ARIES (March 21-April 19): For months now, you've been cultivating a more mature relationship with obstacles. You've begun to see them less as punishments doled out by an unfair universe and more as interesting, growth-inducing challenges provided by a generous universe. If you do nothing else but master this perspective in the next eight months, I'll declare 2004 a success. Are you ready for the next big breakthrough in your noble struggle to refine how you struggle?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Bolivia has no ocean, but it has admirals done up like Lord Nelson," writes Eduardo Galeano in The Book of Embraces. "Lima, Peru has no rain, but it has peaked roofs with gutters. In Managua, Nicaragua, one of the hottest cities in the world, there are mansions flaunting magnificent fireplaces." Are there any anomalies like these in your world? Tools for jobs you never do? Luxuries you don't use? Elaborate structures that have no purpose? Either rethink your relationship to them or phase them out.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You will soon come across numerous clues about the Great Riddle of Your Life—you know, the brain-teasing, heart-stretching enigma that will take years for you to solve completely. So be alert! Revelations may arrive from unexpected sources and inadvertent teachers. Even seemingly insignificant events may be pregnant with pithy hints. To cultivate the right kind of receptivity, be on the lookout not only for crisp answers, but also for ideas about how to formulate the Great Riddle more clearly. PS: Keep an image of a sphinx near you at all times. It'll help supercharge your intuition.


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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your trust was violated in the past, and you still feel the wound. You keep it in the background of your awareness, fascinated with the way it never really heals. Though I sympathize, I want you to know that it's time to move on. Your horrified disbelief about having been treated so badly is close to becoming just another bad habit. Your instinct for self-protection is threatening to devolve into indulgent self-pity. What should you do? The first thing is to forgive yourself for the blindness that put you in the path of those who betrayed you. The second step is to restore your trust in yourself. Third, find a way to feel gratitude for those who abused your trust. Yes, you heard me right: Be thankful for all they taught you about how to become yourself.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): When he invented the first Western printing press in the 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg used it to fashion frivolous little things like sets of playing cards. Only later did he put it to work mass-producing books, turning it into a revolutionary tool for disseminating information. I foresee a similar evolution for you in the coming weeks, Leo. In the early going, you'll employ a wonderful new resource in a relatively impractical way; or maybe a big, fresh idea will first appear in a trivial context. Not to worry, though. After the initial false starts and wasteful experiments, you will ultimately discover an elegant use for your innovation. Be patient.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you're willing, life will soon offer you not just a fleeting glimpse but a penetrating gaze at what has been concealed. You'll be invited to shed your preconceptions and come face-to-face with hidden agendas, missing links, and fertile secrets. If you'd rather not accept life's overture to strip away pretenses, please forget you ever read this horoscope. To retain it in your memory would interfere with your enjoyment of the pretty packaging that veils the slightly disturbing, totally invigorating contents inside.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Just as I have little patience for people who perpetuate ethnic stereotypes, I also cringe at astrologers who assume that all Libras are unflappably gracious, obsessed with relationships, and unable to make up their minds. While there is a grain of truth in those characterizations, they're oppressive if regarded as immutable cosmic law. You need the freedom to complain now and then, especially when a situation has become so filled with deception and illusion that it's hurting people. To remain unflappably gracious in the face of a mess like that would be wrong. Likewise, on occasion you need to forget what's best for a relationship and instead concentrate on what's best for you. This is one of those times, Libra, when you have license to rebel against astrology's stereotypes.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): An image of the Virgin Mary materialized on the window of a home in Ohio. That, at least, is what an imaginative neighbor believed, though the occupants themselves were apathetic. But the neighbor spread the word, and soon pilgrims were coming from afar to be in the presence of the "miracle." A blind woman regained her sight; a man in a wheelchair walked for the first time in eight years; a six-year-old child with life-threatening asthma breathed freely again. Then the maid came. It was her regular day to work. The homeowners neglected to tell her not to clean the special window, and she did. The blessed image disappeared and the crowd dispersed. Moral of the story, Scorpio: The magic that comes your way this week might be a bit messy—indeed, it might even rise out of a mess. Don't clean it up.

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