TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I'm pleased to announce that the cosmos has given you poetic license to be very demanding this week — as long as you're not rude, frivolous or unreasonable. Here are examples of ultimatums that will pass the test: "I demand that everyone has to get drunk on the truth with me;" "I demand to grow younger every day;" "I demand that everyone I love has to help me undo the black magic I've inadvertently performed on myself." The following are not acceptable: "I demand tribute, you fools;" "I demand that a surrogate mommy has to cut all the crusts off my sandwiches;" "I demand that the river has to flow backward."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It's time you dreamed up a few new vices. The old ones barely tweak your guilty conscience anymore; they don't pack the educational punch they once had. Try eating ripe figs while playing with rubber duckies in a public fountain with your silk pajamas on. How about toppling the icons and idols you once believed in but no longer do or finally risking what you were forbidden or too inhibited to do when you were in 10th grade. It's up to you how you want to depart from the same old boring mischief. P.S. Don't you dare tell anyone I've suggested this.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I propose that you play a prank on yourself. While putting on your shirt, fasten the top button in the second hole, the second button in the third hole and so on all the way down. Then preserve this dishevelment the rest of the day, summoning all your dignity in the face of odd stares and snide comments. If anyone says, "Hey, your shirt's buttoned wrong," reply, "No it isn't. I buttoned it this way on purpose." The purpose of this exercise? To practice maintaining your composure and sense of self in the face of a twist that might normally throw you off-center. It'll be a great rehearsal for the other challenges headed your way.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Before proceeding further, please arrange for a bright companion to rub your shoulders while thinking tender thoughts about you. I urge you not to read on until you are feeling well-loved and appreciated. Why? It will drive home the point that you are most likely to express your full potential in the coming week if you are steeped in the sympathetic influences of people who see the best in you. Don't wait and hope for this to occur by accident. Get out there and make it happen.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It's the rock-star phase of your astrological cycle. You have license to inject your confidence with the metaphorical equivalent of steroids. You have the authority to whisper or bellow the following truths thousands of times in the coming week: 1) "I am a graceful genius who motivates people to do what's difficult but right." 2) "My well-hung mind is a fount of healing surprises." 3) "I am a fascinating fertility god/goddess with a knack for continually reinventing the art of liberation." Make up 10 more affirmations to add to these.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Even those of you who are devout atheists and orthodox agnostics will have a brain-cleansing, heart-expanding, sphincter-relaxing religious experience this week — though you might go through contortions trying to deny that's what it is. Just imagine what awaits you, then, if you already kinda sorta believe there's more to reality than what your five senses reveal to you. Let the divine mutation begin! Can you say Halle-freakin'-lujah?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Before I die, I hope to eradicate all my "isms." I've made stunning progress at purging the sexism, racism, classism and looksism I absorbed while growing up. I've still got a way to go with my ageism, egotism and capitalism. And then there's signism, as in showing favoritism to certain signs of the zodiac. I've worked hard to be absolutely impartial, but lately I've received e-mails from readers complaining that I'm way too soft on Scorpios. One Capricorn said my messages to you resembled "mushy love letters." All I can say is that I get turned on by anyone who devotes ingenious courage to dismantling their dogmas. Your sexy efforts in this regard have more than earned my mushy love letters. Please continue.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): What do you say we get drunk, stay up all night and talk about our relationship? Unless you're an alcoholic, in which case let's not get drunk. But in either case, let's definitely err on the side of playful poetry, not smarmy sincerity. Let's promise never to use the expressions "I'm feeling vulnerable" or "I hear what you're saying." Instead, let's communicate our true colors by finger-painting on the walls and singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs. We can tell each other's fortunes, stage a burping or laughing contest, and make funny faces until we're so punchy and our defenses are so low that we spill all the priceless secrets that are aching to erupt.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): What's the greatest lie in my life? Maybe the way I try to hide how sensitive I am to people's criticisms. Or maybe my tendency to pretend it doesn't bother me that my music has never gotten the attention I wish it had. How about you? What's the most glaring dishonesty in your life? I predict it'll soon crawl into your lap and demand that you change your relationship with it. Whatever you do, don't spit on it, ridicule it or ignore it.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I hope you're in the habit of remembering your dreams each morning. You had a really important one recently. In it, you were exploring the pleasures of chocolate-flavored toothpaste and a brand-new aerobic workout that involved a tandem "sexercise bicycle." Here's my interpretation of the dream: In your waking life you're on the verge of finding ways to make self-discipline feel really good. Do you recall that other dream you had, in which I gave a guinea pig a makeover before escorting it to its big audition? The guinea pig was a symbol for you.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I dare you to write a letter to the person you'll be one year from today. Tell this future you that you've taken a sublime and exuberant vow to accomplish three amazing feats by then. Say why these feats are more important to you than anything else in your life. Describe them. Brainstorm about everything you'll do to make them happen. Draw pictures or compose collages that capture your excitement about them. Promise that you're ready, for their sake, to sign your passion on the bottom line. When you've finished this letter, mail it, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to me at Box 150628, San Rafael, CA 94915. I'll mail it back to you in June 2003. Homework: Describe the tree house you would like to build for yourself one day, and what pleasures you would like to pursue there. Write: