.Real Astrology, Week of Aug. 23

ARIES (March 21-April 19): None of the books I’ve written has appeared on The New York Times best-seller list. Even if my future books do well, I will never catch up with Aries writer James Patterson, who has had 260 books on the prestigious list. My sales will never rival his, either. He has earned over $800 million from the 425 million copies his readers have bought. While I don’t expect you Rams to ever boost your income to Patterson’s level, either, I suspect the next nine months will bring you unprecedented opportunities to improve your financial situation. For best results, edge your way toward doing more of what you love to do.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Addressing a lover, D. H. Lawrence said that “having you near me” meant that he would “never cease to be filled with newness.” That is a sensational compliment! I wish all of us could have such an influence in our lives: a prod that helps arouse endless novelty. Here’s the good news, Taurus: I suspect you may soon be blessed with a lively source of such stimulation, at least temporarily. Are you ready and eager to welcome an influx of freshness?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Humans have been drinking beer for at least 13,000 years and eating bread for 14,500. We’ve enjoyed cheese for 7,500 years and popcorn for 6,500. Chances are good that at least some of these four are comfort foods for you. In the coming weeks, I suggest you get an ample share of them or any other delicious nourishments that make you feel well-grounded and deep-rooted. You need to give extra care to stabilizing your foundations. You have a mandate to cultivate security, stability and constancy. Here’s your homework: Identify three things you can do to make you feel utterly at home in the world.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): On Instagram, I posted a favorite quote from poet Muriel Rukeyser: “The world is made of stories, not atoms.” I added my own thought: “You are made of stories, too.” A reader didn’t like this meme. He said it was “a nightmare for us anti-social people.” I asked him why. He said, “Because stories only happen in a social setting. To tell or hear a story is to be in a social interaction. If you’re not inclined towards such activities, it’s oppressive.” Here’s how I replied: “That’s not true for me. Many of my stories happen while I’m alone with my inner world. My nightly dreams are some of my favorite stories.” Anyway, Cancerian, I’m offering this exchange to you now because you are in a story-rich phase of your life. The tales coming your way, whether they occur in social settings or in the privacy of your own fantasies, will be extra interesting, educational and motivational. Gather them in with gusto! Celebrate them!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Author A. Conan Doyle said, “It has long been my axiom that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Spiritual teacher John Zabat-Zinn muses, “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Here’s author Robert Brault’s advice: “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Ancient Chinese sage Lao-Tzu provides a further nuance: “To know you have enough is to be rich.” Let’s add one more clue, from author Alice Walker: “I try to teach my heart to want nothing it can’t have.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “I don’t believe that in order to be interesting or meaningful, a relationship has to work out—in fiction or in real life.” So says Virgo novelist Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld, and I agree. Just because a romantic bond didn’t last forever doesn’t mean it was a waste of energy. An intimate connection you once enjoyed but then broke off might have taught you lessons that are crucial to your destiny. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to acknowledge and celebrate these past experiences of togetherness. Interpret them not as failures but as gifts.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The amount of rubbish produced by the modern world is staggering: over 2 billion tons per year. To get a sense of how much that is, imagine a convoy of fully loaded garbage trucks circling the earth 24 times. You and I can diminish our contributions to this mess, though we must overcome the temptation to think our personal efforts will be futile. Can we really help save the world by buying secondhand goods, shopping at farmers’ markets and curbing our use of paper? Maybe a little. And here’s the bonus: We enhance our mental health by reducing the waste we engender. Doing so gives us a more graceful and congenial relationship with life. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to meditate and act on this beautiful truth.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I hope that in the coming weeks, you will wash more dishes, do more laundry and scrub more floors than you ever have before. Clean the bathrooms with extra fervor, too. Scour the oven and refrigerator. Make your bed with extreme precision. Got all that, Scorpio? JUST KIDDING! Everything I just said was a lie. Now here’s my authentic message: Avoid grunt work. Be as loose and playful and spontaneous as you have ever been. Seek record-breaking levels of fun and amusement. Experiment with the high arts of brilliant joy and profound pleasure.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Dear Sagittarius the Archer: To be successful in the coming weeks, you don’t have to hit the exact center of the bull’s-eye every time—or even anytime. Merely shooting your arrows so they land somewhere inside the fourth or third concentric rings will be a very positive development. Same is true if you are engaged in a situation with metaphorical resemblances to a game of horseshoes. Even if you don’t throw any ringers at all, just getting close could be enough to win the match. This is one time in your life when perfection isn’t necessary to win.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I suspect you are about to escape the stuffy labyrinth. There may be a short adjustment period, but soon you will be running half-wild in a liberated zone where you won’t have to dilute and censor yourself. I am not implying that your exile in the enclosed space was purely oppressive. Not at all. You learned some cool magic in there, and it will serve you well in your expansive new setting. Here’s your homework assignment: Identify three ways you will take advantage of your additional freedom.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Though my mother is a practical, sensible person with few mystical propensities, she sometimes talks about a supernatural vision she had. Her mother, my grandmother, had been disabled by a massive stroke. It left her barely able to do more than laugh and move her left arm. But months later, on the morning after grandma died, her spirit showed up in a pink ballerina dress doing ecstatic pirouettes next to my mother’s bed. My mom saw it as a communication about how joyful she was to be free of her wounded body. I mention this gift of grace because I suspect you will have at least one comparable experience in the coming weeks. Be alert for messages from your departed ancestors.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it,” said the ancient Chinese sage Confucius. Amen! Seeking to understand reality with cold, unfeeling rationality is at best boring and at worst destructive. I go so far as to say that it’s impossible to deeply comprehend anything or anyone unless we love them. Really! I’m not exaggerating or being poetic. In my philosophy, our quest to be awake and see truly requires us to summon an abundance of affectionate attention. I nominate you to be the champion practitioner of this approach to intelligence, Pisces. It’s your birthright! And I hope you turn it up full blast in the coming weeks.

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