Free Will Astrology: January 23-29, 2013

ARIES [March 21–April 19] The German government sponsored a scientific study of dowsing, which is a form of magical divination used to locate underground sources of water. After 10 years, the chief researcher testified: "It absolutely works, beyond all doubt. But we have no idea why or how." An assertion like that might also apply to the mojo you'll have at your disposal, Aries, as you forge new alliances and bolster your web of connections in the coming weeks. I don't know how or why you'll be such an effective networker, but you will be.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] The United States Congress spends an inordinate amount of time on trivial matters. For example, 16 percent of all the laws it passed in the past two years were devoted to renaming post offices. That's down from the average of the previous eight years, during which time almost 20 percent of its laws had the sole purpose of renaming post offices. In my astrological opinion, you Tauruses can't afford to indulge in anything close to that level of nonsense during the next four weeks. I urge you to keep time-wasting activities down to less than 5 percent of your total.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] What if your unconscious mind has dreamed up sparkling answers to your raging questions, but your conscious mind doesn't know about them yet? Is it possible you are not taking advantage of the sly wisdom that your deeper intelligence has been cooking up? I say it's time to poke around down there. It's time to take aggressive measures as you try to smoke out the revelations that your secret self has prepared for you. How? Remember your dreams, of course. Notice hunches that arise out of nowhere.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] In his book Our Band Could Be Your Life, Michael Azerrad says that the Cancerian singer-songwriter Steve Albini is a "connoisseur of intensity." That means he's picky about what he regards as intense. Even the two kinds of music that are often thought of as the embodiment of ferocious emotion don't make the grade for Albini. Heavy metal is comical, he says, not intense. Hardcore punk is childish, not intense. What's your definition of intensity, Cancerian?

LEO [July 23–August 22] There's a butterfly sanctuary at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It's called the Enchanted Garden. As you enter, you see a sign that reads: "Please do not touch the butterflies. Let the butterflies touch you." In other words, you shouldn't initiate contact with the delicate creatures. You shouldn't pursue them or try to capture them. Instead, make yourself available for them to land on you. Allow them to decide how and when your connection will begin to unfold. I suggest you adopt a similar approach to any beauty you'd like to know better.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Do you ever fantasize about a more perfect version of yourself? Is there an idealized image of who you might become in the future? That can be a good thing if it motivates you to improve and grow. But it might also lead you to devalue the creation you are right now. It may harm your capacity for self-acceptance. Your assignment in the coming week is to temporarily forget about whom you might evolve into at some later date, and instead just love your crazy, mysterious life exactly as it is.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] Novelist Jeffrey Eugenides says he doesn't have generic emotions that can be described with one word. "Sadness," "joy," and "regret" don't happen to him. Instead, he prefers "complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions," like "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." He delights in sensing "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" and "sadness inspired by failing restaurants." In the coming days, Libra, I think you should specialize in one-of-a-kind feelings like these.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] After analyzing your astrological omens for the coming weeks, I decided that the best advice I could give you would be this passage by the English writer G. K. Chesterton: "Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a person can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of set rules and set tasks."

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] My general philosophy is that everyone on the planet, including me, is a jerk now and then. In fact, I'm suspicious of those who are apparently so unfailingly well-behaved that they NEVER act like jerks. On the other hand, some people are jerks far too often, and they should be avoided. Here's my rule of thumb: How sizable is each person's Jerk Quotient? If it's below 6 percent, I'll probably give them a chance to be a presence in my life. This gauge might be useful for you to keep in mind during the coming weeks.

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