ARIES [March 21–April 19] I'm 99 percent positive that in the coming week, you will not wind up in a hand-to-hand battle on top of a speeding truck with a rogue agent of the secret government. It's also highly unlikely that the next time you open your closet door, you'll be forced to engage in magical combat with a well-dressed goblin from the fifth level of hell. On the other hand, Aries, it might actually be wise for you to instigate a fair fight in a safe place with a good person who is basically your ally. You two need to air out some buried tensions in order to get the most out of your future collaborations.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] "Diplomacy is letting someone else have your way," said Lester Pearson, a Taurus politician from Canada who won the Nobel Peace Prize. If I'm reading the astrological omens correctly, Taurus, the aptitude he described will be your specialty in the coming weeks. You will have a sixth sense about how to tactfully maneuver adversaries and colleagues alike into arriving at conclusions that will promote your goals. To maximize the likelihood that you'll be a benevolent manipulator, not a selfish one, try to arrange it so that getting your way will help others get their own way as much as possible.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] "Where my heart lies," wrote Robert Browning in his prayerful poem, "let my brain lie also." That's my wish for you to experience in the coming weeks, Gemini. It's not a wistful, ineffectual wish, either: My astrological analysis indicates that the cosmos will be conspiring to unify more than a few of your fragmented parts. In fact, I predict that your thoughts and feelings will converge in a vigorous collaboration that will ultimately generate excellent karma for you and others.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] Some religious traditions don't motivate you through the threat of punishment and don't make you scared of God. Some corporations don't rip off their workers, don't despoil the environment, and don't have tyrannical bosses. Some politicians don't lie constantly, haven't sold out their ideals, and aren't power-mad narcissists. In light of these facts, Cancerian, please try to keep an open mind about them all in the coming week, as well as any institution, idea, or person about which you have made dogmatic generalizations in the past. It's a perfect time to shake up and even purge some of the personal biases that you have enthroned as absolute truths.

LEO [July 23–August 22] My friend Ronnie, the tattoo artist, told me that people who come in to get their first tattoo are sometimes unprepared for how much it hurts. Most are able to endure the razor-sharp ripping of their flesh for the time it takes, though. There are some sissies who can't, and they tend to be the biggest, baddest macho dudes. Ronnie says she personally knows 15 rough, tough guys walking around San Francisco with a fragment of a tattoo, having abandoned the process in agony before it was done. Here's my question for you, Leo: Is there any situation in your life that resembles a half-completed initiation? Have you ever left midway through a rite of passage? Now is a good time to make plans to go back and finish what you started.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Every year, the Annals of Improbable Research gives out the Ig Nobel Prizes to researchers whose work "cannot or should not be reproduced." Last year, awards were conferred upon chemists who managed to extract vanilla flavoring from cow manure, scientists who found that impotency drugs help hamsters to recover quickly from jet lag, and linguists who discovered that rats can't distinguish between someone speaking Dutch backward and someone speaking Japanese backward. I sincerely hope you will do nothing in the coming weeks that would resemble these efforts, Virgo. Please double-check to make sure that your considerable mental talents are engaged in tracking down information that will be truly useful. Don't get sidetracked by trivial data, irrelevant details, and wild goose chases.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] Leonardo da Vinci created a mural that his contemporaries regarded as an even greater masterpiece than The Last Supper. Painted on a wall in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, The Battle of Anghiari later vanished when the building was remodeled. Some experts believe it still exists, however, hidden behind another wall that bears a newer mural. Even as we speak, investigators are using advanced technology to detect the possible presence of Leonardo's missing tour de force. Let this serve as a metaphor for the work you have ahead of you, Libra. It's a perfect time to search for the lost brilliance that's stuck behind a barrier or the buried treasure that has almost been forgotten. Once you find it, then you can free it.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Poet Sylvia Plath said she wasn't much impressed with the "photographic mind which paradoxically tells the truth, but the worthless truth, about the world." What she really loved was the "synthesizing spirit, that 'shaping' force, which prolifically sprouts and makes up its own worlds with more inventiveness than God." That's the aspect of your psyche I hope will be in full bloom during the coming weeks, Scorpio. It's a perfect time for you to enter into an unprecedented phase of building. You're ripe to dream up a host of creations for yourself—to improvise and design and compose.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] The average male owns 15 pairs of underwear, while the typical female has 21. (The other three genders average 25, 31, and 13, respectively.) But those figures will almost certainly rise in the coming weeks, as Sagittarians of every variety will be expanding and enhancing their approach to covering their asses. Most of you Centaurs will also be refining and evolving your attitude toward the things that touch you most intimately, as well as deepening and embellishing your relationship with the hidden aspects of the image that you present to the public eye.

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] Philosopher Robert Anton Wilson defined information as data and ideas that are new to you. If it's something you already know, then it's propaganda or dogma, not information. Philosopher Terence McKenna had a similar view: He used the terms "information" and "novelty" interchangeably. If you're not surprised, he said, if your curiosity isn't piqued, then the messages streaming your way don't qualify as information. I'd like you to make that your gold standard in the coming weeks, Capricorn. Be voracious for real information, and ruthlessly banish all the fake stuff that's masquerading as the real thing. You will know you're doing it right if you're never bored.

AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] Astrologically speaking, this would be a perfect time for you to get a brain implant that would allow you to Google your own unconscious and surf the Web with your mind alone. Unfortunately, the actual technology to do that isn't available yet. But variations on this theme could soon impact you. You're primed to make innovations and play with possibilities that the rest of the world isn't ready for. My advice is to go ahead and try them anyway. People may be prodded by your pioneer spirit into helping you conjure up the fresh-from-the-future resources you need.

PISCES [February 19–March 20] Many people sincerely think that they will be called before God to account for themselves on Judgment Day. If you yourself have held that belief, you can stop worrying about it. The fact is that you were essentially called before God on Judgment Day last week (though it might have happened while you were asleep and dreaming), and everything went great! You passed your test! Your score wasn't perfect, and there were some demerits in your final evaluation, but the most important thing is that you made it! There will, therefore, be no more Judgment Days for you in the future. God found you worthy, and now you can go on living your life without fear or guilt. Congrats, Pisces! You're free!

HOMEWORK What's your favorite excuse? Write it out and tape it to your mirror, then try not to say it even once during the coming week.

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