TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "If men had babies," notes Elinor Gadon in her book, The Once and Future Goddess, "there would be thousands of images of crowning, that awesome moment when the baby's head first appears." But the art of the last two millennia, though it depicts every other human activity, has ignored childbirth. I bring this up, Taurus, because your imminent future has a metaphorical resemblance to labor and delivery. To whet your imagination for the breakthrough, I'd love for you to gaze upon beautiful images of birth. Because there are so few, you'll probably just have to close your eyes and visualize them. (P.S. You may be able to find Judy Chicago's brilliant, out-of-print art book, The Birth Project, at the library. It's an exception to the historical taboo. Some of it is also visible on the Web at www.judychicago.com.)
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): As we prep you for a possible clash with dopey demons and maladjusted ghosts, we won't go for help to the world's major religions. Their holy books are too serious and grave. None of them seems to have figured out that the finest weapon against diabolical spirits is laughter and tomfoolery. Among the more useful texts are the novels of Tom Robbins. Let me quote an especially sacred scripture from his Jitterbug Perfume: "He'd grown convinced that play — more than piety, more than charity or vigilance — was what allowed human beings to transcend evil."
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I'm grateful that you've decided not to let your grudges disfigure your future; that you're ready to end your flirtation with a hundred years of solitude; and that you're finally planning to sit down at the table that was set for you so many moons ago. An up-to-date edition of the big picture will soon bloom in your mind's eye, and you will measure up to the standard described by F. Scott Fitzgerald: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): It's your sacred duty to be a generous and extravagant catalyst, Leo. I'm not kidding when I say I'll be mad at you if you don't seek out chances to create inspirational catharses everywhere you go. You have no damn business getting bogged down in boring trivia that dulls your senses or compromises your pleasure. So be an agent of epiphany, please. Accept nothing less than the smartest fun. Exude loving kindness as you push people to the limits that they desperately need to surpass.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you're not careful, your famous facility for microscopic precision could derail you from this week's scheduled 12-course feast. I would mourn if you got so full on the appetizer that you spoiled your appetite for the other 11 dishes. Likewise, if you're not careful, your hair-trigger coping mechanism could accidentally sabotage an exhilarating adventure. It would be a shame for you to prematurely solve a "problem" that will, if you let it ripen, lead you to a hidden garden of earthly delights.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Here's my rule for evaluating any information that comes my way: Assume that it's a blend of truth and falsehood and every shade of half-truth in between. That applies equally to stories in the New York Times and to the raving spiels of the homeless prophet who hangs out at my local post office. While the Times usually has a higher proportion of accurate data, I can never be sure where the distortions are embedded in its reports. And then there are those odd days when the scraggly monologist's rants momentarily become lucid revelations comparable to the shattering clarity of the poet Rilke. The moral of the story is this, Libra: You just never know where the most useful messages will come from — especially in the coming week.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In the old days, when you were more dangerous to yourself, I might have worried about astrological aspects like the ones coming up for you now. But in recent years you've been more willing to negotiate with the renegade parts of your psyche. You've sometimes made deals with them before they've become desperate enough to commit massive mischief. Now and then I've even seen you maneuver those rebels into working for you. Guess what, Scorpio? They're ba-a-a-a-ck. And this time they're being led by a specter that looks an awful lot like your evil twin. But I have confidence in your ability to turn the situation to your advantage. A good place to start would be to figure out what goals you and your evil twin have in common.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Suggested book for those of you who are resisting a good change that would only be uncomfortable in the short run: Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. Advice for those of you who feel God hasn't been responding well to your requests: Shout out sweaty prayers while dancing to the music that moves you to tears and shivers. Recommended action for those of you who desperately want to break a habit that chronically undermines your best relationships: Shift the blame for the problem onto a silly scapegoat such as Bugs Bunny or Gwyneth Paltrow; go around saying, "It's all Bill Gates' fault." CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In his autobiography, basketball great Wilt Chamberlain bragged that he had boinked 20,000 women. While I don't find this feat particularly admirable, it's my duty to report that you could now mount a challenge to Chamberlain's record. Your animal magnetism will be peaking in the coming weeks, as will your vigor, your lust, and your hunger for variety. Furthermore, your karmic credit is excellent; there would be relatively little hell to pay from even the most extravagant adventures. I should mention that it's also theoretically possible for you to satisfy your epic urges with a single partner if you're unusually creative. Which, by the way, the planetary omens say you are.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Your voracious need for autonomy is one of your great motivators. In normal times, you're constantly writing and rewriting your own personal Declaration of Independence in the back of your mind. As of today, however, the forces that usually drive you must begin to come to terms with a curious new factor: your growing desire for more nourishing intimacy with the people you care about. It will be fascinating to see how you handle this showdown. Will it be a clash or collaboration? For best results, I suggest that sometime soon you celebrate a new holiday: Interdependence Day.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Your strategies are very close to working. The results you have generated so far are on the brink of being beautiful and bordering on successful. But it's right here at the edge of almost that your attention is most likely to wander. Unless you receive a friendly shock (such as from reading this horoscope), you may mistake the temporary lull for the absolute end. Please don't give up now, Pisces. Refuse to be satisfied with your partial victories. Summon the relaxed stamina and ingenious courage to go all the way. Here's a mantra that may help whip up the necessary magic: Commit random acts of chutzpah. I hereby declare it immoral, illegal, irrelevant and totally tasteless for you to be in love with anyone who's no good for you. Forevermore,