Free Will Astrology: February 16 through 22, 2011

ARIES [March 21–April 19] "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls," said George Carlin. "There are mornings when your dreams are more real and important than your waking life," says my favorite dream worker. "There are times when the doctor isn't feeling well, and only his patient can cure him," say I. Now it so happens, Aries, that in the upcoming week, your life is likely to pass through an alternate reality where all three of the above conditions will prevail—as well as other similar variants and mutations.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Hua Chi, a Buddhist monk in China, takes his devotions very seriously. For the past two decades, he has performed as many as 3,000 prayers every single day in the same exact spot at his temple. Part of me admires his profound commitment, while part of me is appalled at his insane addiction to habit. It's great that he loves his spiritual work so deeply, but sad that he can't bring more imagination and playfulness to his efforts. I bring this up, Taurus, because I think it's a good time, astrologically speaking, for you to take inventory of the good things you do very regularly. See if you can inject more fun and inventiveness into them.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] "To the scientist there is the joy in pursuing truth which nearly counteracts the depressing revelations of truth," said H. P. Lovecraft. The clear implication is that there's always a sense of loss that comes with discovering the way things really are. I protest this perspective. As proof that it's wrong, I offer up the evidence provided by your life in the days ahead. From what I can tell, the gratification that you feel while hunting down the truth will be substantial, and yet it will ultimately seem rather mild compared to the bliss that arrives when you find what you're looking for.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] People listen when Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, speaks. In recent months, he has been riffing on the disappearance of privacy. Because our lives are becoming interwoven with the Internet, he believes it will become increasingly hard to keep any secrets. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know," he says, "maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." This is especially true for you right now, Cancerian. In the coming weeks, I encourage you to maintain the highest standards of ethical behavior.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Six years ago, a friend of mine came to believe she had died in a previous incarnation by being thrown off a horse. She became convinced that her life energy would remain in a state of suspended animation until she learned to feel comfortable on a horse. Fear kept her from even attempting that for a long time, but recently she got up the courage to begin. Her efforts were bumpy at first, but rapidly improved. As she gained confidence as a rider, every other aspect of her life bloomed, too—just as she'd suspected. I think her experience could be useful for you to learn from in the coming months, Leo. What's your biggest, oldest fear? Is there anything you could do to start dissolving it?

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] "I'm not confused," said Robert Frost. "I'm just well mixed." I would love that to be your motto. You're entering a phase of your cycle when you should be curious about blending ingredients in new combinations. I'll go so far as to say that the cosmos will respond enthusiastically if you take steps to make yourself the embodiment of diversity. Celebrate complexity, Virgo! You will generate unexpected strokes of good fortune by experimenting with medleys and syntheses that appeal to the jaunty parts of your imagination.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] In addition to their standard offerings, the yoga teachers at Atlanta's Tough Love Yoga center sometimes offer exotic variations. During their "Metal Yoga" classes, for instance, the soundtrack for their stretching and breathing exercises is heavy metal music. Here's their promise: "Melt your face off in a very relaxing, healing way." That's the spirit I'd like to see you bring to your life in the coming week: vehemently intense but tenderly curative; wickedly fierce but brilliantly rejuvenating.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] I would love to see you play with your food this week. And have conversations with winking statues and magic toasters. I'll be thrilled if you watch cartoons about furry animals outwitting maniacal robots and if you entertain fantasies of yourself pushing a cream pie in the face of an obnoxious authority figure. But given how dignified and discreet you tend to be, I realize the chances of any of this actually happening are miniscule. Can I at least coax you into hopping, skipping, and dancing around a lot when no one's watching?

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] "Better keep yourself clean and bright," said George Bernard Shaw. "You are the window through which you must see the world." Take that advice to heart, Sagittarius. This is an excellent time for you to do any necessary work to get yourself cleaner and brighter. I'm not at all implying that you're a dusty, greasy mess. But like all of us, there's a continuous build-up of foreign matter that distorts the view and that must be periodically washed away. If you do it now, your work will be extra smart and effective.

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