Taurus (April 20-May 20): This week's vocabulary word is "mortar." Use it three times in a sentence and it'll be yours. Better yet, take it as a metaphor for what you need in your life right now, and you'll have a successful week. Study these definitions. Mortar: 1) a type of cannon; 2) the plaster used for cementing bricks together; 3) a bowl in which healing herbs are ground up.
Now think of actions you could initiate that would: 1) ward off your adversaries; 2) build new bonds; 3) create a container -- a special time and place -- where you can work on a remedy for your secret pain.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): Time's up. No more stalling. Let's have your answer, please: Do you or do you not wish to take advantage of the special introductory offer at this time? Please don't beg for mercy or an extension, because you ain't gettin' any. This is your big chance to prove once and for all that you have no intention of devoting your life to perfecting the art of waffling.
By the way, I'm not scolding you like your mommy; I'm goading you like a mentor. The choice between seeking mere survival and stalking raging success has rarely been clearer.
Cancer (June 21-July 22): Things are looking up. The monster in the closet became bored with terrorizing you and has left for good. The wicked queen experienced some sadness in her life that's softened her heart toward you. The paralysis in your funny bone has cured itself, and the scheduled airing of all the rest of your dirty laundry has been canceled. After a period of feeling bloated, both your body and brain are returning to a more streamlined state. And finally, two of the people who never returned your phone calls are now wondering how to get in touch without losing face.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): My dear Leo friends: The Real Astrology Awards Committee would like to acknowledge your meritorious service to humanity recently, including both your unstinting efforts to make life more entertaining for everyone around you, and, even more importantly, your tireless patience in baby-sitting the emotions of all the adults you know who've reverted to childlike behavior. To reward your contributions, our committee is happy to announce that it has officially bestowed temporary sainthood on you. From now until September 1, 1995 (with an option for renewal), you are authorized to place "St." in front of your name and to demand and expect that the entire world treat you as holy and wise.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): What's big and red and eats rocks? (A big, red rockeater.) If two's company and three's a crowd, what are four and five? (Nine.) What is yours, and used by others more than by yourself? (Your name.) What's green and has wheels? (Grass; I lied about the wheels.) What is the end of everything? (The letter "g.") How can you avoid being outsmarted, defeated, and sidetracked this week when life plays mind games with you that resemble the above jokes? (Study those jokes and familiarize yourself with their tricky principles.)
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In Australian Aborigine culture, a newborn baby receives two names from tribal elders. The first is the one everyone knows. The second is a sacred name, and is kept secret, even from the child himself. Only when he comes of age does he learn it. I love this tradition, and wish we had something similar. It would be especially meaningful for you right now, because you recently negotiated a rite of passage that would have made you eligible to find out your secret, sacred name. How about if we start a new custom? Go ahead and select a new handle or alias -- to be used only when you're talking to yourself.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Your medicinal effect and your shock value are peaking at the same time. This means that you'll either drive people crazy or heal their ancient wounds -- or both. It also makes it likely that you'll have to deal with extreme reactions, ranging from desperate souls who threaten to jump off cliffs because of you to clingy worshipers who want to iron your underwear. And by the way, if I were you, I'd be just as careful to shield myself from slavish appreciation as from angry protests.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The time warp you're slipping into could warp the warped part of your psyche back to normal. Of course this odd process might alienate untrained observers. To them, you may seem to be arguing with the dead or bargaining with the moon. But those of us who're fluent in the language of the soul will know that you're balancing and canceling out the follies and sins of yesteryear.
Forgive me for invoking that tacky word "sin." I'm not using it in the usual sense. In the soul's language, it means "to be lazy about pursuing one's dreams."
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The Shinto monks of Iso, Japan, have a curious custom which you should know about. Every 20 years since the year 772, they've dismantled their central shrine and rebuilt it from scratch. It's their way of passing down the knowledge of their sacred construction techniques from generation to generation. It also ensures that they have an acute sense of the transitoriness of life and that they understand the value of regularly reinventing themselves. I'm bringing this up, Capricorn, because I regard 1995 as your personal equivalent of the last year of the monks' cycle -- the time when you "tear down the shrine." (You should be about half-finished by now.)
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): An unemployed Aquarius pet shampooer writes, "Dear Dr. Brezsny, I've read your column faithfully for a year, and done every single thing you suggested to help me improve myself. Yet I find myself here tonight eating pork 'n' beans out of a can and watching the 'Psychic Friends' infomercial, with still no new offers in sight. What gives? Are you for real? My faith in your powers is fading. -- Underachiever Aquarius."
Dear Underachiever: You say you've followed my advice, and yet I've told you a hundred times to NEVER do every single thing I say. In fact, that's probably your problem. Stop listening so much to what other people think you should do. Except, of course, what I just said.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Your role model for the next few weeks is horticulturalist Luther Burbank, a fellow Piscean (1849-1926). One of the most practical artists who ever lived, Burbank used crossbreeding to develop 800 new varieties of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Between now and July 23, as the sun cruises through your house of creativity, I expect you to be as experimental and fertile and productive as him. If you don't make a masterpiece during this time, I'll eat a dozen Burbank-designed blue roses.