ARIES (March 21-April 19): One of the most exuberant poets of the 20th century was James Broughton. "I pray every night to wake up crazier," he wrote. By that he meant he wanted to become increasingly receptive to unpredictable joy and pleasure. His knack for having a good time didn't mean he dodged the hard times, though. "Suffering can't be avoided," he told interviewer Jack Foley. "The way to happiness is to go into the darkness of yourself. That's the place the seed is nourished, takes its roots and grows up, and becomes ultimately the plant and the flower. You can only go upward by first going downward." That's the perfect prescription for you in the coming days, Aries. (For more Broughton and Foley, see The Alsop Review.)

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your word of power this week is yua. It's a term the Yupiit people of Alaska use for the spirit that inhabits all things, both animate and inanimate. A rock, for instance, has as much yua as a caribou, spruce tree, or human being, and therefore merits the same measure of compassion. If a Yupiit goes out for a hike and spies a chunk of wood lying on a frozen river bank, she might pick it up and put it in a new position, allowing its previously hidden side to get fresh air and sun. In this way, she would bestow a blessing on the wood's yua. Try living your life like this in the coming days, Taurus: as if absolutely everything is alive, has a soul, and deserves your loving kindness. (Thanks to Earl Shorris, "The Last Word," Harper's, August 2000.)

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Goodies is your word of power this week, Gemini—though it could also be your word of weakness. To ensure that it's more the former than the latter, meditate on the following three inquiries. (1) Of all the goodies you want, which are the two most important ones? (2) Do your flirtations with second-tier goodies tend to undermine your pursuit of the first-tier ones? If so, are you willing to wean yourself from those flirtations? (3) Do you have any doubts about whether you truly deserve the very best goodies? If so, what can you do to render the doubts irrelevant?


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CANCER (June 21-July 22): In accordance with the astrological omens, I've assembled a host of snappy one-liners for you to wield in the coming week, Cancerian. Sooner or later, it will make sense for you to utter every one of them. (1) "It only seems kinky the first time." (2) "Even if the voices in my head aren't real, they still have some good ideas." (3) "To make your prayers come true, you have to get off your knees." (4) "I'm the good kind of bad." (5) "It's not really a party till something gets broken." (6) "Shut up and dance." (PS: I don't anticipate there'll be any messy consequences if you cultivate the attitude I'm suggesting here. But in case there are, invoke this disclaimer: "I didn't do it. You can't prove it. Nobody saw me.")

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Have you ever been burned by bad religion? This is the week you could start getting rid of the scorch marks. Have you ever been abused by an authority figure who made you feel helpless? This is the time to correct for the distortions that jerk wreaked in your psyche. Are you feeling tyrannized by a habitual response that was once quite useful but isn't appropriate anymore? This is a perfect moment to dissolve it.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Thirty-three-year-old pop star Jennifer Lopez earned $29 million in 2003. Presumably she shares some of her wealth with her mom, Guadalupe. Cynical observers might therefore regard it as a sign of divine favoritism that Guadalupe recently won a jackpot of $2.4 million while playing a slot machine at an Atlantic City casino. I suspect you may be less hasty to jump to that conclusion, though, since many of you Virgos are currently being visited (or soon will be) with an equally ridiculous amount of good luck. Don't feel guilty about your blessings in the least, please, even if they seem way beyond your fair share. Lap them up.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): For years, Salt Lake City was undisputed Jell-O champion of the world, with the highest per capita consumption. But in 1999, Des Moines, Iowa, catapulted into the lead. In response, chef Scott Blackerby staged a "Take Back the Jell-O Title" Recipe Contest at his restaurant in Salt Lake, and thousands of Utahans signed petitions that helped make Jell-O the official snack of the state. Soon the city had retaken the top spot, where it remains to this day. I hope this story serves to motivate and inspire you in the coming days, Libra. It's time for you to reclaim a lost title or crown that you once possessed and that really should belong to you again.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): On your bad days, Scorpio, you're like a swamp that serves as a weird oasis in the midst of frozen tundra. On your good days, the physical feature you correspond to most is an underground river winding in a serpentine course beneath green, fertile hills. But in the coming weeks you'll be like a place you've rarely resembled before: an unspoiled tropical beach where the warm wild ocean meets the foot of a towering mountain.

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