ARIES (March 21-April 19): Are you good at haggling? Do you maybe even enjoy the challenge of negotiating for a better price, of angling for a fairer deal? The coming week will be a favorable time to make extensive use of this skill. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you will thrive on having friendly arguments with just about everyone, from your buddies to your significant other to your mommy to God Herself. Everywhere you go, I encourage you to engage in lively discussions as you hammer out compromises that will serve you well. Be cheerful and adaptable and forceful.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In David Markson's experimental novel Wittgenstein's Mistress, the protagonist fantasizes about the winter she lived at the Louvre Museum in Paris. She says that to keep warm she made big fires and burned some of the museum's precious artifacts. I'm hoping you won't do anything remotely resembling that mythic event in the coming week, Taurus. I understand that you may be going through a cold spell — a time when you're longing for more heat and light. But I beg you not to sacrifice enduring beauty in order to ameliorate your temporary discomfort. This, too, shall pass.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “Don't say you want love,” writes San Francisco author Stephen Sparks. “Say you want the morning light through a paint-flecked window; say you want a gust of wind scraping leaves along the pavement and hills rolling toward the sea; say you want to notice, in a tree you walk past every day, the ruins of a nest exposed as the leaves fall away; a slow afternoon of conversation in a shadowy bar; the smell of bread baking.” That's exactly the oracle I want to give you, Gemini. In my opinion, you can't afford to be generic or blank in your requests for love. You must be highly specific. You've got to ask for the exact feelings and experiences that will boost the intensity of your lust for life. (Here's Sparks' Tumblr page: invisiblestories.tumblr.com.)
CANCER (June 21-July 22): “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger in the broken places,” wrote Cancerian writer Ernest Hemingway. By my estimation, my fellow Crabs, we are now entering a phase of our astrological cycle when we can make dramatic progress in healing the broken places in ourselves. But even better than that: As we deal dynamically with the touchy issues that caused our wounds, we will become stronger than we were before we got broken.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Let's hope you have given deep thought to understanding who you are at this moment of your life. Let's also hope that you have developed a clear vision of the person you would like to become in, say, three years. How do you feel about the gap between the current YOU and the future YOU? Does it oppress you? Does it motivate you? Maybe a little of both? I'll offer you the perspective of actress Tracee Ellis Ross. “I am learning every day,” she told Uptown Magazine, “to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Do the words “purity” and “purify” have any useful purpose? Or have they been so twisted by religious fundamentalists and mocked by decadent cynics that they're mostly just farcical? I propose that you take them seriously in the coming week. Give them your own spin. For instance, you could decide to purify yourself of petty attitudes and trivial desires that aren't in alignment with your highest values. You might purify yourself of self-deceptions that have gotten you into trouble and purify yourself of resentments that have blocked your creative energy. At the very least, Virgo, cleanse your body with extra-healthy food, good sleep, massage, exercise, and sacred sex.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I periodically hike alone into the serene hills north of San Francisco and perform a set of my songs for the birds, insects, squirrels, and trees. Recently I discovered that British comedian Milton Jones tried a similar experiment. He did his stand-up act for a herd of cows on a farm in Hertfordshire. I can't speak for Jones' motivations, but one of the reasons I do my nature shows is because they bring out my wild, innocent, generous spirit. Now is a good time for you to do something similar for yourself, Libra. What adventures can you undertake that will fully activate your wild, innocent, generous spirit?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Are you anxious and agitated, afraid that you're careening out of control? Is there a flustered voice in your head moaning, “Stop the insanity!”? Well, relax, dear Scorpio. I promise you that you no longer have to worry about going cray-cray. Why? Because you have already gone cray-cray, my friend. That is correct. You slipped over the threshold a few days ago, and have been living in Bonkersville ever since. And since you are obviously still alive and functioning, I think it's obvious that the danger has passed. Here's the new truth: If you surrender to the uproar, if you let it teach you all it has to teach you, you will find a lively and intriguing kind of peace.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): To give you the oracle that best matches your current astrological omens, I've borrowed from “Sweetness,” a poem by Stephen Dunn. I urge you to memorize it or write it on a piece of paper that you will carry around with you everywhere you go. Say Dunn's words as if they were your own: “Often a sweetness comes / as if on loan, stays just long enough // to make sense of what it means to be alive, / then returns to its dark / source. As for me, I don't care // where it's been, or what bitter road / it's traveled / to come so far, to taste so good.”
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In her book Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard apologizes to God and Santa Claus and a nice but eccentric older woman named Miss White, whom she knew as a child. “I am sorry I ran from you,” she writes to them. “I am still running from that knowledge, that eye, that love from which there is no refuge. For you meant only love, and love, and I felt only fear, and pain.” Judging from your current astrological omens, Capricorn, I'd say that now would be a good time for you to do something similar: Take an inventory of the beauty and love and power you have sought to escape and may still be trying to avoid. You're finally ready to stop running and embrace at least some of that good stuff.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The Dragon Lives Again is a 1977 film that tells the story of martial arts legend Bruce Lee fighting bad guys in the underworld. Among the villains he defeats are Dracula, James Bond, the Godfather, Clint Eastwood, and the Exorcist. I urge you to use this as inspiration, Aquarius. Create an imaginary movie in your mind's eye. You're the hero, of course. Give yourself a few superpowers, and assemble a cast of scoundrels from your past — anyone who has done you wrong. Then watch the epic tale unfold as you do with them what Bruce Lee did to Dracula and company. Yes, it's only pretend. But you may be surprised at how much this helps you put your past behind you. Think of it as a purgative meditation that will free you to move in the direction of the best possible future.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): After studying the myths and stories of many cultures throughout history, Joseph Campbell arrived at a few conclusions about the nature of the human quest. Here's one that's apropos for you right now: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” He came up with several variations on this idea, including this one: “The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for.” I urge you to consider making this your operative hypothesis for the coming weeks, Pisces.
Homework: Name ten personal possessions that you'd put in a time capsule to be dug up by your descendants in 500 years. Testify at freewillastrology.com.