ARIES (March 21-April 19): My friend Alana suffered from a mysterious ailment for months. Symptoms included vertigo, stomach pains, and numbness in her legs. After being treated unsuccessfully by six health care practitioners, both mainstream and alternative, she went to see Dr. Ling, a Chinese herbalist recommended by a friend. Ling was a dour woman who made no eye contact. Her office was dingy, cramped, and windowless. Alana felt a bit depressed by the visit. Yet, when she took Dr. Ling’s herbs, she felt better. In three weeks she was cured. The moral of the story, Aries: The restorative agent you need may not come in the most inviting form.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A spider spun gorgeous cobwebs on my car’s back window. Anchored on the window wiper, they’re artfully woven spiral tunnels decorated with white flower petals sent by the wind. This sculpture is so beguiling that it caught the attention of a stranger who was walking through a parking lot as I was getting in my car, and we struck up a conversation that led to him inviting me to a party where I had maximum fun. So, kudos to me for not mindlessly sweeping away the cobwebs. My decision to honor the spider’s small masterpiece proved fortuitous. I encourage you to learn from my example in the coming week. Be alert for nature’s subtle gifts.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20):The band Tinariwen is from the Sahara Desert. Its members describe themselves as “soul rebels.” Their influences include traditional West African music, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and the Berber music of northern Algeria. I listen to them whenever I’m feeling wan and spiritually tired. Their infectious melodies and serpentine rhythms have a medicinal effect; they toughen me up, fueling the rowdy love I need to keep fighting for truth and justice. They’re your featured artist of the week, Gemini. As you face down the dangers of apathy, you could use the shot of courage and audacity they might provide. Listen here: tinyurl.com/ToughSpirit1 and tinyurl.com/ToughSpirit2.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Afghanistan is a wasteland of desert and rocks, right? Well, no, actually. It harbors huge deposits of minerals that are critical to the industrialized world. There’s a complication, though. To succeed, the arduous business of mining such minerals needs lots of water and electricity as well as political stability and a good infrastructure -- all of which are in short supply in Afghanistan. In offering this scenario for your consideration, Cancerian, I’m suggesting that you make a comparable re-evaluation of a certain situation in your own life. According to my reading of the omens, someone or something you’ve considered barren may in fact harbor resources that are useful to you. Here’s the rub: Are you in position to get access to them? If not, what would it take to do so?
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): For years, I’ve been in love with a woman who is also in love with me. Hooray! But when I was younger, I sometimes got embroiled in obsessive adorations for unavailable women. One didn’t want me, another was already in a committed relationship, still another lived 6,000 miles away, and a fourth was a lesbian. The pain of those impossible attractions eventually prodded me to retrain myself so as to not keep repeating the pattern. Can I convince you to learn from my hardship? According to my reading of the omens, the next few months should be a time when you put a strong emphasis on allies who are available, not on the other kind.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I’ve been playing with a fun hypothesis lately: that absolutely everyone in the world has the power to heal someone else. At one end of the spectrum are the doctors and shamans and therapists who can summon the means to cure lots of people. At the other end are individuals with the power to improve the health or smooth out the distortions in just one other person. Wherever you fit in this range, Virgo, I’m happy to tell you that your healing mojo is now at a peak. Please invoke it in all of its intensity and point it in the direction of whomever can benefit.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): As I studied the astrological configurations for you, I realized I had to leave the bubble of my office. The omens suggested that you would benefit from escaping your usual frames of reference, and I felt I had to do the same if I wanted to get the best oracle. So, I hiked out to my favorite boulder, where the creek forks into two streams. I sat down and addressed the spirits: What’s the advice Libras need most? Soon, a dragonfly landed on my shoulder. For the next ten minutes I asked it questions about how you should proceed. Here’s the gist of its telepathic message: “I gently shatter illusions. My power is graceful and lilting. I sew up the wounds of snakes. Nothing eludes my uninhibited vision. I don’t bite. I am a professional and primeval transformer.”
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Of all the noses of all the famous actresses in the world, my favorite is Cate Blanchett’s. It’s strong and forceful, yet buoyant and irregular. It’s wider and fleshier than most noses that are considered “feminine,” but sensual and seductive. Best of all, it has so many different aspects, and looks so varied from a variety of angles, that it seems to shift its shape as you watch it. It’s gorgeous! Please take a cue from me as you evaluate the unacknowledged beauty in your own sphere, Scorpio. It’s crucial that you rebel against our culture’s absurdly generic standards.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):“The best guide in life is strength,” said Swami Vivekananda. “Discard everything that weakens you, have nothing to do with it.” In accordance with the astrological omens, Sagittarius, I’m making that your rallying cry. You not only have the right to align yourself with only the most potent, life-giving sources; you have an urgent need to do so. So be audaciously discerning as you evaluate each person and situation that comes before you. Ask, “Will this feed my vitality or will it not?”
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): What happens in your bedroom, Capricorn? What stories swirl around in your mind while you’re there? What secrets simmer and ferment? What feelings do you gravitate toward? Judging from the astrological omens, I’d say it’s time to expand your notion of what goes on in that sanctuary. How about embarking on a new playtime activity or introducing a pleasurable commotion you’ve never tried? At the very least, unleash your imagination while relaxing there. Give yourself permission to have bigger fantasies. Tell yourself more epic stories, develop a more active relationship with your secrets, and welcome unfamiliar feelings.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Last May, riots in Santa Cruz, California trashed 18 buildings in the downtown area. But for one store owner, the mayhem brought unexpected blessings. She was able to tap into a city fund that not only paid for her broken front window, but also allowed her to make several improvements, like adding fresh paint, a new awning, and better lighting. “I never would have thought when I got that call at 1 in the morning that this was going to turn into such a wonderful thing for us,” Diane Towns told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. I predict a similar progression for you, Aquarius. An event that seemed like bad luck at the time will ultimately lead to good luck.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): French painter Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) declared early in his career that he wanted to “conquer Paris with an apple.” He meant that he wanted to become a major force in the art world by revolutionizing the way that still-life paintings were done. He must have been successful, because two prominent modern painters, Picasso and Matisse, referred to Cezanne as “the father of us all.” Your assignment in the coming months, Pisces, is to make a splash in your own chosen field with an innovation that’s as simple and basic as Cezanne’s reconfigured apple.