ARIES (March 21-April 19): Whenever I hike up to the ridge near my house, I feel a surge of admiration for a certain oak tree I pass. Unlike its companions, which are pointed skyward, it's growing sideways out of the hillside. It's robust and flourishing, yet in staunch rebellion against its community's standards. I call it the Aries oak, because it reminds me of what you're like when you're at your best: unique and healthy; bucking the status quo but never in a way that damages you; not fiercely and fumingly independent, but casually and blithely so. I suggest you aim to strengthen your alignment with this ideal in the coming weeks.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The self-help book Women Who Love Too Much deals with a theme that has gotten a lot of play in the past 15 years: If you're too generous to someone who doesn't appreciate it and at the expense of your own needs, you make yourself sick. An alternative perspective comes from French philosopher Blaise Pascal, who said, "When one does not love too much, one does not love enough." He was primarily addressing psychologically healthy saints, but it's a good ideal for the rest of us to keep in mind. Your assignment is to explore the middle ground between the extremes represented by those two positions. Experiment and ruminate until you discern what amount of giving is just right for you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): To paraphrase one of Amy Gerstler's poems, this week will taste like cough syrup. Sorry to have to report that, Gemini. But on the other hand, the bitter flavor will be offset by a sweet aftertaste that's lent to the mix by a secret ingredient I'm not yet at liberty to divulge. And the unpleasantness of the medicine going down will be even more than compensated for by the tonic effects that will begin rippling through your life as early as next week.


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CANCER (June 21-July 22): An Italian law student, Antonella Magnani, was entering the last stages of her pregnancy as her final exams approached. She hoped the two rites of passage would not transpire too close to each other, but fate had other plans. Her labor pains brought her to the hospital at the exact time her test was scheduled. The law school examiners refused a postponement, but agreed to conduct their questioning in the delivery room. I believe this scenario is an apt symbol for the dual challenge you will soon face, Cancerian. In a sense you'll be giving birth as you take a final exam. (PS: Magnani had a healthy baby and got a good grade.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Just in time for zero hour, I'm happy to add a new term to your vocabulary: kairos. It's Greek for "time of destiny, critical turning point, propitious moment for decision or action." Kairos refers to a special season charged with significance and in a sense outside of normal time; its opposite is chronos, which refers to the drone of the daily rhythm. When you're in kairos, you have the power and duty to act like the sovereign of a sacred land.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I predict you will have a lavish amount of composure. It won't be tainted by arrogance or feelings of superiority, either. And it won't be fueled by a need to prove anything to anyone. Rather, your poise will flow from your strong new link to your soul's code—the life blueprint you decided on before you were born. One more thing: While you will be calm, you won't be passive or laid-back. This will be an electrifying variety of relaxation.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Dear Dr. Brezsny: Does astrology work differently in Texas? I've lived all over the world, and I've found Libras who live in Texas to be unlike Libras everywhere else. Normal Libras love beautiful things, seek harmony, and see opposing points of view as well as their own. But every Texan Libra I've ever met loves beautiful things only if they're big and loud, seeks harmony only if there's something in it for him, and acknowledges opposing viewpoints only if it helps him win the arguments he loves to start. Your opinion?—Natural-Born Texan." Dear Natural-Born: I was born in Texas and have three planets in Libra, so I'm not objective enough to comment. I do know this, though: Many non-Texan Librans will soon exhibit the behavior you described as typical of Lone Star Librans. But I think that's a good thing: an antidote for Libras' sometimes-excessive politeness.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): On those rare occasions when journalists deign to report a UFO sighting, they dutifully and dryly describe eyewitness accounts. But their juices start to flow when they offer the derisive dismissals of skeptics they've interviewed about the incident. This is typical: "Astronomy professor X said that even trained pilots can be fooled into thinking the planet Venus is a flying saucer." I wish this approach were applied to other kinds of news. Imagine a CNN anchorman regurgitating the words he heard at a Pentagon news conference, then calling on leftist scholar Noam Chomsky to provide a skeptic's perspective. This is exactly the approach you should take to every story you hear this week, even those told by friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances: Make it your burning mission to get alternate points of view.

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