Here's the weekly astrological forecast for July 23-30, 2008. What's your sign, baby? They're all here...
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Anna Renalda Hyatt, a reader from Colorado, bragged to me about her prowess. "My capacity for expressing love far surpasses that of anyone I have ever met," she wrote. "I am a Sublime Genius of Love, a Master of Unconditional Compassion, a Virtuoso of Deep Empathy." Your assignment in the coming days, Aries, is to compete with her: Unleash a perfect storm of ingenious passion that will ignite subtle revolutions everywhere you go. Explore the frontiers of smart love.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your teeth aren't white enough. Your laugh sounds weird. Something's amiss with the way you solve problems; I'm not sure what, I just know you've got a disability there. And as for your hair: Could you please change it so it doesn't make you appear so out of touch with reality? OK, now relax. Everything I just said was a bad joke - it wasn't true at all. I wanted to show you how susceptible you are to believing the lie that you should be different from what you actually are. The fact is, Taurus, this is an excellent time for you to practice feeling a total acceptance of and curious fascination with yourself. Try saying this out loud: "I am perfectly myself."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): At the end of a recent school year, only 37 percent of New York's high school students passed the state-administered math exam. Instead of withholding diplomas from the other 63 percent, officials nullified the results and eased the standards for future tests. Normally I'm queasy about lowering the criteria for success, but in this case I approve. Math is absurdly overvalued as an educational necessity. There are many other subjects that should get more emphasis in the high school curriculum. Teach logic, not algebra! Teach critical thinking, not trigonometry! My rant is a prelude to the climax of your horoscope, which is this: Stop pushing so hard to accomplish a task that's really not all that important in the long run.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): During a trip to India, my friend Jeff paid a boatman to row him out into the Ganges River for a little recreational cruise. When they got there, the boatman stopped and refused to move, let alone row him back to shore, unless Jeff forked over a surcharge. Don't let something like that happen to you in the coming week, Cancerian. Always have a well-planned arrangement, agreed on in advance, to come back from wherever you're brave enough to go. Be experimental, yes. Explore new territory, yes. Be willing to surrender some control, yes. But make sure you've got a return ticket.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Everybody experiences far more than he understands," said philosopher Marshall McLuhan. "Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior." This is always true, but it will have special meaning for you in the coming days. You're about to be inundated by a flood of raw perceptions, sensations, and feelings, and only a fraction of it will be namable, let alone comprehensible. That shouldn't be a problem, though. Your job is simply to marvel at all the novelty that's flowing in, not to be in an anxious hurry to define it.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your life story is about to deepen and sweeten and get more interesting - if, that is, you follow the trail of clues into the dark forest, and if, as you travel, you hum songs that are both sad and happy, and if you call on the spirit of your favorite dead person to accompany you. Of course, you're perfectly free to refuse the call of your destiny, and never even take a glance into the dark forest. But in my opinion, that would cheat you out of some profound fun that has the potential to teach you and tune you for many years to come.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I came across a website called "The Common Man's Book of World Records." It lists triumphs that have been ignored by the more famous Guinness Book. It tells us that Basel Nevins licked an asphalt road for 77 minutes straight, establishing an unsurpassed benchmark. Melissa Lassitter set the world record for number of hoagies crammed into a bra, with eight; Glen Schlacknik did an astounding 5216 squat-thrusts on an escalator in one session; and Charles Zenk threw a mailbox 33 feet. In the coming week, I invite you to be inspired by these unsung masters, Libra. According to my reading of the omens, you're primed to achieve peaks of accomplishment that few others have even attempted.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): According to Jewish legend, there are in each generation 36 righteous humans who prevent the rest of us from being destroyed. Through their extraordinary good deeds and their love of the divine spark, they save the world over and over again. They're not famous saints, though. They go about their business anonymously, and no one knows how crucial they are to our well-being. Might you be one of the 36? I bet you'll be acting like one of them in the coming week. Your capacity for disseminating blessings will be astounding. The ripples of benevolence you initiate could ultimately go around the planet and return to you.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In his book The Medusa and the Snail, science writer Lewis Thomas said that the English word "error" developed from a root meaning "to wander about, looking for something." That's why he liked Darwin's idea that error is the driving force in evolution. I think this wandering-about-looking-for-something approach should be the driving force in your personal evolution, Sagittarius. The coming weeks will be a great time to meander and get distracted and stumble upon unexpected opportunities. May all your mutations have a positive spin! (P.S. Lewis also wrote this: "The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.")
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I predict you will have 32 dreams as you sleep in the coming week. In at least five of those adventures, you will be offered a chance to wield a magic hammer like the one that belonged to the Norse god Thor. You're under no obligation to use it, of course. But if you do, it could help you smite dream adversaries, from stupid giants to evil ducks to rash-covered devils. You could also take advantage of it to build things, like a dream house or a dream boat. The proper use of the hammer will be a constant test, since you'll have to be ever-alert and adaptable as you decide whether to employ it for destruction or creation.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Why, I don't even respect myself, I tell ya," said comedian Rodney Dangerfield. "When I make love, I have to fantasize that I am somebody else!" Your assignment, Aquarius, is to experiment with just the second half of that formulation. In other words, while you're making love, fantasize that you're somebody else. But do it because you care deeply about yourself - so deeply that you want to transcend your customary reactions and expand your identity. Do it because you dare to awaken to previously unknown possibilities of who you might be. By the way, this exercise will yield even better results if you not only play with experimental self-images when you're doing the wild thing, but all the rest of the time as well.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In her book Zen Miracles, Brenda Shoshanna defines the "shadow" as being the unacceptable aspects of ourselves that we dump into our unconscious minds. As we avoid looking at that hidden stuff, it festers. Meanwhile, we project it onto people we know, imagining that they possess the qualities we're repressing. The antidote to this problem, says Shoshanna, is to "eat our shadow" - haul it up from out of the pit and develop a conscious connection with it. Doing so not only prevents our unacknowledged darkness from haunting our thoughts and distorting our relationships; it also liberates tremendous psychic energy. I'm telling you this, Pisces, because it's an excellent time to eat your shadow.