ARIES (March 21-April 19) Charles de Lint is a novelist whose stories are influenced by folklore, myths and science fiction. In his book Yarrow, a wizardly character named Toby is skilled at conjuring. He can make small objects appear and disappear. But Toby yearns for more. "I want to be magic," he says. "I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree. I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing. I don't want to pretend at magic anymore. I want to be magic." If you have ever wished for a comparable upgrade, now is an unusually favorable time to work on it.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) An imaginative Welsh man named Liam Bennett has developed a "dausage," which is a blend of a doughnut and sausage. One of his most requested treats is pork meat stuffed with strawberry jelly. Even if this novel blend doesn't appeal to your taste buds, it serves as a good prompt for my advice: The coming weeks will be a favorable time to expand your notion of what types of nourishment are fun and healthy for you. I mean that in the metaphorical as well as the literal sense. Experiment with new recipes, both with the food you provide your body and the sustenance you feed your soul.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) In the woods, living matter isn't segregated from the decaying stuff. Rotting tree trunks are host to teeming colonies of moss. Withered stems of ferns mingle with cheerful saplings. Audacious mushrooms sprout up among fallen leaves. The birds and beetles and lizards and butterflies don't act as if this mix is weird. They are at peace with it. I suspect they thrive on it, even exult in it. That's the spirit I suggest you adopt as you enjoy the paradoxical mélange of your life in the coming weeks. Celebrate the mysterious magic that emerges as you simultaneously fade and flourish, decline and increase, wind down and rise up.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) Here are some tips on being the best Cancerian you can be: 1. Cultivate your sensitivity as a strength. Regard your emotional vulnerability as a superpower. 2. Nurture yourself as much as you nurture others. 3. Learn to know the difference between your golden hunches and the glimmering delusions your demons stir up. 4. Be kind, but don't be exorbitantly nice. 5. Remember that others' unhappiness is rarely your fault or responsibility. 6. Keep reinventing the way you love yourself.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) "What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?" This question was posed by Leo author Ray Bradbury in his book Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. Even if you're not a writer, you will benefit from responding to his exhortation. It's one of the best things you could do to activate your dormant creativity and intensify your lust for life. This is one of those times when working with your extremes is not only safe and healthy, but also fun and inspirational. So do it! Get excited and expressive about the best and worst things in your life.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) You'd be wise to tiptoe away from tradition, give the ghosts of the past a kiss goodbye and wean yourself from nostalgia for the good old days. You've got numerous appointments with the future, and it would be a shame to miss them because you're mucking around with memories. In the coming weeks you're most likely to thrive if you become an agent of change. And the most important thing to change is your relationship to the person you used to be.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) In Indonesia, the term gotong-royong is defined as the "joint bearing of burdens." In practice it means that you and I and our allies get together voluntarily to help each other achieve a shared goal. It may also be an agreement to provide mutual aid: I help you do what you need to have done, and you help me with my task. Gotong-royong also implies that we enjoy working together. The emotional tone that we cultivate is affection and care. By sharing a burden, we lighten the load that each of us has to bear. I bring this to your attention because it's the gotong-royong season for you and yours. Be the ringleader who initiates and sustains it.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) In one of his poems, Jack Gilbert mentions "the incurably sane," who are "uncrippled by beauty" and "unbutchered by love." When I read those lines, I felt a surge of protest. Is there a single person on the earth who fits that description? No! I was miffed by such starry-eyed idealism. Later, though, as I studied the astrological omens for you, my attitude softened. I realized that the coming weeks may be a time when many of you will at least temporarily be incurably sane, uncrippled by beauty, and unbutchered by love. If you're one of these lucky ones, please use your blessed grace to spread an abundance of blessed grace everywhere you go.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) If you're not skirting the edges of the forbidden zone, you're playing it too safe. If you're not serving as a benevolent mischief-maker for someone you care about, you're shirking your duty. Your allegiance should be with X-factors and wild cards. You will thrive to the degree that you cultivate alliances with mavericks and instigators. Are you shrewd enough to mess with time-tested formulas? Are you restless enough to rebel against habits that stifle your curiosity?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) How to be a Capricorn, according to my Capricorn reader Sadie Kennedy: When you are younger, take yourself too seriously. Look and act older than you actually are as you serve what's most practical. Sacrifice fun and frivolity, working doggedly to achieve the goals you yearn for, until you reach some level of accomplishment. Then realize that fun and frivolity have practical value. Begin to age backward like Benjamin Button as you balance work with play and discipline with leisure. Enjoy the fruits of your intense efforts as everyone tells you how relaxed and supple and resilient you are becoming.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Cracking open the shell of a soft-boiled egg is a tricky task. You must be firm enough to break the shell, but sufficiently gentle to avoid making a mess. If you live in Germany, you have access to a metal instrument that provides just the right measure of soft force. It's called an Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher, translated as "soft-boiled egg shell cracker." Your assignment in the coming weeks is to cultivate a talent that is metaphorically similar to an Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. I believe you will need that blend of sensitivity and power on numerous occasions.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Americans often regard Cuba as impoverished and backwards. There is an element of truth in their prejudice, primarily because the U.S. has imposed a stifling embargo on the Caribbean nation for over 50 years. But I wonder how my fellow citizens would respond if they knew that in some ways Cuba's healthcare system is better than America's. The World Health Organization recently congratulated Cuba for being the first country on earth to eradicate the transmission of syphilis and HIV from mothers to babies. Can you identify a metaphorically similar situation in your personal life? Are there people you regard as inferior or undeveloped who could teach you an important lesson or motivate you to grow? Now is a perfect time to benefit from their influence.