Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Due to a confluence of unusual astrological influences, you've been temporarily authorized to act as if you are the love child of comedians Chris Rock and Margaret Cho. Here's some of the behavior you have a cosmic license to express: (1) Expose hypocrisy with uproarious honesty. (2) Lay yourself bare as a way to educate and inspire others. (3) Shock people awake with irreverent new spins on traditional subjects. (4) Risk being annoying in order to be a servant of the hilarious truth. (5) Be edgy and healing, disruptive and inspiring, half crazy and profoundly real.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In my opinion, you're perfect just the way you are. Everything about your life is exactly how it should be. You're right on schedule to fulfill the mission you came to earth to carry out. The paradoxical thing is, though, that you can become even more perfect, and make your life even more completely what it could be, and expedite your progress in accomplishing the mission you came to earth to carry out. This week is an ideal time to understand how these seemingly contradictory truths can coexist.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Have you guessed that 2004 is the best year ever to coordinate the parts of your life that have always worked at cross-purposes? Do you realize how much power you now have to unify opposites? Please intensify your efforts to strike a dynamic balance between the impulses of your mind and the yearnings of your heart. Raise your expectations as you strive to create a more perfect blend of freedom and commitment. Summon an almost extreme faith in your ability to be both a charismatic star and a cooperative team player.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): The editors of The Old Farmer's Almanac have proposed a new generation of superstitions. Never sing in bed, they warn, or wear just one shoe. Avoid putting the wrong key in a lock, and never lay a broom on a bed. The doomsayers of the mainstream media do the same thing as the Almanac all the time, of course. They drum up an ever fresh supply of reasons why you should walk around paranoid, although they pretend their scary fantasies are more real than those of the Almanac. My feeling, Cancerian, is that it's a perfect time for you to rebel against every kind of compulsive fright-mongering, whether it originates with the professional perpetrators of mass anxiety or in the depths of your own unconscious. To get started, sing in bed while lying next to a broom and wearing one shoe.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): According to the New York Daily News, Leo novelist Danielle Steel had a tailor embroider the word bitch on 16 pairs of her socks. I suggest you do the same. If that's too extreme or time-consuming, write "hard core" on your ankle with a felt-tip marker. If that would sully your dignity, at least imagine that you have a tattoo on the sole of your foot that says "wise guy" or "riot grrrl." The point is not to send a tough message to the general public, but to make a secret pact with yourself. No one else but you needs to know that you're planning to become better grounded and more fiercely assertive.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It's time for a check-in, Virgo. What progress have you been making in your work on this year's big opportunities? As I suggested last December, you'll attract unexpected help in 2004 by growing the parts of your life that are small and timid and immature. Likewise, you'll generate good luck any time you enlarge your sphere of influence and energize your ambitions. Thirdly, you'll feel more and more at home in the world if you aggressively seek out interesting responsibilities that liberate you from your old images of yourself. My sense is that you've been doing OK in all these tasks, but there's room for improvement. The coming weeks are the perfect time to kick your efforts into high gear.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The moment is ripe to initiate shifts in the way you create your closest relationships. For starters, I suggest you change the words you habitually use to deal with this part of your life. "Relationship," for instance, is a crashingly dull term for something so interesting. Try "hookup" or "two-way" instead. And rather than referring to someone as your "friend" or "partner," call him or her your "accomplice," your "freestyle," or your "lightning." Dead terms like "significant other," "boyfriend," "girlfriend," and "spouse" should be forever banished as well. In their places, try "lushbuddy," "heartbeat," or "jelly roll." Feel free, of course, to dream up your own fresh slang.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): After you damage a fingernail, it grows faster than when it's in its normal state. Scientists have proved this, though they don't understand why it happens. I have observed that a similar phenomenon often occurs in people who have experienced a psychic wound. They ripen emotionally with amazing speed, blasting through inner obstacles that had kept them enslaved to the past. I predict that you will soon begin responding in this way to your recent hurt.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Let's take stock of the progress you've made since January 1. Most strikingly, you've been more disciplined in your quest for freedom and more discriminating about expressing your generosity. That's very good news. In past years, your drive for freedom has sometimes been chaotic, causing you to overestimate your strength; your generosity has often been excessive, leading you to promise too much. The fact that you're now reining in these two tendencies is a sign that you're finally poised to claim a measure of sovereignty you've never been ready for before.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You may find this hard to believe, but it's very important for you to decide what actor or actress you'd choose to play you in the hypothetical movie based on your life. For me, it's obviously Viggo Mortensen, though if he weren't available I'd probably accept Robin Williams or Snoop Dogg. But then I can afford to indulge in the luxury of indecision about this matter, whereas you really can't. For reasons you can't imagine—reasons that have to do with you taking your life's work more seriously than ever before—you must expand and deepen the mythic intensity of your life story.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Please try to be a little more boring this week, Aquarius. The swarming melodrama you call your life has become waaaayyyy too interesting. You've got more superheated plots and subplots going on than a Mexican soap opera. People are spreading such extremely entertaining gossip about you that you may be hard-pressed to live up to your growing reputation. Having said all that, however, I want to emphasize that I'm only asking you to turn down the excitement level one notch, and no more. You just need to shift from outrageous pandemonium to wild intrigue.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Scientists believe that objectivity and intellectual curiosity are the two attitudes most crucial to understanding how the world works. The nineteenth-century Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle had a different emphasis. "A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge," he wrote. Kabbalistic teacher Ann Davies agreed, saying that in order to truly see a person, you have to connect with his or her inner essence through loving empathy. Regardless of which style of learning you're naturally inclined to, Pisces, I suggest you use both aggressively in the coming weeks. You have an unprecedented opportunity to grow both smarter and wiser. The best way to take advantage is to be inquisitive, unbiased, and profoundly compassionate.


HOMEWORK What can you do this week to surprise or amaze yourself? Testify at beautyandtruth.com

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