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): Anyone who is in the habit of bestowing gifts and blessings on others is a candidate for sainthood. Generosity is one of the greatest virtues. But there is a related quality that surpasses it: the ability to give without any strings attached, without any expectation of being appreciated or praised for one's largesse. How'd you like to begin working on a mastery of this demanding skill, Aries? The coming weeks will afford you ripe opportunities. (PS: For those of you who are political activists, remember the Dalai Lama's thought: You should work as hard as you can to reduce suffering and foster justiceaccepting that all of your efforts may come to nothing in the end.)
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Who or what will rescue you, Taurus? A divine intervention, perhaps? A sympathetic friend who totally understands you? A teacher who knows exactly what you need at this turning point? I suspect the answer is none of the above. Don't worry, though, because a brave hero is on the way, primed to provide you with an exit, a solution, and a cure. And who is this great deliverer? For a clue, I give you this poem by Simeon Samuel Frug: "No savior from without can come/To those that live and are enslaved./ Their own messiah they must be,/And play the savior and the saved."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Here's what I wrote in my journal on an April night 10 years ago: "Ever since I learned to see three sides of every story, I've been coming across much better stories." Here's what I overheard from a woman in the grocery store check-out line today: "I'm not saying that truth is always relative, but I have often found it to be fluid, slippery, vagrant, scrambled, promiscuous, and kaleidoscopic." And here's a favorite saying of seminal TV newscaster Art Amadon: "I get my way more often now that I have more than one way." What else do you need to know to prepare for the upcoming week, Gemini?
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A lusty but sensitive rock star encounters the leader of a goddess - worshiping religious order that values pranks as much as prayers.
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CANCER (June 21-July 22):In the 1950s, scientists developed methods to synthesize artificial diamonds in the laboratory. But it's only recently they have mastered technology that allows them to grow small natural diamonds into bigger ones very quickly and without any flaws. I suggest you make this your operative metaphor in the coming weeks, Cancerian. You'll be wise to mobilize all your resources as you rapidly expand the part of your life that is most like a diamond. It's time to expedite the evolution of your valuable beauty.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): My daughter's sixth-grade class will perform a play this spring, as it has the last five years. The script, an adaptation of a tale from The Arabian Nights, features a magical talking bird as a key character. One of the students, a Leo, asked the teacher not to give her that role, as plum as it is. Why? Because she wants to avoid any further typecasting: She has played the part of a bird in three of the last four class plays. I urge you to consider making a similar stand, Leo. You'll soon be offered a chance to squeeze yourself into a coveted niche you've occupied before. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it; just think long and hard about the baggage that comes with it.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "What if you stumbled on a person living in the dark, starved, chained, drugged and poisoned?" asks futurist Jay Gary. "You'd turn on the light, unlock his chains and nourish him back to health. That poor soul is the human imaginationyours and mine." I agree with Gary's assessment. Our imaginations are in bad shape, numbed by the media's nonstop onslaught of fear-provoking, spin-doctored, soul-killing "information." The situation is tragic. Imagination is not just a playful capacity we call on when we're making art, after all. It's our ability to form mental pictures of things that don't exist yet; it's what we use to shape our future. But here's some good news, Virgo: You now have special power to rehabilitate and reinvigorate your imagination. Get in there and turn on the light, unlock the chains, and nourish it back to health.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My acquaintance Judith decided to go all out in helping her daughter sell Girl Scout cookies. She filled her garage with cases of all nine varieties in preparation for a marketing onslaught on friends and neighbors. Then one night disaster struck. Raccoons exploited a hole in the roof to break in and plunder the stash. But while the marauders ripped open boxes of every cookie type, they ate only one: the Samoas, also known as Caramel deLites, which are covered in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and laced with chocolate stripes. In the coming week, Libra, I urge you to be like those raccoons in this one regard: Unleash your passionate hunger very precisely. Don't go after what you sorta kinda like; pluck only the treats you long for with all your heart.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Want to get the most out of your upcoming adventures, Scorpio? Then adopt an outlook that combines the objectivity of a scientist and the "beginner's mind" of Zen Buddhism. To pull this off, you'll have to suspend your theories about the way the world works. Realize that what you've learned in the past won't be a reliable guide to understanding current events. Be skeptical of your biases, even the benevolent ones. Try to see the naked truth, stripped of the interpretations that your emotions might be inclined to impose.