TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Psychologist Carl Jung recognized that all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they seem. Frustration and ignorance may cause them to twist into distorted caricatures, but it is always possible to locate the beautiful source from which they arose. In describing one of his addictive patients, Jung said: "His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God." Your assignment in the coming weeks, Taurus, should you choose to accept it, is to seek the glorious prototypes behind your warped and trivial longings.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I'm very close to naming you Toxic Warrior of the Month. A few days from now I'm hoping you will have decisively triumphed over the pollution of debilitating fantasies, careless words, and garbage disguised as goodies. But don't let your guard down at this late hour, Gemini. Do not compromise your demands for purity. Apathetic "helpers" could tempt you to grow lax, and the strain of maintaining your tribe's spiritual hygiene may threaten to exhaust your commitment to excellence. But be relentless, Toxic Warrior! Don't give the rot a break!
CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Was it worth it, I ask myself," begins Robert Dana's poem "Summer," "all those years of making music/ for the deaf? All those somber/ and brilliant colors worked/ onto canvasses for the blind?" No doubt you've often posed similar questions in the history of your artful nurturing, Cancerian. I wish I could assure you that by the end of your life many years hence at least some of your gifts will have been appreciated. I'd love to guarantee that your good intentions will yield the results you envision. But I can't. That would be true to Hollywood's and Christianity's worldview, but not real life. I can say this much, however: Regardless of what effect your generous self-expression has on other people, it'll be the greatest blessing you give yourself.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The writer Joseph Chilton Pearce describes a girl who preferred radio to TV "because the pictures were so much more beautiful." This furthers his argument, supported by psychologist Frances Wickes, "that many later childhood dysfunctions result from a lack of storytelling, fantasy play and imaginative ventures in prelogical years." Poet Deena Metzger takes this idea even further. "It is possible," she says wryly, "that deprivation in postlogical years is even more dire." In other words, we adults also suffer terrible hardships when our imaginations are starved of beauty. I hope these thoughts inspire you, Leo, to get your fill of mysterious stories, exuberant daydreams and liberating playtime. The planetary omens say it's high time.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Dear Virgo: Rob Brezsny, the guy who usually writes your horoscopes, asked me to take over for him this week. Recently he has had many requests from me and other Virgos to tone down the poetry, philosophy and politics he's so fond of. I mean, I like Brezsny's work, but he doesn't seem to realize that every so often we Virgos crave chatty, no-nonsense tips on daily life. Like now, for instance. So anyway, here's my take on your imminent future: Change your air fresheners, move the furniture and try some new recipes. Love, Guru Tiffany. (P.S. Brezsny himself says to burrow your way down to the big funky bottom of things, wring the stale air out of inflated expectations, and squeeze more of your time's and money's worth out of playthings you've been wasting.)
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The mystic poet Kabir said the most important question we can ask ourselves is "What is it we spend our entire life loving?" Maybe you don't agree that's the central issue, but I'll ask you to treat it as such for the foreseeable future. Why? I expect the year 2001 to bring you an explosion of opportunities to express your spiritual longing, excited devotion and creative generosity, and I doubt you'll be able to take advantage of all of them. It's crucial to clarify your priorities well before the explosion hits. Start now, please! Another way to ask the question comes from Ralph Metzger: "What is it you have spent your entire life trying to do?"
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As a hard-driving stress-magnet, you probably don't have the luxury of lounging around in your pajamas all week and watching the brainstorms that will just naturally be rolling through your imagination. So I'm forced to present a lite version of the heavyweight advice I would have preferred to offer. Here 'tis: Steal every possible nanosecond of inspiring relaxation you possibly can. While stuck in a traffic jam, for instance, briefly let all your muscles go completely slack and try to catch a glimpse of the brainstorms that will just naturally be rolling through your imagination.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You remind me of a circus elephant who's finally summoned the raging strength to break free after being chained to a tree for days. I wonder what you'll do next? Rampage through the nearby streets, smashing and crashing? Or go off in search of a mud puddle big enough to roll around in? Pursuing the second approach is far more likely to lead you into the custody of animal-rights caregivers who'll repatriate you to a hospitable homeland.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If I'm reading the astrological omens correctly, Operation Just Desserts is under way. All your sweat is at last being rewarded with sweets. Smiling admirers are arriving with silver platters full of ambrosia, manna and the nectar of the gods. Sugarlips is ready to announce, "To the victor go the most savory spoils ever." If for some reason none of this is happening, please eat a pound of chocolate and call your therapist in the morning.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It should be more perfectly obvious than usual that you are an ever-changing work of art shaped not just by yourself but by lots of other people. Given this fact, I say the time is right to formally recognize the contributions of all your co-creators. In fact, how about if you produce a kind of Academy Award ceremony? Here are some of the categories for which you could hand out your version of the Oscars (please dream up some others yourself): Most Surprising Teacher; Best Provider of Smart Love; Most Loyal Ally in a Non-Smarmy Role; Most Useful Enemy; Best Wise-Ass Skeptic Who Keeps You Honest; Most Mysterious Catalyst.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Harper's editor Lewis Lapham once asked (I'm paraphrasing): Which spectacle offends your sensibilities most, poor people buying shrimp with food stamps or Wall Street speculators buying office buildings with tax-free junk bonds? That's a good comparison to keep in mind as you decide where to direct your most fertile anger — that is to say, how best to express your clearly articulated and constructive determination to derail the stinky status quo. You can't change everything, Pisces, so my advice is to pick the biggest, baddest, most vulnerable target.
Homework: Talk about how your political opinions reflect your spiritual values. www.freewillastrology.com.