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Monday, January 13, 2020

Week of January 15

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 1:59 PM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Comedian John Cleese has an insight I hope you’ll consider. He says, “It’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent than it is to do important things that are not urgent. It’s also easier to do little things we know we can do than to start on big things that we’re not so sure about.” I hope you’ll make this advice a priority in the coming weeks. You’ll be wise to prioritize important tasks, even those that aren’t urgent, as you de-emphasize trivial matters that tempt you to think they’re crucial. Focus on big things that are challenging, rather than on little things that are a snap.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Author Honoré Balzac (1799–1850) was born with sun and Mercury in Taurus and in the tenth house. Astrologers might hypothesize from these placements that he was ambitious, productive, tenacious, diligent, realistic, and willful. The evidence supporting this theory is strong. Balzac wrote over 80 novels that displayed a profound and nuanced understanding of the human comedy. I predict that 2020 will be a year when you could make dramatic progress in cultivating a Balzac-like approach in your own sphere. But here’s a caveat: Balzac didn’t take good care of his body. He drank far too much coffee and had a careless approach to eating and sleeping. My hope is that as you hone your drive for success, you’ll be impeccable in tending to your health.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Before he was 21 years old, William Shakespeare and his wife had birthed three kids. When he was 25, while the brood was still young, he started churning out literary masterpieces. By the time Will became a grandfather at age 43, he had written many of the works that ultimately made him one of history’s most illustrious authors. From this evidence, we might speculate that being a parent and husband heightened his creative flow. I bring this to your attention because I want to ask you: What role will commitment and duty and devotion play in your life during the coming months? (I suspect it’ll be a good one.)

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Cancerian-born painter Stanley Spencer (1891–1959) didn’t align himself with any artistic movement. Early on, his work was an odd blend of French Post-Impressionism and 14th-century Italian painting. I appreciate his stylistic independence, and suggest you draw inspiration from it in 2020. Another unique aspect of Spencer’s art was its mix of eroticism and religiosity. I think you’ll enjoy exploring that blend yourself in the coming months. Your spiritual and sexual longings could be quite synergistic. There’s one part of Spencer’s quirky nature I don’t recommend you imitate, however. He often wore pajamas beneath his clothes, even to formal occasions. Doing that wouldn’t serve your interests. (But it will be healthy for you to be *somewhat* indifferent to people’s opinions.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1440s. In subsequent decades, millions of mass-produced books became available for the first time, making their contents available to a far wider audience than ever before. The printing press caused other changes, too—some not as positive. For instance, people who worked as scribes found it harder to get work. In our era, big culture-wide shifts are impacting our personal lives. Climate change, the internet, smart phones, automation, and human-like robots are just a few examples. What are doing to adjust to the many innovations? And what will you do in the future? Now is an excellent time to meditate on these issues.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
You’re skilled at the art of self-editing. When bright new ideas well up in you, you understand they are not yet ready for prime time, but will need to be honed and finessed. When your creativity overflows, tantalizing you with fresh perspectives and novel approaches, you know that you’ll have to harness the raw surge. However, it’s also true that sometimes you go too far in your efforts to refine your imagination’s breakthroughs; you over-think and over-polish. But I have a good feeling about the coming weeks, Virgo. I suspect you’ll find the sweet spot, self-editing with just the right touch.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Thomas Love Peacock was a Libran author whose specialty was writing satirical novels that featured people sitting around tables arguing about opinions and ideas. He was not renowned for cheerful optimism. And yet he did appreciate sheer beauty. “There is nothing perfect in this world,” he said, “except Mozart.” So much did Peacock love Mozart’s music that during one several-month stretch he attended six performances of the genius’s opera *Don Giovanni*. In this spirit, Libra, and in accordance with astrological indicators, I encourage you to make a list of your own perfect things—and spend extra time communing with them in the coming weeks.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Jean-Michel Basquiat started his career as a graffiti artist. When he evolved into being a full-time painter, he incorporated words amidst his images. On many occasions, he’d draw lines through the words. Why? “I cross out words so you will see them more,” he said. “The fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.” In the coming weeks, you might benefit from discreetly using this strategy in your own life. In other words, draw attention to the things you want to emphasize by downplaying them or being mysterious about them or suggesting they are secret. Reverse psychology can be an asset for you.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Because of the onslaught of the internet and social media, lots of people no longer read books. But in 2020, I highly recommend that you *not* be one of that crowd. In my astrological opinion, you need more of the slow, deep wisdom that comes from reading books. You will also benefit from other acts of rebellion against the Short Attention Span Era. Crucial blessings will flow in your direction as you honor the gradual, incremental approach to everything.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
“I love to be surprised by something I have never thought of,” declares Capricorn actor Ralph Fiennes. According to my analysis of the astrological aspects, you’ll be wise to make that one of your top mottoes in 2020. Why? First, life is likely to bring to your attention a steady stream of things you’ve never imagined. And second, your ability to make good use of surprises will be at an all-time high. Here’s further advice to help ensure that the vast majority of your surprises will be welcome, even fun: Set aside as many of your dogmas and expectations as possible, so that you can be abundantly receptive to things you’ve never thought of.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
“I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.” So said one of the most famous and influential scientists who ever lived, Aquarian-born naturalist Charles Darwin. In accordance with upcoming astrological factors, I invite you to draw inspiration from his approach. Allow yourself to explore playfully as you conduct fun research. Just assume that you have a mandate to drum up educational experiences, and that a good way to do that is to amuse yourself with improvisational adventures.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“How do you get your main pleasure in life?” That question was posed to Scorpio author Evelyn Waugh and Piscean social reformer William Beveridge. Waugh said, “I get mine spreading alarm and despondency.” Beveridge said, “I get mine trying to leave the world a better place than I found it.” I hope you will favor Beveridge’s approach over Waugh’s in 2020, Pisces—for two reasons. First, the world already has plenty of alarm and despondency; it doesn’t need even a tiny bit more. Second, aspiring to be like Beveridge will be the best possible strategy for fostering your mental and physical health.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Week of January 8

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2020 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
When comedian John Cleese was 61, his mother died. She was 101. Cleese testifies, “Just towards the end, as she began to run out of energy, she did actually stop trying to tell me what to do most of the time.” I bet you’ll experience a similar phenomenon in 2020—only bigger and better. Fewer people will try to tell you what to do than at any previous time of your life. As a result, you’ll be freer to be yourself exactly as you want to be. You’ll have unprecedented power to express your uniqueness.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Renowned Taurus philosopher Bertrand Russell was sent to jail in 1918 because of his pacifism and anti-war activism. He liked being there. “I found prison in many ways quite agreeable,” he said. “I had no engagements, no difficult decisions to make, no fear of callers, no interruptions to my work. I read enormously; I wrote a book.” The book he produced, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, is today regarded as a classic. In 2020, I would love to see you Tauruses cave out an equally luxurious sabbatical without having to go through the inconvenience of being incarcerated. I’m confident you can do this.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
It’s common to feel attracted to people because of the way they look and dress and carry themselves. But here’s the problem: If you pursue an actual connection with someone whose appearance you like, there’s no guarantee it will turn out to be interesting and meaningful. That’s because the most important factor in becoming close to someone is not their cute face or body or style, but rather their ability to converse with you in ways you find interesting. And that’s a relatively rare phenomenon. As philosopher Mortimer Adler observed, “Love without conversation is impossible.” I bring these thoughts to your attention, Gemini, because I believe that in 2020 you could have some of the best conversations you’ve ever had—and as a result experience the richest intimacy.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Mystic poet Rumi told us the kind of person he was attracted to. “I want a trouble-maker for a lover,” he wrote. “Blood spiller, blood drinker, a heart of flame, who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate, who burns like fire on the rushing sea.” In response to that testimony, I say, “Boo! Ugh! Yuck!” I say “To hell with being in an intimate relationship with a trouble-maker who fights with fate and quarrels with the sky.” I can’t imagine any bond that would be more unpleasant and serve me worse. What about you, Cancerian? Do you find Rumi’s definition glamorous and romantic? I hope not. If you do, I advise you to consider changing your mind. 2020 will be an excellent time to be precise in articulating the kinds of alliances that are healthy for you. They shouldn’t resemble Rumi’s description. (Rumi translation by Zara Houshmand.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
The 18th-century comic novel Tristram Shandy is still being translated, adapted, and published today. Its popularity persists. Likewise, the 18th-century novel Moll Flanders, which features a rowdy, eccentric heroine who was unusual for her era, has had modern incarnations in TV, film, and radio. Then there’s the 19th-century satirical novel Vanity Fair. It’s considered a classic even now, and appears on lists of best-loved books. The authors of these three books had one thing in common: They had to pay to have their books published. No authority in the book business had any faith in them. You may have similar challenges in 2020, Leo—and rise to the occasion with equally good results. Believe in yourself!

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
I’ll present two possible scenarios that could unfold for you in 2020. Which scenario actually occurs will depend on how willing you are to transform yourself. Scenario #1. Love is awake, and you’re asleep. Love is ready for you but you’re not ready for love. Love is hard to recognize because you think it still looks like it did in the past. Love changed its name, and you didn’t notice. Scenario #2. Love is awake and you’re waking up. Love is ready for you and you’re making yourself ready for love. Love is older and wiser now, and you recognize its new guise. Love changed its name, and you found out. (Thanks to Sarah and Phil Kaye for the inspiration for this horoscope.)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Renowned Greek sculptor Praxiteles created some famous and beloved statues in the fourth century B.C. One of his pieces, showing the gods Hermes and Dionysus, was displayed inside the Temple of Hera in Olympia. But a few centuries later an earthquake demolished the Temple and buried the statue. There it remained until 1877, when archaeologists dug it out of the rubble. I foresee a metaphorically equivalent recovery in your life, Libra—especially if you’re willing to excavate an old mess or investigate a debris field or explore a faded ruin.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Over a period of 74 years, the Scorpio philosopher and author Voltaire (1694–1778) wrote so many letters to so many people that they were eventually published in a series of 98 books, plus nine additional volumes of appendixes and indexes. I would love to see you communicate that abundantly and meticulously in 2020, Scorpio. The cosmic rhythms will tend to bring you good fortune if you do.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Picasso was one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. He was also the richest. At the end of his life, experts estimate his worth was as much as $250 million, equivalent to $1.3 billion today. But in his earlier adulthood, while Picasso was turning himself into a genius and creating his early masterpieces, he lived and worked in a small, seedy, unheated room with no running water and a toilet he shared with twenty people. If there will be ever in your life be a semblance of Picasso’s financial transformation, Sagittarius, I’m guessing it would begin this year.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Let’s get 2020 started with a proper send-off. According to my reading of the astrological omens, the coming months will bring you opportunities to achieve a host of liberations. Among the things from which you could be at least partially emancipated: stale old suffering; shrunken expectations; people who don’t appreciate you for who you really are; and beliefs and theories that don’t serve you any more. (There may be others!) Here’s an inspirational maxim, courtesy of poet Mary Oliver: “Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
In a poem titled “The Mess-iah,” spiritual teacher Jeff Foster counsels us, “Fall in love with the mess of your life . . . the wild, uncontrollable, unplanned, unexpected moments of existence. Dignify the mess with your loving attention, your gratitude. Because if you love the mess enough, you will become a Mess-iah.” I bring this to your attention, Aquarius, because I suspect you’ll have a better chance to ascend to the role of Mess-iah in the coming weeks and months than you have had in many years.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
Comedian John Cleese believes that “sometimes we hang onto people or relationships long after they’ve ceased to be of any use to either of you.” That’s why he has chosen to live in such a way that his web of alliances is constantly evolving. “I’m always meeting new people,” he says, “and my list of friends seems to change quite a bit.” According to my analysis of the astrological omens, Pisces, 2020 will be a propitious year for you to experiment with Cleese’s approach. You’ll have the chance to meet a greater number of interesting new people in the coming months than you have in a long time. (And don’t be afraid to phase out connections that have become a drain.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Week of January 1

Posted By on Wed, Jan 1, 2020 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
“We are all hostages of the joy of which we deprive ourselves,’ wrote poet Odysseus Elytis. Isn’t that an astounding idea? That we refuse to allow ourselves to experience some of the bliss and pleasure we could easily have; and that we are immured inside that suppressed bliss and pleasure? I call on you, Aries, to rebel against this human tendency. As I see it, one of your main tasks in 2020 is to permit yourself to welcome more bliss, to aggressively seize more pleasure, and thereby free yourself from the rot of its nullification.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
At age 22, Taurus-born Dutch citizen Willem de Kooning sneaked into the United States. He was a stowaway on an Argentina-bound freighter, and stealthily disembarked when the ship made a stop in Virginia. As he lived in America during subsequent decades, he became a renowned painter who helped pioneer the movement known as abstract expressionism. His status as an illegal immigrant rarely presented any obstacles to his growing success and stature. Not until age 57 did he finally became an American citizen. I propose we make him one of your role models in 2020. May he inspire you to capitalize on being a maverick, outsider, or stranger. May he encourage you to find opportunities beyond your safety zone.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
When British novelist E. M. Forster was in his late 30s, he had sex with another person for the first time. Before that he had published five novels. After that, he produced just one more novel, though he lived till age 91. Why? Was he having too much fun? Looking back from his old, age, he remarked that he would “have been a more famous writer if I had published more, but sex prevented the latter.” I suspect that sensual pleasure and intimacy will have the exact opposite effect on you in 2020, Gemini. In sometimes mysterious ways, they will make you more productive in your chosen sphere.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
“Every part of our personality that we do not love will regress and become hostile to us,” wrote poet Robert Bly. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t suffer from this problem at least a little. That’s the bad news. The good news for us Cancerians (yes, I’m a Crab!) is that 2020 will be a favorable time to engage in a holy crusade to fix this glitch: to feel and express more love for parts of our personality that we have dismissed or marginalized. The result? Any self-sabotage we have suffered from in the past could dramatically diminish.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
As a young adult, Leo-born Raymond Chandler worked as a fruit-picker, tennis racquet-stringer, and bookkeeper. At age 34, he began a clerical job at the Dabney Oil Syndicate, and eventually rose in the ranks to become a well-paid executive. The cushy role lasted until he was 44, when he was fired. He mourned for a while, then decided to become an author of detective fiction. It took a while, but at age 50, he published his first novel. During the next 20 years, he wrote six additional novels as well as numerous short stories and screenplays—and in the process became popular and influential. I present this synopsis as an inspirational story to fuel your destiny in 2020.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
The fame of Virgo-born Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533) has persisted through the ages because of Orlando Furioso, an epic poem he authored. It tells the story of the Christian knight Orlando and his adoration for a pagan princess. This great work did not come easily to Ariosto. It wasn’t until he had written 56 versions of it that he was finally satisfied. I suspect you may harbor an equally perfectionist streak about the good works and labors of love you’ll craft in 2020. May I suggest you confine your experiments to no more than ten versions?

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Leonardo da Vinci worked on his painting The Last Supper from 1495 to 1498. It’s a big piece—about 15 by 29 feet. That’s one reason why he took so long to finish. But there was another explanation, too. He told his patron, the Duke of Milan, that he sometimes positioned himself in front of his painting-in-progress and simply gazed at and thought about it, not lifting a brush. Those were times he did some of his hardest work, he said. I trust you will have regular experiences like that in 2020, Libra. Some of your best efforts will arise out of your willingness and ability to incubate your good ideas with concentrated silence and patience.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
By 1895, Henry James had already published 94 books. He was renowned in the U.S. and England, and had written the works that would later lead to him being considered for a Nobel Prize. Then, at age 52, although he was not physically fit, he decided to learn how to ride a bicycle. He paid for lessons at a bicycle academy, and cheerfully tolerated bruises and cuts from his frequent falls as an acceptable price to pay for his new ability. I admire James’ determination to keep transforming. Let’s make him a role model for you in 2020. May he inspire you to keep adding new aptitudes as you outgrow your previous successes.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
When Sagittarian composer Ludwig van Beethoven created the Eroica symphony in the early 1800s, many observers panned it. They said its rhythms were eccentric, that it was too long. One critic said it was “glaring and bizarre,” while another condemned its “undesirable originality.” This same critic concluded, “Genius proclaims itself not in the unusual and fantastic but in the beautiful and sublime.” Today, of course, Eroica has a different reputation. It’s regarded as a breakthrough event in musical history. I’ll go on record here, Sagittarius, to say that I suspect you created your own personal version of Eroica in 2019. 2020 is the year it will get the full appreciation it deserves, although it may take a while. Be patient.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
I’m going to speculate that sometime in the next six months, you will experience events that years from now you’ll look back on as having been the beginning of a fresh universe for you. What should you call this launch? I suggest you consider elegant terms like “Destiny Rebirth” or “Fate Renewal” rather than a cliché like the “Big Bang.” And how should you celebrate it? As if it were the Grand Opening of the rest of your long life.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
In 2020, I believe you will be able to summon the insight and kismet necessary to resolve at least one long-running problem, and probably more. You’ll have an enhanced ability to kick bad habits and escape dead-ends and uncover liberating truths about mysteries that have flustered you. Frustrations and irritations you’ve grudgingly tolerated for far too much time will finally begin to wane. Congratulations in advance, Aquarius! The hard work you do to score these triumphs won’t always be delightful, but it could provide you with a curiously robust and muscular kind of fun.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
Let’s say you wanted to dress completely in silk: shirt, pants, vest, scarf, socks, shoes, hat, underwear all made of silk. And let’s say your dream was to grow and process and weave the silk from scratch. You’d start with half an ounce of silkworm eggs. They’d hatch into 10,000 silkworms. Eventually those hard-working insects would generate five pounds of silk—enough to create your entire outfit. So in other words, you’d be able to generate an array of functional beauty from a small but concentrated amount of raw material. By the way, that last sentence is a good description of what I think your general approach should be in 2020. And also by the way, dressing in silk wouldn’t be too crazy an idea in the coming months. I hope you’ll have fun cultivating your allure, style, and flair.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Week of December 25

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Denmark during World War II. In 1943, Hitler ordered all Danish Jews to be arrested—a first step in his plan to send them to concentration camps. But the Danish resistance movement leapt into action and smuggled virtually all of them to safety via fishing boats bound for Sweden. As a result, 8,000+ Danish Jews survived the Holocaust. You may not have the opportunity to do anything quite as heroic in 2020, Aries. But I expect you will have chances to express a high order of practical idealism that could be among your noblest and most valiant efforts ever. Draw inspiration from the Danish resistance.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
When she was 31, Taurus writer Charlotte Brontë finished writing her novel Jane Eyre. She guessed it would have a better chance of getting published if its author was thought to be a man. So she adopted the masculine pen name of Currer Bell and sent the manuscript unsolicited to a London publisher. Less than eight weeks later, her new book was in print. It quickly became a commercial success. I propose that we make Brontë one of your role models for 2020, Taurus. May she inspire you to be audacious in expressing yourself and confident in seeking the help you need to reach your goals. May she embolden you, too, to use ingenious stratagems to support your righteous cause.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
2020 can and should be a lyrically healing year for you. Here’s what I mean: Beauty and grace will be curative. The “medicine” you need will come to you via poetic and mellifluous experiences. With this in mind, I encourage you to seek out encounters with the following remedies. 1. Truth Whimsies 2. Curiosity Breakthroughs 3. Delight Gambles 4. Sacred Amusements 4. Redemptive Synchronicities 5. Surprise Ripenings 6. Gleeful Discoveries 7. Epiphany Adventures 8. Enchantment Games 9. Elegance Eruptions 10. Intimacy Angels 11. Playful Salvation 12. Luminosity Spells

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer,” wrote author Zora Neale Hurston. According to my astrological analysis, Cancerian, 2020 is likely to be one of those years that asks questions, while 2021 will be a time when you’ll get rich and meaningful answers to the queries you’ll pose in 2020. To ensure that this plan works out for your maximum benefit, it’s essential that you formulate provocative questions in the coming months. At first, it’s fine if you generate too many. As the year progresses, you can whittle them down to the most ultimate and important questions. Get started!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
The Roman Emperor Vespasian (9–79 AD) supervised the restoration of the Temple of Peace, the Temple of Claudius, and the Theater of Marcellus. He also built a huge statue of Apollo and the amphitheater now known as the Colosseum, whose magnificent ruins are still a major tourist attraction. Vespasian also created a less majestic but quite practical wonder: Rome’s first public urinals. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you Leos to be stimulated by his example in 2020. Be your usual magnificent self as you generate both inspiring beauty and earthy, pragmatic improvements.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
When Virgo author Mary Shelley was 18 years old, she had a disconcerting dream-like vision about a mad chemist who created a weird human-like creature out of non-living matter. She set about to write a book based on her mirage. At age 20, she published Frankenstein, a novel that would ultimately wield a huge cultural influence and become a seminal work in the “science fiction” genre. I propose we make Shelley one of your role models for 2020. Why? Because I suspect that you, too, will have the power to transform a challenging event or influence into an important asset. You’ll be able to generate or attract a new source of energy by responding creatively to experiences that initially provoke anxiety.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Libra-born mystic poet Rumi (1207–1273) wrote that he searched for holy sustenance and divine inspiration in temples, churches, and mosques—but couldn’t find them there. The good news? Because of his disappointment, he was motivated to go on an inner quest—and ultimately found holy sustenance and divine inspiration in his own heart. I’ve got a strong feeling that you’ll have similar experiences in 2020, Libra. Not on every occasion, but much of the time, you will discover the treasure you need and long for not in the outside world but rather in your own depths.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Among his many accomplishments, Scorpio rapper Drake is an inventive rhymer. In his song “Diplomatic Immunity,” he rhymes “sacred temple” with “stencil.” Brilliant! Other rhymes: “statistics” with “ballistics”; “Treaty of Versailles” with “no cease and desist in I”; and—my favorite—”Al Jazeera” (the Qatar-based news source) with “Shakira” (the Colombian singer). According to my analysis of the astrological omens in 2020, many of you Scorpios will have Drake-style skill at mixing and blending seemingly disparate elements. I bet you’ll also be good at connecting influences that belong together but have never been able to combine before.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Sagittarian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) embodied a trait that many astrology textbooks suggest is common to the Sagittarian tribe: wanderlust. He was born in Prague but traveled widely throughout Europe and Russia. If there were a Guinness World Records’ category for “Time Spent as a Houseguest,” Rilke might hold it. There was a four-year period when he lived at fifty different addresses. I’m going to be bold here and hypothesize that 2020 will NOT be one of those years when you would benefit from being like Rilke. In fact, I hope you’ll seek out more stability and security than usual.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Fifteenth-century Italian metalworker Lorenzo Ghiberti worked for 28 years to turn the Doors of the Florence Baptistry into a massive work of art. He used bronze to create numerous scenes from the Bible. His fellow artist Michelangelo was so impressed that he said Ghiberti’s doors could have served as “The Gates of Paradise.” I offer Ghiberti as inspiration for your life in 2020, Capricorn. I think you’ll be capable of beginning a masterwork that could take quite some time to complete and serve as your very own “gate to paradise”: in other words, an engaging project and delightful accomplishment that will make you feel your life is eminently meaningful and worthwhile.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
You’re wise to cultivate a degree of skepticism and even contrariness. Like all of us, your abilities to say NO to detrimental influences and to criticize bad things are key to your mental health. On the other hand, it’s a smart idea to keep checking yourself for irrelevant, gratuitous skepticism and contrariness. You have a sacred duty to maintain just the amount you need, but no more—even as you foster a vigorous reservoir of receptivity, optimism, and generosity. And guess what? 2020 will be an excellent time to make this one of your cornerstone habits.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) finished writing The Divine Comedy in 1320. Today it’s considered one of the supreme literary accomplishments in the Italian language and a classic of world literature. But no one ever read the entire work in the English language until 1802, when it was translated for the first time. Let’s invoke this as a metaphor for your life in the coming months, Pisces. According to my visions, a resource or influence that has previously been inaccessible to you will finally arrive in a form you can understand and use. Some wisdom that has been untranslatable or unreadable will at last be available.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Week of December 18

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
The English word “hubris” means prideful, exaggerated self-assurance. In the HBO TV series Rome, the ancient Roman politician and general Mark Antony says to his boss Julius Caesar, “I’m glad you’re so confident. Some would call it hubris.” Caesar has a snappy comeback: “It’s only hubris if I fail.” I’m tempted to dare you to use you that as one of your mottoes in 2020, Aries. I have a rather expansive vision of your capacity to accomplish great things during the coming months. And I also think that one key to your triumphs and breakthroughs will be your determination to cultivate a well-honed aplomb, even audacity.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
For years I’ve lived in a house bordering a wetland, and I’ve come to love that ecosystem more than any other. While communing with reeds and herons and muddy water, my favorite poet has been Taurus-born Lorine Niedecker, who wrote about marshes with supreme artistry. Until the age of 60, her poetic output was less than abundant because she had to earn a meager living by cleaning hospital floors. Then, due to a fortuitous shift in circumstances, she was able to leave that job and devote more time to what she loved most and did best. With Niedecker’s breakthrough as our inspiration, I propose that we do all we can, you and I, as we conspire to make 2020 the year you devote more time to the activity that you love most and do best.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
In the English language, the prefix “re” comes at the beginning of many words with potent transformational meaning: reinvent; redeem; rediscover; release; relieve; redesign; resurrect; rearrange; reconstruct; reform; reanimate; reawaken; regain. I hope you’ll put words like those at the top of your priority list in 2020. If you hope to take maximum advantage of the cosmic currents, it’ll be a year of revival, realignment, and restoration.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
I won’t be surprised if you’re enamored and amorous more than usual in 2020. I suspect you will experience delight and enchantment at an elevated rate. The intensity and depth of the feelings that flow through you may break all your previous records. Is that going to be a problem? I suppose it could be if you worry that the profuse flows of tenderness and affection will render you weak and vulnerable. But if you’re willing and eager to interpret your extra sensitivity as a superpower, that’s probably what it will be.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Does the word “spirit” mean anything to you? Or are you numb to it? Has it come to seem virtually meaningless—a foggy abstraction used carelessly by millions of people to express sentimental beliefs and avoid clear thinking? In accordance with astrological omens, I’ll ask you to create a sturdier and more vigorous definition of “spirit” for your practical use in 2020. For instance, you might decide that “spirit” refers to the life force that launches you out of bed each morning and motivates you to keep transforming yourself into the ever-more beautiful soul you want to become.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“There are people who take the heart out of you, and there are people who put it back,” wrote author Charles de Lint. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, your heart will encounter far more of the latter than the former types of people in 2020. There may be one wrangler who tries to take the heart out of you, but there will be an array of nurturers who will strive to keep the heart in you—as well as boosters and builders who will add even more heart.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Composer Igor Stravinsky was born a Russian citizen, but later in life became a French citizen, and still later took on American citizenship. If you have had any similar predilections, Libra, I’m guessing they won’t be in play during 2020. My prediction is that you will develop a more robust sense of where you belong than ever before. Any uncertainties you’d had about where your true power spot lies will dissipate. Questions you’ve harbored about the nature of home will be answered. With flair and satisfaction, you’ll resolve long-running riddles about home and community.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
“Friendship is a very taxing and arduous form of leisure activity,” wrote philosopher and educator Mortimer Adler. He was exaggerating a bit for comic effect, but he was basically correct. We all must mobilize a great deal of intelligence and hard work to initiate new friendships and maintain existing friendships. But I have some very good news about how these activities will play out for you in 2020, Scorpio. I expect that your knack for practicing the art of friendship will be at an all-time high. I also believe that your close alliances will be especially gratifying and useful for you. You’ll be well-rewarded for your skill and care at cultivating rapport.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
In 1933, Sagittarian artist Diego Rivera was commissioned to paint a huge mural in one of the famous Rockefeller buildings in New York City. His patrons didn’t realize he was planning to include a controversial portrait of former Soviet Communist leader Vladimir Lenin. When the deed was done, they ordered him to remove it. When he refused, they ushered him out and destroyed the whole mural. As a result, Rivera also lost another commission to create art at the Chicago World’s Fair. In any other year, Sagittarius, I might encourage you to be as idealistic as Rivera. I’d invite you to place artistic integrity over financial considerations. But I’m less inclined to advise that in 2020. I think it may serve you to be unusually pragmatic. At least consider leaving Lenin out of your murals.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
“People mistake their limitations for high standards,” wrote Capricorn author Jean Toomer. In my astrological opinion, it’s crucial that you avoid doing that in 2020. Why? First, I’m quite sure that you will have considerable power to shed and transcend at least some of your limitations. For best results, you can’t afford to deceive yourself into thinking that those limitations are high standards. Secondly, Capricorn, you will have good reasons and a substantial ability to raise your standards higher than they’ve ever been. So you definitely don’t want to confuse high standards with limitations.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Historians once thought that 14th-century Englishmen were the first humans to track the rhythms of the planet Jupiter using the complicated mathematics known as calculus. But in 2015, researchers discovered that Babylonians had done it 1400 years before the Englishmen. Why was Jupiter’s behavior so important to those ancient people? They were astrologers! They believed the planet’s movements were correlated with practical events on earth, like the weather, river levels, and grain harvests. I think that this correction in the origin story of tracking Jupiter’s rhythms will be a useful metaphor for you in 2020. It’s likely you will come to understand your past in ways that are different from what you’ve believed up until now. Your old tales will change.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
China produces the most apples in the world. The United States is second. That wasn’t always true. When Europeans first reached the shores of the New World, crab apple was the only apple species that grew natively. But the invaders planted other varieties that they brought with them. They also imported the key to all future proliferation: honeybees, champion pollinators, which were previously absent from the land that many indigenous people called Turtle Island. I see 2020 as a time for you to accomplish the equivalent, in your own sphere, of getting the pollination you need. What are the fertilizing influences that will help you accomplish your goals?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Week of December 11

Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
“Nobody knows really what they’re doing,” says Aries comedian Conan O’Brien. “And there are two ways to go with that information,” he continues. “One is to be afraid, and the other is to be liberated, and I choose to be liberated by it.” I hope you’ll be inspired by O’Brien’s example in the coming weeks, Aries. I suspect that if you shed your worries about the uncertainty you feel, you’ll trigger an influx of genius. Declaring your relaxed independence from the temptation to be a know-it-all will bless you with expansive new perspectives and freedom to move.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Creativity expert Roger von Oech tells us, “Everyone has a ‘risk muscle.’ You keep it in shape by trying new things. If you don’t, it atrophies. Make a point of using it at least once a day.” Here’s what I’ll add to his advice. If your risk muscle is flabby right now, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to whip it into better shape. Start with small, modest risks, and gradually work your way up to bigger and braver ones. And what should you do if your risk muscle is already well-toned? Dream and scheme about embarking on a major, long-term venture that is the robust embodiment of a smart gamble.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Many people engage in laughably feeble attempts to appear witty by being cynical—as if by exuding sardonic irony and sneering pessimism they could prove their mettle as brilliant observers of modern culture. An example is this lame wisecrack from humorist David Sedaris: “If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between s--- and syphilis in the dictionary.” I bring this to your attention in the hope of coaxing you to avoid indulging in gratuitous pessimism during the coming weeks. For the sake of your good health, it’s important for you to be as open-minded and generous-spirited as possible. And besides that, pessimism will be unwarranted.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
“You can shop online and find whatever you’re looking for,” writes pundit Paul Krugman, “but bookstores are where you find what you weren’t looking for.” That’s a good principle to apply in every area of your life. It’s always smart to know exactly what you need and want, but sometimes—like now—it’s important that you put yourself in position to encounter what you need and want but don’t realize that you need and want.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Bachianas Brasileiras is a nine-part piece of music that blends Brazilian folk music with the compositional style of Johann Sebastian Bach. The poet Anne Sexton relied on it, letting it re-play ceaselessly during her long writing sessions. My painter friend Robin sometimes follows a similar method with Leonard Cohen’s album Ten New Songs, allowing it to cycle for hours as she works on her latest masterpiece. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to select a new theme song or collection of theme songs to inspire your intense efforts in behalf of your labors of love in the coming weeks. It’s a favorable time to explore the generative power of joyous, lyrical obsession.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
“I’ve spent my life butting my head against other people’s lack of imagination,” mourned Virgo musician Nick Cave, who’s renowned for his original approach to his craft. I’m bringing this to your attention because I suspect you will be endowed with an extra fertile imagination in the coming weeks. And I would hate for you to waste time and energy trying to make full use of it in the presence of influences that would resist and discourage you. Therefore, I’ll cheer you on as you seek out people and situations that enhance your freedom to express your imagination in its expansive glory.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
A scholar counted up how often the Bible delivers the command “Fear not!” and “Don’t be afraid!” and similar advice. The number was 145. I don’t think that approach to regulating behavior works very well. To be constantly thinking about what you’re not supposed to do and say and think about tends to strengthen and reinforce what you’re not supposed to do and say and think about. I prefer author Elizabeth Gilbert’s strategy. She writes, “I don’t try to kill off my fear. I make all that space for it. Heaps of space. I allow my fear to live and breathe and stretch out its legs comfortably. It seems to me the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back.” That’s the method I recommend for you, Libra—especially in the coming weeks.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Isaac Newton (1642–1726) was one of history’s most influential scientists and a key contributor to physics, astronomy, mathematics, and optics. His mastery of the nuances of human relationships was less developed, however. He had one close friendship with a Swiss mathematician, though he broke it off abruptly after four years. And his biographers agree that he never had sex with another person. What I find most curious, however, is the fact that he refused to even meet the brilliant French philosopher Voltaire, who reached out to him and asked to get together. I trust you won’t do anything like that in the coming weeks, Scorpio. In fact, I urge you to be extra receptive to making new acquaintances, accepting invitations, and expanding your circle of influence.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
How did humans figure out that a luxurious fabric could be made from the cocoons of insect larvae? Ancient Chinese sage Confucius told the following story. One day in 2460 B.C., 14-year-old Chinese princess Xi Ling Shi was sitting under a mulberry tree sipping tea. A silk worm’s cocoon fell off a branch and landed in her drink. She was curious, not bothered. She unrolled the delicate structure and got the idea of using the threads to weave a fabric. The rest is history. I foresee a silk-worm’s-cocoon-falling-in-your-cup-of-tea type of event in your future, Sagittarius. Be alert for it.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
“It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires,” wrote Capricorn author Rebecca West. “It must abandon itself to its master passion.” That’s a high standard to live up to! But then you Capricorns have substantial potential to do just that: become the champions of devoting practical commitment to righteous causes. With that in mind, I’ll ask you: How are you doing in your work to embody the ideal that Rebecca West articulated? Is your soul loyal to its deepest desires? Has it abandoned itself to its master passion? Take inventory—and make any corrections, if necessary.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
I would never try to talk you into downplaying or denying your suffering. I would never try to convince you that the pain you have experienced is mild or tolerable or eminently manageable. Who among us has the wisdom to judge the severity or intractability of anyone else’s afflictions? Not I. But in the coming months, I will ask you to consider the possibility that you have the power—perhaps more than you realize—to diminish your primal aches and angst. I will encourage you to dream of healing yourself in ways that you have previously imagined to be impossible.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“You owe it to us all to get on with what you’re good at,” wrote Piscean poet W. H. Auden. In other words, you have a responsibility to develop your potential and figure out how to offer your best gifts. It’s not just a selfish act for you to fulfill your promise; it’s a generous act of service to your fellow humans. So how are you doing with that assignment, Pisces? According to my analysis, you should be right in the middle of raising your efforts to a higher octave; you should be discovering the key to activating the next phase of your success—which also happens to be the next phase of your ability to bestow blessings on others.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Week of December 4

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
In composing this oracle, I have called on the unruly wisdom of Vivienne Westwood. She’s the fashion designer who incorporated the punk esthetic into mainstream styles. Here are four quotes by her that will be especially suitable for your use in the coming weeks. 1. “I disagree with everything I used to say.” 2. “The only possible effect one can have on the world is through unpopular ideas.” 3. “Intelligence is composed mostly of imagination, insight, and things that have nothing to do with reason.” 4. “I’m attracted to people who are really true to themselves and who are always trying to do something that makes their life more interesting.”

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
“I’m drowning in the things I never told you.” Famous make-up artist Alexandra Joseph wrote that message to a companion with whom she had a complicated relationship. Are you experiencing a similar sensation, Taurus? If so, I invite you to do something about it! The coming weeks will be a good time to stop drowning. One option is to blurt out to your ally all the feelings and thoughts you’ve been withholding and hiding. A second option is to divulge just some of the feelings and thoughts you’ve been withholding and hiding—and then monitor the results of your partial revelation. A third option is to analyze why you’ve been withholding and hiding. Is it because your ally hasn’t been receptive, or because you’re afraid of being honest? Here’s what I suggest: Start with the third option, then move on to the second.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
I’ve got some borderline sentimental poetry to offer you in this horoscope. It may be too mushy for a mentally crisp person like you. You may worry that I’ve fallen under the sway of sappy versions of love rather than the snappy versions I usually favor. But there is a method in my madness: I suspect you need an emotionally suggestive nudge to fully activate your urge to merge; you require a jolt of sweetness to inspire you to go in quest of the love mojo that’s potentially available to you in abundance. So please allow your heart to be moved by the following passage from poet Rabindranath Tagore: “My soul is alight with your infinitude of stars. Your world has broken upon me like a flood. The flowers of your garden blossom in my body.”

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Try saying this, and notice how it feels: “For the next 17 days, I will make ingenious efforts to interpret my problems as interesting opportunities that offer me the chance to liberate myself from my suffering and transform myself into the person I aspire to become.” Now speak the following words and see what thoughts and sensations get triggered: “For the next 17 days, I will have fun imagining that my so-called flaws are signs of potential strengths and talents that I have not yet developed.”

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
An interviewer asked singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen if he needed to feel bothered and agitated in order to stimulate his creativity. Cohen said no. “When I get up in the morning,” he testified, “my real concern is to discover whether I’m in a state of grace.” Surprised, the interviewer asked, “What do you mean by a state of grace?” Cohen described it as a knack for balance that he called on to ride the chaos around him. He knew he couldn’t fix or banish the chaos—and it would be arrogant to try. His state of grace was more like skiing skillfully down a hill, gliding along the contours of unpredictable terrain. I’m telling you about Cohen’s definition, Leo, because I think that’s the state of grace you should cultivate right now. I bet it will stimulate your creativity in ways that surprise and delight you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Poet Juan Felipe Herrera praises the value of making regular efforts to detox our cluttered minds. He says that one of the best methods for accomplishing this cleansing is to daydream. You give yourself permission to indulge in uncensored, unabashed fantasies. You feel no inhibition about envisioning scenes that you may or may not ever carry out in real life. You understand that this free-form play of images is a healing joy, a gift you give yourself. It’s a crafty strategy to make sure you’re not hiding any secrets from yourself. Now is a favorable time to practice this art, Virgo.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
In accordance with current astrological omens, here’s your meditation, as articulated by the blogger named Riverselkie: “Let your life be guided by the things that produce the purest secret happiness, with no thought to what that may look like from the outside. Feed the absurd whims of your soul and create with no audience in mind but yourself. What is poignant to you is what others will be moved by, too. Embrace what you love about yourself and the right people will come.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
“I swear I became a saint from waiting,” wrote Scorpio poet Odysseus Elytis in his poem “Three Times the Truth.” According to my reading of the astrological omens, you may be in a similar situation. And you’ll be wise to welcome the break in the action and abide calmly in the motionless lull. You’ll experiment with the hypothesis that temporary postponement is best not just for you, but for all concerned.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
“My greatest asset is that I am constantly changing,” says Sagittarian actress and activist Jane Fonda. This description may not always be applicable to you, but I think it should be during the coming weeks. You’re primed to thrive on a robust commitment to self-transformation. As you proceed in your holy task, keep in mind this other advice from Fonda. 1. “One part of wisdom is knowing what you don’t need anymore and letting it go.” 2. “It is never too late to master your weaknesses.” 3. “If you allow yourself, you can become stronger in the very places that you’ve been broken.” 4. “The challenge is not to be perfect. It’s to be whole.” P.S. And what does it mean to be whole? Be respectful toward all your multiple facets, and welcome them into the conversation you have about how to live.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
You can’t escape your past completely. You can’t loosen its hold on you so thoroughly that it will forever allow you to move with limitless freedom into the future. But you definitely have the power to release yourself from at least a part of your past’s grip. And the coming weeks will be an excellent time to do just that: to pay off a portion of your karmic debt and shed worn-out emotional baggage.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Aquarian playwright August Strindberg didn’t have much interest in people who “regurgitate what they have learned from books.” He was bored by stories that have been told over and over again; was impatient with propaganda disguised as information and by sentimental platitudes masquerading as sage insights. He craved to hear about the unprecedented secrets of each person’s life: the things they know and feel that no one else knows and feels. He was a student of “the natural history of the human heart.” I bring Strindberg’s perspective to your attention, my dear one-of-a-kind Aquarius, because now is a perfect time for you to fully embody it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“It’s no fun being in love with a shadow,” wrote Piscean poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. And yet she indulged profusely in that no-fun activity, and even capitalized on it to create a number of decent, if morose, poems. But in alignment with your astrological omens, Pisces, I’m going to encourage you to fall out of love with shadows. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to channel your passions into solid realities: to focus your ardor and adoration on earthly pleasures and practical concerns and imperfect but interesting people.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Week of November 27

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Humans invented the plow in 4,500 BC, the wheel in 4,000 BC, and writing in 3,400 BC. But long before that, by 6,000 BC, they had learned how to brew beer and make psychoactive drugs from plants. Psychopharmacologist Ronald Siegel points to this evidence to support his hypothesis that the yearning to transform our normal waking consciousness is a basic drive akin to our need to eat and drink. Of course, there are many ways to accomplish this shift besides alcohol and drugs. They include dancing, singing, praying, drumming, meditating, and having sex. What are your favorite modes? According to my astrological analysis, it’ll be extra important for you to alter your habitual perceptions and thinking patterns during the coming weeks.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
What’s something you’re afraid of, but pretty confident you could become unafraid of? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to dismantle or dissolve that fear. Your levels of courage will be higher than usual, and your imagination will be unusually ingenious in devising methods and actions to free you of the unnecessary burden. Step one: Formulate an image or scene that symbolizes the dread, and visualize yourself blowing it up with a “bomb” made of a hundred roses.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
The word “enantiodromia” refers to a phenomenon that occurs when a vivid form of expression turns into its opposite, often in dramatic fashion. Yang becomes yin; resistance transforms into welcome; loss morphs into gain. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you Geminis are the sign of the zodiac that’s most likely to experience enantiodromia in the coming weeks. Will it be a good thing or a bad thing? You can have a lot of influence over how that question resolves. For best results, don’t fear or demonize contradictions and paradoxes. Love and embrace them.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
There are Americans who speak only one language, English, and yet imagine they are smarter than bilingual immigrants. That fact amazes me, and inspires me to advise me and all my fellow Cancerians to engage in humble reflection about how we judge our fellow humans. Now is a favorable time for us to take inventory of any inclinations we might have to regard ourselves as superior to others; to question why we might imagine others aren’t as worthy of love and respect as we are; or to be skeptical of any tendency we might have dismiss and devalue those who don’t act and think as we do. I’m not saying we Cancerians are more guilty of these sins than everyone else; I’m merely letting you know that the coming weeks are our special time to make corrections.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
“Erotic love is one of the highest forms of contemplation,” wrote the sensually wise poet Kenneth Rexroth. That’s a provocative and profitable inspiration for you to tap into. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you’re in the Season of Lucky Plucky Delight, when brave love can save you from wrong turns and irrelevant ideas; when the grandeur of amour can be your teacher and catalyst. If you have a partner with whom you can conduct these educational experiments, wonderful. If you don’t, be extra sweet and intimate with yourself.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
In the follow-up story to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, our heroine uses a magic mirror as a portal into a fantastical land. There she encounters the Red Queen, and soon the two of them are holding hands as they run as fast as they can. Alice notices that despite their great effort, they don’t seem to be moving forward. What’s happening? The Queen clears up the mystery: In her realm, you must run as hard as possible just to remain in the same spot. Sound familiar, Virgo? I’m wondering whether you’ve had a similar experience lately. If so, here’s my advice: Stop running. Sit back, relax, and allow the world to zoom by you. Yes, you might temporarily fall behind. But in the meantime, you’ll get fully recharged. No more than three weeks from now, you’ll be so energized that you’ll make up for all the lost time—and more.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Most sane people wish there could be less animosity between groups that have different beliefs and interests. How much better the world would be if everyone felt a generous acceptance toward those who are unlike them. But the problem goes even deeper: Most of us are at odds with ourselves. Here’s how author Rebecca West described it: Even the different parts of the same person do not often converse among themselves, do not succeed in learning from each other. That’s the bad news, Libra. The good news is that the coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to promote unity and harmony among all the various parts of yourself. I urge you to entice them to enter into earnest conversations with each other!

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Poet Cecilia Woloch asks, “How to un-want what the body has wanted, explain how the flesh in its wisdom was wrong?” Did the apparent error occur because of some “some ghost in the mind?” she adds. Was it due to “some blue chemical rushing the blood” or “some demon or god”? I’m sure that you, like most of us, have experienced this mystery. But the good news is that in the coming weeks you will have the power to un-want inappropriate or unhealthy experiences that your body has wanted. Step one: Have a talk with yourself about why the thing your body has wanted isn’t in alignment with your highest good.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Sagittarian composer Ludwig van Beethoven was inclined to get deeply absorbed in his work. Even when he took time to attend to the details of daily necessity, he allowed himself to be spontaneously responsive to compelling musical inspirations that suddenly welled up in him. On more than a few occasions, he lathered his face with the nineteenth-century equivalent of shaving cream, then got waylaid by a burst of brilliance and forgot to actually shave. His servants found that amusing. I suspect that the coming weeks may be Beethoven-like for you, Sagittarius. I bet you’ll be surprised by worthy fascinations and subject to impromptu illuminations.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
During the next eleven months, you could initiate fundamental improvements in the way you live from day to day. It’s conceivable you’ll discover or generate innovations that permanently raise your life’s possibilities to a higher octave. At the risk of sounding grandiose, I’m tempted to predict that you’ll celebrate at least one improvement that is your personal equivalent of the invention of the wheel or the compass or the calendar.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. Philosopher Georg Hegel said that. But I think you will have an excellent chance to disprove this theory in the coming months. I suspect you will be inclined and motivated to study your own past in detail; you’ll be skilled at drawing useful lessons from it; and you will apply those lessons with wise panache as you re-route your destiny.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
In his own time, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) was acclaimed and beloved. At the height of his fame, he earned $3,000 per poem. But modern literary critics think that most of what he created is derivative, sentimental, and unworthy of serious appreciation. In dramatic contrast is poet Emily Dickinson (1830­–1886). Her writing was virtually unknown in her lifetime, but is now regarded as among the best ever. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to sort through your own past so as to determine which of your work, like Longfellow’s, should be archived as unimportant or irrelevant, and which, like Dickinson’s, deserves to be a continuing inspiration as you glide into the future.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Week of November 20

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
“Beware of what disturbs the heart,” said Ibn Mas’ud, a companion of the prophet Mohammed. “If something unsettles your heart, then abandon it.” My wise Aries friend Artemisia has a different perspective. She advises, “Pay close attention to what disturbs the heart. Whatever has the power to unsettle your heart will show you a key lesson you must learn, a crucial task you’d be smart to undertake.” Here’s my synthesis of Ibn Mas’ud and Artemisia: Do your very best to fix the problem revealed by your unsettled heart. Learn all you can in the process. Then, even if the fix isn’t totally perfect, move on. Graduate from the problem for good.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Taurus social critic Bertrand Russell won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950. He’s regarded as the founder of analytic philosophy and one of the twentieth century’s premier intellectuals. But he went through a rough patch in 1940. He was adjudged “morally unfit” to accept his appointment as a professor at the City College of New York. The lawsuit that banned him from the job described him as being “libidinous, lustful, aphrodisiac, and irreverent.” Why? Simply because of his liberated opinions about sexuality, which he had conscientiously articulated in his book Marriage and Morals. In our modern era, we’re more likely to welcome libidinous, lustful, aphrodisiac, and irreverent ideas if they’re expressed respectfully, as Russell did. With that as a subtext, I invite you to update and deepen your relationship with your own sexuality in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
In her poem “What the Light Teaches,” Anne Michaels describes herself arriving at a lover’s house soaked with rain, “dripping with new memory.” She’s ready for “one past to grow out of another.” In other words, she’s eager to leave behind the story that she and her lover have lived together up until now—and begin a new story. A similar blessing will be available for you in the coming weeks, Gemini: a chance for you and an intimate partner or close ally to launch a new chapter of your history together.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Some scientists deride astrology despite being ignorant about it. For example, they complain, “The miniscule gravitational forces beaming from the planets can’t possibly have any effect on our personal lives.” But the truth is that most astrologers don’t believe the planets exert influence on us with gravity or any other invisible force. Instead, we analyze planetary movements as evidence of a hidden order in the universe. It’s comparable to the way weather forecasters use a barometer to read atmospheric pressure but know that barometers don’t cause changes in atmospheric pressure. I hope this inspires you, Cancerian, as you develop constructive critiques of situations in your own sphere. Don’t rely on naive assumption and unwarranted biases. Make sure you have the correct facts before you proceed. If you do, you could generate remarkable transformations in the coming weeks.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
As you glide into the Season of Love, I’d love you to soak up wise counsel from the author bell hooks. (She doesn’t capitalize her name.) “Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high,” she cautions. “They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.” I trust you won’t do that, Leo. Here’s more from hooks: “Dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love—which is to transform us.” Are you ready to be transformed by love, Leo?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Burrow down as deep as you dare, Virgo. Give yourself pep talks as you descend toward the gritty core of every matter. Feel your way into the underground, where the roots meet the foundations. It’s time for you to explore the mysteries that are usually beneath your conscious awareness. You have a mandate to reacquaint yourself with where you came from and how you got to where you are now.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
It’s natural and healthy to feel both the longing to connect and the longing to be independent. Each of those urges deserves an honored place in your heart. But you may sometimes experience them as being contradictory; their opposing pulls may rouse tension. I bring this to your attention because I suspect that the coming weeks will be a test of your ability to not just abide in this tension, but to learn from and thrive on it. For inspiration, read these words by Jeanette Winterson. “What should I do about the wild heart that wants to be free and the tame heart that wants to come home? I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at night. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to be with you.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
The Louvre Museum in Paris displays 38,000 objects throughout its eighteen acres of floor space. Among its most treasured thirteenth-century artworks is The Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels, a huge painting by Italian painter Cimabue. When a museum representative first acquired it in the nineteenth century, its price was five francs, or less than a dollar. I urge you to be on the lookout for bargains like that in the coming weeks. Something that could be valuable in the future may be undervalued now.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
Sagittarian performance artist Marina Abramovic observes that Muhammad, Buddha, Jesus, and Moses “all went to the desert as nobodies and came back as somebodies.” She herself spent a year in Australia’s Great Sandy Desert near Lake Disappointment, leading her to exclaim that the desert is “the most incredible place, because there is nothing there except yourself, and yourself is a big deal.” From what I can tell, Sagittarius, you’re just returning from your own metaphorical version of the desert, which is very good news. Welcome back! I can’t wait to see what marvels you spawn.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Upcoming events may bedevil your mind. They may mess with your certainties and agitate your self-doubts. But if you want my view about those possibilities, they’re cause for celebration. According to my analysis of the astrological indicators, you will benefit from having your mind bedeviled and your certainties messed with and your self-doubts agitated. You may ultimately even thrive and exult and glow like a miniature sun. Why? Because you need life to gently but firmly kick your ass in just the right way so you’ll become alert to opportunities you have been ignoring or blind to.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Every writer I’ve ever known says that a key practice to becoming a good writer is to read a lot of books. So what are we to make of the fact that one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated novelists didn’t hew to that principle? In 1936, three years before the publication of his last book, Aquarian-born James Joyce confessed that he had “not read a novel in any language for many years.” Here’s my take on the subject: More than any other sign of the zodiac, you Aquarians have the potential to succeed despite not playing by conventional rules. And I suspect your power to do that is even greater than usual these days.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it,” wrote Piscean novelist John Irving. In the coming weeks, Pisces, you will have the power to get clearer than ever before about knowing the way of life you love. As a bonus, I predict you will also have an expanded access to the courage necessary to actually live that way of life. Take full advantage!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Week of November 13

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at 4:00 AM

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
If there are any potential Aries heroes or leaders or saviors out there, the coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to fully bloom and assert your practical magnificence. The lessons you have learned while improvising workable solutions for yourself are ripe to be applied to the riddles that are puzzling your tribe or group or gang. I want to let you know, however, that to achieve maximum effectiveness, you should be willing to do good deeds for people who may not be able to pay you back.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
You’re entering a phase of your astrological cycle when it’s crucial that your receptivity be as robust as possible. To guide you in this delightful but perhaps challenging work, here are good questions for you to pose. 1. Do you know what help and support you need most, and are you brave and forthright enough to ask for it? 2. Is there any part of you, perhaps unconscious, that believes you don’t deserve gifts and blessings? 3. Do you diligently cultivate your capacity to be refreshed and restored? 4. Are you eagerly responsive when life surprises you with learning experiences and inspirations?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
“Many people will not be honest because they fear loss of intimacy and togetherness,” writes self-help author Henry Cloud. But the truth, he adds, is that “honesty brings people closer together,” because it “strengthens their identities.” Therein lies the tender paradox: “The more you realize your separate identities, the closer you can become.” Living according to this principle may not be as easy or convenient as being deceptive and covert, but it’s ultimately more gratifying. Henry Cloud concludes, “Telling loved ones what is really on your mind and telling others what you really think is the foundation of love.”

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
“Maturity is having the ability to escape categorization,” said poet Kenneth Rexroth. That’s the opposite of the conventional wisdom. For many people, the process of growing up and becoming a seasoned adult means trying to fit in, to find one’s category, to be serious and steady and stable. Rexroth, on the other hand, suggested that when you fully ripen into your potentials, you transcend standard definitions; you don’t adhere to others’ expectations; you are uniquely yourself, outside and beyond all pigeonholes and classifications. The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to practice and cultivate this sacred art.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Is there an event from your past that would be empowering for you to remember in detail? Is there a neglected but still viable dream you could resurrect, thereby energizing your enthusiasm for the future? Are there old allies you’ve lost touch with but who, if you called on them, could provide you with just the boost you need? Is there a familiar pleasure you’ve grown numb to but could reinvigorate by visualizing the original reasons you loved it? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to meditate on these questions.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Catholic saint St. Francis (1181–1226) loved animals and the natural world. According to one folkloric tale, he was once traveling on foot with several companions when they came upon a place where the trees were filled with birds. Francis said, “Wait for me while I go preach to my sisters the birds.” He proceeded to do just that. The birds were an attentive audience for the duration of his sermon, apparently captivated by his tender tones. Seven centuries later, author Rebecca West offered a critique of the bird-whisperer. “Did St. Francis preach to the birds?” she asked. “Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.” In the coming weeks, Virgo, I encourage you to do the metaphorical equivalent of preaching to both the birds and the cats.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Every now and then I authorize you Libras to shed your polite, tactful personas and express the angst you sometimes feel but usually hide. That’s now! To egg you on, read this mischievous rant by Libran blogger Clary Gay (claryfightwood.tumblr.com): “We Libras are constantly thinking about how to make everyone else comfortable and happy. There’s not a minute going by when we’re not worrying about radiating a soothing and comforting aura so everyone can have a good time. If a Libra is cranky, it’s because they snapped! Because of some non-Libra who doesn’t appreciate them! If a Libra is mean to people, it’s their own damn fault!”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Poet Robert Bly tells us that the door to the soul is unlocked. You don’t have to struggle through any special machinations to open it or go through it. Furthermore, the realm of the soul is always ready for you. Always! It harbors the precise treasure you need in order to be replenished and empowered. I bring this to your attention, Scorpio, because I think that during the next two weeks, you should abide as much as possible in the soul’s realm—the cornucopia of holy truths and ever-fresh riches.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
In my estimation, what you’ve experienced lately has been akin to a fermentation process. It’s as if you’re undergoing a transformation with resemblances to the way that grapes turn into wine or milk becomes yogurt or dough rises before being baked into bread. You may have had to endure some discomfort, which is the case for anything in the midst of substantial change. But I think you’ll ultimately be quite pleased with the results, which I expect will be ready no later than ten days after your birthday—and quite possibly sooner.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Many books have been written about Joan of Arc, a fifteenth-century teenage peasant girl whose improbable ascent to military leadership, under the guidance of her divine visions, was crucial in France’s victory over the English. Among the many miraculous elements of her story was the fact that less than a year before she led troops into battle on horseback, she didn’t know how to ride a horse. She learned by riding around her father’s farm astride his cows. I foresee an equivalent marvel in your future, Capricorn. By this time next year, you will have developed an aptitude that might seem unimaginable now. (P.S. There’s evidence Joan was a Capricorn.)

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
The Divine Comedy is one of history’s greatest literary works. Its author, Dante Alighieri, was 43 when he began writing the Inferno, the first part of his three-part masterpiece. Up until that time, he had published just one book and a few poems, and had also abandoned work on two unfinished books. Early on in the Inferno, the not-yet-renowned author presents a fictional scene in which he meets with the spirits of antiquity’s most famous authors: Virgil, Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan. Those illustrious five tell Dante he is such an important writer that he ranks sixth, after them, in his excellence. I’m going to encourage you to dare indulging in behavior like Dante’s: to visualize and extol—and yes, even brag about—the virtues and skills that will ultimately be your signature contribution to this world.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
The Latin word for sea is mare. Flustra is the calm sea. Undisonus means “resounding with waves.” Caeruleus is the sea’s deep shade of blue, aestus is the tide, and aequoreus means “connected with the sea.” My hope is that as you meditate on these lyrical terms, you’ll be moved to remember the first lakes, rivers, and oceans you ever swam in. You’ll recall your time floating in your mother’s womb and your most joyous immersions in warm baths and hotsprings. Why? It’s a favorable time to seek the healing and rejuvenating powers of primal waters—both metaphorically and literally.

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