Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19)

Work can be hazardous for the actors who portray cartoon and fairytale characters at Disney theme parks. The U.S. Health and Safety Administration reports that one-third of them have suffered on-the-job injuries. A prime cause of the mayhem: kids who kick and punch, sometimes out of misplaced exuberance and other times out of Lord-of-the-Flies-style malice. I wanted to preface my advice to you with that story, Aries. Your assignment this week is to summon the angelic 85 percent of your inner child to come out and play. As for the other 15 percent — the part of your inner child that might be inclined to pummel Mickey Mouse or headbutt Cinderella: Keep that rascal under wraps.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

Sometimes hope is an irrelevant waste of time, even a stupid self-indulgence. Let’s say, for instance, that I’m really hoping that a certain disagreeable person I’ve got to communicate with won’t answer when I call on the phone. That way, I can simply leave a message on his voice mail and avoid an unpleasant exchange. But it doesn’t matter what I hope. The guy will either answer or not, regardless of what I want. But there is another kind of hope that’s invigorating and transformative. Let’s say I have a hope that we humans will reverse the environmental catastrophes we’re perpetrating. Let’s say that my hope motivates me to live more sustainably and to inspire others to live more sustainably. Then my hope is a catalyst. Meditate on these things, Taurus. It’s a perfect time for you to get very clear about the two kinds of hope.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

*The Futurist* magazine predicts that by 2025, there’ll be a billion millionaires in the world. I hope you will be one of them. If you do end up in that fortunate position, it may well be because of the smart, aggressive actions you initiate in the next four months. Cosmic tendencies are in place for you to ensure your prosperity well into the future; now, all you have to do is understand and capitalize on those tendencies. Here’s a good place to start: Spend some quality time taking inventory of your financial life and brainstorming about a 17-year plan to make you a millionaire.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

The world record for attaching clothespins to one’s face is 153. Even if you’re tempted to surpass that mark, I beg you not to. Inflicting pain on yourself in order to impress someone or prove a point is never a good idea, but it’s an especially misguided notion right now. I wouldn’t object, however, if you did the opposite, which is to barrage yourself with pleasure in order to impress someone or prove a point. In my astrological opinion, it’s a perfect time to intensify your commitment to making yourself feel good. This is true for many reasons, but here’s one of the most important ones: It will have a magically tonic effect on your relationships with others.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

I would love to see you walking down the street dressed in a feathered headdress and white boots and leopard-print cashmere pants, plus maybe some scarlet velvet gloves and a silk T-shirt that says, “You don’t scare me.” To present yourself in such a bold and forthright manner would be in perfect alignment with your astrological omens. If that particular form of expression doesn’t feel right to you, please find an equivalent that does.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Could you get access to a crane with a wrecking ball? How about a chainsaw or sledgehammer? Metaphorically speaking, you may need some heavy equipment to do all the demolition work that’s necessary right now. Among the structures that could be due for destruction: a mental block you’ve been preserving out of perverse nostalgia; a prison cell you lock yourself inside on your off days; a half-built bridge you’re no longer interested in or capable of completing; a pedestal on which your fallen idol used to stand; and a door you nailed shut in order to seal yourself off from a person with whom you still have unfinished business.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

This is your best chance in a long time to meet people you’ve always wanted to meet. It’s also a favorable time to turn pretty good connections into excellent collaborations, and to adjust your role in your web of alliances so it’s closer to where you want it to be. None of these fine developments in your social life will magically unfold on their own, however. You can’t just sit back passively and hope that cosmic forces will somehow make them happen. So formulate your intentions crisply and act aggressively to manifest them.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Don’t just shamble down to the pizzeria and gobble a slab of greasy cheese, tomato sauce  and dough. Instead, arrange for an interesting person who likes you to home-deliver a pizza lovingly prepared by a gourmet chef. For that matter, Scorpio, don’t tolerate mediocrity or the lowest common denominator in any area of your life. The Season of the Peak Experience is here — a time when you have a sacred duty to give your best, commune with the highest, and ask for excellence.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

I don’t recommend that you go on a spiritual retreat at the Zen monastery near Mount Kumgang in North Korea. As exquisite as the place is, the repressive government’s secret police are suspicious of tourists and would probably make your trip miserable. Likewise, don’t take a vacation on the gorgeous beaches of eastern Somalia. Pirates prowl the coastal areas of that lawless land, and anyone can buy a hand grenade for $10 at the outdoor markets in nearby Mogadishu. No, Sagittarius, while it is an excellent time to leave your familiar haunts and expose yourself to exotic scenes, you should be acutely discerning about where you go. In my opinion, you need a sanctuary that simultaneously surprises you and deepens your sense of being at home in the world.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

“You have to love life when you’re in really deep trouble,” said poet Robin Blaser. So what about if, on the other hand, you’re in only shallow trouble? Do you have a mandate to just sort of like life a little more? Or can you, with a little work, exploit the mild disturbance that the shallow trouble provides in order to dramatically pump up your adoration of life? I hope that your actions in the coming week, Capricorn, will be a big “yes” in response to that question. I’m happy to tell you that you can wangle a big boost from a small inconvenience.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Some bars are now charging fines to people who drunkenly puke on their floors. I advise you to stay out of such places in the coming week. Better yet, don’t get so wasted that you hurl anywhere. It’s one of those rare periods when every little sin will be quickly punished, when every excess will provoke an equal and opposite reaction. On the other hand, this is also a time when even minor eruptions of virtue will be immediately rewarded, when every brave act and self-disciplined shift will bring you an opportunity.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

Two friends of mine, a couple engaged to be wed, rode their bicycles for days up the Northern California coast from San Francisco to Oregon. They saw many other riders pedaling from north to south during their trip, but they rarely encountered anyone heading in the same direction they were. Why? The wind was blowing against them the entire way. When they stopped to rest they would sometimes meet and talk with bicyclists whose destination was San Francisco. “Why are you riding against the wind?” the other travelers inevitably wanted to know. My friends enjoyed replying, “We’re building our characters so we’ll be strong enough to stay in love after we’re married.” They’re your role models for the coming weeks, Pisces. Do some against-the-wind work to prepare yourself for your next big assignment, which is to make your intimate relationships more interesting and invigorating and enduring.

Homework: I dare you to bestow three blessings you’ve never even dreamed of bestowing. Report results to me at FreeWillAstrology.com.

Free will astrology

Free will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19):

Anna Renalda Hyatt, a reader from Colorado, bragged to me about her prowess. “My capacity for expressing love far surpasses that of anyone I have ever met,” she wrote. “I am a Sublime Genius of Love, a Master of Unconditional Compassion, a Virtuoso of Deep Empathy.” Your assignment in the coming days, Aries, is to compete with her: Unleash a perfect storm of ingenious passion that  will ignite subtle revolutions everywhere you go. Explore the frontiers of smart love.

TAURUS April 20-May 20):

Your teeth aren’t white enough. Your laugh sounds weird. Something’s amiss with the way you solve problems; I’m not sure what, I just know you’ve got a disability there. And as for your hair: Could you please change it so it doesn’t make you appear so out of touch with reality? OK, now relax. Everything I just said was a bad joke — it wasn’t true at all. I wanted to show you how susceptible you are to believing the lie that you should be different from what you actually are. The fact is, Taurus, this is an excellent time for you to practice feeling a total acceptance of and curious fascination with yourself. Try saying this out loud: “I am perfectly myself.”

GEMINI May 21-June 20):

At the end of a recent school year, only 37 percent of New York’s high school students passed the state- administered math exam. Instead of withholding diplomas from the other 63 percent, officials nullified the results and eased the standards for future tests. Normally, I’m queasy about lowering the criteria for success, but in this case I approve. Math is absurdly overvalued as an educational necessity. There are many other subjects that should get more emphasis in the high school curriculum. Teach logic, not algebra! Teach critical thinking, not trigonometry! My rant is a prelude to the climax of your horoscope, which is this: Stop pushing so hard to accomplish a task that’s really not all that important in the long run.

CANCER June 21-July 22):

During a trip to India, my friend Jeff paid a boatman to row him out into the Ganges River for a little recreational cruise. When they got there, the boatman stopped and refused to move, let alone row him back to shore, unless Jeff forked over a surcharge. Don’t let something like that happen to you in the coming week, Cancerian. Always have a well-planned arrangement, agreed on in advance, to come back from wherever you’re brave enough to go. Be experimental, yes. Explore new territory, yes. Be willing to surrender some control, yes. But make sure you’ve got a return ticket.

LEO July 23-Aug. 22):

“Everybody experiences far more than he understands,” said philosopher Marshall McLuhan. “Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior.” This is always true, but it will have special meaning for you in the coming days. You’re about to be inundated by a flood of raw perceptions, sensations and feelings, and only a fraction of it will be nameable, let alone comprehensible. That shouldn’t be a problem, though. Your job is simply to marvel at all the novelty that’s flowing in, not to be in an anxious hurry to define it.

VIRGO Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

Your life story is about to deepen and sweeten and get more interesting — if, that is, you follow the trail of clues into the dark forest, and if, as you travel, you hum songs that are both sad and happy, and if you call on the spirit of your favorite dead person to accompany you. Of course, you’re perfectly free to refuse the call of your destiny, and never even take a glance into the dark forest. But in my opinion, that would cheat you out of some profound fun that has the potential to teach you and tune you for many years to come.

LIBRA Sept. 23-Oct. 22):

I came across a website called “The Common Man’s Book of World Records.” It lists triumphs that have been ignored by the more famous Guinness Book. It tells us that Basel Nevins licked an asphalt road for 77 minutes straight, establishing an unsurpassed benchmark. Melissa Lassitter set the world record for number of hoagies crammed into a bra, with eight; Glen Schlacknik did an astounding 5,216 squat-thrusts on an escalator in one session; and Charles Zenk threw a mailbox 33 feet. In the coming week, I invite you to be inspired by these unsung masters, Libra. According to my reading of the omens, you’re primed to achieve peaks of accomplishment that few others have even attempted.

SCORPIO Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

According to Jewish legend, there are in each generation 36 righteous humans who prevent the rest of us from being destroyed. Through their extraordinary good deeds and their love of the divine spark, they save the world over and over again. They’re not famous saints, though. They go about their business anonymously, and no one knows how crucial they are to our well-being. Might you be one of the 36? I bet you’ll be acting like one of them in the coming week. Your capacity for disseminating blessings will be astounding. The ripples of benevolence you initiate could ultimately go around the planet and return to you.

SAGITTARIUS Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

In his book The Medusa and the Snail, science writer Lewis Thomas said that the English word “error” developed from a root meaning “to wander about, looking for something.” That’s why he liked Darwin’s idea that error is the driving force in evolution. I think this wandering-about-looking-for- something approach should be the driving force in your personal evolution, Sagittarius. The coming weeks will be a great time to meander and get distracted and stumble upon unexpected opportunities. May all your mutations have a positive spin! (P.S. Lewis also wrote this: “The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.”)

CAPRICORN Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

I predict you will have 32 dreams as you sleep in the coming week. In at least five of those adventures, you will be offered a chance to wield a magic hammer like the one that belonged to the Norse god Thor. You’re under no obligation to use it, of course. But if you do, it could help you smite dream adversaries, from stupid giants to evil ducks to rash-covered devils. You could also take advantage of it to build things, like a dream house or a dream boat. The proper use of the hammer will be a constant test, since you’ll have to be ever-alert and adaptable as you decide whether to employ it for destruction or creation.

AQUARIUS Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

“Why, I don’t even respect myself, I tell ya,” said comedian Rodney Dangerfield. “When I make love, I have to fantasize that I am somebody else!” Your assignment, Aquarius, is to experiment with just the second half of that formulation. In other words, while you’re making love, fantasize that you’re somebody else. But do it because you care deeply about yourself — so deeply that you want to transcend your customary reactions and expand your identity. Do it because you dare to awaken to previously unknown possibilities of who you might be. By the way, this exercise will yield even better results if you not only play with experimental self- images when you’re doing the wild thing, but all the rest of the time as well.

PISCES Feb. 19-March 20):

In her book Zen Miracles, Brenda Shoshanna defines the “shadow” as being the unacceptable aspects of ourselves that we dump into our unconscious minds. As we avoid looking at that hidden stuff, it festers. Meanwhile, we project it onto people we know, imagining that they possess the qualities we’re repressing. The antidote to this problem, says Shoshanna, is to “eat our shadow” — haul it up from out of the pit and develop a conscious connection with it. Doing so not only prevents our unacknowledged darkness from haunting our thoughts and distorting our relationships; it also liberates tremendous psychic energy. I’m telling you this, Pisces, because it’s an excellent time to eat your shadow.

Homework: See what you can do to influence an institution that influences you. Report results to RealAstrology.com. Click on “Email Rob.”

Free will astrology

Free will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19):
After studying your astrological omens for the upcoming weeks, I got really excited. There was so much I wanted to tell you. I popped a chunk of organic, fair-trade, cruelty-free, espresso-tinctured chocolate in my mouth and sat down to type an extravagant message. Maybe it was because I was overly pumped up, but in the next moment I accidentally swallowed the candy whole. What a waste! I’d gotten none of the bliss of sliding it around my tongue and mouth. But I recognized this apparent bad luck as a sign of what I needed to tell you: Don’t get so worked up about the oncoming pleasures that you engorge them whole without even tasting them.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
In My Other Life, Paul Theroux imagines another version of himself — the "story of a life I could have lived had things been different." I think you’d benefit from carrying out a similar exercise, Taurus. Daydream about the inner potentials you’ve never developed, the inviting destinations you’ve never actually sought out, the initial interests that never grew into full-fledged relationships — and then fantasize that you are in fact doing those things. Aside from being fun, this experiment could lead you to actually try out some possibilities that maybe you should have considered long ago. And it might at least free up energy that has been trapped inside feelings of remorse.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
Kate Knapp Johnson’s poem "Meadow" begins like this: "Half the day lost, staring/ at this window. I wanted to know/ just one true thing/ about the soul." She goes on to imply that she wasn’t successful in her meditation. You, on the other hand, will enjoy a boom time if you go in quest of such insight. By next week, you could discover at least five true things about the soul. Here’s one possible truth now: The soul needs nourishing stories in the same way the body needs healthy food.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):
I really do feel that you’re here with me as I create these horoscopes. In a sense, you’re my assistant. Our telepathic connection is utterly palpable and practical. The hopes and questions you project my way stream into my higher mind, coloring my psychic environment and enriching my desire to give you exactly what you need. Now, in accordance with the astrological omens, I’m asking you to give our collaboration more conscious intention. It’s time for you to be aggressive about seeking help and inspiration — not just from me, but from everyone. Try this for starters: Once a day for five minutes, visualize that you and I are sitting face-to- face and discussing the issues that feed your longing to be brave and free and authentic and smart and loving and creative.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free," said the sculptor Michelangelo about a statue he made. Let that approach be your guide in the coming weeks, Leo. Proceed according to the hypothesis that the beautiful thing you want to create is embedded in stuff that’s hiding its true nature, and your job is simply to liberate it from what’s extraneous.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
"Dear Rob ‘Fat-Burner’ Brezsny: I used the Sweet and Sassy Toner video and lost only two pounds in five weeks. I tried the No More Love Handles program and actually gained weight. The only thing that really worked was your column. Reading your horoscopes has, I’m convinced, been responsible for bringing me much closer to having my dream body. You’ve helped me jettison a ton of psychic fat, not to mention a wad of guilt, a load of concern about what other people think of me, and a mass of remorse about the past. I never realized how much of my extra weight had to do with psychological burdens I was carrying. This is the lightest I’ve ever been! Grateful Virgo." Dear Grateful: Give yourself credit, too. It has been courageous of you to get rid of your unnecessary buffers. By the way, this week will be the climax of the shedding process. Celebrate your success by emptying out even more.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
Barack Obama may not be the messiah, but in comparison to the person he will replace as President of the United States next January, he’s the second coming of King Arthur. Still, it’s crucial to keep in mind that Obama can’t single-handedly and magically heal all the havoc inflicted on America and the world by He- Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The resuscitation will have to be accomplished primarily by we-the-people, and as much on the local level as in the federal realm. In the same way, Libra, fixing the problems that are vexing your personal sphere must be the task of the whole group, not just the boss or leader. I suggest you work on convincing everyone to take more responsibility and be more accountable. It’s time to apply the principles of grass-roots democracy to your own life.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
In ancient Egypt, wealthy people adorned their pet crocodiles with gold bracelets, amulets, and other jewelry. Let’s use that as a metaphor for you in the coming week. What is the most beastly and dangerous part of your psyche, and how might you beautify it? What steps could you take to civilize or ennoble your reptilian brain? Are there any ways you could make the crocodilian aspect of yourself look less scary and more inviting?

SAGITTARIUS  (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
It’s like you’ve stumbled upon the Cosmic Lost and Found Office, Sagittarius. Whether or not it happened "by mistake" is irrelevant: It’s an opportunity to recover good stuff that prematurely disappeared from your life. But keep in mind that your valuables may be mixed in with abandoned and forgotten junk, both yours and other people’s. You might initially feel discouraged at the prospect of having to wade through all that meaningless dross in order to locate your treasures. Don’t give up. Your diligence will ultimately be rewarded.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
Here’s my first question: Are you willing to change yourself in ways that would allow you to get more of the love you long for? Here’s my second question: If you are willing to change yourself, are you capable of actually carrying out those changes, thereby creating a permanent shift in your identity? If your answer to those two questions is yes, the coming weeks will be prime time to get to work. Now here’s my third question: In what precise ways would you have to change yourself in order to get more of the love you long for? Write down or print out your thoughts on a piece of red paper.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
A cardinal had a confrontation with my picture window yesterday. For 45 minutes, it hammered its beak against the glass. With the help of my good friend and research assistant Google, I figured out that the bird had probably mistaken its own reflection for a rival that it was trying to attack. Now I’m offering this scene as a cautionary metaphor for you, Aquarius. Keep three lessons in mind: 1. If you feel the urge to fight others, you’re probably mad about something in yourself. 2. Watch your tendency to get fixated on an image that is at best a distorted representation of a real thing and not the real thing itself. 3. Don’t hurt yourself or drive yourself crazy in an effort to chase away an illusion.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
The uterus of a pregnant sand tiger shark is not exactly a peaceful sanctuary. Her eggs hatch in there well before she gives birth. Soon the multiple embryos begin a fight to the death. By the time the mother goes into labor, there’s just one pup remaining. I suspect there’s now a similar kind of survival-of- the-fittest struggle going on within the metaphorical womb of your imagination, Pisces. Several pretty good brainchildren are tussling for supremacy. Which one will defeat and eat the others and grow into maturity? I bet we’ll find out soon.

Homework: If you could be any other sign besides the one you actually are, what would it be, and why? Testify at FreeWillAstrology.com.

Free will astrology

Free will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19):

"The only way to get a difficult feeling to go away is simply to love yourself for it," says author Christiane Northrup. "If you think you’re stupid, then love yourself for feeling that way. It’s a paradox, but it works. To heal, you must . . . shine the light of compassion on any areas within you that you feel are unacceptable." While I personally believe this is a crafty strategy, I suggest adding a twist in order to double its effectiveness: As you’re loving yourself for your difficult feeling, literally laugh out loud at how crazily worried and wound up you are about it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):

According to Harper’s Index, 97 percent of us believe that following our own conscience is a sign of a strong character. On the other hand, 92 percent of us think that obeying authorities shows strong character. What that apparently means is that most of us feel we can and should heed the dictates of our own conscience and please the people who control things. In the coming weeks, I think that might be possible for you to do once or twice. But most the time, I suspect you’ll have to decide between being either an impeccable rebel or loyal devotee.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):

Some people skip to the end of a book and read the last few pages while they’re still in its early stages. They want to know what will ultimately happen without going through the steps that lead up to it. While it’s harmless to prematurely peek at how a book’s story resolves, trying a similar approach could cause problems if you do it with your life in the coming weeks. Distortions might arise from trying to "time-travel" to a future date and foresee the outcome of a process you’re in the middle of. It could sap your ability to carry out the work you’ll need to do. Or it may fill you with false expectations that cause you to misjudge your allies. Be patient.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):

Mazel tov is a Hebrew phrase meaning "good luck," but its literal translation is "may the stars be good to you." It suggests that stellar energies influence our fate. In his book Jewish Magic and Superstition, Joshua Trachtenberg riffs on Judaism’s ancient debate about the subject: "The stars determine human actions, but they too are creatures of God, established by Him to perform this special function, and therefore the influence they exert is subject to His Will. Repentance, prayer, piety, charity, good deeds . . . are the instruments by means of which man can induce G-d to alter His decrees and consequently to modify the fate that is written in the stars for him." I offer this, Cancerian, as evidence that the title of my column, "Free Will Astrology," is not an oxymoron. You have more power to shape your destiny than you imagine — and now is a perfect time to prove it.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):

This oracle was originally commissioned by a spiritual wilderness school to train its students in high-stress meditation. It has been tested by disciplined explorers who’ve learned to be fluid and resourceful in the midst of natural chaos. Now it’s being made available to you, Leo — just in time for the last stretch of your dash (or crawl) across the wasteland. By contemplating the code phrase that appears at the end of this message, you will discover the key for turning poisons into medicine, taking advantage of your weaknesses, and knowing your direction without a compass. Here it is: Love the beauty and intelligence that are hidden in your darkness.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):

In Terry Pratchett’s book Wyrd Sisters, there’s a passage in which he talks about how the sun conspires with the forest to pump millions of gallons of sap hundreds of feet from the ground up into the sky. And it all happens "in one great systolic thump too big and loud to be heard." That’s the kind of activity I recommend for you in the coming weeks, Virgo. Collaborate with the source of all life — the physical sun, if that’s your preference, or God or Goddess, if that works better for you — to pull off a huge movement of lifeblood that brings sustenance from below to above.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):

In July 1969, astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the second human to walk on the moon. That was the good news. The bad news was that as he carried out his heroic feat, he wet his pants. He testifies to the event in the documentary film In the Shadow of the Moon. I suspect you may soon have a comparable experience, Libra: experiencing a little boo-boo or no-no while you’re riding high. Though it may make you feel vulnerable at the time, it’s trivial in the big scheme of things and isn’t likely to stick with you. How many people even know that Aldrin accidentally peed at his moment of glory?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):

About 9 million people see this column regularly. On average, nine of them experience a one-in-a-million coincidence each week. In the next seven days, however, I believe as many as 90,000 of my readers will have that kind of mind-blowing synchronicity, and most of them will be Scorpios. That’s because your tribe is in a phase when happy accidents and miraculous flukes are practically unavoidable. Even if you don’t brush up against a one-in- a-million stroke of lucky fate, I bet you’ll be touched by a one-in-a- thousand event.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

"Dear Flow Meister: I’ve been surfing the tidal waves of emotion for many days, and am proud to say I haven’t wiped out once (though here were two near-misses). But to tell you the truth, I don’t know how much longer I can perform this balancing act. How much stamina can one person have? Do you psychically see signs that I’ll reach shore anytime soon? -Wobbly Surfer." Dear Wobbly: I predict an end to your trials by Wednesday, July 23 — or earlier if you, too, become a flow meister.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):

"Ice cream is both innocent and erotic," writes Klintron on Technoccult.com. "Coffee promises to be both stimulating and relaxing." These examples illustrate the idea of "paradessence," or paradoxical essence, which was developed by Alex Shakar in his novel The Savage Girl. I suspect that you’ll specialize in paradessence in the coming days, Capricorn. Will that make you feel tormented by crazy-making contradictions or will it excite you with an expanding sense of complex possibilities? It will be largely up to your intentions. Which would you prefer?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):

It’s Wallow in Your Envy and Jealousy Week. During this holiday, you may in good conscience explore your covetous resentments and plumb the depths of your longing for what others have attained. Here’s the payoff: Giving yourself this perverse pleasure should keep you relatively free from envy and jealousy for the next three months. To get yourself in the mood, read this excerpt from Dave Morrison’s poem "Jealous": "I am jealous of those who do stupid things and feel no shame. I am jealous of the dead for their reduced workload, jealous of newborn babies for their clean records. I’m jealous of those older than me for what they know, and those younger than me for what they don’t. I am jealous of dogs who don’t think about living, or dying, they just do."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):

The world’s oldest penises are 400 million years old. Discovered in Scotland in 2001, they’re part of the fossilized remains of an arachnid species known as daddy longlegs. In reporting their find, the paleontologists marveled that the reproductive organ was two-thirds the size of the entire creature. Let’s make this ancient genital a power symbol for you, Pisces. (If you prefer, you can focus on the 400-million-year-old daddy longlegs’ vaginas that were also found.) I hope it inspires you to think back to the time when your sexual desires first began to stir. The future of your intimate relationships will benefit from you reconnecting to the primal purity of your original erotic urges.

Homework: Devise a plan not to get back to where you once belonged, but rather to where you must one day belong. Testify at FreeWillAstrology.com.

Free will astrology

Free will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19):
Here’s the first rule of panning for gold: Go to a slow-moving stream where flecks of the precious metal have been found by others in the past. The second rule is this: Although gold is carried along by the current, it’s heavier than water and thus rarely appears right on the surface. Look deeper. A third pointer is that if you do ultimately find substantial treasure, it’ll be because you will have gradually accumulated a number flakes and nuggets over an extended period of time. You’ve got to be patient. Now, Aries, apply everything I just said to your search for metaphorical gold.

TAURUS  (April 20-May 20):
In his song "Get Behind the Mule," Tom Waits tells us to "Never let the weeds get taller than the garden." That’s advice you should heed in the coming weeks. But don’t go overboard and become a fanatic who acts as if weeds are evil demons from the ninth level of hell. Keeping a few well-trimmed wild plants and a mushroom or two would be quite healthy. You need a bit of messy serendipity mixed in with your law and order.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
In her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard notes that there is only a tiny difference between the lifebloods of plants and animals. A molecule of chlorophyll contains 36 atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon arrayed around an atom of magnesium, while a molecule of hemoglobin is exactly the same except for an atom of iron instead of magnesium. I offer this as an apt metaphor to illustrate the choice you have ahead of you: As similar as the various possibilities may seem, the simple thing you put at the center of each option will make a tremendous difference.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):
It’s Beautify Yourself Week, dear Cancerian. A conspiracy of cosmic proportions is preparing the conditions necessary for you to capitalize handsomely on this opportunity. At this very moment, there is beauty behind you and beauty in front of you. There is beauty to your left and beauty to your right, beauty above you and beauty below you. All you have to do is inhale, drink in, and otherwise suck up this lushness. It will interact synergistically with the splendor that is also welling up in you, and you will transform into an almost unbearably gorgeous work of art.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Are you up for some cutting-edge slashing and smashing and crashing? I’m talking about slashing the price you’ve been paying for following your dreams; smashing beliefs that made sense years ago but are irrelevant now; and crashing parties where your future teachers and allies are gathered. Once you get the hang of all that, Leo, you can move on to other brilliant demolitions, like cracking codes, breaking trances, and shattering spells cast on you by the past.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
When Tom first arrived in Santa Cruz from South Carolina at age 22, he was homeless and had $110. He quickly scored a temp job as a laborer, doing menial tasks at construction sites. His first assignment was at a place where a delivery truck had accidentally dropped a load of lumber at the bottom of a hill instead of at the top where a new house was to be built. Tom’s job was to carry the heavy boards and beams up the hill one by one. He felt a bit like Sisyphus in the Greek myth — that forlorn character whose punishment by the gods required him to push a boulder up a hill again and again, only to have it plummet down each time as he reached the peak. Unlike Sisyphus, things got better for Tom. During the next 15 years, he became a successful real estate agent. One day he sold the million-dollar house that had been built from the wood he’d once toted up the hill. This is a perfect time, Virgo, for you to predict and plot out a long-term personal triumph that will match Tom’s.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
It’s the Power-Gathering Season for you, Libra. A good way to energize your efforts would be to define clearly and imaginatively what power means to you. I’ve got two riffs to get you started. First, here’s one from a famous French ruler whose name I’ll withhold so as not to distract you from the riff itself: "I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies." Here’s the second definition, from poet Dennis Holt in his newsletter "Quincunx": "Power is what sends the woodpecker down from his tree to poke for worms in the muddy road one morning after all-night rain on a ridge above the Pacific within earshot of the surf."

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
I’m not a big fan of Disneyland, but that doesn’t mean I can’t borrow its ideas for your use. The fact is, Scorpio, the coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to identify your own personal versions of frontierland, adventureland, or tomorrowland. I’m not talking about experiences and places that resemble glitzy theme-parks, but rather the wild and thrilling things that gently shock your mind into expanding. You’re in a phase of your cycle when you’ll tend to generate good luck and helpful synchronicity by pushing your imagination beyond its usual fantasies.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
Beginning in 1951, the U.S. government regularly set off nuclear bombs in the desert 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Most of the 1,021 explosions occurred underground, though for 11 years some were also done in the open air. Tourists used to flock to Las Vegas to watch the mushroom clouds, which were visible from that distance. As far as we know, the detonations ceased in 1992. Also as far as we know, the unusual lifestyles of Las Vegas’s inhabitants are not the result of mutations in their DNA caused by radioactive contamination. Let’s use this scenario as a departure point for your own personal inventory, Sagittarius. What dangerous or tempestuous events from your life are now safely confined to the past? Are there any lingering consequences from them? If so, what might you do to heal?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
By the year 2100, some human beings will be married to sophisticated robots. So concludes David Levy, who got a doctorate from a Dutch university for his thesis, "Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners." Let’s use his prophecy as a jumping-off point for your meditation, Capricorn. In your fantasies about togetherness, are you unconsciously harboring any unrealistic desires for robotic perfection? If so, are they interfering with your ability to have deep and satisfying relationships with interesting but flawed people? Take inventory of any tendencies you might have to want artificial partners. Then dissolve those delusions.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
"Dear Rob: After a long stretch of patiently putting up with God’s mean-spirited tricks, I decided I’d had enough. So I fired Him. Now I’m going to create a brand new deity from scratch. Do you have any recommendations on what qualities a truly cool divine being might possess? – Awakening Aquarius." Dear Awakening: One quality your fresh god should have is an appreciation for your originality. You also deserve a deity who likes it when you take your fate into your own hands. That’s all I’ll say. It’s a good time for you Aquarians to shun other people’s ideas about the divine influences and brainstorm extravagantly about what’s true for you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
What are the differences between tacky, meaningless fun and beautiful, constructive fun? What are the distinctions between dumb, trivial pleasure and smart, life-exalting pleasure? I’m hoping that meditations on these subjects will inspire you to overcome any laziness you might have about cultivating happiness. It’s a perfect time for you to attempt this monumental accomplishment, you see. You’re at a potential turning point in your astrological cycle, a time when you could get in the habit of treating your hero’s journey as if it were an ever-evolving celebration.

Homework: True or false: You can’t get what you want from another person until you’re able to give it to yourself. Explain why or why not. FreeWillAstrology.com.

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