Free Will Astrology: April 18-24, 2012

ARIES [March 21–April 19] You had to take the test before you got a chance to study more than a couple of the lessons. Does that seem fair? Hell, no. That's the bad news. The good news is that this test was merely a rehearsal for a more important and inclusive exam, which is still some weeks in the future. Here's even better news: The teachings that you will need to master before then are flowing your way. Apply yourself with diligence, Aries. You have a lot to learn, but luckily, you have enough time to prepare.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Let's see if you know what these exquisitely individuated luminaries have in common: Salvador Dalí, Martha Graham, Stephen Colbert, David Byrne, Maya Deren, Malcolm X, Willie Nelson, Bono, Dennis Hopper. Give up? They are or were all Tauruses. Would you characterize any of them as sensible, materialistic slowpokes obsessed with comfort and security, as many traditional astrology texts describe Tauruses? Nope. They were or are distinctive innovators with unique style and creative flair. They are your role models as you cruise through the current phase of maximum self-expression.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] In December 1946, three Bedouin shepherds were tending their flock near the Dead Sea. They found a cave with a small entrance. Hoping it might contain treasure hidden there long ago, they wanted to explore it. The smallest of the three managed to climb through the narrow opening. He brought out a few dusty old scrolls in ceramic jars. The shepherds were disappointed. But eventually, the scrolls were revealed to be one of the most important finds in archaeological history: the first batch of what has come to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Keep this story in mind, Gemini. I suspect a metaphorically similar tale might unfold for you soon.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] The devil called together a committee meeting of his top assistants. He was displeased. Recruitments of people born under the sign of Cancer had fallen far below projected totals. "It's unacceptable," the dark lord fumed. "Those insufferable Crabs have been too mentally healthy lately to be tantalized by our lies. Any suggestions?" His marketing expert said, "Let's redouble our efforts to make them buy into the hoax about the world ending on December 21, 2012." The executive vice president chimed in: "How about if we play on their fears about running out of what they need?" The chief of intelligence had an idea, too: "I say we offer them irrelevant goodies that tempt them away from their real goals."

LEO [July 23–August 22] "If you don't run your own life, someone else will," said psychologist John Atkinson. Make that your motto in the coming weeks, Leo. Periodically ask yourself these three questions: Are you dependent on the approval, permission, or recognition of others? Have you set up a person, ideology, or image of success that's more authoritative than your own intuition? Is there any area of your life where you have ceded control to an external source?

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Here are the last words computer pioneer Steve Jobs spoke before he died: "OH, WOW. OH, WOW. OH, WOW." I'd propose that we bring that mantra into as wide a usage as Jobs's other creations, like the iPhone and iPad. I'd love to hear random strangers exclaiming it every time they realize how amazing their lives are. I'd enjoy it if TV newscasters spoke those words to begin each show, acknowledging how mysterious our world really is. I'd be pleased if lovers everywhere uttered it at the height of making love. I nominate you to start the trend, Virgo. You're the best choice because your tribe will most likely have the wildest rides and most intriguing adventures in the coming weeks.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] A starfish that loses an arm can grow back a new one. It's an expert regenerator. According to my understanding of the astrological omens, you are entering a starfish-like phase of your cycle. Far more than usual, you'll be able to recover parts of you that got lost and reanimate parts of you that fell dormant. For the foreseeable future, your words of power are "rejuvenate," "restore," "reawaken," and "revive." If you concentrate really hard and fill yourself with the light of the spiritual sun, you might even be able to perform a kind of resurrection.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Too much of a good thing isn't necessarily good. (Have you ever hyperventilated?) Too little of a good thing can be bad. (Have you ever gotten dehydrated?) Some things are good in measured doses but bad if done to excess. (Wine and chocolate.) Very little of a very bad thing might still be a bad thing. (It's hard to smoke crack in moderation.) The coming week is prime time to be thinking along these lines, Scorpio. You will generate a lot of the exact insights you need if you weigh and measure everything in your life and judge what is too much and what is too little.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] Sculptor Constantin Brancusi had a clear strategy as he produced his art: "Create like God; command like a king; work like a slave." I suggest you adopt a similar approach for your own purposes in the coming weeks, Sagittarius. With that as your formula, you could make rapid progress on a project that's dear to you. So make sure you have an inspiring vision of the dream you want to bring into being. Map out a bold, definitive plan for how to accomplish it. And then summon enormous stamina, fierce concentration, and unfailing attention to detail as you translate your heart's desire into a concrete form.

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