ARIES [March 21–April 19] The 1906 earthquake that hit San Francisco also demolished downtown Santa Rosa, about 50 miles to the north. During the rebuilding process, Frank Doyle, a local businessman who referred to himself as a "champion of the future," pushed a radical agenda: "When we construct our new downtown thoroughfare," he said, "let's make it wider than it has been in the past. That way, it will accommodate the promising technological innovation called the automobile." Draw inspiration from Doyle's prescience, Aries. As you regenerate your world, do the equivalent of creating wider roads. Be a champion of the future.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] There were some medieval alchemists who tried to make a fortune by literally converting lead into gold. But the authentic practitioners of the art were interested in a subtler kind of experimentation: beautifying the shadowy aspects of their own psyches. That explains their motto: "For a tree's branches to reach to heaven, its roots must reach to hell." You have to work hard on redeeming your less flattering qualities in order to earn the right to exalted states of consciousness and spiritual powers. The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to carry out this alchemy.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt categorized the discomfort caused by stinging insects. The attack of the bald-faced hornet is "rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door." A paper wasp delivers pain that's "caustic and burning," with a "distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut." The sweat bee, however, can hurt you in a way that's "light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm." By telling you this, I hope to inspire the rebel in you. Your homework is to create an index of experiences that feel good. You will be able to call on tremendous reserves of intelligence as you identify the numerous modes of pleasure that are available to you, and define them in exquisite detail.

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by Rob Brezsny




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CANCER [June 21–July 22] A famous YouTube video shows a crab perched on top of a jellyfish swimming in the ocean. The graceful rock crab not only grabs free rides on jellyfish, but also steals food from them as it does. This creature is your role model, Cancerian. See if you can develop a safe and symbiotic relationship (perhaps temporarily) with a big stinging blob. At the very least, wangle some benefit out of a clueless behemoth.

LEO [July 23–August 22] "One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds," says comedian Dan Bennett. Come up with three other smart risks you could profit from taking. You're entering a phase when you'll be rewarded by leaving your comfort zone and heading toward the frontier—but only if you're fully armed with crafty discernment and a realistic (not cynical) understanding of how the world really works. Please stay away from rash dares, unresearched shots in the dark, and crazy plunges rooted in blind faith.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] A Polish scientist toiling in Antarctica was consumed with longing for a woman he'd left behind in his home country. He gathered a mass of penguin dung and used it to spell out a large "M" on the frigid ground. It was the first letter of his girlfriend's name, Magda. To this day, two species of flowering plants have thrived in that M-shaped area, fed by the fertilizing power of the dung. Your assignment in the coming week, Virgo, is to create something equally enduring and unique for someone you care for deeply.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] If you find yourself driving on a major highway anytime soon, there's a chance that you'll come upon a place where a truck has accidentally spilled a few tons of french fries or thousands of bottles of beer or a huge load of sex toys. According to my analysis, you will be exposed to an abundance of some resource that is too much to use all at once or is not really yours to take or is not exactly what you need. A highway spill is just one form this could take. Don't get distracted by confusion. Instead, use it as motivation to go get the precise stuff you need in the right amount.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] After extensive analysis, I've concluded that you won't serve any time in hell for the shock therapy you'll unleash this week—with one caveat: The shock therapy must be motivated primarily by love, not a lust for power. In dropping your bombshells, you may even rack up some karmic credit, not debt—if the things you destroy are truly beyond repair and certain to keep causing pain, and if you institute a plan for building a shiny new creation to replace what's lost.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] "Though the seas threaten, they are merciful," says Ferdinand, a character in The Tempest. "I have cursed them without cause." Please consider the possibility that you could honestly make a similar declaration about some influence in your world. What's wild but mostly beneficent? What's primal in a way that draws you back to your deepest sources and reminds you about what's really important?

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] Study the following terms: refuge, sanctuary, bunker, asylum, fortress, haven, shelter, safety zone, storm cellar, hideaway, retreat, halfway house, cloister, cell, ashram, clubhouse, lair, foxhole, nest, pit, inner sanctum. Now use some of those words to formulate descriptions of actions you'll take to enhance both your freedom and security: "When I'm longing for privacy and renewal, I'll retreat to a haven, not a bunker" or "If I need to seek refuge from the unnameable insanity around me, I'll make a pilgrimage to a sanctuary, not to a foxhole."

AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] No one really knows when the Piscean Age ends and the Aquarian Age begins. Astrologers have been arguing about the issue for years. But here's what to watch for: When the transition gets underway, fewer and fewer people will be invested in belief systems, and an ever-growing contingent will thrive on asking questions and keeping an open mind. For those of us in the latter category—the Aquarian Agers—we will prize the virtues of curiosity. We will avoid being addicted to dogmatic theories and rigid certainties, knowing that they tend to shut down our fluid intelligence. We will get a kick out of shedding our own emotional biases so that we can strive to be more objective in our understanding of the ever-evolving truth. I mention this, Aquarius, because it is an excellent time for you to charge headlong toward the Aquarian Age.

PISCES [February 19–March 20] Some of the best-selling Japanese novels in recent years have been composed by young authors entirely on their cell phones. The small screens encourage narratives that are animated by terse rhythms. Flowery descriptions are rare, and character development happens fast. I believe that in the coming weeks, you will have a capacity akin to the cell-phone storytellers, Pisces. You'll be able to compress complex material into simpler forms; you'll have a knack for being very creative as you cut away frills and strip things down to their basics.

Homework: Talk about how your political opinions reflect and affect your spiritual values. Go to FreeWillAstrology.com, and click on "E-mail Rob."

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