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] "If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid." That could turn out to be a useful mantra for you in the coming week. Being pragmatic should be a high priority, whereas being judgmental should be the lowest. Here's another mantra that may serve you well: "Those who take history personally are condemned to repeat it." Invoke that wisdom to help escape an oppressive part of your past.
TAURUS [April 20-May 20] Aren't you grateful for the way plot twists keep you alert and ready to shift your attitude at a moment's notice? And aren't you thrilled by those moments when fate reveals that its power is not absolute—that your intelligence and willpower can in fact override the seemingly inexorable imperatives of karma? If you are unfamiliar with the pleasures I've just described, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to get acquainted.
GEMINI [May 21-June 20] It won't be a good week to issue unreasonable demands. On the other hand, it will be an excellent time to cultivate your ability to be a deep-feeling free-thinker. Other recommended actions: Give yourself a new nickname like Highball or Root Doctor or Climax Master; write an essay on "The Five Things That the Pursuit of Pleasure Has Taught Me"; and laugh uproariously as you completely bypass the void of sadness and the abyss of fear.
CANCER [June 21-July 22] In the 19th century, prospectors mined for gold in the mountains of western Nevada. Their work was hampered by a gluey blue mud that gummed up their machinery. On a hunch, one miner took a load of that gunk to be analyzed by an expert. He discovered that it contained rich deposits of silver. So began an explosion of silver mining that made many prospectors very wealthy. I suggest you be on the alert for a metaphorical version of blue mud in your sphere, an "inconvenience" that is actually quite valuable.
LEO [July 23-August 22] When pioneer filmmaker Hal Roach worked on scripts with his team of writers, he sometimes employed an unusual strategy to overcome writer's block: He'd bring in a "Wildie" to join them at the conference table. A Wildie was either a random drunk they found wandering around the streets or a person who lived in an asylum, and he would provide unexpected ideas that opened the writers' minds to new possibilities. Leo, I hope you will come up with other ways to spur fresh perspectives. Solicit creative disruptions!
VIRGO [August 23-September 22] Is the term "unconscious mind" a good name for the foundation of the human psyche? Should we really be implying that the vast, oceanic source of everything we think and feel is merely the opposite of the conscious mind? Dreamworker Jeremy Taylor doesn't think so. He proposes an alternate phrase: "not-yet-speech-ripe." It captures the sense of all the raw material burbling and churning in our deep awareness that is not graspable through language. I bring this up, Virgo, because you're entering a phase when a lot of not-yet-speech-ripe stuff will become speech-ripe. Be alert for it!
LIBRA [September 23-October 22] In 1928, biologist Alexander Fleming launched a medical revolution. He developed the world's first antibiotic, penicillin, making it possible to cure a host of maladies caused by hostile bacteria. His discovery happened only because he left his laboratory a mess when he went on vacation, and while he was gone, a bacteria culture he'd been working with got contaminated by a mold that turned out to be penicillin. You could achieve a more modest but quite happy accident sometime soon, Libra. It may depend on your allowing things to be untidier than usual, though. Are you game?
SCORPIO [October 23-November 21] "I am iron resisting the most enormous Magnet there is," wrote the Sufi mystic poet Rumi. He was wistfully bemoaning his own stubborn ignorance, which tricked him into refusing a more intimate companionship with the Blessed Source of all life. I think there's something similar going on in most of us, even atheists. We feel the tremendous pull of our destiny—the glorious, daunting destination that would take all our strength to achieve and fulfill our deepest longings—and yet we are also terrified to surrender to it. What's your current relationship to your Magnet, Scorpio? I say it's time you allowed it to pull you closer.
SAGITTARIUS [November 22-December 21] NASA used whale oil to lubricate the Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager spacecrafts. There was a good reason: Whale oil doesn't freeze at the low temperatures found in outer space. While I certainly don't approve of killing whales to obtain their oil, I want to use this story to make a point. It's an excellent time for you, too, to use old-school approaches for solving ultra-new-school problems. Sometimes a tried-and-true method works better, or is cheaper, simpler, or more aesthetically pleasing.
CAPRICORN [December 22-January 19] The writer Richard Bernstein explains the "butterfly effect" as: "very slight, nearly infinitesimal variations and the enormous multiplicity of interacting variables produce big differences in the end." That's why, he says, "The world is just too complicated to be predictable." I find this a tremendously liberating idea. It suggests that every little thing you do sends out ripples of influence that help shape the kind of world you live in. The coming week will be an excellent time to experiment with how this works in your daily life. Put loving care and intelligent attention into every little thing.