Free Will Astrology: December 17 through 23

ARIES [March 21–April 19] What I foresee for you in 2009 is an upgrade in your approach to creating and maintaining your alliances. I picture you being able to push beyond your habit-bound ways of conducting your relationships, ensuring that you'll be entertained and moved by them more than ever before. If I could give you a symbolic holiday gift to inspire you in this work, it might be a long, thick golden thread interwoven with a long, thick silver thread. Happy Holy Daze, Aries!

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Happy Holy Daze, Taurus! If I were going to give you a gift, it might be a ticket to go visit your imaginary friend—you know, the ally you've been neglecting . . . the "other you" who abides there patiently on the cusp between waking and dreaming, hoping that someday you will embrace your relationship. Don't worry: Your imaginary friend isn't possessive in the least, but mostly just wants you to think of your link every now and then so that you might feel less alone.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] One of your most fun assignments in 2009 will be not only to think way outside the box, but also to think way outside the bigger and more interesting (but nonetheless boxy) boxes that all the outside-the-box thinkers customarily think inside. That's why, if I could give you a Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, and Kwanzaa gift, it would be a nice, clean, square white box punched full of big holes with ragged edges where the inside has burst into the outside. Happy Holy Daze, Gemini!


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CANCER [June 21–July 22] In Passing Strange, the narrator, Stew, says, "You know how one morning you wake up as an adult, and you realize your entire life is based on a decision you made as a teenager?" If that description applies to you, Cancerian, 2009 will be the best year ever to do something about it. In the coming months, you will have the power to correct errors or misjudgments you made way back when. You'll be able to figure out how to start over in an area of your life you've always assumed you were doomed to accept just the way it is. You may even find that you can, in a sense, change the past and reconfigure your memories.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Happy Holy Daze, Leo! If I could give you one gift, it might be a magic object to add to your love altar—something like a golden heart-shaped magnet or Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets. What? You don't have a love altar? Well, then, please begin creating one as soon as possible and continue building it throughout 2009. For the next 12 months, the time will be right to get smarter, wilder, and kinder in your approach to creating intimate connections.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] "My deepest emotional wound has also been the source of inexhaustible blessings." I'm not going to tell you why that statement is true for me—it's way too personal—but I assure you that it's one of the fundamental facts about my destiny. Could you make a similar assertion? Is it possible to interpret your life in such a way that you could see how a painful experience you suffered in the past has also given you tremendous insight, inspiration, and vitality? 2009 will be an excellent year to make that leap of understanding. And the time around the solstice—right now!—is a perfect moment to get started.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] At's forum "Table Talk," participants were urged to come up with a six-word sentence that captured the essence of their lives. One person wrote: "Broke. Payday. Broke. Payday. Broke. Payday." Another said: "Oh, no, not again. Again. Again." But I really wanted to call your attention to this one: "I never learned how to swashbuckle." This is pertinent because I believe that if you have a similar regret, you will have an excellent chance to fix that problem in the coming months. In fact, I'm tempted to name 2009 as the "Year of the Swashbuckle" for you Libras. If I could give you a symbolic holiday gift to get you started, it might be a superhero's costume created by a top fashion designer. Happy Holy Daze!

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Happy Holy Daze, Scorpio! If I could give you one symbolic gift to set the right tone for 2009, it might be a glass vase with a potato growing partially submerged in water, allowing you to see its gnarly roots. I'd hope that would inspire you to put diligent yet playful effort into getting reacquainted with and exploring your own personal source code—you know, the master plan of your life that you formulated before you were born. The coming months will be an excellent time to cultivate a wise innocence as you get to the bottom of who you really are.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] Let's say that on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus hopes to deliver toys to every child who believes in him. Since his distribution area stretches over many time zones, he'll have at least 24 hours to accomplish this feat. Still, that means he's got to visit approximately 1,000 homes per second. I don't know what astrological sign Santa is, but if he's a Sagittarius, he'll have the highest possible chance at success. Beginning any day now, and lasting throughout 2009, your tribe will have the potential to move faster, think quicker, and multitask better than every other tribe. If I were going to give you a symbolic holiday gift, it would be greased lightning. Happy Holy Daze!

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] Four out of every five people testify that if they could, they would buy more time. If you're one of those four, I'm here to tell you that in the coming months, while you may not be able to actually purchase more of that precious commodity, it's quite possible that you'll be able to legally steal it, barter for it, and even create it from scratch. I've got to be cryptic here, because the promise I'm hinting at is, of course, not true in a strictly literal sense: You'll have to tweak your imagination and think a bit sideways and upside-down in order to cash in on the temporal expansions that will be available.

AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] When she applied for admission to New York University as an undergraduate, Rekha Malhotra was rejected. Years later, after she'd become a well-known Brooklyn DJ, that same school invited her to teach a class, "Pop Culture: South Asians in the U.S." "It was the sweetest revenge," she told Good magazine. I predict a comparable development for you in the coming year, Aquarius. You will find power in a place where you were formerly weak, or you will achieve success in a situation that once shut you out.

PISCES [February 19–March 20] Happy Holy Daze, Pisces! My gift to you is advice about the coming year. First, read this quote from W.H. Auden's book The Dyer's Hand: "A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish." With this as your touchstone, I urge you to be a gourmet in your approach to daydreaming during 2009. It will be time for you to make your fantasy life into an art form instead of a chaotic, unconscious diversion. If you put more intention into your generation of mental images, you will find yourself better able to create what you really want.

Homework: What's the one feeling you want to feel more than any other in 2009? Go to; click on "E-mail Rob."

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