By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A few years back, the commissioners of Kleberg County, Texas, retired the salutation hello because they said it contained the offensive term hell. In its place, they made heaven-o the official county greeting. That's borderline lunatic, if you ask me, and yet I understand the principle. In fact, I recommend that you initiate some adjustments in your own language, Taurus. As much as possible, you should stop using words that make you feel bad, confused, or weak. Replace them with fresh terms that make you feel optimistic and empowered. Of course, this is good advice for everyone all the time, but it's especially apt for you right now. The astrological omens suggest you have a special capacity for changing deep-seated habits that sap your energy, especially those involving the way you speak.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In Half Magic, a children's book by Edward Eager, four kids discover an enchanted coin with an odd quirk: It grants just half of any wish. Naturally they try to compensate, imagining how to double the scope of each wish so that when only 50 percent of it comes true, it's exactly what they wanted. Your immediate future has certain resemblances to their story, Gemini. Though you will be in possession of a kind of magic, it may tend to work incomplete wonders. Consider imitating the kids' strategy: Make your wish larger than what you actually need.
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CANCER (June 21-July 22): From the day we're born till the day we die, we need teachers. In a perfect world, each of us would have at least one mentor who looked after our learning needs, constantly adding new lessons to our ever evolving curriculum. Since you probably haven't been living in a perfect world, however, you may have only rarely been blessed with the luxury of a personal educator. You've mostly had to be your own guide, with an occasional assist from me. Here's one of those assists now: In the next six weeks, you should put a high priority on developing a long-term lesson plan. What things do you need to learn most between now and August 2009?
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): There is an Egyptian myth that the sun was in Leo and the moon in Cancer when the universe was created. That very configuration is happening this week, which is an interesting coincidence. The astrological factors indicate it's an excellent time for you to re-create your own world. So don't be shy, Leo. Shed any doubts you might have about your authorial power. Imagine you're a god or goddess with the potency to dream a new dream of how life could be. Then get out there and start conjuring it up.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In his book Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood, Wayne Muller traces many of our psychological ills to the bad habit known as "repetition compulsion." After growing up, we unconsciously re-create the situations that damaged or addled us as children. In this way we hope to find the healing we couldn't find when we were young. We choose friends and lovers and employers who inadvertently play the roles of our original family members as we continually restage our old imprints in search of some feeling of resolution that will set us free. That's the bad news, Virgo. The good news is that the next six weeks will bring the best opportunity ever to escape from repetition compulsion.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The first theme you should weave into your life in the near future is over-the-top, cathartic laughter. We could almost say, in fact, that you've entered the Season of the Belly Laugh. The second theme you need to find a prominent place for is ecstasy. I'm not talking about the drug, but rather the natural experience of over-the-top, cathartic pleasure. It wouldn't be a lie to suggest that you've slipped into the Season of Wild Fun. The third element you should invoke is over-the-top catharsis. I'm not exaggerating when I say you're in the Season of Peak Emotion.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The news media love bad news because they think it's more interesting and worthy of our attention than good news. The 19th-century poet John Keats said, "If something is not beautiful, it is probably not true," but many of today's journalists imply that if something isn't ugly, it's not true. The wide acceptance of this bizarre perspective colors our personal rhythms. We're prone to the delusion that a well-lived life is mostly a struggle; that it's normal to feel we're in a constant battle against the natural tendency of everything to fall apart. But right now is a perfect time for you to divest yourself of this nonsense, Scorpio. I urge you to devote your intelligence and passion to changing your beliefs about the nature of reality. Focus on what's beautiful and successful. Create opportunities for high-integrity pleasure. Have a fierce intention to find joy. Be a tough-minded optimist.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): To the ancient Chinese, pigs were sacred because they could eat anything and turn it into energy. The creatures were regarded as masters of transmutation. Nothing, not even garbage, was unusable to them. The Chinese aspired to be like pigs in the sense of being able to learn from and derive benefit from every experience, not just the tidy, tasteful ones. I mention this, Sagittarius, because it's an excellent time for you to imitate that paragon of holiness, the omnivorous pig.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The old days are threatening to dominate the headlines this week. In fact, unless you're proactive to the point of being pushy, a worn-out history will insinuate itself into your future. And unless you err on the side of generosity as you settle accounts with two people who used to be an important part of your life, they will continue to demand your precious energy long after they have any right to. To acquire the ballast necessary to keep the past in its proper place, make a pilgrimage to a place where you triumphed over the old days once before.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "I need more Grace than I thought." That's a line from a Rumi poem in which the poet confesses he's sometimes helpless in the face of life's unpredictable twists and turns. It's a mournful statement; he's sad at having to acknowledge he's not always the master of his own destiny. Yet I sense he also means he feels relief in surrendering to the need for grace. It's liberating to accept the fact that he can't possibly be a wise, effective genius who controls every detail and aces every test. I hope you'll arrive at Rumi's state soon, Aquarius. I trust you'll derive power from saying, "I need more Grace than I thought."
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Sometimes the demons that are like mosquitoes are more dangerous than the demons resembling dragons. You go on full alert in the face of the dragons' threats, calling in all your favors and hauling out your biggest guns. But you may underestimate the power of the mosquitoes to mess with you, and not be aggressive enough in shielding yourself from their subtly demoralizing effects. Don't let this be the case in the coming week, Pisces. Don the persona of a heroic warrior as you take extreme measures to exorcise the mosquito demons.
HOMEWORK Comment on Bertrand Russell's statement "The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Write: beautyandtruth.com.