ARIES (March 21-April 19): Couvade occurs in a variety of indigenous cultures. It’s a phenomenon in which a man experiences morning sickness, unusual appetites, and other symptoms similar to his pregnant mate’s. There’s no known physiological basis for it. He may even have labor pains as the child is born, diminishing the mother’s distress as if he has mysteriously been able to take some of it on. I suggest we make couvade your word of power for now, Aries. It’s likely that someone close to you will soon be giving birth, at least metaphorically. The more you help bear a share of the wonderful ordeal, the bigger your reward will be later.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Change your relationship with mirrors, Taurus. If you tend to be obsessed with what they tell you, lose your addiction and escape their tyranny. If you usually avoid them out of fear, summon your courage and approach them with your warrior’s heart fully engaged. And in the event that you’re typically rather apathetic toward them, develop a more intimate connection. It’s time to shift the dynamic between you and your reflection.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini Kathleen Raine won several literary awards for her mystical nature poetry and was a highly respected scholar who specialized in William Butler Yeats and William Blake. She died last August at age 95. An obituary in The Daily Telegraph noted that she was surprised to have survived so long. More than 35 years ago, a prophetic figure in one of her dreams proclaimed that she had only 100 months (less than nine years) left to live. It just goes to show you that even the smartest, most refined students of the great mysteries are susceptible to being deceived about important matters by the little voices in their heads. Be aware of that as you listen to the jabber that fills your inner landscape in the coming week.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Cancerian mascot is the crab, which is typically a small, shy creature that moves sideways and backward a lot. The giant land crab of Cuba is a species apart, however. It runs so fast it can outrace a horse. I nominate this super-crab to serve as your power animal during the coming weeks, when cosmic forces will be conspiring to make you exceptionally robust, forceful, and direct. Charge!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): To gather research for his book The Age of Missing Information, Bill McKibben watched 1,700 hours of videotaped TV shows. In the midst of the babble he detected a single subliminal message flowing relentlessly: “You are the most important thing on earth.” He was disturbed by his discovery, seeing it as a big reason our culture is infected with toxic levels of narcissism. Normally I share his aversion, but this week I’m making an exception. For a limited time only, Leo, you truly are the most important thing on earth. Soak up the glory, the attention, and the adoration—and be prepared to exercise far more responsibility than usual, too.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Dear Rob: Help! I’m stuck! I give till it hurts, then lash out at those I’ve lavished my generosity on. I hope too much, setting expectations too high almost on purpose so I have an excuse if things don’t pan out. I worry about everything that might go wrong, sometimes precipitating exactly what I worry about. Please advise! —Virgo in a Rut.” Dear Virgo: The lucid honesty you just demonstrated is a first step in quitting your addiction to the unwanted behaviors you described. Now is a perfect time, astrologically speaking, to go further. The next step is to feel compassion and forgiveness for the part of you that acts so automatically.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Your body contains enough iron to make a spike strong enough to hold your weight.” So proclaims the website. I would like you to visualize yourself holding such a spike right now, Libra. Think of it as your secret talisman for the coming weeks—an inspirational symbol that will motivate you to transform your flabby sense of purpose into an iron will. You now have the power to intensify your discipline and drive beyond what you ever imagined was possible.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Warning and congratulations! Wake-up calls are on tap. Here are examples of the kinds of benevolent shocks you may be treated to. (1) You reverently approach a cherished idol. As you bow down, you spy a dirty sock on the floor. (2) You dream of hiking through green hills in springtime. As you loop around a huge boulder, you come upon a mare giving birth to a colt. (3) You receive a Hallmark card in an envelope with no return address. The corny cartoon on the front turns you off. But when you open it up, you find a slip of paper on which is handwritten a brilliant poem that fills you with catalytic emotions.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Many mythic traditions describe an underworld where souls reside after death and where those who are still alive can visit to gain desperately needed insights. The latter category fits you right now, Sagittarius. You’re wandering in the shadowy nether regions, searching for clues that will be of use to you when you come back to deal with your problems here in the sunlit realm. I’m guessing that this exploration, as confounding as it may be, is actually pretty fun in an eerie sort of way. The really hard part will come once it’s time for your return. You may be tempted to hang around down there too long. Don’t. The treasure you find will be wasted unless you bring it back promptly.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.” That’s what the German writer Goethe said back in the 19th century, and it’s especially true for you now. Here’s a corollary that’s true only for you in the next two weeks: “Thinking is more useful than knowing, but less useful than looking.” In other words, Capricorn, gathering facts and being an expert should be your lowest priority in the coming days. Questioning and analyzing should be moderately important. But the activity you should emphasize most is seeing into the heart of the world around you with compassionate, penetrating objectivity.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You have the keys to doors that don’t exist yet; save those keys. You know the titles for stories that haven’t happened yet; write those titles down. You’ve caught glimpses of your future, but they’re confusing because you can’t imagine how you’ll get to that future; imprint those glimpses on your memory. In conclusion, Aquarius, shout “hallelujah” and pour yourself a glass of champagne. You have all you need to cultivate a potent kind of faith that’s based on hard data, not hopes and wishes.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In addition to meditations on the cosmic omens, my preparations for writing this horoscope were extensive. I read Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the sequel, Paradise Regained. I ate both gourmet organic meals and greasy junk food. I rode the roller coaster with my scholarly friend Arthur, with whom I discussed the kabbalah, and watched horror films in the basement apartment of my smart but degenerate friend Rocky, who’s writing a novel about his past life as a queer pirate in a 17th-century anarchist community in Barbados. In other words, Pisces, to work myself into the right frame of mind to channel your oracle, I had to soar to the transcendent heights and plunge into the grungy depths—sort of like what you’ll be doing this week.

Homework. Finish this sentence: “The one thing that really keeps me from being myself is _______.” Send to: Excuses, Excuses,

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