March 26April 1, 2003

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Stephen King once jokingly claimed that he derived inspiration for his terrifying prose from the pickled heart of a slave boy who lived in the early 1800s, which he kept in a jar on his desk. Although the famous author of horror fiction doesn't actually own such a thing, you might take inspiration from his tall tale, because certain unlikely talismans in your life have recently become supercharged with power to arouse and instigate you. Since you have special need to be on your best game, make use of these and any other lucky charms or advantages you might possess.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

I wish you could subject pieces of your soul to physical treatments this week. For instance, your pride really needs a good ironing; recent events have left it wrinkled and unwearableand you deserve better than that. Your general outlook, stained as it is with cynicism and gloom (also triggered by certain experiences of late), could use a good spin through the washing machine. A good scrub and an infusion of some fresh-smelling optimism would really help things. Although obviously a literal enactment of these actions is impossible, can't you go there in your head? Treat your problems like tough stains or fashion faux pas, and either systematically scrub them clean or throw them out.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Misery loves companyso watch out. Whiners and mopers are drawn to you like flies to shit this week. Don't let them land; the last thing you need is the oozing maggots of their depression squirming through your psyche. That's not to say you should be a fair-weather friend and refuse help to loved ones in need. Just be discerning; figure out who you can actually pull from the mire of their melancholy and who's more likely to drag you in. Some people are just determined to feel bad for a little while, as part of their process, and there's nothing you can do about itso don't try.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Shave your head. Start a cult. Quit your TV addiction. This is the best week this year to put your most radical inspirations into effect. All those "crazy" ideas you thought you might like to try are more likely to succeed now than at any other time. The Aries new moon is primed to lend extra vigor and follow-through to any dramatic changes you'd consider. So go for it. And if you don't do it this week, you might as well shelve the whole idea, at least for a whileif you can't work up the nerve for it now, you're not going to be able to for a long time.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

I spent the whole day scouring my apartment for a party I was hosting. I was amused throughout by the irony of cleaning the place just so it could be trashed hours later. Sound familiar? Your heart is my apartment. It could imminently play host to a very funbut messyparty, but no one's going to want to show up and stay unless you get it all tidied up. What a sty! My god, the underwear from your last fuck is still lying on the floor! Motivating yourself to scrub your most sacrosanct emotional retreats so you can play host to a new guest or guests might be difficult, especially since they're liable to mess it all up again, but come on, now. It needs to be done anyway, so just do it.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

My friend saved a dog's life. He saw her fall through the melting ice of a pond she'd been playing on. No one seemed to notice, or care, so he plunged into the water, breaking the thin ice with fists and boots so he could rescue the hapless hound, heedless that he'd have to show up at work an hour later soaked to the chest with icy pond water. He saw a problemand seemed to be the only one. So he decided to solve it himself, the only way he couldas should you. No matter that the quandaries you perceive are more complicated, layered, incredibly inconvenient, and generally daunting than usual. Think of what you stand to gain, not lose. My friend's clothes and shoes were ruinedbut he saved a life.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Caligula, of ancient Rome, as a show of contempt for the incumbent senators, is reputed to have given his favorite horse, Incitatus, a consulship. He said the creature would do a better job than any actual humans vying for political positions. Beware of attitudes like the notorious emperor's. Bite your acid tongue. As much as you may want to rub someone's face in his own ignorance or incompetence, show some restraint. Your disdain is probably entirely justified, but your sarcasm will get you into more trouble than it's worth. Is a moment's sweet satisfaction worth weeks of subsequent aggravation? I doubt it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

A lawyer smashed his pickup truck through the gates of his own gated community, in a fit of frustration. He was tired of having to identify himself at the entrance to preserve his neighbors' "prestige and property values." You understand, don't you? Follow his example. The emotional barriers that are supposedly protecting you are as ineffectual and obstructive as the rent-a-cops and flimsy gates of his community. They're just restricting you, slowing you down, and lending you a false sense of security. Screw that. Do what the attorney did: Drive through them, and sue anyone who tries to stop you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

A sudden shift in altitude can make your eardrums "pop." Sometimes, the effect is dramatic. You hadn't noticed that your ability to hear clearly had become impaired until the muted ambient sounds sprang suddenly into clarity and booming volume. That's the best way I can describe what you may become aware ofif you're paying attentionwhen your ruling planet, Jupiter, returns to forward motion after months of retrograde movement. I'm just warning you so you won't be shell-shocked, alarmed, or frightened when your life's vividness abruptly escalates; instead, be delighted, excited, and inspired.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

When brainstorming strategies this week, return to your Capricornian rootsconsider absolutely every option available. Later, you can discard certain tactics based on ethical or philosophical grounds, but don't limit your imagination right off. For example, if your goal were seduction, your first impulse might be to try a purely romantic approach, using flattering candlelight, flattery, rose petals, and champagne. But you shouldn't, at least at the outset, ignore the uglier (but arguably more certain) options of drugging or paying your potential partner. Since your best approach lies somewhere between your most effective and least objectionable alternatives, make sure you're aware of them all.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Don't overthink. You're sort of a superbrain in general, but your tendency to look for complex solutions is your downfall this weeksince the answers to most of your problems are so blindingly obvious and simple that you're sure to miss them. Your troubleshooting is often too in-depth, too soon. Before you begin eagerly dismantling a supposedly "broken" machine, first make sure it was plugged in when you tested it. Your emotional quandaries might be astoundingly easy to solve this week, as wellso why complicate them with circuitous, meandering resolutions?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Ugh. You were enticed from afar by what appeared to be a beautiful, aromatic rose. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be one of those huge, insectivorous flowers that reek of rotting meat. Take a breath (through your mouth, if necessary). There's still beauty to be found here, if only in evolution's inelegant but effective design. Try not to be too disappointed that it's not what you expected, or were even looking for. Accept what is. Watch the flies buzz in to their dooms and smile. If you can graciously and enthusiastically receive what's given, asked for or no, you're more likely to get what you really want, as soon as it's available.

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