ARIES (March 21-April 19):The European Union has had rules banning the sale of ugly carrots with knobby protrusions, cucumbers that are grossly curved, and equally unaesthetic specimens of 24 other fruits and vegetables. Recently that changed, however. The stiff standards were relaxed. “It makes no sense to throw perfectly good products away, just because they are the ‘wrong’ shape,” said the EU’s commissioner for agriculture. I suggest you make a metaphorically similar shift, Aries. It’s time for you to expand your capacity to welcome some fine, useful things that happen to look a bit imperfect.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): in the Broadway play “Passing Strange,” the narrator praises the healing power of mysterious songs, saying: “You know when the music goes right over your head, bypasses your mind, and strengthens the part of you that’s most beautiful?” That’s the kind of nourishment I encourage you to seek out in the coming week, Taurus. You need soul-toning experiences that elude your rational understanding — encounters with wise animals, waking dreams, unpredictable love, exotic music, and twilight whispers that blissfully boggle your imagination.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): According to the imaginative reporters at the Weekly World News, the devil doesn’t sit by passively as people beseech God for help and consolation. Using his own version of stealth technology, the evil one “intercepts or jams” up to one-third of all prayers on their way heavenward. Timid and fuzzy prayers are the easiest for him to block. Just in case there’s a grain of truth in this claim, Gemini, take special measures when you send out appeals for assistance in the coming days. You need and deserve attention from higher powers, both the earthbound and divine kind. To ensure that the devil (or one of his surrogates) can’t interfere, formulate your messages concisely and communicate them with crisp confidence.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Lame-duck U.S. President George Bush is mostly dreaming of his retirement these days, although he takes time out now and then to create executive orders that undo environmental protections. Barack Obama is planning hard for the monumental recovery he hopes to lead when he assumes the presidency, but his time won’t come until January 20. Meanwhile, all the things that have been falling apart under Bush’s watch are continuing to fall apart, only bigger and badder. Writes Josh Marshall in Talkingpointsmemo.com, “We’re paying mightily for having no captain at the helm at one of the most perilous points in our recent national history.” In regard to your own personal life, Cancerian, please avoid acting like America. Don’t wait for some formal deadline before you make your moves. Expedite the transition from the old order to the new with the force of a thousand ecstatic activists.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “It’s better to be clumsy than clever,” says an ancient Chinese book called Poets’ Jade Splinters, “better plain than affected, better crude than weak, better eccentric than vulgar.” That’s a good prescription for you to use in the way you live your life in the coming days, Leo. Here’s another observation from the same text that should also be helpful: “Inspiration enters at the border between hard work and laziness.” That suggests you’ve got to work hard and discipline yourself in order to earn the right to inspiration, but often the inspiration flows in when you’re goofing off or giving yourself some slack. (Source: tinyurl.com/5qu7fv.)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In 1952, renowned modern composer John Cage created the infamous “4’33”.” It’s a “song” that consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of pure silence. Recently a San Francisco performance artist, Jonathon Keats, did a remix of that tune and made it available as a ring-tone. I’d love for you to be inspired by those two geniuses in the coming week, Virgo. It’ll be an excellent time for you to come to a perfect stop, fill yourself with stillness, and bask in the healing power of undiluted nothingness.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I urge you not to Google the word “duh,” Libra. If you do, you’ll mark yourself as a conformist trend-slave, joining over 33 million people who have already done it before you. Furthermore, you will be in danger of wasting the potential the cosmos is offering you, which is to reap rich rewards by exploring brave new frontiers on the edges of your awareness. So please be insanely curious about stuff you’ve never heard of and people you’ve never met. Research subjects that tantalize your imagination and stick your nose in where it supposedly doesn’t belong. But don’t Google “duh.”
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Researchers have determined that you’ve got longer than you imagine to salvage food that has dropped on the floor. Bacteria don’t get a foothold and start growing on your pizza or muffin for at least 30 seconds. Keep that in mind as an all-purpose metaphor in the coming days, Scorpio. Anything that you fear has already been spoiled or tainted may actually be possible to restore and redeem. You probably have more time than you thought.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I got an invitation through MySpace to audition for an upcoming production of the Vagina Monologues. While I was honored to be asked, I wasn’t sure that the kind of audience members who would come to see the Vagina Monologues would want to hear me, a man, expound on the central topic. Upon reading the fine print, however, I found out that the producers were indeed seeking some male actors. The metaphorical moral of the story, Sagittarius, is to be open to invitations, opportunities, and requests that may at first seem odd, misdirected, or irrelevant.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): From 1987 to 2006, Alan Greenspan was Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve and a major force in shaping the world’s most powerful economy. When the recent troubles hit, Congress called on him to testify. With shocking humility, he confessed that there had been a flaw in his model of reality. All those years he’d believed that “free, competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies.” Now he saw he was wrong. While I’m sorry for the collective pain his mistaken ideas have unleashed, I’m elated for him personally: How many 82-year-old men are open to the possibility that their philosophy of life needs adjustment? For that matter, how many people of any age are receptive to changing their ideas about how the world works? I invite you to take your inspiration from Greenspan, Capricorn. Be curious about how your own major theories might need revision. Doing this heroic deed will energize you with good karma and fresh mojo.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): What’s the healthiest, holiest rebellion you could launch, Aquarius? What would be the most constructive way to channel your longing to live in a more perfect world? How might you overthrow the status quo in ways that would so thoroughly enhance the greater good that even the people bent on preserving the status quo would benefit? Given the fact that you are in a phase when your trouble-making skills are dovetailing very nicely with your ability to bestow blessings, these are excellent questions for you to consider.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A column in the Washington Post called “The Style Invitational” has identified the “Top 10 New Religions.” I’m calling your attention to two that might be attractive to you in the coming months, a time when you’ll probably have urges to transform and expand upon your spiritual practices. First, there are the Oxymormons, who engage in polygamous monogamy. The second group is the Salivationists. They speak in tongues like some other sects, but they also speak in drool. A third option, of course, is for you to whip up your own brand new, totally unique religion using just the parts you really like from all of the other traditions. However you do it, Pisces, I encourage you to be playfully creative as you get more disciplined about your relationship with the Divine Wow.•