By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
TAURUS (April 20May 20): "Inspiration is highly overrated," says photorealist artist Chuck Close. "If you sit around and wait for the clouds to part, it's not liable to ever happen." I share his assessment of the creative process. The books and music and columns I've produced owe their existence largely to my hard work, which generates a burst of inspiration every now and then but mostly gets things done without much flash. Keep that in mind, Taurus. Though you may not be inundated with a series of epiphanies in the coming days, you have the potential to spawn a lot of useful and original stuff. Your fertility quotient is high.
GEMINI (May 21June 20): To best take advantage of the fresh and innocent cosmic forces that are offering themselves up to you, try experiments like the following: eat food you've never tried; listen to new music; climb a hill that has always been in the distance; have a down-to-earth conversation with a person who up till now hasn't been quite real to you; try erotic experiences you've wondered about; scrawl graffiti on a wall that has never been written upon; and push yourself to feel positive emotions that you may sometimes be too lazy or cynical to seek out, like playful reverence, intense curiosity, voracious gratitude, and surprised delight.
CANCER (June 21July 22): Near the end of World War II, a soldier named Shoichi Yokoi was serving in the Japanese army on the island of Guam. As American troops invaded, he fled into the dense jungle and hid in an underground cave. There he stayed for the next 28 years. When he finally returned to civilization, his first words were, "It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive." In comparing you to Yokoi, Cancerian, I am of course exaggerating. You have not been concealing yourself so literally or so thoroughly. And yet I feel a similar poignancy about the way you have kept yourself from revealing your full beauty. Please come in from out of the dark and shine the full blast of your iridescent light.
LEO (July 23Aug. 22): "I will tell you a great secret," wrote Algerian philosopher Albert Camus. "Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day." Author and activist John W. Gardner spoke of the same issue from a different angle. "To sensible people," he said, "every day is a day of reckoning." I offer up those words for your guidance in the coming days, Leo. May they inspire you to be fierce and willful, exuberantly unstoppable and wildly resourceful. May they remind you that even though there might be a world of pressure on you, that pressure is natural, merciful, and exactly what you need.
VIRGO (Aug. 23Sept. 22): The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to become dramatically clearer about the nature of your ambitions. To jumpstart the process, read this insight from career counselor Robin Hirschberg: "People tend to confuse their purpose ('What do I love to do?') with their ideals ('How am I comfortable behaving?') and their desired results ('What can I achieve?')." Now get to work figuring out the truth about those three foundation stones, Virgo. Once you do that, develop a plan for getting them to work together synergistically.
LIBRA (Sept. 23Oct. 22): "Who has done more good for the planet, Mother Teresa or Bill Gates?" asked businessman John Mackey. "No contest: Gates has helped far more people." Whether you agree with that assessment or not, Libra, act as if it's true in the coming weeks. As you express your generous urges, don't so much model yourself after Mother Teresa, who felt pious feelings and gave mostly symbolic assistance to a few thousand poor, sick people. Model yourself more after Gates, who spends billions of dollars to provide technological resources to schools in the U.S., and to bolster health care and reduce poverty in the Third World. In other words, don't just be emotionally and spiritually supportive. Be aggressively helpful in the most practical ways.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23Nov. 21): Militant atheists make the claim that religion has always been a primary cause of war. If humans weren't under the sway of "the God delusion," they fume, armed conflicts would be infrequent. But military historian Eric Bergerud says that's absurd. He notes that while there have been a few religious wars, "most wars in history have been driven by the lust for power and loot." In other words, the materialist delusion is far more lethal than the God delusion. People who believe there's nothing of value beyond what the five senses can perceive are often the most dangerous of all. Make this the seed for your meditations, Scorpio. Think about how much less fear and loathing you'd suffer if you knew for a fact that your soul lives forever. Imagine the peace and wonder you'd feel if you knew there are realities and spiritual beings that aren't visible to the naked eye or to the technology that science has dreamed up thus far.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22Dec. 21): Read this passage from the Talmud: "When the fetus comes forth into the air of the world, what is closed opens and what is open closes." I believe that's an apt metaphor for what's going on in your life, Sagittarius. You're leaving behind a situation that has nurtured you even as it has bound you. Ahead of you lies a scary freedom that will flood into you with a pleasurable shock. Welcome to the brilliant shouting mystery of it all!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22Jan. 19): "To have more, desire less." I urge you to make that your motto in the coming days, Capricorn. You're in a phase that's ideal for expanding your horizons by cutting back on your attachments. Your wealth will grow if you renounce any greed you may be harboring. Your power will intensify if you give up your longing for control over things you can't control. So be brave. Be nervy. Have fun. As you shed insubstantial wishes and barely-relevant obsessions, you may come to resemble a monarch.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20Feb. 18): A flower is in one sense a brilliant advertisement. With its alluring aroma, appealing color, and voluptuous shape, it captures the attention of insects and birds, inviting them in for a visit. It's not false advertising: The pollinators get to imbibe sweet food at the heart of the flower. But the flower also has a hidden agenda. Its male reproductive material, the pollen, gets stuck to the pollinators' bodies, and they carry it away to the female organs of new flowers, thereby facilitating the plant version of impregnation. Now imagine that you are a flower, and re-read everything I just said, interpreting it as a metaphor for the approach you might want to pursue in the coming days.
PISCES (Feb. 19March 20): "Dear Rob: I would love to live on the ocean, I mean literally in a floating village, so that I could always sense the pulse of the Mother of Us All. I want the wild revelation of the horizon to be uncluttered before me. I want to smell the tang of salt in the air, to hear the cries of seagulls. No more towers, no more labyrinths of concretejust breathtaking, incomprehensible expanses of waves. Piscean Immersion-Junkie." Dear Immersion-Junkie: Good news! You Pisceans will soon be invited to get tastes of this restless primordial spectacle. It'll come to you in many ways, including (but not limited to) your dreams, meditations, hot baths, saunas, massages, love- making, music-playing, journal-writing, and sailing.
Homework Comment on Karen Pino's quote: "The use of intellectual rigor for the purpose of increasing fear, sorrow, or doubt is the greatest cowardice of all." Go to freewillastrology.com.