So how'd you fare this year? Did you surrender to and capitalize on your instinct to retreat? If so, you're probably feeling as fresh as a recharged battery. Or did you battle it all the way? If so, you're no doubt as cranky as a rock star with PMS.
Taurus (April 20-May 20): I'm composing this horoscope for you as I sit in a rented Chevrolet at the Olympic Game Preserve in Sequim, Wash. I'm surrounded by real live buffaloes, which are allowed to run free here. One of the beasts, a dinosaur-size grandfather with a freaky humped back and a woolly Old Testament beard, is licking my window with its giant slimy purple tongue. My face is inches from primordial goo, and yet I'm perfectly safe and alert and relaxed. Sort of reminds me of what your life will be like in the week ahead.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): I found this ad for a workshop in a New Age magazine: "You'll learn to do the UNBELIEVABLE! Walk on thousands of pieces of broken glass in your bare feet! Put out a lit cigarette in the palm of your hand! No pain -- No burns -- No cuts! Achieve the impossible first! Then everything else will be a cinch!"
I'm calling your attention to this class not because I think you should sign up. (In October, maybe, but not now.) For the next two weeks, in fact, the exact opposite approach is your best bet. Try to achieve the easy victories first; master the friendly details; start small and work your way up. Then everything else will be a cinch.
Cancer (June 21-July 22): When my friend Antero first went to Disneyland as a kid, he was smitten by the flawless mystery of it all. "It was more real than real," he said. After a couple hours, though, he reluctantly began to see through the sheen. The mechanical hippopotamus' jaw was broken. The actor who was impersonating Goofy shucked his big dog head and chug-a-lugged a beer.
Your week ahead is likely to have a lot in common with Antero's awakening. It might sting at first, even though it's a sign that your vision is improving and you're getting smarter.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Who is the person whose secret name is Earthshaker? What gift will you be given as soon as you figure out how to signal that you're ready? Which member of your inner circle is close to tapping into a latent talent that might benefit you, and what can you do to help? Are you untamed enough to wake up early and make a wish on the last star of morning?
The answers to these snaky riddles can be yours this week -- IF you look out of the corners of your eyes, listen out of the corners of your ears, and act as if your sixth sense is fully functional.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): One of your most lovable and hateable obsessions is about to croak after a long and semibrilliant career. This is an event worth celebrating and mourning at the same time. It's best faced on an empty stomach, empty head, and full heart.
To mark this slippery turning point, you might even consider throwing a party that combines the qualities of an Irish wake, a celebrity roast, and a baptism.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I haven't taken a break from writing this column in 542 weeks, and I'm not about to now. However, because I'm currently on a pilgrimage with certain resemblances to a vacation, I've decided to cut myself a little slack. Fortunately, this dovetails nicely with the fact that I've happened upon a travel magazine that has ads for mugs and T-shirts emblazoned with motivational slogans. Uncoincidentally, these are exactly what you need to hear. Now ponder the following epigrams: 1) You cannot discover new seas unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. 2) You cannot adjust the wind, but you can adjust the sails. 3) The race for quality has no finish line.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): He's ba-a-a-ack. Jose Arguelles, of Harmonic Convergence fame, has returned with a fun new version of "Get enlightened -- or else!" This time, he says that unless we switch over to a new calendar of 13 months, the biosphere will collapse within five years. July 24 should be the last day of the old calendar, he insists, and July 26 the first day of the new. July 25 will be a Day Out of Time -- a karma-free sabbatical from the clock, a rowdy recess, a grace period filled with lighthearted acts of purification.
I don't know about the "collapse of the biosphere" stuff, but a Day Out of Time would be fine medicine for you Scorpios. In fact, see if you can stretch it out to Three Days Out of Time. And all the while, pretend to be a little crazy so you can get away with doing what's right.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Here's an old Rosicrucian affirmation you might be interested in trying out: "I vow to interpret every event in my life as a direct communication from God to my soul." If you do this right, every ad on the side of a passing bus becomes a pithy omen; every eavesdropped conversation blesses you with a tantalizing bit of divine guidance.
I've never recommended this exercise before because I didn't think it would mean anything to you. Now, suddenly, you're more than ready.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Since I'm sending out e-mail copies of this column, and since the country where I live recently concocted an insane law that criminalizes erotic language on the Internet, the words you're about to read could land me in jail. Nevertheless, I will proceed. To do anything else would be shirking my astrological duty to you. Let's just hope that the next Real Astrology column you read won't have been written from the cell next to Sirhan Sirhan's.
Anyway, here goes: This should be the most tantric week in months, Capricorn. Expect wide-open, anything-goes, honeydew-drenched fantasies ... rowdy puckers with succulent, totally nude throb-masters ... raw, steamy outbreaks of lusty trust ... sweet, shimmering latherfests ... wet 'n' creamy dream explosions!
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I coalesced this horoscope for you while in a cave on the snowy summit of Mount Rainier in Washington. Volcanic steam was rising from the rocks below me. The roof of ice above me was piercingly cold. And together, bizarrely enough, they made the temperature quite cozy. It was one of the few times in my life when I've witnessed wild extremes collaborating to create a happy medium. And that's exactly what I'd like to see you try to pull off in your own life this week, Aquarius.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Now that your world is wide open, try to anticipate the places where it's most likely to close down when you're not as brave as you are now. Then clamp it open in those very places. Soothe your fears before they break out, and they won't break out.
Of course, it's inevitable that you'll eventually shrivel a little to balance all the expansion you've done lately. But there's no reason you have to shrink back to how you were before. Cure yourself before you get sick, and you won't get sick.