By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Anyone who is in the habit of bestowing gifts and blessings on others is a candidate for sainthood. Generosity is one of the greatest virtues. But there is a related quality that surpasses it: the ability to give without any strings attached, without any expectation of being appreciated or praised for one's largesse. How'd you like to begin working on a mastery of this demanding skill, Aries? The coming weeks will afford you ripe opportunities. (PS: For those of you who are political activists, remember the Dalai Lama's thought: You should work as hard as you can to reduce suffering and foster justiceaccepting that all of your efforts may come to nothing in the end.)
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Who or what will rescue you, Taurus? A divine intervention, perhaps? A sympathetic friend who totally understands you? A teacher who knows exactly what you need at this turning point? I suspect the answer is none of the above. Don't worry, though, because a brave hero is on the way, primed to provide you with an exit, a solution, and a cure. And who is this great deliverer? For a clue, I give you this poem by Simeon Samuel Frug: "No savior from without can come/To those that live and are enslaved./ Their own messiah they must be,/And play the savior and the saved."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Here's what I wrote in my journal on an April night 10 years ago: "Ever since I learned to see three sides of every story, I've been coming across much better stories." Here's what I overheard from a woman in the grocery store check-out line today: "I'm not saying that truth is always relative, but I have often found it to be fluid, slippery, vagrant, scrambled, promiscuous, and kaleidoscopic." And here's a favorite saying of seminal TV newscaster Art Amadon: "I get my way more often now that I have more than one way." What else do you need to know to prepare for the upcoming week, Gemini?
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CANCER (June 21-July 22):In the 1950s, scientists developed methods to synthesize artificial diamonds in the laboratory. But it's only recently they have mastered technology that allows them to grow small natural diamonds into bigger ones very quickly and without any flaws. I suggest you make this your operative metaphor in the coming weeks, Cancerian. You'll be wise to mobilize all your resources as you rapidly expand the part of your life that is most like a diamond. It's time to expedite the evolution of your valuable beauty.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): My daughter's sixth-grade class will perform a play this spring, as it has the last five years. The script, an adaptation of a tale from The Arabian Nights, features a magical talking bird as a key character. One of the students, a Leo, asked the teacher not to give her that role, as plum as it is. Why? Because she wants to avoid any further typecasting: She has played the part of a bird in three of the last four class plays. I urge you to consider making a similar stand, Leo. You'll soon be offered a chance to squeeze yourself into a coveted niche you've occupied before. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it; just think long and hard about the baggage that comes with it.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "What if you stumbled on a person living in the dark, starved, chained, drugged and poisoned?" asks futurist Jay Gary. "You'd turn on the light, unlock his chains and nourish him back to health. That poor soul is the human imaginationyours and mine." I agree with Gary's assessment. Our imaginations are in bad shape, numbed by the media's nonstop onslaught of fear-provoking, spin-doctored, soul-killing "information." The situation is tragic. Imagination is not just a playful capacity we call on when we're making art, after all. It's our ability to form mental pictures of things that don't exist yet; it's what we use to shape our future. But here's some good news, Virgo: You now have special power to rehabilitate and reinvigorate your imagination. Get in there and turn on the light, unlock the chains, and nourish it back to health.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My acquaintance Judith decided to go all out in helping her daughter sell Girl Scout cookies. She filled her garage with cases of all nine varieties in preparation for a marketing onslaught on friends and neighbors. Then one night disaster struck. Raccoons exploited a hole in the roof to break in and plunder the stash. But while the marauders ripped open boxes of every cookie type, they ate only one: the Samoas, also known as Caramel deLites, which are covered in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and laced with chocolate stripes. In the coming week, Libra, I urge you to be like those raccoons in this one regard: Unleash your passionate hunger very precisely. Don't go after what you sorta kinda like; pluck only the treats you long for with all your heart.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Want to get the most out of your upcoming adventures, Scorpio? Then adopt an outlook that combines the objectivity of a scientist and the "beginner's mind" of Zen Buddhism. To pull this off, you'll have to suspend your theories about the way the world works. Realize that what you've learned in the past won't be a reliable guide to understanding current events. Be skeptical of your biases, even the benevolent ones. Try to see the naked truth, stripped of the interpretations that your emotions might be inclined to impose.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It's time to purify your intentions, Sagittarius; time to make sure that you love what you love and seek what you seek for only the best reasons. For inspiration, memorize this poem by the eighth-century Sufi mystic poet Rabia: "I carry a torch in one hand/And a bucket of water in the other:/With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven/And put out the flames of Hell/So that no one worships God/for fear of hell or greed of heaven."
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You don't realize how fertile you are, Capricorn. Nor can you possibly comprehend how much more fecund you will become in the coming weeks. That's why it's so lucky you have tuned in to this horoscope. Just in time, I am alerting you to your awesome generative power, ensuring that you will be very thoughtful and discriminating about which seeds you sow. About six months from now, therefore, you will most certainly harvest great big beautiful fruits, not great big ugly weeds.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):To those living in the Northern Hemisphere, the North Star is the second most important star. Also known as Polaris or Pole Star, it is always directly overhead all night long. Compared to the other stars, which come and go, it's a bastion of stability. Throughout history, it served as a beacon aiding the navigation of sailors. That's why it became a symbol for a homing signal or guiding principle. Synonyms for polestar include focal point, gist, marrow, pivot, root, and crux. In your own life, Aquarius, what is the metaphorical equivalent of the North Star? According to the astrological omens, it's time to make adjustments and do upkeep in your relationship with that hub. (For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, your equivalent is Sigma Octantis.)
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Early in his career, Robert Bly rarely wrote love poetry, though he studied the work of others who did. As he aged, he stopped reading the angst-ridden ruminations of modern poets and sought out the ecstatic love poetry of mystics like Rumi and Kabir. Increasingly, forgiveness and compassion became central aspects of Bly's emotional repertoire. His rage about his own past romantic disappointments dissipated. In his mid-forties, he wrote Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, his first collection of love poetry. A critic in The New York Times Book Review said it wasn't a real book of love poems, because there wasn't enough hatred and anger in it. To which I say: Ha! Your assignment this week, Pisces, is to write a love poem and think love thoughts from which all hate and anger have been purged.
Homework: Brag about the lies you love the best. Write: beautyandtruth.com.