Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A study by psychologists at the University of Sussex in Great Britain has found that taking part in protests, demonstrations, or strikes is good for you; interviews with activists revealed that participants experienced a deep sense of happiness and even euphoria. By my astrological reckoning, this will be especially true for you Aries in the coming weeks. If you haven't already found a constructive channel for your rebellious mojo, start searching now.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Both Picasso and T.S. Eliot are credited with saying, 'Good artists borrow, great artists steal,' " notes music critic Peter Gorman. "Credit it to Picasso and it comes across as bravado, a declaration that great art comes from those who appropriate whatever they damn well please. Credit the quote to Eliot and it seems more like wordplay; to borrow is to imitate and give back, to steal is to make it one's own." Study these tricky assertions about the creative process, as you negotiate a turning point in your relationship with your own fertility.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Trains in China are divided into two different sections: soft seats and hard seats. "The soft seats are usually where you find the richer, stiffer, better-educated people," reports Charlotte Temple in DoubleTake magazine. "In the hard-seat section, it's like a little village. Everyone is eating watermelon seeds, playing games, leaning out windows to buy from the dumpling sellers." This is an apt metaphor for the choice you now face. As you travel on to the next phase of your life, the soft seats would provide the greatest comfort, but the most interesting and educational events would unfold in the hard seats.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): You've heard of passive smoking, which occurs when the burning cigarette waste of smokers snake into the lungs of innocent bystanders. Now scientists at the Beauty and Truth Lab have identified a phenomenon they call second-hand depression, wherein victims inadvertently absorb the misery and cynicism of people who are spewing out negative emotions. Be especially careful to protect yourself against that contamination in the coming week. You can't afford to be poisoned by the lazy blather of out-of-control naysayers; you have an astrological mandate to nurture optimistic perceptions and articulate loving strategies.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): On an episode of the show Stargate SG-1, friendly aliens called the Asgards come to Earth seeking help from the top-secret government agency with whom they've had a working relationship. It seems the super-intelligent, highly evolved Asgards have reached a dead end in their ability to fend off their mortal enemy, the Replicators. They hope their dumb allies, the humans, will be able to find some elementary solution that they themselves are too smart and complicated to think of. The idea works. One of Earth's top physicists, a simpleton by Asgard standards, dreams up a crude but effective plan. Let this be a teaching tale for you. Trust innocent, uncluttered, amateur solutions.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The largest meeting of world religious leaders in history was virtually unreported by the media. The top-secret event transpired in 2002. Leading representatives from every major faith gathered in Italy. They issued a "Decalogue for Peace," which denounced violence committed in the name of God and religion, and declared, "We commit ourselves to those who suffer poverty and abandonment and who have no voice." The media deemed other stories more important than this unprecedented breakthrough, like Mike Tyson getting his boxing license, John Walker Lindh making a court appearance, and the Enron hearings beginning. A comparable marvel is unfolding in your own life, and you haven't noticed it yet.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):"You're only given a little spark of madness," says Robin Williams. "You mustn't lose it." His advice is especially apt for you now. To aid your efforts, here are tips on how to keep a healthy level of insanity, by librarian Bonnie Wolf. (1) When people ask you to do something, ask if they want fries with that. (2) Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Hard Kim. (3) As often as possible, skip rather than walk. (4) Finish all your sentences with "in accordance with the prophecy." (5) Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer. (6) Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice. (7) At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down. (8) In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors." (9) When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I won! I won! Third time this week!"

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): A few years ago the astronomy magazine Sky & Telescope held a contest to replace the name "Big Bang," which many scientists regarded as too frivolous. This week I propose that you Scorpios carry out a comparable project: Find a new name for the Divine Intelligence. The terms "God" and even "Goddess" have been so abused and overused that we've all become numb to them. And given the spiritual opportunities that will be opening up for you in the coming weeks, you can't afford to have an impaired sensitivity toward the Great Mystery. Here are a few ideas to whet your imagination: Blooming HaHa, Whirl-Zap-Gush, Sublime Cackler, Primal Jokester, Cosmic Wow, Eternal Crucible.

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