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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Week of May 5

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Created by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, the Mona Lisa is one of the world’s most famous paintings. It’s hanging in the Louvre museum in Paris. In that same museum is a less renowned version of the Mona Lisa. It depicts the same woman, but she’s unclothed. Made by da Vinci’s student, it was probably inspired by a now-lost nude Mona Lisa painted by the master himself. Renaissance artists commonly created “heavenly” and “vulgar” versions of the same subject. I suggest that in the coming weeks you opt for the “vulgar” Mona Lisa, not the “heavenly” one, as your metaphor of power. Favor what’s earthy, raw, and unadorned over what’s spectacular, idealized, and polished.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Taurus poet Vera Pavlova writes, “Why is the word yes so brief? It should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it.” I suppose it makes sense for her to express such an attitude, given the fact that she never had a happy experience until she was 20 years old, and that furthermore, this happiness was “unbearable.” (She confessed these sad truths in an interview.) But I hope you won’t adopt her hard-edged skepticism toward YES anytime soon, Taurus. In my view, it’s time for you to become a connoisseur of YES, a brave explorer of the bright mysteries of YES, an exuberant perpetrator of YES.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
In indigenous cultures from West Africa to Finland to China, folklore describes foxes as crafty tricksters with magical powers. Sometimes they’re thought of as perpetrators of pranks, but more often they are considered helpful messengers or intelligent allies. I propose that you regard the fox as your spirit creature for the foreseeable future. I think you will benefit from the influence of your inner fox—the wild part of you that is ingenious, cunning, and resourceful.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
“The universe conspires in your favor,” writes author Neale Donald Welsch. “It consistently places before you the right and perfect people, circumstances, and situations with which to answer life’s only question: ‘Who are you?’” In my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, I say much the same thing, although I mention two further questions that life regularly asks, which are: 1. What can you do next to liberate yourself from some of your suffering? 2. What can you do next to reduce the suffering of others, even by a little? As you enter a phase when you’ll get ample cosmic help in diminishing suffering and defining who you are, I hope you meditate on these questions every day.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
The poet Anne Sexton wrote a letter to a Benedictine monk whose real identity she kept secret from the rest of us. She told him, “There are a few great souls in my life. They are not many. They are few. You are one.” In this spirit, Leo, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to take an inventory of the great souls in your life: the people you admire and respect and learn from and feel grateful for; people with high integrity and noble intentions; people who are generous with their precious gifts. When you’ve compiled your list, I encourage you to do as Sexton did: Express your appreciation; perhaps even send no-strings-attached gifts. Doing these things will have a profoundly healing effect on you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“It’s a temptation for any intelligent person to try to murder the primitive, emotive, appetitive self,” writes author Donna Tartt. “But that is a mistake. Because it is dangerous to ignore the existence of the irrational.” I’m sending this message out to you, Virgo, because in the coming weeks it will be crucial for you to honor the parts of your life that can’t be managed through rational thought alone. I suggest you have sacred fun as you exult in the mysterious, welcome the numinous, explore the wildness within you, unrepress big feelings you’ve buried, and marvel adoringly about your deepest yearnings.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Science writer Sharman Apt Russell provides counsel that I think you should consider adopting in the coming days. The psychospiritual healing you require probably won’t be available through the normal means, so some version of her proposal may be useful: “We may need to be cured by flowers. We may need to strip naked and let the petals fall on our shoulders, down our bellies, against our thighs. We may need to lie naked in fields of wildflowers. We may need to walk naked through beauty. We may need to walk naked through color. We may need to walk naked through scent.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
As Scorpio author Margaret Atwood reminds us, “Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.” According to my reading of the astrological omens, being like water will be an excellent strategy for you to embrace during the coming weeks. “Water is patient,” Atwood continues. “Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
In a letter to a friend in 1856, Sagittarian poet Emily Dickinson confessed she was feeling discombobulated because of a recent move to a new home. She hoped she would soon regain her bearings. “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself,” she quipped, adding that she couldn’t help laughing at her disorientation. She signed the letter “From your mad Emilie,” intentionally misspelling her own name. I’d love it if you approached your current doubt and uncertainty with a similar light-heartedness and poise. (PS: Soon after writing this letter, Dickinson began her career as a poet in earnest, reading extensively and finishing an average of one poem every day for many years.)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Now is a favorable time to celebrate both life’s changeableness and your own. The way we are all constantly called on to adjust to unceasing transformations can sometimes be a wearying chore, but I suspect it could be at least interesting and possibly even exhilarating for you in the coming weeks. For inspiration, study this message from the “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast: “You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Aquarian author Toni Morrison described two varieties of loneliness. The first “is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up; holding, holding on, this motion smooths and contains the rocker.” The second “is a loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive, on its own.” Neither kind is better or worse, of course, and both are sometimes necessary as a strategy for self-renewal—as a means for deepening and fine-tuning one’s relationship with oneself. I recommend either or both for you in the coming weeks.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
England’s Prince Charles requires his valet to iron his shoelaces and put toothpaste on his toothbrush and wash all of his clothes by hand. I could conceivably interpret the current astrological omens to mean that you should pursue similar behavior in the coming weeks. I could, but I won’t. Instead, I will suggest that you solicit help about truly important matters, not meaningless trivia like shoelace ironing. For example, I urge you to ask for the support you need as you build bridges, seek harmony, and make interesting connections.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Week of April 28

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Poet Allen Ginsberg despairingly noted that many people want MORE MORE MORE LIFE, but they go awry because they allow their desire for MORE MORE MORE LIFE to fixate on material things—machines, possessions, gizmos, and status symbols. Ginsberg revered different kinds of longings: for good feelings, meaningful experiences, soulful breakthroughs, deep awareness, and all kinds of love. In accordance with astrological potentials, Aries, I’m giving you the go-ahead in the coming weeks to be extra greedy for the stuff in the second category.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
In her poem “Mirror,” Taurus poet Halina Poswiatowska wrote, “I am dazed by the beauty of my body.” I applaud her brazen admiration and love for her most valuable possession. I wish more of us could genuinely feel that same adoration for our own bodies. And in accordance with current astrological omens, I recommend that you do indeed find a way to do just that right now. It’s time to upgrade your excitement about being in such a magnificent vessel. Even if it’s not in perfect health, it performs amazing marvels every minute of every day. I hope you will boost your appreciation for its miraculous capacities, and increase your commitment to treating it as the treasure that it is.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Gemini poet Buddy Wakefield writes that after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004, “the only structure still standing in the wiped-out village of Malacca [in Malaysia] was a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. I wanna be able to stand like that.” I expect you will indeed enjoy that kind of stability and stamina in the coming weeks, my dear. You won’t have to endure a metaphorical tsunami, thank Goddess, but you may have to stand strong through a blustery brouhaha or swirling turbulence. Here’s a tip: The best approach is not to be stiff and unmoving like a statue, but rather flexible and willing to sway.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
No educator had ever offered a class in psychology until trailblazing philosopher William James did so in 1875. He knew a lot about human behavior. “Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being,” he wrote. “They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a person who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using only his little finger.” I’m going to make an extravagant prediction here: I expect that in the coming months you will be better primed than ever before to expand your access to your consciousness, your resources, and your potentials. How might you begin such an adventure? The first thing to do is to set a vivid intention to do just that.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
“Someone in me is suffering and struggling toward freedom,” wrote Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. To that melodramatic announcement, I reply, good for him! I’m glad he was willing to put himself through misery and despair in order to escape misery and despair. But I also think it’s important to note that there are other viable approaches to the quest for liberation. For example, having lavish fun and enjoying oneself profoundly can be tremendously effective in that holy work. I suspect that in the coming weeks, Leo, the latter approach will accomplish far more for you than the former.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Virgo novelist Agatha Christie sold hundreds of millions of books, and is history’s most-translated author. While growing up, she had few other kids to associate with, so she created a host of imaginary friends to fill the void. They eventually became key players in her work as an author, helping her dream up stories. More than that: She simply loved having those invisible characters around to keep her company. Even in her old age, she still consorted with them. I bring this to your attention, Virgo, because now is a great time to acquire new imaginary friends or resurrect old ones. Guardian angels and ancestral spirits would be good to call on, as well. How might they be of assistance and inspiration to you?

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
“To hurry pain is to leave a classroom still in session,” notes Libran aphorist Yahia Lababidi. On the other hand, he observes, “To prolong pain is to miss the next lesson.” If he’s correct, the goal is to dwell with your pain for just the right amount of time—until you’ve learned its lessons and figured out how not to experience it again in the future—but no longer than that. I suspect that such a turning point will soon be arriving for you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
In her poem “Every Day,” Scorpio poet Denise Levertov wrote, “Every day, every day I hear enough to fill a year of nights with wondering.” I think that captures the expansive truth of your life in the coming weeks. You’ve entered a phase when the sheer abundance of interesting input may at times be overwhelming, though enriching. You’ll hear—and hopefully be receptive to—lots of provocative stories, dynamic revelations, and unexpected truths. Be grateful for this bounty! Use it to transform whatever might be stuck, whatever needs a catalytic nudge.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
I hope you’re not too stressed these days. There has been pressure on you to adjust more than maybe you’d like to adjust, and I hope you’ve managed to find some relaxing slack amidst the heaviness. But even if the inconvenience levels are deeper than you like, I have good news: It’s all in a good cause. Read the wise words of author Dan Millman, who describes the process you’re midway through: “Every positive change, every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness, involves a rite of passage. Each time we ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.”

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
We can safely say that Anais Nin was a connoisseur of eros and sensuality. The evidence includes her three collections of erotic writing, Delta of Venus, Little Birds, and Auletris. Here’s one of her definitive statements on the subject: “Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, stories, dreams, fantasies, music.” In response to Nin’s litany, I’m inclined to say, “Damn, that’s a lot of ambiance and scaffolding to have in place. Must it always be so complicated?” According to my reading of upcoming cosmic rhythms, you won’t need such a big array of stuff in your quest for soulful orgasms—at least not in the coming weeks. Your instinct for rapture will be finely tuned.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“One is always at home in one’s past,” wrote author Vladimir Nabokov. I agree. Sometimes that’s not a good thing, though. It may lead us to flee from the challenges of the present moment and go hide and cower and wallow in nostalgia. But on other occasions, the fact that we are always at home in the past might generate brilliant healing strategies. It might rouse in us a wise determination to refresh our spirit by basking in the deep solace of feeling utterly at home. I think the latter case is likely to be true for you in the coming weeks, Aquarius.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting,” writes author Emery Allen. “Not everyone is going to stay forever.” Her message is a good one for you to keep in mind right now. You’re in a phase when transitory boosts and temporary help may be exactly what you need most. I suspect your main task in the coming weeks is to get maximum benefit from influences that are just passing through your life. The catalysts that work best could be those that work only once and then disappear.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Week of April 21

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Blogger Emma Elsworthy wrote her “Self-Care List.” I’ll tell you a few of her 57 action items, in hopes of inspiring you to create your own list. The coming weeks will be a perfect phase to upgrade your focus on doing what makes you feel healthy and holy. Here are Elsworthy’s ideas: Get in the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. Organize your room. Clean your mirror and laptop. Lie in the sunshine. Become the person you would ideally fall in love with. Walk with a straight posture. Stretch your body. Challenge yourself to not judge or ridicule anyone for a whole day. Have a luxurious shower with your favorite music playing. Remember your dreams. Fantasize about the life you would lead if failure didn’t exist.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Some traditional Buddhist monks sit on city streets in Asia with a “begging bowl” in front of them. It’s a clay or iron container they use to solicit money and food from passers-by who want to support them. Contemporary American poet Mariannne Boruch regards the begging bowl as a metaphor that helps her generate new poems. She adopts the attitude of the empty vessel, awaiting life’s instructions and inspiration to guide her creative inquiry. This enables her to “avoid too much self-obsession and navel-gazing” and be receptive—”with no agenda besides the usual wonder and puzzlement.” I recommend the begging bowl approach to you as you launch the next phase of your journey, Taurus.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Gemini-born Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) is today regarded as an innovative and influential painter. But his early years provided few hints that he would ultimately become renowned. As a teenager, he attended naval preparatory school, and later he joined the French navy. At age 23, he became a stockbroker. Although he also began dabbling as a painter at that time, it wasn’t until the stock market crashed 11 years later that he made the decision to be a full-time painter. Is there a Gauguin-like turning point in your future, Gemini? If so, its early signs might show itself soon. It won’t be as dramatic or stressful as Gauguin’s, but I bet it will be quite galvinizing.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
A research team found that some people pray for things they are reasonably sure God wouldn’t approve of. In a sense, they’re trying to trick the Creator into giving them goodies they’re not supposed to get. Do you ever do that? Try to bamboozle life into offering you blessings you’re not sure you deserve? The coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to dare such ploys. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll succeed, but the chances are much better than usual that you will. The universe is pretty relaxed and generous toward you right now.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
In 2013, the New Zealand government decided to rectify the fact that its two main islands had never been assigned formal names. At that time, it gave both an English and Maori-language moniker for each: North Island, or Te Ika-a-Maui, and South Island, or Te Waipounamu. In the spirit of correcting for oversights and neglect, and in accordance with current astrological omens, is there any action you’d like to take to make yourself more official or professional or established? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to do so.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Author Grant Morrison observes that our heads are “big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there!” That’s why it’s so unfortunate, he says, if we fill up our “magical cabinet” with “little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over.” In accordance with astrological potentials, Virgo, I exhort you to dispose of as many of those sad trinkets and little broken things as you can. Make lots of room to hold expansive visions and marvelous dreams and wondrous possibilities. It’s time to think bigger and feel wilder.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Libran author bell hooks (who doesn’t capitalize her name) has a nuanced perspective on the nature of our pain. She writes, “Contrary to what we may have been taught, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us, but need not scar us for life.” She acknowledges that unnecessary and unchosen suffering does indeed “mark us.” But we have the power to reshape and transform how it marks us. I think her wisdom will be useful for you to wield in the coming weeks. You now have extra power to reshape and transform the marks of your old pain. You probably won’t make it disappear entirely, but you can find new ways to make it serve you, teach you, and ennoble you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
I love people who inspire me to surprise myself. I’m appreciative when an ally provides me with a friendly shock that moves me to question my habitual ways of thinking or doing things. I feel lucky when a person I like offers a compassionate critique that nudges me out of a rut I’ve been in. Here’s a secret: I don’t always wait around passively hoping events like these will happen. Now and then I actively seek them out. I encourage them. I ask for them. In the coming weeks, Scorpio, I invite you to be like me in this regard.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
“Where did last year’s lessons go?” asks Gillian Welch in her song “I Dream a Highway.” Now I’m posing the same question to you—just in time for the Remember Last Year’s Lessons Phase of your cycle. In my astrological opinion, it’s crucial for you to recollect and ruminate deeply on the breakdowns and breakthroughs you experienced in 2020; on every spiritual emergency and spiritual emergence you weathered; on all the scary trials you endured and all the sacred trails you trod.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Capricorn painter Henri Matisse had a revolutionary influence on 20th-century art, in part because of his raucous use of color. Early in his career he belonged to the movement known as Fauvism, derived from the French term for “wild beasts.” During his final years, he invented a new genre very different from his previous work: large collages of brightly colored cut-out paper. The subject matter, according to critic Jed Perl, included “jungles, goddesses, oceans, and the heavens,” and “ravishing signs and symbols” extracted from the depths of “Matisse’s luminosity.” I offer him as a role model for you, Capricorn, because I think it’s a perfect time to be, as Perl describes Matisse, both “a hard-nosed problem-solver and a feverish dreamer.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“The guiding motto in the life of every natural philosopher should be, ‘Seek simplicity, but distrust it.’” Aquarian philosopher Alfred North Whitehead wrote that, and now I’m proposing that you use it as your motto in the coming weeks, even if you’re not a natural philosopher. Why? Because I suspect you’ll thrive by uncomplicating your life. You’ll enhance your well-being if you put greater trust in your instinctual nature and avoid getting lost in convoluted thoughts. On the other hand, it’s important not to plunge so deeply into minimalism that you become shallow, careless, or unimaginative.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
In ancient Greek comic theater, there was a stock character known as the eiron. He was a crafty underdog who outwitted and triumphed over boastful egotists by pretending to be naive. Might I interest you in borrowing from that technique in the coming weeks? I think you’re most likely to be successful if you approach victory indirectly or sideways—and don’t get bogged down trying to forcefully coax skeptics and resisters. Be cagey, understated, and strategic, Pisces. Let everyone think they’re smart and strong if it helps ensure that your vision of how things should be will win out in the end.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Week of April 14

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
“Today I feel the whole world is a door,” wrote poet Dennis Silk. In a similar spirit, 13th-century Zen master Wumen Huikai observed, “The whole world is a door of liberation, but people are unwilling to enter it.” Now I’m here to tell you, Aries, that there will be times in the coming weeks when the whole world will feel like a door to you. And if you open it, you’ll be led to potential opportunities for interesting changes that offer you liberation. This is a rare blessing. Please be sufficiently loose and alert and brave to take advantage.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Taurus philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was called a genius by Nobel Prize-winning author Bertrand Russell. His Philosophical Investigations was once voted the 20th century’s most important philosophy book. Yet one of Wittgenstein’s famous quotes was “How hard it is to see what is right in front of my eyes!” Luckily for all of us, I suspect that won’t be problem for you in the coming weeks, Taurus. In fact, I’m guessing you will see a whole range of things that were previously hidden, even though some of them had been right in front of your eyes. Congrats! Everyone whose life you touch will benefit because of this breakthrough.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Why don’t rivers flow straight? Well, sometimes they do, but only for a relatively short stretch. According to the US Geological Survey, no river moves in a linear trajectory for a distance of more than ten times its width. There are numerous reasons why this is so, including the friction caused by banks and the fact that river water streams faster at the center. The place where a river changes direction is called a “meander.” I’d like to borrow this phenomenon to serve as a metaphor for your life in the coming weeks. I suspect your regular flow is due for a course change—a meander. Any intuitive ideas about which way to go? In which direction will the scenery be best?

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Cancerian poet Denis Johnson eventually became a celebrated writer who won numerous prizes, including the prestigious National Book Award. But life was rough when he was in his twenties. Because of his addictions to drugs and alcohol, he neglected his writing. Later, in one of his mature poems, he expressed appreciation to people who supported him earlier on. “You saw me when I was invisible,” he wrote, “you spoke to me when I was deaf, you thanked me when I was a secret.” Are there helpers like that in your own story? Now would be a perfect time to honor them and repay the favors.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
What do you believe in, exactly, Leo? The coming weeks will be a fine time to take an inventory of your beliefs—and then divest yourself of any that no longer serve you, no longer excite you, and no longer fit your changing understanding of how life works. For extra credit, I invite you to dream up some fun new beliefs that lighten your heart and stimulate your playfulness. For example, you could borrow poet Charles Wright’s approach: “I believe what the thunder and lightning have to say.” Or you could try my idea: “I believe in wonders and marvels that inspire me to fulfill my most interesting dreams.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Virgo poet Charles Wright testifies, “I write poems to untie myself, to do penance and disappear through the upper right-hand corner of things, to say grace.” What about you, Virgo? What do you do in order to untie yourself and do penance and invoke grace? The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to use all the tricks at your disposal to accomplish such useful transformations. And if you currently have a low supply of the necessary tricks, make it your healthy obsession to get more.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Kublai Khan, ruler of the Mongol Empire and China in the second half of the 13th century, kept a retinue of 5,000 astrologers on retainer. Some were stationed on the roof of his palace, tasked with using sorcery to banish approaching storm clouds. If you asked me to perform a similar assignment, I would not do so. We need storms! They bring refreshing rain, and keep the earth in electrical balance. Lightning from storms creates ozone, a vital part of our atmosphere, and it converts nitrogen in the air into nitrogen in the ground, making the soil more fertile. Metaphorical storms often generate a host of necessary and welcome transformations, as well—as I suspect they will for you during the coming weeks.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
“Unexpressed emotions will never die,” declared trailblazing psychologist Sigmund Freud. “They are buried alive and they will come forth, later, in uglier ways.” I agree, which is why I advise you not to bury your emotions—especially now, when they urgently need to be aired. OK? Please don’t allow a scenario in which they will emerge later in ugly ways. Instead, find the courage to express them soon—in the most loving ways possible, hopefully, and with respect for people who may not be entirely receptive to them. Communicate with compassionate clarity.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Sagittarian author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz wrote a poem entitled “Not Doing Something Wrong Isn’t the Same as Doing Something Right.” I propose that we make that thought one of your guiding themes during the next two weeks. If you choose to accept the assignment, you will make a list of three possible actions that fit the description “not doing something wrong,” and three actions that consist of “doing something right.” Then you will avoid doing the three wrong things named in the first list and give your generous energy to carrying out the three right things in the second list.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
In the past few weeks, I hope you’ve been treating yourself like a royal child. I hope you’ve been showering yourself with extra special nurturing and therapeutic treatments. I hope you’ve been telling yourself out loud how soulful and intelligent and resilient you are, and I hope you’ve delighted yourself by engaging with a series of educational inspirations. If for some inexplicable reason you have not been attending to these important matters with luxurious intensity, please make up for lost time in the coming days. Your success during the rest of 2021 depends on your devout devotion to self-care right now.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Sometimes when a disheartening kind of darkness encroaches, we’re right to be afraid. In fact, it’s often wise to be afraid, because doing so may motivate us to ward off or transmute the darkness. But on other occasions, the disheartening darkness that seems to be encroaching isn’t real, or else is actually less threatening than we imagine. Novelist John Steinbeck described the latter when he wrote, “I know beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid.” My suspicion is that this is the nature of the darkness you’re currently worried about. Can you therefore find a way to banish or at least diminish your fear?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“Some people, if they didn’t make it hard for themselves, might fall asleep,” wrote novelist Saul Bellow. In other words, some of us act as if it’s entertaining, even exciting, to attract difficulties and cause problems for ourselves. If that describes you even a tiny bit, Pisces, I urge you to tone down that bad habit in the coming weeks—maybe even see if you can at least partially eliminate it. The cosmic rhythms will be on your side whenever you take measures to drown out the little voices in your head that try to undermine and sabotage you. At least for now, say “NO!” to making it hard for yourself. Say “YES!” to making it graceful for yourself.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Week of April 7

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Author Susan Sontag defined “mad people” as those who “stand alone and burn.” She said she was drawn to them because they inspired her to do the same. What do you think she meant by the descriptor “stand alone and burn”? I suspect she was referring to strong-willed people devoted to cultivating the most passionate version of themselves, always in alignment with their deepest longings. She meant those who are willing to accept the consequences of such devotion, even if it means being misunderstood or alone. The coming weeks will be an interesting and educational time for you to experiment with being such a person.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
In the 1930s, Taurus-born Rita Levi-Montalcini was a promising researcher in neurobiology at the University of Turin in Italy. But when fascist dictator Benito Mussolini imposed new laws that forbade Jews from holding university jobs, she was fired. Undaunted, she created a laboratory in her bedroom and continued her work. There she laid the foundations for discoveries that ultimately led to her winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. I foresee you summoning comparable determination and resilience in the coming weeks, Taurus.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Religious scholar Karl Barth (1886–1968) wrote, “There will be no song on our lips if there be no anguish in our hearts.” To that perverse oversimplification, I reply: “Rubbish. Twaddle. Bunk. Hooey.” I’m appalled by his insinuation that pain is the driving force for all of our lyrical self-revelations. Case in point: you in the coming weeks. I trust there will be a steady flow of songs in your heart and on your lips because you will be in such intimate alignment with your life’s master plan.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
“It is not easy to be crafty and winsome at the same time, and few accomplish it after the age of six,” wrote Cancerian author John W. Gardner. But I would add that more adult Crabs accomplish this feat than any other sign of the zodiac. I’ll furthermore suggest that during the next six weeks, many of you will do it quite well. My prediction: You will blend lovability and strategic shrewdness to generate unprecedented effectiveness. (How could anyone resist you?)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Staring at flames had benefits for our primitive ancestors. As they sat around campfires and focused on the steady burn, they were essentially practicing a kind of meditation. Doing so enhanced their ability to regulate their attention, thereby strengthening their working memory and developing a greater capacity to make long-range plans. What does this have to do with you? As a fire sign, you have a special talent for harnessing the power of fire to serve you. In the coming weeks, that will be even more profoundly true than usual. If you can do so safely, I encourage you to spend quality time gazing into flames. I also hope you will super-nurture the radiant fire that glows within you. (More info: tinyurl.com/GoodFlames)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Physicist Victor Weisskopf told us, “What’s beautiful in science is the same thing that’s beautiful in Beethoven. There’s a fog of events and suddenly you see a connection. It connects things that were always in you that were never put together before.” I’m expecting there to be a wealth of these aha! moments for you in the coming weeks, Virgo. Hidden patterns will become visible. Missing links will appear. Secret agendas will emerge. The real stories beneath the superficial stories will materialize. Be receptive and alert!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
ungian psychoanalyst and folklore expert Clarissa Pinkola Estés celebrates the power of inquiry. She says that “asking the proper question is the central action of transformation,” both in fairy tales and in psychotherapy. To identify what changes will heal you, you must be curious to uncover truths that you don’t know yet. “Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open,” says Estes. I bring this to your attention, Libra, because now is prime time for you to formulate the Fantastically Magically Catalytic Questions.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
In April 1933, Scorpio-born African American singer Ethel Waters was in a “private hell.” Her career was at an impasse and her marriage was falling apart. In the depths of despondency, she was invited to sing a new song, “Stormy Weather,” at New York City’s famous Cotton Club. It was a turning point. She later wrote, “I was singing the story of my misery and confusion, of the misunderstandings in my life I couldn’t straighten out, the story of the wrongs and outrages done to me by people I had loved and trusted.” The audience was thrilled by her performance, and called her back for 12 encores. Soon thereafter, musical opportunities poured in and her career blossomed. I foresee a parallel event in your life, Scorpio. Maybe not quite so dramatic, but still, quite redemptive.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
I love to see you enjoy yourself. I get a vicarious thrill as I observe you pursuing pleasures that other people are too inhibited or timid to dare. It’s healing for me to witness you unleash your unapologetic enthusiasm for being alive in an amazing body that’s blessed with the miracle of consciousness. And now I’m going to be a cheerleader for your efforts to wander even further into the frontiers of bliss and joy and gratification. I will urge you to embark on a quest of novel forms of rapture and exultation. I’ll prod you to at least temporarily set aside habitual sources of excitement so you’ll have room to welcome as-yet unfamiliar sources.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Capricorn poet John O’Donahue suggested that a river’s behavior is worthy of our emulation. He said the river’s life is “surrendered to the pilgrimage.” It’s “seldom pushing or straining, keeping itself to itself everywhere all along its flow.” Can you imagine yourself doing that, Capricorn? Now is an excellent time to do so. O’Donahue rhapsodized that the river is “at one with its sinuous mind, an utter rhythm, never awkward,” and that “it continues to swirl through all unlikeness with elegance: a ceaseless traverse of presence soothing on each side, sounding out its journey, raising up a buried music.” Be like that river, dear Capricorn!

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?” wrote philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In response to that sentiment, I say, “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” Even if you will live till age 99, that’s still too brief a time to indulge in an excess of dull activities that activate just a small part of your intelligence. To be clear, I don’t think it’s possible to be perfect in avoiding boredom. But for most of us, there’s a lot we can do to minimize numbing tedium and energy-draining apathy. I mention this, Aquarius, because the coming weeks will be a time when you will have extra power to make your life as interesting as possible for the long run.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
I know of four different governmental organizations that have estimated the dollar value of a single human life. The average of their figures is $7.75 million. So let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you are personally worth that much. Does it change the way you think about your destiny? Are you inspired to upgrade your sense of yourself as a precious treasure? Or is the idea of putting a price on your merit uninteresting, even unappealing? Whatever your reaction is, I hope it prods you to take a revised inventory of your worth, however you measure it. It’s a good time to get a clear and precise evaluation of the gift that is your life. (Quote from Julia Cameron: “Treating yourself like a precious object makes you strong.”)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Week of March 31

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Playwright August Strindberg (1849–1912) was a maverick innovator who loved to experiment with plot and language. One of his stories takes place in a dream and the hero is the Christ-like daughter of a Vedic god. He once said that he felt “an immense need to become a savage and create a new world.” Given your current astrological potentials, Aries, I suspect that might be an apt motto for you right now. APRIL FOOL! I half-lied. There’s no need for you to become a savage. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. But the coming weeks will definitely be a good time to start creating a new world.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Who says all Tauruses are gentle, risk-avoidant, sensible, and reliable? Taurus author Mary MacLane (1861–1929), known as the “Wild Woman of Butte, Montana,” authored shocking, scandalous books. In I Await the Devil’s Coming, she testified, “I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not generous. I am merely a creature of intense passionate feeling. I feel—everything. It is my genius. It burns me like fire.” Can I convince you, Taurus, to make her your role model for the coming weeks? APRIL FOOL! I don’t think you should be EXACTLY like MacLane. Please leave out the part about “I am not good. I am not virtuous. I am not generous,” as well as the “I await the devil’s coming” part. But yes, do be a creature of intensely passionate feeling. Let your feelings be your genius, burning in you like a fire.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Poet Emily Dickinson had a good sense of humor, so she was probably making a wry joke when she wrote, “The lovely flowers embarrass me. They make me regret I am not a bee.” But who knows? Maybe Emily was being a bit sincere, too. In any case, I advise you to make a list of all the things you regret not being—all the qualities and assets you wish you had, but don’t. It’s a favorable time to wallow in remorse. APRIL FOOL! I was totally lying! In fact, I hope you will do the reverse: Engage in an orgy of self-appreciation, celebrating yourself for being exactly who you are.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Provocation specialist Lydia Lunch is a singer and poet who’s skilled at generating interesting mischief. She testifies, “My daily existence is a battlecade of extreme fluctuations where chaos clobbers apathy, which beats the s--- out of depression which follows irritability which slams into anger which eclipses ecstasy which slips through my fingers far too often.” In the coming weeks, Cancerian, I recommend you adopt her melodramatic approach to living the intense life. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Please don’t be like Lydia Lunch in the near future. On the contrary: Cultivate regal elegance, sovereign poise, and dynamic equanimity.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
In 1692, a Swedish man named Thiess of Kaltenbrun was put on trial for being a werewolf. He claimed to be a noble werewolf, however. He said he regularly went down to Hell to do holy combat against the Devil. I suggest you make him your inspirational role model in the coming weeks. Be as weird as you need to be in order to fight for what’s good and right. APRIL FOOL! I half-lied. What I really meant to say was: Be as weird as you need to be to fight for what’s good and right, but without turning into a werewolf, zombie, vampire, or other supernatural monster.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“I want to hear raucous music, to brush against bodies, to drink fiery Benedictine,” wrote author Anais Nin. “Beautiful women and handsome men arouse fierce desires in me. I want to dance. I want drugs. I want to know perverse people, to be intimate with them. I want to bite into life.” All that sounds like perfect counsel for you to consider right now, dear Virgo! APRIL FOOL! I lied. Nin’s exuberant testimony might be an interesting perspective to flirt with—if the COVID-19 virus had been completely tamed. But it hasn’t. So I must instead suggest that you find ways to express this lively, unruly energy in safe and sublimated ways.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Here are affirmations that will serve you well in the coming days. 1. “I am willing to make mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.” 2. “I am grateful that I’m not as judgmental as all the shortsighted, self-righteous people.” 3. “I assume full responsibility for my actions, except those that are someone else’s fault.” 4. “A good scapegoat is as welcome as a solution to the problem.” APRIL FOOL! All the preceding affirmations are total bunk! Don’t you dare use them. Use these instead: 1. “I enjoy taking responsibility for my actions.” 2. “Rather than indulging in the reflex to blame, I turn my attention to fixing the problem.” 3. “No one can make me feel something I don’t want to feel.” 4. “I’m free from believing in the images people have of me.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
According to author Kahlil Gibran, “If we were all to sit in a circle and confess our sins, we would laugh at each other for lack of originality.” But I challenge you Scorpios to refute that theory in the coming days. For the sake of your sanity and health, you need to commit highly original sins—the more, the better. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Save your novel, imaginative sinning for later. The truth is that now is an excellent time to explore the joyous and healthy practice of being extremely virtuous. Imitate author Susan Sontag: “My idolatry: I’ve lusted after goodness. Wanting it here, now, absolutely, increasingly.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
The coming months would be a great time to start your own university and then award yourself a PhD in Drugless Healing or Mathematical Reincarnation or Political Metaphysics—or any other subject you’d like to be considered an expert in. Hey, why not give yourself three PhDs and call yourself a Professor Emeritus? APRIL FOOL! I’m just joking. The coming months will indeed be an extremely favorable time to advance your education, but with real learning, not fake credentials.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
After his Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain committed suicide, Capricorn drummer Dave Grohl was depressed for months. To cheer himself up, he wrote and recorded an album’s worth of songs, playing almost all the instruments himself: drums, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, and vocals. I think you should try a similar spectacularly heroic solo task in the coming weeks. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Here’s my true and actual advice: Now is a time when you should gather all the support and help and cooperation you can possibly garner for an interesting project.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik told her psychoanalyst León Ostrov that if she were going to steal something, it would be “the façade of a certain collapsed house in a little town called Fontenay-aux-Roses [near Paris].” What was so special about this façade? Its windows were made of “magical” lilac-colored glass that was “like a beautiful dream.” In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you, too, to decide what marvel you would steal—and then go steal it! APRIL FOOL! I half-lied. Yes, definitely decide what you would steal—it’s important to give your imagination permission to be outrageous—but don’t actually steal it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
I’ve never understood the appeal of singer-songwriter Morrissey, especially since he began endorsing bigoted far-right politicians. However, I want to recommend that you adopt the attitude he once expressed in a letter to a friend. “It was a terrible blow to hear that you actually worked,” he wrote. “It’s so old-fashioned to work. I’d much rather lounge about the house all day looking fascinating.” Be like that in the coming weeks, Pisces! APRIL FOOL! I lied. In fact, you’d be making a silly mistake to lie around the house looking fascinating. It’s a highly favorable time for you to find ways to work harder and smarter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Week of March 24

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
In the novel House of Leaves, the hero Johnny Truant describes his friend Lude as wanting “more money, better parties, and prettier girls.” But Johnny wants something different. What is it? He says, “I’m not even sure what to call it except I know it feels roomy and it’s drenched in sunlight and it’s weightless and I know it’s not cheap.” In my opinion, that declaration is far too imprecise! He’ll never get what he wants until he gets clearer about it. But his fantasy is a good start. It shows that he knows what the fulfillment of his yearning feels like. I suggest you get inspired by Johnny Truant’s approximation to conjure up one of your own. Gaze ahead a few years, and see if you can imagine what your best possible future feels like. Then describe it to yourself as precisely as possible.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
How distraught I was when I discovered that one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, was an admirer of the murderous dictator Joseph Stalin. It broke my heart to know I could never again read his tender, lyrical poetry with unconditional appreciation. But that’s life: Some of our heroes and teachers disappoint us, and then it’s healthy to re-evaluate our relationships with them. Or maybe our own maturation leads us to realize that once-nurturing influences are no longer nurturing. I recommend that sometime soon, you take a personal inventory with these thoughts in mind. I suspect there may be new sources of inspiration headed your way. Get ready for them.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Self-help author Steve Maraboli has useful advice for you to consider in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll meditate on what he says and take decisive action. He writes, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” To get started, Gemini, make a list of three things you do have power over and three things you wish you did but don’t have power over.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
While he was alive, Cancerian author Franz Kafka burned 90% of everything he wrote. In a note to a friend before he died, he gave instructions to burn all the writing he would leave behind. Luckily, his friend disobeyed, and that’s why today we can read Kafka’s last three novels and a lot more of his stuff. Was his attitude toward his creations caused by the self-doubt that so many of us Cancerians are shadowed by? Was he, like a lot of us Crabs, excessively shy about sharing personal details from his life? In accordance with astrological omens, I urge you to at least temporarily transcend any Kafka-like tendencies you have. It’s time to shine brightly and boldly as you summon your full powers of self-expression.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
To create your horoscope, I’ve borrowed ideas from Leo-born author Cassiano Ricardo. He speaks of a longing “for all that is tall like pine trees, and all that is long like rivers, and all that is purple like dusk.” I think yearnings like those will be healthy and wise for you to cultivate in the coming weeks. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you need expansive influences that stretch your imagination and push you beyond your limitations. You will benefit from meditations and experiences that inspire you to outgrow overly small expectations.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Virgo actor and director Jean-Louis Barrault (1910–1994) aspired to “wake up a virgin each morning.” He wanted “to feel hungry for life,” as if he had been reborn once again. In order to encourage that constant renewal, he regarded going to sleep every night as “a small death.” I recommend his approach to you during the coming weeks. In my astrological opinion, the cosmic rhythms will be conspiring to regularly renew your desires: to render them pure, clean, raw, and strong. Cooperate with those cosmic rhythms!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Is there anything more gratifying than being listened to, understood, and seen for who you really are? I urge you to seek out that pleasure in abundance during the coming weeks. My reading of the astrological omens tells me you need the nurturing jolt that will come from being received and appreciated with extra potency. I hope you have allies who can provide that for you. If you don’t, search for allies who can. And in the meantime, consider engaging the services of a skillful psychotherapist or life coach or some other professional listener.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
“Blobs, spots, specks, smudges, cracks, defects, mistakes, accidents, exceptions, and irregularities are the windows to other worlds,” writes author Bob Miller. I would add that all those things, along with related phenomena like fissures, blemishes, stains, scars, blotches, muck, smears, dents, and imperfections, are often windows to very interesting parts of this seemingly regular old ordinary world—parts that might remain closed off from us without the help of those blobs and defects. I suggest you take full advantage of the opportunities they bring your way in the coming weeks.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Innovative psychologist Carl Jung had a nuanced understanding of the energies at work in our deep psyche. He said our unconscious minds are “not only dark but also light; not only bestial, semi-human, and demonic, but also superhuman, spiritual, and, in the classical sense of the word, ‘divine.’” I bring this to your attention, Sagittarius, because now is a favorable time to get better acquainted with and more appreciative of your unconscious mind. For best results, you must not judge it for being so paradoxical. Don’t be annoyed that it’s so unruly and non-rational. Have fun with its fertility and playfulness and weirdness.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
The fantasy drama Game of Thrones appeared on TVs all over the world. But the audience that watched it in China got cheated out of a lot of essential action. Government censorship deleted many scenes that featured nudity and sex, fighting and violence, and appearances by dragons, which play a starring role in the story. As you can imagine, Chinese viewers had trouble following some of the plot points. Telling you about this, Capricorn, is my way of nudging you to make sure you don’t miss any of the developments going on in your own personal drama. Some may be hidden, as in China’s version of Game of Thrones. Others might be subtle or disguised or underestimated. Make it your crusade to know about everything.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind,” wrote author Rudyard Kipling. Yes, they are. I agree. They change minds, rouse passions, build identities, incite social change, inspire irrationality, and create worlds. This is always true, but it will be especially important for you to keep in mind during the coming weeks. The ways you use language will be key to your health and success. The language that you hear and read will also be key to your health and success. For best results, summon extra creativity and craftsmanship as you express yourself. Cultivate extra discernment as you choose what you absorb.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
Piscean linguist Anna Wierzbicka says the Russian expression dusha naraspashku means “unbuttoned soul.” She continues, “The implication is that it is good, indeed wonderful, if a person’s ‘soul,’ which is the seat of emotions, is flung open in a spontaneous, generous, expansive, impetuous gesture, expressing full trust in other people and an innocent readiness for communion with them.” I wouldn’t recommend that you keep your soul unbuttoned 24/7/365, but in the coming weeks, I hope you’ll allocate more time than usual to keeping it unbuttoned.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Week of March 17

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Poet Ocean Vuong speaks of the Hawaiian word kipuka. It refers to a patch of earth that doesn’t get covered with lava when an active volcano exudes its molten material. “Before the lava descended,” Vuong writes, “that piece of land was insignificant, just another scrap in an endless mass of green.” But now that piece of land is special, having endured. I encourage you to identify your metaphorical equivalent of kipuka, Aries. It’s an excellent time to celebrate the power and luck and resilience that have enabled you to persevere.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
“Extraordinary things are always hiding in places people never think to look,” writes Taurus author Jodi Picoult. Luckily for you, Taurus, in the near future you’ll be prone to look in exactly those places—where no one else has thought to look. That means you’ll be extra likely to find useful, interesting, even extraordinary things that have mostly been hidden and unused. You may also discover some boring and worthless things, but the trade-off will be worth your effort. Congratulations in advance on summoning such brave curiosity.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
“When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice,” said Gemini author Saul Bellow. So if you have come here today to read my horoscopes, it’s possible that you’re seeking an accomplice to approve of you making a decision or a move that you have already decided to do. OK. I’ll be your accomplice. But as your accomplice, the first thing I’ll do is try to influence you to make sure your upcoming actions serve not only your own selfish interests (although there’s nothing wrong with that), but also serve the interests of people you care for. The weeks ahead will be a favorable time to blend self-interest and noble idealism.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
A character in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna is told to “go rub his soul against life.” Now I’ll advise you to do the same. Why? While it’s true that you have a beautiful soul, you sometimes get in the habit of hiding it away or keeping it secret. You feed it a wealth of dreams and emotions and longings, but may not go far enough in providing it with raw experience out in the messy, chaotic world. In my judgment, now is one of those times when you would benefit from rubbing your soul against life. Please note: I DON’T mean you should go in search of rough, tough downers. Not at all. In fact, there are plenty of pleasurable, safe, educational ways to rub your soul against life.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
If you love the work of self-help author Paulo Coelho, you might be inclined to adopt his motto as your own: “Being vulnerable is the best way to allow my heart to feel true pleasure.” But maybe you wouldn’t want to adopt his motto. After all, what he’s suggesting requires a great deal of courage and daring. Who among us finds it easy and natural to be soft and receptive and inviting? And yet according to my analysis of the astrological omens, this is exactly what your assignment should be for the next two weeks. To help motivate yourself, remember the payoff described by Coelho: the possibility that your heart will feel true pleasure.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
According to my analysis Virgo author Michael Ondaatje celebrates “the hidden presence of others in us—even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.” As you approach your own upcoming border-crossing, dear Virgo, I encourage you to tune into memories about seven specific people who over the course of your life have provided you with the most joy and the most interesting lessons. Close your eyes for 20 minutes and imagine they are all gathered together with you in your favorite sanctuary. Remember in detail the blessings they bestowed on you. Give thanks for their influences, for the gifts they gave that have helped you become your beautiful self.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
“A balance that does not tremble cannot weigh. A person who does not oscillate cannot live.” So wrote biochemist Erwin Chargaff, who did crucial research leading to the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure. Since you’re the zodiac’s expert on balance and oscillation, and because these themes will be especially meaningful for you in the coming days, I’ll ask you to meditate on them with extra focus. Here’s my advice: To be healthy and resilient, you need to be aware of other possibilities besides those that seem obvious and simple and absolutely true. You need to consider the likelihood that the most correct answers are almost certainly those that are paradoxical and complicated and full of nuance.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
In her poem “Sandra,” Scorpio poet Ariana Reines testifies that she has too many feelings—and that’s not a problem. On the contrary. They are her wealth, she says, her “invisible splendor.” I invite you to regard your own “too many feelings” in the same way, especially in the coming weeks. You will have opportunities to harness your flood of feelings in behalf of transformative insights and holistic decision-making. Your motto: Feelings are healing.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Historian and author Thomas Berry described “wildness” as the source of our “authentic spontaneities.” He said it’s “the wellspring of creativity” at the root of our lust for life. That’s a different definition from the idea that wildness is about being unruly, rough, and primitive. And Berry’s definition happens to be the one that should be central to your work and play in the coming weeks. Your assignment is to be wild: that is, to cultivate your authentic spontaneities; to home in on and nourish the creative wellspring of your lust for life.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Some of the great discoveries in the history of physics have been made while the trailblazing physicists are lolling in bed or in the bathtub. They have done the research and carried out the rigorous thinking, and are rewarded with breakthroughs while relaxing. I think that will be your best formula for success in the coming weeks. Important discoveries are looming. Interesting innovations are about to hatch. You’re most likely to gather them in if you work intensely on preparing the way for them, then go off and do something fun and rejuvenating.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
My typical horoscope is an average of 108 words long. In that limited space, I can’t possibly tell you all the themes and threads that will be active for you during the upcoming phase of your cycle. I have to make choices about what to include and what not to include. This time I’ll focus on the fact that you now have an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your sense of smell—and to purposefully nourish your sense of smell. Your homework: Decide on at least five scents with which you will cultivate an intimate, playful, delightful connection in the coming days. (PS: You may be surprised at how this practice will deepen your emotional connection with the world.)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
No one had ever proven that there was such a thing as electromagnetic waves until Piscean physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857–1894) did so in 1886. He was the innovator who first transmitted and received controlled radio waves. Alas, he didn’t think his breakthrough was useful. In 1890, he confessed, “I do not think that the wireless waves I have discovered will have any practical application.” But other scientists were soon capitalizing on his work to communicate long distances. Radio broadcasts were born. I will encourage you not to make a Hertzian-type mistake in the coming months. Always follow through on your initial labors. Have faith that the novelties you dream up will eventually have practical value.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Week of March 10

Posted By on Wed, Mar 10, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Artist Richard Kehl tells this traditional Jewish story: God said to Abraham, “But for me, you would not be here.” Abraham answered, “I know that Lord, but were I not here there would be no one to think about you.” I’m bringing this tale to your attention, dear Aries, because I think the coming weeks will be a favorable time to summon a comparable cheekiness with authorities, including even the Divine Wow Herself. So I invite you to consider the possibility of being sassy, saucy, and bold. Risk being an articulate maverick with a point of view that the honchos and experts should entertain.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Spiritual author Ernest Holmes wrote, “True imagination is not fanciful daydreaming. it is fire from heaven.” Unfortunately, however, many people do indeed regard imagination as mostly just a source of fanciful daydreaming. And it is also true that when our imaginations are lazy and out of control, when they conjure delusional fears and worries, they can be debilitating. I bring this to your attention, Taurus, because I believe the coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to harness the highest powers of your imagination—to channel the fire from heaven—as you visualize all the wonderful and interesting things you want to do with your life in the next nine months.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
“I’m always waiting for a door to open in a wall without doors,” wrote Gemini author Fernando Pessoa. Huh? Pessoa was consistently eccentric in his many writings, and I find this particular statement especially odd. I’m going to alter it so it makes more sense and fits your current needs. Here’s your motto for the coming weeks: “I’m always ready to figure out how to make a new door in a wall without doors, and call on all necessary help to make it.”

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
You can’t drive to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It’s a 104,000-square-mile area with a sub-Arctic climate in the far east of Russia. No roads connect it to the rest of the world. Its major city, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is surrounded by volcanoes. If you want to travel there, you must arrive by plane or ship. And yet Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky has long had a thriving tourist industry. More so before the pandemic, but even now, outsiders have come to paraglide, hunt for bears, and marvel at the scenery. In this horoscope, I am making an outlandish metaphorical comparison of you to the Kamchatka Peninsula. Like that land, people sometimes find it a challenge to reach you. And yet when they do, you can be quite welcoming. Is this a problem? Maybe, maybe not. What do you think? Now is a good time to re-evaluate.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Biting midges, also known as no-see-ums, are blood-sucking flies that spread various diseases. Yuck, right? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we used science to kill off all biting midges everywhere? Well, there would be a disappointing trade-off if we did. The creepy bugs are the primary pollinators for several crops grown in the topics, including cacao. So if we got rid of the no-see-ums, there’d probably be no more chocolate. I’m guessing that you may be dealing with a comparable dilemma, Leo: an influence that has both a downside and an upside. The central question is: Can you be all you want to be without it in your life? Or not? Now is a good time to ponder the best way to shape your future relationship.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
According to my analysis of your imminent astrological potentials, you already are or will soon be floating and whirling and churning along on an ocean of emotion. In other words, you will be experiencing more feelings and stronger feelings than you have in quite some time. This doesn’t have to be a problem as long as you do the following: 1. Be proud and appreciative about being able to feel so much. 2. Since only a small percentage of your feelings need to be translated into practical actions, don’t take them too seriously. 3. Enjoy the ride!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Poet Wendell Berry says “it’s the immemorial feelings” he likes best: “hunger and thirst and their satisfaction; work-weariness and earned rest; the falling again from loneliness to love.” Notice that he doesn’t merely love the gratification that comes from quenching his hunger and thirst. The hunger and thirst are themselves essential components of his joy. Work-weariness and loneliness are not simply inconvenient discomforts that he’d rather live without. He celebrates them, as well. I think his way of thinking is especially worthy of your imitation in the next three weeks.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Famous and
influential science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick relied on amphetamines to fuel his first 43 novels. Beginning with A Scanner Darkly, his 44th, he did without his favorite drug. It wasn’t his best book, but it was far from his worst. It sold well and was made into a movie featuring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., and two other celebrity actors. Inspired by Dick’s success without relying on his dependency—and in accordance with current astrological omens—I’m inviting you to try doing without one of your addictions or compulsions or obsessions as you work on your labor of love.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Ninety percent of all apples in the world are descended from a forest of apple trees in southeast Kazakhstan. Most of us have tasted just a few types of apples, but there’s a much wider assortment of flavors in that natural wonderland. You know how wine is described as having taste notes and aromas? The apple flavor of Kazakhstan’s apples may be tinged with hints of roses, strawberries, anise, pineapples, coconuts, lemon peels, pears, potatoes, or popcorn. Can you imagine traveling to that forest and exploring a far more complex and nuanced relationship with a commonplace food? During the coming weeks, I invite you to experiment with arousing metaphorically similar experiences. In what old familiar persons, places, or things could you find a surprising wealth of previously unexplored depth and variety?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Author Andrew Tilin testified that he sometimes had the feeling that his life was in pieces—but then realized that most of the pieces were good and interesting. So his sense of being a mess of unassembled puzzle parts gave way to a deeper contentment—an understanding that the jumble was just fine the way it was. I recommend you cultivate and enjoy an experience like that in the coming weeks, Capricorn.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Indian poet Meena Alexander (1951–2018) was bon under the sign of Aquarius. She became famous after she moved to the US at age 29, but was raised in India and the Sudan. In her poem “Where Do You Come From?,” she wrote, “Mama beat me when I was a child for stealing honey from a honey pot.” I’m sorry to hear she was treated so badly for enjoying herself. She wasn’t committing a crime! The honey belonged to her family, and her family had plenty of money to buy more honey. This vignette is my way of advising you, in accordance with astrological omens, to carry out your personal version of “stealing the honey from the honeypot,” dear Aquarius. Take what’s rightfully yours.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
The bad news is that the narrow buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea is laced with landmines. Anyone who walks there is at risk for getting blown up. The good news is that because people avoid the place, it has become an unprecedented nature preserve—a wildlife refuge where endangered species like the red-crowned crane and Korean fox can thrive. In the coming weeks and months, I’d love to see you engage in a comparable project, Pisces: finding a benevolent use for a previously taboo or wasted part of your life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Week of March 3

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
In late April of 1969, Cambridhgeshire, UK hosted the first-ever Thriplow Daffodil Weekend: a flower show highlighting 80 varieties of narcissus. In the intervening years, climate change has raised the average temperature 3.24 degrees Fahrenheit. So the flowers have been blooming progressively earlier each year, which has necessitated moving the festival back. The last pre-Covid show in 2019 was on March 23-24, a month earlier than the original. Let’s use this as a metaphor for shifting conditions in your world. I invite you to take an inventory of how your environment has been changing, and what you could do to ensure you’re adapting to new conditions.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Author Leo Buscaglia told us that among ancient Egyptians, two specific questions were key in evaluating whether a human life was well-lived. They were “Did you bring joy?” and “Did you find joy?” In accordance with your current astrological potentials, I’m inviting you to meditate on those queries. And if you discover there’s anything lacking in the joy you bring and the joy you find, now is a very favorable time to make corrections.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
At age 11, the future first President of the United States George Washington became the “owner” of ten slaves. A few years later he “bought” 15 more. By the time he was president, 123 men, women, and children were struggling in miserable bondage under his control. Finally, in his will, he authorized them to be freed after he and his wife died. Magnanimous? Hell, no. He should have freed those people decades earlier—or better yet, never “owned” them in the first place. Another Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin not only freed his slaves but became an abolitionist. By my count, at least 11 of the other Founding Fathers never owned slaves. Now here’s the lesson I’d like us to apply to your life right now: Don’t procrastinate in doing the right thing. Do it now.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
During World War II, the Japanese island of Okunoshima housed a factory that manufactured poison gas for use in chemical warfare against China. These days it is a tourist attraction famous for its thousands of feral but friendly bunnies. I’d love to see you initiate a comparable transmutation in the coming months, dear Cancerian: changing bad news into good news, twisted darkness into interesting light, soullessness into soulfulness. Now is a good time to ramp up your efforts.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
“Scars speak for you,” writes author Gena Showalter. “They say you’re strong, and you’ve survived something that might have killed others.” In that spirit, dear Leo, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to authorize your scars to express interesting truths about you in the coming weeks. Allow them to demonstrate how resilient you’ve been, and how well you’ve mastered the lessons that your past suffering has made available. Give your scars permission to be wildly eloquent about the transformations you’ve been so courageous in achieving.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
According to novelist Doris Lessing, “Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me.” She implied that hardly anyone ever gets such an experience—or that it’s so rare as to be always tugging on our minds, forever a source of unquenched longing. But I’m more optimistic than Lessing. In my view, the treasured exchange she describes is not so impossible. And I think it will especially possible for you in the coming weeks. I suspect you’re entering a grace period of being listened to, understood, and treated kindly. Here’s the catch: For best results, you should be forthright in seeking it out.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
“How much has to be explored and discarded before reaching the naked flesh of feeling,” wrote composer Claude Debussy. In the coming weeks, I hope you’ll regard his words as an incitement to do everything you can to reach the naked flesh of your feelings. Your ideas are fine. Your rational mind is a blessing. But for the foreseeable future, what you need most is to deepen your relationship with your emotions. Study them, please. Encourage them to express themselves. Respect their messages as gifts, even if you don’t necessarily act upon them.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
You may never wander out alone into a dark forest or camp all night on a remote beach or encounter a mountain lion as you climb to a glacier near the peak of a rugged mountain. But there will always be a primeval wilderness within you—uncivilized lands and untamed creatures and elemental forces that are beyond your rational understanding. That’s mostly a good thing! To be healthy and wise, you need to be in regular contact with raw nature, even if it’s just the kind that’s inside you. The only time it may be a hindrance is if you try to deny its existence, whereupon it may turn unruly and inimical. So don’t deny it! Especially now. (PS: To help carry out this assignment, try to remember the dreams you have at night. Keep a recorder or notebook and pen near your bed.)

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
“What damages a person most,” wrote philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “is to work, think, and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure—as a mere automaton of duty.” Once a year, I think every one of us, including me, should meditate on that quote. Once a year, we should evaluate whether we are living according to our soul’s code; whether we’re following the path with heart; whether we’re doing what we came to earth to accomplish. In my astrological opinion, the next two weeks will be your special time to engage in this exploration.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
What are your edges, Capricorn? What aspects of your identity straddle two different categories? Which of your beliefs embrace seemingly opposed positions? In your relations with other people, what are the taboo subjects? Where are the boundaries that you can sometimes cross and other times can’t cross? I hope you’ll meditate on these questions in the coming weeks. In my astrological opinion, you’re primed to explore edges, deepen your relationship with your edges, and use your edges for healing and education and cultivating intimacy with your allies. As author Ali Smith says, “Edges are magic; there’s a kind of forbidden magic on the borders of things, always a ceremony of crossing over, even if we ignore it or are unaware of it.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
According to intermedia artist Sidney Pink, “The idea of divine inspiration and an aha moment is largely a fantasy.” What the hell is he talking about?! That’s fake news, in my view. In the course of my creative career, I’ve been blessed with thousands of divine inspirations and aha moments. But I do acknowledge that my breakthroughs have been made possible by “hard work and unwavering dedication,” which Sidney Pink extols. Now here’s the climax of your oracle: You Aquarians are in a phase when you should be doing the hard work and unwavering dedication that will pave the way for divine inspirations and aha moments later this year.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
For you Pisceans, March is Love Yourself Bigger and Better and Bolder Month. To prepare you for this festival, I’m providing two inspirational quotes. 1. “If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” —Barbara De Angelis 2. “Loving yourself does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.” —Margo Anand

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