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 21April 19): According to the theory known as Ducharme's Precept, "Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment." I bet you'll soon be living proof of that, Aries. An offer or invitation will come your way in a maddeningly inconvenient way. You'll be tempted to invoke excuses about why you cannot possibly take advantage of it right now. But I hope that instead you leap at the chance with a full, and even greedy, heart. As annoying as the circumstances might seem, they're exactly what you need in order to bring out the best in you.
TAURUS(April 20May 20): As I meditated on your horoscope, I was driving a rented Ford Taurus 90 mph south on California's I-5. "Give me omens about what Tauruses need to hear," I asked the Fates. Moments later, a red Infiniti whizzed by me on the right. The aroma of pig manure from a nearby farm pervaded the air. On the CD player, devotional musician Krishna Das launched a hair-raising hymn to the Goddess. Orange brushstrokes appeared in the dusky sky over scissor-shaped mountain peaks, making me feel as if nature had painted a gorgeous canvas for my personal enjoyment. Here's how I interpret this lush symbolic offering: As you're gliding along, a message from eternity will speed by you from an unexpected direction. Fertility will be abundant in your life even though it may be pungent. You'll have rousing contact with a boisterous, masculine form of spirituality. Nature will offer you a gifta beautiful secret just for you.
GEMINI(May 21June 20): Of all the objects in the world that are made of 22-karat gold, a bathtub in Japan is the biggest. Weighing in at over 300 pounds, it's in the Funabara Hotel 100 miles south of Tokyo. I suggest you regard it as your personal symbol of power in the coming week, Gemini. It will remind you to stay true to your task, which is to cleanse yourself extravagantly as you purge your heart of all motivations that aren't pure gold.
CANCER(June 21July 22): Those of us born under the sign of Cancer the Crab are sometimes pathologically self-sufficient. We can dole out love in abundance but be conflicted about asking for and accepting the love we need. Keep that warning in mind as you meditate on the following advice: It's high time to love yourself more and betterto experiment with new strategies for taking care of yourself, nurturing your creativity, and providing yourself with pleasure. Just don't let this honorable work blind you to the gifts that other people want to bless you with.
LEO(July 23Aug. 22): Every year 1.5 million Turkish students take a day-long college entrance exam. It's a grueling maze of complicated yet often inane questionsan absurd attempt to quantify intelligence with a one-size-fits-all standard of measurement. Three-quarters of all students fail and thus face the prospect of unemployment in a country where only higher education guarantees a decent job. This year a lone rebel rose up in defiance against the oppressive tradition. Sefa Boyar announced he'd strive to give the wrong answer to every question on the multiple-choice test. Naturally, he had to study hard to make sure he wouldn't accidentally get a few right answers. Be inspired by Boyar, Leo. Resist or subvert the soul-shrinking hocus-pocus of a bunch of humans acting like machines. Unlike Boyar, do it in a way that enhances your chance to achieve success on your own terms.
VIRGO(Aug. 23Sept. 22): There was one main reason why America's founding fathers gave Thomas Jefferson, not Benjamin Franklin, the job of composing the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They were afraid that Franklin, a compulsive teaser and trickster, would slip jokes into the document. In my opinion, we Americans would have been better served if Franklin had been chosen and allowed to mess around. After all, even the most profound commitments and weighty situations benefit from the leavening power of humor. Keep that in mind during the oh-so-serious games that are ahead for you, Virgo.
LIBRA(Sept. 23Oct. 22): "The time has come to declare the war on terror over," wrote James Fallows in September's Atlantic. "Al-Qaeda's mistakes, and our successes, have sharply reduced the terrorist network's ability to harm the United States. Its threat now rests less on what it can do itself than on what it can trick, tempt, or goad us into doing. Its destiny is no longer in its own hands." In a similar way, Libra, one of your personal enemies has mostly lost the power to hurt you. Its remaining threat resides in what it can trick, tempt, or goad you into doing. To stay safe and sane, all you have to do is refuse to get sucked in by your weakened enemy's ruses.
SCORPIO(Oct. 23Nov. 21): In his book Making Sex: Body and Gender From the Greeks to Freud, historian Thomas Lacquer suggests that the clitoris may have been unknown to male anatomists until 1559. In that year, Renaldus Columbus, a professor at the University of Padua in Italy, announced his discovery of the "seat of woman's delight" and declared his right to name it the "sweetness of Venus." I predict that you will soon ferret out and begin to share in a treasure that, while not quite as momentous as Columbus's, will nonetheless fill you with gleeeven if its value has always been known to its original finders.