Taurus (April 20-May 20): I'm a great admirer of the Taurus poet Carolyn Forche. In her 20s, she pursued an academic study of her craft at placid Midwestern universities. Her first book dealt with her childhood and family. Then came a radical departure. Leaving behind comfort and familiarity, she moved to El Salvador at the height of the death squad activity, and later to Lebanon during its traumatic civil war. It was as if she'd decided she wouldn't wait for fate to come to her, but would go out and seize it. Her adventures forged her into a passionate human rights advocate and accomplished poet with striking moral sensibilities. While I don't recommend that you initiate such an extreme wake-up call, I do advise you to try a tamer version of it in the next six months.
Gemini (May 21-June 20): Not for many moons has your ethical code been pushed and probed and pricked as it will be this week. Today maybe you'll be offered an opportunity to buy stolen property at a rock-bottom price. Tomorrow you could be baited with a chance to gain personal advantage by betraying a friend. As you wend your way through all the gray areas, remember that morality is as much about saying yes as saying no. One of the most righteous acts you can make, ironically, may be to embrace an uplifting temptation.
Cancer (June 21-July 22): I hate to say this, but I'm afraid you've become addicted to your pain. From where I sit, you seem to be contemplating your wounds almost obsessively, as if you derive perverse pleasure from rehearsing the hurt over and over again. Sorry to be so blunt, Cancerian, but I may be the only one in your life who can awaken you from your dream within a dream. After all, I think you know beyond a doubt that I love you and want nothing but the best for you. So maybe you'll let my harsh but compassionate words jolt you into sloughing off the morbid self-pity that's serving as your excuse to avoid the cure.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): The year's not even half over, but you've already provoked more gaping jaws, sweaty foreheads, burning ears, and broken hearts than any other sign will do in 12 months. Why wait until 1998 to hand out awards? It's clear you've earned the following titles: "Least Insipid Sign of the Year" ... "Best Imitation of a Hurricane in a Forest Fire" ... "Most Ingenious at Blending the Qualities of Hero and Anti-Hero" ... "Most Likely to Provoke an Emotional Avalanche" ... "Most Eager to Splurge on the Urge to Merge" ... and "Most Likely to Get Away With Flat-Out Hubris."
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I celebrate eight holidays that mark turning points in the relationship between Earth and Sun. At the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, day and night are equal in length. Winter solstice brings the greatest darkness, and summer solstice the brightest light. Then there are the feasts halfway between each equinox and solstice. Halloween is midfall. Beltane, or May Day, is the fertility feast of midspring. Lammas, Aug. 1, heralds the coming harvest, and Candlemas on Feb. 2 signals the return of the Sun's warmth. Why should you care about any of this, Virgo? Because these are the festivals that are imprinted on your genes, that marked the rhythms of your ancestors' lives for millennia. Celebrate the summer solstice this week with the certainty that your body and mind, like the Earth, are now in full bloom.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In researching material for this horoscope, I came across a problem. You see, I very much want to include the term "Summer of Love" in your forecast for the coming months. Unfortunately, it seems the sharks at a certain music production company in San Francisco have applied for a service mark for that very phrase. I'm not sure I can use it without incurring their wrath, possibly risking a lawsuit. Nevertheless, I'm pressing ahead with my prediction. You deserve to know in advance about the glorious romantic possibilities awaiting you. I hope that later this summer, when you're lolling in the hot embraces that I'm now giving you the courage to quest for, you beam a nod of gratitude my way.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): There's a right way to be a flamingly moist contradiction this week, Scorpio, and a wrong way. For god's sake, don't be even remotely like a blind hunter or a deaf music critic or an emotionally numb lover. But feel free to experiment with being a smart beast or a cynical optimist or a cautious explorer on the romantic frontiers. One other thing: Don't mend your evil ways if there's a possibility that your evil ways are about to mutate into a fascinating new approach to goodness.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Unlike the pope's and Ted Koppel's, my pronouncements aren't infallible. As opposed to Nostradamus and Alan Greenspan, I don't believe I have the future all figured out. "Tomorrow is never set in stone" is my guiding philosophy. Therefore, my friend, always regard my horoscopes as but one of the clues you need to gather before bursting into action. Are you ready to receive my advice in that spirit? If so, here goes. Take a test drive this week, but don't sign on the bottom line quite yet. Bargain in good faith, but only as long as there's an escape hatch. Follow your heart as far as you can without actually pledging it forevermore.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You're more than eligible to graduate from the School of Hard Knocks. Though you only got a C minus in your class on "Sucking Up to Self-Important Windbags," you earned a B plus in "Banging Your Head Against the Wall for Fun and Profit" and an A in both "How to Look Half-Cool While Slaving Away as a Beast of Burden" and "Paying a Year of Dues in a Month." So let me hereby award you your B.A. (as in BadAss), and invite you to apply for admission to a far less stressful regimen: a two-month workshop in relationships.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): For all intents and purposes, you've done the equivalent of teaching a cow to jump over the moon in the last few weeks. And that ain't all. Metaphorically speaking, you've as good as stared down a big bad wolf, deodorized a raggedy-ass pig, and trained a snake to make cappuccino. What the hell could you possibly do for an encore? Don't even worry about trying to top yourself. Lie back and exploit the afterglow of this extraordinary sublimation of beastly energies.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Any day now you're going to be ready to start living at the speed of light. That'll be a nice change of pace from what you've been doing in recent weeks, which has been living at the speed of a 5-year-old who's just been told to get ready for bed. You'd be wise to give yourself a period of adjustment, though; trying to switch from snail-slow to laser-fast in the blink of an eye would be rough on your system. Accelerate slowly.