Free Will Astrology: March 9-15, 2011

ARIES [March 21–April 19] "Dear Mr. Astrologer: Like the god Prometheus, I stole fire from the gods and gave it to people who sometimes make awful use of it. As punishment, the gods chained me to a rock on the beach, and arranged for an eagle to come daily to eat my liver. Luckily, the liver grows back every night. Unluckily, the eagle always returns to devour it again. I'm used to it by now; it doesn't hurt as much as it once did. But I'm still eager to get out of my predicament. Any suggestions? —Aries in Limbo." Dear Aries: Your rescue is scheduled for no later than your birthday, possibly before. In the meantime, the best thing you can do to prepare for your release is to feel gratitude for all you've learned during your ordeal.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Your meditation for this week comes from H.P. Lovecraft. "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!" While that's always good counsel, I think it's especially apt for you right now. You'd be smart to evaluate your own worth based less on what job you do and more on who you are. Practice thinking this healing idea: The soulfulness you embody and express from moment to moment is the single greatest measure of your success as a human being.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] One of my favorite peculiarities about the English language is the words it uses to characterize groups of specific animals. For example, the correct term for many owls gathered together is not "flock" but "parliament": a "parliament of owls." If I had to come up with a comparable term for the human members of your tribe, it might be something like a "zeal of Geminis" or a "charm of Geminis" or an "exaltation of Geminis." All those words capture the glory that will be you.


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CANCER [June 21–July 22] The roots of the lotus are anchored in muck at the pond's bottom. Its leaves float on the water and its dramatic flower rises above on a thick stem. For Buddhists, it was an emblem of enlightenment: beauty ascending from the mud. Even modern science has contributed to building the mystique of the lotus, having determined that its seeds can remain viable for many centuries. It's not a fragile marvel! In the 16th-century Chinese folk tale "Monkey," a teacher instructed the hero on how to achieve a long life. "Even amidst fierce flames," he said, "the Golden Lotus can be planted." For the foreseeable future, Cancerian, the lotus is your power object.

LEO [July 23–August 22] "Picture a very complicated combination lock, one that requires dialing up eight different numbers to open," writes Arianna Huffington. "You have seven of the numbers, but the lock still won't open until you hit upon that final number. One-eighth may not seem as 'big' as seven-eighths, but without the final click of the combination, the tumblers won't fall into place." Sound familiar? You have dialed up the first seven numbers but you don't know what the eighth is yet; until you discover it, the lock will stay closed. Where should you look for the info? It's now within your reach.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] In the coming week, it's very important that you stay out of other people's hells—even if they invite you in with a big welcome, and even if you're tempted to join them there in their infernos as a misguided way of proving your love. Be compassionate, Virgo, but don't be foolish. The best thing you can do to help others is to cultivate your own mental health with ingenuity, trusting in its radiant power to heal by example.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] "Two paradoxes are better than one," said physicist Edward Teller. "They may even suggest a solution." I hope this gives you a glimmer of appreciation for the sparkling contradictions you're surrounded by, Libra. It would be understandable if up until today you felt they were crazy-making stressors that served no good purpose. But now maybe you will be motivated to stand on your head, cross your eyes, and try to see how the tangy riddles might actually be used to untangle each other.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Despite the wealth and renown he has accumulated during his influential career, musician Brian Eno is a big fan of raw simplicity. Speaking about R&B, soul music, and psychedelia, he said, "These earlier eras of pop music were characterized not by the search for perfection but by bizarre enthusiasms, small budgets, erratic technique, crummy equipment, and wild abandon." Would you consider playing with that approach in the coming weeks, Scorpio? It's not necessarily something you should do all the time, but right now I suspect it's a formula for the most interesting kind of success.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] Research Digest Blog asked eminent psychologists to write about the theme "one nagging thing you still don't understand about yourself." One expert wondered why he always overestimates how much work he can get done. Another pondered the fact that he falls prey to his own irrational biases even though he's well aware he has them. A third said he can't fathom why it's so easy for him to learn some things and so hard to learn others. What would your answer be, Sagittarius? This is an excellent time, astrologically speaking, to see if you can get to the bottom of a truth about yourself that has always eluded you.

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] I suspect that you will either be spectacularly right or breathtakingly wrong in the coming days. Which way it goes will all depend on whether you're observing and responding to the actual events unfolding in front of you or else are more focused on the images dancing around in your imagination. Of course it's always a good idea to get your biases and projections out of the way so you can see life as it really is, but it's especially crucial now. So much is contingent upon your ability to be acutely perceptive and crisply objective.

AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] In the old fairy tale, the character known as Rumpelstiltskin had the power to spin straw into gold. That skill has a metaphorical resemblance to the wizardry you could pull off in the coming weeks: transforming seemingly ordinary or worthless stuff into a valuable asset. Although your work might seem a bit miraculous and make some people wonder if you've used hocus-pocus, the fact is that it may at times feel tedious or extremely demanding to you. Be gutsy in your mastery of the intricate details, Aquarius. I'll be thinking of you as the Gritty Magician.

PISCES [February 19–March 20] "Good things may come to those who wait—but they're mostly just the things left behind by those who hustle and bustle." That message was in the fortune cookie I got with my Chinese take-out food tonight. It happens to be a perfect fit for your current astrological omens, so I'm handing it over to you. In the coming week, I don't recommend that you sit around patiently and watch how the trends ripen. I don't think you should bide your time or be cautious in making a commitment. Be proactive, Pisces—maybe even gung ho. Carpe the freaking diem.

Homework: What do you want to be when you grow up? Testify at

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