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 21–April 19] I invite you to identify all the things in your life that you really don't need anymore: gadgets that have become outdated, clothes that no longer feel like you, once-exciting music and books and artworks that no longer mean what they once did. Pinpoint the people who have let you down, the places that lower your vitality, and the activities that have become boring or artificial. Figure out the traditions that no longer move you, the behavior patterns that no longer serve you, and the compulsive thoughts that have a freaky life of their own. Dump at least some of them.
TAURUS [April 20–May 20] If you're a woman, you could go to the perfume section of a department store and buy fragrances that would cause you to smell like Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Eva Longoria, and Paris Hilton. If you're a man, an hour from now, you could be beaming an aroma that makes you resemble a celebrity like Antonio Banderas, Usher, David Beckham, and Keith Urban. You could even mix and match, wearing the Eva Longoria scent on your manly body or Usher on your female form. But I don't recommend that you do any of the above. More than ever before, you need to be yourself, your whole self, and nothing but yourself. Trying to act like or be like anyone else should be a taboo of the first degree.
GEMINI [May 21–June 20] "I try to take one day at a time," says Ashleigh Brilliant, "but sometimes several days attack me all at once." I think you might soon be able to say words to that effect, Gemini—and that's a good thing. Life will seem more concentrated and meaningful than usual. Events will flow faster, and your awareness will be extra intense. As a result, you should have exceptional power to unleash transformations.
CANCER [June 21–July 22] When actor Ashton Kutcher is working on the set of his TV show Two and a Half Men, he enjoys spacious digs. His trailer is two stories high and has two bathrooms as well as a full kitchen. Seven 60-inch TVs are available for his viewing pleasure. As you embark on your journey to the far side of reality, Cancerian, it might be tempting for you to try to match that level of comfort. But what's more important than material luxury will be psychological and spiritual aids that help keep you attuned to your deepest understandings about life. Be sure you're well-stocked with influences that keep your imagination vital and upbeat.
LEO [July 23–August 22] Veterans of war who have been wounded by shrapnel often find that years later, some of the metal fragments eventually migrate to the surface and pop out of their skin. The moral of the story: The body might take a long time to purify itself of toxins. The same is true about your psyche. It might not be able to easily and quickly get rid of the poisons it has absorbed, but you should never give up hoping it will find a way. Judging by the astrological omens, I think you are close to such a climactic cleansing and catharsis, Leo.
VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Distilled water is a poor conductor of electricity. For H2O to have electroconductivity, it must contain impurities in the form of dissolved salts. I see a timely lesson in this for you, Virgo. If you focus too hard on being utterly clean and clear, some of life's rather chaotic but fertile and invigorating energy might not be able to flow through you. That's why I suggest you experiment with being at least a little impure and imperfect.
LIBRA [September 23–October 22] According to my reading of the astrological omens, you are neither in a red-alert situation nor are you headed for one. A pink alert might be in effect, however. Thankfully, there's no danger or emergency in the works. Shouting and bolting and leaping won't be necessary. Rather, you might simply be called upon to come up with unexpected responses to unpredicted circumstances. Unscripted plot twists could prompt you to take actions you haven't rehearsed. It actually might be kind of fun, as long as you play with the perspective Shakespeare articulated in As You Like It: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."
SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] "Dear Rob: For months I've had a recurring dream in which I own a pet snake. Here's the problem: The only cage I have to keep the snake in is inadequate. It has widely spaced bars that the snake just slips through. In the dream, I am constantly struggling to keep the snake in its cage, which is exhausting because it's impossible. Just this morning, after having the dream, I FINALLY asked myself, what's so terrible about letting the snake out of its cage? So I wrote myself this permission note: 'It is hereby allowed to let my dream snake out of its cage.' – Scorpio Devotee." Dear Devotee: You have provided all your fellow Scorpios with an excellent teaching story for the upcoming weeks.
SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] For millions of years, black kite raptors made their nests with leaves, twigs, grass, mud, fur, and feathers. In recent centuries, they have also borrowed materials from humans, such as cloth, string, and paper. And in the past few decades, a new element has become quite popular. Eighty-two percent of all black kite nest-builders now use white plastic as decoration. I suggest you take inspiration from these adaptable creatures, Sagittarius. It's an excellent time for you to add some wrinkles to the way you shape your home base.
CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] There are many examples of highly accomplished people whose early education was problematical. Thomas Edison's first teacher called him "addled," and thereafter, he was homeschooled by his mother. Winston Churchill did so poorly in school, he was punished. Benjamin Franklin had just two years of formal education. As for Einstein, he told his biographer, "My parents were worried because I started to talk comparatively late, and they consulted a doctor because of it." What all these people had in common, however, is that they became brilliant at educating themselves according to their own specific needs and timetable. Speaking of which: The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you Capricorns to plot and design the contours of your future learning.
AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] Nigeria has abundant deposits of petroleum. Since 1974, oil companies have paid the country billions of dollars for the privilege of extracting its treasure. And yet the majority of Nigerians—more than 70 percent—live on less than a dollar a day. Where does the money go? That's a long story with the word "corruption" at its heart. Now let me ask you, Aquarius: Is there a gap between the valuable things you have to offer and the rewards you receive for them?
PISCES [February 19–March 20] Gawker.com notes that American politician John McCain tends to repeat himself—a lot. Researchers discovered that he has told the same joke at least 27 times in five years. (And it's such a feeble joke, it's not worth retelling.) In the coming week, Pisces, please, please, please avoid any behavior that resembles this repetitive, habit-bound laziness.