Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

ARIES
(March 21-April 19)

“Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed,” said writer Irene Peter. That should be cautionary advice for you in 2011, Aries. From what I can tell, it will be relatively easy for you to rearrange the way things look, but trickier to transform them from the inside out. You will have to be vigilant to keep from getting swept up in the giddiness of big talk at the expense of practical action. You’ll have to push hard to make sure that seductive ideas are translated into concrete details. Can you do it? I think you can.

TAURUS
(April 20-May 20)

In 1967, John McCain was a U.S. Navy pilot fighting in Vietnam. Shot down during a bombing mission, he was captured and jailed in the notorious Hanoi Hilton prison camp, where he was tortured. After being freed in 1973, he returned to the U.S.  and eventually launched a political career. When he ran for president in 2008, his candidacy got an endorsement from an unlikely source: Tran Trong Duyet, the Vietnamese prison commander who had supervised his torture. In the coming months, Taurus, I expect you to experience a turnaround that will have comparable poetic justice. I’m not sure how it will unfold. Maybe an adversary will praise you, a person who wounded you will make amends, or a force of nature that once opposed you will come over to your side. 2011 will be a Year of Vindicating Reversals.

GEMINI
(May 21-June 20)

Can you finally escape the pain you got imprinted with during adolescence? Is it a realistic possibility that you could triumph over the conditioning you absorbed before you knew how to talk? Do you have the power to do what few of us have done, which is to get out from under the weight of the past, shed the inertia of your memories, and live brave and free in the raw truth of NOW? If there will ever in your life be a time when you can accomplish at least some of this noble quest, Gemini, it will be in 2011.

CANCER
(June 21-July 22)

Decades ago, the U.S. built a network of sleek expressways to make it fast and easy for cars to travel between cities.

But like many of America’s impressive engineering feats, this one took little account of what the human soul might enjoy. Ugly buildings or empty spaces surround many of those roads. Visually, the difference between I-95 in Georgia and I-74 in Illinois is negligible. “The Interstate highway system has made it possible,” said Charles Kuralt, “to go from sea to shining sea without seeing anything.” You cannot afford to let this be your operative metaphor in 2011, Cancerian. Your potential for rapid, extensive progress is sizable, but it would be a mistake to barrel along with your eyes fixed on the prize in the distance as you neglect what’s happening along the way. Be both global and local; romance the details as you revel in the big picture.

LEO
(July 23-Aug. 22)

Fixing people’s teeth is one of Dr. Peter Kertesz’s specialties. The British dentist has a thriving business in London.

Now and then, he’s also called on to practice an exotic variation: animal dentistry. Recently, he corrected the tooth problems of two tigers in a zoo. Other species he has helped include elephants, whales and pandas. In 2011, Leo, I suggest you consider branching out like Dr. Kertesz. What would be the equivalent, in your domain, of expanding the ways you use your primary skills?

VIRGO
(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

“What can I do with this eternal longing?” That’s the first line of “Assouf,” a song by the African band Tinariwen.

During the rest of the tune, the singer never offers a definitive answer to that plea, but as he tumbles and rumbles over the possibilities, the band plays a lot of righteous music. I suggest that you make Tinariwen’s cry your question of the year in 2011. It will be an excellent use of your time to meditate on how to call forth, nurture and direct your ineffable, insatiable yearning. (Hear the song: http://tinyurl.com/Assouf.)

LIBRA
(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

In 2011, I believe you will have the chance to weave your fortunes together with an abundance of allies who are good for you. They will be your equals, they will share at least some of your most important values, and they will respect you for who you are. That’s excellent news, right? My only worry is that you might shy away from the demands that such invigorating collaborations will make on you. It would be less work, after all, to fall back into reliance on more prosaic relationships that don’t ask so much of you. Please don’t take the easy way out, Libra. Rise to the occasion!

SCORPIO
(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Michelangelo didn’t think of himself as primarily a painter. Sculpture was his first love. Yet in 1508, he was coaxed into painting prodigious frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. As he worked for four years, covering 12,000 square feet with sublime images, he sometimes complained and felt resentful. The project took him away from two large sculptures he would have preferred to be working on. He feared his enemies had convinced the Pope to give him this task in order to demonstrate how mediocre his painting was. But today, his work at the Sistine Chapel is regarded as a masterpiece. I suspect that in 2011, you may face a version of Michelangelo’s dilemma, Scorpio: being offered a job you don’t consider your forte. It’s quite possible, however, that accepting this “diversion” will yield interesting results.

SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

“When I became a man, I put away childish things,” said Sagittarian author C.S. Lewis, “including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” I suggest you take up that attitude yourself in 2011, Sagittarius. One of your top assignments in the coming months will be to play with greater intensity and more frequency and a heightened imagination. If you want to achieve your adult goals, you’ll be wise to recreate your childhood wisdom on a higher octave.

CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

“We Americans are the best informed people on earth as to the events of the last twenty-four hours,” wrote historian Will Durant some decades ago. “We are the not the best informed as to the events of the last sixty centuries,” he concluded. Today, this describes many Westerners, not just Americans. We are adrift in the Age of the Short Attention Span — a time when the lessons of the past are becoming lost or irrelevant. But in 2011, I’ll be rooting for you to elude this curse, Capricorn. It’s crucial for you to be in close touch with both the lessons provided by the grand sweep of human civilization and by your own personal history.

AQUARIUS
(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

“The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority,” said author A.A. Milne. “The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.” You will have an excellent chance to cultivate that definition of a first-rate mind in 2011, Aquarius. According to my reading of the astrological omens, life will be conspiring to strengthen your brain. You will have everything going for you if you make it your intention to sharpen your wits, use language more precisely, and see the world with greater clarity and objectivity. To get the fun started, make a list of what you could do to push your intelligence beyond its current limits.

PISCES
(Feb. 19-March 20)

“Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness,” said philosopher Bertrand Russell. If I had my way, Pisces, you’d write that on a note and tape it to your bathroom mirror for the duration of 2011. I think it would raise your appreciation for the power your personal gifts have to bestow blessings on both yourself and others. And I hope it would inspire you to spend a lot of quality time finding out all you can about what you’re good at and deepening your capacity to do what you’re good at.

Homework: To check out my expanded audio forecast of your destiny in 2011, go to RealAstrology.com.

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

ARIES
(March 21-April 19)

“There’s always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in,” wrote novelist Graham Greene. I’ll add to that: There are at least three moments in adulthood when a new door opens and invites the rest of the future in. Judging by the astrological omens, I’m guessing that one such breakthrough lies ahead for you in 2011. What can you do to expedite and encourage fate’s summons? Here’s one possibility: Surrender to the naked truth of what you love.

TAURUS
(April 20-May 20)

If oil companies were given permission to sink their drilling rigs into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the petroleum they produced would ultimately lower gasoline prices by four cents per gallon. To my mind, that’s not a good trade-off. Let this scenario serve as a cautionary metaphor for you in 2011, Taurus. Don’t share your pristine wilderness or soulful beauty with exploitative types who offer iffy rewards. Instead, hold out for those who appreciate you profoundly and whose own gifts help you to thrive.

GEMINI
(May 21-June 20)

Freud said that among all human endeavors, there were three “impossible professions” that inevitably yielded unsatisfying results. They were child-rearing, the governing of nations, and psychoanalysis. My own experiences don’t entirely confirm this. My parents raised me pretty well and I’ve given my daughter a decent upbringing. Of the nine psychotherapists I’ve consulted in my life, two were excellent healers and none was damaging. But even those relatively winning projects were sometimes fraught with unsolvable riddles, chronic frustrations and maddening uncertainties. I bring this up, Gemini, because I think 2011 will be a time when you will generate far more gratification and success than usual in your own versions of “impossible professions.” Unsolvable riddles, chronic frustrations and maddening uncertainties won’t be completely absent, but they could very well be at an all-time low.

CANCER
(June 21-July 22)

“We have to believe in free will. We have no choice.” So said author Isaac Bashevis Singer. I encourage you to adopt that puckish thought as your motto in 2011, my fellow Cancerian. According to my reading of the astrological omens, this will be our year to supercharge our willpower and intensify our ability to carry out our plans — but always with good humor and a highly tuned sense of irony. In fact, one of the best ways to deepen our command over our own unconscious impulses and the caprices of fate will be to take ourselves — and everything else, too — less seriously.

LEO
(July 23-Aug. 22)

The coming year will be a time to think big — maybe even bigger than you’ve dared to think in more than a decade. That doesn’t mean you should be rash, reckless or unrealistic. On the contrary. Your expansive dreams should be carefully wrought and anchored in a detailed understanding of how things actually work. As an example of what not to do, learn from Snoop Dog. The rapper wanted to rent all 62 square miles of the small European nation of Liechtenstein so he could film his music video there. Liechtenstein authorities turned him down, but only because his team didn’t ask far enough in advance. Had he been better organized, the whole country could have been his.

VIRGO
(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

An Oregon man named Don Wesson stopped his truck by the side of the road and took home a 40-pound rock that caught his eye. That was more than a decade ago. For years, he used it as part of a border to prevent his dog from messing up his garden. Then he saw a TV show about meteorites and brought the rock to scientists. They told him it was a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite that fell to earth long ago and originally came from the asteroid belt. Other experts told him he could probably sell the exotic artifact for as much as $40,000. I predict a metaphorically similar development in your life during the coming year: the discovery of a valuable old thing from far away that you will underestimate at first.

LIBRA
(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Richard Grossinger is my friend, my teacher and the brilliant author of numerous books. (His latest is called 2013.) He is also a humble adept in the high art of gratitude. On his website, he has a page devoted to expressing vivid appreciation for the 71 best teachers of his life (bit.ly/YourTeachers). His testimony is a riveting and touching reminder of how each of us is a creation of all the important people we’ve loved and hated. Compiling such a list should, I think, be a rite of passage for anyone who aspires to be an authentic human being. There will never be a better time than 2011 for you to do this work yourself, Libra.

SCORPIO
(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

“Just when I found out the meaning of life,” said comedian George Carlin, “they changed it.” I’m hoping that will be one of your top inspirational jokes in 2011, Scorpio. If all goes well, you will no longer be content with all your previous answers to the question “What is the meaning of life?” — either because “they changed it,” as Carlin suggested, or because it’s no longer interesting or useful to you. This is very good news, in my opinion. You will have the invigorating privilege of going off in search of fresh answers to the riddle of the ages!

SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The United Nations has declared that 2011 will be the International Year of Chemistry — a time to honor the role chemistry plays in our lives. Meanwhile, you Sagittarians will be celebrating your own personal Year of Chemistry, although in a different sense of the word — the sense that means natural attraction, spontaneous connection, intuitive allure and uncanny synchronicity. Don’t let this abundance of grace make you overconfident, and don’t just sit back and let it run wild. Be a master chemist intent on rigorously cultivating the very best experiments.

CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

I have tracked down a formula that I think should be one of your central ongoing meditations in 2011. It’s from newsman David Brinkley: “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” In the coming months, you will be extra smart about knowing which of these bricks to use and how exactly to position them in your foundation. And more than that, Capricorn: You will have special insight not only about bricks that have been flung fairly recently, but also about those that have been hurled at any time in your life.

AQUARIUS
(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

The city of Stockholm, Sweden, consists of 14 islands that are spanned by more than 50 bridges. It’s a beautiful, clean, culturally rich place that’s ranked among the best urban centers in the world. I’m hoping that in the coming year you will develop a certain resemblance to it. With a little luck and a clear intention to forge strong new links, you will connect the many fragmented areas of your life, creating a unified network that ensures each part is humming in resonance with the whole. In fact, let’s call 2011 your Bridge-Building Year.

PISCES
(Feb. 19-March 20)

At age 19, I wanted to be a poet when I grew up. My goal was to write a poem every day forever. And yet, I had almost no ambition to get published. I was satisfied to bask in the ecstatic epiphany that accompanied each fresh poetic eruption. Then one day, I was browsing in a bookshop and saw a flier for a big upcoming poetry reading. It included every major poet in my then-hometown of Santa Cruz — except me. I was shocked and hurt. Why was I left out? Eventually, I realized it was because all the other poets listed had written a book. From that moment on, I was obsessively driven to publish my own tome. A year later, after much hard work, it came to pass. I would love to see you experience a similar wake-up call in 2011, Pisces: a friendly jolt that motivates you to rise to the next level.

Homework: What would the people who love you best say is the most important thing for you to learn? Testify at Truthrooster@gmail.com.

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

ARIES
(March 21-April 19)

I vividly remember seeing singer Diamanda Galas in concert. Though classically trained, she didn’t confine herself to mellifluous melodies and elegant tones. She was a whirlwind of elemental sound, veering from animalistic bellows to otherworldly chants to operatic glossolalia. It was all very entertaining, and often enjoyable. The skill with which she shaped the sound as it escaped her body was prodigious. My companion and I agreed that “she made your ears convulse and your eyes writhe and your skin prickle — but in a good way.” How would you feel about inviting some similar experiences into your life, Aries? The astrological omens suggest this would be an excellent time to seek the rowdy healing that only disciplined wildness can provide.

TAURUS
(April 20-May 20)

Here’s a haiku-like poem by Cor van den Heuvel: “The little girl / hangs all the ornaments / on the nearest branch.” My comment: It’s cute that the girl crams all the decorations onto one small section of the tree, and maybe her parents will keep them that way. But I recommend that you take a different approach as you work to beautify and enliven your environment. Spread out your offerings; distribute your blessings equally; make sure that everything in need of invigoration gets what it requires.

GEMINI
(May 21-June 20)

This is a good time to go in search of any secrets you’ve been hiding from yourself. I suggest you also try to track down the “missing links” that aren’t really missing but rather are neglected. My advice is similar for the supposedly “lost treasure” you’re wondering about: Clues about its whereabouts are lying around in full view for anyone who is innocent enough to see them. P.S. Being uncomplicated isn’t normally your strong suit, but this is one of those rare times when you’ll have an aptitude for it.

CANCER
(June 21-July 22)

In the TV comedy series “Arrested Development,” Buster Bluth was an adult character who was a bit over-attached to his mother. It seemed to have to do with the fact that he lingered in her womb for 11 months before agreeing to be born. The obstetrician claimed, “There were claw marks on her uterus.” I want to be sure you don’t make a comparable misstep in the coming weeks, Cancerian. It really is time for you to come out and play. Ready or not, leave your protective sanctuary and leap into the jangly, enchanting tumult.

LEO
(July 23-Aug. 22)

Lots of toddlers in Indonesia smoke cigarettes, not just the chain-smoking 2-year-old in the famous YouTube video (tinyurl.com/SmokerKid). But don’t you dare let your inner child get started on a similar habit anytime soon, Leo. 

Make sure that sweet young thing is exposed to only the very best influences; feed him or her only the healthiest food, air, water, sounds, sights, images and stories. The innocent, curious, wide-eyed part of you is entering a phase when rapid growth is going to happen, one way or another. It’s your job to guarantee that the growth goes in the right direction.

VIRGO
(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Might there be a message for you in the mist on the window? Can you find a clue to the next phase of your destiny by scanning a newspaper that the wind blows against your leg as you’re walking? Be alert for the undertones, Virgo. Tune in to the subtexts. Scan the peripheries for the future as it reveals itself a little early. You never know when the hidden world might be trying to slip you a tip. You should be alert for the deeper storylines weaving themselves just below the level where the supposedly main plot is unfolding.

LIBRA
(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

In the old Looney Tunes cartoons, Wile E. Coyote is constantly chasing after the Road Runner, a long-legged bird that prefers running to flying. Presumably, Coyote would eat the Road Runner if he ever caught him, but he never does; the bird’s too fast and smart. In one recurring motif, the Road Runner dashes into the entrance of a cave that’s cut into a wall of sheer rock. When Coyote tries to follow him, he smashes into the rock, and it’s revealed that the cave entrance is just a very realistic painting. I suspect that you’re going to have the Road Runner’s power in the coming week: an ability to find and use doors that are inaccessible to other people.

SCORPIO
(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

More than a few wildlife films use deception to fool the audiences into thinking they’re watching animals in the wild.

So says Chris Palmer, a producer of many such films. “One classic trick involves hiding jellybeans in carcasses,” he told New Scientist. “If you see a bear feeding on a dead elk in a film, you can be pretty sure that the bear was hired from a game farm and is looking for sweets hidden in the carcass by the film-makers.” I suspect you will encounter a metaphorically comparable ruse or switcheroo sometime soon, Scorpio. It’ll be your job to be an enforcer of authenticity. Be on the lookout for the jellybeans.

SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

My favorite news source, The Onion, reported on a proposed law that would prohibit marriage between any two people who don’t actually love each other (Onion.com/LoveLaw). Couples whose unions are rooted in mutual antipathy or indifference are, of course, protesting the plan, insisting that they have as much right to wed as those who care for each other deeply and treat each other tenderly. Whether or not this proposal becomes a formal part of the legal system, Sagittarius, I urge you to embrace it. In fact, I’ll go so far as to ask you not to do anything at all unless you are at least somewhat motivated by love. The coming months will be a time when your success will depend on your ability to rise to new heights of compassion, romance, eros, tenderness, empathy and affection.

CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Let’s imagine we’re fifth-century monks living in the land that today is known as the south of France. And let’s say we decide we’re going to build a chapel in a place that has long been a pagan shrine dedicated to the moon goddess Selene. Shouldn’t we consider the possibility that our new house of worship may be imbued with the vibes of the previous sanctuary? Won’t our own spiritual aspirations be colored by those of the people who, for hundreds of years, poured forth their devotions? Now shift your attention to the present day, and apply our little thought experiment to what’s going on in your life. Tune in to the influences that may be conditioning the new thing you’d like to create.

AQUARIUS
(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

I would like to steal your angst, Aquarius. I fantasize about sneaking into your room tonight, plucking your nightmares right out of the heavy air, and spiriting them away. I imagine sidling up to you on a crowded street and pickpocketing your bitterness and frustration — maybe even pilfering your doubts, too. I wouldn’t keep any of these ill-gotten goods for myself, of course. I wouldn’t try to profit from them in any way. Instead, I would donate them to the yawning abyss, offer them up to the stormy ocean, or feed them to a bonfire on a primal beach. P.S. Even though I can’t personally accomplish these things, there is now a force loose in your life that can. Are you willing to be robbed of things you don’t need?

PISCES
(Feb. 19-March 20)

In 2011, I bet that memory won’t play as big a role in your life as it has up until now. I don’t mean to say that you will neglect or forget about the past. Rather, I expect that you will be less hemmed in by the consequences of what happened way back when. You’ll be able to work around and maybe even transcend the limitations that the old days and the old ways used to impose on you. Your free will? It will be freer than maybe it has ever been. Your creative powers will override the inertia of how things have always been done.

Homework: What do you foresee happening in the world in 2011? What do you predict for your own life? Write Truthrooster@gmail.com.

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

ARIES
(March 21-April 19)

In the coming weeks, life will beguile you with secrets and riddles but probably not reveal as much as you’d like. I think this is an opportunity, not a problem. In my opinion, your task isn’t to press for shiny clarity, but rather to revel in the luxuriant mysteries. Let them confer their blessings on you through the magic of teasing and tantalizing. And what is the nature of those blessings? To enlighten your irrational mind, stimulate your imagination, teach you patience, and nurture your connection with eternity.

TAURUS
(April 20-May 20)

Butterflies recall at least some of what they’ve learned during their time as caterpillars. The metamorphosis they go through is dramatic, turning their bodies into a soupy goo before remaking them into winged gliders. And yet they retain the gist of the lessons they mastered while in their earlier form. I see something comparable ahead for you in 2011, Taurus. It’s as if you will undergo a kind of reincarnation without having to endure the inconvenience of actually dying. Like a butterfly, the wisdom you’ve earned in your old self will accompany you into your new life. Are you ready? The process begins soon.

GEMINI
(May 21-June 20)

What nourishes you emotionally and spiritually, Gemini? I’m not talking about what entertains you or flatters you or takes your mind off your problems. I’m referring to the influences that make you stronger and the people who see you for who you really are and the situations that teach you life-long lessons. I mean the beauty that replenishes your psyche, and the symbols that consistently restore your balance, and the memories that keep feeding your ability to rise to each new challenge. Take inventory of these precious assets. And then make a special point of nurturing them back

CANCER
(June 21-July 22)

Two-thirds of American elementary-school teachers spend their own money to buy food for their poor students. Meanwhile, there’s a 50 percent chance that an American kid will, at some point in his or her young life, resort to using government aid in the form of food stamps. Those facts make me angry and motivate me to volunteer to distribute free food at the local food bank. I encourage you, my fellow Cancerian, to summon your own good reasons to get riled up on behalf of people who have less luck and goodness than you do. It’s always therapeutic to stretch your generosity and spread your wealth, but doing so will especially redound to your advantage in the coming weeks. Unselfish acts will bring profound selfish benefits.

LEO
(July 23-Aug. 22)

According to some sources, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates practiced the art of sculpture as a young man. But he abandoned it early on, deciding that he wanted to “carve his soul rather than marble.” Can I interest you in turning your attention to that noble, gritty task, Leo? It would be a fine time to do some intensive soul-carving. Soul-scouring, too, would be both fun and wise, as well as soul-etching and soul-emblazoning and soul-accessorizing. I highly recommend that you enjoy a prolonged phase of renovating and replenishing your most precious work of art.

VIRGO
(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

In her haunting tune “One Blood,” Virgo singer Lila Downs confesses that “the deepest fear [is] my desire.” I personally know many Virgos who make a similar lament. How about you? Is there any way in which you are scared of the power of your longing? Do you ever find yourself reluctant to unleash the full force of your passion, worried that it could drive you out of control or lead you astray? If so, the coming weeks will be prime time to face down your misgivings. It’s time to liberate your desires, at least a little.

LIBRA
(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Here are your words of power: hybrid, amalgamation, composite, aggregate, medley, alloy, ensemble. Now here are your words of disempowerment: welter, mishmash, jumble, hodgepodge, patchwork. Strive to accentuate the first category and avoid the second. Your task is to create a pleasing, synergetic arrangement from a multiplicity of factors, even as you avoid throwing together a hash of diverse influences into an unholy mess. Be calculating and strategic, not rash and random, as you do your blending.

SCORPIO
(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

On my Facebook page, I posted this excerpt from a Pablo Neruda love poem (translated by Stephen Tapscott): “Our love is like a well in the wilderness where time watches over the wandering lightning. Our sleep is a secret tunnel that leads to the scent of apples carried on the wind.” In response, a reader named John F. Gamboa said this: “I once found a well in the desert. There was a rope and a bucket. The bucket had a small hole in it. While pulling up the bucket of water, about half of it drained. But I suppose a decent bucket would have been stolen. So a bucket with a small hole was perfect; I got what I needed!” I’m here to tell you, Scorpio, that like Gamboa, a bucket with a small hole is probably what you need right now.

SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

You’ve arrived at a delicate yet boisterous turning point when one-of-a-kind opportunities are budding.  I’m going to give you seven phrases that I think capture the essence of this pregnant moment: 1. wise innocence, 2. primal elegance, 3. raw holiness, 4. electrifying poise, 5. curative teasing, 6. rigorous play, 7 volcanic tenderness. To maximize your ability to capitalize on the transformations that are available, I suggest you seek out and cultivate these seemingly paradoxical states of being.

CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

For years, I’ve had recurring dreams of finding treasure amidst trash. I interpret this to mean that I should always be alert, in my waking life, for the possibility that I might come across beautiful or valuable stuff that’s mixed in with what has been discarded or forgotten. Recently, I heard about a literal embodiment of this theme. A sewage treatment plant in Japan announced that it has been culling huge amounts of gold from the scum and slop — so much so that their haul outstrips the yield at the country’s top gold mine. I urge you to make this your metaphor of the week, Capricorn. What riches might you be able to pluck out of the dirt and shadows?

AQUARIUS
(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Should you store up your energy, postpone your gratification, and withhold your full intensity for a more opportune time? Hell, no! Should you await further data before making a definitive conclusion, fantasize dreamily about some more perfect future, and retreat into a self-protective cocoon? Double hell, no! And if thoughts like those have been poking up into your awareness, exorcise them immediately. It is high time for you to grab the best goodies, reveal the whole truth, and employ your ultimate schemes. You are primed to make a big play, call on all the help you’ve been promised, and transform the “what ifs” into “no doubts.”

PISCES
(Feb. 19-March 20)

In Taio Cruz’s mega-hit pop song “Dynamite,” he describes how excited he is to go dancing at his favorite nightclub. “I throw my hands up in the air,” he exults. “I wanna celebrate and live my life . . . I’m wearin’ all my favorite brands.” In advising you about the best ways to ride the current cosmic rhythms, Pisces, I’ll use Cruz as both a role model and an anti-role model. You should be like him in the sense of being eager to throw your hands up in the air. Right now, it’s your sacred duty to intensify your commitment to revelry and find every possible excuse to celebrate your life. On the other hand, it’s crucial that you don’t wear all your favorite brands. To get the full benefits from this time of festive release, you will need, as much as humanly possible, to declare your independence from corporate brainwashing and escape the intelligence-sapping mindset of consumerism.

Homework: What’s the situation in your life where it’s hardest for you to be loving? Practice being a master of compassion there in the coming week.

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

ARIES
(March 21-April 19)

Physicist Stephen Hawking believes it would be dangerous to get in touch with extraterrestrial creatures. “If aliens visit us,” he says, “the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” Those who’ve studied the teeming evidence for UFOs would say that Hawking’s warning is too late. Some mysterious nonhuman intelligence has been here for a long time, and the fact that we are still around proves they’re no Spanish conquistadors. Aside from that, though, let’s marvel at the stupidity of Hawking’s lame advice. As any mildly wise person knows, exploring the unknown is not only an aid to our mental and spiritual health — it’s a prerequisite. That’ll be especially true for you Aries in the coming weeks.

TAURUS
(April 20-May 20)

“At times, although one is perfectly in the right, one’s legs tremble,” wrote philosopher V.V. Rozanov. “At other times, although one is completely in the wrong, birds sing in one’s soul.” That may have been the case for you last month, Taurus, but these days it’s the exact reverse. If your knees are wobbly, you’re off-center, missing the mark, or far from the heart of the matter. If, on the other hand, birds are singing in your soul, it’s because you’re united with the beautiful truth. There are a couple of caveats, though: The beautiful truth won’t be simple and bright; it’ll be dense, convoluted, and kaleidoscopic. And the birds’ songs will sound more like a philharmonic orchestra pounding out Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony than a single flute playing a quaint folk song.

GEMINI
(May 21-June 20)

Are there any actors who have impersonated as many different types of characters as Gemini chameleon Johnny Depp? From rogue agent to chocolatier, from psychotic barber to astronaut, he is a model of inconsistency — a master of not imitating himself. (To glimpse 24 of his various personas, go here: http://bit.ly/GeminiActor.) According to my reading of the omens, you now have a poetic license to follow his lead. There have been few times in the last two years when you’ve had this much freedom and permission to be so multiple, mercurial and mutant.

CANCER
(June 21-July 22)

A tattoo now adorns the neck of pop star Rihanna. It says “rebelle fleur,” which is a French phrase meaning “rebel flower.” The grammar police protested her new body art. They wished she would have rendered it correctly — as “fleur rebelle” — since in French, adjectives are supposed to follow, not precede, the nouns they refer to. But I’m guessing Rihanna knew that. In reversing the order, she was double-asserting her right to commit breezy acts of insurrection. Let’s make “rebelle fleur” your keynote in the coming days, Cancerian. Break taboos, buck tradition, and overthrow conventional wisdom — always with blithe grace and jaunty charm.

LEO
(July 23-Aug. 22)

Research by German psychologists suggests that positive superstitions may be helpful. In the journal Psychological Science, they reported that people who think they are in possession of good luck charms outperform people who don’t. “Superstition-induced confidence” seems to act in ways akin to how placebos heal sick people: It can provide a mysterious boost. (More here: tinyurl.com/LuckCharm.) Just for the fun of it, Leo — and in accordance with the astrological omens — put this finding to the test. Get yourself a magical object that stimulates your power to achieve success.

VIRGO
(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Psychologist Carl Jung said that we are all connected to each other via the collective unconscious. Your psyche and my psyche have taproots that sink deep into the memories and capacities of the entire human race. According to my reading of the omens, your taproots are now functioning more vigorously than they have in a long time. You’re in more intimate contact than usual with the primal pool of possibilities. And what good is that, you may ask? Well, it means you have the power to draw on mojo that transcends your personal abilities. Could you make use of some liquid lightning, ambrosial dreams, or healing balm from the beginning of time?

LIBRA
(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

If you want to get a gallon of milk directly from the source, you have to squeeze a cow’s udder more than 300 times. I recommend you use that as a metaphor for your task in the days to come. It’s going to take a lot of squirts or tugs or tweaks to get the totality of what you want. Be patient and precise as you fill your cup little by little. There’s no way you can hurry the process by skipping some steps.

SCORPIO
(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” says the Bible. That doesn’t mean what most people think it does. The word translated as “meek” is the Greek word praus, which in ancient times didn’t mean “weak-willed, passive, mild.” Rather, it referred to great power that was under rigorous control. For example, soldiers’ warhorses were considered praus. They heeded the commands of their riders, but were fierce warriors that fought with tireless fervor. In this spirit, Scorpio, I’m predicting you’re about to get very “meek”: offering your tremendous force of will and intelligence in disciplined service to a noble cause. (Thanks to Merlin Hawk for the info I used in this ‘scope.)

SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a book called Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. I’d love it if, in the next few weeks, you would think a lot about how you are on your way to becoming what you were born to be. Current astrological omens suggest you will have special insight into that theme. For inspiration, you might want to borrow some of Nietzsche’s chapter titles, including the following: “Why I Am So Wise,” “Why I Am So Clever” and “Why I Am a Destiny.”

CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

During some of her concerts, Capricorn singer Hayley Williams (lead vocalist of Paramore) has worn a tank top that bears the phrase “Brand New Eyes.” I encourage you to consider making that your own guiding principle for a while. By pointedly declaring your intention to view the world with refreshed vision, you will be able to tune in to sights that have been invisible to you. You will discover secrets hidden in plain view and maybe even carve out a window where, before, there had been a thick, blank wall.

AQUARIUS
(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Much of my recent book, Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, is rated PG. Some is R. But there’s one story that’s X. Not in the same way that porn is. While it’s uninhibited in its rendering of ecstatic eroticism, it’s a feminist meditation on spiritual intimacy, not a heap of vulgar stereotypes. Still, when the book came out, I couldn’t bear the thought of sending copies to certain relatives of mine who are a bit prudish. So I came to an honorable compromise: Using a razor blade, I sliced out the nine pages in question and gave my loved ones the mostly intact remainder. May I suggest you consider a comparable editing of your efforts, Aquarius? Your main object right now is to win friends and influence people.

PISCES
(Feb. 19-March 20)

In the waters off the southwest coast of Africa, the small fish known as the bearded goby has always been preyed upon by jellyfish — until recently. Now, this formerly mild-mannered species, whose diet used to consist of phytoplankton, has overthrown the ancient status quo: It is feasting on the jellyfish that once feasted on it. Scientists aren’t sure why. I foresee a metaphorically comparable development in your life, Pisces. How it will play out exactly, I’m not sure. Maybe you’ll gain an advantage over someone or something that has always had an advantage over you. Maybe you will become the top dog in a place where you’ve been the underdog. Or maybe you’ll begin drawing energy from a source that has, in the past, sucked your energy.

Homework: What if you didn’t feel compelled to have an opinion about every hot-button issue? Try living opinion-free for a week. Report results by going to Freewillastrology.com and clicking “Email Rob.”

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Pyrometric: Earth and Ash in the Anthropocene

    October 19, 2018 @ 8:00 am - January 10, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
  2. Quiet Places and Icons and Archetypes

    November 14, 2018 - January 4, 2019
  3. Ojai Herbal Symposium

    November 16 @ 6:30 pm - November 18 @ 5:00 pm
  4. Photos with Santa

    November 17 - December 24
  5. Letters to Santa at the Annex Food Hall

    November 17 @ 8:00 am - December 24 @ 5:00 pm
  6. Agora Foundation Great Books Seminar – The Lady with the Dog by Anton Chekhov Short Story and Film

    November 18 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
  7. Mainstage Production “Columbinus”

    November 18 @ 2:00 pm
  8. Good Nothings at Hong Kong Inn

    November 18 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  9. Santa Paws Pet Photo Nights

    November 21 @ 6:00 pm - December 19 @ 9:00 pm
  10. Conejo Valley YMCA’s 14th Annual “Turkey Day Dash”

    November 22 @ 7:30 am - 9:30 am

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