ARIES (March 21-April 19): In an effort to make a splash in America's upcoming presidential election, marginal candidate Ralph Nader has resorted to unusual measures. Among the most extreme has been his decision to accept money and help from the Republican Party, even though he opposes every value that organization holds dear. In the state of Michigan, for example, Nader wouldn't have gotten on the ballot without the heroic assistance of the Republicans, who collected 43,000 signatures for him in the hope that he'll drain votes from the Democratic nominee, John Kerry. I predict that you Aries people will have equally Machiavellian opportunities in the coming weeks. You may even be tempted to turn to your adversaries to further your dreams. Can you manipulate them to serve you more than they manipulate you to serve them?
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your superstitious fears may nag you more than usual in the coming weeks. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's highly unlikely the feared events will actually come to pass. To help dispel your unnecessary worries, I suggest you dream up and carry out an exorcising ritual. For example, you could write down what you're afraid of, and then burn the piece of paper in the flame of a red candle as you cackle and chant, "You have no [insert an energizing taboo word here] power over me!"
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "I'm not afraid of snakes or spiders," says Gemini actress Nicole Kidman, "just butterflies." According to my astrological analysis, that could be an apt motto for many of you Geminis in the coming weeks. You'll probably love your playful wrestles with serpent-like people and enjoy your shadow dances with web weavers. You'll thrive in the wake of intense emotions and enigmatic twists of fate. On the other hand, you'll be in danger of losing your focus during airy encounters with delicate creatures; you'll have to be vigilant to avoid getting thrown off course by pretty ephemera and lightweight pleasures.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): One of the bestselling books in France in recent months has been Bonjour Paresse, or "Hello Laziness." The author, Corinne Maier, encourages employees to perfect the art of goofing off on the job. In the coming week, Cancerian, you should follow her advice not only at work but in every area of your life. I admire you for being so conscientious and putting so much effort into everything you do, but you're way overdue for some major slacking off. I'll go so far as to say that you have a spiritual need to vegetate. This is one time when you'll get my blessing if you decide to sit in a comfortable chair and daydream of nothing in particular as you watch the wind blow.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The Guinness Book of World Records says the shortest river in the world is the Roe River in Montana. Measuring about 220 feet long, it flows into the Missouri River, America's second longest river. The Roe River's source is the Great Springs, which is the largest freshwater spring in the U.S. It's 3,000 years old, stays a constant 54 degrees, and pours out 200 million gallons of water per day. I'd like you to picture this entire scene in your mind's eye, Leothe Roe River, the Missouri River, and the Great Springs. It provides a symbolic template for what your approach should be in the coming weeks. You should be a short and concise connecting link between an underground source of abundant vitality and a free-flowing force of nature that reminds you of a mighty river.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "I am one of those who never knows the direction of my journey until I have almost arrived," wrote author Anna Louise Strong. Right about now, Virgo, you could probably speak those same words with sincerity. For months you've felt as if an invisible force were shepherding you toward an unseen goal. You've trusted the process because it resonated with a gut feeling that kept telling you "Yes!" And now, finally, you're about to come to the end of the quest and collect your reward. Keep in mind, though, that even after you have it, you may not fully understand it for months.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): During last year's monsoon season in Sri Lanka, floods caused landslides in and around Ratnapura, the "City of Gems." As devastating as this natural disaster was, it dredged up many raw gems from their hiding places deep in the earth. After the heavy rains stopped, sapphires and rubies were strewn across the landscape for any passerby to pick up. I foresee an analogous sequence operating in your life, Libra. The deluge will expose valuable beauty, making it easy to pluck.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "If you stick your finger in the fire," asked my teacher Ann Davies, "do you then complain that it is unfair when your finger gets burned? Do you call the fire bad?" I think her questions are essential for you to keep in mind between now and your birthday, Scorpio. If you consciously decide there are good, even honorable reasons for you to play with fire, go right ahead and do so. But if there's a bit of hell to pay as a result, don't you dare get pissed at the universe or dis God. And please don't say the fire is evil.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, business writer David Lazarus reported that the senior managers of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company gave themselves $169 million in bonuses "for doing such a good job during the utility's bankruptcy proceedings." With the authority vested in me by the cosmic powers that be, I hereby authorize you to shower yourself with an equivalent barrage of blessings for all the hard work you've done during the last 10 months. And please don't be shy about imitating the example of the PG&E chiefs: Reward yourself handsomely even if you've accomplished little more than saving your own ass.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "I produce music as an apple tree produces apples," proclaimed the French pianist and composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Your assignment in the coming week, Capricorn, is to do the research and meditation necessary so you can accurately complete the following sentence: "I produce ________ as an apple tree produces apples." You need to know beyond any doubt what precise gift you were born to give the world; you cannot move on to the next phase of your evolution until you are utterly clear about what nature yearns to create through you.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Bill Joy is a farseeing computer scientist who developed many technologies for Sun Microsystems, an influential company he co-founded. You Aquarians are now entering into a "Bill Joy" phase of your astrological cycle, a time when you're most likely to be expansive, pioneering, and innovative. Here's Joy's important message for you about what not to do. "My own biggest mistake in the last 20 years was that I designed solutions for problems that people didn't yet know they had," he told Fortune magazine. "That's why some of the things that could've made a difference couldn't find a market. The hardest part isn't inventing the solution, but figuring out how to get people to adopt it." Translation: As you dream up fresh approaches and imaginative departures, make sure you communicate about them with enthusiastic clarity to the people they'll affect most.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Many of the poets I like are mavericks, visionaries, and prophets, and more than a few belong to what poet Anne Waldman calls the "outrider tradition." But since it would be unpoetic to have a closed mind toward more traditional stuff, I've been reading America's new poet laureate, Ted Kooser. A retired vice president of a life insurance company in Nebraska, he enjoys yard sales and pork roast. Surprisingly, though, his poetry reveals a wild streak. It's not expressed in descriptions of reckless love affairs and manic excursions to the frontiers of sanity, but in a humble wisdom forged through his brave, unsentimental tenderness. That's the kind of wildness I wish for you in the coming weeks, Pisces: the crafty, loving, constructive kind.
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