Week of July 19
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Here's how you damage the Aries soul, according to astrologer Steven Forrest: You bore it, you deprive it of adventure, and you starve it of chances to grow evermore courageous. I'm worried this could happen in the coming weeks. According to my reading of the omens, you may be tempted to get involved with things that are too easy for you. Here's what you can do to make sure this doesn't come to pass: Invite yourself into unpredictable situations. Give yourself assignments that will force you out of your comfort zone. Fall in love with questions that will turn your mind inside-out.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I'm drinking a toast to my grade-school teachers, five of whom were stern spinsters in their 50s and 60s. I may not have esteemed them when we were together those seven hours a day, 180 days a year; I may have been alternately bored and alienated by their nagging me to learn. But from my current vantage point, I'm ripe with gratitude: pleased with my ability to wield the English language and do the arithmetic my business requires and hold in my imagination a clear vision of the planet's geography. Those maestros taught me well, and I'm in awe of their tireless efforts. Now I suggest you do something similar to what I just did, Taurus. Feel a flood of thanks for the helpers and teachers from your past (even the inadvertent ones) whom you have never appreciated sufficiently.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): A few years ago, a high school football team in Colorado was reprimanded when officials discovered that players had soaked their uniforms with an oily cooking spray before a big game. Though there was no specific regulation against it in the rulebook, the greasy stuff made it harder for their opponents to tackle them, giving them an advantage. I'm recommending their ploy to you in the coming week, Gemini—at least metaphorically. You will benefit from being slipperier, more elusive, and difficult to pin down than usual. I'd also like to see you be extraordinarily cagey, foxy, and tricky. To help focus your mind on this assignment, buy a can of cooking spray and create an altar around it.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Imagine all the life processes that unfold outside of your conscious awareness: your body digesting your food and circulating your blood; trees using carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to synthesize their nourishment; micro-organisms in the soil beneath your feet endlessly toiling away to create humus. You don't perceive any of these things directly; they're invisible to you. What other growth and transformation might be going on in secret, Cancerian? This is the perfect time to tune in to all the vitalizing alchemy that is usually hidden from you. In a sense, you have X-ray vision.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): How should we visualize the phase you're in? Are you coming back home after a harrowing journey to the abyss? Or are you about to launch a quest straight into the heart of the dawn's blinding promise? Paradoxically enough, Leo, you're doing both. You're coming and going at the same time. You're graduating from an ancient lesson and beginning a new course of study. Hints of the future are mingled with the last gasps of the past.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "Write the bad things that are done to you in sand," says an Arab proverb, "but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble." That's perfect advice for you in the coming days. Why? Because I believe you'll be cheated or slighted in a way that will have only minor, short-term consequences, whereas on the other hand you'll be the beneficiary of a loophole or the recipient of a generous blessing that should reverberate for a long time.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, born under the sign of Libra, has been described by a fellow teacher as "a cross between a cloud, a snail, and a piece of heavy machinery—a true religious presence." He translates his lofty visions into the most intimate and practical terms, even providing suggestions about how to get more spiritual inspiration out of breathing, eating, and walking. Take a similar approach in the coming weeks, Libra. Bring heaven all the way down to earth. Make the smallest details of your life reflect your highest ideals.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The modern English word "weird" is derived from the Old English term wyrd , meaning "destiny." By the late Middle Ages, wyrd had evolved into a concept similar to the Eastern notion of karma. It implied that the momentum of past events plays a strong role in shaping the future, but that human willpower can nevertheless also have a hand in creating upcoming events. In some uses, wyrd could even mean "the power to control destiny," as exemplified by the three Weird Sisters of Shakespeare's MacBeth . I bring this up, Scorpio, because your Wyrd Factor is pretty high these days. While the consequences of your past are certainly impinging on your present to some degree, you've rarely had a greater ability to override them through the force of your intentions.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "Most people experience 'cubicle creativity,'" says businessman Gerald Haman. "The size of their ideas is directly proportional to the space they have in which to think." Just in case this is true, Sagittarius, I urge you to expand the box you occupy while dreaming up solutions to problems and fantasizing about the adventures you want to embark on. It's time to stretch the boundaries in every way you can imagine.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Dear Rob: Last night I dreamt that I finally met the soulmate I've been looking for all these years. We were making love in a limousine that was driving us to the church where we would be married. Then a terrible thing happened. Right there in my arms, my perfect lover turned into a toothless, stinking geezer whose sparse white hair was falling out in my hands. I shrieked and ran out of the car. Can you interpret my dream for me? -Crushed Capricorn." Dear Crushed: Your dream may mean that your romantic ideals have become outmoded; your long-standing fantasies about what constitutes your perfect lover are no longer relevant. It's probably time to adjust your definitions.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): To get in a mood to take maximum advantage of the cosmic currents, go to tinyurl.com/25sgyx and read Dara Wier's poem "A Modern Version of the Way the Rosary Was Once Said Throughout Western Europe in the Late Middle Ages." What she expresses there is exactly the attitude you should cultivate. Here's an excerpt: "I'm not sewing velvet patches on a woolen blanket, not putting silver buttons back where they belong, not sweeping or folding, not in my right mind, not knowing what I owe or to whom I should bow down or thank or praise, no neither am I storing up good deeds I'll need when I need bailing out, nor do I wish to settle old scores, no not keeping wolves at bay, and I'm not disturbing antbeds, not in touch with fine madness, no, I'm not hiding under the kitchen table not wanting to listen anymore, nor am I staying awake in case I might miss something, no, I'm not staring forever into a fire, nor walking through a rainstorm into a cypress grove, no, and I'm not waiting for lightning to strike."
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): While browsing at the garden store, I saw an item that would be perfect for your current metaphorical needs: rose gloves. They're specially designed to protect you while working with those lush but thorny flowers. They feature padded palms, reinforced fingertips, and extra-long gauntlets that safeguard your flesh up to the elbow. As you play with and care for your own metaphorical version of the paradoxical rose in the coming days, I suggest that you arm yourself with equivalent protective measures.
Homework: What's the thing you lost that should stay lost? What's the thing you lost that you should find? Testify at RealAstrology.com. Click on "Email Rob."