Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19) When Carolee Schneeman was a kid, her extravagant adoration of nature earned her the nickname "mad pantheist." Later, during her career as a visual artist, she described her relationship with the world this way: "I assume the senses crave sources of maximum information, that the eye benefits by exercise, stretch, and expansion towards materials of complexity and substance." I hope that you're attracted to that perspective. To be in most productive alignment with the cosmic rhythms, you should be in a state of nearly ecstatic openness, hungry to be stretched — like a mad pantheist.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) "Dear Rob: Last night my son and I were star-gazing. When we focused on the constellation Cassiopeia, an owl started hooting. Then a brilliant shooting star zipped by as a huge bat flew right over our heads. Was this a bad omen? Bats are creepy — associated with vampires. And in Greek mythology Cassiopeia got divine punishment because she bragged that she and her daughter were more beautiful than the sea god's daughters. But maybe this blast of odd events was a good omen. Owls are symbols of wisdom and shooting stars are lucky, right? — Spooked Taurus." Dear Spooked: The question of whether it's good or bad luck is irrelevant. Here's what's important: You are in a phase when the hidden workings of things will be shown to you — the mysterious magic that's always bubbling below the surface but that is usually not visible.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) The week ahead is ripe for magic reversals. May I suggest that you try to transform dishwater grays into sparkling golds? How about recycling the dead energy of a lost cause in such a way as to generate fuel for a fresh start? I'm confident that you'll be able to discover treasure hidden in the trash, and that you'll find a way to unleash the creative zeal that has been trapped inside polite numbness. Now ponder this riddle: Do you think there's any mystical significance in the fact that the word "stressed" is "desserts" spelled backwards?

CANCER (June 21-July 22) Lately you remind me of the person Robert Hass describes in his poem "Time and Materials": "someone falling down and getting up and running and falling and getting up." I'm sending you my compassion for the times you fall down, and my admiration for the times you get up, and my excitement for the times you run. It has probably become clear to you by now that the falling down isn't a shameful thing, but rather a part of the learning process that is teaching you marvelous secrets about getting back up and running.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) "I burn for no reason, like a lantern in daylight," writes poet Joseph Lease. I think that's a succinct formulation of one of your central issues. Burning for no reason, like a lantern in the daylight, can be the cause of either failure or success for you, depending on subtle differences of emphasis. This is how it can be failure: When you're mindlessly and wastefully burning through your prodigious reserves of fuel without any concern for the benefits it may provide you and others. This is how it can be success: When you are exuberant and self-disciplined in shining your light and radiating your warmth just because it feels so good and so right and so healthy, and without any thought about whether it's "useful" to anyone.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) In one of his short poems, John Averill describes a scene that I think captures the essence of your current omens: "Today is the day of the photo of moonrise over Havana in a book on a shelf in the snowbound cabin." A clue to what it means: The snowbound cabin is where you are right now in your life. The moonrise over Havana is where you could be early in 2010. How do you get there from here?

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) An estuary is a bay where the salt water of a sea mixes with the fresh water of rivers. These days you remind me of such a place. You are two-toned. You're dual-purpose and double-tracked. You're a hybrid blend of yes and no, give and take, extravagant and traditional. This has been working out pretty well for you. You're not so much a dysfunctional contradiction as an interesting juxtaposition. You're not being crushed by a squeeze of opposites so much as you're getting massaged by the oscillating throbs of complementary influences. Keep doing what you've been doing, only more so.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Big shiny egos may be mucking around in everyone's business, calling narcissistic attention to themselves as they pretend to do noble deeds. Meanwhile, I hope you'll be doing the hard, detailed work that must be done to serve the greater good — quietly and unpretentiously improving people's lives without demanding major tribute. That approach will stir up some karma that will come in handy when you undertake the building of your masterpiece in 2010.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) "Dear Rob: I love to be proven wrong. That's not an ironic statement. I actually get excited and feel creative when I acquire new information that shows me I've been operating under a misunderstanding. One of my very favorite life moments occurs when I am convincingly liberated from a negative opinion I've been harboring about someone. The way I see it, psychological health involves having so much self-respect that I don't need to be right all the time. — Sagittarian Freedom Fighter." Dear Freedom Fighter: Thanks for your testimony. The capacity you described is one that many Sagittarians will be poised to expand in 2010. And this is an excellent week for them to start getting the hang of it.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) In an early version of the tale of Pinocchio, friendly woodpeckers chiseled his nose back to its original size after it had grown enormous from his incorrigible lying. Metaphorically, a comparable development may soon occur in your own life. A benevolent (if somewhat rough) intervention akin to the woodpeckers' assistance will shrink an overgrown, top-heavy part of your attitude, allowing you to proceed to the next chapter of your story with streamlined grace.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) "There is light enough for those who wish to see," wrote Pascal, "and darkness enough for those of the opposite disposition." Align yourself with the first group in the coming week. More than ever before, what you choose to focus on will come rushing in to meet you, touch you, teach you and prompt you to respond. Even if all the smart people you know seem to be drunk on the darkness, I encourage you to be a brave rebel who insists on equal time for the light.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) White dwarfs are small and extremely dense stars, no bigger than the Earth but as heavy as the sun. You currently resemble one of those concentrated balls of pure intensity. I have rarely seen you offering so much bang for the buck. You are as flavorful as chocolate mousse, as piercing as the scent of eucalyptus, as lustrous as a fireworks display on a moonless night. Most people with strong egos will be quite attracted to you, but some underachievers with lower self-esteem may regard you as astringent medicine. Gravitate toward those who like you to be powerful.


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