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By Raillan Brooks
ARIES (March 21-April 19): On February 1, six big-name entertainers took control of the Super Bowl halftime show. The result was a histrionically boring spectacle of robotic sexuality and fake emotion. If there was any saving grace amid the monumental emptiness, it was Janet Jackson's climactic unveiling. In a New York Times article, Alessandra Stanley wrote, "The one moment of honesty in that coldly choreographed tableau was when the cup came off and out tumbled a normal middle-aged woman's breast instead of an idealized Playboy bunny implant." Your assignment in the coming week, Aries, is to be inspired by that moment of honesty. Strip away pretension and phoniness everywhere you find them, exposing the raw humanity that lies beneath. One caveat: Do this ethically, and without breaking the law.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The president of Belarus has issued a mandate to his country's athletes regarding their performance in the 2004 Summer Olympics. "You should have clear-cut plans for victory," Alyaksandr Lukashenka told them. "It is unacceptable for you to win fewer than 25 medals." That sounds a bit unrealistic to me, so I won't be that demanding in my decree to you, Taurus. But the astrological omens are on my side as I command you to pull off a feat that would be your equivalent of a gold medal between now and March 20. In addition, I order you to gather a new privilege, new perk, or new title.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): After years of occupation by the Soviet Union, Georgia became an independent republic in 1991. Its new leader was Eduard Shevardnadze, who over the next 12 years brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy and became the most hated man in public life. Last November he relinquished power in the face of a "revolution of roses," a bloodless insurrection led by protesters brandishing flowers. Two months later, one of the leading "rose revolutionaries," 36-year-old Mikhail Saakashvili, was elected Georgia's new president. I suggest that you Geminis make Saakashvili your role model for the next two months. You've got a lot of status quo to overthrow, and the best way to do it is with your version of flower power.
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CANCER (June 21-July 22): According to my analysis of the astrological omens, it's time for you to make two corrections. First, you are suffering from an exaggerated sense of what you can accomplish in the short term. I urge you to deflate your grandiosity a bit. Second, your expectations of what you can pull off in the long run are way too small. I authorize you to pump them up.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Our subject this week, class, is the aphorism "If at first you don't succeed, redefine the meaning of success." Your assignment is to make practical use of this principle. Judging from the current astrological omens, I think the best place to apply it might be in your love life. If you agree, here's a suggestion about how to proceed. First, figure out what you've been doing wrong that has kept you from getting the exact kind of love you want. (One possibility is that your soul and your ego are craving different things and therefore working at cross-purposes.) Second, revise your definition of the exact kind of love you want, incorporating a more realistic assessment of who you are. Third, forgive yourself for having previously had an inadequate definition.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I'm grateful for my years of psychotherapy. They've been crucial in helping me shed bad mental habits and master the art of being happy. How about you, Virgo? Have you ever met regularly with an empath whose primary purpose is to listen to you and enhance your life? It's a perfect time to start giving yourself this necessary luxury. Or, if you're one of the lucky few who already has a skilled wise person working with you, it's a favorable time to dive deeper into the work. The astrological omens suggest that you now have the power to get more help than you've received beforebut you have to ask for it.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is a bit stiff, but his Libran wife, Teresa, is just the opposite. "She can be as unbuttoned in her speech as Kerry is buttoned up in his," wrote Philip Gourevitch in The New Yorker, "with the result that she is sometimes impolitic and always worth listening to." In Salon, Rebecca Traister said Teresa has complained that George W. Bush "is afraid to be Socratic" and that he entered his presidency "with a lack of curiosity about the job." She playfully told one interviewer that if John is elected, her main job as first lady will be to keep him humble. I urge you to make Teresa your role model in the coming week, Libra. Be unbuttoned, impolitic, Socratic, curious, and worth listening to. Use humor to keep yourself and everyone around you humble.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Love may not conquer all in the coming weeks, Scorpio, but it could conquer 60 percent, and even as much as 75. The key factor in determining love's power to accomplish wonders will be your knack for avoiding obsessive perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking. You should work with love like a master politician who's skilled at compromise, not like a glory-seeking heroine who thinks she can change everything overnight.