By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22Dec. 21): The entertainment industry foists a lot of garbage on us. Stupid sex, gratuitous fear, and ugly violence are the norm. TV and film executives defend themselves against critics who accuse them of pandering to the lowest common denominator. "We merely give people what they want," they say. To put that lame excuse in context, I'll quote Henry Ford, the automotive pioneer: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." I hope that perspective inspires you to aim higher in the coming week, Sagittarius. Don't give anyone (including yourself) what they're accustomed to desiring; give them something better and more beautiful.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22Jan. 19):Back when it was still a fledgling business in the 1950s, the McDonald's hamburger chain caught the attention of a salesman named Ray Kroc. He joined the team as an executive, and soon began thinking about buying the company outright. His advisers counseled him against it, but Kroc said he had "a feeling in his funny bone" that it was the right thing to do. Years later, he had become a billionaire, renowned as one of the world's titans of industry. I'm not necessarily saying you will amass a comparable fortune, Capricorn, but decisions you make in the coming weeks could be as life changing as Kroc'sand maybe even instrumental in ensuring that you fulfill the mission you came to earth to carry out. Trust the feelings in your funny bone.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20Feb. 18): I'm taking a risk with the message I have for you this week. My intention is not to flatter you or inflate your ego, and I know that some of you may be tempted to do just that when you read what I have to say. Please resist that temptation. My advice is not meant to jack up your pride but rather is designed to boost your confidence. I want to impress on you how important it is not to seek solutions to your problems from experts, teachers, or anyone besides yourself. Ready for your assignment? Speak the following sentence 20 times a day for the next week: I am the answer.
PISCES (Feb. 19March 20):I predict that a new fashion trend will arise in the coming months: the intentional cultivation of "sacred acne" as a form of facial decoration. Hip magazines will offer instructions on how to compel pimples to appear in the shape of mythological emblems and religious symbols. I also predict, Pisces, that before the end of 2005 you will figure out how to take advantage of a quality you've always considered a liability. This seeming weakness or unloveliness may even become a spiritual asset. The transformation begins now.
ARIES [March 21April 19] When I was 19, a masked gunman pumped a load of buckshot into my hip after a student demonstration. To this day, I have 43 pieces of metal in my body. What kind of metal? That's an important question. Until I find out the answer, I can never get an MRI. Medical technicians tell me that unless they're sure the shards in me aren't the kind of metal that could be moved by the MRI's strong magnetic field, they can't risk it. In a worst-case scenario, the shards might move so much they'd cause internal bleeding. And that's the story of how unknown factors from a past event are still affecting my life today. I believe you're now facing a comparable situation, Aries, though in a more metaphorical way. Go get the answers you need.
TAURUS [April 20May 20] From the window of my office I look down on a blackberry bush whose berries are now ripening. In the last 20 minutes, I've watched a sparrow figure out the best way to feast. At first the bird tried to land on the flimsy branches of the bush, but after a few tries it realized they couldn't hold its weight. Its revised strategy was to grab a single berry in mid-swoop and alight on the branch of a nearby apple tree so it could relax with its meal. It did this 10 times. I recommend a similar approach to you, Taurus. According to my astrological analysis, you won't be able to enjoy your treats in the place where you find them. You'll have to pluck them, fly away, and savor them at a distance. Like the sparrow, you should keep returning for refills.
GEMINI [May 21June 20] America's first President George Bush, a Gemini who reigned from 1988 to 1992, had almost as quirky and paradoxical a mind as his son, who is the current leader of the free world. "I have strong opinions of my own," Bush the First once said, "but I don't always agree with them." Let that quizzical gem be your watchword in the coming days, Gemini. Disavow three strong opinions you've been proud of in the past, but which you no longer agree with. Try to get it through your beautiful head that you're not the person you were when you first acquired those old beliefs, and it's time to leave them behind.
CANCER [June 21July 22] A lot of the teens I know have tattoos, but not my neighbor's 16-year-old daughter Lucretia. Fear of boredom is the main reason. "If I got a tattoo today, I'd be tired of it in six months," she explained to me. "And then what would I do? Undergo the torture of having it erased? I just can't deal with anything that would be a permanent part of me." Make her your role model this week, Cancerian. You're in the most transitory phase of your astrological cycle. For best results, revel in the parade of flashy beauty and captivating diversions, but don't get too attached to any single one.