ARIES (March 21-April 19): For much of her life, Aries poet Mary Ruefle enjoyed imagining that polar bears and penguins "grew up together playing side by side on the ice, sharing the same vista, bits of blubber, and innocent lore." But one day, her illusions were shattered. In a science journal, she discovered that there are no penguins in the far north and no bears in the far south. I bring this to your attention, Aries, because the coming weeks will be a good time to correct misimpressions you've held for a while — even as far back as childhood. Joyfully modernize your understanding of how the world works.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Actor Elizabeth Taylor described her odd rhythm with actor James Dean. Occasionally, they'd stay awake till 3 am as he regaled her with poignant details about his life. But the next day, Dean would act like he and Taylor were strangers — as if, in Taylor's words, "he'd given away or revealed too much of himself." It would take a few days before he'd be friendly again. To those of us who study the nature of intimacy, this is a classic phenomenon. For many people, taking a risk to get closer can be scary. Keep this in mind during the coming weeks, Taurus. There'll be great potential to deepen your connection with dear allies, but you may have to deal with both your and their skittishness about it.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): There are many different kinds of smiles. Four hundred muscles are involved in making a wide variety of expressions. Researchers have identified a specific type, dubbed the "affiliation smile," as having the power to restore trust between two people. It's soothing, respectful, and compassionate. I recommend you use it abundantly in the near future — along with other conciliatory behavior. You're in a favorable phase to repair relationships that have been damaged by distrust or weakened by any other factor. (More info: tinyurl.com/HealingSmiles)
CANCER (June 21-July 22): According to feminist cosmologists Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor, "Night, to ancient people, was not an 'absence of light' or a negative darkness, but a powerful source of energy and inspiration. At night the cosmos reveals herself in her vastness, the earth opens to moisture and germination under moonlight, and the magnetic serpentine current stirs itself in the underground waters." I bring these thoughts to your attention, fellow Cancerian, because we're in the season when we are likely to be extra creative: as days grow shorter and nights longer. We Crabs thrive in the darkness. We regenerate ourselves and are visited by fresh insights about what Sjöö and Mor call "the great cosmic dance in which everything participates: the movement of the celestial bodies, the pulse of tides, the circulation of blood and sap in animals and plants."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Your heart has its own brain: a "heart brain." It's composed of neurons similar to the neurons in your head's brain. Your heart brain communicates via your vagus nerve with your hypothalamus, thalamus, medulla, amygdala, and cerebral cortex. In this way, it gives your body helpful instructions. I suspect it will be extra strong in the coming weeks. That's why I suggest you call on your heart brain to perform a lot of the magic it specializes in: enhancing emotional intelligence, cultivating empathy, invoking deep feelings, and transforming pain.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): How did naturalist Charles Darwin become a skillful thinker who changed the world with his theory of evolution? An important factor, according to businessperson Charlie Munger: "He always gave priority attention to evidence tending to disconfirm whatever cherished and hard-won theory he already had." He loved to be proved wrong! It helped him refine his ideas so they more closely corresponded to the truth about reality. I invite you to enjoy using this method in the coming weeks, Virgo. You could become even smarter than you already are as you wield Darwin's rigorous approach to learning.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You could soon reach a new level of mastery in an aptitude described by author Banana Yoshimoto. She wrote, "Once you've recognized your own limits, you've raised yourself to a higher level of being, since you're closer to the real you." I hope her words inspire you, Libra. Your assignment is to seek a liberating breakthrough by identifying who you will never be and what you will never do. If you do it right — with an eager, open mind — it will be fun and interesting and empowering.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio theologian Eugene Peterson cleared up a mystery about the nature of mystery. He wrote, "Mystery is not the absence of meaning, but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend." Yes! At least sometimes, mystery can be a cause for celebration, a delightful opening into a beautiful unknown that's pregnant with possibility. It may bring abundance, not frustration. It may be an inspiring riddle, not a debilitating doubt. Everything I just said is important for you to keep in mind right now.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In 2017, Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for Economics. His specialty: researching how unreasonable behavior affects the financial world. When he discovered that this great honor had been bestowed on him, he joked that he planned to spend the award money "as irrationally as possible." I propose we make him your role model for the near future, Sagittarius. Your irrational, nonrational, and trans-rational intuitions can fix distortions caused by the overly analytical and hyper-logical approaches of you and your allies.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Neurotic" and "neurosis" are old-fashioned words. Psychotherapists no longer use them in analyzing their patients. The terms are still useful, though, in my opinion. Most of us are at least partly neurotic—that is to say, we don't always adapt as well as we could to life's constantly changing circumstances. We find it challenging to outgrow our habitual patterns, and we fall short of fulfilling the magnificent destines we're capable of. Author Kenneth Tynan had this insight: "A neurosis is a secret that you don’t know you are keeping." I bring this to your attention, Capricorn, because you now have extra power to adapt to changing circumstances, outgrow habitual patterns, and uncover unknown secrets—thereby diminishing your neuroses.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Author Darin Stevenson wrote the following poetic declaration: "'No one can give you the lightning-medicine,' say the people who cannot give the lightning medicine." How do you interpret his statement? Here's what I think. "Lightning medicine" may be a metaphorical reference to a special talent that some people have for healing or inspiring or awakening their fellow humans. It could mean an ingenious quality in a person that enables them to reveal surprising truths or alternative perspectives. I am bringing this up, Aquarius, because I suspect you now have an enhanced capacity to obtain lightning medicine in the coming weeks. I hope you will corral it and use it even if you are told there is no such thing as lightning medicine. (PS: "Lightning medicine" will fuel your ability to accomplish difficult feats.)
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The superb fairywren gives its chicks lessons on how to sing when they are still inside their eggs. This is a useful metaphor for you in the coming months. Although you have not yet been entirely "born" into the next big plot twist of your hero's journey, you are already learning what you'll need to know once you do arrive in your new story. It will be helpful to become conscious of these clues and cues from the future. Tune in to them at the edges of your awareness.
This week's homework: For your homework, write an essay on "What Rob Brezsny Is Most Ignorant About."