TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your self-image is too small, in my opinion. You’ve crammed your identity into a few pigeonholes, and it’s dying to escape. To launch you on the path to expansion, let’s stimulate your imagination with some exercises. Start by visualizing yourself as being the opposite gender. What would your name be? Now picture yourself as being a different race and having an alternate ethnic background. How would that affect your philosophy of life? Now dream up some more fantasies about other selves who might be lurking within you.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I’ve lived in the same house for 10 years, but it was only yesterday I noticed that the top of my kitchen sink had a word engraved on it: *Lustertone.* The discovery was embarrassing, since it revealed how unperceptive I can be. But it was also a sign that maybe I’m waking up from my everyday trance and ready to register details that have been invisible to me before. I believe that a similar development is imminent in your life, Gemini. You’re primed to start gathering in the open secrets that have been hidden in plain view. Here’s your word of power: *Lustertone.*
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian hero Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a South African jail as a political prisoner. Once he was released, he became his country’s first democratically elected president, helped abolish its system of apartheid, and won the Nobel Peace Prize. You, my friend, are at a point comparable to the one Mandela was at right before he was freed. Although your confinement hasn’t been nearly as dire or as long as his, your release will be pretty glorious. I hope that in the ensuing weeks you will demonstrate at least a fraction of his ability to triumph over the adversity you’ve had to endure.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Kiss the back of your hand and remember a moment in childhood when you felt the perfect joy of being at home in the world. Treasure the unique shape and contours of your beautiful face. For just 48 hours, be inflamed with the hypothesis that your soul will live forever. Imagine that your place of power is where the tree joins the earth. Playfully lower your expectations all the way down to the bottom, and tune in to the shattering sweetness of life exactly as it is. Write an epic three-page autobiography while sitting in the pitch dark. Seize the power to create magic that has always seemed impossible before.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): A while back, you heard a commotion coming from behind the door of opportunity. It momentarily buoyed you. But the silence since then has been disheartening. Now you may even be on the verge of giving up. But here’s my advice to you: Start knocking on that door and don’t stop until it opens. Keep knocking patiently and politely for as long as it takes. I don’t know if the answer you’ll receive when the door opens will be exactly the one you want, but it will provide you with the precise information you need to decide what to do next. And you’ll never get that insight if you walk away now.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When T.S. Eliot wrote the first draft of his famous poem "The Waste Land," it was about a thousand lines long. Wondering if maybe it was too sprawling, he asked another poet, Ezra Pound, to edit it. Pound crossed out more than half of the original, and Eliot published it in that slimmed-down form. I encourage you to locate your own personal equivalent of Ezra Pound right now, Libra. You need help in extracting your future masterpiece from the dross in which it’s still half-buried.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): This is prime time for you to burn away delusions that cripple your ability to act with maximum freedom. There are two particular misconceptions that you have special power to eradicate. The first is the belief that you can help someone else by diminishing yourself. The second is the notion that you can somehow benefit from the losses of other people. The truth in both cases is exactly the opposite: If you really want to contribute to anyone’s well-being, you have to do it in such a way that you, too, thrive. And vice versa.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Greenland is literally covered with rubies. "You can’t set foot anywhere without stepping on five or six rubies," says gemstone hunter Andrew Lee Smith, quoted in *Discover* magazine. This omnipresence of valuable beauty is an apt metaphor for your fate in the coming week, Sagittarius. Everywhere you turn, you will see treasure. You may find the abundance hard to believe. Ironically, your incredulity is the only possible obstacle that could interfere with you gathering up and enjoying the riches.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The British edition of *Cosmopolitan* still provides women with practical, no-nonsense advice like "How to love yourself after a pig-out" and "Eight sizzling sex lessons your man needs to learn," but it has also added a spirituality column. "I’ve come to the painful realization that men and shoes are not enough to make me happy," wrote Hannah Borno, introducing the new section. "The key to true contentment lies elsewhere." Cosmo readers now get helpful tips on consulting their guardian angels, tapping into the wisdom of dreams and trying out various meditation techniques. If this renowned hotbed of the sensual approach to life has finally acknowledged the subtler dimensions, maybe you Capricorns, traditionally the hardcore materialists of the zodiac, might also be inspired to expand your spiritual perspective.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A friend gave me a live rosebush in a planter for my birthday last June. After a few weeks, its five red flowers withered and turned brown but didn’t fall off their stems. I left them there, perversely fascinated by the dead blooms that wouldn’t let go. Months later, in late November, five new flowers blossomed, and now the bush displays a mix of the living and the dead. It sort of reminds me of you, Aquarius. But I suggest that you do what I haven’t done yet: Start plucking off the dried-up old parts of your life today. Give the fresh parts more room to grow and shine.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible," wrote French philosopher Voltaire. I hope you will contradict him, Pisces, both in the coming weeks and throughout 2006. To be in alignment with the most exalted astrological possibilities, you should be the snowflake that at least tries to question the avalanche, and even makes an effort to stop it or reroute it. Maybe you don’t realize how much power your seemingly little crystalline self has to change history, but I’m here to tell you it’s more than you imagine. Here’s this week’s homework: Imagine that you get three wishes on one condition: They can’t benefit you directly, but have to be wished on behalf of someone else. What would they be? Write