ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Traditional astrologers fear Pluto and Saturn. Pluto, they assert, brings radical transformation that's mostly uncomfortable. Saturn enforces constriction and contraction, hemming us in and limiting our options. And when the two are on opposite sides of the solar system, as they are now, their dour dance spoils every party. Or so say the doomsayers. While I acknowledge that these planets can at times be a real pain in the assets, they may also be great allies. By invoking Saturn's influence we can find the niche that best accommodates our unique set of talents and needs. Pluto can show us what we've been unconscious of, deepening our souls and leading us to hidden reserves of wealth and power. These are the more likely scenarios for you, Aries.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
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GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Some astrologers say this year's challenging relationship between Saturn and Pluto has triggered our current global predicament. According to Robert Hand, the meaning of their dynamic can best be described as "revolution through shrinkage." In other words, the established order and status quo are in the midst of a shakedown that will require rollback and reduction. Ah, but here's the rub: Will that be relatively bad or good? Will it bring oppressive limitations or a sharpened focus? A loss of freedom or a purge of low-level priorities that had been diluting our devotion to our dreams? Which way it all plays out in your personal life, Gemini, may largely depend on your attitude.


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CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Until she was nine years old, my Cancerian friend Diana did not know that crickets produce the thrumming whir that fills the air on summer nights. She sincerely imagined the source was the stars in the heavens. To this day, she retains a measure of the same sweet innocence that conjured such a winsome belief. And yet she is also a kickass poet with a medicinal knack for exposing raw and sometimes disquieting truths. She manages to be both virginal and penetrating; spontaneous and crafty; generous and relentless. In other words, my fellow Crabs, she masterfully embodies the beautiful contradictions that are every Cancerian's birthright. I hope you take advantage of this ripe astrological moment to be inspired by her example.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Cocooning is rampant. Many of us are spending huge amounts of time trying to re-create the womb. The withering of the natural world's greenery, autumn's annual ritual, is one factor motivating the mass retreat. But far more pressing is the demoralizing specter of terrorism. As much as I understand the urge to turn inward, I also mourn the fact that it's driven so much by fear. Wouldn't it be more rejuvenating if we cultivated the arts of nesting in order to better hear ourselves think? To shield ourselves from the inane and frenzied decadence of consumer culture? To act on the truth that being with those we love is what matters most? To seek out the restorative hum of the divine song? If anyone can make the shift to motivations like these right now, Leo, you can.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
"Chrysanthemum growers—you are the slaves of chrysanthemums!" So admonishes Robert Hass in his translation of a haiku by Japanese poet Yosa Buson. I couldn't have come up with a better oracle for you, Virgo. As much as I admire the beauty you have been freshly cultivating these last two months, I also want to warn you not to sacrifice too much while in service to it. Chrysanthemum growers—be the chrysanthemums' collaborators!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
I'd love you to learn more about how to push your own buttons and pull your own strings and unfreeze your own assets and understand your own motives and provide your own inspirations. I'd be overjoyed if you grew in your ability to unbreak your own heart and kick your own ass and wash your own brain. This is, by the way, not a prescription for loneliness, but for greater self-sufficiency. And that, ironically, is the key to making your collaborations more deeply synergistic. In fact, it's guaranteed to bring more grace and authenticity into all your relationships.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Each year the MacArthur Foundation gives away prestigious cash awards to unsung geniuses. The most recent crop included an activist who turns old hotels into housing for homeless people and a molecular biologist who studies primitive bacteria that survive without light or oxygen in undersea volcanoes. If I myself had the means to reward brilliant virtuosity, you would be my top choice. Why? Because of your determination to keep digging and digging, through the layers of superficial desires we've all been programmed with, until you get to the bottom of your irreducible primal yearnings. In recognition of your ongoing work, which is now entering a new phase, please accept this metaphorical prize: an image of a giant heart beating at the center of the earth.

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