TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In one of its videos, the band Blink 182 has a crane drop several brand-new luxury cars from a great height, turning them into mangled hunks of junk. I admire this quality in wealthy celebrities: a free-spirited, open-hearted joy at destroying expensive consumer goods. I'm hoping this will inspire you to withdraw some of your attachment to your possessions. Your props and accessories have begun to define your sense of self a little too much. Liberate yourself from their hypnotic hold on your imagination so you can explore subtler aspects of your identity.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I wish I could make it easy for you and say that the forces of light are lining up to fight the forces of darkness. But it just isn't that simple. It's more like the forces of paisley are staggering into place to start a food fight with the forces of plaid. There is both beauty and ugliness on each side. What's the most righteous role you can play in this seriously surreal showdown? Should you throw your weight to one side or the other? Naw. Create a third side.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Some of my most sensitive readers — a disproportionately large number of whom are Cancerians — have figured out how to contact me clairvoyantly. In the early morning hours, they slip into my dreams to give me updates on a wide range of ethereal subjects. Last night I got a full report on the progress of the angelic hosts who are busting their divine butts to prevent us humans from destroying the ecosphere. I appreciate these efforts to keep me informed on such esoteric matters. But I urge you to de-emphasize explorations like that so you can track earthier developments. The magic word "pragmatism" will be more far potent than "abracadabra."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Let us have a moment of silence in reverent remembrance of your recently deceased illusions. They were soulful hallucinations, full of entertaining flaws such as creative amnesia and misplaced idealism and unripe understandings about human nature. In death, they begin to serve you with fresh purpose, turning into fertile compost for the sweet dreams you'll hatch next. May they rot in peace.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Even though my Virgo girlfriend and I have split, you need not fear that I'll feel any less sympathy for you. It has always been my mission to refute the pinched, weasely traits that traditional astrologers attribute to your sign, and no transitory personal uproar can divert me. I must now let you know that you're susceptible to behavior that conventional wisdom warns against, especially shortsightedness and manipulativeness. You may also be tempted to skip through a series of profound experiences without integrating them fully. Please don't. In both the metaphorical and literal senses, good digestion is the key to remaining true to your soul's purpose.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In his book The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau describes an experience he's always in search of as he travels: "a glimpse of the underglimmer, an experience of the deeply real that lurks everywhere beneath centuries of stereotypes and false images that prevent us from truly seeing other people and other places." I suggest you make Cousineau's quest your own, even if you wander no farther than your usual haunts. For him, the treasured peek happened once as he drank mint tea under date trees with a group of Bedouins in the Egyptian desert. For you, it may bolt into your awareness as you sit in a café sipping cappuccino and gazing upon a woman doing a crossword puzzle at the next table.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Members of the band Papa Roach say they do their best work in the recording studio when they're in really bad moods. Steeped in irritation and angst and anger, they can transform their demons into creative helpers who deliver interesting goods in the form of high-energy songs. I recommend this approach for you. You can't appease your shadowy inner nemeses by trying to suppress them. But if you put them to work in a constructive cause, they'll mellow out even as they serve your dreams.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I'm fond of making extreme statements when you get into extreme moods. So put this in your fortune cookie and chew it: The truths that are most important to you now are exactly those that are least appreciated and understood by your inner circle. I also love to get mystically tricky when you start turning inside-out. So here's a riddle for you to solve on your way over to the place where maybe turns into yes and doubt mutates into determination: What local power spot harbors the exotic stimuli that you've always assumed were far away?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Give thanks you're not a teenager deprived of sex education. If you were, you'd be pregnant or make someone pregnant by mid-August. Why? Because your tribe is both horny and extra fertile right now. It's also lucky that as the kind of cultured and savvy person who reads this column, you know how to comport yourself like a safe sex machine. That skill will help you take maximum advantage of the rich pluckings headed your way. If there is anything you still don't know about what turns you on and how to take responsibility for it, it's a perfect time to find out. Make love, not babies. Create artistic masterpieces, not melodramatic complications.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "I love people's flaws," writes reader Crystal Schultz. "The man I love more than any other is one of the ugliest people I've ever met. His skin is scarred, he has bad teeth and beady eyes and a large nose, but he has the hugest heart and a wickedly childish smile that you can't take your eyes off. He is the smartest, most electrical person I've ever met, and I think he's gorgeous." I've quoted at length from Crystal's testimony because it's the precise spirit I'd like you to bring to your own quest for transformative beauty in the coming days. By the way, this isn't just another version of "don't judge a book by its cover." Study Crystal's words and you'll notice that she's attracted to the outside as well as the inside of the man she loves.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Do you cringe when you encounter the number 13? Do you compulsively check your horoscope in three different newspapers and on 10 Web sites? Do you feel that if you talk about scary subjects you make them more likely to happen? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the days ahead might confuse you. Why? Because it'll be one of the least superstitious weeks on record. There'll be no such thing as good luck or bad luck. Blind fate and pure chance will count for almost nothing. Clarity of purpose and rational analysis will carry unbelievable clout. If you think free will is an illusion, you'll soon find out differently. Send news of your favorite mystery — an enigma that is both maddening and delightful — to
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