Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your forays out to the frontiers have been pretty successful, Aries. You've shown how courageous you can be when you don't torture yourself with self-doubt. You've proved to yourself how crucial it is to face your fears over and over again. Soon, though, it'll be time to come back into the heart of the action and start creating your future power spot. You'll be wise to translate what you've discovered into terms that even the most timid folks can respond to. I hereby appoint you to lead the way in creating a new tradition.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Start phasing out desires that lead you backward, Taurus. In other words, renounce your longings to re-create outmoded pleasures from the past; disown the drive to be someone you once were or to have something you once had; talk yourself out of your fascination with feelings that keep you attached to dead-end goals; and escape any addictions you might have to sensations that are irrelevant to your future.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Please remember that I don't just make up the stuff in these horoscopes; I try to convey the moods of the cosmic forces and offer suggestions about how to align yourself with them. Having said that, I'll completely understand if this week's astrological mandate is too much for you, Gemini. Don't feel guilty if you can't summon the chutzpah to carry it out. The omens say you would benefit from acquiring a hand puppet, preferably an old-fashioned one from a thrift store. You should wear the puppet on your hand often in the coming days. In a different voice from your normal one, you should make it talk about the "shadow truths" of every situation you encounter: the crucial subtexts everyone is aware of but inclined to ignore, the unspoken mysteries that need to be named, and the illusions you can no longer afford to feed.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Slip into the furthest reaches of the inner sanctum this week, Cancerian. Penetrate to the heart of the core of the root. Know what I'm talking about? Peer down through the cracks in the surface all the way to the bottom. Dare to be curious about the unfathomable mysteries that lie beneath the obvious questions. Open the secret door that leads to the even more hidden door that will take you to the most private, fertile oasis of all.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): It's an ideal astrological time to create your perfect day. This will also be good practice for 2003, when you'll have cosmic license to enjoy a perfect day at least once a month. To get in the mood, read Tiburana's testimony: "To begin, I'd wake up alone in a mountain inn in Slovenia. After a breakfast of hot milk and fresh bread I'd climb to the peak, stopping now and then to write in my diary and take photographs. The Vienna Philharmonic would be at the top, and together we'd perform the Brahms Requiem. I'd then be airlifted to the base of the mountain, where my true love would be waiting for me. We'd climb into a yellow '69 Stingray Corvette convertible and drive to the Adriatic coast. There we'd have a picnic of hummus, strawberries, and chocolate on the beach as we watched the sunset. We'd make love, wrap ourselves in blankets, and dream together all night under the stars."

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If all you've ever wanted is to marry a blond, blue-eyed cheerleader or athlete with six-pack abs and get a McMansion in the suburbs with a tank-sized SUV in your three-car garage, this will be a disappointing week for you. Nothing that happens will aid you in carrying out goals like that. If, however, you aspire to wrestle tenderly with the unripe side of your nature until it agrees to share its enigmatic treasure with the rest of you, then the immediate future will bring cathartic revelations leading to spiritual orgasms and ingenious changes in the way you live your life.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): A kitty-litter box in Des Moines, Iowa, is a portal to another dimension. So says paranormal researcher Dr. Steve Stankel, interviewed in the Weekly World News. He claims to have used the box to transport himself instantly to a strange world where flowers float in midair and music can be seen as well as heard. I doubt if you will have as dramatic an adventure as Stankel's in the coming week, Libra, but I do suspect that, like him, you will find extraordinary uses for seemingly ordinary things. Routine matters may erupt with exotic revelations. Normal people could lead you on curious detours. And yes, even a pizza ad on a billboard or an oil stain in a parking lot or a kitty-litter box might contain a mystical omen if you stare at it in just the right way.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Your assignment is to create a symbolic shield for yourself. You're not in any physical danger, and hence you don't need a literal trash-can lid or piece of sheet metal to hold in front of you; but in the coming week you'll probably need to safeguard yourself against the metaphorical equivalent of rotten tomatoes being flung your way. Your assailants may not even be aware of how offensive their emotional garbage is or how much it could affect you. That's all the more reason to surround yourself with your own personal version of psychic protection.

SAGITARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Great news, Sagittarius! The astrological omens suggest that you are now being asked to embody and illustrate a theory advanced by Gabriel García Márquez in his book Love in the Time of Cholera: "Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them. . . . Life obliges them over and over to give birth to themselves." This is one of those moments, my dear miracle-maker, when you possess the power to reincarnate without having to endure the inconvenience of dying.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A higher, smarter form of love is calling you from the not-so-distant horizon. Unfortunately, you're not ready yet to head off in pursuit of it. What exactly is the problem? Your defenses are too strong, my dear. If you want to rendezvous with the sweet stuff, you'll have to become less protected. Fortunately, I believe that 2003 will bring you just the experiences you need to accomplish this. And it all starts now. First step: Take inventory of the subtle fears that have motivated you to develop such strong armor. Consider the possibility that at least some of those fears are based on faulty logic.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Last October I watched a World Series game with two psychotherapists who'd previously had little exposure to baseball. At first they were merely entertained and grossed out by the fact that virtually every player spit constantly. But as the camera's telescopic lens focused over and over on tight shots of saliva spraying from lips, the shrinks' attitude turned clinical. "These million-dollar athletes are suffering from a collective version of obsessive-compulsive disorder," they concluded. I had to agree. But to be fair to the baseball players, I also noted that everyclose-knit assemblage of humans has some analogous pathology, and it's often unconscious. What's your group's version, Aquarius? It's an ideal time, astrologically speaking, to question whether it's amusing and tolerable, or whether, on the other hand, it tends to undermine your goals.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It's my pleasure to inform you that the astrological moment is perfect for you to wish upon a star. It's my nervous duty, however, to make sure that you choose the right star. A small miscalculation in the heavenly sphere can translate into a huge error down here on earth. Likewise, I must urge you to use surgical precision in formulating your wish. Even a tiny misstatement of your longing could result in you fulfilling the wrong dream. Sorry to be so complicated, Pisces. You'd think it would be child's play to know exactly what you want and ask the right deity to bless it. But it's not; few of us ever accomplish this magic. Fortunately, you've never been in a better position to pull it off.


Homework: What would it mean for you to learn the difference between stupid suffering and wise suffering? Testify at www.freewillastrology.com.

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