AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Who would have guessed that Aquarian Charles Darwin, the pioneering theorist of evolution, had a playful streak? Once he placed a male flower’s pollen under a glass along with an unfertilized female flower to see if anything interesting would happen. “That’s a fool’s experiment,” he confessed to a colleague. “But I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.” Now would be an excellent time for you to consider trying some fools’ experiments of your own, Aquarius. I bet at least one of them will turn out to be both fun and productive.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In Shakespeare's play MacBeth, three witches brew up a spell in a cauldron. Among the ingredients they throw in there is the "eye of newt." Many modern people assume this refers to the optical organ of a salamander, but it doesn't. It's actually an archaic term for "mustard seed." When I told my Piscean friend John about this, he said, "Damn! Now I know why Jessica didn't fall in love with me." He was making a joke about how the love spell he'd tried hadn't worked. Let's use this as a teaching story, Pisces. Could it be that one of your efforts failed because it lacked some of the correct ingredients? Did you perhaps have a misunderstanding about the elements you needed for a successful outcome? If so, correct your approach and try again.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Once upon a time, Calvin of the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip made this bold declaration: "Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!" Given your current astrological aspects, Aries, I think you have every right to invoke that battle cry yourself. From what I can tell, there's a party underway inside your head. And I'm pretty sure it's a healthy bash, not a decadent debacle. The bliss it stirs up will be authentic, not contrived. The release and relief it triggers won't be trivial and transitory but will generate at least one long-lasting breakthrough.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The coming weeks will be an excellent time to ask for favors. I think you will be exceptionally adept at seeking out people who can actually help you. Furthermore, those from whom you request help will be more receptive than usual. Finally, your timing is likely to be close to impeccable. Here's a tip to aid your efforts: A new study suggests that people are more inclined to be agreeable to your appeals if you address their right ears rather than their left ears. (More info: tinyurl.com/intherightear.)
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Here are your five words of power for the next two weeks, Gemini. 1. Unscramble. Invoke this verb with regal confidence as you banish chaos and restore order. 2. Purify. Be inspired to cleanse your motivations and clarify your intentions. 3. Reach. Act as if you had a mandate to stretch out, expand and extend yourself to arrive in the right place. 4. Rollick. Chant this magic word as you activate your drive to be lively, carefree and frolicsome. 5. Blithe. Don't take anything too personally, too seriously or too literally.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The 17th-century German alchemist Hennig Brand collected 1,500 gallons of urine from beer drinkers, then cooked and recooked it 'til it achieved the "consistency of honey." Why? He thought his experiment would eventually yield large quantities of gold. It didn't, of course. But along the way, he accidentally produced a substance of great value: phosphorus. It was the first time anyone had created a pure form of it. So in a sense, Brand "discovered" it. Today phosphorus is widely used in fertilizers, water treatment, steel production, detergents and food processing. I bring this to your attention, my fellow Cancerian, because I suspect you will soon have a metaphorically similar experience. Your attempt to create a beneficial new asset will not generate exactly what you wanted but will nevertheless yield a useful result.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In the documentary movie Catfish, the directors, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, present a metaphor drawn from the fishing industry. They say that Asian suppliers used to put live codfish in tanks and send them to overseas markets. It was only upon arrival that the fish would be processed into food. But there was a problem: Because the cod were so sluggish during the long trips, their meat was mushy and tasteless. The solution? Add catfish to the tanks. That energized the cod and ultimately made them more flavorful. Moral of the story, according to Joost and Schulman: Like the cod, humans need catfish-like companions to stimulate them and keep them sharp. Do you have enough influences like that in your life, Leo? Now is a good time to make sure you do.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The city of Boston allows an arts organization called Mass Poetry to stencil poems on sidewalks. The legal graffiti is done with a special paint that remains invisible until it gets wet. So if you're a pedestrian trudging through the streets as it starts to rain, you may suddenly behold, emerging from the blank gray concrete, Langston Hughes' poem "Still Here" or Fred Marchant's "Pear Tree in Flower." I foresee a metaphorically similar development in your life, Virgo: a pleasant and educational surprise arising unexpectedly out of the vacant blahs.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When he was in the rock band Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh took his time composing and recording new music. From 1978 to 1984, he and his collaborators averaged one album per year. But when Mothersbaugh started writing soundtracks for the weekly TV show "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," his process went into overdrive. He typically wrote an entire show's worth of music each Wednesday and recorded it each Thursday. I suspect you have that level of creative verve right now, Libra. Use it wisely! If you're not an artist, channel it into the area of your life that most needs to be refreshed or reinvented.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Many vintage American songs remain available today because of the pioneering musicologist, John Lomax. In the first half of the 20th century, he traveled widely to track down and record obscure cowboy ballads, folk songs and traditional African American tunes. "Home on the Range" was a prime example of his many discoveries. He learned that song, often referred to as "the anthem of the American West," from a black saloonkeeper in Texas. I suggest we make Lomax a role model for you Scorpios during the coming weeks. It's an excellent time to preserve and protect the parts of your past that are worth taking with you into the future.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The mountain won't come to you. It will not acquire the supernatural power to drag itself over to where you are, bend its craggy peak down to your level and give you a free ride as it returns to its erect position. So what will you do? Moan and wail in frustration? Retreat into a knot of helpless indignation and sadness? Please don't. Instead, stop hoping for the mountain to do the impossible. Set off on a journey to the remote, majestic pinnacle with a fierce song in your determined heart. Pace yourself. Doggedly master the art of slow, incremental magic.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Who can run faster, a person or a horse? There's evidence that under certain circumstances, a human can prevail. In June of every year since 1980, the Man Versus Horse Marathon has taken place in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells. The route of the race weaves 22 miles through marsh, bogs and hills. On two occasions, a human has outpaced all of the horses. According to my astrological analysis, you Capricorns will have that level of animalistic power during the coming weeks. It may not take the form of foot speed, but it will be available as stamina, energy, vitality and instinctual savvy.