Horoscope

ARIES(March 21–April 19): A Malaysian woman survived a showdown with a tiger. Kaliyama was working as a rubber tapper when the big cat slinked up behind her and wrapped its jaws around her leg. "Amma! Amma!" she cried out, invoking the name of the mother goddess. The tiger let go, backed off a step, and glared at her. Summoning her courage, she gazed back at it. After a few minutes of this staring match, the tiger departed, leaving Kaliyama in peace. I advise you to use a similar approach in your engagement with a beastly influence, Aries. Ask for the goddess's help, then let your essence beam out through the windows to your soul.

TAURUS(April 20–May 20):In the game known as Rock Paper Scissors, each player pumps a fist twice and then displays his or her hand in one of three different shapes: flat to indicate a piece of paper, a fist to symbolize rock, or index finger and middle finger extended for scissors. Each of the three can beat just one of the other two. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, and rock smashes scissors. For centuries, in many cultures, this game has been used by pairs of people to settle small decisions, such as who will wash the dishes this time or who will run to the store to get beer. Though it's not usually invoked to determine matters of great importance, you might consider bucking tradition this week. It may be impossible to solve knotty questions through common sense and negotiation. Why not try the Rock Paper Scissors approach?

GEMINI(May 21–June 20): Sixty percent of Nigeria's population lives below the poverty line. Yet according to the World Values Survey, published in New Scientist magazine, Nigerians are the happiest people on the planet. How can that be? It may have something to do with the survey's conclusion that "the desire for material goods is a happiness suppressant." Sounds to me like the conclusion the Buddhists came to a long time ago: Craving for earthly riches is the source of a lot of suffering. Luckily, you Geminis are in a phase when you have great power to shift your pursuit of satisfaction away from transitory, ephemeral, ultimately useless pleasures and toward the truly gratifying, eternal ones.

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CANCER(June 21–July 22): In 1982 I moved into a new home in Santa Cruz. It was just a funky old cottage that had once been a barn, but I was ecstatic to have it. As I opened the front door to begin my first day there, a violet-crowned hummingbird bolted inside in front of me, stayed for a few minutes, then departed. I regarded its visit as a phenomenally good omen, and it turned out to be just that. During my years in that house, I wrote my first book, recorded my first music album, fell in love with the woman I married, and helped conceive my daughter. Almost exactly 24 years later, I'm meditating on your horoscope as I sit in my current abode. "Send me a sign," I just said to the gods. "What's in the works for Cancerians?" Now a violet-crowned hummingbird is dancing exuberantly in front of my window, peering in, lingering a long time. I take it to mean you're at the beginning of a great opening.

LEO(July 23–Aug. 22): According to the organization Human Rights Watch, there are currently 2,225 American convicts condemned to life sentences for crimes they perpetrated as teenagers. In contrast, the entire rest of the world has only 12 prisoners in a similar situation. I favor the more lenient approach that prevails on the planet outside of the U.S.—not just for criminals but for everyone. Though most of us didn't commit felonies when we were young, we all made big mistakes that caused problems for us as well as others. Should we suffer for our sins forever? I hope not. It so happens that the coming days will provide fresh opportunities for you Leos to atone for and correct the wrong turns you made way back when.

VIRGO(Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Help Wanted: looking for a smart operator who has expertise in both rebellion and compromise. Must be willing to break taboos, if necessary, in order to help people, but must also be a sensitive and empathetic collaborator who's skilled at creating harmonious solutions. Are you a rugged individualist with a strong sense of self, or are you a community builder who can get along with a wide variety of human types? Both, hopefully. Be a good listener who expresses yourself clearly.

LIBRA(Sept. 23–Oct. 22): If you set your mind to it, you could break the world record for most ketchup sipped through a straw in three minutes, or the greatest distance pushing a tangerine down a highway with one's nose, or the most jumps on a pogo stick in the rain at dawn while wearing a leather jumpsuit. For that matter, Libra, you now have the boldness, physical vigor, and slightly crazed chutzpah to accomplish a whole range of precedent-breaking feats, from halting an abuse of power you've been putting up with to overthrowing the soggy status quo that has watered down the passions of everyone in a group you care about.

SCORPIO(Oct. 23–Nov. 21): The U.S. Congress creates a constant stream of new legislation, but that doesn't mean President Bush has to enforce it. Since he took office in 2001, in fact, Bush has chosen to disobey more than 750 freshly minted laws. At the risk of getting you in trouble with the powers that be, I'm advising you to make Bush your role model in the coming week. Try to get away with ignoring any rules of the game you don't like or agree with. To maximize your chance of sailing through unscathed, proceed as Bush does—stealthily, not calling attention to the fact that you're in a rebel outlaw mode.

SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Please stick to drinking low-fat water in the coming days; avoid the high-fat H20 whenever possible. Likewise, inhale only the kind of oxygen that's low in cholesterol, and don't allow your eyes to take in fatty landscapes or other calorie-rich sights. In other words, Sagittarius, celebrate simple pleasures. To make best use of the astrological opportunities, you've got to consistently choose the rawest, most basic options.

CAPRICORN(Dec. 22–Jan. 19): Last week's symbol was a closed fist. The mood was determined, fierce, and intolerant of any funny stuff. But you're leaving the zone in which that stance made sense. Your new metaphor is the open hand. Your chances at succeeding will increase in proportion to your willingness to negotiate for peace, seek connection, and accept input. Receptivity is the Truth and the Way. "Why not?" is your power mantra. To prime yourself for the transition, I suggest that wherever you are right now, you spread your arms wide and unfurl your welcoming palms.

AQUARIUS(Jan. 20—Feb. 18): When you obsess about your adversaries, you risk becoming like them. The more you shape your life through your responses to things you don't like, the more you invite them to define your destiny. You'll have to be on guard against falling prey to this mistake in the coming weeks, Aquarius. While I don't suggest that you totally ignore the forces that oppose you, neither do I recommend that you regularly wake up in the middle of the night and spend hours plotting your next 10 moves against them. Confine your scheming to a circumscribed period—say every Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and noon—and devote the rest of your time to creating what you love.

PISCES(Feb. 19—March 20): Actress Isla Fisher won the Breakthrough Performance prize at the MTV Movie Awards for her role in the film Wedding Crashers. "For most people, playing a bipolar nymphomaniac would have been a challenge," she said. "But I just played myself." She's your role model for the coming week, Pisces. I hope she inspires you to be yourself, only bigger and badder and brighter. It's like you have poetic license to proceed as if you're starring in the blockbuster movie of your own life.


Homework I like stories. Tell me a story about the person you miss most. Go to freewillastrology.com. and click on "Email Rob."

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