AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Collectors prefer wild orchids, says William Langley, writing in the U.K.'s Telegraph. Orchids grown in nurseries, which comprise 99.5 percent of the total, are tarnished with "the stigma of perfection." Their colors are generic and their petal patterns are boringly regular. Far more appealing are the exotic varieties untouched by human intervention, with their "downy, smooth petals and moistened lips pouting in the direction of tautly curved shafts and heavily veined pouches." Whatever your sphere or specialty is, Aquarius, I suggest you model yourself after the wild orchid collectors in the coming days. Shun the stigma of perfection.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): While doing a film a few years ago, actress Sandra Bullock stumbled upon a stunning secret: Rubbing hemorrhoid cream on her face helped shrink her wrinkles and improve her complexion. I predict that at least one and possibly more comparable discoveries will soon grace your life. You will find unexpected uses for things that were supposedly not meant to be used in those ways. Here's a corollary, courtesy of scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, that describes a related talent you'll have at your disposal: "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."
ARIES (March 21-April 19): The coming week is likely to be abnormally free of worries and frustrations. I'm afraid that means you're not going to have as much right to complain as you usually do. Can you handle that? Or will you feel bereft when faced with the prospect of having so little to grumble about? Just in case, I've compiled a list of fake annoyances for you to draw on. 1) "My iPhone wont light my cigarette." 2) "The next tissue in my tissue box doesn't magically poke out when I take one." 3) "I want some ice cream, but I overstuffed myself at dinner." 4) "I ran out of bottled water and now I have to drink from the tap." 5) "My cat's Facebook profile gets more friend requests than me." 6) "When people tell me I should feel grateful for all I have instead of complaining all the time, I feel guilty."
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The state of California was named after a storybook land described in a 16th-century Spanish novel. The mythical paradise was ruled by Queen Calafia. Gold was so plentiful that the people who lived there made weapons out of it and even adorned their animals with it. Did the real California turn out to be anything like that fictional realm? Well, 300 years after it got its name, the California Gold Rush attracted 300,000 visitors who mined a fortune in the precious metal. Your assignment, Taurus: Think of the myths you believed in when you were young and the fantasies that have played at the edges of your imagination for years. Have any of them come true, even a little? I suspect that one may do just that in the coming weeks and months.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In Bill Moyers' DVD The Language of Life, poet Naomi Shihab Nye is shown giving advice to aspiring young poets. She urges them to keep an open mind about where their creative urges might take them. Sometimes when you start a poem, she says, you think you want to go to church, but where you end up is at the dog races. I'll make that same point to you, Gemini. As you tune in to the looming call to adventure, don't be too sure you know what destination it has in mind for you. You might be inclined to assume it'll lead you toward a local bar for drinks when in fact it's nudging you in the direction of a wild frontier for a divine brouhaha.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Renowned comic book writer Grant Morrison claims he performed a magic ritual in which he conjured the spirit of John Lennon, who appeared and bestowed on him the gift of a new song. I've heard Morrison sing the tune, and it does sound rather Lennon-esque. The coming week would be a good time for you to go in quest of a comparable boon, Cancerian: a useful and beautiful blessing bequeathed to you by the departed spirit of someone you love or admire.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "There are works which wait, and which one does not understand for a long time," said Oscar Wilde. "The reason is that they bring answers to questions which have not yet been raised; for the question often arrives a terribly long time after the answer." I predict that sometime soon, Leo, you will prove that wisdom true. You will finally learn the brilliant question whose crucial answer you got years ago. When it arrives, you will comprehend a mystery that has been churning in the semi-darkness all this time.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Shedding is healthy - not just for cats and dogs and other animals but also for us humans. Did you know that you shed thousands of particles of dead skin every hour? And just as our bodies need to shed, so do our psyches. I bring this up, Virgo, because you are in an unusually favorable phase to do a whole lot of psychic shedding. What should you shed exactly? How about some of these: old ideas that don't serve you any more, habits that undermine your ability to pursue your dreams, compulsions that are at odds with your noble intentions, resentment against people who did you wrong a long, long time ago, and anything else you carry with you that keeps you from being fully alive and radiant. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, the price of freedom and aliveness is eternal shedding.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): According to research published in the journal Psychological Science, many people are virtually allergic to creative ideas. When asked to consider a novel proposal, they're quite likely to reject it in favor of an approach that's well-known to them. This could be a problem for you in the coming weeks, Libra, since one of your strengths will be your ability to come up with innovations. So it won't be enough for you to offer your brilliant notions and original departures from the way things have always been done; you will also have to be persuasive and diplomatic. Think you can handle that dual assignment?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "A single sunbeam is enough to drive away shadows," said St. Francis of Assisi. I'm afraid that's an overly optimistic assessment. In many circumstances, just one ray of light may not be sufficient to dispel encroaching haze and murk. Luckily for you, though, there will be quite an assortment of sunbeams appearing in your sphere during the coming weeks. Here's the complication: They won't all be showing up at once, and they'll be arriving in disparate locations. So your task will be to gather them all up and unite them so they can add to each other's strength. If you do that successfully, you'll have more than enough illumination to chase away any darkness that might be creeping around.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Poet Elizabeth Alexander says that in order to create a novel, a writer needs a lot of uninterrupted time alone. Poems, on the other hand, can be snared in the midst of the jumbled rhythms of everyday chaos - between hurried appointments or while riding the subway or at the kitchen table waiting for the coffee to brew. Alexander says that inspiration can sprout like grass poking up out of the sidewalk cracks. Whether or not you're a writer, Sagittarius, I see your coming weeks as being more akin to snagging poems than cooking up a novel.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "A true poet does not bother to be poetical," said the poet Jean Cocteau. "Nor does a nursery gardener perfume his roses." I think that's wise counsel for you in the coming weeks, Capricorn. It's important that you do what you do best without any embellishment, pretentiousness, or self-consciousness. Don't you dare try too hard or think too much or twist yourself like a contortionist to meet impossible-to-satisfy expectations. Trust the thrust of your simple urges.
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