Free Will Astrology: February 2 through 8, 2011

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Now and then, members of other signs complain that I favor you Aries above them. If that's true, I'm not aware of it. As far as I know, I love all the signs equally. I will say this: Due to the idiosyncrasies of my own horoscope, I have been working for years to get more skilled at expressing qualities that your tribe tends to excel at: being direct, cultivating a willingness to change, and leading by example. All these assets are especially needed by the people in your life right now.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] I've found that even when people are successful in dealing with a long-term, intractable problem, they rarely zap it out of existence in one epic swoop. Generally, they chip away at it; they gradually break its hold with incremental bursts of unspectacular heroism. Judging from the astrological omens, though, I'd say that you Tauruses are ripe for a large surge of dismantling. An obstacle you've been hammering away at for months or even years may be primed to crumble dramatically.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] My brother and I used to be on a softball team in Santa Cruz. For one game, he showed up with a glove that still had the price tag dangling. I asked him if he was going to snip it off. "Nope," he said. "It'll subtly distract the batters and give me an advantage." That day, he pitched one of his best games. His pitches seemed to have a mojo that kept the hitters off-balance. Were they even aware they were being messed with? I don't think so. In fact, my theory is that because Tom's trick was so innocuous, no one on the opposing team registered the fact that it was affecting their concentration. I suggest you try a similar strategy, Gemini.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] Edwin Kagin has incorporated performance art into his crusade against religious believers. Wielding a hairdryer, he "de-baptizes" ex-church-goers who want to reverse the effects of the baptism they experienced as children. The stream of hot air that Kagin blows against their foreheads is meant to exorcise the holy water daubed there way back when. Could you benefit from a similar ritual, Cancerian? If you have any inclinations to free yourself from early imprints, religious or otherwise, you're in a favorable phase to do so.

LEO [July 23–August 22] In an old Star Trek episode, a woman visits the starship's medical facility seeking chemicals she needs to start a hydroponic garden. The doctor scowls at her. Why is she bothering him with such a trivial request?: "Now I know how Hippocrates felt when the King needed him to trim a hangnail." I suspect that sometime soon, Leo, you will be in a position similar to the ship's doctor. Unlike him, however, you should carry out the assignment with grace. It'll pay off in the long run.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] In Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem," he sings "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." From what I can tell, Virgo, the week ahead will be one of the best times all year for welcoming the light that comes through the cracks. In fact, I urge you to consider widening the cracks a little—maybe even splitting open a few new cracks—so that the wildly healing light can pour down on you in profusion.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] When was the last time you created a masterpiece, Libra? I'm not necessarily talking about a work of art; it might have been an exquisite dinner you prepared for people you love . . . or a temporary alliance you forged that allowed you to accomplish the impossible . . . or a scary-fun adventure you risked that turned you into a riper human being with a more authoritative standing. Whether your last tour de force happened seven weeks ago or seven months ago, my sense is that you're due for another one. The cosmic rhythms are conspiring to make you act like an artful genius.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Why is everything so eerily quiescent right now? Has the momentum been sucked out of your life? Personally, I think you're doing better than you realize. The dormancy is a temporary illusion. To help give you the perspective you need, I offer you this haiku-like poem by Imma von Bodmershof, translated by Petra Engelbert: "The great river is silent/Only sometimes it sounds quietly/Deep under the ice."

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] I saw ex–Poet Laureate Robert Hass discuss his poem "Etymology." He said that while many of the fluids of the human body are named with English words, at least one isn't: the moisture of a woman who is sexually aroused. The Anglo-Saxons did have a word for it, he noted: silm, which also referred to the look of moonlight on the water. "Poor language," Hass concluded, bemoaning a vocabulary that ignores such an important part of human experience. Your assignment, Sagittarius, is to correct for any problems caused by poor language in your own sphere. If you've been lazy about articulating your meaning or needs, then please activate your deeper intelligence. If there's a situation in your life that's suffering from a sloppy use of words, reframe its contours with crisper speech. You could even coin some new words or borrow good ones from foreign tongues.

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