ARIES (March 21-April 19) The 1906 earthquake that hit San Francisco also demolished downtown Santa Rosa, 50 miles to the north. During the rebuilding process, Frank Doyle, a local businessman, pushed a radical agenda. "When we construct our new downtown thoroughfare," he said, "let's make it wider than it has been in the past. That way it will accommodate the promising technological innovation called the automobile." Draw inspiration from Doyle's prescience. As you regenerate and rejuvenate your world, do the equivalent of creating wider roads. Be a champion of the future.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) Among medieval alchemists, there were some who tried to make a fortune by literally converting lead into gold. But the authentic practitioners of the art were interested in a subtler kind of experimentation: ripening and beautifying the shadowy aspects of their own psyches. Their motto: "For a tree's branches to reach to heaven, its roots must reach to hell." You have to dig deep and work hard on redeeming your less flattering qualities in order to earn the right to exalted states of consciousness and spiritual powers. The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to carry out this alchemy.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt drew up an index to categorize the discomfort caused by stinging insects. The attack of the bald-faced hornet is "rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door." A paper wasp delivers pain that's "caustic and burning," with a "distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut." The sweat bee, on the other hand, can hurt you in a way that's "light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm." Your homework is to create an equally nuanced index of experiences that feel good. You'll call on tremendous reserves of intelligence as you identify the numerous modes of pleasure that are available to you and define them in exquisite detail.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) A famous YouTube video shows a small crab perched on top of a giant jellyfish that's swimming in the ocean. Apparently this is a common phenomenon. The species known as the graceful rock crab not only grabs free rides on jellyfish, but also steals food from them as it does. This creature is your role model. See if you can develop a safe and symbiotic relationship (perhaps temporarily) with a big stinging blob. At the very least, wangle some benefit out of a clueless behemoth.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) "One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds," says comedian Dan Bennett. Come up with three other smart risks you could profit from taking. You're entering a phase when you'll be rewarded by leaving your comfort zone and heading toward the frontier — but only if you're fully armed with crafty discernment and a realistic (not cynical) understanding of how the world really works. Please stay away from rash dares, unresearched shots in the dark and crazy plunges rooted in blind faith.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Years ago a Polish scientist toiling in Antarctica was consumed with longing for a woman he'd left behind in his home country. He gathered a mass of penguin dung and used it to spell out a large "M" on the frigid ground. It was the first letter of his girlfriend's name, Magda. To this day, two species of flowering plants have thrived in that M-shaped area, fed by the fertilizing power of the dung. Your assignment in the coming week is to create something equally enduring and unique for someone you care for deeply.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) If you find yourself driving on a major highway anytime soon, there's a better-than-usual chance that you'll come upon a place where a truck has accidentally spilled a few tons of french fries or thousands of bottles of beer or a huge load of sex toys. Why do I say this? Because according to my analysis, you will be exposed to an abundance of some resource that is too much to use all at once or not really yours to take or not exactly what you need. A highway spill is just one form this could take. What should you do? Don't get distracted by frustration or confusion. Instead, use it as a provocative motivation to go get the precise stuff you need in the right amount.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) After extensive analysis, I've concluded that you won't serve any time in hell for the shock therapy you'll unleash this week — with one caveat: The shock therapy must be motivated primarily by love, not a lust for power. My research also suggests that in dropping your bombshells you may even rack up some karmic credit, not karmic debt — if the things you destroy are truly beyond repair and certain to keep causing pain, and if you institute a plan for building a shiny new creation to replace what's lost.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) "Though the seas threaten, they are merciful," says Ferdinand, a character in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. "I have cursed them without cause." Please consider the possibility that you could honestly make a similar declaration about some influence in your world. What's wild but mostly beneficent? What's primal in a way that draws you back to your deepest sources and reminds you what's really important?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Study the following terms: refuge, sanctuary, bunker, asylum, fortress, haven, shelter, safety zone, storm cellar, hideaway, retreat, halfway house, cloister, cell, ashram, clubhouse, lair, foxhole, nest, pit, inner sanctum. Now use some of those words to describe actions you'll take to enhance both your freedom and security. Example: "When I'm longing for privacy, I'll retreat to a haven, not a bunker." Or: "If I need to seek refuge from the insanity around me, I'll make a pilgrimage to a sanctuary, not to a foxhole."
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) No one really knows when the Piscean Age ends and the Aquarian Age begins. Astrologers have been arguing about the issue for years. But here's what to watch for: When the transition gets underway, fewer and fewer people will be invested in belief systems, and an ever-growing contingent will thrive on asking questions and keeping an open mind. Aquarian Agers will prize the virtues of curiosity. We will avoid being addicted to dogmatic theories and rigid certainties, knowing that they tend to shut down our fluid intelligence. We will get a kick out of shedding our own emotional biases so that we can strive to be more objective in our understanding of the ever-evolving truth. It is an excellent time for you to charge headlong toward the Aquarian Age.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Some of the best-selling Japanese novels in recent years have been composed by young authors entirely on their cell phones. The small screens encourage narratives that are animated by terse rhythms. Flowery descriptions are rare and character development happens fast. I believe that in the coming weeks you will have a capacity akin to the cell-phone storytellers. You'll be able to compress complex material into simpler forms; you'll have a knack for being very creative as you cut away frills and strip things down to their basics.