ARIES (March 21-April 19): “To know when to stop is of the same importance as to know when to begin,” said the painter Paul Klee. Take that to heart, Aries! You are pretty adept at getting things launched, but you’ve got more to learn about the art of stopping. Sometimes you finish prematurely. Other times you sort of disappear without officially bringing things to a close. Now would be an excellent time to refine your skills.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it’s hard to determine whether or not they are genuine.” So said Joan of Arc back in 1429, right before she helped lead French troops in the battle of Patay. JUST KIDDING! Joan of Arc never had the pleasure of surfing the Web, of course, since it didn’t exist until long after she died. But I was trying to make a point that will be useful for you to keep in mind, Taurus, which is: Be skeptical of both wild claims and mild claims. Stay alert for seemingly interesting leads that are really time-wasting half-truths. Be wary for unreliable gossip that would cause an unnecessary ruckus.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): French Impressionist painter Claude Monet loved to paint water lilies, and he did so over and over again for many years. Eventually he created about 250 canvases that portrayed these floating flowers. Should we conclude that he repeated himself too much? Should we declare that he was boringly repetitive? Or might we wonder if he kept finding new delights in his comfortable subject? Would we have enough patience to notice that each of the 250 paintings shows the water lilies in a different kind of light, depending on the weather and the season and the time of day? I vote for the latter view, and suggest that you adopt a similar approach to the familiar things in your life during the coming weeks.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): “In order to swim one takes off all one’s clothes,” said 19th-century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. “In order to aspire to the truth one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one’s inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness, etc., before one is sufficiently naked.” Your assignment in the coming week, Cancerian, is to get au naturel like that. It’s time for you to make yourself available for as much of the raw, pure, wild truth as you can stand.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Gertrude Stein was an innovative writer. Many illustrious artists were her friends. But she had an overly elevated conception of her own worth. “Think of the Bible and Homer,” she said, “think of Shakespeare and think of me.” On another occasion, she proclaimed, “Einstein was the creative philosophic mind of the century, and I have been the creative literary mind of the century.” Do you know anyone like Stein, Leo? Here’s the truth, in my opinion: To some degree, we are all like Stein. Every one of us has at least one inflated idea about ourselves -- a conceited self-conception that doesn’t match reality. It was my turn to confront my egotistical delusions a few weeks ago. Now would be an excellent time for you to deal with yours. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. Just recognize the inflation, laugh about it, and move on.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): When I close my eyes, I get a psychic vision of you as a kid playing outside on a warm summer day. You’re with friends, immersed in a game that commands your full attention. Suddenly, you hear a jingling tune wafting your way from a distance. It’s the ice cream truck. You stop what you’re doing and run inside your home to beg your mom for some money. A few minutes later, you’re in a state of bliss, communing with your Fudgsicle or ice cream cone or strawberry-lime fruit bar. I have a feeling that you will soon experience an adult version of this scene, Virgo. Metaphorically speaking, either the ice cream man or the ice cream woman will be coming to your neighborhood.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): During the past ten months, you have been unusually adventurous. The last time you summoned so much courage and expansiveness may have been 2001. I’m impressed! Please accept my respect and appreciation. You’ve had a sixth sense about knowing when it’s wise to push beyond your limitations and boundaries. You have also had a seventh sense about intuiting when to be crafty and cautious as you wander through the frontiers. Now here’s one of your assignments for the next 12 months: Distill all you’ve learned out there in the borderlands and decide how you will use your wisdom to build an unshakable power spot back here in the heart of the action.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was one of the most influential scientists in history. He produced major breakthroughs in both chemistry and physics. Have you ever used devices that run on electricity? You can thank him for playing a major role in developing that wonderful convenience. And yet unlike most scientists, he had only the most elementary grasp of mathematics. In fact, his formal education was negligible. I propose that we name him your role model of the week. He’s a striking example of the fact that you can arrive at your chosen goal by many different paths. Keep that in mind if you’re ever tempted to believe that there’s just one right way to fulfill your dreams.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “The only thing that we learn from history,” said the German philosopher Georg Hegel, “is that we never learn anything from history.” I’m urging you to refute that statement in the coming weeks, Sagittarius. I’m pleading with you to search your memory for every possible clue that might help you be brilliant in dealing with your immediate future. What have you done in the past that you shouldn’t do now? What haven’t you done in the past that you should do now?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): According to my analysis of the astrological omens, now would be a pretty good time to talk about things that are hard to talk about. I don’t necessarily mean that you’ll find it easy to do. But I suspect it would be relatively free of pain and karmic repercussions. There may even be a touch of pleasure once the catharsis kicks in. So try it if you dare, Capricorn. Summon the courage to express truths that have previously been hard to pin down. Articulate feelings that have been murky or hidden. For best results, encourage those you trust to do the same.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Are you familiar with Quidditch? It’s a rough sport played by wizards in the fictional world of Harry Potter. All seven books in the series mention it, so it’s an important element. Author J.K. Rowling says she dreamed up the sport after having a quarrel with her boyfriend. “In my deepest, darkest soul,” she reports, “I would quite like to see him hit by a bludger.” (In Quidditch, a bludger is a big black ball made of iron.) I bring this up, Aquarius, because I suspect that you, too, are in position to use anger in a creative and constructive way. Take advantage of your raw emotion to make a lasting improvement in your life.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In his erotic poem “Your Sex,” Joe Bolton exults: “My heart simplified, I touch the bud of happiness -- it’s in season. And whatever grief I might have felt before simply dies inside me.” You might want to write that down on a slip of paper and carry it around with you this week, Pisces. According to my understanding of the astrological omens, the bud of happiness is now in season for you. You have good reason to shed the undertones of sadness and fear you carry around with you. I’ll tell you the last lines of Bolton’s poem, because they also apply: “Sometimes I think it’s best just to take pleasure wherever we want and can. Look: the twilight is alive with wild honey.” (The full poem: tinyurl.com/JoeBolton.)