By Rob Brezsny
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In his "Song of the Open Road," Walt Whitman wrote some lyrics that I hope will provide you with just the right spark. Even if you're not embarking on a literal journey along a big wide highway, my guess is that you are at least going to do the metaphorical equivalent. "Henceforth I ask not good fortune - I myself am good fortune," said Uncle Walt. "Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing. Strong and content, I travel the open road."
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Mystical poet St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) was one of Spain's greatest writers. But not all of his work came easily. When he was 35, a rival religious group imprisoned him for his mildly heretical ideas. He spent the next nine months in a ten-foot by six-foot jail cell, where he was starved, beaten, and tortured. It was there that he composed his most renowned poem, "Spiritual Canticle." Does that provide you with any inspiration, Libra? I'll make a wild guess and speculate that maybe you're in a tough situation yourself right now. It's not even one percent as tough as St. John's, though. If he could squeeze some brilliance out of his predicament, you can, too.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The American naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921) traveled widely and wrote 23 books. "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think," he testified, "all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." Let's make that longing for abundance serve as your rallying cry during the next two weeks, Scorpio. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you have a cosmic mandate to push to the limits - and sometimes beyond - as you satisfy your quest to be, see, and do everything you love to be, see, and do.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Punk icon Henry Rollins did an interview with Marilyn Manson, rock and roll's master of the grotesque. It's on YouTube. The comments section beneath the video are rife with spite and bile directed toward Manson, driving one fan to defend her hero. "I love Marilyn Manson so much that I could puke rainbows," she testified. I think you will need to tap into that kind of love in the coming days, Sagittarius: fierce, intense, and devotional, and yet also playful, funny, and exhilarating. You don't necessarily have to puke rainbows, however. Maybe you could merely spit them.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If you want to know a secret, I talk less crazy to you Capricorns than I do to the other signs. I tone down my wild-eyed, goddess-drunk shape-shifting a bit. I rarely exhort you to don an animal costume and dance with the fairy folk in the woods, and I think the last time I suggested that you fall in love with an alien, angel, or deity was ... never. So what's my problem? Don't you feel taboo urges and illicit impulses now and then? Isn't it true that like everyone else, you periodically need to slip away from your habitual grooves and tamper with the conventional wisdom? Of course you do. Which is why I hereby repeal my excessive caution. Get out there, Capricorn, and be as uninhibited as you dare.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Germany's Ostwall Museum displayed a conceptual installation by the artist Martin Kippenberger. Valued at $1.1 million, it was called "When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling." Part of it was composed of a rubber tub that was painted to appear as if it had once held dirty rainwater. One night while the museum was closed, a new janitor came in to tidy up the premises. While performing her tasks, she scrubbed the rubber tub until it was "clean," thereby damaging the art. Let this be a cautionary tale, Aquarius. It's important for you to appreciate and learn from the messy stuff in your life - even admire its artistry - and not just assume it all needs to be scoured and disinfected.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In her novel White Oleander, Janet Fitch suggests that beauty is something to be used, "like a hammer or a key." That's your assignment, Pisces. Find practical ways to make your beauty work for you. For example, invoke it to help you win friends and influence people. Put it into action to drum up new opportunities and hunt down provocative invitations. And don't tell me you possess insufficient beauty to accomplish these things. I guarantee you that you have more than enough. To understand why I'm so sure, you may have to shed some ugly definitions of beauty you've unconsciously absorbed from our warped culture.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): "No regrets? Really?" asks author Richard Power. "I have regrets. They are sacred to me. They inform my character. They bear witness to my evolution. Glimpses of lost love and treasure are held inside of them; like small beautiful creatures suspended in amber." I think you can see where this horoscope is going, Aries. I'm going to suggest you do what Powers advises: "Do not avoid your regrets. Embrace them. Listen to their stories. Hold them to your heart when you want to remember the price you paid to become who you truly are."
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Urbandictionary.com says that the newly coined word "orgasnom" is what you call the ecstatic feelings you have as you eat especially delectable food. It's derived, of course, from the word "orgasm." According to my reading of the astrological omens, you are in an excellent position to have a number of orgasmic-like breakthroughs in the coming week. Orgasnoms are certainly among them, but also orgasaurals, orgasights, and orgasversations - in other words, deep thrills resulting from blissful sounds, rapturous visions, and exciting conversations. I won't be surprised if you also experience several other kinds of beautiful delirium.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you were about to run in a long-distance race, you wouldn't eat a dozen doughnuts. Right? If you were planning to leave your native land and spend a year living in Ethiopia, you wouldn't immerse yourself in learning how to speak Chinese in the month before you departed. Right? In that spirit, I hope you'll be smart about the preparations you make in the coming weeks. This will be a time to prime yourself for the adventures in self-expression that will bloom in late September and the month of October. What is it you want to create at that time? What would you like to show the world about yourself?
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. It's the foundation of the most politically powerful nation on the planet. And yet when it originally went into effect in 1789, it was only 4,543 words long - about three times the length of this horoscope column. The Bill of Rights, enacted in 1791, added a mere 462 words. By contrast, India's Constitution is 117,000 words, more than 20 times longer. If you create a new master plan for yourself in the coming months, Cancerian - as I hope you will - a compact version like America's will be exactly right. You need diamond-like lucidity, not sprawling guesswork.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): There are two scientific terms for tickling. "Knismesis" refers to a soft, feathery touch that may be mildly pleasurable. It can be used to display adoring tenderness. The heavier, deeper kind of tickling is called "gargalesis." If playfully applied to sensitive parts of the anatomy, it can provoke fun and laughter. Given the current planetary alignments, Leo, I conclude that both of these will be rich metaphors for you in the coming days. I suggest that you be extra alert for opportunities to symbolically tickle and be tickled. (P.S. Here's a useful allegory: If you do the knismesis thing beneath the snout of a great white shark, you can hypnotize it.)