ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your current relationship with romance might best be summed up with these words from The Washington Post's Joel Achenbach: "Love begins as a sonnet, but eventually turns into a grocery list. Therefore you need someone with whom you can go to the supermarket." In other words, Aries, realism should rule your decisions in amorous matters for the next few weeks. That will eventually change, though. So don't permanently forget about the sonnet-like aspects of your passion.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Even if you're not a jazz fan, you'll thrive in the coming week by using a modus operandi that resembles jazz. I suggest, therefore, that you improvise frequently. Experiment with intricate, strong, and playful rhythms. Infuse your yearning for freedom with humor. For further insight about how to proceed, meditate on the following clues from three jazz greats. Ornette Coleman: "Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time." John Coltrane: "You can play a shoestring if you're sincere." Miles Davis: "Don't play what's there, play what's not there."

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): One of my best teachers always referred to himself as an unteacher. "My goal is to strip away your certainties," he said, "so you can be alert to how mysterious life actually is." He didn't want to fill me up with a load of fixed ideas, in other words, but rather encouraged me to cultivate the habit of questioning everything. I wish I could perform the same service for you, Gemini, especially now that you're becoming more receptive to the naked truth. I'd like to help you understand that in order to fall deeply in love with the world's messy beauty, you need to be able to gaze upon it as if it were just created a moment ago. (PS: As psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters says, the truth cannot be rehearsed.)


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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Young rock bands often do cover tunes, copies of songs originally performed by well-known musicians they admire. Art teachers sometimes give their students the assignment of reproducing the great paintings of the old masters. To take maximum advantage of the current astrological influences, I suggest you use this strategy in your own unique way, Cancerian. Pick a hero, either dead or alive, either famous or unsung, whose approach to life you admire. Find out as much as you can about that person, and then engage in a flurry of imitation. Dress, talk, think, and dream like your hero. In every situation you're in, ask yourself what he or she would do. Have imaginary conversations, fantasize abundantly, and move through your days and nights as if you were that person.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In the coming week you will be prone to eruptions of intuition about exciting future events that you have not previously imagined. Lucid visions of challenging adventures may pop into your mind's eye out of nowhere. When you come into the presence of people who may one day figure prominently in your creative departures from routine, you might feel chills run up and down your spine. Be alert for these signals from the Great Beyond. It's time for you to become your own fortune-teller.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It's sowing time, Virgo. Seeds you plant in the coming days will grow into the crop you will ultimately harvest in July 2005. If you think big, those seeds will also figure prominently in blooms that won't fully ripen until the latter part of 2015 and the first nine months of 2016. I suppose it's possible you'll get freaked out by the pressure, and pretend you don't have the awesome power I'm telling you that you have. In that case, you'll distract yourself with 1,001 trivial concerns and let blind fate do the seed-planting for you. But I don't recommend that approach. I'd love for you to get excited as you contemplate what you want to be doing 12 years from now.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "I lost the plot for a while," says a character in Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity. "And I lost the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, the popcorn, the credits, and the exit sign." I'm betting you could have said something like that recently, Libra. The story of your life seemed to have been whisked out from under you and banished to the wilderness on the outskirts of limbo, where the wasteland meets no-man's-land. That's the bad news. The good news is that while you may never recover the plot you started with, you'll soon find a brand new one that's better than the original.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "The conversation didn't get interesting until the end, after we ran out of things to say." Blogger Michael Barrish (oblivio.com) wrote that about a date he went on. I'd like to recommend it as your guiding principle in the coming week. Your assignment is to choose a person with whom you will talk and talk and talk until you are all talked out. At that point, though, you won't run along to your next appointments, but will dwell in the awkwardness as long as it takes for you to stumble upon a new way of being together. Furthermore, Scorpio, I urge you to apply this approach in as many other ways as you can imagine. Hang out in the pregnant silences on the other side of the climaxes.

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