ARIES (March 21–April 19): My Aries acquaintance Tatiana decided to eliminate sugar from her diet. She drew up a plan to avoid it completely for 30 days, hoping to break its hold over her. I was surprised to learn that she began the project by making a Dessert Altar in her bedroom, where she placed a chocolate cake and five kinds of candy. She testified that it compelled her willpower to work even harder and become even stronger than if she had excluded all sweet treats from her sight. Do you think this strenuous trick might work for you as you battle your own personal equivalent of a sugar addiction? If not, devise an equally potent strategy. You're on the verge of forever escaping a temptation that's no good for you. Or you're close to vanquishing an influence that has undermined you. Or both.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): You have caressed and finessed The Problem. You have tickled and teased and tinkered with it. Now I suggest you let it alone for a while. Give it breathing room. Allow it to evolve under the influence of the tweaks you have instigated. Although you may need to return and do further work in a few weeks, my guess is that The Problem's knots are now destined to metamorphose into seeds. The ugliness you massaged with your love and care will eventually yield a useful magic.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): "Whether you love what you love or live in divided ceaseless revolt against it, what you love is your fate." Gemini poet Frank Bidart wrote that in his poem "Guilty of Dust," and now I'm offering it to you. Why? Because now is an excellent time to be honest with yourself as you identify whom and what you love. It's also a favorable phase to assess whether you are in any sense at odds with whom and what you love, and if you find you are, to figure out how to be more aligned and in harmony with whom and what you love. Finally, my dear Gemini, now is a perfect moment for you to vividly register the fact that the story of your life in the coming years will revolve around your relationship with whom and what you love.

CANCER (June 21–July 22): Congratulations on the work you've done to cleanse the psychic toxins from your soul, Cancerian. I love how brave you've been as you've jettisoned outworn shticks, incorrect theories, and irrelevant worries. It makes my heart sing to have seen you summon the self-respect necessary to stick up for your dreams in the face of so many confusing signals. I do feel a tinge of sadness that your heroism hasn't been better appreciated by those around you. Is there anything you can do to compensate? Like maybe intensify the appreciation you give yourself?

LEO (July 23–Aug 22): I hope you're reaching the final stage of your yearlong project to make yourself as solid and steady as possible. I trust you have been building a stable foundation that will serve you well for at least the next five years. I pray you have been creating a rich sense of community and establishing vital new traditions and surrounding yourself with environments that bring out the best in you. If there's any more work to be done in these sacred tasks, intensify your efforts in the coming weeks. If you're behind schedule, please make up for lost time.

VIRGO (Aug 23–Sept 22): "Necessity is the mother of invention," says an old proverb. In other words, when your need for some correction or improvement becomes overwhelming, you may be driven to get creative. Engineer Allen Dale put a different spin on the issue. He said, "If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father." Sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein agreed, asserting, "Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things." I'm not sure if necessity or laziness will be your motivation, Virgo, but I believe that the coming weeks will be a golden age of invention for you. (P.S. Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead attributed the primary drive for innovative ideas and gizmos to "pleasurable intellectual curiosity.")

LIBRA (Sept 23–Oct 22): Would you have turned out wiser and wealthier if you had dropped out of school in third grade? Would it have been better to apprentice yourself to a family of wolves or coyotes rather than trusting your educational fate to institutions whose job it was to acclimate you to society's madness? I'm happy to let you know that you're entering a phase when you'll find it easier than usual to unlearn any old conditioning that might be suppressing your ability to fulfill your rich potentials. I urge you to seek out opportunities to ripen your skills and enhance your intelligence.

SCORPIO (Oct 23–Nov 21): The temptation to overdramatize is strong. Going through with a splashy but messy conclusion may have a perverse appeal. But why not wrap things up with an elegant whisper instead of a garish bang? Rather than impressing everyone with how amazingly complicated your crazy life is, why not quietly lay the foundations for a low-key resolution that will set the stage for a productive sequel? Taking the latter route will be much easier on your karma, and in my opinion will make for just as interesting a story.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22–Dec 21): Each of us conceals unripe or controversial or fragile facets of our identity. These may include but are not limited to our sexual preferences. And every one of us periodically reaches turning points when it becomes problematic to keep at least some of those qualities buried. I suspect you may have arrived at one of those turning points. So on behalf of the cosmos, your destiny, and life itself, I hereby invite you to enjoy a period of self-revelation. And I do mean "enjoy." Please find a way to have fun during this unveiling.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22–Jan 19): For the next two-plus weeks, an unusual rule will be in effect: The more you lose, the more you gain. That means you will have an uncanny facility for eliminating hassles, banishing stress, and shedding defense mechanisms. You'll be able to flush away any emotional congestion that has been preventing clarity. You'll have good intuition about how to purge influences that have made you sad or angry. I'm excited for you, Capricorn! A load of old, moldy karma could dissolve and disperse in what seems like a twinkling. If all goes well, you'll be traveling much lighter by July 1.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20–Feb 18): I suggest you avoid starting a flirtatious correspondence with a convict who'll be in jail for another 28 years. Okay? And don't snack on fugu, the Japanese delicacy that can poison you if the cook isn't very careful about preparing it. Please? And don't participate in a séance where the medium summons the spirits of psychotic ancestors or diabolical celebrities with whom you imagine it might be interesting to converse. Got all that? I understand you might be in the mood for high adventure and out-of-the-ordinary escapades. And that will be fine and healthy as long as you also exert a modicum of caution.

PISCES (Feb 19–March 20): I suggest that you pat yourself on the back with both hands while singing your own praises and admiring your own willful beauty in three mirrors simultaneously. You have won stirring victories over not just your own personal version of the devil, but also over your own inertia and sadness. From what I can determine, you have corralled what remains of the forces of darkness into a comfy holding cell, sealing off those forces from your future. They won't be bothering you for a very long time, and maybe never. Right about now, you would benefit from a sabbatical—a vacation from all this high-powered character building. May I suggest that you pay a restorative visit to the Land of Sweet Nonsense?

Homework: Many of us try to motivate ourselves through abusive self-criticism. Do you? What will you do to change? Write