Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Baseball players sometimes use the term "winning ugly." It refers to a game in which they've managed to emerge victorious even though they've made mistakes and performed below their potential. You will soon have occasion to invoke this phrase to describe your own version of an unaesthetic triumph. There's another term I want to arm you with: "ugly ripe." It's the name of a delicious heirloom tomato whose irregular, bulbous shape sets it apart from the smooth, bland varieties that fill the tomato sections of most grocery stores. In the coming week, it will also apply to the peculiar but juicy quality of your life.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I predict that in the next seven days you will receive exactly 22 e-mail advertisements offering to increase your penis size and 22 e-mail ads to increase your breast size. Although you may be inclined to dismiss this as a boring inconvenience, it will be an excellent cosmic omen that confirms what the astrological configurations reveal: that you're primed to express both masculine and feminine qualities in a more intense and yet balanced way. this possibility may repulse you if you identify yourself as a macho male or a girly girl. But for most of you, capitalizing on this opportunity will make you smarter and sexier.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Philosopher Jean Houston likes to quote a Native American saying that's important for you to hear right now: "When we take one step toward the gods, the gods take 10 steps toward us." Here's another way to think about it: There are huge cosmic intelligences whose work is imperceptible to our five senses. They aren't figments of the imagination or sentimental fictions, but actual beings. When we acknowledge their existence and ask for their help, they enjoy responding. More than that: They love to collaborate with our strong intentions.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Here's the homework I gave my readers two months ago: "Guess what age you'll be when you finally know exactly who you are." In response, a Cancerian woman named Bridjet wrote this: "I hope I never completely know who I am! I love discovering new mysteries about myself; I love to change as everything else around me changes. It's one of the most beautifully thrilling things about life—that the only constant is change. If I ever know completely who I am, it'll be a sad day—because it will mean that I haven't changed in a long time, that I've become stagnant." Bridjet's buoyant words should serve as your inspiration, Cancerian. You're already the zodiac's most frequent and expert changer, and these days you're primed to mutate even more than usual.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In his only book, the French poet Lautréamont (1846-1870) wrote about holy yearning disguised as mournful complaint. "Whenever you hear the dogs howling in the fields," his mother told him as a child, "don't deride what they do: They thirst insatiably for the infinite, like you, me, and the rest of us humans. I even allow you to stand at the window and gaze upon this exalted spectacle." Let this passage be the starting point for your meditations in the coming week. Search for the noble purpose that lies beneath the plaintive cries that have been racking your heart.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In a horoscope I wrote for you in June of 2000, I reported that for the first time ever, your power animal was a hawk. "Act more like predator than prey for a change," I advised. Now, three years later, you're ready to reprise your hawk imitation, but with even more flair. I hereby authorize you to travel far and wide in search of the delectable nourishment that excites you most. Remember how your inexperience kept you from harvesting the full benefits of your hawkness three years ago? You know better now.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What makes a song popular? A charismatic singer, high-tech production, and millions of dollars' worth of marketing? In the modern world, yes, but not in other times and places. In his article "Rhythm, Myth and Spirit," David Pulak notes that among the Zuni Indian tribe, music "is judged by how well it resonates with the experiences of the community." In other words, a good song articulates everyone's unconscious feelings and unverbalized beliefs, thereby creating group solidarity. Your assignment in the coming weeks, Libra, is to use everything—music, ritual, constructive gossip, parties, pep talks, or whatever works—to do for your tribe what music does for the Zuni.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Dear Dr. Brezsny: Reading your 'scopes lately has felt like finding a roll of hundred-dollar bills in a heap of moldy sour cream in a garbage can; like getting a great massage from a cute underwear model in a velvet sanctuary while some jerk with a chainsaw prunes trees outside. How about serving up less paradoxical advice? I'd almost prefer getting a purely bad prediction to this maddening ambiguous stuff you've been serving up.—Scorpio Goddess" Dear Goddess: I'm just reporting the facts, ma'am. You yourself have been like a sleek athlete trying to do what you do best while stuffing your face with doughnuts . . . like a brilliant scholar struggling to read your books in a mirror with one eye closed . . . like a spontaneous kid hoping to convince a humorless octogenarian to play tag.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Jeanine, a Sagittarius woman I know, likes to compare her lovers to food. Recently she gave me a dissertation on her romantic history. "When I was 21," she said, "I had two guys. One was a pepperoni-pizza type. He was too spicy to enjoy more than once a week. The other guy was like oatmeal, bland and filling. I didn't get tired of him, though on the other hand he wasn't too exciting. Now that I'm 37, my tastes have ripened. I'm not much interested in oatmeal men anymore. I could have pepperoni pizza every day." I believe Jeanine's evolution parallels a transition you're going through, Sagittarius. You don't have as much time as you used to do for the bland, filling stuff. You need intense flavors more frequently. This applies to every part of you, not just your love life.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Every now and then, you need to get exactly what you want; it is the duty of the cosmos to bring you the thing you have specifically asked for. This is not, however, one of those times. Rather, you're in an astrological phase when it is important for you to give someone you care for exactly what he or she wants; it's your duty to bring that person something he or she has specifically asked for. So choose a deserving soul for whom you will be an angel of perfect generosity.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): During the next three weeks, it's crucial that you laugh more while you're working and chortle more while you're driving and giggle more while you're paying bills. In mysterious ways that would take me thousands of words to describe in full, the proper evolution of your long-term dreams requires you to have clownish epiphanies in situations where you've been way too serious. It'll also be important for the mental health of those you care about. In other words, Aquarius, playful abandon will not be merely a pleasant diversion but an essential medicine.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In accordance with the astrological omens, Pisces, I invite you to take on an additional job title in the week ahead: beautifier. If you agree to carry out the duties of this role, you will incite gorgeous fun and lyrical mystery everywhere you go. How? Bring scintillating harmony and mischievous grace into your conversations. Sneak a Chagall print onto an unadorned wall. Break into whimsical songs, dispense outrageous praise, ask crafty questions that provoke original thoughts, and point out all the institutions and relationships that are working really well. (PS: You won't believe how many selfish benefits will come your way if you do this.)


Homework: Read pages 182 and 183 of my book, The Televisionary Oracle, and send your responses to me at beautyandtruth.com

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