TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Three billion years ago, the Earth's original single-cell organisms thrived in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. As a byproduct of their metabolism, however, they released an abundant amount of oxygen. It was a pollutant that ultimately made their environment uninhabitable for them, though it prepared the way for the oxygen-breathers that now dominate the planet. Is there any "pollutant" produced by the person you were in the past that could be valuable for the person you will become in the future?
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Vanessa Lucero, a 14-year-old New Mexican, is your role model this week. In October, she was named homecoming princess at her high school. On the weekend of her reign, she also played for the football team, becoming the first female in school history to score a touchdown. During the span of a few glorious hours, she wore both a helmet and a tiara. You now have the potential to notch triumphs in two separate spheres using different sets of skills.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The world's most famous Cancer, George W. Bush, has described his relationship with newspapers this way: "I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who read the news themselves." Don't imitate Bush's approach as you gather information in the coming days. It's crucial that you never rely on third-hand reports as you penetrate to the root of every unfolding plot. You know how journalists sometimes bury really interesting and mysterious details at the end of their stories? That's what life will do.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): After a study found that a majority of heterosexual men dive into sexual intercourse without any warm-up, Britain launched its first National Foreplay Day last July. How about if we borrow this holiday for your use? I'm not saying you've been remiss in your approach to maximizing erotic pleasure, but there's always room for improvement. Besides, this is a favorable time to expand your mastery of the arts of love. In fact, let's borrow another British holiday, National Orgasm Day. I hereby proclaim this Universal Foreplay and Orgasm Week for all Leos.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): This week's horoscope features the poetry of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Delivered at a news briefing, it provides a perfect frame for the current state of your fate. "As we know," he said, "there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know." You, are very close to discovering at least two of your personal unknown unknowns.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My Libran friend John was constantly harassed and shamed by his father over trivial issues when he was growing up. A typical scenario often occurred in the kitchen as John scanned the refrigerator for an appetizing snack. "You idiot!" his dad would scream at him. "How many millions of times have I told you not to hold the refrigerator door open so long?" John would immediately close the door and leave in silence, humiliated and hungry. I advised him to keep his refrigerator door open for as long as it takes to wipe away the pain of his father's inane cruelty. To the rest of you I say: Rebel in a way that will heal a wound from childhood.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Like every species, harmful microbes evolve over time in response to environmental conditions. Syphilis, for example, was far more lethal and fast-spreading 500 years ago. It killed its human victims relatively quickly, which diminished its ability to proliferate in new hosts. Ultimately, a milder variety developed to ensure the survival of the species. An infected person lived longer and could spread the syphilis strain further. You should adopt this model as a metaphor for dealing with your bad moods, aberrant behavior, and temporary attacks of insanity. Cultivate your relationship with the milder forms of these pathologies, confident that this will make the nastier versions obsolete.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I saw an Acura commercial on TV. The car was driving through a remote high desert. Through the magic of computer graphics, it seemed to be creating the road as it moved, laying down paved blacktop where before there was only dirt. I thought of you immediately. There's no path where you're going, so you'll have to make it for yourself as you proceed.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn actress Drea de Matteo's career is in full bloom. Besides her regular role on HBO's "The Sopranos," she has been in nine movies since 2001. To what should we attribute her success? Lots of talent, for one. A playwright mother who exposed her to the theater early, for two. Her ballsy magic constitutes a third ingredient; she keeps the testicles of her Great Dane, which she had neutered a few years ago, in a jar of formaldehyde by her bed. Take inspiration from her example. It's high time you acknowledged the fact that skill and hard work may not be enough to get you where you want to go; you also need mojo.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "So many of us are not in our bodies, really at home and vibrantly present there," says dancer Gabrielle Roth. "Nor are we in touch with the basic rhythms that constitute our bodily life. We live outside ourselves — in our heads, our memories, our longings — absentee landlords of our own estate." Does any of that description fit you? If so, here's good news: The months ahead will provide you with the best opportunity ever to come home to your body, to inhabit it with robust awareness and gratitude. And it all starts now. To show you're ready, find a place to be alone in the dark, put on music that moves you, and dance yourself all the way back into your body.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Each week I give my readers homework. A recent assignment was to finish the sentence, "The one thing that keeps me from being myself is __________." Many respondents filled in the blank with "my fears." Other common answers were "lack of money," "my spouse," and "my obsession with everyone's images of me." But the best contribution was from Ann-Marie at www.getunderground.com. She said, "The one thing that keeps me from being myself is people's reluctance to lick patent leather." By not taking herself too seriously, she showed that nothing can keep her from being herself. Drawing inspiration from her sterling example, finish this sentence in a more humorous way than you normally might: "The one thing that keeps me from being myself is __________." Describe the slightly scary adventure you're going to dare yourself to undertake in 2004. Write