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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Week of September 8

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
“We need to become more unreasonable but in an intelligent way,” says Aries politician Jerry Brown. Yes! I agree! And that’s especially true for you right now, Aries. To Brown’s advice, I will add this message from Aries fashion designer Vivienne Westwood: “Intelligence is composed mostly of imagination, insight—things that have nothing to do with reason.” Here’s one further suggestion to help you take maximum advantage of cosmic rhythms, courtesy of Aries historian Arnold J. Toynbee: “The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.”

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
“I have become whole and complete, like a thundering cloudburst in summer,” wrote Taurus poet Miklós Radnóti. I love that metaphor for fullness: not an immaculate icon of shiny, sterile perfection, but rather a primal, vigorous force of nature in all of its rumbling glory. I hope you like this symbol as much as I do, and I hope you use it to fuel your creative spirit in the coming weeks. PS: Keep in mind that many indigenous people welcome rainstorms as a source of fertility and growth.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
“Pandiculation” is a word that refers to when you stretch and yawn at the same time. According to my understanding of the astrological omens, you will benefit from doing a lot of pandiculations in the coming days. I also recommend gazing lazily out the window and looking at the sky a lot. Keep your shoes off as much as possible, get a massage or three, and let yourself sleep more than you customarily do. Did you know that sighing deeply is good for your lungs’ health? Here’s your homework: Dream up all the things you can do to relax and renew yourself. It’s prime time to indulge in generous acts of self-healing.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
The ancient Roman author Pliny’s ten-volume Natural History, written in the first century, was a monumental encyclopedia of the natural world, unprecedented in its own time and for centuries afterward. It offered compilations of facts about astronomy, geography, zoology, botany, mineralogy, and many other subjects. There was one big problem with it, however. It contained a great deal of erroneous information. For example, Pliny described in detail many non-existent animals, including dragons, flying horses, and giant serpents that swallowed bulls and snatched birds out of the sky. My reason for telling you this is to inspire you to be extra discerning in the coming weeks. Be especially skeptical of authorities, experts, and other know-it-alls who are very confident despite being inaccurate or erroneous. It’s time for you to increase your trust in your own authority.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
“There are those fortunate hours when the world consents to be made into a poem,” writes Leo poet Mark Doty. That’s great for a poet. But what about for everyone else? My variation on Doty’s comment is this: There are fortunate hours when the world consents to be made into a holy revelation or a lyrical breakthrough or a marvelous feeling that changes our lives forever. I expect events like those to come your way at least twice in the immediate future.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Between 37 and 41 BCE, Virgo-born Caligula served as third Emperor of Rome. To do so, he had to disprove the prophecy of a renowned astrologer, Thrasyllus of Mendes. Years earlier, Thrasyllus had predicted that Caligula, despite being well-connected, “had no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae”—a distance of two miles. Once in power, Caligula arranged to have a series of pontoon boats arrayed across the bay, enabling him to ride his favorite horse Incitatus from one shore to the other across the Bay of Baiae. I foresee the possibility of a comparable turn of events for you, Virgo. Is there a curse you want to undo? A false prophecy you’d like to cancel? Someone’s low expectation you would love to debunk? The coming weeks will be a favorable time.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
College student Amelia Hamrick studied the right panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s 15th-century painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. It depicts a hellish scene. Cities are on fire. Weird beasts devour sinful humans. There are demons and torture chambers. Hamrick did what no one in the history of art had ever done: She transcribed the musical score that the artist had written on a man’s naked hindquarters. Her work inspired a composer to create a recording entitled “500-Year-Old Butt Song from Hell.” In the coming weeks, I invite you to perform feats comparable to Hamrick: 1. Explore the past for useful, overlooked clues. 2. Find or create redemptive transformations out of stressful situations. 3. Have fun telling stories about your past misadventures.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Born on one of the Galapagos Islands, Diego is a giant tortoise who has lived for over 100 years. He’s a member of the Hood Island species, which had dwindled to a population of 15 by 1977. That’s when he and his tortoise colleague, whose name is E5, became part of a breeding program with 12 female tortoises. E5 was reserved in his behavior, but Diego was a showboat who vocalized loudly as he enjoyed public mating rituals. Together the two males saved their species—producing over 2,000 offspring in subsequent years. According to my astrological analysis, you could be as metaphorically fertile as Diego and E5 in the coming months—even if you prefer to adopt an approach more akin to E5’s.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
“The meaning of my existence is that life has addressed a question to me,” wrote psychologist Carl Jung. “Or, conversely, I myself am a question that is addressed to the world, and I must communicate my answer, for otherwise, I am dependent upon the world’s answer.” These are superb meditations for you Sagittarians during the coming weeks. Between now and October 1, I invite you to keep a journal where you write about two subjects: 1. What is the main question that life asks you? 2. What is the main question that your life asks the world?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
North Korea’s Capricorn leader Kim Jong-un has an amazing résumé. Official reports say he learned to drive at age three and was an accomplished sailor at nine. As an adult, he developed the power to control the weather. He’s a skilled musician and artist, as well as a scientist who developed a miracle drug to cure AIDs, Ebola, cancer, heart disease, and the common cold. Most impressively, Kim is an archaeologist who discovered a lair where magical unicorns live. Is it possible you have unexpressed powers like these, Capricorn? If so, the coming weeks will be a favorable time to identify them and start tapping into their potential. It’s time to develop your dormant talents.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Aquarian author Toni Morrison testified, “I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence. It’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for.” I urge you to adopt her perspective during the next four weeks, Aquarius. In my astrological opinion, a devoted quest for beauty will heal exactly what most needs to be healed in you. It will teach you everything you most need to know.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
Poet and translator Anne Carson periodically joins with her husband Robert Currie to teach a workshop called “EgoCircus.” It’s an ironic title, because the subject they teach is the art of collaboration. To develop skills as a collaborator, of course, people must lay aside at least some of their egos’ needs and demands. In accordance with current astrological potentials, I encourage you to stage your own version of EgoCircus in the coming weeks. The time is ripe for you to hone your creative togetherness and synergistic intimacy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Week of September 1

Posted By on Wed, Sep 1, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Aries poet Anna Kamienska wrote, “I’ve learned to value failed conversations, missed connections, confusions. What remains is what’s unsaid, what’s underneath. Understanding on another level of being.” In the coming weeks, I suggest you adopt her perspective as you evaluate both past and present experiences. You’re likely to find small treasures in what you’d assumed were wastelands. You may uncover inspiring clues in plot twists that initially frustrated you. Upon further examination, interludes you dismissed as unimportant or uninteresting could reveal valuable wrinkles.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
After studying your astrological omens, I’ve decided to offer you inspiration from the ancient Roman poet Catullus. I hope the extravagant spirit of his words will free you to be greedy for the delights of love and affection. Catullus wrote, “Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred; then another thousand, then a second hundred; then yet another thousand.” I’ll add the following to Catullus’s appeal: Seek an abundance of endearing words, sweet favors and gifts, caresses and massages, help with your work, and fabulous orgasms. If there’s no one in your life to provide you with such blessings, give them to yourself.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Gemini author Elif Batuman writes that the Old Uzbek language was rich in expressions about crying. There were “words for wanting to cry and not being able to, for loudly crying like thunder in the clouds, for crying in gasps, for weeping inwardly or secretly, for crying ceaselessly in a high voice, for crying in hiccups, and for crying while uttering the sound ‘hay hay.’” I recommend all of these to you in the coming days, as well as others you might dream up. Why? It’s prime time to seek the invigorating release and renewal that come from shedding tears generated by deep and mysterious feelings.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
A blogger named MythWoven imagines an “alternate universe where I literally go to school forever (for free) so I can learn about art and literature and history and languages for 100 years. No job skills. No credit requirements. No student loans. Just learning.” I have longings like hers. There’s an eternal student within me that wants to be endlessly surprised with exciting information about interesting subjects. I would love to be continually adding fresh skills and aptitudes to my repertoire. In the coming weeks, I will give free rein to that part of me. I recommend you do the same, my fellow Cancerian.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
In 2016, the International Garden Photograph of the Year depicted lush lupine flowers in New Zealand. The sea of tall purple, pink, and blue blooms was praised as “an elegant symphony” and “a joy to behold.” What the judges didn’t mention is that lupine is an invasive species in New Zealand. It forces native plant species out of their habitat, which in turn drives away native animal species, including birds like the wrybill, black stilt, and banded dotterel. Is there a metaphorically comparable phenomenon in your life, Leo? Problematic beauty? Some influence that’s both attractive and prickly? A wonderful thing that can also be troublesome? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to try to heal the predicament.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“I often wonder who I am and where is my country and where do I belong and why was I ever born at all,” wrote Virgo author Jean Rhys (1890–1979). I don’t think you will be agitated by those questions during the next eight weeks, Virgo. In fact, I suspect you will feel as secure in your identity as you have in a long time. You will enjoy prolonged clarity about your role in the world, the nature of your desires, and how you should plan your life for the next two years. If for some inexplicable reason you’re not already enjoying these developments, stop what you’re doing and meditate on the probability that I am telling you the bold truth.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Several states in the US have statutes prohibiting blasphemy. Saying “God damn it” could theoretically get you fined in Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Wyoming. In the coming days, it’s best to proceed carefully in places like those, since you’ve been authorized by cosmic forces to curse more often and more forcefully than usual. Why? Because you need to summon vivid and intense protests in the face of influences that may be inhibiting and infringing on your soul’s style. You have a poetic license to rebel against conventions that oppress you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Everyone dreams at least three dreams per night. In a year, your subconscious mind generates over 1,100 dreams. About this remarkable fact, novelist Mila Kundera writes, “Dreaming is not merely an act of coded communication. It is also an aesthetic activity, a game that is a value in itself. To dream about things that have not happened is among humanity’s deepest needs.” I bring this to your attention, Scorpio, because September is Honor Your Dreams Month. To celebrate, I suggest the following experiments. 1. Every night before sleep, write down a question you’d like your dreams to respond to. 2. Keep a notebook by your bed and transcribe at least one dream each time you sleep. 3. In the morning, have fun imagining what the previous night’s dreams might be trying to communicate to you. 4. Say prayers of gratitude to your dreams, thanking them for their provocative, entertaining stories.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
In her autobiography Changing, Sagittarian actor Liv Ullmann expresses grief about how she and a loved one failed to communicate essential truths to each other. I propose we regard her as your anti-role model for the rest of 2021. Use her error as your inspiration. Make emotionally intelligent efforts to talk about unsaid things that linger like ghostly puzzles between you and those you care about.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
“I could do with a bit more excess,” writes author Joanne Harris. “From now on I’m going to be immoderate—and volatile,” she vows. “I shall enjoy loud music and lurid poetry. I shall be rampant.” Let me be clear, Capricorn: I’m not urging you to be immoderate, volatile, excessive, and rampant every day for the rest of your long life. But I think you will generate health benefits and good fortune if you experiment with that approach in the coming weeks. Can you think of relatively sane, sensible ways to give yourself this salubrious luxury?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
While wading through the internet’s wilder terrain, I found a provocative quote alleged to have been uttered by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. He supposedly said, “My ultimate goal is to look totally hot, but not be unapproachable.” I confess that in the past I have sometimes been fooled by fake quotes, and I suspect this is one. Still, it’s amusing to entertain the possibility that such an august personage as Socrates, a major influencer of Western culture, might say something so cute and colloquial. Even if he didn’t actually say it, I like the idea of blending ancient wisdom with modern insights, seriousness with silliness, thoughtful analysis with good fun. In accordance with astrological omens, I recommend you experiment with comparable hybrids in the coming weeks. (PS: One of your goals should be to look totally hot, but not be unapproachable.)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“If you don’t know what you want,” writes Piscean novelist Chuck Palahniuk, “you end up with a lot you don’t.” Very true! And right now, it’s extra important to keep that in mind. During the coming weeks, you’ll be at the peak of your ability to attract what you want and need. Wouldn’t you prefer to gather influences you really desire—as opposed to those for which you have mild or zero interest? Define your wants and needs very precisely.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Week of August 25

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Aries mythologist Joseph Campbell advised us to love our fate. He said we should tell ourselves, “Whatever my fate is, this is what I need.” Even if an event seems inconvenient or disruptive, we treat it as an opportunity, as an interesting challenge. “If you bring love to that moment, not discouragement,” Campbell said, “you will find the strength.” Campbell concludes that any detour or disarray you can learn from “is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!” Few signs of the zodiac are inclined to enthusiastically adopt such an approach, but you Aries folks are most likely to do so. Now is an especially favorable time to use it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
The brilliant Taurus dancer and choreographer Martha Graham spoke of “a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action,” adding that “there is only one of you in all time.” She added, “It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” But even if you do this very well, Graham said, you will nevertheless always feel “a divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest” that will fuel you. This is the perfect message for you Tauruses to embrace in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
There’s growing scientific evidence that we make ourselves stupid by complaining too much—or even by listening to other people complain a lot. Excessive negative thoughts drain energy from our hippocampus, a part of our brain that’s essential to problem-solving. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we should avoid dealing with difficult issues. But it does suggest we should be discerning about how many disturbing and depressing ideas we entertain. According to my reading of the omens, all this will be especially useful advice for you in the coming weeks.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Your brain contains one hundred billion nerve cells. Each cell has the potential to be linked with tens of thousands of others. And they are always busy. Typically, your grey matter makes a million new connections every second. But I suspect your number of connections will increase even beyond that in the coming weeks. Your most complex organ will be working with greater intensity than usual. Will that be a bad thing or a good thing? It depends on whether you formulate an intention to channel your intelligence into wise analysis about important matters—and not waste it in careless fussing about trivial details.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
“You should have a sticky soul,” counsels author Elizabeth Berg. “The act of continually taking things in should be as much a part of you as your hair color.” I especially endorse that attitude for you during the next four weeks, Leo. Your task is to make yourself extra magnetic for all the perceptions, experiences, ideas, connections, and resources you need most. By September 23, I suspect you will have gained an infusion of extra ballast and gravitas.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“I sing like the nightingale whose melody is crowded in the too narrow passage of her throat,” wrote author Virginia Woolf. That was an insulting curse for her to fling at herself. I disapprove of such behavior—especially for you in the coming weeks. If you hope to be in alignment with cosmic rhythms, don’t you dare say nasty things about yourself, even in the privacy of your own thoughts. In fact, please focus on the exact opposite: flinging praise and appreciation and compliments at yourself.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
The blogger at www-wlw.tumblr.com says the following are the top tender actions. 1. Fastening clothes or jewelry for your companion. 2. Letting them rest their head on your shoulder. 3. Idly playing with their hands. 4. Brushing a leaf out of their hair. 5. Locking pinkies. 6. Rubbing their back when you embrace. 7. Both of you wearing an item that belongs to the other. Dear Libra, I hope you will employ these tender actions with greater frequency than usual in the coming weeks, Libra. Why? In my astrological opinion, it’s a ripe time to boost your Affection Quotient with the allies you care for the most.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Naturalist Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “I feel slightly complimented when nature condescends to make use of me without my knowledge—as when I help scatter her seeds in my walk—or carry burs and cockles on my clothes from field to field. I feel as though I had done something for the commonweal.” I mention this, Scorpio, because the coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to carry out good deeds and helpful transformations in nature’s behalf. Your ability to collaborate benevolently with plants and animals and elemental forces will be at a peak. So will your knack for creating interesting connections between yourself and all wild things.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
You may have never heard of Sagittarian artist Baya Mahieddine (1931–1998). At age 16, she experienced a splash of acclaim with a show in Paris. Famous artists Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, and George Braques came. They drew inspiration from Mahieddine’s innovative use of color, elements from her Algerian heritage, and her dream-like images. Picasso even invited her to work with him, exulting in the fresh perspectives she ignited. But her art never received the full credit it warranted. In accordance with astrological omens, this horoscope is a small way of providing her with the recognition and appreciation she deserves. It also authorizes you to go out and get the recognition and appreciation you deserve but have not yet fully received.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
“Who knows what is unfolding on the other side of each hour?” asked Capricorn poet Juan Ramón Jiménez (translated by Capricorn poet Robert Bly). “How many times the sunrise was there, behind a mountain. How many times the brilliant cloud piling up far off was already a golden body full of thunder!” Your assignment, Capricorn, is to imagine what is unfolding just beyond your perception and understanding. But here’s the twist: You must steer your mind away from inclinations to indulge in fear. You must imagine that the events in the works are beautiful, interesting, or redemptive. If you’re not willing to do that, skip the exercise altogether.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup,” wrote author Wendell Berry. I mostly agree with that sentiment, although I will also put in a good word for certain kinds of arguments. There are moments when it’s crucial for your psychological and spiritual health that you initiate a conversation about delicate issues that might lead to a dispute. However, I don’t think this is one of those times, Aquarius. In my astrological opinion, picking dew-wet red berries is far more sensible than any argument. For further inspiration, read this testimony from actor Natasha Lyonne: “I definitely would rather take a nap than get angry.”

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
For painter Vincent van Gogh, love wasn’t primarily a sentimental feeling. Nor was it an unfocused generalized wish for health and happiness in those he cared for. Rather, he wrote, “You must love with a high, serious, intimate sympathy, with a will, with intelligence.” His love was alert, acute, active, and energized. It was animated with a determination to be resourceful and ingenious in nurturing the beloved. For van Gogh, love was always in action, forever moving toward ever-fresh engagement. In service to intimacy, he said, “you must always seek to know more thoroughly, better, and more.” I hope you’ll make these meditations a top priority during the next seven weeks.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Week of August 18

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Consecrate" isn't a word you often encounter in intellectual circles. In my home country of America, many otherwise smart people spurn the possibility that we might want to make things sacred. And a lot of art aspires to do the opposite of consecration: strip the world of holiness and mock the urge to commune with sanctified experiences. But filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975) expressed a contradictory view. He wrote, "I am not interested in deconsecrating: that's a fashion I hate. I want to reconsecrate things as much as possible, I want to re-mythicize them." In accordance with astrological omens, Aries, I invite you to look for opportunities to do the same.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Anais Nin wrote, "I don't want worship. I want understanding." George Orwell said, "Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood." Poet Marina Tsvetaeva declared, "For as long as I can remember, I thought I wanted to be loved. Now I know: I don't need love, I need understanding." Here's what I'll add, Taurus: If you ask for understanding and seek it out, a wealth of it will be available to you in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The English idiom "playing hard to get" means "pretending to be unavailable or uninterested so as to make oneself more attractive or desirable." Psychologists say this strategy often works, although it's crucial not to go too far and make your pursuer lose interest. Seventeenth-century philosopher Baltasar Gracián expressed the concept more philosophically. He said, "Leave people hungry. Even with physical thirst, good taste's trick is to stimulate it, not quench it. What's good, if sparse, is twice as good. A surfeit of pleasure is dangerous, for it occasions disdain even towards what's undisputedly excellent. Hard-won happiness is twice as enjoyable." I suggest you consider deploying these strategies, Gemini.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) sometimes worked alongside painter Claude Monet (1840–1926) at Monet's home. He sought the older man's guidance. Before their first session, Sargent realized there was no black among the paint colors Monet gave him to work with. What?! Monet didn't use black? Sargent was shocked. He couldn't imagine painting without it. And yet, he did fine without it. In fact, the apparent limitation compelled him to be creative in ways he hadn't previously imagined. What would be your metaphorical equivalent, Cancerian: a limitation that inspires?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): According to Leo author Guy de Maupassant, "We are in the habit of using our eyes only with the memory of what people before us have thought about the things we are looking at." That's too bad. It causes us to miss a lot of life's richness. In fact, said de Maupassant, "There is an element of the unexplored in everything. The smallest thing contains a little of what is unknown." Your assignment in the next two weeks, Leo, is to take his thoughts to heart. In every experience, engage "with enough attention to find an aspect of it that no one has ever seen or spoken of." You are in a phase when you could discover and enjoy record-breaking levels of novelty.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Poet Brigit Pegeen Kelly wrote a poem I want you to know about. She described how, when she was a child, she stayed up all night picking peaches from her father's orchard by starlight. For hours, she climbed up and down the ladder. Her hands "twisted fruit" as if she "were entering a thousand doors." When the stars faded and morning arrived, her insides felt like "the stillness a bell possesses just after it has been rung." That's the kind of experience I wish for you in the coming days, Virgo. I know it can't be exactly the same. Can you imagine what the nearest equivalent might be? Make it happen!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Ancient Greek philosopher Plato mistrusted laughter, poetry, bright colors, and artists who used bright colors. All those soulful activities influenced people to be emotional, Plato thought, and therefore represented a threat to rational, orderly society. Wow! I'm glad I don't live in a culture descended from Plato! Oh, wait, I do. His writing is foundational to Western thought. One modern philosopher declared, "The European philosophical tradition consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." Anyway, I'm counseling you to rebel against Plato in the coming weeks. You especially need experiences that awaken and please and highlight your feelings. Contrary to Plato's fears, doing this will boost your intelligence and enhance your decision-making powers.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): A biography of Nobel Prize-winning Scorpio author Albert Camus noted that he had two modes. They are summed up in the French words solidaire ("unity") and solitaire ("solitary"). When Camus was in a solidaire phase, he immersed himself in convivial engagement, enjoying the pleasures of socializing. But when he decided it was time to work hard on writing his books, he retreated into a monastic routine to marshal intense creativity. According to my astrological analysis, you Scorpios are currently in the solidaire phase of your rhythm. Enjoy it to the max! When might the next *solitaire* phase come? October could be such a time.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): During the 76 years since the end of World War II, Italy has had 69 different governments. That's a great deal of turnover! Is it a strength or weakness to have so many changes in leadership? On the one hand, such flexibility could be an asset; it might be wise to keep reinventing the power structure as circumstances shift. On the other hand, having so little continuity and stability may undermine confidence and generate stressful uncertainty. I bring this to your attention, Sagittarius, because you're entering a phase when you could be as changeable as Italy. Is that what you want? Would it serve you or undermine you? Make a conscious choice.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn actor Nicholas Browne testifies, "My heart is too full; it overflows onto everything I see. I am drowning in my own heart. I've plunged into the deepness of emotion, and I don't see any way back up. Still, I pray no one comes to save me." I'm guessing that his profound capacity to feel and express emotions serves Browne well in his craft. While I don't recommend such a deep immersion for you 24/7/365, I suspect you'll be wise to embark on such an excursion during the next three weeks. Have fun diving! How deep can you go?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In accordance with current astrological omens, I'm calling on author Byron Katie to offer you a message. Is it infused with tough love or sweet encouragement? Both! Here's Katie: "When you realize that suffering and discomfort are the call to inquiry, you may actually begin to look forward to uncomfortable feelings. You may even experience them as friends coming to show you what you have not yet investigated thoroughly enough." Get ready to dive deeper than you've dared to go before, Aquarius. I guarantee you it will ultimately become fun and educational.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In August 1922, author Nikos Kazantzakis wrote this triumphant declaration: "All day today I've had the most gentle, quivering joy, because I'm beginning to heal. Consciously, happily, I feel that I am being born anew, that I am beginning once again to take possession of the light." On behalf of the cosmic powers-that-be, I authorize you to use these words as your own in the coming weeks. They capture transformations that are in the works for you. By speaking Kazantzakis's declarations aloud several times every day, you will ensure that his experience will be yours, too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Week of August 11

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
“Consecrate” isn’t a word you often encounter in intellectual circles. In my home country of America, many otherwise smart people spurn the possibility that we might want to make things sacred. And a lot of art aspires to do the opposite of consecration: strip the world of holiness and mock the urge to commune with sanctified experiences. But filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975) expressed a contradictory view. He wrote, “I am not interested in deconsecrating: that’s a fashion I hate. I want to reconsecrate things as much as possible, I want to re-mythicize them.” In accordance with astrological omens, Aries, I invite you to look for opportunities to do the same.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Anais Nin wrote, “I don’t want worship. I want understanding.” George Orwell said, “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” Poet Marina Tsvetaeva declared, “For as long as I can remember, I thought I wanted to be loved. Now I know: I don’t need love, I need understanding.” Here’s what I’ll add, Taurus: If you ask for understanding and seek it out, a wealth of it will be available to you in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
The English idiom “playing hard to get” means “pretending to be unavailable or uninterested so as to make oneself more attractive or desirable.” Psychologists say this strategy often works, although it’s crucial not to go too far and make your pursuer lose interest. Seventeenth-century philosopher Baltasar Gracián expressed the concept more philosophically. He said, “Leave people hungry. Even with physical thirst, good taste’s trick is to stimulate it, not quench it. What’s good, if sparse, is twice as good. A surfeit of pleasure is dangerous, for it occasions disdain even towards what’s undisputedly excellent. Hard-won happiness is twice as enjoyable.” I suggest you consider deploying these strategies, Gemini.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) sometimes worked alongside painter Claude Monet (1840–1926) at Monet’s home. He sought the older man’s guidance. Before their first session, Sargent realized there was no black among the paint colors Monet gave him to work with. What?! Monet didn’t use black? Sargent was shocked. He couldn’t imagine painting without it. And yet, he did fine without it. In fact, the apparent limitation compelled him to be creative in ways he hadn’t previously imagined. What would be your metaphorical equivalent, Cancerian: a limitation that inspires?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
According to Leo author Guy de Maupassant, “We are in the habit of using our eyes only with the memory of what people before us have thought about the things we are looking at.” That’s too bad. It causes us to miss a lot of life’s richness. In fact, said de Maupassant, “There is an element of the unexplored in everything. The smallest thing contains a little of what is unknown.” Your assignment in the next two weeks, Leo, is to take his thoughts to heart. In every experience, engage “with enough attention to find an aspect of it that no one has ever seen or spoken of.” You are in a phase when you could discover and enjoy record-breaking levels of novelty.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Poet Brigit Pegeen Kelly wrote a poem I want you to know about. She described how, when she was a child, she stayed up all night picking peaches from her father’s orchard by starlight. For hours, she climbed up and down the ladder. Her hands “twisted fruit” as if she “were entering a thousand doors.” When the stars faded and morning arrived, her insides felt like “the stillness a bell possesses just after it has been rung.” That’s the kind of experience I wish for you in the coming days, Virgo. I know it can’t be exactly the same. Can you imagine what the nearest equivalent might be? Make it happen!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Ancient Greek philosopher Plato mistrusted laughter, poetry, bright colors, and artists who used bright colors. All those soulful activities influenced people to be emotional, Plato thought, and therefore represented a threat to rational, orderly society. Wow! I’m glad I don’t live in a culture descended from Plato! Oh, wait, I do. His writing is foundational to Western thought. One modern philosopher declared, “The European philosophical tradition consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” Anyway, I’m counseling you to rebel against Plato in the coming weeks. You especially need experiences that awaken and please and highlight your feelings. Contrary to Plato’s fears, doing this will boost your intelligence and enhance your decision-making powers.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
A biography of Nobel Prize-winning Scorpio author Albert Camus noted that he had two modes. They are summed up in the French words solidaire (“unity”) and solitaire (“solitary”). When Camus was in a solidaire phase, he immersed himself in convivial engagement, enjoying the pleasures of socializing. But when he decided it was time to work hard on writing his books, he retreated into a monastic routine to marshal intense creativity. According to my astrological analysis, you Scorpios are currently in the solidaire phase of your rhythm. Enjoy it to the max! When might the next *solitaire* phase come? October could be such a time.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
During the 76 years since the end of World War II, Italy has had 69 different governments. That’s a great deal of turnover! Is it a strength or weakness to have so many changes in leadership? On the one hand, such flexibility could be an asset; it might be wise to keep reinventing the power structure as circumstances shift. On the other hand, having so little continuity and stability may undermine confidence and generate stressful uncertainty. I bring this to your attention, Sagittarius, because you’re entering a phase when you could be as changeable as Italy. Is that what you want? Would it serve you or undermine you? Make a conscious choice.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Capricorn actor Nicholas Browne testifies, “My heart is too full; it overflows onto everything I see. I am drowning in my own heart. I’ve plunged into the deepness of emotion, and I don’t see any way back up. Still, I pray no one comes to save me.” I’m guessing that his profound capacity to feel and express emotions serves Browne well in his craft. While I don’t recommend such a deep immersion for you 24/7/365, I suspect you’ll be wise to embark on such an excursion during the next three weeks. Have fun diving! How deep can you go?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
In accordance with current astrological omens, I’m calling on author Byron Katie to offer you a message. Is it infused with tough love or sweet encouragement? Both! Here’s Katie: “When you realize that suffering and discomfort are the call to inquiry, you may actually begin to look forward to uncomfortable feelings. You may even experience them as friends coming to show you what you have not yet investigated thoroughly enough.” Get ready to dive deeper than you’ve dared to go before, Aquarius. I guarantee you it will ultimately become fun and educational.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
In August 1922, author Nikos Kazantzakis wrote this triumphant declaration: “All day today I’ve had the most gentle, quivering joy, because I’m beginning to heal. Consciously, happily, I feel that I am being born anew, that I am beginning once again to take possession of the light.” On behalf of the cosmic powers-that-be, I authorize you to use these words as your own in the coming weeks. They capture transformations that are in the works for you. By speaking Kazantzakis’s declarations aloud several times every day, you will ensure that his experience will be yours, too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Week of August 4

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2021 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Filmmaker Federico Fellini had an unexpected definition of happiness. He said it was “being able to speak the truth without hurting anyone.” I suspect you will have abundant access to that kind of happiness in the coming weeks, Aries. I’ll go even further: You will have extra power to speak the truth in ways that heal and uplift people. My advice to you, therefore, is to celebrate and indulge your ability. Be bold in expressing the fullness of what’s interesting to you.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
“Look for a long time at what pleases you, and longer still at what pains you,” wrote the novelist Colette. What?! Was she making a perverse joke? That’s wicked advice, and I hope you adopt it only on rare occasions. In fact, the exact opposite is the healthy way to live—especially for you in the coming weeks. Look at what pains you, yes. Don’t lose sight of what your problems and wounds are. But please, for the sake of your dreams, for the benefit of your spiritual and psychological health, look longer at what pleases you, energizes you, and inspires you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
If you deepen your affection for butterflies and hummingbirds, I will love it. If you decide you want the dragonfly or bumblebee or lark to be your spirit creature, I will approve. You almost always benefit from cultivating relationships with swift, nimble, and lively influences—and that’s especially true these days. So give yourself full permission to experiment with the superpower of playful curiosity. You’re most likely to thrive when you’re zipping around in quest of zesty ripples and sprightly rhythms.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Life is showing you truths about what you are not, what you don’t need, and what you shouldn’t strive for. That’s auspicious, although it may initially feel unsettling. I urge you to welcome these revelations with gratitude. They will help you tune in to the nuances of what it means to be radically authentic. They will boost your confidence in the rightness of the path you’ve chosen for yourself. I’m hoping they may even show you which of your fears are irrelevant. Be hungry for these extraordinary teachings.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
The next two months will be a propitious time for you and your intimate allies to grow closer by harnessing the power of your imaginations. I urge you to be inventive in dreaming up ways to educate and entertain each other. Seek frisky adventures together that will delight you. Here’s a poem by Vyacheslav Ivanov that I hope will stimulate you: “We are two flames in a midnight forest. We are two meteors that fly at night, a two-pointed arrow of one fate. We are two steeds whose bridle is held by one hand. We are two eyes of a single gaze, two quivering wings of one dream, two-voiced lips of single mysteries. We are two arms of a single cross.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Virgo spiritual author Don Miguel Ruiz urges us not to take anything personally. He says that if someone treats us disrespectfully, it’s almost certainly because they are suffering from psychological wounds that make them act in vulgar, insensitive ways. Their attacks have little to do with what’s true about us. I agree with him, and will add this important caveat. Even if you refrain from taking such abuses personally, it doesn’t mean you should tolerate them. It doesn’t mean you should keep that person in your life or allow them to bully you in the future. I suspect these are important themes for you to contemplate right now.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
“People who feel deeply, live deeply, and love deeply are destined to suffer deeply,” writes poet Juansen Dizon. To that romanticized, juvenile nonsense, I say: NO! WRONG! People who feel and live and love deeply are more emotionally intelligent than folks who live on the surface—and are therefore less fragile. The deep ones are likely to be psychologically adept; they have skills at liberating themselves from the smothering crush of their problems. The deep ones also have access to rich spiritual resources that ensure their suffering is a source of transformative teaching—and rarely a cause of defeat. Have you guessed that I’m describing you as you will be in the coming weeks?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Professor of psychology Ethan Kross tells us there can be healthy, creative forms of envy. “Just as hunger tells us we need to eat,” he writes, “the feeling of envy could show us what is missing from our lives that really matters to us.” The trick is to not interpret envy as a negative emotion, but to see it as useful information that shows us what we want. In my astrological opinion, that’s a valuable practice for you to deploy in the coming days. So pay close attention to the twinges of envy that pop into your awareness. Harness that volatile stuff to motivate yourself as you make plans to get the very experience or reward you envy.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Poet Walt Whitman bragged that he was “large.” He said, “I contain multitudes.” One critic compared him to “a whole continent with its waters, with its trees, with its animals.” Responding to Whitman, Sagittarian poet Gertrud Kolmar uttered an equally grandiose boast. “I too am a continent,” she wrote. “I contain mountains never-reached, scrubland unpenetrated, pond bay, river-delta, salt-licking coast-tongue.” That’s how I’m imagining you these days, dear Sagittarius: as unexplored territory: as frontier land teeming with undiscovered mysteries. I love how expansive you are as you open your mind and heart to new self-definitions. I love how you’re willing to risk being unknowable for a while as you wander out in the direction of the future.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Poet Ezra Pound wrote a letter to novelist James Joyce that included the following passage: “You are fucking with my head, and so far I’ve been enjoying it. Where is the crime?” I bring this up, Capricorn, because I believe the coming weeks will be prime time for you to engage with interesting souls who fuck with your head in enjoyable ways. You need a friendly jolt or two: a series of galvanizing prods; dialogs that catalyze you to try new ways of thinking and seeing; lively exchanges that inspire you to experiment.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Blogger Mandukhai Munkhbaatar offers advice on the arts of intimate communion. “Do not fall in love only with a body or with a face,” she tells us. “Do not fall in love with the idea of being in love.” She also wants you to know that it’s best for your long-term health and happiness if you don’t seek cozy involvement with a person who is afraid of your madness, or with someone who, after you fight, disappears and refuses to talk. I approve of all these suggestions. Any others you would add? It’s a favorable phase to get clearer about the qualities of people you want and don’t want as your allies.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
I gave my readers homework, asking them to answer the question, “What is your favorite rule to break?” In response, Laura Grolla sent these thoughts: “My favorite rule to break is an unwritten one: that we must all stress and strive for excellence. I have come up with a stress-busting mantra, ‘It is OK to be OK.’ In my OKness, I have discovered the subtle frontier of contentment, which is vast and largely unexplored. OKness allows me not to compete for attention, but rather to pay attention to others. I love OKness for the humor and deep, renewing sleep it has generated. Best of all, OKness allows me to be happily aging rather than anxiously hot.” I bring this to your attention, Pisces, because I think the coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to investigate and embody the relaxing mysteries of OKness.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Week of July 28

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

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
What does it mean to feel real? Some people have a hard time doing that. They have such false ideas about who they are that they rarely feel real. Others are so distracted by trivial longings that they never have the luxury of settling into the exquisite at-home-ness of feeling real. For those fortunate enough to regularly experience this treasured blessing, feeling real isn’t a vague concept. It’s a vivid sensation of being conscious in one’s body. When we feel real, we respond spontaneously, enjoy playing, and exult in the privilege of being alive. After studying your astrological potentials, Aries, I suspect that you now have an enhanced capacity to feel real.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
When she was a child, author Valerie Andrews visited her secret sanctuary at sunset every day for seven years. She lay on the ground among birch trees and aromatic privet plants, feeling “the steady rhythmic heartbeat of the earth” as she basked in the fading light. I’d love for you to enjoy the revitalizing power of such a shrine. The decisions you have to make will become clear as you commune with what Andrews calls “a rootlike umbilicus to the dark core of the land.” Do you know of such a place? If not, I suggest you find or create one.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
I suspect that your immediate future will be a patchwork of evocative fragments. You may be both annoyed and entertained by a series of flashing attractions, or an array of pretty baubles, or a hubbub of tasks that all seem at least mildly worth doing. Chances are good that they will ultimately knit together into a crazy-quilt unity; they will weave into a pattern that makes unexpected sense. In the spirit of the spicy variety, I offer three quotes that may not seem useful to you yet, but will soon. 1. “Isn’t it possible that to desire a thing, to truly desire it, is a form of having it?” — Galway Kinnell 2. “It is not half so important to know as to feel.” — Rachel Carson 3. “Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.” — Pema Chödrön

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
A Tumblr blogger named Cece writes, “The fact that you can soak bread in sugar, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla, then butter a pan and fry said bread to make a meal is really liberating.” I agree. And I share this with you in the hope of encouraging you to indulge in other commonplace actions that will make you feel spacious and uninhibited. You’re in a phase of your astrological cycle when you’ll thrive on doing day-to-day details that excite your lust for life. Enjoying the little things to the utmost will be an excellent strategy for success.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Leo poet Renée Ashley articulates a perspective I recommend you adopt. She writes, “I’m drawn to what flutters nebulously at the edges, at the corner of my eye—just outside my certain sight. I want to share in what I am routinely denied, or only suspect exists. I long for a glimpse of what is beginning to occur.” With her thoughts as inspiration, I advise you to be hungry for what you don’t know and haven’t perceived. Expand your curiosity so that it becomes wildly insatiable in its quest to uncover budding questions and raw truths at the peripheries of your awareness.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“There are many things in your heart you can never tell to another person,” declared Virgo actor Greta Garbo (1905–1990). “It is not right that you should tell them,” she concluded. “You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them.” I presume Greta was being melodramatic. My attitude is the opposite of hers. If you find allies who listen well and who respect your vulnerability, you should relish telling them the secrets of your heart. To do so enriches you, deepens you, and adds soulful new meanings to your primary mysteries. The coming weeks will be a favorable time to seek this wise pleasure in abundance.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Now is a fantastic time to seek out effervescent socializing and convivial gatherings and festive celebrations. If you surround yourself with lively people, you’ll absorb the exact influences you need. May I suggest you host a fun event? If you do, you could send out invitations that include the following allures: “At my get-together, the featured flavors will be strawberry chocolate and impossibly delicious. There’ll be magic vibrations and mysterious mood-enhancers. Liberating conversations will be strongly encouraged. Unpredictable revelations will be honored. If possible, please unload your fears and anxieties in a random parking lot before arriving.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Scorpio author Andrew Sean Greer writes, “As the Japanese will tell you, one can train a rose to grow through anything, to grow through a nautilus even, but it must be done with tenderness.” I think that’s a vivid metaphor for one of your chief tasks in the coming weeks, Scorpio: how to carefully nurture delicate, beautiful things as you coax them to ripen in ways that will bring out their sturdiness and resilience. I believe you now have an extra capacity for wielding love to help things bloom.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Suggested experiments to try soon: 1. Remember a past moment when you were touched with the sudden realization that you and a person you’d recently met were destined to fall in love. 2. Remember a past moment when you kissed someone for the first time. 3. Remember a past moment when someone told you they loved you for the first time or when you told someone you loved them for the first time. 4. Allow the feelings from the first three experiments to permeate your life for five days. See through the eyes of the person you were during those previous breakthroughs. Treat the whole world as expansively and expectantly as you did during those times.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Capricorn poet Kenneth Rexroth was shirtless as he strolled along a rural road. To his delightful amazement, a fritillary butterfly landed on his shoulder, fluttered away, landed again, fluttered away—performed this dance numerous times. Nothing like this had ever happened to him. Later he wrote, “I feel my flesh / Has suddenly become sweet / With a metamorphosis / Kept secret even from myself.” In the coming days, I’m expecting at least one comparable experience for you. Here’s your homework: What sweet metamorphoses may be underway within you—perhaps not yet having reached your conscious awareness?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“Each time we don’t say what we want to say, we’re dying.” Aquarian artist and singer Yoko Ono said that. I will add a further nuance: Each time we’re not aware of the feeling or experience or situation we want, we’re dying. And these will be key themes now that you’ve entered the “I KNOW WHAT I WANT AND I KNOW HOW TO ASK FOR IT” phase of your cycle. The most healing and vivifying thing you can do during the next six weeks is to be precise about your desires.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
In 1829, Piscean author Victor Hugo began work on his novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He had other projects, though, and by September 1830, he had made scant progress on Hunchback. Growing impatient, his publisher demanded that he finish the manuscript by February 1831. In response, Hugo virtually barricaded himself in his room to compel himself to meet the deadline. He even locked his clothes in a closet to prevent himself from going out. For the next five months, he wore only a gray shawl as he toiled nonstop. His stratagem worked! I recommend you consider trying a somewhat less rigorous trick to enforce your self-discipline in the coming weeks. There’s no need to barricade yourself in your fortress. But I hope you will have fun taking stringent measures.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Week of July 21

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

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Author Valerie Andrews reminds us that as children, we all had the “magical capacity to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.” Oh, how I would love you to be able to recover even a fraction of those talents in the coming days. My reading of the current astrological potentials tells me that your chances of doing so are much better than usual. Your ability to connect with the eternal child and wise animal within you is at a peak.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Taurus singer Barbara Streisand has a shopping mall built below her large home. Its purpose isn’t to sell consumer goods to strangers but rather to stash her precious belongings and show them off when friends come over. Among the storefronts are an antique store, doll shop, costume shop, and candy store. The coming weeks would be an excellent time for you to start building a shopping mall beneath your home, too, Taurus. If that’s too expensive or complicated, here are alternatives: 1. Revitalize your appreciation for your treasured possessions. 2. Acquire a new treasured possession or two that will inspire you to love your life even more than you already do. 3. Reacquaint yourself with the spiritual powers that your treasured possessions arouse in you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
The Dalai Lama says there are core similarities between science and Buddhism. Both keep searching for ever-more complete versions of the truth. Both employ firsthand observation and experimentation to do that noble work. If they find new information that contradicts previously held versions of the truth, both are willing to discard them. Now that you Geminis are entering the Deep Questioning Phase of your astrological cycle, I’d love you to make generous use of the Buddhist/Scientific approach. More complete versions of the truth will be available in abundance in the coming weeks—if you’re alert for them.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Cancerian artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1656) achieved the impossible: She became a supremely skilled and renowned painter in an era when women had virtually no opportunities to become artists. Many aspects of her work distinguished her from other painters. For example, she depicted women as having strong, agile hands and arms. In Artemisia’s world, the power of women’s wrists, forearms, and fingers signifies their ability to put their mark upon the world, to accomplish strenuous practical tasks with grace and flair. If I were going to paint images of you in the coming weeks, I would also portray you as having strong, agile hands and arms. I suspect you’ll have potent agency to get things done—to adeptly manipulate the material world to serve your ideals. (Thoughts about Artemisia’s hands come from art historian Mary D. Garrard.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
“Once upon a time”: That’s your phrase of power these days. What do I mean by that? I’m suggesting that you will strengthen your problem-solving abilities by engaging in playful pretending for the sheer fun of it. I’m predicting that you will boost your confidence by dreaming up amusing magical stories in which you endure heroic tests and achieve epic feats. And I’m proposing that you will fine-tune your ability to accomplish practical feats if you regard your robust imagination as crucial to your success.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Virgo singer-songwriter Fiona Apple says she’s not religious. On the other hand, she regularly kneels on the ground and announces to whatever great power might be listening, “Thank you for my problems, and I send my love everywhere.” She’s sincere. She regards her sadness and her challenges as being equally important to her happiness and success. The difficulties teach her what she didn’t even realize she needed to know, and make her appreciate the good times more intensely. I suggest you borrow from her approach right now.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Nobel Prize-winning author Albert Camus wrote, “Great feelings bring with them their own universe”—which he said may either be degraded or splendid, selfish or generous. I love that he allowed for the possibility that great feelings could be positive and noble. So many renowned thinkers focus on negative and ignoble states of mind. In accordance with current astrological potentials, Libra, your task is to cultivate feelings that are splendid and generous. These sentiments should exalt you, uplift you, and empower you to spread transformative benevolence to those whose lives you touch.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
“How can you hold on to something that won’t hold still?” asked Scorpio poet Benjamin Fondane. In general, you Scorpios have more talent than every other sign of the zodiac at doing just that: corralling wiggly, slippery things and making them work for you. And I expect this skill will be especially in play for you during the coming weeks. Your grasp on the elusive assets won’t ever be perfect, but it will be sufficiently effective to accomplish small wonders.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Sagittarian Calvin Trillin is a witty writer with a good imagination and a flair for inventive language. But back in school, he confesses, “Math was always my bad subject. I couldn’t convince my teachers that many of my answers were meant ironically.” You Sagittarians are authorized by the cosmic powers-that-be to borrow your style and attitude from Trillin in the coming weeks. So you shouldn’t be fixated on mathematical precision and fastidious logic; your task is not to be conceptually impeccable and scrupulously sensible. Rather, you have a license to be extra lyrical and lush and rhapsodic and humorous and irrepressible.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
In 2011, an eBay seller produced a 19th-century photo that he said proved Capricorn actor Nicholas Cage is a time-traveling vampire. Although the character in the image did indeed resemble the Oscar-winning star, he rejected the theory, and emphatically declared that he is not a time-traveling vampire. Maybe that all sounds absurd, but I must tell you that you may soon have to deal with people’s equally inaccurate and off-kilter theories about you. My advice: Don’t take it personally. Simply correct others’ misimpressions and rely solely on yourself for definitive ideas about who you are.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
I’ve assembled excerpts of love poems for your inspiration. Why? Because you’re entering the Intensified Intimacy Phase of your astrological cycle. Consider using the following riffs as inspiration when you interact with loved ones. 1. “I profess the religion of love; it’s the belief, the faith I keep.” 2. “Holding your hand, I can hear your bones singing into mine and feel the moon as it rolls through you.” 3. “Raw light spills from your eyes, utterly naked, awakening an intoxicating shimmer of adventure.” 4. “I ask you please to speak to me forever.” (Poem fragments are from Ibn ‘Arabi, Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi, Herman Hesse, Sara Eliza Johnson, Alejandra Pizarnik.)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
An Australian witch named Michelle Clinton praises the joys of a “moon garden.” It features flowers and plants that reveal their full beauty after dark. Among the flowers that bloom at night are evening primrose, angel’s trumpet, and Dutchman’s pipe cactus. As for the flowers whose aromas are most potent after the sun sets: night-blooming jasmine, garden heliotrope, and honeysuckle. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you will have resemblances to a moon garden in the near future, Pisces. Be alert for opportunities to glow and grow in the dark. (More: tinyurl.com/LunarGarden)

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Week of July 14

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

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
In his poem “Litany,” Aries poet Billy Collins testifies that he is “the sound of rain on the roof.” He also claims to be “the moon in the trees, the paper blowing down an alley, the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table, and the shooting star.” He does make it clear, however, that he is not “the bread and the knife” on the table, nor the “crystal goblet and the wine.” What about you, Aries? What are all the earthy and fiery phenomena that you are? Are you, as Billy Collins suggests, “the dew on the morning grass and the burning wheel of the sun and the marsh birds suddenly in flight”? Now would be an excellent time to dream up your own version of such colorful biographical details.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
“Why else keep a journal, if not to examine your own filth?” wrote poet Anne Sexton. And yes, Sexton did have a lot of filth to explore, including the physical abuse of her daughters. But most of us don’t need to focus so obsessively on our unlovely aspects. Keeping a journal can also be about identifying our ripening potentials and unused riches. This approach would be especially fun and wise for you Tauruses right now. The coming weeks will be an auspicious time for deep introspection that frees capacities and powers you have only partially activated up until now.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Journalist Sam Anderson marvels at his young daughter’s project: a small plastic dome-like structure that houses a community of ladybugs. All they need to consume, for weeks at a time, are “two water-soaked raisins.” I don’t think you’ll need to be forever as efficient and hardy as those ladybugs, Gemini, but you may have to be like that temporarily. My advice? Don’t regard it as a hardship. Instead, see it as an opportunity to find out how exquisitely resourceful and resilient you can be. The skills you learn and refine now will be priceless in the long run.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Cancerian poet Linda Hogan says she doesn’t like to be parched. She wants to be like “a tree drinking the rain.” I think every Cancerian has similar dreams: to be steadily immersed in engrossing feelings, awash with intimate longings, flowing along in rhythm with the soul’s songs. The coming weeks will be prime time for you to relish these primal pleasures. It’s probably best to avoid an outright flood, but I think it’s wise to invite a cascade.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Actor Lupita Nyong’o had a starring role in Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years a Slave. She praised his directorial skills. She loved the fact that he told her, “Fail, and then fail better.” Why? “That kind of environment, where failure is an option, is magical,” she said. It allowed her to experiment freely, push herself beyond her previous limits, and focus on being true to the character she was playing rather than trying to be a “good actor.” I think these are excellent principles for you to keep in mind during the coming weeks.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Virgo-born Wayne Shorter is a legendary jazz composer and saxophonist. He has been making music for over 60 years, often with other legendary creators like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. The New York Times described Shorter as “jazz’s greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser.” Bass prodigy Tal Wilkenfeld, who is 53 years younger than Shorter, tells the story of a show she performed with him. Just before going on stage, Shorter came up to her, sensing she was nervous, and whispered some advice: “Play eternity.” Now I’m offering that same counsel to you as you carry out your tasks in the coming days. Be as timeless as you dare to be. Immerse yourself in the most expansive feelings you can imagine. Authorize your immortal soul to be in charge of everything you do.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Libran author Paula McLain says the word “paradise” is derived from the ancient Persian word pairidaeza, meaning “walled garden.” For her, this association suggests that making promises and being faithful to our intentions are keys to creating happiness with those we care for. Paradise requires walls! To scrupulously cultivate freedom, we need discipline. If we hope to thrive in joyous self-expression, we must focus on specific goals. I bring these thoughts to your attention because now is a pivotal time to work on building, refining, and bolstering your own personal version of paradise.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Thousands of 28-pound bars of 24-carat gold are stored in the Bank of England’s underground vault. To gain entry to the treasure trove, bankers use metal keys that are three feet long. They must also utter a secret password into a microphone. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you Scorpios can now gain access to a more metaphorical but nevertheless substantial source of riches. How? The key is a particular scene in your imagination that has recently begun to coalesce. It is an emblem of a future triumph or breakthrough that you will accomplish. As for the password, which you will also need, it’s vigorous rigor.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Somehow, I have lived all these years without ever coming across the rare English word “selcouth.” Today, as I meditated on the exotic astrological portents coming up for you, that word appeared—arriving on my phone via text message from my Sagittarius friend Lila. She told me, “I have a feeling that life is about to get intensely SELCOUTH for us Sagittarians.” I looked up the unfamiliar word and found these synonyms: unusual, marvelous, strange, magnificent, scarce, wondrous, weird, rare, and exotic. Those terms do indeed coincide with my interpretation of your immediate future. So Happy Selcouth to you, dear Centaur! Celebrate with awed appreciation!

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Lexicographer Jonathon Green provides us with the following 19th-century slang words for the sex act: horizontal refreshment, strumming, playing at romps, cully-shangie, taking a turn at Mount Pleasant, dancing the blanket hornpipe, honeyfugle, giving a hot poultice for the Irish toothache, and—my favorite—fandango de pokum. In accordance with astrological potentials, I recommend that you consider trying them all out in the next four weeks. In other words, experiment with shifting your approach to belly-bumping and libido-gratifying. If you don’t have a human partner, do it alone or with an angel or in your fantasy life.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
If a lover or spouse is perpetually churning out fantasies of you in their imagination, they may be less than totally tuned in to the real you. Instead, they may be focused on the images they have of you—maybe so much so that they lose sight of who you genuinely are and what you are actually doing. The same possibility exists for other allies, not only lovers and spouses. They may be so entranced by their stories about you that they are out of touch with the ever-changing marvel that you are always evolving. That’s the bad news, Aquarius. Here’s the good news: The coming weeks will be a decisive time to correct such distortions—and revel in the raw truth about you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
Here’s how art critic Walter Pater characterized the work of Piscean artist Michelangelo: “sweetness and strength, pleasure with surprise, an energy of conception which seems to break through all the conditions of comely form, recovering, touch by touch, a loveliness found usually only in the simplest natural things.” I’ve been waiting for the arrival of astrological aspects that would mean you’d be an embodiment of that description. And now they are here. Congrats! For the next 13 days, I will visualize you as a fount of ever-refreshing grace—as a fluid treasure that emanates refined beauty and wild innocence.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Week of July 7

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

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Poet Joshua Jennifer Espinoza writes, “i name my body girl of my dreams / i name my body proximity / i name my body full of hope despite everything.” I love her idea that we might give playful names and titles and descriptors to our bodies. In alignment with current astrological omens, I propose that you do just that. It’s time to take your relationship with your beautiful organism to a higher level. How about if you call it “Exciting Love River” or “Perfectly Imperfect Thrill” or “Amazing Maze”? Have fun dreaming up further possibilities!

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
The English language, my native tongue, doesn’t ascribe genders to its nouns. But many languages do. In Spanish, the word for “bridge” is puente, which is masculine. In German, “bridge” is Brücke, which is feminine. A blogger named Tickettome says this is why Spanish speakers may describe a bridge as strong or sturdy, while German speakers refer to it as elegant or beautiful. I encourage you to meditate on bridges that possess the entire range of qualities, including the Spanish and German notions. In the coming weeks, you’ll be wise to build new metaphorical bridges, fix bridges that are in disrepair, and extinguish fires on any bridges that are burning.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Académie Française is an organization devoted to preserving the purity and integrity of the French language. One of its ongoing missions is to resist the casual incorporation of English words, which the younger generation of French people is inclined to do. Among anglicisms that don’t have the Académie’s approval: podcast, clickbait, chick-lit, deadline, hashtag, marketing, timelapse, and showrunner. The ban doesn’t stop anyone from using the words, of course, but simply avoids giving them official recognition. I appreciate the noble intentions of the Académie, but regard its crusade as a losing battle that has minimal impact. In the coming weeks, I advise you to refrain from behavior that resembles the Académie’s. Resist the temptation of quixotic idealism. Be realistic and pragmatic. You Geminis often thrive in environments that welcome idiosyncrasies, improvisation, informality, and experimentation—especially now.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Cancerian author Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote a poem about how one morning he went half-mad and conversed with the sun. At first he called the supreme radiance a “lazy clown,” complaining that it just floated through the sky for hours while he, Mayakovsky, toiled diligently at his day job painting posters. Then he dared the sun to come down and have tea with him, which, to his shock, the sun did. The poet was agitated and worried—what if the close approach of the bright deity would prove dangerous? But the visitor turned out to be friendly. They had a pleasant dialog, and in the end the sun promised to provide extra inspiration for Mayakovsky’s future poetry. I invite you to try something equally lyrical and daring, dear Cancerian.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
A blogger named Bunny-Gal writes, “I almost completely forgot who I was there for a while. But then I dug a hole and smelled the fresh dirt and now I remember everything and am okay.” I recommend you follow her lead, Leo—even if you haven’t totally lost touch with your essence. Communing with Mother Earth in the most direct and graphic way to remind you of everything you need to remember: of the wisdom you’ve lost track of and the secrets you’ve hidden too well and the urgent intuitions that are simmering just below the surface of your awareness.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
I can’t understand the self-help gurus who advise us to relentlessly live in the present moment—to shed all awareness of past and future so as to focus on the eternal NOW. I mean, I appreciate the value of doing such an exercise on occasion for a few moments. I’ve tried it, and it’s often rejuvenating. But it can also be downright foolish to have no thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow. We need to evaluate how circumstances will evolve, based on our previous experience and future projections. It can be a deadening, depleting act to try to strip ourselves of the rich history we are always embedded in. In any case, Virgo, I advise you to be thoroughly aware of your past and future in the coming days. To do so will enhance your intelligence and soulfulness in just the right ways to make good decisions.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Psychotherapist and author Clarissa Pinkola Estés poetically refers to the source of our creativity as “the river under the river.” It’s the deep primal energy that “nourishes everything we make”—our “writing, painting, thinking, healing, doing, cooking, talking, smiling.” This river beneath the river doesn’t belong to any of us—is potentially available to all—but if harnessed correctly it works in very personal ways, fueling our unique talents. I bring this to your attention, Libra, because you’re close to gaining abundant new access to the power of the river beneath the river.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
In formulating personal goals, Scorpio author Brené Brown urges us to emphasize growth rather than perfection. Trying to improve is a healthier objective than seeking flawless mastery. Bonus perk: This practical approach makes us far less susceptible to shame. We’re not as likely to feel like a failure or give up prematurely on our projects. I heartily endorse this strategy for you right now, Scorpio.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
In a letter to Jean Paul Sartre, author Simone de Beauvoir described how she was dealing with a batch of challenging memories: “I’m reliving it street by street, hour by hour, with the mission of neutralizing it, and transforming it into an inoffensive past that I can keep in my heart without either disowning it or suffering from it.” I LOVE this approach! It’s replete with emotional intelligence. I recommend it to you now, since it’s high time to wrangle and finagle with parts of your life story that need to be alchemically transformed and redeemed by your love and wisdom.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
In one of his poems, Capricorn-born Kenneth Rexroth complains about having “a crooked guide on the twisted path of love.” But in my view, a crooked guide is the best kind. It’s unwise to engage the services of a love accomplice who’s always looking for the simplest, straightest route, or who imagines that intimate togetherness can be nourished with easy, obvious solutions. To cultivate the most interesting intimacy, we need influences that appreciate nuance and complexity—that thrive on navigating the tricky riddles and unpredictable answers. The next eight weeks will be an excellent time for you Capricorns to heed this advice.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Aquarian singer Etta James (1938–2012) won six Grammy Awards and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, and Blues Hall of Fame. She testified, “Most of the songs I sing have that blues feeling in it. They have that sorry feeling. And I don’t know what I’m sorry about.” Wow! I’m surprised to hear this. Most singers draw on their personal life experience to infuse their singing with authentic emotion. In any case, I urge you to do the opposite of Etta James in the coming weeks. It’s important for the future of your healing that you identify exactly what you’re sorry about.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn,” writes Piscean self-help author John C. Maxwell. His statement is useful, but it harbors a problematic implication. It suggests that you can experience either winning or learning, but not both—that the only time you learn is when you lose. I disagree with this presumption. In fact, I think you’re now in a phase when it’s possible and even likely for you to both win and learn.

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