ARIES (March 21-April 19): Much of the reader mail I receive is friendly. But now and then I'll get a message like this: "I've followed your horoscopes with pleasure for years. But I must say, you've really lost it lately. I can't stand the garbage you've been slinging. What happened to you?" My response is to wonder why the person never wrote to me while he was happy with my efforts. It reminds me of a quote by Leon Uris: "How often in life it is that we have no time for our friends but all the time in the world for our enemies." It also reminds me of how tempting it is to focus on what repels us and scares us, shortchanging the dreams that excite us. Your assignment in the next four weeks, Aries, is to reward what you like and pursue what you want. For now, forget about what you don't like and don't want.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The worst painting in history is hanging in San Francisco's De Young Museum. It is "Noel and Bob" by Joan Brown. It's so awkwardly garish and trivially monstrous that I can only conclude Brown possessed what might be termed "negative genius." It's not just that she had no talent. She actually had the opposite of brilliant talent. And yet I must confess I had a good time gazing at this anti-artistic botch. I thoroughly enjoyed laughing at it, and was quite pleased at the jokes my companions and I made about it. I suggest that in the coming week you try something similar: enjoying the entertainment value and educational merit of clumsy, ungainly, out-of-whack stuff. Doing so will sharpen your wits for the not-too-distant future, when you will come into proximity to a lot of understated beauty and elegance and grace.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Is my enjoyment of the Temptations' song "My Girl" diminished by the fact that it was used in a commercial for Sun Maid Raisins? Does Jose Gonzalez' tune "Heartbeats" evoke less feeling in me because I know it was used as the soundtrack for a Sony TV commercial? Well, yeah, actually. The songs haven't been totally wrecked for me, but neither do they make my heart soar anymore. Is there anything like that in your life, Gemini? Some pure and innocent pleasure that has been tainted or watered down? Believe it or not, you could restore it to its original state in the coming weeks.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): For the moment, set aside your complaints about the transgressions of your original family. Cease your laments about the struggles you had to endure as a child. If you enjoy marinating yourself in those sorrows, you can always return to them at a later date. Here are the opportunities that are now available to you: to focus on the gifts that your early life blessed you with ... to acknowledge the resources bequeathed to you by the past ... to celebrate and access the primal power that has been yours to draw on since the day you were born.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Nose jobs are at an all-time high. Every year, American plastic surgeons cumulatively scrape away more than a mile of flesh and bone from their patients' sniffers. I predict that in the coming weeks, the noses of the entire planet's Leo tribe will shrink 10,000 times that amount, at least metaphorically. Why? Because I expect an epidemic of truth-telling to break out among you. There's going to be a mass outbreak of the Pinocchio effect in reverse. Congratulations in advance for the candor you're about to unleash. Be kind and diplomatic if you can, but insist on revealing the whole story.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Many American towns with "burg" in their names used to end as "burgh." In the late 19th century, a federal bureau demanded that they drop the silent final "h." The people of Pittsburgh rose, up, however, and demanded the right to retain their precious "h." Their wish was granted. I strongly advise you to be inspired by Pittsburgh's adamant insistence on maintaining its identity, Virgo. Don't let yourself be truncated, abbreviated or standardized.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Dear Rob: A professional astrologer who read my chart told me that I have no willpower and that there is basically nothing I can do to change that. Any suggestions? I'm feeling helpless and passive at a time when I could really benefit from standing up for myself. —Listless Libra." Dear Libra: What the supposedly professional astrologer told you is totally inaccurate. No one's chart, ever, in the history of the world, indicates that they have no willpower. Astrology doesn't speak in such stupid ways. Besides that, you and the Libran tribe will soon have an excellent window of opportunity to bolster your willpower. The fun begins now and lasts until at least Nov. 18. Get ready!
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Is it a dragonfly or a maple leaf / That settles softly down upon the water?" asks Amy Lowell in "Autumn Haze," a poem from her book Pictures of the Floating World. She doesn't need to know the answer to her question; either would be fine. In fact, the luxuriance of the moment lies in its ambiguity. The lolling sweetness thrives because of her freedom from having to define its origins. She is simultaneously alert and relaxed; attentive to the scene in front of her but content to let it be whatever it is. I highly recommend that you enjoy extended excursions into this state of being several times in the coming week.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): This morning I had to interrupt my meditation on your horoscope. I'd studied the astrological configurations and said my usual prayer, asking for guidance to come up with the oracle you need most. But nothing had occurred to me yet, and it was time to leave the house for an appointment. As I closed the door behind me, I was still in deep thought about you. Then my face hit something gauzy, and I pulled back. Overnight, a spider had spun a huge web spanning the entire porch frame. I'd knocked it a bit off-kilter, but it was still intact. "That's got to be an omen," I thought to myself as I stooped under it and continued on my way. An omen of what? A little voice in my head gave the answer: Sagittarius is ready to merge more directly with the great web of life.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If you have been in tune with the cosmic rhythms these past 10 months, you've been erecting bridges like a master builder. Your careful planning and guidance have conquered an abyss or two. Seemingly irreconcilable differences are no longer irreconcilable. Unlikely connections have bloomed. You've combined ingredients that no one thought could be blended. Between now and your birthday, your good work should reach a climax. It's time to inspect your craftsmanship, polish any rough edges and be sure that your creations will last.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I have no financial interest in the product known as Bacon Air Freshener (tinyurl.com/
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In Germany, people can pay the weather service to have a storm or weather system named after them. A normal rainstorm costs just over $250. That's the kind of event I'd want to give your name to in the coming week, Pisces—not a full-on destructive tornado or hurricane, but rather a healthy squall that makes everything wet and clears the air. You definitely need to release some tension in a dramatic way, but not in a melodramatic way.
Homework: If you could change your astrological sign, what would you change it to and why? Go to Freewillastrology.com and click "E-mail Rob."