VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "At the necessary moment, going naked will be your most convincing disguise," writes poet Dobby Gibson. As I apply his witty statement to your life, I'll interpret it metaphorically. My sense is that you could really use the kind of "disguise" he's talking about. What I mean is that you would benefit by appearing to be different from what people expect of you. You can gain key advantages by shifting the image you present to the world — by expressing a part of your identity that is not usually obvious. And I think the best way to do that is to "go naked" — that is, be candid and transparent and vulnerable about your core truths.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran playwright Wendy Wasserstein wrote, "Every year I resolve to be a little less the me I know and leave a little room for the me I could be. Every year I make a note not to feel left behind by my friends and family who have managed to change far more than I." I recommend Wasserstein's practice to you, dear Libra. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to launch this ritual as an annual tradition. For best results, write it out as a vow. I mean take a pen and paper and compose a solemn pledge, then sign it on the bottom to seal your determination.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "I may not lead the most dramatic life," confesses singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, "but in my brain it's War and Peace every day." He was referencing Leo Tolstoy's sprawling, exuberant 1,200-page novel War and Peace, which features stories about five families who lived through Napoléon's invasion of Russia in the 19th century. I'm guessing that these days your fantasy life may also be filled with epic fairy tales and heroic sagas and tear-jerking myths. Is there a problem with that? Not necessarily. It could be quite entertaining and educational. I do recommend that you keep your actual life a little calmer and saner, however.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "I rejoice to live in such a splendidly disturbing time!" said author Helen Keller (1880-1968). She was a smart activist who worked hard in behalf of women's equality, labor rights, anti-militarism and socialism. Was she being sarcastic in saying she loved being alive during a time of upheaval? Not at all. She derived excitement and vigor from critiquing injustice. Her lust for life soared as she lent her considerable energy to making life on Earth more enjoyable for more people. I invite you to consider adopting her attitude in the coming weeks. It's a good time to experiment with generating the personal power that becomes available by taking practical action on behalf of your high ideals.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You know what perfectionists are: people who obsessively strive to finesse every last detail, polishing and honing so compulsively that they risk sucking all the soul out of the finished product. In contrast to them, I propose that we identify a different class of humans known as "imperfectionists." They understand that a ferocious drive for utter purity can make things sterile and ugly. They resolve to cultivate excellence while at the same time they understand that irregularities and eccentricities may infuse their work with beauty. I hope you'll act like an imperfectionist in the coming weeks, Capricorn.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Everything good I've ever gotten in life, I only got because I gave something else up," writes author Elizabeth Gilbert. To that melodramatic declaration, I say, "Really? Everything? I don't believe you." And yet I do think she has a point. On some occasions, the most effective strategy for bringing good new influences into our lives is to sacrifice an influence or habit or pattern we're attached to. And often the thing that needs to be sacrificed is comfortable or consoling or mildly pleasurable. I suspect that the coming weeks will offer you one of these opportunities, Aquarius.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "I and me are always too deeply in conversation," confessed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. I wonder why he said "too deeply" and not just "deeply." Did he mean his dialogues with himself distracted him from important matters in the world outside of his imagination? Was he implying that he got so consumed while conducting his self-interviews that he lost his bearings and forgot what his goals were? With these cautions in mind, Pisces, I invite you to dive into an intense but spacious communion with yourself. Make this a delightful and illuminating conference, not a raging debate or a debilitating argument.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): In one of your past lives, maybe you were a Neanderthal midwife in what's now southern France. In another incarnation, you may have been a 17th-century Guarani shaman who shared your knowledge about local plants with an Italian Jesuit missionary in what's now Uruguay. All the powers and aptitudes you perfected in those and other previous ages could prove helpful as you cultivate your genius in the coming weeks. Just kidding! Cancel my previous speculations. For you Aries folks, past achievements are often of secondary importance as you create your future. In fact, your mandate is usually to transcend the old days and old ways. It may be better not to imitate or rely on old stories, no matter how dazzling. This will be especially true in the coming weeks.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "There are no ordinary feelings," says poet Dean Young. "Just as there are no ordinary spring days or kicked over cans of paint." That's always true, but it will be especially true for you in the coming weeks. I suspect you will be host to a wealth of interesting, unique and profound feelings. They might be a bit overwhelming at times, but I think they will mostly provide rich opportunities for your soul to grow deeper and stronger and more resilient.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "There should be a science of discontent," said novelist Frank Herbert. "People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles." I partially agree with that observation, but I also think it's a gratuitous cliché that's not at all absolute. In fact, our culture is under the spell of a mass delusion that tempts us to believe "no pain, no gain" is the supreme learning principle. I'd like to see the development of a robust science of contentment: how fascination and freedom and generosity can build psychic muscles. You'll be a good candidate to study that subject in the coming weeks.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian songwriter Mathangi Arulpragasam is better known by her stage name M.I.A. She has accomplished a lot in her 45 years on the planet, having been nominated for three Grammy Awards and an Academy Award. Esquire magazine named her the 75th most influential person of the 21st century. One key to her success is the fact that she formulated a clear master plan many years ago and has used it to guide her decisions. In her song "Matangi," she refers to it: "If you're gonna be me, you need a manifesto / If you ain't got one, you better get one presto." I bring this to your attention, Cancerian, because the coming weeks will be an excellent time to formulate (or reformulate) your life manifesto and master plan.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "If you're not invited to the party, throw your own," declares singer and actress Diahann Carroll. In the coming weeks, I urge you Leos to use that advice as a metaphor in every way you can imagine. For example, if you're not getting the love you want from a certain someone, give it to yourself. If no one hands you the opportunity you need, hand it to yourself. If you wish people would tell you what you want to hear, but they're not saying it, tell yourself what you want to hear. It's a time when you need to go beyond mere self-sufficiency. Be self-gratifying, self-rewarding, self-acknowledging.