TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If I were king of the world, I'd banish the archetype of the tormented genius. I'd discourage journalists and biographers from glamorizing the lives of depressed jerks who make great art. Whenever a writer or musician announced that he felt most inspired when miserable, I would unleash the Official Royal Yawn. Unfortunately, I probably won't be king of the world any time soon, so I'll have to pursue a more grassroots approach. Will you Tauruses please help me? You're currently immersed in the most smoothly fertile time of your astrological cycle, so it should come naturally. Our patron saint will be singer-songwriter P.J. Harvey. She says: "When I'm contented, I'm more open to receiving a lot of inspiration. I'm most creative when I feel safe and happy."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Right now your life may seem like a loose tangle of disparate threads. But this is merely an illusion designed by God to rouse your passion to create harmony and unity. The proper response to the scattered vibes, then, is not to mourn but to organize. Here's an exercise to get you in the mood. The following five oracles may appear unrelated, but with a little meditation you can weave them together into a web of sweet meaning. 1) More freedom will come from deeper commitment. 2) Don't be a slave to the things you control. 3) Say this as a prayer: "The less I have to prove, the smarter I'll be." 4) A surprising gift will arrive after you give up a supposed asset you don't really need or use. 5) Greater personal power will flow to you as a result of a thoughtful surrender.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Sometimes when your future is breaking wide open, it becomes difficult to predict. Now is such a time. I'm almost tempted to believe that you're fate's master, rather than the other way around. Cosmic law seems negotiable in your presence. The dull dictates of conventional wisdom have never been easier to ignore. It's as if you're not quite natural or legal — and yet you are neither a monster nor an outlaw. It's as if you're primed to violate rules that are morally correct to violate. Under the circumstances, it's a perfect moment to remind you of occultist Aleister (cq) Crowley's definition of practical spiritual work: "Magick (cq) is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with the Will."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): For years I've been an agitator and activist on the left side of the political spectrum. As much I've enjoyed the community of my companions on the quest, I have always been amazed that few of them have mastered the first rule of fomenting revolution. Author Eknath Easwaran sums up it pithily in his biography of Mahatma Gandhi: "One of the most radical discoveries (Gandhi) was to make in a lifetime of experimentation: in order to transform others, you have to transform yourself." I offer this difficult yet ultimately pleasurable challenge to you, Leo, as you contemplate the innovations you'd love to make in your sphere.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Can you thrive as a top dog after all your rehearsals as an underdog? Now that you've finally got an official license to exceed the metaphorical speed limit, will you rashly try to bolt too far, too fast? Given that you've long been in the habit of paying more than your share of dues, is it possible you'll know how to handle your fresh delivery of karmic credit? I pray to the goddess of sacred reversals that you'll come up with the most righteous and robust responses to these questions, Virgo.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): To the casual observer, the disproportionate abundance of evil stepmothers in fairy tales is quizzical. Most real stepmothers aren't nasty, scheming, small-minded adversaries, after all. Storyteller Michael Meade provides the best explanation. He says the stepmother is a symbol of the soul's nemesis, and everyone has a nemesis. In fact, everyone needs a nemesis to keep them honest, to challenge their assumptions and call their bluffs. That's why I'm pleased that your land of dreams and myth will soon be honored by a visit from a stepmother.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Closing my eyes, I asked my subconscious mind to send me waking dreams that would symbolically portray your astrological aspects for the coming weeks. In the first scene that bubbled up, you were working alone in a laboratory, where you were trying to burn a hole through a huge block of ice with a laser gun. In the second scene, you were performing a fire-eating act while ice skating in front of a large crowd. The third scene showed you inside a large sauna that was surrounded by snow. You were visited there by people from your past and people whom I sensed would soon become part of your past. You gave each of them a little speech that resolved your relationship with them.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you ever considered starting your own religion or think tank or publication? Have you ever dreamed of appearing on all of the televisions in the world simultaneously and delivering a stirring speech (translated into 122 languages) entitled "Be Like Me!"? The next few weeks would be a favorable time to get started on an epic scheme like this or on any other vast, multipronged conspiracy that would take many years of careful yet uninhibited planning to carry out. I'm telling you, Sagittarius, your biorhythms are practically begging you to entertain fantasies of wielding fantastic power — especially the kind that would help and inspire many people.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The father of my acquaintance Elliot was a professional gambler who figured out an ingenious system, got rich and retired. For the rest of his life, he spent his fortune hunting down Nazi war criminals and bringing them to trial. Even if you're the kind of person who looks down on gambling as immoral, I bet you'd make an exception in his case. Let this vignette be a thought for your meditations, Capricorn. I predict you will soon encounter a comparable challenge to your value system.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Consider the Greek word pharmakon. It has several meanings, including poison, scapegoat, recipe and remedy. All of these happen to be major themes in your life at this time, Aquarius. Oddly enough, they are also interrelated. How? The metaphorical poison you've recently ingested will not, thankfully, hurt you, but will turn out to be a cure for a malady you didn't know you had. And the person who is currently serving as your scapegoat will reveal a valuable recipe for self-transformation if you'll only make yourself a bit more receptive. (Hint: The recipe will free the part of your own psyche that feels like a scapegoat.)
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I don't normally like to encourage acquisitive behavior in my readers. However, my reading of the astrological omens suggests you now have cosmic permission to practice a sublime form of grabbiness. I'm almost tempted to call it a spiritually correct greed. Please note that you may not use this as a license to splurge on status symbols. The stuff you amass should be things like fine emotions, uncanny revelations and exquisite states of awareness. I also encourage you to ask for and gather up colossal amounts of kisses and caresses and love. Homework: Write a wild rant, lyrical poem or carefully composed essay on the subject, "What I Learned (and Didn't Learn) This Summer." Write: