ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you go into a major art museum that displays Europe's great oil paintings, you'll find that virtually every masterpiece is surrounded by an ornate wooden frame, often painted gold. Why? To me, the enclosure is distracting and unnecessary. Why can't I just enjoy the arresting composition on the naked canvas, unburdened by the overwrought excess? I urge you to take my approach in the coming weeks, Aries. Push and even fight to get the goodies exactly as they are, free of all the irrelevant filler, extraneous buffers, and pretentious puffery.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle," said the 13th-century poet Rumi. More prosaically put: Evaluate people according to the nobility and integrity of the desires they're obsessed with. Do you want to hang around with someone whose primary focus is to make too much money or please her parents or build a shrine to his own ego? Or would you prefer to be in a sphere of influence created by a person who longs to make a useful product or help alleviate suffering or make interesting works of art? It's an excellent time to ponder these issues, Taurus — and then take action to ensure you're surrounded by moths that favor beautiful candles.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In Santa Cruz there used to be a nightclub that featured live rock bands on a big stage but enforced a strict policy forbidding its patrons from dancing. The one time I went there, the music was loud and infectious, and I naturally felt the urge to move in vigorous rhythm. Moments after I launched into my groove, a bouncer accosted me and forced me to stop. I think this situation has certain resemblances to the one you're in now, Gemini. Some natural response mechanism in you is being unduly inhibited; some organic inclination is being unreasonably restrained or dampened. Why should you continue to accept this?
CANCER (June 21-July 22): During the time a blue crab is growing to maturity, it is very skilled at transforming itself. It sheds its exoskeleton an average of once every 18 days for an entire year. You're in a phase with some similarities to that period of rapid ripening, Cancerian. Your commitment to change doesn't have to be quite as heroic, but it should be pretty vigorous. Could you manage, say, two moltings over the course of the next 30 days? If done in a spirit of adventure, it will be liberating, not oppressively demanding.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Progress isn't made by early risers," wrote author Robert Heinlein. "It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something." That's exactly the kind of progress you are in an excellent position to stir up in the coming weeks. You don't have to match the stress levels of the Type A people who might seem to have an advantage over you, and you won't help yourself at all by worrying or trying too hard. The single best thing you can do to supercharge your creativity is to think of yourself as a "happy-go-lucky" person while you go around dreaming up ways to have more fun.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "Our elders know you don't find the answer by asking thousands of questions," says an essay on the website of the environmentalist group The Last Tree (thelasttree.net). "The wise way is to ask the right question in the beginning." I recommend this approach for you in the coming weeks, Virgo. Given the sparkly mysteriousness that now confronts you, I know you may be tempted to simultaneously try a lot of different routes to greater clarity. But the more effective strategy in the long run is to cultivate silence and stillness as you wait expectantly for the intuition that will reveal the simple, direct path.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In a review of James Gleick's book The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, The Week magazine reported that "the world now produces more information in 48 hours than it did throughout all human history to 2003." From that dizzying factoid, we can infer that you are more inundated with data than were all of your ancestors put together. And the surge will probably intensify in the coming weeks. You are in a phase of your astrological cycle when you'll be asked to absorb and integrate a voluminous amount of interesting stuff. Don't be hard on yourself if you sometimes need to slow down to digest what you've been taking in.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In his poem "Ode to the Present," Pablo Neruda tells us how to slip free and clear into the luxuriously potent opportunity of the present moment. The here-and-now is so ripe and willing, he says, so malleable. "Take a saw to its delicious wooden perfume," he continues, and then "build a staircase. Yes, a staircase. Climb into the present, step by step, press your feet onto the resinous wood of this moment, going up, going up, not very high ... Don't go all the way to heaven. Reach for apples, not the clouds." Such good advice for you, Scorpio! It's a perfect time to learn more about the magic of the present moment as you free yourself from "the unrepairable past." (Read the poem at bit.ly/NerudaOde.)
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Seminal psychologist Carl Jung wasn't afraid of applying his scholarly analytical skills to the phenomena of pop culture. Late in life, he even wrote a thoughtful book on UFOs called Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies. To be as thorough and careful as he could possibly be about such an elusive subject, he wrote an afterword to his main argument, to which he added an epilogue, which in turn was followed by a concluding supplement. I hope that you are as scrupulous in wrapping up loose ends in the coming week, Sagittarius, especially when you're dealing with enigmas and riddles. As you seek resolution and completion, go well beyond the bare minimum.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A great deal of land in the Netherlands has been reclaimed from the sea by human effort. But the system of dikes that holds back the primal flow is not a foolproof or permanent guarantee against flooding. That's why more and more people are building homes that can float if they have to. "We are actually trying to move away from fighting against the water," says architect Koen Olthuis. "We are beginning to make friends with the water." I recommend you adopt this as a useful metaphor, Capricorn. During the coming months, you should be doing a lot of foundation work. What can you do to add buoyancy?
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): According to my old philosophy professor Norman O. Brown, "Our real choice is between holy and unholy madness: open your eyes and look around you — madness is in the saddle anyhow." Let's take this hypothesis as our starting point, Aquarius. I propose that in the coming weeks you make an effort to get more accustomed to and comfortable with the understanding that the entire world is in the throes of utter lunacy. Once you are at peace with that, I hope you will commit yourself to the sacred kind of lunacy — the kind that bestows wild blessings and perpetrates unreasonable beauty and cultivates the healing power of outlandish pleasure.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It won't be enough to simply maintain your current levels of strength, clarity, and intelligence in the coming weeks. To stay healthy, to keep up with the rapidly evolving trends swirling in and around you, you will have to actively push to get stronger, clearer, and smarter. No pressure, right? Don't worry, the universe will be conspiring to help you accomplish it all. To trigger the boost you'll need, imagine that you have a reservoir of blue liquid lightning in the place between your heart and gut. Picture yourself drawing judiciously from that high-octane fuel as you need it, bringing it first to your heart and then to your brain.