ARIES (March 21-April 19): In Montgomery, Alabama, there is an intersection where Jefferson Davis Avenue meets Rosa Parks Avenue. The first street is named after the president of the secessionist slave-owning states in America's Civil War. The other is named in honor of the black woman whose brave actions in 1954 helped launch the civil rights movement. I'd like to suggest that this place is a good symbol for the crossroads where you now stand, Aries. Why? Meditate on these two possibilities: (1) The controlling, dogmatic rebel in you has come head-to-head with the flexible, freedom-loving rebel in you. (2) The loud, bellicose fighter in you is in a struggle with the poised, strategic fighter in you.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Close your eyes and take yourself back in time to the moment when you slipped free of your mother's womb. Imagine your original breath; recreate the sensation of air rushing into your lungs for the first time. Remember it as the end of your warm, dark, watery existence and the beginning of your sojourn in this bright, dry, spacious world. Dwell in that simulation for a while, Taurus, then consider this: You will soon experience, in a metaphorical way and on a higher level, another first breath. Like the earlier version, it will be both unsettling and vivifying, a time of poignancy and celebration.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Years ago, rock star Sting bragged about the extravagant tantric lovemaking that he and his wife enjoyed. Their erotic sessions sometimes lasted for eight consecutive hours, he said. But recently he confessed that his earlier claims had been overstated. "What I didn't say about the eight-hour marathons," he told British TV station ITV, "was that they included four hours of begging and then dinner and a movie." I urge you to regard Sting as your role model in the coming week, Gemini. Spend some time making good-humored corrections of your past hyperbole. While you're at it, atone for any other extreme or immoderate behavior that may still be generating misconceptions.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Though he wrote almost five centuries ago, comic novelist François Rabelais provided the perfect advice for you this week: "It behooves all adventurers to treat their good luck with reverence, neither bothering nor upsetting it." In other words, Cancerian, don't spend even a minute wondering why your life is blessed with so much grace right now. Refrain from analyzing it, discoursing about it, or theorizing on how you might be able to preserve it. Instead, use it exuberantly and with a devout sense of gratitude. Explore in vivid detail what it feels like to be a freewheeling adventurer.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Now that you're in the ambition-building phase of your yearly cycle, I figure you're ready for a fresh set of cute aphorisms. Use the following to fuel the fire in your belly, the chutzpah in your heart, and the gleam in your eye: (1) If you don't run your own life, someone else will. (2) Opportunity often slips by unrecognized, disguised as hard work. (3) Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself. (4) Be willing to give up what you are for what you can become. (5) Follow your dreams, except the one where you're giving a speech in your underwear.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The influential New York Times Book Review may soon begin to emphasize nonfiction books and cut back on its coverage of literary fiction. "The most compelling ideas tend to be in the nonfiction world," Times executive editor Bill Keller said in an interview, launching the rumors. Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti decried such a move, telling the San Francisco Chronicle's Heidi Benson that "the national consciousness has [already] been taken over by the technological and pragmatic." He'd like to see more fiction and poetry. Regardless of where you might stand on this issue for the long haul, Virgo, it's important to side with Ferlinghetti for now. You need less knowledge and more imagination, fewer of the hard facts and more of the dreamy truths.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): U.S. president Woodrow Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke in 1919. For the next 17 months, until his term was over, his wife Edith was the de facto commander in chief of the United States. She hid the severity of his incapacity, allowing only his doctors to see him as he hid in his sickroom at the White House. Meanwhile, she issued a steady stream of policy decisions, signed treaties, and presidential directives, always written in her own hand. I believe you Libras now have a chance to play a role comparable to Edith's, to be the power behind the throne. Here are your words to live by, courtesy of philanthropist Art Rennison: "There is no end to what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit."

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Just because you're born under a particular sign doesn't mean you're forever obligated to be a perfect example of all its classical qualities. On the contrary, a growing number of visionary astrologers recommend regular rebellions against your type. To do so keeps you honest; it prevents you from being consumed by habit. The coming weeks will be an especially favorable time for you to periodically elude the Scorpio trance. It almost doesn't matter which alternatives you experiment with, but I believe you'll gain a lot by trying on Libran and Aquarian perspectives.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Forty years ago, three repetitions of a 60-second TV commercial were enough to reach 80 percent of the population. Today it takes 117 such plugs to accomplish the same effect. Why? The proliferation of cable TV stations and other media means that a business has to work much harder to spread the word about its product. You'll face a similar prospect in the coming weeks and months, Sagittarius. Because your competition will be expanding and multiplying, you'll have to grow in order to keep from falling behind. I think that's good news, though. The pressure to improve will be healthy for you.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Desire makes everything blossom," mused French novelist Marcel Proust. "Possession makes everything wither and fade." If the first part of that quote is true, Capricorn, you'll be in full bloom any minute now. The astrological omens suggest that your longings will explode with the forceful beauty of five dozen long-stemmed red roses arrayed in a spiral on a silk-covered bed. But what about the second half of Proust's quote? Will you feel withered and faded once you have possessed what you desire? Not if you're a student of cycles; not if you're one of those wise, highly evolved Capricorns who's as skilled at having as you are at wanting.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I won't be upset with you if you decide to buy a case of gourmet chocolate, have your bathroom floor redone in a style resembling the throne room of a 17th-century French king, or get cosmetic surgery on your least favorite physical feature. The astrological omens suggest that you have every right to splurge in order to make yourself feel really good. However, there are less materialistic, more soul-satisfying ways to channel your mandate for lavish self-fulfillment. Consider the possibility of hiring a coach or going on a meditation retreat, for instance. Revamp your diet so it's twice as healthy as it is now, or find a way to release the natural endorphins in your brain on a more regular basis.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Have you ever gone to a film merely looking for lightweight diversion, but instead gotten bowled over by a moving scene that inspired you to change your life for the better? Have you ever sought out a friend in the hope of receiving unconditional approval, only to have her gently point out a flaw in your thinking and help you shed a pernicious delusion? Fate will offer you life-enhancing substitutions like these in the coming week, Pisces. Don't be fanatically attached to fulfilling your expectations.

HOMEWORK What wish is always just out of your reach? For the next week, pretend you've reached it; act as if it's yours; imagine you're utterly fulfilled. Testify at beautyandtruth.com

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