AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The renegade spiritual sect known as the Church of the Subgenius values one treasure above all others: not salvation, not enlightenment, not holiness, but rather Slack. And what is Slack? It is a state of being in which everything flows smoothly — a frame of mind so unfettered and at ease that the entire universe just naturally cooperates with you. When you’ve got abundant reserves of Slack, you don’t strain and struggle to make desired events unfold, and you don’t crave things you don’t really need. You’re surrendered to the greater intelligence that guides your life, and it provides you with a knack for attracting only what’s truly satisfying. Happy Slack Month, Aquarius! I suspect you will have loads of that good stuff, which means your freedom to be your authentic self will be at a peak.
Birthdays this month: Happy birthday to Paul Warford, Glenn Nuotio, Rick Bailey, Anita Singh, Noreen Golfman, Cyril Butler, Jill Sterner, Mark Wilson, Jenn Brown, Davey Zegarac, Chelsey Laird, Kerri Breen, Kevin Hehir, and Sherri Levesque. Send birthday info to firstname.lastname@example.org
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense,” said writer Gertrude Stein many decades ago. Isn’t that about a thousand times truer in 2011? It takes rigorous concentration not to be inundated with data. But that’s exactly your assignment, Pisces. It’s absolutely crucial for you to be a beacon of common sense in the coming days. To meet your dates with destiny, you will have to be earthy, uncluttered, well-grounded, and in close touch with your body’s intuition. If that requires you to cut back dramatically on the volume of information you take in, so be it.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Now and then, members of other astrological signs complain that I seem to favor you Aries above them. If that’s true, I’m certainly not aware of it. As far as I know, I love all the signs equally. I will say this, however: Due to the idiosyncrasies of my own personal horoscope, I have been working for years to get more skilled at expressing qualities that your tribe tends to excel at: being direct, acting fearless, knowing exactly what you want, cultivating a willingness to change, and leading by example. All these assets are especially needed by the people in your life right now.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I’ve found that even when people are successful in dealing with a long-term, intractable problem, they rarely zap it out of existence in one epic swoop. Generally they chip away at it, dismantling it little by little; they gradually break its hold with incremental bursts of unspectacular heroism. Judging from the astrological omens, though, I’d say that you Tauruses are ripe for a large surge of dismantling. An obstacle you’ve been hammering away at for months or even years may be primed to crumble dramatically.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): My brother Tom and I used to be on a softball team in Santa Cruz. I played third base and he was the pitcher. For one game he showed up with a new glove that still had the price tag dangling. I asked him if he was going to snip it off. “Nope,” he said. “It’ll subtly distract the batters and give me an advantage.” That day he pitched one of his best games ever. His pitches seemed to have extra mojo that kept the hitters off-balance. Were they even aware they were being messed with? I don’t think so. In fact, my theory is that because Tom’s trick was so innocuous, no one on the opposing team registered the fact that it was affecting their concentration. I suggest you try a similar strategy, Gemini
CANCER (June 21-July 22): A famous atheist named Edwin Kagin has incorporated performance art into his crusade against religious believers. Wielding a hairdryer, he “de-baptizes” ex-church-goers who want to reverse the effects of the baptism they experienced as children. The stream of hot air that Kagin blows against their foreheads is meant to exorcise the holy water daubed there way back when. Could you benefit from a similar ritual, Cancerian? If you have any inclinations to free yourself from early imprints, religious or otherwise, you’re in a favorable phase to do so.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In an old Star Trek episode, a woman visits the starship’s medical facility seeking chemicals she needs to start a hydroponic garden. The chief doctor, who has a high sense of self-worth and a gruff bedside manner, scowls at her. Why is she bothering him with such a trivial request? “Now I know how Hippocrates felt,” he complains, “when the King needed him to trim a hangnail.” (Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is referred to as the “Father of Medicine” because of his seminal influence on the healing professions.) I suspect that sometime soon, Leo, you will be in a position similar to the ship’s doctor. Unlike him, however, you should carry out the assignment with consummate grace. It’ll pay off for you in the long run — probably in ways you can’t imagine right now.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem,” he sings “There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.” From what I can tell, Virgo, the weeks ahead will be one of the best times all year for welcoming the light that comes through the cracks. In fact, I urge you to consider widening the cracks a little — maybe even splitting open a few new cracks — so that the wildly healing light can pour down on you in profusion.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When was the last time you created a masterpiece, Libra? I’m not necessarily talking about a work of art; it might have been an exquisite dinner you prepared for people you love . . . or a temporary alliance you forged that allowed you to accomplish the impossible . . . or a scary-fun adventure you risked that turned you into a riper human being with a more authoritative standing. Whether your last tour de force happened seven weeks ago or seven months ago, my sense is that you’re due for another one. The cosmic rhythms are conspiring to make you act like an artful genius.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Why is everything so eerily quiescent right now? Should you be worried? Has the momentum been sucked out of your life? Have you lost your way? Personally, I think you’re doing better than you realize. The dormancy is a temporary illusion. To help give you the perspective you need, I offer you this haiku-like poem by Imma von Bodmershof, translated by Petra Engelbert: “The great river is silent / only sometimes it sounds quietly / deep under the ice.”
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I saw ex-Poet Laureate Robert Hass read and discuss his poem “Etymology.” He said that while many of the fluids of the human body are named with English words, at least one isn’t: the moisture of a woman who is sexually aroused. The Anglo-Saxons did have a word for it, he noted: silm, which also referred to the look of moonlight on the water. “Poor language,” Hass concluded, bemoaning a vocabulary that ignores such an important part of human experience. Your assignment, Sagittarius, is to correct for any problems caused by poor language in your own sphere. If you’ve been lazy about articulating your meaning or needs, then please activate your deeper intelligence. If there’s a situation in your life that’s suffering from a sloppy use of words, reframe its contours with crisper speech. You could even coin some new words or borrow good ones from foreign tongues.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Stand-up comedian Arj Barker says that when he writes each of his jokes, he’s thinking that all he needs to do is make it funny enough to get at least three people in the audience to laugh at it. More than three is gravy, and he hopes he does get more. But if he can just get those three, he believes, he will always get a lot of work in his chosen profession. In accordance with the astrological rhythms, Capricorn, I urge you to adopt a similar approach. To be successful in the coming days, you don’t need an approval rating of 80 percent.
Homework: Happiness, that elusive beast, sometimes needs to be tracked through the bushes before capture. Send a description of your game plan for hunting down happiness in 2011. Write to Truthrooster@gmail.com.