ARIES (March 21-Apr. 19): It'll be a bumper-car kind of week, Aries. As long as you stick to the designated course, you can expect lots of thuds, jolts and caroms that won't hurt a bit. In fact, most of them will actually be fun even as they knock some sense into you. That's why you have cosmic permission to raise your normal quotas of raucous laughter, boisterous horseplay and madcap adventures. For extra credit, sprinkle wacky accents and silly voices into your conversations.
TAURUS (Apr. 20-May 20): For two years running, Little Yellow Jacket has been voted Bull of the Year by the rodeo circuit's top bull riders. During a five-year career, the 1750-pound beast has bucked off 85 percent of his riders in an average of 2.8 seconds. No one has stayed on for longer than 8 seconds. I've selected him to be your power animal in the coming weeks, Taurus. You have a mandate to avoid being rounded up, roped or ridden by anyone, even if you have to snort and foam at the mouth as Little Yellow Jacket does during his performances. "He has the kind of heart, desire and athletic ability that true champions in any walk of life possess," says his owner. All you need to succeed at your assignment are the first two of those qualities.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Before the controversial comic Bill Hicks died, Jack Boulware asked him what he thought was funny. "The best kind of comedy to me is when you make people laugh at things they've never laughed at," said Hicks, according to Boulware's piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. That thought should be your inspiration in the coming weeks, Gemini. I don't care how you do it, but you've got to crack up about subjects that you have always taken very seriously. You might want to rent DVDs of comedians who are famous for their taboo-busting rants. Surf the Web hunting down jokes about your sacred cows. Sneak up on yourself and tickle your own ribs while in the throes of a fantasy about what you're scared of.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Global warming makes me sad. I'm opposed to it, and I wish we humans would take more drastic measures to minimize our role in it. But I also have to admit that part of me enjoys some of its consequences. The growing season is getting longer: I can eat the first green beans from my garden before the first day of spring. The weather is more consistently finer: My wintertime bike trips to the top of the mountain rarely freeze my eyelashes, as they once did. Sometimes I can even stroll on the beach in shorts in January. Your assignment in the coming week, Cancerian, is to do what I've done: Find something redemptive about an aspect of our rapidly changing world that normally makes you crazy.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Boobs: I wish I had them. Not enough to buy them, though." So testified skinny actress Lara Flynn Boyle in the Globe, rejecting the idea of getting silicone implants. Take your inspiration from her clarity in the coming week, Leo. Identify one of your half-assed desires -- a vague wish that chronically floats around the back of your mind -- and renounce it forever. If necessary, have a no-nonsense conversation with yourself in which you discuss all the reasons why the satisfaction of that longing is not at all crucial to your happiness or well-being, and why, therefore, you will never again indulge in a serious fantasy about it.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Michigan is a major importer of trash, accepting more than 5 million tons per year in return for big payments. A landfill in the small town of Rockwood alone takes in a thousand tons of New Jersey's demolition debris every day. I know it might be tempting for you to get all Rockwood-like in the coming days, Virgo; you may imagine you can reap some long-lasting benefits from getting dumped on. But I say unto you: It ain't worth it. Whatever you think you can gain is meager compared to what you could lose.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Science writer David Bodanis says there are always so many fragments of spider legs floating in the air that you are constantly inhaling them wherever you go. I encourage you to think of this now and then in the coming week, Libra. Whenever you do, engage in the following meditation: Imagine that you are bolstering your power to weave metaphorical webs; fantasize that every day in every way you are building a silky network designed to help you get what you want; visualize yourself as being light and strong, like a spider.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The world's highest bridge recently opened for traffic in France. The Millau Viaduct soars over the Tarn River, reducing the driving distance between Paris and Barcelona by 60 miles. I hope to see a comparable innovation in your future, Scorpio. You need a monumental shortcut that will let you cross safely and conveniently over a yawning abyss. Don't try to create it all by yourself. Enlist the help of the most soulful bridge-builders you can find.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Movie actress Kate Winslet is your role model this week, Sagittarius. In her 17 movies, she has played a staggeringly wide variety of characters, from an innocent romantic in Sense and Sensibility to a spontaneity-loving free spirit in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to a streetwise sewer rat for an upcoming claymation comedy called Flushed Away. Come to think of it, those are three of the many personae you might consider adapting in the coming days. Like Winslet, you should avoid typecasting as you keep yourself highly entertained in a dazzling array of colorful milieus.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Believing" in God is like "believing" in the taste of a peach without ever having tasted an actual peach. But what if I told you that you could actually commune with the Divine Wow through up-close, personal encounters that are as vivid and palpable as eating a peach? It's a distinct possibility for you in the coming weeks, Capricorn. The best way to increase your chances of having this heart-to-heart intimacy with Supreme Magic is, first, to want it very badly, and second, to unleash generous expressions of love as often as possible.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Emily, Madison and Kaitlyn were among the most popular names for new baby girls last year, whereas Jacob, Ryan and Nicholas were top choices for boys. Thevoiceofreason.com website notes that, on the other hand, Condescensia, Crumpet and Bucket were some of the least popular girl names, and Beelzebub, Humpty and Scratch were the least favorite for boys. I hope you will ignore both extremes, Aquarius, as you select an additional new nickname or tag for yourself in the coming days. While the astrological omens suggest it's a good time to expand your self-concept, it's a bad time to be overly influenced either by the trends or by knee-jerk rebellions against the trends.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The Weekly World News reports that hell has a special pain-free section for masochists. The evidence comes from an S&M aficionado who traveled to this anomalous part of the nether realm during a near-death experience. "There was no beating, no torture, no poking with blazing pitchforks -- not even a decent smack in the face," testified Melissa Surkovsky. While I am definitely not predicting you will visit this place, Pisces, I must warn you that you may soon have a semi-comparable experience here on Earth. As much as you might be tempted, you simply won't be able to indulge in any of your own masochistic tendencies. You may even have to endure something like what Surkovsky did: "I was taken to a well-lit chamber and placed in a comfortable reclining chair, then waited on hand and foot by demons who were so polite, it was annoying."