ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Latin motto "Carpe diem" shouldn't be translated as "Seize the day!", says author Nicholson Baker. It's not a battle cry exhorting you to "freaking grab the day in your fist like a burger at a fairground and take a big chomping bite out of it." The proper translation, according to Baker, is "Pluck the day." In other words, "you should gently pull on the day's stem, as if it were a wildflower, holding it with all the practiced care of your thumb and the side of your finger, which knows how to not crush easily crushed things -- so that the day's stem undergoes increasing tension and draws to a tightness, and then snaps softly away at its weakest point, and the flower is released in your hand." Keep that in mind, Aries. I understand you are often tempted to seize rather than pluck, but these days plucking is the preferable approach.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): When I talk about "The Greatest Story Never Told," I'm not referring to the documentary film about singer Lana Del Rey or the debut album of the rap artist Saigon or any other cultural artifact. I am, instead, referring to a part of your past that you have never owned and understood . . . a phase from the old days that you have partially suppressed . . . an intense set of memories you have not fully integrated. I say it's time for you to deal with this shadow. You're finally ready to acknowledge it and treasure it as a crucial thread in the drama of your hero's journey.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The ancient Greek philosopher Thales is credited as being one of the earliest mathematicians and scientists. He was a deep thinker whose thirst for knowledge was hard to quench. Funny story: Once he went out at night for a walk. Gazing intently up at the sky, he contemplated the mysteries of the stars. Oops! He didn't watch where he was going, and fell down into a well. He was OK, but embarrassed. Let's make him your anti-role model, Gemini. I would love to encourage you to unleash your lust to be informed, educated, and inspired -- but only if you watch where you're going.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Charles Darwin is best known for his book The Origin of Species, which contains his seminal ideas about evolutionary biology. But while he was still alive, his best-seller was The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms. The painstaking result of over forty years' worth of research, it is a tribute to the noble earthworm and that creature's crucial role in the health of soil and plants. It provides a different angle on one of Darwin's central concerns: how small, incremental transformations that take place over extended periods of time can have monumental effects. This also happens to be one of your key themes in the coming months.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A researcher at the University of Amsterdam developed software to read the emotions on faces. He used it to analyze the expression of the woman in Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting, the Mona Lisa. The results suggest that she is 83 percent happy, 9 percent disgusted, 6 percent fearful, and 2 percent angry. Whether or not this assessment is accurate, I appreciate its implication that we humans are rarely filled with a single pure emotion. We often feel a variety of states simultaneously. In this spirit, I have calculated your probably mix for the coming days: 16 percent relieved, 18 percent innocent, 12 percent confused, 22 percent liberated, 23 percent ambitious, and 9 percent impatient.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "What makes you heroic?" asked philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Here's how he answered himself: "simultaneously going out to meet your highest suffering and your highest hope." This is an excellent way to sum up the test that would inspire you most in the coming weeks, Virgo. Are you up for the challenge? If so, grapple with your deepest pain. Make a fierce effort to both heal it and be motivated by it. At the same time, identify your brightest hope and take a decisive step toward fulfilling it.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Actress and musician Carrie Brownstein was born with five planets in Libra. Those who aren't conversant with astrology's mysteries may conclude that she is a connoisseur of elegance and harmony. Even professional stargazers who know how tricky it is to make generalizations might speculate that she is skilled at cultivating balance, attuned to the needs of others, excited by beauty, and adaptive to life's ceaseless change. So what are we to make of the fact that Brownstein has said, "I really don't know what to do when my life is not chaotic"? Here's what I suspect: In her ongoing exertions to thrive on chaos, she is learning how to be a connoisseur of elegance and harmony as she masters the intricacies of being balanced, sensitive to others, thrilled by beauty, and adaptive to change. This is important for you to hear about right now.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You're entering a volatile phase of your cycle. In the coming weeks, you could become a beguiling monster who leaves a confusing mess in your wake. On the other hand, you could activate the full potential of your animal intelligence as you make everything you touch more interesting and soulful. I am, of course, rooting for the latter outcome. Here's a secret about how to ensure it: Be as ambitious to gain power over your own darkness as you are to gain power over what happens on your turf.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):I'm a big fan of the attitude summed up by the command "Be here now!" The world would be more like a sanctuary and less like a battleground if people focused more on the present moment rather than on memories of the past and fantasies of the future. But in accordance with the astrological omens, you are hereby granted a temporary exemption from the "Be here how!" approach. You have a poetic license to dream and scheme profusely about what you want your life to be like in the future. Your word of power is tomorrow.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A philanthropist offered $100,000 to the Girls Scouts chapter of Western Washington. But there were strings attached. The donor specified that the money couldn't be used to support transgender girls. The Girl Scouts rejected the gift, declaring their intention to empower every girl "regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation." Do you have that much spunk, Capricorn? Would you turn down aid that would infringe on your integrity? You may be tested soon. Here's what I suspect: If you are faithful to your deepest values, even if that has a cost, you will ultimately attract an equal blessing that doesn't require you to sell out. (P.S. The Girls Scouts subsequently launched an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $300,000.)
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Consider the possibility of opening your mind, at least briefly, to provocative influences you have closed yourself off from. You may need to refamiliarize yourself with potential resources you have been resisting or ignoring, even if they are problematic. I'm not saying you should blithely welcome them in. There still may be good reasons to keep your distance. But I think it would be wise and healthy for you to update your relationship with them.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Over 10,000 species of mushrooms grow in North America. About 125 of those, or 1.25 percent, are tasty and safe to eat. All the others are unappetizing or poisonous, or else their edibility is in question. By my reckoning, a similar statistical breakdown should apply to the influences that are floating your way. I advise you to focus intently on those very few that you know for a fact are pleasurable and vitalizing. Make yourself unavailable for the rest.