TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Even if it’s cold where you live, I highly recommend that you spend quality time outdoors. Lovingly observe the behavior of animals and familiarize yourself with the rhythms of the moon; watch a river flow at night and take deep inhalations of the earth’s aroma; learn the names of the different kinds of clouds and trees; sing a song to the sun. Simple acts of reverence like these will bring you into close alignment with mysteriously beneficent forces. Your luck and intuition will improve, as will your sense of timing. Why? The astrological omens say that nature wants you to get to know her better so she can pour more of her magic into you.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Last October I crammed all the fallen leaves from my mulberry tree into a garbage can, which I then hauled to a spot behind the garage and forgot about. Recently I rediscovered it. Though the temperature outside was in the 40s, the leaves inside the can were positively warm from the chemical changes going on as they rotted. Believe it or not, I immediately thought of you, Gemini. Metaphorically speaking, there is something similar going on in your life. The decay of the old stuff that you shed a few months ago is now generating a lot of energy. Can you somehow make use of it?
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Renowned German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer admired the not-very-famous aphorist G. C. Lichtenberg. Schopenhauer referred to him as a "Selbstdenker," a German term for an independent spirit who truly thinks for himself. Your assignment in the coming weeks, Cancerian, is to aggressively cultivate your own skills as a Selbstdenker. To get started, I suggest you temporarily suspend your disbelief in ideas you’ve always considered exotic or outlandish, even as you suspend your belief in your most unquestioned dogmas. During this trial period, be skeptical about every influence you’ve regarded as authoritative, especially the cynical and skeptical ones. Keep in mind Lichtenberg’s wise counsel: "The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly distorted truth."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A giant Wal-Mart now stands within a mile of the ancient Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, Mexico. A KFC restaurant emits a steady surge of fried chicken fumes very close to Egypt’s Sphinx. Meanwhile, near the most sacred place in your heart, Leo, there is a mound of psychic garbage. You can’t do anything about the desecration of the first two places I mentioned, but you can about the third. I recommend that you take care of this little problem in the coming week. In addition to acts of cleansing and purification, I suggest you make a ritual atonement or two.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The Nike swoosh is a trademark symbol that has been imprinted on the subconscious minds of hordes of consumers, helping the company suck hundreds of millions of dollars into its coffers. A college student created it in 1971, charging Nike a mere $35. I think you may be in a somewhat comparable position, Virgo: on the verge of generating an idea or service or product that will ultimately yield bigger results and have greater value than you can imagine right now. Don’t underestimate it; refuse to sell yourself short.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Joe Gibbs captured three Super Bowl victories as coach of football’s Washington Redskins and won the Daytona 500 and Winston Cup as the owner of a NASCAR racing team. He has demonstrated considerable expertise in rousing the drive for excellence in his employees. According to him, there are three main things that motivate people in any business: fear, money and sugar. What’s your current proportion of each of those, Libra? The coming months will be an excellent time for you to revise your formula. Start now. Take both subtle and drastic steps to cut back on your levels of fear and pump up your levels of sugar.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Around the age of 17, students in Denmark take a standardized test that determines their educational fate and, ultimately, their career path. In an article in *National Geographic,* raconteur Garrison Keillor noted that teens who earn the very highest scores are eligible for the most prestigious occupations in Danish society: doctor, psychologist and midwife. I urge you to remember the latter fact throughout 2005, Scorpio, because it will serve as a mnemonic device for my big prediction, which goes as follows: You will grow smarter in the coming year whenever you cultivate your power to heal, whenever you expand your understanding of the nature of the soul, and whenever you help birth the dormant potential in yourself and those you love.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "You can be the most intelligent, well-read, diligent person in the world and work at your poetry for 20 years and still be no good at it." That’s what poet August Kleinzahler told the *East Bay Express.* He discourages his students from becoming poets; he says it’s not so much a career as a disease. On the other hand, Sagittarius, I’d like to remind you that most other pursuits do reward hard work and dogged devotion. And it’s a perfect moment for you to meditate on that fact, since you now have extraordinary power to make long-term commitments to good intentions. Is there any labor of love that the ambitious part of you can imagine spending the next 10 years perfecting?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your symbol for the week is a sparrow flying low to the ground. Not an eagle soaring high over the treetops, not a hawk gliding on updrafts, but a small, humble bird whizzing along just inches above the turf. In other words, Capricorn, seek transcendence even as you remain down to earth. Be light, airy and swift, but don’t put yourself above the fray. Declare your independence from the more oppressive aspects of the law of gravity, but stay near the same level as the heavy, plodding creatures.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "I can’t find nobody as crazy as me," mourns bluegrass singer Alison Kraus in her song, "Crazy as Me." You may have had that thought yourself on occasion, Aquarius, especially lately. But you don’t have to feel that way anymore. More than one unusual character is hovering at the outskirts of your world. Say the word, and they will venture closer, raising your level of unpredictable experiences. That would mostly be a good thing, though not completely free of harrowing brushes with comic weirdness. Your watchword for the coming weeks comes from another singer, Thalia Zedek: "Trust not those ... without some touch of madness."
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It’s time for your coming out party, Pisces. Please schedule this tenderly shocking passage for sometime in the next three weeks: your emergence from the shadows, your escape from the past, your repudiation of volunteer slavery, your graduation from the amateur ranks or your liberation from a persona that doesn’t suit you any more. Do it with a sly and artful ritual of transgression or do it with an exuberant burst of joyful release, but do it. The future is calling you too loudly to resist any longer. Here’s this week’s homework: What is the most important change you plan to accomplish in the coming year? Write to