Free Will Astrology: January 4-10, 2012

ARIES [March 21–April 19] "It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions," said poet Robert Bly. That's why he decided to learn to love his obsessions. I urge you to keep his approach in mind throughout the coming months. You are likely to thrive to the degree that you precisely identify and vigorously harness your obsessions. Please note: I'm not saying you should allow your obsessions to possess you like demons and toss you around like a rag doll. I'm not advising you to fall down in front of your obsessions and worship them like idols. Be wildly grateful for them, but keep them under the control of your fine mind.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] "Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." Rumor has it that this pithy observation was uttered by Albert Einstein. I bring it to your attention because you'd be smart to keep it in mind throughout 2012. According to my astrological analysis, you will have an excellent opportunity to identify and hone and express your specific brilliance. So it is crucial that you eliminate any tendency to see yourself as a fish whose job it is to climb a tree.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] In his book Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures, former FBI agent Robert K. Wittman tells the story of the world's second largest crystal ball. Worth $350,000 and once belonging to the Chinese Dowager Empress, it was stolen from a museum. Wittman never located the actual robber, but years later, he tracked down the crystal ball to a person who had acquired it by accident. She was a young witch in New Jersey who, unaware of its value, kept it on her bedroom dresser. I suspect you might have a comparable adventure in the coming months. If you look hard and keep an open mind, you will eventually recover lost riches in the least likely of places.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] It's impossible for the human body to run a mile in less than four minutes—at least that's what the conventional wisdom used to say. And indeed, no one in history ever broke that barrier until May 6, 1954, when Roger Bannister raced a mile in three minutes, 59.4 seconds. Since then, lots of athletes have done it, and the record has been lowered by another 17 seconds. In fact, the sub-four-minute mile is now regarded as a standard for middle-distance runners. I suspect that in 2012, you will accomplish your own version of Bannister's feat.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Back in 1958, 17-year-old Bob Heft created a 50-star American flag for a high school project. Hawaii and Alaska were being considered for U.S. statehood at that time, and a new design was needed to replace the old 48-star flag. Heft's teacher originally gave him a grade of B- for his work. But when his model was later selected to be the actual American flag, the teacher raised his grade to an A. I suspect that a similar progression is in store for you in the coming year, Leo. Some work you did that never received proper credit will finally be accorded the value it deserves.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Greek philosopher Plato suggested that we might become more receptive to spiritual beauty by putting ourselves in the presence of physical beauty. The stimulation we get when inspired by what looks good might help train us to recognize sublime truths. I'm not so sure about that. In my experience, people often get so entranced by their emotional and bodily responses to attractive sights and sounds that they neglect to search for higher, subtler sources of splendor. But I do believe you might be an exception to this tendency in the coming months. That's why I'm giving you the go-ahead to surround yourself with physical beauty.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] Before he died in 1902, Libran cartoonist Thomas Nast left a potent legacy. Among his enduring creations were the modern image of Santa Claus, the iconic donkey for America's Democratic Party, and the elephant for the Republican Party. I'm guessing that 2012 is going to be a Thomas Nast kind of year for you Librans. The work you do and the ripples you set in motion are likely to last a long time. Choose the influences you unleash with great care.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] "If you're in a good relationship, chances are you're bored out of your mind," spouts comedian Chris Rock in his show Never Scared. "All good relationships are boring. The only exciting relationships are bad ones. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow when you're in a bad relationship. You never know when they're gonna walk through the door and say, 'Hey, you gave me crabs.' That's exciting!" Rock is making a satirical overstatement, but it does contain grains of truth. Which is why I deliver the following request to you: In 2012, cultivate stable relationships that are boring in all the best ways.

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