ARIES I did something today that's an apt metaphor for the task you have ahead of you. While driving my '97 Honda Accord on the streets of San Francisco, I had to drive very slowly and gradually while ascending a steep hill. I kept my foot on the gas pedal just hard enough to keep the vehicle from sliding backward as I inched upward at 2 miles per hour. It was an exercise in supreme concentration: I had to be delicate while prodding a one-and-a-half-ton beast. Just as I pulled off this feat, I believe you'll be able to accomplish a comparable version of it.


TAURUS "Nothing would be done at all," said Cardinal Newman, "if a man waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it." Let's forgive his sexist language and concentrate on the truth he articulates, which is profoundly apt for you right now. It's important that you try to do what you can't do very well — that you not use your lack of mastery as an excuse to avoid practicing an immature skill. Be willing to look foolish as you improve, and paradoxically you will often appear brave and inspired.


GEMINI Would you please go have a picnic after midnight in a secret garden? Or wander out to the edge of nowhere and throw a birthday party for the sun? Or weave wildflowers in your hair and lead a sweet thing unto temptation with a seduction strategy plucked from a poem by Pablo Neruda? Please tear your eyes away from the numbingly familiar. Be willing to be as impractical as you've ever been. It's probable that you'll have a piercing insight about the bottom line while you're wandering free in a place that's far from the bottom line.


CANCER You now have the power to raise a million dollars for charity. For that matter, you could launch an organization that would last 100 years or talk a depressed person out of suicide. On the other hand, it's also conceivable that you could tally the highest score ever recorded on the Berzerk video game or engage in spectacular drunken stunts that earn you a spot on the local TV news. In other words, there's a high potential for you doing something very big, whether it's smart and great or dumb and useless. Choose wisely.


LEO I just received a check in the mail for 7 cents. It was a residual payment for my tiny role in the Robin Williams' movie Being Human, in which I played a TV psychic who gives readings for pets. Though it was a critical and box office failure, it has continued to earn modest revenue through video sales in Third World countries. I decided not to cash my miniscule check, but rather frame it and hang it on my wall as a conversation piece. I predict a similar event will soon occur in your life: You'll receive a "reward" whose value will consist almost entirely of its power to generate joke and story material. That's nothing to sneeze at.


VIRGO It's a good time to work on your moon tan. I suggest you put on a bathing suit and find a place where the moon can beam down on you for a while. As you bask in its glow, periodically turning over to let it saturate every part of your body, imagine that soaking up the lunar vibes will deepen and tone your emotional life, enhance your receptivity, make you a wiser nurturer and build up your knack for adjusting deftly to change.


LIBRA The leaves on the persimmon tree outside my door are growing so fast I swear I can see them expanding right in front of my eyes. Like them, you are in a period of almost maniacal fertility. The ripening process is so elemental that you may feel as if unpredictable forces of nature have been unleashed inside you. As long as you keep your sense of humor about it, however, nothing too out-of-control will happen. At worst, you'll resemble a funny monster with a brilliant future, like an awkward kid destined to grow up to be a cute genius.


SCORPIO Have you ever wondered about the X-ray glasses advertised in comic books and sold by mail? They allegedly allow you to see through people's clothes, maybe even through their skin to the skeleton beneath. You now have the next best thing to that cartoon technology. Your eyesight is so keen that you'll notice things that have previously been hidden from you. Not only that. You'll be especially adept at discerning the real stories unfolding beneath the official stories. You'll have the ability to decipher people's unconscious motivations and secret agendas. It's almost like you'll have a psychic version of X-ray specs.


SAGITTARIUS Hybrid cars get great gas mileage, don't spew dirty emissions into the air and produce minimal noise pollution. In fact, some are so silent that they can be hazardous to pedestrians and bicyclists. While riding my bike today, I almost didn't hear the Prius that was bearing down on me from behind, and I almost swerved right into its path. Let this serve as an illustration of the law of unintended consequences. You should watch for unexpected changes caused by the healthy improvements you've made in your life. I'm not saying the changes will be bad, but you should be alert for results you didn't foresee.


CAPRICORN Fidel Castro is so afraid of assassination attempts that his aides burn his underwear after just one use. He apparently imagines that some dissident will find a way to saturate his undies with poison during the laundering process. You're currently in no danger of having your briefs rendered toxic, but I nevertheless suggest that, like Castro, you incinerate each fresh pair when you're done wearing them — at least for the next few days. It will be a symbolic statement that you are ready to transform the way you express your sexual energy, in perfect alignment with the invitation the cosmos is offering you.


AQUARIUS In high school I got all A's in science and math. I've studied calculus, used logarithms and love biology and astronomy. Still, I'm not aligned with the growing chorus of political leaders, corporate executives and scientists who want schools to teach more math and science. Less would be better, I think, so as to make more room for truly neglected subjects like mastering human relationships, cultivating emotional intelligence, developing discrimination about the media, questioning authority, interpreting dreams and understanding how to take care of one's body. Since few of us are taught these basic subjects when we're young, we lag way behind well into adulthood. It's a perfect time for you to do some rapid catching up.


PISCES A California company specializing in background checks recently reported that 40 percent of all job résumés contain misinformation. Meanwhile, a study in the Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology found that most people tell lies every day. You and I aren't surprised. We know that deception is a normal part of life. I hope, however, that you'll rebel against that convention in the coming week. It's the High Integrity Season for you — a time to be scrupulously honest and impeccable in your execution of every detail. I urge you to regard this demanding assignment as an opportunity to give gifts everywhere you go.


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