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): Happy Valentine Daze, Aries! Here's an important bulletin from poet Emily Dickinson: Until you have been in love, you cannot become yourself. I'd like you to try that revolutionary idea on for size, Aries. Do this experiment. For a given periodsay the coming week or the next 10 yearsact as if the only way you can ever find out who you really are is to lose yourself in sublime yearning for a worthy partner. Assume, for the sake of argument, that one of the best strategies for becoming the unique masterpiece you were born to be is to help a person you love become the unique masterpiece he or she was meant to be.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Happy Valentine Daze, Taurus! The goddess of love, Aphrodite herself, has asked me to remind you that you have always been in love. You will always be in love. In fact, it is impossible for you not to be in love. You'd be unable to get out of bed each morning unless there were someone or something that roused your heart and stirred your imagination. So please just admit that you are alive because of love, that you are made of love. Now write a list of the 10 things you love most, and devote some time in each of the next seven days to expressing your appreciation.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Happy Valentine Daze, Gemini! After careful meditation about what advice would be most likely to energize your love life, I've decided to suggest that you say your prayers while having sex with a saint in a sacred place. If you can't manage all that at once, at least try praying while doing the wild thing, or fooling around with a saint, or making out in a church or temple, or talking dirty to God. One way or another, Gemini, you should blend earthly pleasures and spiritual aspirations. Here's a quote to write on your mirror or your forearm: "I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love." Henry Ward Beecher.
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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Cancerian! After strenuous meditation about what advice would be most likely to heat up and deepen your love life, I've decided you need a stiff challenge. That's why I'm inviting you to have an epic showdown with your fears about love. What keeps you from stripping away your outmoded inhibitions and brazenly exploring the mysteries of attraction? What doubts prevent you from enjoying regular soul-to-soul gazes with your ancient future? Wouldn't you love to shed your psychic armor and summon the chutzpah to whisper in someone's ear, "I'm not afraid to ask for everything."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Leo! After careful meditation about what advice might galvanize your love life, I've decided to share a thought from Jewish mystic Lawrence Kushner. "Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else's puzzle," he wrote in his book Honey From the Rock. In other words, you have in your possession certain clues to your loved ones' destiniessecrets they haven't discovered themselves. And in my astrological opinion, it is the right time and place to hand over those cluesto make a gift of the puzzle pieces that are most needed by the people you care about. So search your depths for insights you've never communicated. Tell truths you haven't found a way to express before. More than you know, you have the power to mobilize your companions' dreams.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Virgo! After careful meditation about what advice might purify and supercharge your love life, I'm making this suggestion: For one week, concentrate all your passion and ingenuity on learning to love yourself better. Write at least one love letter and one love poem to yourself. Treat yourself to pleasures that relax your intelligence and open your wild heart. Gaze in the mirror and whisper a flood of sweet nothings. Give yourself thoughtful, surprising gifts. And finally, propose marriage to yourself and perform a wedding ceremony in which you promise to cherish and honor yourself until the end of time.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Libra! I'm hereby declaring a love emergency. Right now you need love more than you need food and drink. More than that: You need to crave love with an almost crazed lyrical ferocity . . . with a reverent, burning hunger that some traditional astrologers would say Libras aren't capable of. At this pivotal moment, you've got to find a way to claim Erica Jong's subversive words as your own: "Love is everything it's cracked up to be. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more."
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Happy Valentine Daze, Scorpio! Is it really love? That's always a good meditation subject for you passion addicts. Here are some guidelines. (1) "Love asks you beautiful, unanswerable questions." Carl Sandburg (2) "Love brings to life whatever is dead around us." Franz Rosenzweig (3) "Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other." Rainer Maria Rilke (4) "Love is the only game where two can play and both win." Erma Freesman (5) "Falling in love is a lot like dying. You never get to do it enough to become good at it." my Scorpio friend Elise (6) "Love is like a well in the wilderness where time watches over the wandering lightning." Pablo Neruda
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Happy Valentine Daze, Sagittarius! After careful meditation about what advice might beautify and elevate your love life, I've decided to offer you these insights. (1) "We are not the same person this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person." W. Somerset Maugham (2) "People often start by falling in love, and they go on for years without realizing that love must change into some other love which is unlike the original." Iris Murdoch (3) "Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." Ursula K. Le Guin (4) "A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day." André Maurois.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Happy Valentine Daze, Capricorn! After careful meditation about what advice might fertilize your love life, I've decided to alert you to two practical principles. The first comes to you courtesy of philosopher Rollo May: "We receive love roughly in proportion to our capacity to love." In other words: To be adored more, adore more. Your second utilitarian theorem was immortalized by the character Dicky Fox in the movie Jerry Maguire. "If you don't love everybody," he said, "you can't sell anybody." In other words: Your most effective strategy for getting what you want is to feel tender affection for the whole world.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Happy Valentine Daze, Aquarius! After careful meditation about how I might help you perfect your love life, I've decided that all you need is my authorization to be more mercurial and improvisational. So here's a Turkish proverb for you to try on for size: "To prepare for love, learn to run through snow, leaving no footprints." Next, see how much fun you can stir up by taking to heart this Italian proverb: "Love rules without rules." Finally, Aquarius, experiment with this advice from the motivational author Sark: "Love imperfectly. Be a love idiot. Let yourself forget any love ideal."
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Happy Valentine Daze, Pisces! After careful meditation about what advice might enrich your love life, I've decided you need a more joyously rowdy and rambunctious approach to togetherness. Consider the possibility of making love with funny hats on while watching The Simpsons, or shaving each other in the bathtub while singing tunes from Broadway musicals, or getting naked at the breakfast table and trying to throw Cheerios into each other's mouths while an instructional CD on how to speak Esperanto plays in the background.
Homework: Send love letters, flowery poetry, lavish adorations, and gourmet chocolates to me at P.O. Box 150628, San Rafael, CA 94915.