ARIES (March 21-April 19): I was watching a martial arts competition on ESPN TV. It featured a fierce macho dance-off, in which rivals took turns brandishing their high-octane warrior choreography. At one point the announcer waxed poetic as the eventual winner pulled off a seemingly impossible move: "And that was a corkscrew illusion twist rodeo spin!" In the coming week, Aries, I urge you to do something like that yourself - maybe even a few times. As you seek to take your game to a higher level, unveil your personal version of the corkscrew illusion twist rodeo spin.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There's one supreme standard by which your progress in the coming weeks should be ultimately measured: Will you understand yourself better at the end of the adventures than you do at the beginning? A new privilege may come your way, or an honor that'll perk up your résumé, and maybe even a breakthrough that'll help dissolve your phobia of success. But they will only manifest a fraction of their potential unless you heed my updated version of Socrates' best soundbite: Know thyself - or else.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Scientists say that 90 percent of your brain is composed of fat. My own investigations have revealed, on the other hand, that less than 20 percent of your soul is made of fat. So the two balance each other out pretty well. In the coming days, however, I expect that both your brain and soul will be adding the equivalent of more lean, highly toned muscle. As a result, your mental acuity should increase as well as your spiritual insight. You're likely to be getting smarter and wiser. I hope you will bring these growing abilities to bear on every important decision. Alone, neither is enough.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Born in 1822, my great-great-great grandfather Edward Dembowski was a bohemian philosopher and columnist who led a revolutionary struggle to liberate Poland from plutocrats and foreign occupation. A feminist long before most European men entertained the issue of women's liberation, he edited a journal that was the main organ of the "Enthusiasts," who fought for women's rights. He's one of my heroes! I invite you, Cancerian, to delve into your own ancestry to see if there are inspirational role models like Dembowski. According to my reading of the astrological omens, it's an excellent time to activate more of your dormant genetic potentials. One good way to do that: Use your imagination to establish psychic and spiritual links to your admirable forebears.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Dating your first cousin? I don't recommend it anytime soon. Likewise, I'm here to talk you out of surrounding yourself with people who always agree with you, and I hope you won't try to milk an old resource for the same help it has provided countless times. In the foreseeable future, Leo, please downplay and de-emphasize the kinds of unions that result from like attracting like. Instead, think cross-fertilization. Catalyze exotic blends, unexpected combinations, and mergers of elements that have never been mixed.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): As Barack Obama's inauguration day approached, some astrologers were aghast that he would be taking the oath of office when the moon was void-of-course. In their eyes, this aspect is a bad portent for any new enterprise. If Obama would only postpone the oath for 35 minutes, they said, everything would be fine. He didn't, of course. But then the improbable happened. Chief Justice John Roberts, who was administering the oath, got the wording wrong, and Obama went along with it. Scholars then speculated that the oath wasn't fully official. The next day, when the moon was no longer void-of-course, Roberts and Obama re-did the ritual, making things right. And that's how an apparent mistake allowed Obama to elude the curse of superstitious astrologers. A seemingly inconvenient delay in your own process, Virgo, will bring an equally beneficent loophole for you.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Everything has been figured out, except how to live," sneered the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. That's not completely true, of course, which he might have discovered had he not closed his dogmatically cynical mind to the countless humans (many unknown to history) whose lives have been great works of art. Starting from these thoughts, Libra, you are hereby invited to regard the next 11 months as a time when you will make your own life a masterpiece - a labor of love that is ingeniously imagined and lyrically wrought. Unseen forces and unexpected allies will come to your assistance if you do.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I've got three questions for you, Scorpio. First, where will you go next to satisfy that special need of yours - you know, the need that demands ever-fresh varieties of fuel? Second, who will you enlist in your ongoing efforts to change your environment so that it's more compatible with your drives? And third, what helpful influences will you seek to attract into your sphere as you upgrade and refine your ambitions? The coming weeks will be a good time to cultivate your web of alliances as you address these questions.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): A substantial fraction of the world's scientists are funded by the military. This saddens me. I wish we lived on a planet where most scientists were in service to peace and plenty, working to solve social and environmental problems. But corrupt exploitations of the scientific method are no excuse for me to banish it from my repertoire. I use it frequently. Likewise, I draw tremendous inspiration from the life and teachings of Christ, even though I don't belong to a Christian church and am distraught about the devastation wrought by the fundamentalist mindset. Would you consider applying this approach to your personal life, Sagittarius? For example, maybe you could come to a new appreciation of your parents' gifts without losing sight of the ways they messed you up. Or perhaps you could forgive your heroes for their slight lack of integrity, or borrow good ideas from a way of looking at the world that partly offends you.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You may find it hard to believe that imprecise language could undermine your ability to merge with your heart's desire. But it's true. Your biggest wish may never be fully granted as long as you're lazy or sloppy about how you articulate it. Try this: Write down a brief statement that crisply sums up the one experience you want more than anything else in life. Preface it with this assertion: "I am doing everything possible to accomplish the following goal." Memorize this magic formula and repeat it twice a day until your wish is fulfilled, even if that takes ten years. P.S. It will work best if you don't include anything about how certain people need to change in order for your longing to be fulfilled.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "What is a weed?" asked Ralph Waldo Emerson. "A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Your assignment, Aquarius, is to identify a weed-like thing in your life whose rich possibilities have not yet been fully realized. Bear in mind, as you ruminate, that there are some weed-like things that would not be particularly valuable even if you did ultimately tease out their full potential. Your task is to find a weed whose transformation into a plant will be especially useful to your unique needs.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Many Americans believe China is a society that puts an abnormally high emphasis on keeping its citizens in line through punishment. But the truth is that only 1.2 percent of China's 1.3 billion people are in the slammer, whereas the U.S. has jailed 7.7 percent of its population of 300 million. In other words, my home country has a much higher percentage of our people behind bars than they do. I bring this to your attention, Pisces, as a prod to free some of the parts of yourself that you've imprisoned. Declare amnesty for the miscast captives and repressed workers within you. Bring the level down from the U.S. rate of incarceration to the Chinese level.
Homework: Do you know precisely what you need in order to feel pretty good most of the time? If not, go on a quest to find out.