ARIES (March 21-April 19) In The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce defines history as "an account mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools." Bear that in mind as you read this: You won't make history in the coming weeks. You will help generate an important story that will involve unfamous people who have little political power or military skill but have potent grace and nuanced strength and soulful intelligence.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) "Dear Rob: Are you holding back some painful truths? I feel like you're going too easy on us and as a result I'm missing some clue I desperately need. Please tell us what it is so we can face it and get on with life. — Semi-Elegant Bull in a China Shop." Dear Semi-Elegant: I'm not aware of having withheld the truth. But maybe I haven't been forceful or clear enough in saying the following: One of your primary tasks is to study hard and think deeply as you learn more about how to create peace and serenity in your life.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Kenneth Koch wrote the poem "The Boiling Water." An excerpt: "A serious moment for the water is when it boils/And though one usually regards it merely as a convenience/To have the boiling water available for bath or table/ Occasionally there is someone around who understands/The importance of this moment for the water — maybe a saint,/Maybe a poet, maybe a crazy man, or just someone temporarily disturbed/With his mind ‘floating,' in a sense, away from his deepest/Personal concerns to more ‘unreal' things." I encourage you to be one of those crazy floaters — someone who tunes in to the moments that are normally outside your concerns. You need a strong dose of the hidden reality behind the obvious reality.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) "When I grow up," writes Ramona McNabb, "I want to be a river." In the coming year, you'd generate a flood of benefits, some unexpected, by cultivating your ability to be perfectly yourself as you flow ever onward in rhythm with the sky and earth, unimpeded by the fluctuations of light and darkness and in love with the ceaseless movement of your own strong currents.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) For citizens of Switzerland, it's immoral to pluck wildflowers — because this enlightened country has a Bill of Rights for plants. The 22-page document, drawn up by a panel of theologians, philosophers, geneticists and lawyers, strongly urges respect for the feelings and dignity of all vegetation. I wish you would think about including this mind-set in your ethical code. It's high time for you to expand and refine your sense of right and wrong — not just in relation to plants but to everyone and everything in the world.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) "Many people feel guilty about things they shouldn't feel guilty about," wrote journalist Sydney J. Harris, "in order to shut out feelings of guilt about things they should." Figure out whether this description applies to you. If it does, be brave as you expose the truly guilt-worthy stuff you've repressed. Helpful cosmic energies will flow your way if you uncover what you need to atone for and then atone for it.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) While working on his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson hung out at a tavern in Philadelphia and drank beer. While contemplating how best to motivate you to seek more autonomy and self-determination, I was strolling along a California beach sipping a piña colada and watching windsurfers. I hope you will put yourself in a relaxed, playful mood as you dream and scheme about what you could do to emancipate yourself in the coming months. For God's sake, don't make it a grave and ponderous meditation.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) If you use a cell phone, you use a metal called coltan, a component essential to the phone's function. Most of the world's coltan comes from the Congo and is mined by Rwandans who survived their country's genocide in the 1990s. They often work for militias that sell coltan illegally to finance their military operations. It so happens that the land where this metal lies is also the home of the mountain gorilla, an endangered species that is being decimated as the miners and militias kill them for food and savage their habitat. Keep this in mind the next time you call a friend. While you're at it, use Google and your imagination to meditate on the origins of all the important resources in your life. You will benefit from getting familiar with the roots of whatever gives you power.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Ninety-seven percent of all youth play video games, dwarfing the number of kids who participate in activities like basketball, track and javelin-throwing. That's why I'm an advocate of making video games an Olympic sport. We should recognize where the real future of competitive sports lies. It would be a good time for you to start upgrading your video-game prowess in preparation for a possible berth in the 2012 or 2016 Olympics. In fact, the moment is right to plan on getting the training you'd need to become a master of any skills that may eventually win you rewards, even if they're not yet getting their rightful due from our culture.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Most art critics regarded Gustav Klimt as a second-tier modern painter, writes Don Thompson in his book The $12 Million Stuffed Shark. But that estimation got upgraded in 2006, when one of Klimt's paintings sold for $135 million. Art history was rewritten with a checkbook, says Thompson. There's a possibility that your worth will also jump to a higher octave in 2009. But unlike Klimt, who didn't do anything new, you'll have to take action to earn your rise in status. How? Some suggestions: 1) Practice forgiveness with more intensity. 2) Be more tolerant of imperfection in yourself and others. 3) Expand your capacity to give.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) In the ancient Chinese book Poets' Jade Splinters, Lu Ji says: "Avoid the morning flower in full blossom and gather instead evening buds which are not yet open." He's telling his fellow poets not to rely on what has already ripened, but rather to concentrate on what's still in embryonic form. Lu Ji's colleague Song Zijing adds a complementary thought: "If you always use a compass to draw a circle and a ruler to draw a square, you will always remain a slave." Both Lu Ji's and Song Zijing's counsel will work very well for you in the coming year, even if you're not a poet.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Once every few years, a panel of Hindu and Buddhist judges in Nepal chooses a new "living goddess," a young girl who serves, until she reaches puberty, as an incarnation of the deity Taleju. One of the tests each candidate must pass in order to be eligible is this: She must show no fear as she spends a night alone in a room filled with the bloody heads of ritually killed buffaloes and goats. Consider the possibility of carrying out a more humane equivalent of that ceremony. For one night, keep symbols of what you're afraid of in the place where you sleep. To do so would be an excellent way to earn the right to graduate to the next level of your spiritual evolution.