Horoscope

ARIES(March 21–April 19): "Listen! I will be honest with you. I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes." Walt Whitman wrote that in his poem "Song of the Open Road," and now I'm saying it to you. If you expect the events of 2007 to bring you old smooth prizes, you'll be disappointed. But if you can figure out how to change your attitude in such a way as to actually yearn for rough new prizes, you will be rewarded beyond anything you can imagine. The first hint of how true this is will arrive soon.

TAURUS(April 20–May 20): Drugs and alcohol need play no role in activating this week's potentials. Your mind will just naturally inhabit what we in the consciousness industry call an "altered state." This is very different from being sick or crazy, and it could turn out much better than being merely healthy. My advice to you? Break taboos that are no longer necessary to observe. Wander uninhibitedly in zones that have previously been off-limits. Explore the frontiers of fun. (PS: If you try what I'm suggesting, chances are good that you'll finally be able to scratch an itch that has been maddeningly inaccessible. But be sure you know when you've scratched enough.)

GEMINI(May 21–June 20):"God was a little too busy to do anything about the genocide in Darfur last weekend," reported fark.com a while back, "but did manage, during a snowstorm in Buffalo, to leave fallen tree limbs in the form of a crucifix on a statue of Jesus." That's a mean-spirited interpretation of the Divine Wow's behavior, although it's funny in a snarky kind of way. Your assignment in the coming week, on the other hand, is to joke about spiritual matters with a more generous attitude. It's prime time for you to be humorously amazed by the tricky enigmas of creation. (To see the miracle in Buffalo, go here: tinyurl.com/ub2z3.)

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CANCER(June 21–July 22): Imagine you're with a team of explorers in Antarctica. You're climbing the 2,000-foot granite spire called Rakekniven that thrusts up out of the ice in Queen Maud Land. The temperature is 10 degrees below zero. There's not a plant or animal in sight. The blinding white emptiness of the wasteland beneath you fills you with desolate reverence, alienated awe, and soaring gratitude. As far as you are from everything that normally gives you comfort, you've rarely felt stronger or more alive. Got that scene in your mind's eye, Cancerian? Though you won't experience it literally, I bet you'll experience emotions similar to those you'd have if you did.

LEO(July 23–Aug. 22):Your face alternately contorts with strain and breaks into beatific grins. Your body language careers from garbled jargon to melodic poetry. Your clothes make a fool of you one day and show off your inner beauty the next. Are you becoming bipolar? Probably not. The more likely explanation is that you're being convulsed by growing pains that are killing off bad old habits as fast as they're creating interesting new ones. This is one of those times when you should be proud to wear a badge that says "Hurts so good."

VIRGO(Aug. 23–Sept. 22):Here's the bad news. Sometimes your perfectionism verges on being a sophisticated death trip—a manic compulsion to trap life inside a tight little cell where no change is allowed. Here's the good news: You now have the power to strip away the pathological part of your perfectionism and liberate the healthy core of it. Please swear to me that you'll figure out how to be more fluid and playful with your zeal for excellence. Spend less time running your mind in vicious circles and more time running your mind in upward spirals.

LIBRA(Sept. 23–Oct. 22): There are three kinds of darkness: (1) pathology and evil, (2) the mysterious unknown, and (3) the shadowy, unripe parts of our psyches that are on their way to becoming more interesting and useful but are still awkward and inarticulate. I believe that you can help prevent outbreaks of the first kind of darkness by developing a closer personal relationship with the second and third types. This would be a good time for you to do just that, Libra.

SCORPIO(Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Scorpio actor Leonardo DiCaprio is not a big fan of locking lips. "When you think about it, kissing is pretty disgusting," he told Britain's Eva magazine. "The human mouth is one of the dirtiest things on this planet. There's so much bacteria, slime, and trapped food." I hope that you will not only ignore DiCaprio's opinion in the coming months but that you will launch a campaign to increase your commitment to kissing and all related pursuits. In my opinion, the potentials inherent in 2007 should inspire you to raise your mastery of the oral arts to a very high level. And it starts now.

SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22–Dec. 21): "The thing that makes you exceptional is inevitably that which must also make you lonely," said playwright Lorraine Hansberry. I agree. That's why my exuberant advice for you this week is also cautionary. According to my reading of the omens, in 2007 you will have unprecedented opportunities to cultivate and express the special talents that make you unique. To get to the root of them, though, you'll have to be willing to get less of the approval and appreciation you'd ideally like to have. You may not have to be relentlessly solitary, but you will have to be vigorously independent.

CAPRICORN(Dec. 22–Jan. 19): The Harper's Index says the U.S. government spends more than twice as much on military defense as do Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran combined. The aggregate population of those four countries, on the other hand, is five times larger than America's 300 million people. One might reasonably conclude, therefore, that while the U.S. has a right to safeguard itself, its glut of weaponry is absurdly extreme. I'm not definitively asserting, Capricorn, that you, too, are overinvested in defending and protecting your interests, but the astrological omens suggest it's a possibility. Please look into it. In any case, consider freeing up some of your contracted, fearful energy and directing it toward more pleasurable and constructive goals.

AQUARIUS(Jan. 20—Feb. 18): Some Christians believe Jesus will come back to fix this corrupt world. Certain Jewish sects propose that the Messiah will soon appear on earth for the first time. Among Muslims, many predict the legendary 12th Imam will return and bring salvation to humanity. In India, devotees of Vishnu expect the avatar Kalki to arrive on the scene and carry out a miraculous redemption. Even the Buddhists prophesy Maitreya, the chosen one who'll establish universal peace. Personally, I suspect that the whole point of our spectacularly confounding moment in history is that each of us must become our own savior. The coming year will be an excellent time, Aquarius, for you to master the art of being your own savior. And it all starts now. (PS: You can perform a great service by being a role model for those who haven't yet figured out how to be their own saviors.)

PISCES(Feb. 19—March 20): In Cracker's hit song "Where Have Those Days Gone," singer David Lowery recounts a road trip he made through his old haunts in California. "In Mendocino County, I thought I saw Thomas Pynchon at the end of the bar," he croons. "No, that's just Rob Brezsny writing his astrology column." While in the past I've been confused with David Duchovny, Peter Coyote, and Ry Cooder, this marks the first time I've been mistaken for the great novelist Pynchon. Thanks, David. Now it's time for you Pisceans to find out what celebrity you resemble. The omens say it's the perfect moment for you to identify with a hero, role model, or famous mover and shaker. To do so might help free your self-image from the unheroic confines it has gotten stuck in. Go here to investigate: tinyurl.com/c4x23.

Homework Imagine what your life would be like if you licked your worst fear. Describe this new world to me by going to realastrology.com and clicking on "Email Rob."

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