Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19):In his book, The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care, John McWhorter says he prefers the energetic rants of poetry slams to the "doggedly flat rainy day poems" of more academic writers. On the other hand, the spoken-word stuff rarely ventures beyond "alienation and scolding," which limits its beauty and power. "The vast weight of human artistic achievement was not created in indignation," he notes. Please remember that, Aries. Your anger will be good and strong in 2004. It will help you tap into a lot of constructive creativity. But you should resist the temptation to let it influence everything you do.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "When you're following your energy and doing what you want all the time," says New Age author Shakti Gawain, "the distinction between work and play dissolves." I'd like to add that you can go a long way towards blending work and play without having to reach Gawain's impossibly high standard of all the time. It would be revolutionary to "follow your energy and do what you want" just 20 percent more than your current levels. And the astrological omens for 2004 suggest that you can easily exceed that. I say shoot for 30 percent, Taurus. Experiment with creating rich new meanings of the term "labor of love."

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):One way or another, you'll be coming home in 2004, Gemini. Maybe you'll finally locate the sanctuary that brings out the best in you—the power spot where you feel pure and real and true. Maybe you'll create the community you've always dreamed of or else join a network that connects you to resources that have always been off-limits. Perhaps you'll go explore the land where your ancestors lived and died for many generations, or maybe you'll make a pilgrimage to a storied place that holds the key to a mystery you desperately need to clarify. And maybe you'll do all of the above.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): "The great lesson from the true mystics is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's backyard." So said psychologist Abraham Maslow. Of course that's always true, but in 2004 it will be far more true for you than ever before. You won't have to travel to exotic paradises to drum up life-changing epiphanies, Cancerian. You won't have to hunt for miracles in all-night revels at the edge of reality. All the amazement you'll need will glide right up to you while you're washing dishes or taking a walk or buying peanut butter.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Using FBI crime data, a research company determined that Amherst, New York, is the safest city in America, followed by Brick Township, New Jersey, and Mission Viejo, California. My analysis of the astrological data for 2004 suggests that your sign, Leo, will be safest in all the zodiac. You're least likely to be a victim of crime, abusive relationships, health problems, and bad ideas. I think you should take maximum advantage of this coming grace period. What adventures would you set out on if you knew you had little to fear? What brave decisions would you risk? What "forbidden" pleasures would you sample?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Some of the finest minds I've ever known have belonged to Virgos. I've benefited greatly from your tribe's analytical power. Though my gig as an astrology columnist may suggest I favor magical thinking over the logical kind, I am in fact a great admirer of the scientific method and objective reasoning. Having said all that, I can in good conscience tell you to trust your passion way more than usual in 2004. Cut out this quote from Ray Bradbury and carry it in your wallet: "If we listened only to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair or friendship. We'd never go into business. Well, that's nonsense. Sometimes you've got to jump off cliffs and grow your wings on the way down."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Amazon.com has begun to do with literature what Napster did to music: give it away free online. Along with 120,000 other books, you can now read the entire text of my memoir, The Televisionary Oracle, without buying it. My first reaction to this was a clenched "Aaarrrggghhh! My beloved creation, which I slaved over for years, will no longer generate any income!" Soon I moved to a new attitude, Buddhist-style non-attachment: "Everything in this world is transitory. Why worry about what I can't control?" Later my view evolved still further, spurred by reports that Amazon expects this innovation to actually boost book sales. "Maybe this is a good thing," I decided. The process I went through, Libra, will be similar to your own in 2004. I predict that an apparent loss will lead to an unexpected gain.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In last week's horoscope, I predicted that in 2004 you will have many exuberant exploits that spread joy and laughter throughout the land. Now it's time to reveal your other key assignment for the coming months: to seek out experiences that rouse reverence and awe. Do you have any heroes, Scorpio? Do you know anyone whose noble grace or healing genius takes your breath away? Are there any gorgeous works of art or natural wonders that inspire you to fall to your knees and shout, "Glory in the highest!"? You need to put yourself regularly in the presence of marvels like that. For extra credit, create adventures in which you feel both worshipful adoration and rowdy pleasure.

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