ARIES (March 21-April 19): The California Gold Rush hit its peak between 1849 and 1855. Three hundred thousand adventurers flocked to America's West Coast in search of gold. In the early days, gold nuggets were lying around on the ground in plain sight, or relatively easy to find in gravel beds at the bottom of streams. But later prospectors had to work harder, developing methods to extract the gold from rocks that contained it. One way to detect the presence of the precious metal was through the use of nitric acid, which corroded any substance that wasn't gold. The term "acid test" refers to that process. I bring this to your attention, Aries, because it's a good time for you to use the metaphorical version of an acid test as you ascertain whether what you have discovered is truly golden.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The time between now and your birthday will provide you with excellent opportunities to resolve lingering problems, bring drawn-out melodramas to a conclusion, and clean up old messes -- even the supposedly interesting ones. You want to know what else this upcoming period will be good for? I'll tell you: 1. Surrendering control-freak fantasies. 2. Relieving your backlog of tension. 3. Expelling delusional fears that you cling to out of habit. 4. Laughing long and hard at the cosmic jokes that have tweaked your attitude.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In the mid-19th century, the entrance exam for the British Royal Navy was quite odd. Some candidates were required to write down the Lord's Prayer, recite the multiplication table for the number three, get naked and jump over a chair, and drink a glass of sherry. I'm guessing that your own initiation or rite of passage may, at least initially, seem as puzzling or nonsensical as that one. You might be hard-pressed to understand how it is pertinent to the next chapter of your life story. And yet I suspect that you will ultimately come to the conclusion -- although it may take some time -- that this transition was an excellent lead-in and preparation for what's to come.
CANCER (June 21-July 22: In 1909, Sergei Diaghilev founded the Ballets Russes, a Parisian ballet company that ultimately revolutionized the art form. The collaborative efforts he catalyzed were unprecedented. He drew on the talents of visual artists Picasso and Matisse, composers Stravinsky and Debussy, designer Coco Chanel, and playwright Jean Cocteau, teaming them up with top choreographers and dancers. His main goal was not primarily to entertain, but rather to excite and inspire and inflame. That's the spirit I think you'll thrive on in the coming weeks, Cancerian. It's not a time for nice diversions and comfy satisfactions. Go in quest of Ballets Russes-like bouts of arousal, awakening, and delight.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Don't ever tame your demons -- always keep them on a leash." That's a line from a song by Irish rock musician Hozier. Does it have any meaning for you? Can your personal demons somehow prove useful to you if you keep them wild but under your control? If so, how exactly might they be useful? Could they provide you with primal energy you wouldn't otherwise possess? Might their presence be a reminder of the fact that everyone you meet has their own demons and therefore deserves your compassion? I suspect that these are topics worthy of your consideration right now. Your relationship to your demons is ripe for transformation -- possibly even a significant upgrade.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Will you be the difficult wizard, Virgo? Please say yes. Use your magic to summon elemental forces that will shatter the popular obstacles. Offer the tart medicine that tempers and tests as it heals. Bring us bracing revelations that provoke a fresher, sweeter order. I know it's a lot to ask, but right now there's no one more suited to the tasks. Only you can manage the stern grace that will keep us honest. Only you have the tough humility necessary to solve the riddles that no one else can even make sense of.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My message this week might be controversial to the Buddhists among you. But I've got to report the cosmic trends as I see them, right? It's my sacred duty not to censor or sanitize the raw data. So here's the truth as I understand it: More desire is the answer to your pressing questions. Passionate intensity is the remedy for all wishy-washy wishes and anesthetized emotions. The stronger your longing, the smarter you'll be. So if your libido is not already surging and throbbing under its own power, I suggest you get it teased and tantalized until it does.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Karelu is a word from the Tulu language that's spoken in South India. It refers to the marks made on human skin by clothing that's too tight. As you know, the effect is temporary. Once the close-fitting garment is removed, the imprint will eventually disappear as the skin restores its normal shape and texture. I see the coming days as being a time when you will experience a metaphorical version of karelu, Scorpio. You will shed some form of constriction, and it may take a while for you to regain your full flexibility and smoothness.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Georgia is not just an American state. It's also a country that's at the border of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Many people who live there speak the Georgian language. They have a word, shemomedjamo, that refers to what happens when you love the taste of the food you're eating so much that you continue to pile it in your mouth well past the time when you're full. I'd like to use it as a metaphor for what I hope you won't do in the coming days: get too much of a good thing. On the other hand, it's perfectly fine to get just the right, healthy amount of a good thing.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): When you're a driver in a car race, an essential rule in making a successful pit stop is to get back on the track as quickly as possible. Once the refueling is finished and your new tires are in place, you don't want to be cleaning out your cup holder or checking the side-view mirror to see how you look. Do I really need to tell you this? Aren't you usually the zodiac's smartest competitor? I understand that you're trying to become more skilled at the arts of relaxation, but can't you postpone that until after this particular race is over? Remember that there's a difference between the bad kind of stress and the good kind. I think you actually need some of the latter.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Until the early 20th century, mayonnaise was considered a luxury food, a hand-made delicacy reserved for the rich. An entrepreneur named Richard Hellman changed that. He developed an efficient system to produce and distribute the condiment at a lower cost. He put together effective advertising campaigns. The increasing availability of refrigeration helped, too, making mayonnaise a more practical food. I foresee the possibility of a comparable evolution in your own sphere, Aquarius: the transformation of a specialty item into a mainstay, or the evolution of a rare pleasure into a regular occurrence.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Piscean author Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated over 40 books for children. Midway through his career, his publisher dared him to make a new book that used no more than 50 different words. Accepting the challenge, Seuss produced Green Eggs and Ham, which went on to become the fourth best-selling English-language children's book in history. I invite you to learn from Seuss's efforts, Pisces. How? Take advantage of the limitations that life has given you. Be grateful for the way those limitations compel you to be efficient and precise. Use your constraints as inspiration to create a valuable addition to your life story.