~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19):

Writing in Poetry Flash, critic Rusty Morrison speculates that \”the sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear\’s boundary, beyond one\’s previous conceptions of the beautiful.\” That\’s a good theme for you to experiment with right now, Aries. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you\’re very close to making contact with splendor you\’ll remember all your life. (And I don\’t use that fancy word \”splendor\” lightly.) You\’ll need a lot of playful courage to make the boundary-crossing. But I know you can do it if you keep heading in the direction of what\’s scarily meaningful.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20):

\”There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination,\” wrote Anaïs Nin. \”Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.\” I share Nin\’s perspective, Taurus; I know from experience how maddeningly slow the truth-gathering process can be. But I\’m pleased to inform you that you\’re in a phase when missing puzzle pieces will become available at a faster rate than usual. Be alert for the subtle onslaught.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20):

\”Whatever is not an energy source is an energy sink,\” writes novelist Marge Piercy. Is it really that unambiguous? Can you divide every single person, event, and institution into those that suck your vitality and those that pump you up? I think it\’s usually more complicated than that. There are many things that simultaneously suck and pump. But for you right now, Gemini, I believe it is that clear-cut. Proceed accordingly. Be ruthlessly discerning in deciding what influences you invite into your sphere.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22):

\”Dear Rob: I like to take my daughters to the playground. While they hang out in the sandbox, I\’ve often tried to make it across the monkey bars — you know, those overhead bars where you go hand over hand while your body dangles below. In hundreds of attempts, I\’ve failed every time. My hands hurt, I feel heavy and out of shape, and I give up quickly. But last Saturday the spell was broken. I asked the gods of the playground to help me out. As I jumped up to grab the monkey bars, the idea popped into my head that I should bend my legs instead of leaving them dangling down. I got a swinging motion going, and made it across easily. After all those years of frustration, I couldn\’t believe such a little change made such a big difference. -Cancerian Reporting from the Trenches.\” Dear Cancerian: Thanks for your testimony. I think it\’s exactly what your fellow Crabs need to hear.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22):

You\’ve arrived at the recreate-yourself-from-scratch phase of your cycle. To celebrate, I\’ve gathered three apt pieces of advice for you to scrawl on a piece of paper that you\’ll put under your pillow. (1) \”Almost everything comes from almost nothing.\” – Henri-Frédéric Amiel. (2) \”The best way to predict your future is to create it.\” – Peter Drucker. (3) \”Leap and the net will appear.\” – Zen saying.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

In the language of the Hopi Indians, *koyaanisqatsi* means \”crazy life,\” \”life in turmoil,\” or \”life out of balance.\” It\’s usually invoked to describe a culture that\’s in disarray because of corruption and lack of vision. In the horoscope you\’re now reading, however, I\’m using it to identify a chaotic state that each of us periodically goes through in our personal life. It\’s a phase when we lose our moorings, when we\’re out of touch with our moral center. On the one hand, it\’s uncomfortable and disorienting. On the other hand, the brain-scrambling it stirs up is often a blessing. It flushes out mental habits that no longer serve us. It provokes creative innovations by rearranging the contents of our psyche. According to my reading of the omens, this is such a time for you, Virgo. Happy koyaanisqatsi!

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22):

The muskmelon is a fruit that continues to ripen after it\’s picked, whereas a watermelon stops ripening the moment it\’s plucked from the vine. As you enter your own personal harvest season, Libra, keep that difference in mind; it\’ll be a useful metaphor. Some of the \”crops\” you\’ve been growing all these months are like muskmelons, while others are like watermelons. Do you know which are which? Let the watermelon-like fruits of your labors stay on the vine until you\’re absolutely sure they\’re fully mature.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

If this was 1700 and you lived in London or if it was 1800 and you lived in Philadelphia, I\’d tell you, *Go west, young man or young woman.* The astrological omens imply that your most useful adventures lie in the direction the sun travels. But we could also interpret the oracular advice to \”go west\” not as a literal mandate to head out on the road, but rather as a metaphorical exhortation to follow the sun in your heart. So what does that expression mean to you? If you followed the sun in your heart, would you align yourself with a live-giving source of light and energy? Would you do something that fills you with warmth and vitality? Would you answer a call that\’s coming to you from the most practical manifestation of divine intelligence you know? Or all three?

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

A Sagittarius reader named Sarah Morehouse sent me an announcement. \”I\’ve just discovered that I\’m . . . ummm . . . cough . . . RULER OF THE WORLD,\” she said. \”Don\’t panic. I\’m planning to be a benign dictator. But here are two immediate changes. First: We will no longer separate reverence and amusement. Every one of us must regard humor as holy, and infuse our moments of solemn awe with giggles and snorts. Secondly: All of us are artists. That\’s right: Each and every one of us is now a certified creator of smart beauty, deep spiritual meaning, and good-natured practical jokes.\” Queen Sarah went on at length, but I\’ll stop there so I have room to point out this truth: Of all the signs of the zodiac, you Sagittarians are in the most perfect position to embody her new laws. In the coming weeks, you should regard them as your mandate.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

This would be a perfect moment to send 100 roses to someone you love. Oddly enough, it\’ll also be an excellent time to send 100 roses to someone you love to hate. In other words, the karmic ledger needs to be kept in balance. You\’ve got to make sure that all the opposites in your life are given their proper due. Each side of every paradox deserves your equal attention. What\’s the payoff? An exotic and lyrical brand of harmony will be yours if you expand your mind to encompass the yin of every yang, and vice versa.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

Consider writing an entertaining advertisement about yourself in order to attract the resources you\’d like to play with. Or think about buying the domain name \”showerblessingson[putyournamehere].com,\” then setting up a website where the world can send you business offers, marriage proposals, free gifts, and invitations to travel. The point is, Aquarius, that the upcoming weeks will be a perfect time to get very aggressive and highly specific about asking for what you need. Rev up the fun-loving parts of your imagination.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20):

If you\’re a gardener who loves your plants, you\’re merciless towards weeds. Even if you have a deep reverence for all forms of life, you don\’t waver in your drive to yank out the hairy bittercress that\’s crowding your tomatoes. You don\’t feel twinges of guilt as you eliminate the chickweed near your squash. I advise you to use a similar approach as you nurture your little growing things in the coming days. Safeguard them from anything that would distract them from their instinctive purpose or weaken their power to become more thoroughly themselves.

~ASTROLOGY~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

Here\\\’s how you damage the Aries soul, according to astrologer Steven Forrest: You bore it, you deprive it of adventure, and you starve it of chances to grow evermore courageous. I\\\’m worried this could happen in the coming weeks. According to my reading of the omens, you may be tempted to get involved with things that are too easy for you. Here\\\’s what you can do to make sure this doesn\\\’t come to pass: Invite yourself into unpredictable situations. Give yourself assignments that will force you out of your comfort zone. Fall in love with questions that will turn your mind inside-out.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

I\\\’m drinking a toast to my grade-school teachers, five of whom were stern spinsters in their 50s and 60s. I may not have esteemed them when we were together those seven hours a day, 180 days a year; I may have been alternately bored and alienated by their nagging me to learn. But from my current vantage point, I\\\’m ripe with gratitude: pleased with my ability to wield the English language and do the arithmetic my business requires and hold in my imagination a clear vision of the planet\\\’s geography. Those maestros taught me well, and I\\\’m in awe of their tireless efforts. Now I suggest you do something similar to what I just did, Taurus. Feel a flood of thanks for the helpers and teachers from your past (even the inadvertent ones) whom you have never appreciated sufficiently.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

A few years ago, a high school football team in Colorado was reprimanded when officials discovered that players had soaked their uniforms with an oily cooking spray before a big game. Though there was no specific regulation against it in the rulebook, the greasy stuff made it harder for their opponents to tackle them, giving them an advantage. I\\\’m recommending their ploy to you in the coming week, Gemini—at least metaphorically. You will benefit from being slipperier, more elusive, and difficult to pin down than usual. I\\\’d also like to see you be extraordinarily cagey, foxy, and tricky. To help focus your mind on this assignment, buy a can of cooking spray and create an altar around it.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

Imagine all the life processes that unfold outside of your conscious awareness: your body digesting your food and circulating your blood; trees using carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to synthesize their nourishment; micro-organisms in the soil beneath your feet endlessly toiling away to create humus. You don\\\’t perceive any of these things directly; they\\\’re invisible to you. What other growth and transformation might be going on in secret, Cancerian? This is the perfect time to tune in to all the vitalizing alchemy that is usually hidden from you. In a sense, you have X-ray vision.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

How should we visualize the phase you\\\’re in? Are you coming back home after a harrowing journey to the abyss? Or are you about to launch a quest straight into the heart of the dawn\\\’s blinding promise? Paradoxically enough, Leo, you\\\’re doing both. You\\\’re coming and going at the same time. You\\\’re graduating from an ancient lesson and beginning a new course of study. Hints of the future are mingled with the last gasps of the past.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

\\\”Write the bad things that are done to you in sand,\\\” says an Arab proverb, \\\”but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble.\\\” That\\\’s perfect advice for you in the coming days. Why? Because I believe you\\\’ll be cheated or slighted in a way that will have only minor, short-term consequences, whereas on the other hand you\\\’ll be the beneficiary of a loophole or the recipient of a generous blessing that should reverberate for a long time.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, born under the sign of Libra, has been described by a fellow teacher as \\\”a cross between a cloud, a snail, and a piece of heavy machinery — a true religious presence.\\\” He translates his lofty visions into the most intimate and practical terms, even providing suggestions about how to get more spiritual inspiration out of breathing, eating, and walking. Take a similar approach in the coming weeks, Libra. Bring heaven all the way down to earth. Make the smallest details of your life reflect your highest ideals.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

The modern English word \\\”weird\\\” is derived from the Old English term wyrd, meaning \\\”destiny.\\\” By the late Middle Ages, wyrd had evolved into a concept similar to the Eastern notion of karma. It implied that the momentum of past events plays a strong role in shaping the future, but that human willpower can nevertheless also have a hand in creating upcoming events. In some uses, wyrd could even mean \\\”the power to control destiny,\\\” as exemplified by the three Weird Sisters of Shakespeare\\\’s MacBeth. I bring this up, Scorpio, because your Wyrd Factor is pretty high these days. While the consequences of your past are certainly impinging on your present to some degree, you\\\’ve rarely had a greater ability to override them through the force of your intentions.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

\\\”Most people experience \\\’cubicle creativity,\\\’\\\” says businessman Gerald Haman. \\\”The size of their ideas is directly proportional to the space they have in which to think.\\\” Just in case this is true, Sagittarius, I urge you to expand the box you occupy while dreaming up solutions to problems and fantasizing about the adventures you want to embark on. It\\\’s time to stretch the boundaries in every way you can imagine.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

\\\”Dear Rob: Last night I dreamt that I finally met the soulmate I\\\’ve been looking for all these years. We were making love in a limousine that was driving us to the church where we would be married. Then a terrible thing happened. Right there in my arms, my perfect lover turned into a toothless, stinking geezer whose sparse white hair was falling out in my hands. I shrieked and ran out of the car. Can you interpret my dream for me? -Crushed Capricorn.\\\” Dear Crushed: Your dream may mean that your romantic ideals have become outmoded; your long-standing fantasies about what constitutes your perfect lover are no longer relevant. It\\\’s probably time to adjust your definitions.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

To get in a mood to take maximum advantage of the cosmic currents, go to tinyurl.com/25sgyx and read Dara Wier\\\’s poem \\\”A Modern Version of the Way the Rosary Was Once Said Throughout Western Europe in the Late Middle Ages.\\\” What she expresses there is exactly the attitude you should cultivate. Here\\\’s an excerpt: \\\”I\\\’m not sewing velvet patches on a woolen blanket, not putting silver buttons back where they belong, not sweeping or folding, not in my right mind, not knowing what I owe or to whom I should bow down or thank or praise, no neither am I storing up good deeds I\\\’ll need when I need bailing out, nor do I wish to settle old scores, no not keeping wolves at bay, and I\\\’m not disturbing antbeds, not in touch with fine madness, no, I\\\’m not hiding under the kitchen table not wanting to listen anymore, nor am I staying awake in case I might miss something, no, I\\\’m not staring forever into a fire, nor walking through a rainstorm into a cypress grove, no, and I\\\’m not waiting for lightning to strike.\\\”

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

While browsing at the garden store, I saw an item that would be perfect for your current metaphorical needs: rose gloves. They\\\’re specially designed to protect you while working with those lush but thorny flowers. They feature padded palms, reinforced fingertips, and extra-long gauntlets that safeguard your flesh up to the elbow. As you play with and care for your own metaphorical version of the paradoxical rose in the coming days, I suggest that you arm yourself with equivalent protective measures.

~ ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

Among the Yanyuwa Aboriginal people who live along the coast of Australia\’s Northern Territory, the word for \”fat\” is nalu-ngiliny. It doesn\’t merely refer to the greasy stuff that grows naturally under the skin of animal bodies. It\’s also a metaphysical term for vitality. Anything that\’s rich in nalu-ngiliny is healthy. A certain landscape may be considered fat, for instance, which means that it\’s fertile and sacred. When acacia flowers bloom each year, it\’s a sign that sea turtles and the marine mammals known as dugongs, favorite foods of the Yanyuwa, are \”fat\” and ready to be hunted. Your assignment in the coming week is to identify the things in your life that are nalu-ngiliny, and to give them the honor, gratitude, and nurturing they deserve.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

\”Don\’t cross a bridge until you come to it,\” advises the old adage. But is that really a good idea? The fact is that the world belongs to people who have crossed bridges in their imaginations long before those bridges existed. Let that be your guiding thought in the coming weeks, Taurus. Start visualizing, contemplating, and building in your mind\’s eye a certain bridge you want to make abundant use of in 2008.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

The German word selig can mean both \”ecstatic\” or \”blessed.\” It implies that profound bliss can be a divine gift; that deep pleasure may generate or come from spiritual inspiration. The English language doesn\’t have a term comparable to selig, maybe because our culture regards ecstasy with suspicion. Religious people tend to believe that the blessed are those who are good and kind, certainly not those who are skilled at cultivating ecstatic states. People who worship rationality, on the other hand, like intellectuals and scientists, often think of ecstasy as at best an irrelevant state, and at worst a non-productive or deluded indulgence. Personally, I\’m in alignment with the values embodied by the word selig. It happens to be your specialty this week.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

To celebrate your ramble through the most wildly independent phase of your astrological cycle, I\’m offering you three inspirational quotes. The first is from poet e.e. cummings: \”To be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle that any human being can fight.\” Your second shot of motivation is from Clarissa Pinkola Estes: \”If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, or rebellious, you\’re on the right track. If you have never been called these things, there is yet time.\” Lastly, here\’s a Hindu proverb: \”There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.\”

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

What is the meaning of life? Is there such a thing as free will? Why is there something rather than nothing? If God exists, why does he or she seem to be invisible? Dear Leo, questions like those I just asked are completely irrelevant to you right now. To ponder them for even a few minutes would be a waste of time. Here, on the other hand, are the kinds of questions that will lead you in the direction you need to go. What is your greatest fear and what can you do to diminish it? How could you become smarter about the way you love? What pose would it be a big relief for you to drop? Which of your wounds is primed for a dramatic healing, and what\’s the best way to begin the cure?

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

\”The things that can destroy us,\” said Gandhi, \”are politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.\” You Virgos are better than most signs at avoiding six of those dangers. The one you\’re most prone to get tripped up by is knowledge without character. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to check in with yourself to see if you\’re guilty of that flaw, and then, if you find a shortfall, take steps to correct it. Make sure that you\’re not only being smart, but also wise.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

It\’s Welcome Your Challenges with Open Arms Week. To take maximum advantage of this festive occasion, practice being grateful for your interesting difficulties; remind yourself of how much smarter and stronger they can make you. Celebrate the riddles and dilemmas that have helped and will continue to help transform you into such a uniquely gorgeous creature. Now study these words of wisdom from playwright Theodore Rubin: \”The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.\”

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

I asked my readers to make a prediction about what age they\’ll be when they finally know exactly who they are. \”I hope I NEVER completely know who I am!\” wrote Bridjet. \”I love discovering new things about myself, and to change as everything else around me changes. It is one of the most beautifully thrilling things about life.\” If you share that perspective, Scorpio, the coming days should be pretty fun. You\’re likely to become dramatically more mysterious to yourself. You\’ll be evolving, even mutating, in ways that may amaze you, and you\’ll be coming face to face with hidden aspects of yourself. Let the confounding, enriching expansion begin!

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

After studying the astrological omens and consulting with an elite panel of 20 village idiots, my team of horoscope experts has determined that at least once in the coming week you would be wise to wander around town with no particular goal, responding with innocent enthusiasm and hungry curiosity to whatever scenarios you happen to stumble upon, pleased to be educated by the random flow of stimuli that come your way. If you don\’t have the courage or leisure to pull that off, here\’s the second-best strategy: Go someplace you\’ve never been and do things you\’ve never done. Third-best: Spend an entire day being naked.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

A misguided swan became infatuated with a pedal boat at a pond in Hamburg, Germany. Apparently mistaking it for his soul mate, the devoted bird guarded the boat jealously and rarely left its side. The human owner of the boat found it amusing at first, but later regarded it as a nuisance, since the enamored swan chased away all potential renters of the vehicle. I propose to make this poignant creature your anti-role model in the coming weeks, Capricorn. May he inspire you to free yourself of all delusions you have entertained over the years about the kind of intimate ally you need in order to be happy.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

\”I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us,\” wrote Franz Kafka in The Blue Octavo Notebooks. \”If the book does not shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place?\” I suggest you find at least one such book to help you get the most of the current cosmic configurations, Aquarius. More than that, I encourage you to find people and experiences and dreams that have a similar effect. It\’s that phase of your cycle when you can thrive on fertile uproar.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

\”The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his love and his religion,\” wrote novelist James Michener. Your assignment in the coming week, Pisces, is to get at least three steps closer to being such a master. Use all your ingenuity and imagination to figure out how to bring the full force of your primal lust for life into every single thing you do, even activities that other people might regard as trivial or difficult or low-status.

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