ARIES (March 21-April 19) James McNeil Whistler was an influential painter in the latter half of the 19th century. He advocated the “art for art’s sake” credo, insisting that the best art doesn’t need to teach or moralize. As far as he was concerned, its most important purpose was to bring forth “glorious harmony” from chaos. But the immediate reason I’m nominating him to be your patron saint for the coming weeks is the stylized signature he created: an elegant butterfly with a long tail that was actually a stinger. I think you’ll thrive by embodying that dual spirit: being graceful, sensitive and harmonious and yet also feisty, piquant and provocative. Can you manage that much paradox? I think you can.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20) Renowned author George Bernard Shaw was secure in his feeling that he did good work. He didn’t need the recognition of others to validate his self-worth. The British prime minister offered him a knighthood, but he refused it. When he found out he had been awarded a Nobel Prize for literature, he wanted to turn it down but his wife convinced him to accept it. The English government also sought to give him the prestigious Order of Merit, but he rejected it, saying, “I have already conferred this order upon myself.” He’s your role model for right now, Taurus. Congratulate yourself for your successes, whether or not anyone else does.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) “Aha!” is your mantra for the coming weeks, Gemini. Keep it on the tip of your tongue, ready to unleash. This always-ready-to-be-surprised-by-inspiration attitude will train you to expect the arrival of wonders and marvels. And that will be an effective way to actually attract wonders and marvels! With “Aha!” as your talisman, all of your wake-up calls will be benevolent, and all of the chaos you encounter — or at least most of it — will be fertile.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) Do you chronically indulge in feelings of guilt? Do you berate yourself for the wrong turns and sad mistakes you made in the past? These behaviors may be sneaky ways of avoiding change. How can you summon enough energy to transform your life if you’re wallowing in worries and regrets? In presenting the possibility that you might be caught in this trap, I want you to know that I’m not sitting in judgment of you. Not at all. Like you, I’m a Cancerian, and I have periodically gotten bogged down in the very morass I’m warning you against. The bad news is that right now you are especially susceptible to falling under this spell. The good news is that right now you have extra power to break this spell.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) In the TV comedy-drama Jane the Virgin, the fictional character known as Rogelio de la Vega is a vain but lovable actor who performs in telenovelas. “I’m very easy to dress,” he tells the wardrobe supervisor of a new show he’ll be working on. “Everything looks good on me. Except for peach. I don’t pop in peach.” What he means is that his charisma doesn’t radiate vividly when he’s wearing peach-colored clothes. Now I want to ask you, Leo: What don’t you pop in? I’m not simply talking about the color of clothes that enable you to shine, but everything else, too. In the coming weeks, it’s crucial that you surround yourself with influences that make you pop.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Are you willing to entertain an outlandish possibility? Here’s my vision: You will soon be offered unexpected assistance, either through the machinations of a “guardian angel” or the messy blessings of a shape-shifting spirit. This divine intervention will make it possible for you to demolish a big, bad obstacle you’ve been trying to find a way around. Even if you have trouble believing in the literal factuality of my prophecy, here’s what I suspect: It will at least come true in a metaphorical sense — which is the truest kind of truth of all.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) “Glory” is the theme song of the film Selma. It’s an anthem about the ongoing struggle for equal rights by African Americans. I want to borrow one of its lines for your use in the coming weeks: “Freedom is like a religion to us.” I think those will be good words for you to live by. Are you part of a group that suffers oppression and injustice? Are you mixed up in a situation that squashes your self-expression? Are you being squelched by the conditioned habits of your own unconscious mind? It’s high time to rebel. The quest for liberation should be your spiritual calling.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) If you’re planning on breaking a taboo, sneaking into a forbidden zone, or getting intimate with an edge-dweller, don’t tell boastful stories about what you’re doing. For now, secrecy is not only sexy, it’s a smart way to keep you safe and effective. Usually I’m fond of you telling the whole truth. I like it when you reveal the nuanced depths of your feelings. But right now I favor a more cautious approach to communication. Until your explorations have progressed further, I suggest that you only discuss them sparingly. As you put your experiments in motion, share the details on a need-to-know basis.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) There are many possible ways to create and manage a close relationship. Here’s one of my favorite models: when two independent, self-responsible souls pledge to help each other activate the best versions of themselves. If you don’t have a partnership like this, the near future will be a favorable time to find one. And if you already do have an intimate alliance in which the two of you synergize each other’s quest for individuation, the coming weeks could bring you breathtaking breakthroughs.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) It’s a challenge to drive a car through Canada’s far north. For example, if you want to get from Dawson in the Yukon Territory to Inuvik in the Northwest Territory, you take Dempster Highway. It’s gravel road for the entire 417-mile trip, so the ride is rough. Bring a spare tire and extra gasoline, since there’s just one service station along the way. On the plus side, the scenery is thrilling. The permafrost in the soil makes the trees grow in odd shapes, almost like they’re drunk. You can see caribou, wolverines, lynx, bears and countless birds. Right now, the sun is up 20 hours every day. And the tundra? You’ve never seen anything like it. Even if you don’t make a trip like this, Capricorn, I’m guessing you will soon embark on a metaphorically similar version. With the right attitude and preparation, you will have fun and grow more courageous.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Aquarian author James Joyce wrote Ulysses, one of the most celebrated and influential novels of the 20th century. The narrative is both experimental and tightly structured. Its chaotic stream-of-consciousness passages are painstakingly crafted. (Anyone who wonders how the astrological sign of Aquarius can be jointly ruled by the rebellious planet Uranus and the disciplinarian planet Saturn need only examine this book for evidence.) Joyce claimed he labored over Ulysses for 20,000 hours. That’s the equivalent of devoting eight hours a day, 350 days a year, for more than seven years. Will you ever work that hard and long on a project, Aquarius? If so, now would be an auspicious time to start.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) The English writer and caricaturist Max Beerbohm moved away from his native land when he was 37 years old. He settled in Rapallo, Italy, where he lived for much of the rest of his life. Here’s the twist: When he died at age 83, he had still not learned to speak Italian. For 40 years, he used his native tongue in his foreign home. This is a failing you can’t afford to have in the coming months, Pisces. The old proverb “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” has never been so important for you to observe.
Homework: Choose one area of your life where you will exceed your personal best in the coming week.