ARIES (March 21-April 19): Not bad for a few weeks' work, or play, or whatever it is you want to call this tormented, inspired outburst. Would it be too forward of me to suggest that you've gone a long way toward outgrowing the dark fairy tale that had been haunting your dreams for so long? And yet all this may just be a warm-up for your next metamorphosis, in which you make an audacious new commitment to becoming what you really want to be when you grow up.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): This week I'm taking a break from my usual pep talks. I think it's for the best. If I deliver a kind-hearted kick in the butt, maybe it will encourage you to make a few course corrections, thereby making it unnecessary for fate to get all tricky and funky on you. So here you go, Taurus: 1) The last thing you need is someone to support your flaws and encourage you in your delusions. True friends will offer snappy critiques and crisp advice. 2) Figure out once and for all why you keep doing a certain deed that's beneath you, then gather the strength and get the help you need to quit it. 3) It's your duty to stop doing your duty with such a somber demeanor and heavy tread. To keep from sabotaging the good it can accomplish, you've got to put more pleasure into it.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The German word Weltratsel can be translated as "World Riddle." Coined by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, it refers to questions like "What is the meaning of existence?" and "What is the nature of reality?" According to my reading of the astrological omens, Gemini, you're now primed to deepen your understanding of the World Riddle. For the next few weeks, you will have an enhanced ability to pry loose useful secrets about some big mysteries. Certain passages in the Book of Life that have always seemed like gobbledygook to you will suddenly make sense. Here's a bonus: Every time you decipher more of the World Riddle, you will solve another small piece of your Personal Riddle.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." So wrote George Bernard Shaw in his book Man and Superman. From the hints I have gleaned, Cancerian, you are now in an ideal phase to be the sort of unreasonable man or woman who gets life to adapt so as to better serve you and your dreams. Even if it's true that the emphasis in the past has often been on you bending and shaping yourself to adjust to the circumstances others have wrought, the coming weeks could be different.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In his book Word Hero, Jay Heinrichs offers us advice about how to deliver pithy messages that really make an impact. Here's one tip that would be especially useful for you in the coming days: Exaggerate precisely. Heinrichs gives an example from the work of the illustrious raconteur, American author Mark Twain. Twain did not write, "In a single day, New England's weather changes a billion times." Rather, he said, "In the spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of four-and twenty hours." Be inspired by Twain's approach in every way you can imagine, Leo. Make things bigger and wilder and more expansive everywhere you go, but do it with exactitude and rigor.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "Liminality" is a term that refers to the betwixt and between state. It's dawn or dusk, when neither night nor day fully rules. It's the mood that prevails when a transition is imminent or a threshold beckons. During a rite of passage, liminality is the phase when the initiate has left his or her old way of doing things but has not yet been fully accepted or integrated into the new way. Mystical traditions from all over the world recognize this as a shaky but potent situation—a time and place when uncertainty and ambiguity reign even as exciting possibilities loom. In my estimate, Virgo, you're now ensconced in liminality.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The Argentinian writer Antonio Porchia said there were two kinds of shadows: "some hide, others reveal." In recent weeks, you've been in constant contact with the shadows that hide. But beginning any moment now, you'll be wandering away from those rather frustrating enigmas and entering into a dynamic relationship with more evocative mysteries: the shadows that reveal. Be alert for the shift so you won't get caught assuming that the new shadows are just like the old ones.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Every winter, hordes of ants have overrun my house. At least that was true up until recently. This winter, the pests stayed away, and that has been very good news. I didn't have to fight them off with poison and hand-to-hand combat. The bad news? The reason they didn't invade was because very little rain fell, as it's supposed to during Northern California winters. The ants weren't driven above ground by the torrents that usually soak the soil. And so now drought threatens our part of the world. Water shortages may loom. I propose that this scenario is a metaphor for a dilemma you may soon face, Scorpio—except that you will have a choice in the matter: Would you rather deal with a lack of a fundamental resource or else an influence that's bothersome but ultimately pretty harmless?
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You're entering one of the most buoyant phases of your astrological cycle. Your mandate is to be brash and bouncy, frothy and irrepressible. To prepare you, I've rounded up some exclamatory declarations by poet Michael McClure. Take them with you as you embark on your catalytic adventures. They'll help you cultivate the right mood. McClure: "Everything is natural. The light on your fingertips is starlight. Life begins with coiling—molecules and nebulae. Cruelty, selfishness and vanity are boring. Each self is many selves. Reason is beauty. Light and darkness are arbitrary divisions. Cleanliness is as undefinable and as natural as filth. The physiological body is pure spirit. Monotony is madness. The frontier is both outside and inside. The universe is the messiah. The senses are gods and goddesses. Where the body is—there are all things."
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You know those tall, starched white hats that many chefs wear? Traditionally they had 100 pleats, which denoted the number of ways a real professional could cook an egg. I urge you to wear one of those hats in the coming weeks, Capricorn—or whatever the equivalent symbol might be for your specialty. It's high time for you to express your ingenuity in dealing with what's simple and familiar ... to be inventive and versatile as you show how much you can accomplish using just the basics.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): As I was driving my car in San Francisco late one night, I arrived at a traffic signal that confused me. The green light was radiant and steady, but then so was the red light. I came to a complete stop and waited until finally, after about two minutes, the red faded. I suspect you may soon be facing a similar jumble of mixed signals, Aquarius. If that happens, I suggest you do what I did. Don't keep moving forward; pause and sit still until the message gets crisp and clear.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A woman named Joan Ginther has won the Texas Lottery four times, collecting over $20 million. Is she freakishly lucky? Maybe not, according to Nathaniel Rich's article in the August 2011 issue of Harper's. He notes that Ginther has a P.h.D. in math from Stanford, and wonders if she has used her substantial understanding of statistics to game the system. (More here: tinyurl.com/