TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "I have not used my darkness well," mourns poet Stanley Moss in his book, Asleep in the Garden. He's right about that. His forays into the realm of shadows lead to precious little redemption. "One fine day/I shall fall down ... in a prison of anger," he moans in one poem. "In this country I planted not one seed," he announces elsewhere. Other samples: "vomit is the speech of the soul;" "We die misinformed;" "How goes a life? Something like the ocean/building dead coral." Moss is your anti-role model for the coming week. Treat your darkness as a source of disguised treasure; as a repository of raw material that will fuel future breakthroughs; as a place where you go to practice the high art of redemption.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The moment is ripe for a wedding. It doesn't have to be a traditional union of two lovers, though that would be a fine way to satisfy the cosmic mandate. You could get "married" to your muse; you and a soul friend might pledge your undying platonic love and mutual support; you could link yourself with a symbol that you want to serve as your guiding light; you may even want to tie the knot with your favorite power tool, animal companion or sacred place. It’s important to fully engage your imagination as you marry your fortunes to someone or something that lifts you up out of yourself.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I've worked hard at learning to love all the astrological signs equally. When I launched this column, I confess I had favorites, but I've forged myself into a paragon of objectivity. I admit, though, that I still understand one tribe best: my own sign, Cancer. I've also accumulated evidence that the twists and turns of my life story often have parallels to the destinies of my fellow Crabs. That's why I recommend that you proceed as if you'll soon be awash in fresh ideas about how to reinvent your work and make adjustments in your long-term job strategies. Over the years I've often crystallized new career goals in the weeks before the solstice.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You're currently as foxy and irresistible as it's possible for you to be. What are you going to do about it? Sit back on your throne and wait for all your adoring subjects to come to you bearing gifts? Or will you explore far and wide through your kingdom, aggressively plucking the finest blessings from the most radiant and talented virtuosos? I'd opt for the latter. I'd urge you to get out there and hunt down aerobic acts of enjoyment with those who can match your passion.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The choice between seeking mere survival and stalking interesting success will be thrust in your face again and again in 2003. I'm sure you're already getting a taste of the intensity. Here's my suggestion for what you can do to get yourself in good shape for it: Become very clear about your deep inner definition of success, as opposed to the superficial, inappropriate and deceptive definitions that various people have tried to foist on you over the years. Be your own genie in 2003.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): If I were going to treat you to dinner, which of the following two meals would you prefer? 1) A dab of Ostera caviar, a smidgen of carrot flan, a toasted fennel cracker, a dollop of wild rice, a half cup of cannellini bean soup, a few shiitake mushrooms and a small plate of endive and candied-walnut salad. 2) A man-sized sirloin smothered in onions and mashed potatoes with gravy. This is a trick question. The correct answer — if you'd like to be in maximum alignment with astrological energies — is the first option. The same goes for most other areas of your life. If given a choice, always opt for bite-sized portions of a variety of novel tastes instead of a large helping of familiar fillers.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In her poem about sunflowers, Mary Oliver writes that "the long work/of turning their lives/into a celebration/is not easy." I'd like to extend that description to the Scorpio tribe. No one labors harder than you to uncover the secret thrills that life holds in its hidden depths; and sometimes, during your meticulous investigations, you almost forget how to laugh. Yet with each passing year, you refine your capacity for mysterious delight; you become more skilled at transforming your life into a festive masterpiece. The coming weeks will bring a breakthrough in that heroic, slow-motion process.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You're living large these days. Your life will have synchronistic resonance with several historical events. For instance, Dec. 6, 1933 was the first day in 13 years Americans could legally drink alcoholic beverages; Dec. 6, 2002 will bring the end of a noxious prohibition for you. On Dec. 7, 1988, Soviet President Gorbachev eliminated 500,000 troops from his military forces; any minute now you'll lower your own defenses. On Dec. 9, 1793, Noah Webster created New York's first daily newspaper; you're about to upgrade your ability to communicate.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I don't agree with most of the reasons you're being so hard on yourself. But since you seem impossible to dissuade, the best way to get your disgruntlement out of your system may be to just go ahead and flagellate yourself. May I suggest, though, that you try a variety of whips that'll make you laugh a little even as you cry? A strand of cooked linguini would be an ideal instrument of torture, as would an old necktie, a string of red licorice or an eagle feather. (Self-mocking humor is an excellent purgative that reduces the need to administer actual pain.)
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Columnist L.M. Boyd once noted that women tend to rebel privately and conform publicly, while men are more inclined to rebel publicly but conform privately. If you fit either description, an adjustment is now in order. You will be most successful this week if you rebel both privately and publicly. Not just any old cranky uprising will do the trick. You should strive to express your dissent with cheerful compassion. Put a smile in your defiance. Be benevolently joyful as you overthrow the status quo.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You're in the pump-up-your-personal-power phase of your cycle. Please say the following affirmations: 1) "I am extremely successful in everything I do." 2) "I possess an inexhaustible supply of creative energy." 3) "The universe is generous and gives me everything I need." While these sweetly generic statements will be effective, they don't go far enough for a lyrical maverick like yourself. Add these more evocative affirmations. 4) "Every day I learn more about how to steal the peaches of immortality from the King of Dragons." 5) "I spit on the shoes of manipulative power mongers even as I dance for crazy delight in celebration of my liberated perceptions." 6) "I know exactly why poet Emily Dickinson wrote 'Soul at the White Heat,' not 'Ego at the White Heat.'" What influence do you not want to bring with you into 2003? Start making plans to shed it. Tell all at