ARIES (March 21-April 19) "You can't know fire unless you play with it," says Mark Finney, who develops computer models for fighting forest fires. I offer that as a motto for you in the coming week. I'm not saying you should purposely ignite a conflagration for the sake of impulsive experimentation. I'm not saying you should kick smoldering embers around like soccer balls or light a cigarette while you're pumping gasoline or buy yourself a flame-thrower. But it will be in your interest to learn more about how to play safely with intriguing, useful fires.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20) The time for keeping the doors closed is passing, but it's not yet the right moment to fling them wide open. Your best strategy is to keep doors ajar – open just a crack, letting some air in and allowing a hint of your light to trickle out. This will discourage unfocused wanderers from barging in, while at the same time it encourages worthy candidates with a healthy curiosity to sneak peeks inside.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20) "There is a rose in Spanish Harlem," sings Ben E. King in his old pop ballad. "It is a special one/It's never seen the sun/It only comes out when the moon is on the run." King is fantasizing with longing about an alluring woman from a hardscrabble neighborhood. The rose is "growing in the street/Right up through the concrete" – a delicate beauty blooming amidst tough conditions. Your assignment is to cultivate a connection with your equivalent of that rose.


CANCER (June 21-July 22) Every second of your life, your bone marrow produces 100 trillion molecules of hemoglobin, the stuff that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of you. Meanwhile, every minute, your immune system begets 10 million lymphocytes, key players in your body's defenses. These are just two examples of the endless marvels you produce. You are a creator of the first order, a supreme maker and a generative genius. Remember that in the coming days. Be confident and purposeful as you birth minor miracles and intimate wonders.


LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) For decades the U.S. government has handed out far more welfare benefits to big corporations than to poor people. Companies like IBM, General Electric, Boeing and others rake in over $100 billion of subsidies each year. In other words, socialism has been a prominent feature of our so-called capitalist system for a long time. Recently, Karl Marx's influence has made even deeper inroads, with the government becoming part-owner of many banks in order to keep them solvent. Will any of this fantastic largesse be extended to us regular citizens, like maybe in the form of nationalized health care? I can't answer that. But I do know this: In the coming months, you will get help from powers that you regard as above and beyond you.


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) For many people, 10:30 a.m. is the single best time of day to come up with fresh insights and new ideas. But that won't exactly be true for you in the coming week. I mean, 10:30 will be a time when you're likely to be really smart, but then so will 11:30, 1:05, 2:37, 3:46 and 4:20. For that matter, 6:35 may also bring a gush of intelligence, as well as 7:27, 8:19 and the last 10 minutes before bedtime. You're in a phase when being brilliant should come pretty naturally.


LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Ruminate a minute about the people who don't see you for who you really are. Some of them are enemies, but others may be loved ones or allies. Consider the possibility that you have unconsciously bought in to their beliefs about you; that you are at least partially trapped in the habit of acting like the person they think you are. Now visualize what it would be like to free yourself from the image they have of you. Imagine the exhilaration you'd feel if you answered only to the still, small voice of your own lucid intuition. The coming weeks will be a good time for you to practice this high art.


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) The New York Times ran a story about philosopher Nick Bostrom. He believes there's a significant chance our world is actually a computer simulation. Our "brains" are merely webs of computer circuits created by our post-human descendants, who are studying "ancestor simulations" of their past. I bring this to your attention because it's an excellent time for you to find out, one way or another, whether Bostrom is correct. Right now you have a special talent for knowing what's real and what's not. You've also got a knack for escaping what's illusory and gravitating toward what's authentic. So even if you do find out that we're living in the Matrix, you could become a kind of messiah with resemblances to the character that Keanu Reeves played in the film trilogy.


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) In his book Signs of Success, Steven Weiss says "The question ‘Do you believe in astrology?' is like asking someone if they believe in art." I agree. Picture a no-nonsense physicist gazing at a Kandinsky painting, with its teeming blobs of mad color and exuberant shapes, and declaring it to be a superstitious eruption of delusion that's not based on a logical understanding of the world. Like Kandinsky's perspective, astrology at its best roots us in the poetic language of the soul and isn't blindly submissive to the values of the rational ego. It's here to liberate our imaginations and encourage us to think less literally and to visualize our lives as mythic quests. Right now it's crucial that you spend some quality time in modes of awareness akin to Kandinsky's and astrology's.


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Check out this excerpt from "Those Who Do Not Dance," by Chilean poet Gabriel Mistral: "God asked from on high,/‘How do I come down from this blueness?'/We told Him:/Come dance with us in the light." I love this passage because it reminds me that nothing is ever set in stone: Everything is always up for grabs. Even God needs to be open to change and eager for fresh truths. Furthermore, even we puny humans may on occasion need to be God's teacher and helper. Likewise, we can never be sure about what lowly or unexpected sources may bring us the influences we require. What do Mistral's words mean to you? Imagine you're the "God" referenced in the poem. What blueness are you ready to come down from, and who might invite you to dance in their light?


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) All of the good works you do in the coming week will send ripples far and wide, but not all of them will be recognized and appreciated. I hope that's OK with you; I hope you won't get obsessed with trying to get all the credit you deserve. The fact is, your influences will be more effective and enduring if they are at least partially anonymous.


PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Describing his writing class at Sarah Lawrence College, Jeffrey McDaniel says: "There are two kinds of humor: ha-ha humor that is light and airy and floats into the sky like a balloon, vanishing as the giggling subsides; and then there is a darker, heavier humor that is still there when the laughter stops, a humor that must be reckoned with, a humor with teeth." Make the latter your specialty. Consort with belly laughs and sublime guffaws that rouse the ferocity you need in order to penetrate deeper into the heart of the Great Mystery.


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