Rob Brezsny crop
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Long after the artist Amedeo Clemente Modigliani died, his paintings sold for millions of dollars. But while alive, he never got rich from doing what he loved to do. He expressed frustration about the gap between his ambitions and his rewards. "I do at least three paintings a day in my head," he said. "What's the use of spoiling canvas when nobody will buy anything?" I hope you don't arrive at a comparable conclusion, Gemini. It's crucial that you NOT keep your good ideas bottled up in your imagination. You need to translate them into practical actions, even if there's no immediate or obvious benefit in doing so. Expressing yourself concretely has rarely been more important than it is right now.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In 1967, dissidents dreamed up a novel way to protest America's horrific Vietnam War. They marched to the Pentagon, the military's headquarters, and performed an exorcism to purge the place of its evil. With the power of songs and chants, they invoked magic spells designed to levitate the 6.5 million-square-feet building into the air. Their plan didn't quite work in a literal way—the Pentagon remained firmly fixed to the ground—but the legend they spawned was potent. When I heard about it years later, it inspired me to become an activist. I see myth-making as a worthy goal for you right now, Cancerian. Dream up an epic task or project that will fuel your imagination for a long time.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In 1926, surrealist artist Max Ernst painted "The Blessed Virgin Chastising the Infant Jesus in Front of Three Witnesses." It shows Mary vigorously spanking her son as he lies on her lap. Nowadays, the image doesn't seem nearly as scandalous as it did when it first appeared. Even some Christians I know find it amusing, welcoming the portrayal of Jesus as a genuine human being with lessons to learn. What would be your equivalent of creating a cheeky image like this, Leo? How could you achieve cathartic release by being irreverent toward something or someone you respect? I recommend it. (See the image: tinyurl.com/SpankingJesus.)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It's prime time to promote cross-cultural liaisons and interspecies relationships, Virgo. I encourage you to experiment with hybrids and facilitate the union of diverse interests. You will be working in alignment with cosmic trends if you strengthen the connections between influences that belong together, and even between influences that don't know they belong together. So see what you can do to facilitate conversations between Us and Them. Negotiate peace treaties between Yes and No. Look for legitimate ways to compare apples and oranges.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Gonzo columnist Mark Morford wrote a list of liberated behaviors he wants to cultivate. Since you're in the emancipatory phase of your yearly cycle, I invite you to try some of his strategies. 1. Have a gentler grip. Let go of tight-assed attitudes. 2. Make deeper penetration. Don't be satisfied with surfaces. 3. Raise the vibration. Isn't it a waste of precious life energy to mope around in a sour and shriveled frame of mind? 4. Appreciate appreciation. Treat gratitude as an emotion of the same caliber as joy. 5. Cultivate ecstatic silliness. Develop a blissful ability to take everything less seriously. 6. Drink the awe. Allow astonishment to seep in. (More: tinyurl.com/morford joy.)
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): From an astrological perspective, now would be a good time to go on a meditation retreat for a few days or make a pilgrimage to your ancestral homeland. You would generate just the right shifts in your brain chemistry by doing something like that. Other recommended adventures: reviewing the story of your entire life from your first memory to the present moment; writing a brief letter to the five people you have loved best, telling them why you've loved them; spending a day outside of time, when you don't consult a clock or use electronic media for the duration.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarius comedian Steven Wright says he took a class in speed waiting. "Now I can wait an hour in only ten minutes," he brags. I think you will have the same knack in the coming days, Sagittarius. Your patience is likely to be much more effective than usual. Results will come faster and they'll be more intense. The only catch is that you will really have to be calm and composed and willing to wait a long time. It won't work if you're secretly antsy and only pretending to be imperturbable.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Let the boundaries blur a bit, Capricorn. Don't stick too rigidly to the strict definitions. Play around with some good old-fashioned fuzzy logic. The straight facts and the precise details are important to keep in mind, but you shouldn't cling to them so ferociously that they stifle your imagination. You need to give yourself enough slack to try open-ended experiments. You'll be smart to allow some wobble in your theories and a tremble in your voice. Magic will happen if there's plenty of wiggle room.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather," said French poet Paul Valery. How do you interpret that thought, Aquarius? In the book "The Science of Self-Control," here's how Howard Rachlin expands on Valery's idea: "We need to be spontaneous, but only in the context of some framework that allows us to attain higher levels of spontaneity; a feather is a slave to the wind, while a bird uses the wind." Take heed, Aquarius! Your creative flights will go further and last longer if you have a solid foundation to take off from.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Let's call today Sigh-Day. Tomorrow, too, and the next day, and the two days after that. During these five Sigh-Days, you should feel free to let out big, deep sighs at a higher rate than usual. Allow yourself to be filled up with poignant thoughts about life's paradoxical mysteries. Give yourself permission to be overwhelmed with emotions that are midway between lamentation and reverent amazement. For even better results, indulge in some free-form moaning during your five Sigh-Days. That'll help you release your full backlog of tension and give you more appreciation for the crazy beauty of your fate. (P.S. Try not to whine, though.)
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Irish poet Richard Brinsley Sheridan didn't confine his lyrical wit to well-crafted poems on the printed page. He used it to say things that would advance his practical ambitions. For example, when he first met the woman who would eventually become his wife, he said to her, "Why don't you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you." That's the kind of persuasive power I hope you will summon in the coming days, Aries. According to my analysis of the omens, you should have it in abundance. So what's the best use of this mojo? Is there anything you would really like to sell? What new resources do you want to bring into your sphere? Who do you want to convince?
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In "The Book of the Damned," Charles Fort revealed one of the secrets of power. He said that if you want power over something, you should be more real than it. What does that mean? How do you become real in the first place, and how do you get even more real? Here's what I think: Purge your hypocrisies and tell as few lies as possible. Find out what your deepest self is like—not just what your ego is like—and be your deepest self with vigorous rigor. Make sure that the face you show the world is an accurate representation of what's going on in your inner world. If you do all that good stuff, you will eventually be as real and as powerful as you need to be.