Week of May 19

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The advice I have for you may not go over well with the part of you that's prone to acting like a battering ram. Nevertheless, I'm convinced it's the correct thing to do, so please suppress your head-butting instincts for now, and heed these bits of wisdom from ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu. 1. "The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest thing in the universe." 2. "In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In my astrological opinion, it's time to make some radical new promises to yourself. What acts of ingenious love do you vow to carry out in the months to come? I'll offer a few suggestions; feel free to dream up 20 more. Say this aloud: "I will never forsake, betray, or deceive myself. I will always adore, forgive, and believe in myself. I will never ignore, belittle, or underestimate myself. I will always amuse, delight, and redeem myself."

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Having a wing-span of almost three feet, the ivory-billed woodpecker was a beauty that once thrived in the hardwood forests of the southern U.S. Native Americans believed the bird's ivory bill had magical powers. They used it as currency and made it into crowns worn by great warriors. Sadly, the species has been thought extinct since 1944, when the last of its kind disappeared. But a month ago, conservationists announced a great reversal of fortunes: Several ivory-bills have recently been spotted in the Arkansas woods. You should regard this as a metaphor for events unfolding in your own life, Gemini. Magic that you thought was gone forever is returning.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): It's graduation time for you, Cancerian. Maybe you're finishing up work at an actual school, or maybe your classroom has been in the streets, but in any case you're completing lessons you've been studying for many moons. Personally, I've enjoyed watching you work. It has been a pleasure seeing you evolve from an innocent amateur into a proficient veteran without losing your purity. As you journey on to your next challenge, I hope you'll find a way to use the expertise you've developed even as you cultivate maximum curiosity about the next frontier.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Andrea Levy never read a book until she was 23 and didn't start writing until her mid-30s. Now 49, she's the author of four books, including Small Island , which in 2004 won three major awards in her native Britain. She's your role model for the next four weeks, Leo. What natural talent have you failed to develop so far? Let Levy inspire you to shed your regret about it and dive in to a new era of full engagement.

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