ARIES (March 21-April 19): If I warned you not to trust anyone, I hope you would reject my simplistic fear-mongering. If I suggested that you trust everyone unconditionally, I hope you would dismiss my delusional naiveté. But it's important to acknowledge that the smart approach is far more difficult than those two extremes. You've got to evaluate each person and even each situation on a case-by-case basis. There may be unpredictable folks who are trustworthy some of the time, but not always. Can you be both affably open-hearted and slyly discerning? It's especially important that you do so in the next 16 days.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): As I meditated on your astrological aspects, I had an intuition that I should go to a gem fair I'd heard about. It was at an event center near my home. When I arrived, I was dazzled to find a vast spread of minerals, fossils, gemstones, and beads. Within a few minutes, two stones had commanded my attention, as if they'd reached out to me telepathically: chrysoprase, a green gemstone, and petrified wood, a mineralized fossil streaked with earth tones. The explanatory note next to the chrysoprase said that if you keep this gem close to you, it "helps make conscious what has been unconscious." Ownership of the petrified wood was described as conferring "the power to remove obstacles." I knew these were the exact oracles you needed. I bought both stones, took them home and put them on an altar dedicated to your success in the coming weeks.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): George R.R. Martin has written a series of fantasy novels collectively called A Song of Ice and Fire. They have sold 60 million copies and been adapted for the TV series "Game of Thrones. "Martin says the inspiration for his masterwork originated with the pet turtles he owned as a kid. The creatures lived in a toy castle in his bedroom, and he pretended they were knights and kings and other royal characters. "I made up stories about how they killed each other and betrayed each other and fought for the kingdom," he has testified. I think the next seven months will be a perfect time for you to make a comparable leap, Gemini. What's your version of Martin's turtles? And what valuable asset can you turn it into?
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The editors of the Urban Dictionary provide a unique definition of the word "outside." They say it's a vast, uncomfortable place that surrounds your home. It has no ceiling or walls or carpets and contains annoying insects and random loud noises. There's a big yellow ball in the sky that's always moving around and changing the temperature in inconvenient ways. Even worse, the "outside" is filled with strange people that are constantly doing deranged and confusing things. Does this description match your current sense of what "outside" means, Cancerian? If so, that's OK. For now, enjoy the hell out of being inside.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): We all go through phases when we are tempted to believe in the factuality of every hostile, judgmental and random thought that our monkey mind generates. I am not predicting that this is such a time for you. But I do want to ask you to be extra skeptical toward your monkey mind's fabrications. Right now it's especially important that you think as coolly and objectively as possible. You can't afford to be duped by anyone's crazy talk, including your own. Be extra vigilant in your quest for the raw truth.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Do you know about the ancient Greek general Pyrrhus? At the Battle of Asculum in 279 BCE, his army technically defeated Roman forces, but his casualties were so substantial that he ultimately lost the war. You can and you must avoid a comparable scenario. Fighting for your cause is good only if it doesn't wreak turmoil and bewilderment. If you want to avoid an outcome in which both sides lose, you've got to engineer a result in which both sides win. Be a cagey compromiser.
Libra (Sep. 23-oct. 22) If I could give you a birthday present, it would be a map to your future treasure. Do you know which treasure I'm referring to? Think about it as you fall asleep on the next eight nights. I'm sorry I can't simply provide you with the instructions you'd need to locate it. The cosmic powers tell me you have not yet earned that right. The second-best gift I can offer, then, will be clues about how to earn it. Clue No. 1. Meditate on the differences between what your ego wants and what your soul needs. No. 2. Ask yourself, "What is the most unripe part of me?" and then devise a plan to ripen it. No. 3. Invite your deep mind to give you insights you haven't been brave enough to work with until now. No. 4. Take one medium-size bold action every day.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Galway Kinnell's poem "Middle of the Way" is about his solo trek through the snow on Oregon's Mount Gauldy. As he wanders in the wilderness, he remembers an important truth about himself: "I love the day, the sun ... But I know [that] half my life belongs to the wild darkness." According to my reading of the astrological omens, Scorpio, now is a good time for you, too, to refresh your awe and reverence for the wild darkness — and to recall that half your life belongs to it. Doing so will bring you another experience Kinnell describes: "an inexplicable sense of joy, as if some happy news had been transmitted to me directly, by-passing the brain."
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The last time I walked into a McDonald's and ordered a meal was 1984. Nothing that the restaurant chain serves up is appealing to my taste or morality. I do admire its adaptability, however. In cow-loving India, McDonald's only serves vegetarian fare that includes deep-fried cheese and potato patties. In Israel, kosher McFalafels are available. Mexicans order their McMuffins with refried beans and pico de gallo. At a McDonald's in Singapore, you can order McRice burgers. This is the type of approach I advise for you right now, Sagittarius. Adjust your offerings for your audience.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You have been flirting with your "alone at the top" reveries. I won't be surprised if one night you have a dream of riding on a Ferris wheel that malfunctions, leaving you stranded at the highest point. What's going on? Here's what I suspect: In one sense you are zesty and farseeing. Your competence and confidence are waxing. At the same time, you may be out of touch with what's going on at ground level. Your connection to the depths is not as intimate as your relationship with the heights. The moral of the story might be to get in closer contact with your roots. Or be more attentive to your support system. Or buy new shoes and underwear.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I haven't planted a garden for years. My workload is too intense to devote enough time to that pleasure. So eight weeks ago I was surprised when a renegade sunflower began blooming in the dirt next to my porch. How did the seed get there? Via the wind? A passing bird that dropped a potential meal? The gorgeous interloper eventually grew to a height of four feet and produced a boisterous yellow flower head. Every day I muttered a prayer of thanks for its guerrilla blessing. I predict a comparable phenomenon for you in the coming days, Aquarius.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The coming days will be a favorable time to dig up what has been buried. You can, if you choose, discover hidden agendas, expose deceptions, see beneath the masks and dissolve delusions. But it's my duty to ask you this: Is that really something you want to do? It would be fun and sexy to liberate so much trapped emotion and suppressed energy, but it could also stir up a mind-bending ruckus that propels you on a healing quest. I hope you decide to go for the gusto, but I'll understand if you prefer to play it safe.