Free Will Astrology: March 17 through 23, 2010

ARIES [March 21–April 19] From what I can tell, your excursion to Fake Paradise didn't exact too serious a toll. The accidental detour may have seemed inopportune at the moment, but you know what? I think it slowed you down enough to keep you from doing something rash that you would have regretted later. And are you really sorry you were robbed of your cherished illusions? In the long run, I think it was for the best. As for the scratches on your nose from when you stuck it into business you weren't "supposed" to: They're a small price to pay for the piquant lesson you got in how not to live.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Some people are here on the planet to find success, while others are here to find themselves. I'm pretty sure that, for the next few weeks, you'll be best served by acting as if you're the latter. Even if you think you've found yourself pretty completely in the past, it's time to go searching again: There are new secrets to be discovered, in large part because you're not who you used to be. So for now, at least, I encourage you to give your worldly ambitions a bit of a rest as you intensify your self-explorations.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Being a paragon of moral behavior can be fun and rewarding. It's amazing how many interesting people want to play with me just because they think I'm so #%&@ high-minded. But I've got to confess that my commitment to discipline and righteousness is sometimes at odds with my rebellious itch to give you mischievous nudges and outrageous challenges. Like right now, the conscientious teacher in me might prefer to advise you to keep a lid on debauchery, voracity, excess, uproar, slapstick, wise-cracking, fireworks, and limit-pushing. But the rabble-rousing agitator in me feels obligated to inform you that at no other time in 2010 will the karmic price be lower for engaging in such pursuits.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] It's time for you to stop specializing in furtive glimpses and start indulging in brazen gazes. You're ready to phase out your role as a peripheral influence and see if you can be more of a high-intensity instigator and organizer. Yes, Cancerian, you've earned the right to claim more credibility and clout—to leave your tentative position outside the magic circle and head in the direction of the sweet hot spot.

LEO [July 23–August 22] "Nature seems to exult in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy," wrote Annie Dillard. "If we were to judge nature by its common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed. In nature, improbabilities are the one stock-in-trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe." Reading this passage is a good way for you to prepare for the immediate future, because you'll soon be invited to commune with outlandish glory. But here's the catch: It may all remain invisible to you if you're blinded by the false belief that you live a boring, ordinary life.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] The storm is your friend right now, Virgo. So are the deep, dark night and the last place you'd ever think of visiting and the most important thing you'd forgotten about. So be more willing than usual to marinate in the mysteries. The areas of life that are most crucial for you to deal with can't be fully understood using the concepts your rational mind favors. The feelings that will be most useful for you to explore are unlike those you're familiar with.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] Here's your mantra for the coming week: "I disappear my fear. I resurrect my audacity." Say it and sing it and murmur it at least 100 times a day. Let it flow out of you after you've awoken each morning and are still lying in bed. Let it be the last sound on your lips as you drop off to sleep. Have fun with it. Dip into your imagination to come up with different ways to let it fly—say it as your favorite cartoon character might say it, like a person with a Swedish accent, like your inner teenager, like a parrot, like a grinning sage: "I disappear my fear. I resurrect my audacity. I disappear my fear. I resurrect my audacity."

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Have you ever heard about how some all-night convenience stores blast loud classical music out into the parking lot in order to discourage drug dealers from loitering? In the coming days, use that principle whenever you need to drive home a point or make a strong impression. Your aggressive expressions will be more effective if you take the darkness and anger out of them, and instead fill them up with forceful grace and propulsive compassion.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] The Hebrew word "chalom" means "dream." In his book Healing Dreams, Marc Ian Barasch notes that it's derived from the verb "to be made healthy and strong." Linguist Joseph Jastrow says that "chalom" is related to the Hebrew word "hachlama," which means "recovery, recuperation." Extrapolating from these poetic hints and riffing on your astrological omens, I've got a prescription for you to consider: To build your vitality in the coming weeks, feed your dreams—and I mean "dreams" in both the sense of the nocturnal adventures you have while you're sleeping and the sweeping daytime visions of what you'd like to become.

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