TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Picture yourself at the zoo. Imagine that you go to the habitat where the lions are usually kept, but you find they're not there. In their place are three cows wearing orange prison jumpsuits. A ball and chain is cuffed to each of their hind legs. I'd like to propose that this scene bears a resemblance to your current state. It seems that the overly tame and compliant aspects of yourself are on the verge of becoming even more hemmed-in and docile. Liberate them.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Famed for her high IQ, Marilyn vos Savant writes a weekly column for Parade magazine. Recently she asserted that common sense is not just an instinctive skill, but can be learned. She offered suggestions on how to develop it, beginning with this tip: "Read the front page of your local paper every day." No amount of exclamation marks can convey the incredulous hilarity that surged through me in response to that absurdity. How can anyone, let alone an alleged egghead, preach the practical value of drinking in the misery, loss, corruption, crime and death that fill the front pages of daily newspapers? I know you can come up with far more constructive ideas. It’s time for you to graduate to a new level of common sense.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The ancient Greek mystical mathematician Pythagoras spoke of "the music of the spheres." Not regarding it as a mere metaphor, he described it as a divine symphony beyond the perception of most humans, played by the planets as they spun along in their orbits. You will have a far greater capacity than usual to resonate with this music during the coming weeks. Even if you can't actually hear it with your physical ears, you will be highly attuned to its influence. It'll be time to sing your ultimate prayers, intone your wildest praises, roar your deepest longings, whisper your most serpentine secrets and yodel your goofiest love cries.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You're not being sufficiently kind to the needy, unripe parts of yourself. You're directing way too much disgust at your so-called imperfections. Constructive self-criticism is fine, but not if it devolves into abusive self-hatred. As soon as you rehabilitate your spiritually incorrect habits, I guarantee the universe will shower you with rewards — starting with bigger, better, more interesting problem that'll tease your brain in a smarter way that the last batch.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Until a few weeks ago, I had reluctantly come to suspect that you might never defeat your inner saboteur. But then I had a series of prophetic visions in which I saw you summoning hidden reserves of fierce strength and practical ingenuity. As a result, I've been moved to change my opinion. I now believe you can claim the power to vanquish several of your most debilitating apprehensions: your terror of being thought a fraud, for instance; your worry that you'll never be loved in the exact way you want to be; your doubt about being able to handle the responsibilities and pleasures of success; and your fear that you'll never find the answer to your life's central question.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You may find it hard to believe that imprecise language could undermine the likelihood of you getting your heart's desire. Nevertheless, your biggest, most deserving wish will never be granted in a million years as long as you keep wording it the way you do now. Try this instead: Take a piece of paper and write "I will do everything in my power to attract all the help I need as I accomplish the following goal." Then compose a declaration that crisply describes exactly what satisfying, growth-inducing experience you want most in life. Keep copies of this magic formula under your pillow for the next 22 days.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I was pondering your astrological aspects while motoring around Santa Cruz, Calif. "How can I convey the rebellious but expansive spirit of the times for Scorpios?" I thought to myself. "What metaphor might serve to portray the value of being playful yet precise while thinking outside the box? Is there any image that'll inspire them to be unpredictable for the liberating fun of it, not as a means of gaining power over others?" A perfect omen arrived as I came to a stop at a busy intersection. There, hanging from a wire connecting the traffic signal to a telephone pole, was a pair of sneakers, spray-painted gold and tied together.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): If you're planning on sidling up to a taboo, slinking into a forbidden zone, harboring a righteous dissident or cooking up a benevolent conspiracy (and I hope you'll do at least one of those things), don't send out press releases. Be as discreet as a politician running for re-election; as cagey as a secret Santa Claus. And please don't allow your strategic stealth to turn you into a manipulative jerk. Make your covert operation a work of art, not a weapon. One more thing: If you find yourself being scrutinized by the perpetrators of ass-backward justice, put the hint of a smile on your otherwise poker face.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Have you ever seen the game called "playing the dozens"? Participants compete in the exercise of hurling witty insults at each other. "You're so dumb, if you spoke your mind you'd be speechless," is a relatively benign example. A more typical slam is "Your mother is so old, she was a waitress at the Last Supper" or "You're so ugly, you couldn't get laid if you were a brick." This week, I'd like you to concentrate on rebelling against every impulse in you that resonates in harmony with the spirit of "playing the dozens." I hope you'll consider trying a new game called "paying the tributes." Simply ransack your imagination to come up with smart, true, extravagant and amusing praise for various people you know. Here's a sample: "You have such far-seeing vision, I bet you can glimpse the back of your own head."
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The pest control company Hydrex named the yellow jacket as its "Pest of the Month" for June. Previous winners include pantry moths, fungus gnats and carpet beetles. I urge you to be inspired by their efforts. Concentrate on just one of the vexations that's draining your energy. Forget about the others for now so you can devote your full attention to driving the chief offender away. I'm not sure which irritant would be the best candidate, but consider the red herring or the straw men.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Pregnant women sometimes get unusual cravings. When Ro was pregnant with our daughter, she felt a daily compulsion to eat oranges and artichokes and read the work of Nobel Prize-winning bard William Butler Yeats. Is it any surprise that 11-year-old Zoe has turned into a lyric poet who loves oranges and artichokes? I bring this up because chances are good you're pregnant right now, if only in a metaphorical sense. (Check to see if it's also more literal, though.) As a result you'll be attracted to sensations and experiences that are unique to the brainchild you'll ultimately give birth to. What's the best joke you could play on yourself? Do you promise to try it someday soon? Write: