ARIES Seventh grader Michael Kawa's poem is about the official face he shows the world. "My mask helps me when I am scared and when I am embarrassed," he writes. "My mask tells me to act like someone else when I want to act like myself. My mask tells me I should go on the Big Dipper roller coaster when I really want to go on the little rides. My mask hides me from girls and fights. My mask hides my mad mind." Now I invite you to write about your own mask. It's time to take inventory of the official face you show the world and to make changes to get it into closer alignment with the person you actually are.
TAURUS The season of dreams begins now. While you're sleeping, you'll be working harder than usual as you dive deeper into your subconscious mind in quest of mythic stories that can transform your waking life. Here's a list of some of the dream themes you might encounter, along with possible interpretations. Dreams of the circus coming to town mean that maybe you should indulge a barely acknowledged need to do something that seems out of character. Dreams of having a picnic in a tree house may mean you'd benefit from not having your feet planted so firmly on the ground. Dreams of fighting a king or queen who stole money from you might mean you should fight back against an authority that ripped you off.
GEMINI If you're doing work you love, your prestige will rise in the next six months. If you're doing work you merely tolerate, you'll experience a sharp increase in inspirations about how to remedy the situation. In the event that you actually hate your current form of employment, I believe you'll face a crisis that will force you to either quit or negotiate significant changes. But whether your gig suits you or not, start whipping up some magic that will move you closer to your dream job.
CANCER Many of us born under the sign of Cancer dislike the fact that we're stuck with the same name as a disease. A while back I asked my readers to suggest alternate possibilities. One of the best ideas came from amateur astronomer Michael Bird. He said that within the constellation of Cancer the Crab there is a batch of 350 close-knit stars that are collectively known as the Beehive Cluster, and also as Praesepe, which is the Latin word for "manger." Either "Beehive" or "Manger" would serve our tribe well in the coming weeks. It's time to give birth to and nurture a new brainchild, preferably with the support of an organized hive of our busy, buzzing allies.
LEO Even if you don't literally take a journey to a distant place in the coming weeks, I suggest that you adopt an attitude similar to that of an explorer. Here's a list of traveling instructions from Patrick Harpur, author of The Philosophers' Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination. "Don't believe everything you have been told, either for good or ill. Observe local customs; respect local gods. Talk less than you listen. Don't expect the inhabitants to speak your language; rather, try and speak theirs. Try to see as well as sightsee. Be polite but firm; take advice but do not be gullible. If in doubt, smile. Do not laugh at the natives, but do not be afraid to laugh. Do not be superior or aloof, but don't try to dress like a native. Don't join in the dancing unless you have learned the steps."
VIRGO The paradoxes are coming! It won't be enough merely to solve a few brainteasers. You'll have to find a way to feel perfectly fine as you get squeezed by industrial-strength contradictions that might make a less intelligent person feel crazy. Can you do it? Is it possible for you to remain poised and magnanimous in the face of the pressure to think impossible thoughts and feel indescribable feelings? Can you see how all three sides of every story are equally valid? The potential rewards are substantial.
LIBRA If you own a Jaguar automobile, it's an excellent time to redo the leather interior. If you live in a trailer park on the other side of the railroad tracks, the moment is right to cover up the faux-wood paneling with fancy wallpaper. If you don't fall into either of those categories, meditate on how you might redecorate the inside of your world, from the physical environments you frequent to the interior walls of your imagination.
SCORPIO I wear my hair long, like Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ and the majority of the men who have lived in the Western world during the last two millennia. So even though I'm at odds with the cultural trends of the last 100 years, I'm right in alignment with more enduring ideas about masculine fashion. Try something similar: Meditate on how it might benefit you to get out of sync with prevailing attitudes about what's right and good and true and cool, and instead be in style with more timeless and abiding modes.
SAGITTARIUS "Neoteny" is a biological term that means the retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood. For instance, certain small dogs with big eyes and shortened muzzles have a resemblance to puppies even after they're full-grown. Most of us humans have personality characteristics that are for all intents and purposes neotenous. They're throwbacks that may make us appear cute and cuddly, but that on the other hand keep us in a state of arrested development. It's prime time to ask yourself if you have qualities like that. If so, do you really want to keep cultivating them?
CAPRICORN It's the introspection season. I encourage you to write copiously in a journal. Here are some themes that would be fruitful to explore: 1) Your most amazing qualities and your worst qualities. 2) The hundred things you want to accomplish in the next 30 years. 3) Your bitter complaints, horrendous pain and lost dreams. 4) Everything you love and everything that's beautiful and everything that works. In addition to writing your heart out and your ass off, paste in pictures from magazines, draw pictures and ask friends to write messages to you.
AQUARIUS Once the software and brain implants are developed, we'll all be able to benefit from the kind of instant education that was at the disposal of the dissident heroes of The Matrix. Want to learn how to pilot a helicopter? The entire skill set will be downloaded into you in a few minutes. Planning a journey to Tanzania? You'll become a fluent speaker of Swahili in time for your departure. The technology is still years away, but in the coming weeks you'll be able to enjoy the closest approximation to it. You've entered the super-learning season.
PISCES "I don't know why we are here," wrote philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, "but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves." His feelings contrast sharply with that of the poet Robert Bly, who edited a book of sacred poems entitled The Soul Is Here for Its Own Joy. Which of these two approaches are you inclined to follow? I believe you're at a crossroads: The direction you choose to endorse and emphasize now will shape your destiny for a long time.