ARIES During America's Civil War, John Bell Hood was a top general for the Confederacy. Though initially impressive, he grew increasingly ineffectual as his ferocious courage devolved into maniacal force devoid of strategy. His superior officer Robert E. Lee said that Hood was "all lion and no fox." I mention this in the hope that it will serve as a kick in butt. You're not as unbalanced as Hood — your ratio is about 90 percent lion, 10 percent fox — but if you want to navigate your way successfully through the coming weeks, you'll have to work harder on cultivating your inner fox.


TAURUS According to a study done at the Hamburg Medical Research Institute, sex makes you smarter. Test subjects showed greater skill at performing certain mental tasks after they made love. The results are attributed to the increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol that are released in the body. I encourage you to do some experiments of your own. The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to engage in all manner of experiences that might boost your intelligence, including (though not limited to) regular erotic adventures.


GEMINI Using your common sense, you might assume you could swim faster through water than through syrup. But research published by Professor Edward Cussler has shown that's not true. In his paper "Will Humans Swim Faster or Slower in Syrup?" he proved that the breaststroke can be done with equal speed in both mediums. Keep that in mind. Your surroundings may feel dense in the coming weeks — more like syrup than water. But as long as you don't buy into the fear that life will be more difficult and slow-going, you'll be able to glide along with just as much grace as you've enjoyed recently.


CANCER Since it's my birthday this week, I decided to take a break from business as usual. That's why I outsourced the writing of our horoscope to an astrologer in Bangladesh, Farhana Rasel. Here's what she came up with: It is an auspicious time to use the good will you have accumulated through your generous deeds. You should ask for favors from people who have enjoyed your favors, and coast along on the currents of the good karma you have set in motion. Luck will be on your side if you permit yourself an excursion into the naughty mysteries of enlightened narcissism. You will be given more slack than usual, especially if you have the nerve to demand it.


LEO A Colorado newspaper that publishes my column reported that forestry officials planned to intentionally set easily controllable fires on parcels of bone-dry woods. By reducing the density of potential fuel, they would dramatically reduce the threat of massive forest fires in the future. The burns would also make habitats more livable for wildlife. I suggest you make this your metaphor. If you burn a little now, you'll prevent a bigger burn later.


VIRGO Futurologist David Brin talks to a diverse range of scientists. Over the years, he has noticed that many of them have become "much livelier, more open-minded and more interested in fields outside their own" than they were when he first met them. Physicists are more interested in biology, biologists in astronomy and engineers in cybernetics. This is a perfect moment for you to have this kind of fun. You will attract unexpected benefits into your life if you wander outside your areas of specialty and check out the action in other genres. It's high time for exuberant cross-pollination.


LIBRA If you think you need to be fixed, toned down, made over or re-created from scratch, you're reading the wrong horoscope column. Likewise, if you imagine that you're a wounded animal in need of rescue or a cowering, helpless victim, I'm not the consultant for you. But if you long to be shaken awake and dared to discover your higher calling, you've come to the right place. Let's get started on the next phase of my pet project, which is to inspire you to deal with what philosopher Alan Watts called "the taboo against knowing who you are." There are secrets that your unconscious mind has been longing to reveal to your conscious mind.


SCORPIO In the course of my life, I've known five people whom I consider feral. They weren't raised by wolves in the wild, but they have qualities that make it seem as if they could have been. They regularly get wild glints in their eyes. They can survive while traveling in foreign lands despite having little money, and even when they're home they're prone to taking long rambles in the middle of the night. They couldn't care less what anyone thinks of them, and they rarely do what anyone expects them to do. These feral folks are disruptive but not dangerous, and they confound my beliefs about human nature in the most entertaining ways. Even if you don't fit this description, you'd be wise to flirt with your own brand of feral behavior in the coming weeks. It's time to untame yourself.


SAGITTARIUS The successful Czech composer Vaclav Halek has an unusual muse: the mushroom kingdom. No, he doesn't ingest psychedelics and write music while high. Rather, he wanders out into the forest, lies down next to fungal colonies and tunes in to their vibrations. "I simply record music that the mushrooms sing to me," he told The Sydney Morning Herald. Trees and rocks also produce melodies, he reports, but the toadstools' compositions are the finest. You're in a phase when becoming a better listener would improve your life dramatically; just imagine that you have the power to eavesdrop on all of creation.


CAPRICORN "What the heart knows today the head will understand tomorrow," wrote Irish storyteller James Stephens. It's lucky for you that this is true — or at least it will be lucky if you're smart enough to trust your heart, which has already figured out a certain truth that your head is still days away from registering. This is not merely a pretty metaphor, by the way. Despite what you may have been led to believe about the nature of the heart, it is actually an organ of intelligence that is capable of deep thought.


AQUARIUS During an outdoor concert, '80s pop star Cyndi Lauper experienced a rare event that every singer dreads. As she belted out a long, booming note, a bird flying overhead dispensed a blob that zoomed into her wide-open mouth. Lauper's grandmother later assured her that this was a stroke of good luck, and the singer herself referred to it as "God's little joke." I predict you will soon enjoy a metaphorically similar visitation.


PISCES You're about to turn into a creative powerhouse. That means you'll be at the peak of your ability to conjure up artistic masterpieces, but you'll also have uncanny skill at whipping up fresh, crisp solutions to conundrums that have stymied you and your tribe for a long time. It will almost be as if you have found a way to tap into the future, where you can learn novel ways of seeing that are impossible to access in the present.




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