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February 14, 2014

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AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Do you feel oppressed by Valentine’s Day? Maybe you’re single and reject the cultural bias that says being in an intimate relationship is the healthy norm. Or maybe you’re part of a couple but are allergic to the cartoonish caricatures of romance that bombard you during the Valentine marketing assault. If you’d rather consecrate love and intimacy in your own unique way, untainted by the stereotypes flying around, I invite you to rebel. Make this the year you overthrow the old ways and start a new tradition: Valentine’s Day 2.0. Mock sappy, sentimental expressions of romance even as you carry out futuristic experiments in radically slaphappy love.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “I have come to be fascinated with the messiness of desire,” writes novelist Ashley Warlick, “with the ways people fit themselves together, take themselves apart for each other, for want of each other, for want of some parts of each other.” Your assignment, Pisces, is to celebrate the messiness of desire; to not just grudgingly accept it as an inconvenience you’ve got to tolerate, but rather to marvel at it, be amused by it, and appreciate it for all the lessons it provides. Your motto this Valentine season could be, “I bless the messy largesse of my longing.”

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In her TED talk, science writer Mary Roach made it clear that human beings don’t need genital stimulation to experience orgasms. She spoke of a woman who routinely reaches ecstatic climax by having her eyebrows caressed, and another woman who reaches the big O simply by brushing her teeth. Then there’s the woman who can simply think herself into coming, no physical touch necessary. I can’t guarantee that a similar aptitude will suddenly turn on in you, Aries, but the coming days could bring you as close as you have ever been. Right now you’re a connoisseur of deep pleasure—a blessed bliss master.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself,” writes blogger Sahaj Kohli. Nothing else rescues you from that quest, either, I would add. Sooner or later, whether it’s now or 20 years in the future, you will have to master this fine art. It’s not enough to merely feel affection for yourself; not enough to seek pleasure and avoid pain. You’ve got to make extensive investigations to discover what it means to love yourself; you have to develop rigorous plans for how to accomplish it; and you must fire up a deep commitment as you actually carry out those plans. By the way, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to work on mastering this fine art.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “Drunk with my madness, I shouted at him furiously, ‘Make life beautiful! Make life beautiful!’” So says a character in a prose poem by Charles Baudelaire. And now, even though I am neither drunk nor furious nor consumed with madness, I am whispering the same command to you. I hope you will respond by embarking on a heroic effort to make life beautiful everywhere you go. The astrological omens suggest that if you do, you will be inundated with practical blessings that are as valuable as money. This will also be an excellent way to drum up the kind of love you crave.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Here’s what I wish for you during the Valentine season: to be happily in love with an intimate partner who loves you back. If that’s not feasible, here’s what I hope: that you are learning provocative lessons about yourself through your growth-inducing relationship with a close ally. And if you’re not blessed with either of those experiences, here’s a third alternative: that you cherish your fathomless longing for its own sake, feeling wonder and reverence for its wild power even if it’s unfulfilled.

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February 14, 2014

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