TAURUS (April 20-May 20): August is Home Improvement Month for you. Why don't you throw out all the furniture and decor that don’t reflect who you are now? Next, ask each member of your household to stuff a suggestion box with uncensored notions about how to ratchet up the levels of domestic bliss. Third, create your own personal Stonehenge in the yard or a goofy holy shrine in the living room. Fourth, vow to live without any TV whatsoever for four weeks and brainstorm about alternative ways to feed your imagination. Fifth, invite some farfetched guests over who will inject ripe surprises into the spirit of your hearth.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "Dear Dr. Mystery: Please answer these four questions. 1. Will chronic ambiguity really make me a smarter person? 2. How can I be myself when I'm not even sure who I am? 3. Does a three-and-a-half-leaf clover mean good luck or bad luck? 4. Should I bide my time and keep my options open or should I grab the first half-decent offer that comes along? —Jumpy Gemini." Dear Jumpy: Here are my Zen answers to your questions: 1. Maybe. 2. Follow your nose. 3. Dumb luck. 4. Both. Love, Dr. Mystery.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I just visited New Orleans to attend a convention of alternative newspapers, many of which publish this column. One of my best adventures came courtesy of the Advice Goddess, alias Amy Alkon. She dragged me away from a boring conversation about business and shanghaied me to Chi-wa-wa Ga-ga, a funky specialty store for small dogs. There I provided expert fashion advice as she purchased a red sequined bikini for her Yorkshire terrier. Normally, I wouldn't have been caught dead doing such a thing. And yet its delightful daffiness taught me a precious secret that's too private to reveal here. You should arrange to have at least three experiences like mine in the coming week.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You will soon figure out exactly what you have to do to get your obsessions to work for you rather than against you. And that will change everything forever. You will feel as if you have been reborn into a new world. Passions that have all too often run you ragged, that have consistently diverted you into chaotic dead ends, will offer themselves up as fuel for your worthiest dreams. Congratulations in advance.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the Gulf of Mexico, the most bombastic tropical storms occur from August to October. During this year's peak season, though, New Orleans will have a unique defense. Voodoo priestess Sallie Ann Glassman recently conducted a public hurricane-protection ritual. Aided by a supporting cast of prayerful devotees, she invoked supernatural help in the form of both Ezili Danto, a voodoo spirit, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor. The petitioners presented Our Lady with her favorite bribes, flowers and jewelry, while offering Danto her special treats, including rum, spicy black beans, unfiltered cigarettes and dolls dressed in calico prints. It is now your psychic equivalent of hurricane season. I suggest you carry out a personal ritual modeled after Glassman's.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The guardians of conventional wisdom might have difficulty with your creative and forceful behavior in the coming days, even if you wheel and deal in a way that will ultimately benefit everyone. They may criticize you if you boldly follow your piquant intuitions without consulting those associates of yours who are sleepwalking through their lives. Care nothing for what they think. Very soon you'll be living proof that there are ethical shortcuts to success.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If I could deliver an adventure-packed oracle, would you agree to do what I ask? I can offer wrestles with tricky angels, games of hide-and-seek that accidentally lead you to strange treasure, fun emergencies with tests that inspire you to love yourself better and explorations of a sanctuary with a metaphorical resemblance to an eagle's aerie. All I require in return is that you treat everyone you encounter, including yourself, with more compassion than you've ever summoned in your life.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley's retelling of the original Camelot myth, she portrays King Arthur as sympathetic to both the upstart Christian faith and the old goddess religion. Many modern voodoo practitioners take a comparable approach. They mix and match Catholic saints with the Lwa, spirits with origins in African tribal culture. Now that you're in the thick of an exciting time for spiritual exploration, I urge you to borrow this hybrid attitude. Heed the whispers of righteous angels even as you give your heart to the serpent power.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Astrology and paganism have important affinities, like the understanding that our personal rhythms are linked to the Earth's yearly cycle. We have arrived at the holiday that witchy folks call Lammas, halfway between the summer solstice and fall equinox. For your tribe, this seasonal festival marks a time when deeper commitment becomes a must. Now please take this Lammas inventory: What stands in the way of you diving deeper into the challenges that will make you wiser and more beautiful? How can you energize your highest goals so you will be motivated to serve them with burning passion every day for a long time? Is there anything you can do to make your commitments more exciting?
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Now and then I ask my readers how they have successfully dealt with their own dark side. Since you're in a phase when it's crucial to do that work yourself, I'll quote the provocative testimony of Sam Shepard (no relation to the famous playwright): "I talk back to the person in the mirror. He frightens me but cares for me. To restructure my difficult memories, I half-burn and cut up old photographs, then collage the fragments into new arrangements. I draw my shadow on a door so that I can stand next to him and ask questions, answering them from his perspective. This is fun." I hope Sam's tricks whet your appetite for deeper communion with your own confounding secrets, Aquarius. With the right approach, you can transform your inner saboteur into a cagey ally.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Sometimes you make it hard for me to reach you. You seem to listen but don't really do so. You secretly decide not to be influenced by anyone but yourself. When you shut me out like that, I become a little stupid. My oracles don't flow. The magic between us withers. Please don't do this now, to yourself or to anyone who cares deeply about you. I understand your need to insulate yourself from the people who mistakenly think they know what's best for you. But your true allies need you right now as much as you need them. Homework: I dare you to discard a once-important opinion that you've held far past the time it was no longer meaningful to you. Report to