ARIES When I was in my 20s, I refused to work for a living because I wanted to live for a living. As a result, I got an extended opportunity to perfect the art of cheerful poverty. One winter, my cash reserves got so low that I had to leap to a new level. For meals, I exuberantly retrieved food from dumpsters behind grocery stores. For heat, I gleefully smashed up my wooden furniture and threw it in my woodstove. I was the happiest person alive, with lots of leisure time to meditate, read books, write poetry, take long walks and make love with my girlfriends. Be inspired by my example. Identify some aspect of your life you tend to regard as inadequate, and redefine it to be an asset.

TAURUS "Courage is not the abnormal," wrote poet Jack Gilbert. "Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with fine speeches. It is the thing steady and clear. The marriage, not the month's rapture. The beauty that is of many days. The normal excellence, of long accomplishment. Not the Prodigal Son, but Penelope." Gilbert's words are my gift to you, brave one. Of all the signs, you best express the virtue of steady devotion to the demanding challenges of beauty and truth. In the coming week, I predict that you will dramatically prove how miraculous that quality can be.

GEMINI You're a little off-kilter and out-of-whack these days. It's a natural response to recent plot twists. Fortunately, there is a medicine that will fix you up pretty quickly: All you have to do is spend quality time in nature. One long hike should be enough, though to be absolutely sure you flush the psychic parasites that have been messing with you, two long hikes would be better. To aid in the healing, sing songs and shout out crazy ideas while wandering in the great outdoors. And if you can't escape to the wild places, at least have a picnic in a park.

CANCER Columnist Jon Carroll once listed the 100 best human artifacts. They included things like clocks, screwdrivers, shoelaces and Band-aids. But this week, I especially want to call your attention to the following items from his master list: pillows, mirrors, balls, masks, swings, lipstick, stirrups, playing cards and pear nectar. There's a good chance that these best-ever creations will be featured in the effervescent adventurers you'll soon have. Or at least they should be featured.

LEO I suggest you make yourself alert for the return of at least one blast from the past. You may receive a communiqué from a forgotten sanctuary. A treasure that slipped from your grasp ages ago may become available again, especially if you pay close attention to borders and anomalies. Missing links may wander back in your direction, and old clues you haven't thought of in many moons might put you hot on the trail of a smoldering mystery you've been neglecting to investigate.

VIRGO In a number of indigenous cultures, there's the tradition of the "joking relationship." Two members of an extended family, often a brother and sister-in-law, are expected to form a bond that revolves around them playfully teasing each other. If you don't have an ally like that in your life, get one. And if you already do have such a companion, raise your connection to an even higher level of loving mischief and jocular amusement. It'll keep you loose in the right ways during the coming weeks and months.

LIBRA "The early bird may get the worm," says comedian Steven Wright, "but the second mouse gets the cheese." It's one of those times when I advise you to be like that second mouse. A bit of procrastination will work in your favor. I want to offer some additional wisdom from Wright because his upside-down perspective is exactly what you need right now. 1) "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines." 2) "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up." 3) "Hard work pays off in the future, but laziness pays off now."

SCORPIO "Dear Mr. Sensitive Astrologer: Let's get one thing straight. I don't want peace of mind! So stop trying to talk me into going after it! And another thing. I don't care about your time-consuming emotional resolution stuff! I'm not interested in chasing after the unrealistic goal of being a nice person. I just want pure, raw, naked success — the kind of glory that makes me feel really proud of my powerful effect on people. That's it! So shape up and start giving me what I want in your little horrorscopes. — Truth-Telling Scorpio." Dear Truthy: I love to help my readers achieve glory that makes them feel proud of their powerful effect on the world. But in my opinion the best way to accomplish that is by cultivating peace of mind, emotional resolution and kindness. By the way, it's now an excellent time to make great progress in this work.

SAGITTARIUS In the 18th century, the Bastille was a notorious French prison. Its squalor was perhaps less oppressive than other jails, however, because every inmate was supplied with three bottles of wine per day. Being continually intoxicated, few were inclined to attempt escape. I hope this will serve as a warning. You're overdue to flee from your own personal version of imprisonment. But you'll be unlikely to do that if you're drunk, stoned or otherwise under an influence that keeps you foggy, distracted or artificially satisfied. In the interests of liberation, please keep your senses honed and your awareness focused.

CAPRICORN Your theme in the coming days is enchantment on demand. You're in an aggressively elegant grace period — a time when you have the right to insist on being delighted. It's as if you've been granted a poetic license to ask for and receive not just any old mediocre pleasure, but rather intriguing, ennobling pleasure. So don't sit back and hope that sublime fun will accidentally come your way. Know that you have the authority to command its arrival front and center.

AQUARIUS In American psychotherapy, the first question many practitioners ask their new clients is essentially, "What did your parents do to you to mess you up so badly?" A Japanese friend tells me that in his country, a therapist is more likely to ask, "What did your parents do for you? How did they nurture and support you?" Without dismissing the possibility that your mom and dad did inflict damage on you, I'd like you to concentrate on the Japanese-style inquiry for now. Meditate on these themes as well: What are the best things that happened to you when you were growing up? What did your extended family give you that you've never fully appreciated?

PISCES Normal People Scare Me is the title of a documentary movie about high-functioning autistic people. It might also serve well as the title of your life story's current chapter. Ordinary everyday reality is your greatest enemy right now. It threatens to ensnare you in a numbing trance at the exact moment when you need to saunter off into the unknown. Habit and routine are exerting a seductive pressure that could distract you from the fascinating tests you really need to embrace. The ironic fact of the matter is that at least for the moment, you should be wary of your longing for security.

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