ARIES (March 21-April 19) "Before I loved you, nothing was my own," wrote Pablo Neruda to his lover in one of his sonnets. "It all belonged to someone else – to no one." Have you ever experienced a sense of being dispossessed like that? A sense of there being nowhere and having nothing in the world that you can call your own? Have you ever fantasized that your emptiness could be remedied by the intimate presence of a special companion? I wish for you to have that consoling experience in the coming week. In fact, I predict it. Happy Valentine Daze!
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) You're very familiar with the inexhaustible longings that you harbor in your depths. Your primal hungers for love and connection are never far from your awareness. But the sad thing is that you often regard this as a problem – as a vulnerability that disempowers you. This Valentine season I'm asking you to change all that. I'm urging you to see your enormous yearnings as strengths … to celebrate them as essential fuel for your vitality … to treat them as crucial ingredients in your lust for life. Take it from someone who has seen too many people crippled by their lack of passion: You're lucky to be so well-endowed with desire.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Happy Valentine Daze! Here's my prescription for making best use of the current cosmic currents: Be enchanting, but in an understated way. Be slyly charismatic and innocently flirtatious and serenely wild. Show how sexy it is to be sublimely relaxed. Make judicious use of small acts of friendly mischief. Be affectionately unpredictable, always in the service of showing how much you care.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) Your love story has elements of a farce mixed with a soap opera, fairy tale and ghost story. For a normal human being, it might be too intense and convoluted to deal with; it requires so much willing suspension of disbelief and involves so much letting go of certainty that no one in their right mind would agree to its demands. Luckily, you're not a normal human being these days, and you're not particularly in your right mind. That's why I say unto you: Ride this snaky tale for all it's worth. Enjoy every plot twist and riddle as if you've been given an epic myth you can ponder and learn from for the next 10 years. Happy Valentine Daze!
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) "I think, therefore I am," declared the philosopher Descartes. Couldn't he have equally said, "I feel, therefore I am," or "I sense, therefore I am"? During this Valentine season, I suggest that you put the emphasis on those other proofs of identity, not Descartes'. From what I can tell, intimacy is most likely to thrive if you liberate it from excessive thinking and lubricate it with generous amounts of trans-rational contact. For love's sake, empty your head of abstractions, opinions and theories. Make lots of room for the aroma of freshly washed hair, the shimmer of peaceful excitement, the shuddering solace of moist skin, the zing of poignant empathy, the wisdom of wandering hands and the telepathy of shared perceptions.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Happy Valentine Daze! What's the best way for you to celebrate the season of love? In accordance with the astrological omens, here's a good suggestion: Write haiku-like poems on scraps of red paper and leave them around for a special someone to find. You can borrow the following samples, adopted from the work of Raymond Roseliep. 1) "mist on my mouth – air you touched." 2) "I tried to bring you that one cloud in this cup of water." 3) "black raspberries – your name breaking in the soft burst." 4) "love song: I enter your mirror." To get more inspiration, check at tinyurl.com/brisk88.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Happy Valentine Daze. It's my astrological opinion that you need more jokes, comedy and humor in your romantic adventures. If you're too serious about seeking the pleasures of love, you can't get what you want. To inspire your efforts, I present the winning entry from last year's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. It was judged the worst possible opening line for a novel, but it's perfect fodder for the project I've assigned you: "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss – a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) This Valentine season, you have considerable potential to bring more lyricism into your close relationships. To stimulate you in that noble effort, I'm borrowing from the poetry of Andre Breton. See if you can adopt this style of expressing yourself (or steal the actual words) as you reach out to a person you'd like to be closer to: "Your neck is pearled barley. Your hair is a wood fire. Your mouth is a bouquet of stars. Your eyelashes are a child's first stroke of writing. Your eyebrows are the edge of a swallow's nest. Your shoulders are dolphins' heads under the ice. Your fingers? The ace of hearts. Your armpits? Beechnut and midsummer night. Your arms are the sea foam and flood gate foam. Your feet are bunches of keys."
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) "Love that stammers, that stutters, is apt to be the love that loves best," wrote poet Gabriela Mistral. That's an important theme to keep in mind during the season of amour. Your job as a lover is not to be inflated with the perfect knowledge of how to proceed, not to stride forcefully into each romantic nuance with your confidence exploding … but rather to stumble along humbly, waging experiment after experiment, striving to kindle the spark, unleash the deluge, conjure the whirlwind, burrow into the dirty, sacred depths – or whatever the idiosyncratic truth of the moment calls for. Happy Valentine Daze!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Happy Valentine Daze! Borrowing words from poet Amy Lowell, I've created the nucleus of a love note for you to use as your own. Feel free to give these words (and others you write yourself) to a person whose destiny needs to be woven more intimately together with yours. "Your shadow is moonlight on a plate of silver; your footsteps, the seeding-place of lilies; the mystery of your voice, a chime of bells across the windless river air. The movement of your hands is the long golden running of light from a rising sun. Young horses are not more limber than your thoughts. Your laughs are bees buzzing around a pear tree. I dare to reach to you. I dare to touch the rim of your brightness."
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) When some Westerners hear the term "tantra," they think it's a New Age code word for lavish sex. But in its original form, tantra is a philosophy that advocates spiritual union with all of creation, not just erotic union with an attractive partner. Tantric practitioners might engage in metaphorical "love-making" with lizards, birch trees, clouds, toasters, rivers and quirky friends, among other wonders. I recommend that you experiment with this perspective. I bet you'll find that cultivating lusty compassion for the entire world will enhance your personal intimacy with the people you care about. Happy Valentine Daze!
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) In many of the weddings I've been to as a guest, the love birds have sealed their vows with a chaste kiss – a formal gesture that wasn't imbued with much spontaneous passion. But in a recent marriage ceremony I attended, the new husband and wife showed little inhibition at the climax. They French-kissed in a prolonged embrace that also included ample groping. In the coming week, I urge you to put yourself as much as possible in situations where you can express that kind of free-wheeling spirit. Happy Valentine Daze!