Taurus (April 20-May 20): Before I give you the go-ahead to develop a more intimate relationship with the snooze bar on your alarm clock, I have to ask: Will you assure me that you'll drag yourself out of bed no later than 10 a.m. each day? And before I say it's OK to have one more cup and one more dip and one more squeeze of everything than usual, I must know: Will you agree to leave enough for everyone else to enjoy? And finally, Taurus, if I advise you to invite more ease into your life, will you promise not to get a stuntperson to perform your quantum leaps of faith for you?
Gemini (May 21-June 20): Carolyn L. Vash wrote in a recent Noetic Sciences Review: "Esoteric astrology ... teaches ... that anyone whose future can be predicted (by any means) is living like a robot. [It] assumes that some people are more robotic (predictable) than others; and that further implies some of us have more free will than others." In the spirit of her remarks, I've prepared two horoscopes. For those of you who are sleepwalking automatons, I prophesy a week of boring demands, barely missed opportunities, and half-assed efforts. But if you're a wide-awake lover of life alert to the shifting truths of each new moment, I foresee you making your own breaks, creating something out of nothing, and transforming ugliness into beauty.
Cancer (June 21-July 22): The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Crabs, of which I am the official spokesmodel, is ecstatic that you've kept your suffering to a minimum while throwing off your chains. You've earned the right to sit in your underwear watching MTV and scarfing down chocolate eclairs for the next three days without feeling a bit of guilt. However, we hope you use your grace period in a more ennobling way, such as eating a ripe apricot out of the hand of your secret admirer, or asking the three people who understand you best to describe in detail what's most wonderful about you, or setting out on a trip that resembles Dorothy's visit to Oz.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Picture all the ways you were smarter at age 16 than you are now. Visualize yourself bounding up to the Dalai Lama and offering him some candy from your Xena Pez dispenser. Act as if every one of your beliefs is based on insufficient information. And to complete this week's mysterious set of assignments, Leo, imagine that the monsters under your bed will never bother you again as long as you regularly feed them imaginary peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In many ancient Greek dramas, a god showed up out of nowhere to cause a miraculous twist at a crucial point in the tale. This was referred to as theos ek mechanes, literally "god from a machine," because the symbolic figure of the god was lowered onto the stage by a crane. In modern usage, the term is Latin -- deus ex machina -- and refers to a story in which a sudden event unexpectedly brings about a resolution to a baffling problem. I predict you'll be the beneficiary of such an intervention in the coming 10 days.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In the early 19th century, self-appointed censor Thomas Bowdler took it upon himself to "improve" Shakespeare's greatest works. Excising everything he considered objectionable, he published emasculated versions of the Bard in a 10-volume set. Today Bowdler's efforts appear ridiculous, but in his own time they were quite popular. I bring this up, Libra, as a cautionary tale to guide you in the coming weeks. It is of prime importance to your works in progress -- including the grand creation known as your character -- that you resist all attempts to bowdlerize or to be bowdlerized.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): David Dreman has written two books outlining his philosophy of "contrarian investment strategy." His basic formula for success (borne out in his work as a money manager) is to figure out what the financial experts recommend, then do the exact opposite. As a rebel pagan populist kind of guy, I'm inclined to apply the contrarian approach to every area of life. I wish you would too, Scorpio, especially now that you're at the peak of your ability (and your secret need) to prove everyone wrong.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): This is the first of two horoscopes titled "The State of the Sagittarian Soul." We begin with a quote from Songlines, a book by travel writer Bruce Chatwin. "A white explorer in Africa, anxious to press ahead with his journey, paid his porters for a series of forced marches. But they, almost within reach of their destination, set down their bundles and refused to budge. No amount of extra payment would convince them otherwise. They said they had to wait for their souls to catch up." To say it another way, Sagittarius, your ego has been bolting ahead, while your soul has been luxuriously whirling around. It's time to get the two back in sync.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Cartoonist Jules Feiffer once speculated on the motivation behind all-too-many marriages: "We want playmates we can own." But I hope you've graduated from that devolutionary urge, Capricorn. In the next few weeks, any residual traces of it in your system will undermine your primary partnership. And if you're single and still in quest of holy matrimony, I can almost guarantee that excessive possessiveness will sabotage your search at every turn. Be hungry, therefore, for playmates you can't own.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Hope you don't mind if I compare your immediate future to the epic migrations of salmon. Metaphorically speaking, you'll soon be swimming upstream for great distances, leaving your familiar salt water and returning to fresh water. You may not have to work quite as hard as a chinook salmon that's got to cover 2,000 miles, but then again you might. Luckily, the reward at the end will be worth your trouble. It should be almost as pleasurable as the spawning orgy the salmon enjoy.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Legend says that Isaac Newton first formulated the law of gravity while peacefully meditating under an apple tree. Poet Emily Dickenson hatched most of her greatest poems while in idyllic seclusion. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, drew inspiration from less wholesome surroundings, however. When he invented the food concoction named after him, he was in the eighth hour of an all-night gambling binge. I mention this, Pisces, because I suspect that your finest discoveries in the next few weeks are more likely to occur when you're acting like Montagu than Newton or Dickenson.