Free Will Astrology: December 26, 2012 - January 1, 2013

ARIES [March 21–April 19] In the sci-fi film trilogy The Matrix, the heroes are able to instantaneously acquire certain complex skills via software that's downloaded directly into their brains. In this way, the female hacker named Trinity masters the art of piloting a military M-109 helicopter in just a few minutes. If you could choose a few downloads like that, Aries, what would they be? In 2013, I expect that your educational capacity will be exceptional. While you might not be able to add new skills as easily as Trinity, you'll be pretty fast and efficient.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Are you familiar with the fable of the golden goose? The farmer who owned it became impatient because it laid only one gold egg per day. So he killed it, thinking he would thereby get the big chunk of gold that must be inside its body. Alas, there was no chunk. From then on, of course, he no longer got his modest daily treasure. I nominate this fable to be one of your top teaching stories of 2013. As long as you're content with a slow, steady rate of enrichment, you'll be successful.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Here are some of the experiences I hope to help you harvest in the coming year: growing pains that are interesting and invigorating rather than stressful; future shock that feels like a fun joyride rather than a bumpy rumble; two totally new and original ways to get excited; and a fresh supply of Innocent Crazy-Wise Love Truth.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] In her gallery show "Actuality, Reminiscence, and Fabrication," artist Deborah Sullivan includes a piece called "Penance 1962." It consists of a series of handwritten statements that repeats a central theme: "I must not look at boys during prayer." I'm assuming it's based on her memory of being in church or Catholic school when she was a teenager. You probably have an analogous rule lodged somewhere in the depths of your unconscious mind—an outmoded prohibition or taboo that might still be subtly corroding your life energy. The coming year will be an excellent time to banish that ancient nonsense for good.

LEO [July 23–August 22] For years, the gravestone of Irish dramatist Oscar Wilde was covered with kiss-shaped lipstick marks that his admirers left. Unfortunately, Wilde's descendants decided to scour away all those blessings and erect a glass wall around the tomb. In my astrological opinion, Leo, you should favor the former style of behavior over the latter in 2013. In other words, don't focus on keeping things neat and clean and well-ordered. Be extravagant and uninhibited in expressing your love for the influences that inspire you.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] In 2013, I hope to conspire with you to raise your levels of righteous success. If you're a struggling songwriter, I'll be pushing for you to get your music out to more people without sacrificing your artistic integrity. If you're a kindergarten teacher, I'll prompt you to fine-tune and deepen the benevolent influence you have on your students. If you're a business owner, I'll urge you to ensure that the product you offer is a well-honed gift to those who use it. As I trust you can see, Virgo, I'm implying that impeccable ethics will be crucial to your ascent in the coming year.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] After Libran poet Wallace Stevens won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1955, Harvard University offered him a job as a full professor. But he turned it down. He couldn't bear leaving his day job as the vice-president of an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. I suspect that in the first half of 2013, you will come to a fork in the road that might feel something like Stevens's quandary. Should you stick with what you know or else head off in the direction of unpredictable stimulation? I'm not here to tell you which is the better choice; I simply want to make sure you clearly identify the nature of the decision.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] In 2013, I will try to help you retool, reinvent, and reinvigorate yourself in every way that's important to you. I will encourage you to reawaken one of your sleeping aptitudes, recapture a lost treasure, and reanimate a dream you've neglected. If you're smart, Scorpio, you will reallocate resources that got misdirected or wasted. And I hope you will reapply for a privilege or position you were previously denied because I bet you'll win it this time around.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] Based on experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, a team of physicists in France and Switzerland announced last July that they had tentatively discovered the Higgs boson, which is colloquially known as the "God particle." What's all the fuss? In her San Francisco Chronicle column, Leah Garchik quoted an expert who sought to explain: "The Higgs boson is the WD-40 and duct tape of the universe, all rolled into one." Is there a metaphorical equivalent of such a thing in your life? If not, I predict you will find it in 2013. If there already is, I expect you will locate and start using its 2.0 version.

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