Horoscope

ARIES (March 21–April 19): In 1874, a fire broke out in an underground coalfield in western China. It burned nonstop until 2004, when firefighters finally squelched it. In the intervening 130 years, 200 million tons of fuel went to waste, spewing out copious amounts of polluting gases. I nominate the denouement of this long-running drama to serve as your personal metaphor for early 2005. In January and February, you will finally douse a smoldering inner fire that has been a poor use of your ambition. This will set the stage for a fresh start. No later than your birthday, you will ignite a new blaze that's both more efficient and more worthy of you.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): Have you heard of the book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry? How about George Orwell's science fiction novel 1984, in which the government trumpets the slogan, "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength"? If I could, I'd give you these books as holiday gifts, Taurus. I'd also present you with an altar made of fine wood. With these foundation materials, I'd ask you to begin building a truth shrine in your home. This source of power might help you stay alert for and immune to the elevated levels of BS you'll be called on to fend off in 2005. Maybe it would also inspire you to be in service to us all as you earn the title of "radical truth-teller."

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): As I meditated about what would be the perfect holiday gift for you, I kept coming back to the fantasy of a thousand doughnuts. Nothing pleased me more than the mental image of your living room floor covered with boxes of Bavarian cream, chocolate-frosted, jelly-filled, glazed, and apple crumb doughnuts. Here's the astrological explanation for my intuition: I think fate plans to blow your mind with sweet extravagance in 2005. Receiving a thousand doughnuts would be a metaphorical rehearsal.

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CANCER (June 21–July 22): Over the centuries, numerous ships carrying treasure have suffered mishaps and sunk to the bottom of the world's oceans. Most have remained there undisturbed, their gold and jewels seemingly lost forever. In the last decade, though, teams of treasure hunters have developed high-tech recovery equipment that allows them to locate and extract the sunken riches. I believe that there will be a comparable development in your life in the coming months, Cancerian. You'll find ways to access valuables from the past—stuff you had always assumed was irretrievable. Your first project will become apparent soon. Here are a few symbolic holiday gifts you might consider buying yourself: sonar, a diving suit, a treasure chest.

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22): Many spiritual teachers say you're most likely to succeed at meditation if you sit quietly in a sanctuary. They believe you need to retreat from the world in order to develop compassionate objectivity about life. The 18th-century Zen Buddhist teacher Hakuin Ekaku had a different view. "Meditation in the midst of activity is a billion times superior to meditation in stillness" was his motto. I agree with him. But one of the reasons it's superior is because it's so much harder. Have you ever tried to see God in your boss while he or she is yelling at you about some trivial mistake? Are you able to remain openhearted to a loved one when he or she isn't being openhearted to you? Believe it or not, Leo, you could go a long way toward mastering these skills in 2005. It'll be prime time to learn how to meditate in the midst of the daily chaos.

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22):Virgo rapper Xzibit was asked by an interviewer what he was hoping to get for Christmas. "All I want is a Hummer H2, a big-ass plasma TV, and a AR15 assault rifle with a 30-round clip." Though your own holiday wish list may not include any of Xzibit's items, I do encourage you to fantasize extravagantly about what gifts might pump up your power in 2005. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you should even let yourself entertain some rather macho trains of thought as you imagine the enhancements you'd like to bring with you into the new year. How about sessions with a hard-driving life coach, lessons in ashtanga yoga, or a definite plan to undertake a brave outdoor adventure?

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): In 2005, go to great lengths to put yourself in positions where you will be pleasantly surprised, profoundly taught, and rigorously inspired. The coming months will be an excellent time to seek out experiences that will change your mind. You're finally ready to shed a slew of old attitudes and beliefs that worked well for you once upon a time, but are now mostly dead weight. Here are some symbolic holiday gifts you might consider buying yourself: a blank slate, a bottle of baptismal water, an outfit of white clothes.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): This year the Boston Red Sox won baseball's World Series for the first time in 86 years, thereby dispelling the Curse of the Bambino, which had plagued the franchise since it traded away Hall of Famer Babe "Bambino" Ruth in 1918. Of the 25 players on the Red Sox roster in 2004, five were Scorpios and five were Geminis. The Scorpios included four premier talents who were instrumental in breaking the curse: Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martinez. I believe this vignette foreshadows your fate in 2005, Scorpio. You too will banish a jinx that has burdened you for far too long. And Geminis (like Boston's star Manny Ramirez) may be valuable allies. Here's a symbolic holiday gift you might consider buying yourself: a Boston Red Sox good luck charm.

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