought I'd say this, but I've come to treasure the feeling of having a voracious yearning for love." I've quoted Lannie's testimony at length, Leo, because it's prime time for you to master the skill she now owns.
VIRGO(Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
When I scream "GET NAKED!" I don't mean you should immediately fling off all your clothes. (Though I'm not opposed to you doing that.) What I mostly mean is: Strip away your defense mechanisms; dismantle the armor around your heart; slip off your boxing gloves before making love; remove the shoes that don't belong to youyou know, the ones you were going to walk a mile in but have ended up wearing for a million; shed knee pads you put on so as to kiss anyone's butt; dispose of the chastity belt; get rid of the aluminum-foil hat you donned to protect you from telepathic mind-control experiments; take off the blinders that are diminishing your eyesight, as well as the rose-colored glasses, for that matter.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
The promise breakers and love fakers and delusion makers are no fun, but ultimately you'll thank them for helping to clarify your goals. The idea stealers and reverse healers and greedy feelers are hazardous to your happiness in the short run, but eventually they'll strip away your dangerous naïveté and inspire you to devise smarter protections for your heart, health, and wealth. In conclusion, Libra, it's one of those weird times when mediocre, apathetic, unconscientious people will be your greatest teachers.
SCORPIO(Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
This would be a good time to launch a building project on the scale of India's Taj Mahal or Egypt's Great Pyramid. You should at least begin some magnificent creation, Scorpio. If I'm reading the astrological omens correctly, there's a decent chance you could wangle 20,000 helpers to work for you night and day for the next 20 years. You could probably even corral a team of holy men and wild women to consecrate your quest, as well as a squadron of psychotherapists and masseuses to soothe you during the challenges you'll face as you assemble your masterpiece.
SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
More than any other sign of the zodiac, you Centaurs have the potential to help people laugh at themselves. Yet this sublime skill is never mentioned as a Sagittarian specialty in the astrological textbooks. Indeed, it's rarely even recognized as a valuable asset by the experts who describe what constitutes a stellar human being. I, on the other hand, put it at the top of my list of desirable traits. In my view, inducing people to take themselves less seriously is one of the most sacred and healing gifts you can give them. Why mention this now? Our culture's myopia may have discouraged you from fully developing this superpower, but it's a perfect moment to make up for lost time.