ARIES (March 21-April 19) "The most fundamental form of human stupidity is forgetting what we were trying to do in the first place," said Friedrich Nietzsche. So for instance, if you're the United States government and you invade and occupy Afghanistan in order to wipe out al-Qaida, it's not too bright to continue fighting and dying and spending obscene amounts of money long after the al-Qaida presence there has been eliminated. (There are now fewer than 100 al-Qaida fighters in that country: tinyurl.com/forgetwhy.) What's the equivalent in your personal life? What noble aspiration propelled you down a winding path that led to entanglements having nothing to do with your original aspiration? It's time to correct the mistake.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) The Carnival season gets into full swing this weekend and lasts through Mardi Gras next Tuesday night. Wherever you are, I suggest you use this as an excuse to achieve new levels of mastery in the art of partying. Of all the signs of the zodiac, you're the one that is most in need of, and most deserving of, getting immersed in rowdy festivities that lead to maximum release and relief. To get you in the right mood, read these thoughts from literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin. He said a celebration like this is a "temporary liberation from the prevailing truth and from the established order," and encourages "the suspension of all hierarchical rank, privileges, norms and prohibitions."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) When Bob Dylan first heard the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, he only made it through the first few tunes. "Turn that s--- off!" he said. "It's too good!" He was afraid his own creative process might get intimidated, maybe even blocked, if he allowed himself to listen to the entire masterpiece. I suspect the exact opposite will be true for you in the coming weeks. As you expose yourself to excellence in your chosen field, you'll feel a growing motivation to express excellence yourself. The inspiration that will be unleashed in you by your competitors will trump any of the potentially deflating effects of your professional jealousy.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) Jungian storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estes says one of her main influences is the Curanderisma healing tradition from Mexico and Central America. "In this tradition a story is ‘holy,' and it is used as medicine," she told Radiance magazine. "The story is not told to lift you up, to make you feel better or to entertain you, although all those things can be true. The story is meant to take the spirit into a descent to find something that is lost or missing and to bring it back to consciousness again." You need stories like this, and you need them now. It's high time to recover parts of your soul that you have neglected or misplaced or been separated from.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) You've been pretty smart lately, but I think you could get even smarter. You have spied secrets in the dark, and teased out answers from unlikely sources, and untangled knots that no one else has had the patience to mess with - and yet I suspect there are even greater glories possible for you. For inspiration, memorize this haiku-like poem by Geraldine C. Little: "The white spider / whiter still / in the lightning's flash."
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) I wouldn't try to stop you if you wanted to go around singing the Stone Roses' song "I Wanna Be Adored." I wouldn't be embarrassed for you if you turned your head up to the night sky and serenaded the stars with a chant of "I wanna be adored, I deserve to be adored, I demand to be adored." And I might even be willing to predict that your wish will be fulfilled - on one condition, which is that you also express your artful adoration for some worthy creature.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) "The difference between the right word and the almost right word," said Mark Twain, "is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." Because the difference between the right word and the almost right word will be so crucial for you in the coming days, I urge you to maintain extra vigilance toward the sounds that come out of your mouth. But don't be tense and repressed about it. Loose, graceful vigilance will actually work better. By the way, the distinction between right and almost right will be equally important in other areas of your life as well. Be adroitly discerning.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) "Dear Rob: In your horoscopes you often write about how we Scorpios will encounter interesting opportunities, invitations to be powerful and creative breakthroughs. But you rarely discuss the deceptions, selfish deeds and ugliness of the human heart that might be coming our way - especially in regard to what we are capable of ourselves. Why do you do this? My main concern is not in dealing with what's going right, but rather on persevering through difficulty. -Scorpio in the Shadows." Dear Scorpio: You have more than enough influences in your life that encourage you to be fascinated with darkness. I may be the only one that's committed to helping you cultivate the more undeveloped side of your soul: the part that thrives on beauty and goodness and joy.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Acupuncturists identify an energetic point in the ear called the spirit gate. If it's stuck closed, the spirit is locked in; if it's stuck open, the spirit is always coming and going, restless and unsettled. What's ideal, of course, is that the spirit gate is not stuck in any position. Then the spirit can come and go as it needs to and also have the option of retreating and protecting itself. I'd like you to imagine that right now a skilled acupuncturist is inserting a needle in the top of your left ear, where it will remain for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, visualize your spirit gate being in that state of harmonious health I described.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) In his parody music video, "Sickest Buddhist," comedian Arj Barker invokes a hip-hop sensibility as he brags about his spiritual prowess. Noting how skilled he is when it comes to mastering his teacher's instructions, he says, "The instructor just told us to do a 45-minute meditation / but I nailed it in 10." I expect you will have a similar facility in the coming week: Tasks that might be challenging for others may seem like child's play to you. I bet you'll be able to sort quickly through complications that might normally take days to untangle. (See the NSFW video here: tinyurl.com/illBuddhist.)
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The sixth astronaut to walk on the moon was engineer Edgar Mitchell. He asserts that extraterrestrials have visited Earth and that governments are covering up that fact. The second astronaut to do a moonwalk was engineer Buzz Aldrin. He says that there is unquestionably an artificial structure built on Phobos, a moon of Mars. Some scientists dispute the claims of these experts, insisting that aliens are myths. Who should we believe? Personally, I lean towards Mitchell and Aldrin. Having been raised by an engineer father, I know how unlikely it is for people with that mindset to make extraordinary claims. If you have to choose between competing authorities any time soon, I recommend that like me, you opt for the smart mavericks instead of the smart purveyors of conventional wisdom.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) If I were you, I'd make interesting fun your meme of the week. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you will be fully justified in making that your modus operandi and your raison d'être. For best results, you should put a priority on pursuing experiences that both amuse you and captivate your imagination. As you consider whether to accept any invitation or seize any opportunity, make sure it will teach you something you don't already know and also transport you into a positive emotional state that gets your endorphins flowing.