By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
ARIES(March 21-April 19): When I advise you to spend the Halloween season awakening and nurturing your wildness, I'm referring to the definition of that word offered by Robert Bly in his book The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart. To be wild is not to be crazy like a criminal or psychotic, but "mad as the mist and snow." It has nothing to do with being childish or primitive, nor does it manifest as manic rebellion or self-damaging alienation. The marks of wildness, Bly says, are a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown. Follow these leads, Aries, and expand on their meaning. Halloween costume suggestions: whirling dervish, ecstatic saint, Green Man, Artemis, Pan, trickster crone.
TAURUS(April 20-May 20): In his book How's Your AQ Today?, ex-business executive Ed Rychkun says that our culture is so twisted that most bosses and leaders are jerks. In fact, it's often necessary "to be an asshole in order to succeed." (The "AQ" in his title stands for "Asshole Quotient.") I doubt that you're an arrogant tyrant, insensitive egotist, or deceitful bully, Taurus, so I can't imagine that you have a high AQ. That may also mean you've never been in a position to manipulate and exploit lots of people. According to my reading of the astrological omens, however, you need to temporarily experience what corrupt power is like. It will fill a gap in your education. That's why I suggest you disguise yourself as a domineering, hyper-ambitious honcho this Halloween.
GEMINI(May 21-June 20): Most of us lie regularly. Studies say the average person unleashes three fictions per day. Our deceits are often harmless, designed to avoid hurting someone's feelings or to spare ourselves from inconvenience. Still, the habit is so unconscious it puts us in peril of falsifying more important matters. Your task in the coming week, Gemini, is to investigate your tendency to distort the truth. The masquerade season presents you with an opportunity to do this in a radically fun way: through parody and exaggeration. For your Halloween persona, you could be the "Big Liar." At parties, tell nonstop whoppers. Wear white clothes on which you've written fibs like "I am president of Madagascar," "Eating ice cream and potato chips prevents cancer," and "Luxembourg is hiding weapons of mass destruction."
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CANCER(June 21-July 22):Real estate developer and TV star Donald Trump filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He was seeking to get a legal death grip on his signature phrase, "You're fired!" That inspired me to try to get a trademark for one of my favorite declarations, "You're a genius!" I haven't had a good excuse to direct that praise your way any time recently, Cancerian, but in the coming weeks you'll be the sign most deserving of it. You are now at the height of your originality; you're as close as you've ever been to discovering your special mission here on earth. For Halloween, consider dressing up as a famous prodigy, including any of the following: Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Georgia O'Keeffe, or hip-hop artist Missy Elliott.
LEO(July 23-Aug. 22): "In the very earliest time," wrote the Inuit shamaness and poet Nalungiaq, "people and animals spoke the same language." Your Halloween assignment, Leo, is to find within you the atavistic remnant of that magic. Imagine yourself as an animal that speaks. Visualize yourself as a human who growls or brays or warbles. Picture yourself as a creature who can easily shift back and forth between the two parts of you, the animal that talks and the human who crows and bellows and purrs. Costume suggestion: panther-witch, eagle-clown, crocodile-executive, dragonfly-doctor, bear-rock star.
VIRGO(Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Nothing could give you more power over your fears than a Halloween devoted to impersonating them. That's why I suggest you get yourself a costume that will let you pretend to be what you're most afraid of. If a nuclear explosion is your greatest bugaboo, dress up as a mushroom cloud. If your boss is the source of your most primal dread, become him or her for a couple of days. If you're terrified of being exposed as a fraud or descending into poverty or losing your good looks, dive into the heart of that scary experience.
LIBRA(Sept. 23-Oct. 22): No provocative poetry this week, Libra. No sublime philosophy or soulful psychology. Just the facts, ma'am or sir. It's time to get down to earth and back to basics; time to cut the crap and prune the weeds. So try this no-nonsense straight talk on for size: Don't negotiate when you're exhausted. Tolerate a temporary hassle if you're sure it will lead to a permanent upgrade. Be a creator rather than a spectator. Sell yourself first, then your product. Don't vote for smiling monsters who play on your fears. For Halloween, dress up as a hundred-dollar bill or a hammer and a nail or a book called How to Be Real.
SCORPIO(Oct. 23-Nov. 21): To be silent when it's time to speak is a weakness, says a Persian proverb. I say it's also a bad idea to speak when it's time to be silent. In the coming week, one of these rules or the other will always be in effect for you, Scorpio. To know which one is in ascendancy at any given time, you'll have to be very alert; conditions will be shifting constantly. Make it your goal to be so attuned to the fresh truth of each new moment that you will always express yourself when the time is ripe, and shut up when it isn't. Halloween costume suggestions: a pythoness or fortune-teller; a talking mime or a silent clown who carries around chalk and a portable chalkboard to communicate; Triumph the Insult Comic Dog with a muzzle.