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By Raillan Brooks
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries statesman Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in a mere 18 days. You should make him your role model as you devote the next three weeks to producing a masterpiece that will be regarded by posterity as one of history's great accomplishments. APRIL FOOL! I was exaggerating a little, Aries. It's true that you now have enormous creative power, and you could very well lay the groundwork for what will ultimately be a tour de force. But you might not be able to whip it out in three weeks, and it might not have quite the star quality of Jefferson's classic.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the coming week, your dreams will be more interesting and important than anything that happens during the day. Your sleeping mind can solve all your problems if given enough timeand maybe even the problems of those you love too. Can you afford to stay in bed for 12 hours at a stretch? APRIL FOOL! Twelve hours might be a bit much. But everything else I said was true. You have the potential to be a dreaming genius.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Visualize a scenario in which Israelis and Palestinians are embroiled in a hateful state of siege for another 100 years. Imagine that the personal problems bugging you now will continue to torment you indefinitely. Live your life as if you believe the world is falling apart and that we human beings are parasites bent on wrecking the paradise we've been blessed with. APRIL FOOL! Don't you dare indulge in any of the hackneyed cynicism I just spouted. While educated idiots might try to convince you that bad-mouthing the future is honest and intelligent, it's actually a bad habit based on delusion. Here's your real assignment, Gemini: Retrain your mind to expect the best. Visualize in graphic detail the transformations you'd love to see. Cultivate delight using all your ingenuity.
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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Add more locks to your doors and more armor to your defense mechanisms. Transform your home into an impregnable fortress of solitude and don't go out unless you absolutely have to. You must make yourself perfectly safe! APRIL FOOL! It probably makes sense to be more discriminating about whom you share your feelings with, but in general it's an excellent time to open your heart and turn your home into a festive center of abundance. I suggest you invite every interesting person you trust to come and experience you in your natural habitat.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): This just in: It is possible to buy happiness. In fact, researchers at Yahoo Personal Finance have determined the precise amount necessary: $4.9 million. With that sum in your bank account, you could acquire the lifestyle that would fulfill your dreams and make you feel really good. Now here's the crazy part, Leo: The chances are far better than usual that you'll win the lottery this week, thereby guaranteeing your eternal happiness. APRIL FOOL! While you Leos do have extraordinary financial luck these days, there just aren't enough lotteries in the world to ensure that every one of you will win one.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):Your role model these days should be the vulgar, debauched writer Charles Bukowski. He was poor most of his life as he worked endless odd jobs, but he managed to publish 50 books with titles like Love Is a Dog From Hell and Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit. Here's one of his typically inspired passages: "It's not easy to juggle a full-time job, a pregnant wife, and a troubled child, but somehow I still managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day." Be like Bukowski this week, Virgo. APRIL FOOL! I was just messin' wit' you, dog! I don't really want you to be like Bukowski. But I had you going there for a minute, didn't I? And that's good, because every now and thenlike right nowit's damn healthy for you to fantasize that you're a vulgar, debauched writer.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Does your roommate have some ripe plums in the refrigerator that you're dying to devour? Go right ahead. In the spot where the plums were, leave this poem by William Carlos Williams: "I have eaten/the plums/that were in/the icebox/and which/you were probably/saving/for breakfast/Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold" APRIL FOOL! While you do have astrological permission to be grabbier, greedier, and more impulsive than usual, you can easily do that without generating any bad karma. Don't steal the plums.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It's not enough to do good deeds this week. You should also be intent on getting handsomely repaid for your good deeds. In other words, Scorpio, generosity will be a brilliant strategy if it manipulates others into being generous to you. Give selfishly, or don't give at all. APRIL FOOL! The truth is that you should bestow blessings everywhere you go, but with absolutely no strings attached. Here are your words to live by, courtesy of the Dalai Lama: "Try with all your mightwork very, very hardto make the world a better place. But if all your efforts are to no availno hard feelings!"
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Everyone in the world is either a narcissist or a closet narcissist. Ironically, it's those in the latter group who're more dangerous. Their self-obsession expresses in covert ways that are hard to track. That's one reason why you should be unapologetically blatant about expressing your superiority this week, Sagittarius. The second reason is that the astrological omens suggest you have a mandate to be a raging megalomaniac. APRIL FOOL! I went overboard there, although not by a whole lot. Let's just say that between now and April 18 you have cosmic permission to love yourself even more than usual and break your all-time bragging records.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): My reader-satisfaction level is high. The weekly audience for this column is about 9 million, but I get an average of only 40 complaints a year. Maybe it's because you Capricorns are so forceful in sticking up for your needs, but a disproportionate number of the beefs I receive are from your tribe. That's why I've decided to never again utter a discouraging word in your presence. Forevermore, your horoscope will contain nothing but praise and good news. APRIL FOOL! I love you, Capricorn! And it wouldn't be very loving to refrain from kicking your butt on those rare occasions when you need it. Like now, for instance: I demand that you demand higher standards from yourself and your inner circle.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A swimming coach in Darwin, Australia, decided that his young swimmers lacked ambition. They were consistently mediocre in competition, with no apparent drive for peak performances. Hoping to rouse their primal instinct to swim faster, he proposed to have them practice with a 10-foot crocodile in the pool. I wish you Aquarians would consider being equally daring as you ratchet up your motivation levels in the coming weeks. APRIL FOOL! Scaring yourself is a terrible strategy. But I do think you should take a more aggressive approach to stimulating your drive for excellence.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Quit your job immediately. Move out of your house. Break off your closest relationships. Give away all your clothes to charity and sell your car at less than market value, and I guarantee that within six weeks you will get an easy job where everyone loves you and you get paid way too much money to have way too much fun. APRIL FOOL! I was just testing you to see how susceptible you are to being manipulated by experts you trust. The fact is, if you turn down the volume of the authority figures who drone on in your headboth those who bent your thoughts in the past and those who shape your destiny in the presentyour financial situation and your job satisfaction will markedly improve.
No pain, no gain. Shi* happens. Life is a bitch and then you die. APRIL FOOL! The truth is that the whole world is conspiring to give you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. Write: beautyandtruth.com