Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Fifty years ago prophets believed we'd all be working no more than 32 hours a week by now. Some predicted we'd have as many as 220 days off a year, devoting just 145 to earning our daily bread. What went wrong? Most of us are putting in more hard labor than our grandparents did. But if you want to be faithful to current astrological mandates, Aries, you will spend the next few weeks doing everything you can to bring your life into closer alignment with the old prophecy. The naked fact of the matter is that you need more playtime.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "You may enjoy this movie if you shut down enough brain cells. I turned off all except the ones needed to remember where I parked my car." This observation comes from a critic's evaluation of the first Charlie's Angels film, but I've read similar comments in many other reviews. Indeed, it's an approach that many intelligent people employ routinely in response to all the loud, shiny garbage our culture foists on us. What about you, Taurus? Do you assume you have to make yourself dumber in order to have fun? Has the blaring inanity of the world caused you to shut down your smart sensitivity? If so, work hard to reverse this trend in the coming week. You'll receive help from unexpected sources if you do.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): We all talk to ourselves constantly. The conversation is mostly silent and covert, however. As a result, we get away with abusing ourselves; we assail ourselves with mean thoughts that we'd be far less likely to fling if we actually spoke them aloud. The astrological omens suggest that now is a perfect time for you to break this bad habit. In fact, I'm going to officially declare that it's Speak More Kindly to Yourself Week. For best results, shun the usual telepathic communion with yourself. Instead, say every word aloud as you carry on your dialogues. (PS: You may want to consult the book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter.)

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Dear Rob: In a recent column, I think you mentioned a book that dealt with making everyday tasks more spiritual. I'm gung ho to do exactly that: Give thanks before I eat, wake up laughing, bless the ground I walk on, notice with joyful appreciation the divine bounty that overflows in ordinary moments. Can you direct me to the book in question? —Grateful Crab." Dear Grateful: You must have dreamed it. Not since I touted Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul in 2000 have I made reference to such a book. But you don't need authorities to guide you right now. Your intuition will lead you unerringly in your quest to find sacred mojo in the smallest details.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Avoid ingesting rocket fuel in the coming days. That means you should be careful about eating lettuce grown in Southern California. Much of it contains high levels of perchlorate, a main ingredient of rocket fuel. (The Environmental Working Group says it's because defense contractor Lockheed Martin has been dumping the stuff in the Colorado River.) In any case, you won't need metaphorical rocket fuel. Cosmic forces are conspiring to boost your physical energy and mental agility to record levels.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Mata Amritanandamayi is one of India's most beloved gurus. Also known as Amma, she preaches no doctrine but believes all religions lead to the same goal. Her renown has grown largely through the power and quantity of her embraces. She travels from city to city doling out hugs, often more than a thousand a day. Since she launched her mission as a young girl, she claims to have hugged 21 million people. Amma is your role model for the coming week, Virgo. The astrological omens suggest you'll be most likely to thrive if you suspend all your spiritual theories and ideological opinions and become a pure channel for unconditional love. Try to hug at least 20 people. For extra credit, do 40.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): George Washington was afflicted with smallpox, malaria, pleurisy, consumption, amoebic dysentery, rotten teeth, and Klinefelter's syndrome. That didn't stop him from earning a place in the history books. I suggest you make him your patron saint in the coming weeks. Draw inspiration from his heroic ability to overcome personal discomfort. You're in a prime position to render months of suffering irrelevant with a decisive triumph.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In 1914, the science magazine Nature found that 30 percent of top scientists believed in God. In a second survey in 1934, the number dropped to 15 percent, and by 1998 it was seven percent. From these data, we can speculate that it's getting harder for smart intellectuals to commune with the Divine Wow the way we smart mystics do. That's a damn shame. Luckily for you, though, you're now in an unusual phase in which there's no contradiction between cultivating rigorous critical thinking and an intimate relationship with the nine-tenths of reality that is hidden from our five senses.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The most venerated object in Islam is the Kaaba, a large cube in a mosque in Mecca. Lodged in a corner of the Kaaba is its most sacred part, a black stone surrounded by an oval silver structure. Muslims kiss it at the climax of their pilgrimage to Mecca. Astrologer Caroline Casey points out that this holy of holies has the shape of a vulva, and suggests that it reveals Islam's unconscious yearning for the Goddess. That's ironic for a male-dominated religion, which, like Judaism and Christianity, has suppressed the feminine aspects of the divine. I offer this vignette as a starting point for this week's meditations, Sagittarius. What feminine aspects of the divine do you unconsciously long for and need? How can you bring more of their influence into your life?

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