AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime," writes Chuck Klosterman. "It's easy. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. You'll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years." He concludes, "A lover like this sets the template for what you will always love about other people." I suspect that you have either recently met or will soon meet such a person, Aquarius. Or else you are on the verge of going deeper than ever before with an ally you have known for a while. That's why I think what happens in the next six months will put an enduring stamp on your relationship with intimacy.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Love is a fire," declared Aries actress Joan Crawford. "But whether it's going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell." I disagree with her conclusion. There are practical steps you can take to ensure that love's fire warms but doesn't burn. Start with these strategies: Suffuse your libido with compassion. Imbue your romantic fervor with empathy. Instill your animal passions and instinctual longings with affectionate tenderness. If you catch your sexual urges driving you toward narcissists who are no damn good for you, firmly redirect those sexual urges toward emotionally intelligent, self-responsible beauties.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Fifteenth-century writer Thomas à Kempis thought that real love can arouse enormous fortitude in the person who loves. "Love feels no burden," he wrote. "It attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility; for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible." As you might imagine, the "real love" he was referring to is not the kind that's motivated by egotism, power drives, blind lust or insecurity. I think you know what I mean, Taurus, because in the past few months you have had unprecedented access to the primal glory that Thomas referred to. And in the coming months you will have even more. What do you plan to do with all that mojo?
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini novelist Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) was fascinated by "life with the lid on and what happens when the lid comes off." She knew both states from her own experience. "When you love someone," she mused about the times the lid had come off, "all your saved-up wishes start coming out." In accordance with the astrological omens, I propose that you engage in the following three-part exercise. First, identify a part of your life that has the lid tightly clamped over it. Second, visualize the suppressed feelings and saved-up wishes that might pour forth if you took the lid off. Third, do what it takes to love someone so well that you'll knock the lid off.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): "No one has ever loved anyone the way everyone wants to be loved," wrote author Mignon McLaughlin. I think that may be true. The gap between what we yearn for and what we actually get is never fully closed. Nevertheless, I suggest that you strive to refute McLaughlin's curse in the coming days. Why? Because you now have an enhanced capacity to love the people you care about in ways they want to be loved. So be experimental with your tenderness. Take the risk of going beyond what you've been willing or able to give before. Trust your fertile imagination to guide your ingenious empathy.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Here's the counsel of French writer Anatole France: "You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving." What he says is always true, but it's especially apropos for you Leos in the coming weeks. You now have a special talent for learning more about love by loving deeply, excitedly and imaginatively. To add further nuance and inspiration, meditate on this advice from author Aldous Huxley: "There isn't any formula or method. You learn to love by loving — by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done."
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "I do not trust people who don't love themselves and yet tell me, 'I love you,'" said author Maya Angelou. She concludes: "There is an African saying: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt." With this in mind, I invite you to take inventory of the allies and relatives whose relationships are most important to you. How well do they love themselves? Is there anything you could do to help them upgrade their love for themselves? If their self-love is lacking, what might you do to protect yourself from that problem?
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Only love interests me," declared painter Marc Chagall, "and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love." That seems like an impossibly high standard. Our daily adventures bring us into proximity with loveless messes all the time. It's hard to focus on love to the exclusion of all other concerns. But it's a worthy goal to strive toward Chagall's ideal for short bursts of time. And the coming weeks happen to be a favorable phase for you to do just that. Your success may be partial, but dramatic nonetheless.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "A coward is incapable of exhibiting love," said Mahatma Gandhi. "It is the prerogative of the brave." That's my challenge to you, Scorpio. In accordance with the astrological currents, I urge you to stoke your uninhibited audacity so you can press onward toward the frontiers of intimacy. It's not enough to be wilder, and it's not enough to be freer. To fulfill love's potential in the next chapter of your story, you've got to be wilder, freer and bolder.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "It is not lack of love but lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages," said Friedrich Nietzsche. He believed that if you want to join your fortunes with another's, you should ask yourself whether you will enjoy your conversations with this person for the next 30 years — because that's what you'll be doing much of the time you're together. How do you measure up to this gold standard, Sagittarius? What role does friendship play in your romantic adventures? If there's anything lacking, now is an excellent time to seek improvements. Start with yourself, of course. How could you infuse more camaraderie into the way you express love? What might you do to upgrade your skills as a conversationalist?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Love isn't something you find," says singer Loretta Lynn. "Love is something that finds you." Singer Kylie Minogue concurs: "You need a lot of luck to find people with whom you want to spend your life. Love is like a lottery." I think these perspectives are at best misleading and at worst debilitating. They imply we have no power to shape our relationship with love. My view is different. I say there's a lot we can do to attract intimate allies who teach us, stimulate us and fulfill us. Like what? 1. We clarify what qualities we want in a partner, and we make sure that those qualities are also healthy for us. 2. We get free of unconscious conditioning that's at odds with our conscious values. 3. We work to transform ourselves into lovable collaborators who communicate well. Anything else? What can you do to make sure love isn't a lottery?
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Sixteenth-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso described one of love's best blessings. He said your lover can reunite you with "a piece of your soul that you never knew was missing." You Pisceans are in a phase when this act of grace is more possible than usual. The revelatory boon may emerge because of the chemistry stirred up by a sparkly new affiliation. Or it may arise thanks to a familiar relationship that is entering unfamiliar territory.