by Rob Brezsny
Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Maybe you're not literally in exile. You haven't been forced to abandon your home and you haven't been driven from your power spot against your will. But you may nevertheless be feeling banished or displaced. It could be due to one of the conditions that storyteller Michael Meade names: "We may experience exile as a lack of recognition, a period of transition, an identity crisis, a place of stuckness, or else having a gift and no place to give it." Do any of those describe your current predicament, Aries? The good news, Meade says, is that exile can shock you awake to the truth about where you belong. It can rouse your irrepressible motivation to get back to your rightful place.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Do you have a recurring nightmare that has plagued you? If so, I suspect it will recur again soon. Only this time, Taurus, you will beat it. You will trick or escape or defeat the monster that's chasing you. Or else you will outrun the molten lava or disperse the tornado or fly up off the ground until the earth stops shaking. Congratulations on this epic shift, Taurus. Forever after you will have more power over the scary thing that has had so much power over you.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The following request for advice appeared on Reddit.com: "My identical twin is stuck in an alternate dimension and she can only communicate with me by appearing as my own reflection in mirrors and windows. How can I tell her I don't like what she's done to her hair?" This question is a variant of a type of dilemma that many of you Geminis are experiencing right now, so I'll respond to it here. I'm happy to say that you will soon get an unprecedented chance to commune directly with your alter egos. Your evil twin will be more available than usual to engage in meaningful dialog. So will your doppelganger, your shadow, your mirror self, and your stuntperson.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Usually I advise Cancerians to draw up precise borders and maintain clear boundaries. As a Crab myself, I know how important it is for our well-being that we neither leak our life force all over everything nor allow others to leak their life force all over us. We thrive on making definitive choices and strong commitments. We get into trouble when we're wishy-washy about what we want. OK. Having said all that fatherly stuff, I now want to grant you a partial and temporary license to get a little wild and fuzzy. Don't overdo it, of course, but explore the smart fun you can have by breaking some of your own rules and transgressing some of the usual limits.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In the course of formulating his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin read many books. He developed a rather ruthless approach to getting what he needed out of them. If there was a particular part of a book that he didn't find useful, he simply tore it out, cast it aside, and kept the rest. I recommend this as a general strategy for you in the coming week, Leo. In every situation you're in, figure out what's most valuable to you and home in on that. For now, forget the irrelevant and extraneous stuff.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Here's a passage from Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations: "It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." Judging from the astrological omens, Virgo, I suspect your life may be like that in the coming days. The emotional tone could be sharply mixed, with high contrasts between vivid sensations. The nature of your opportunities may seem warm and bright one moment, cool and dark the next. If you regard this as interesting rather than difficult, it won't be a problem, but rather an adventure.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "I worked as a hair stylist in Chicago's Gold Coast for 20 years with some of the most gorgeous woman and men in the world," writes sculptor Rich Thomson. "Once I asked a photographer who shot for the big magazines how he picked out the very best models from among all these great-looking people. His response: 'Flaws. Our flaws are what make us interesting, special, and exotic. They define us.'" My challenge to you, Libra, is to meditate on how your supposed imperfections and oddities are essential to your unique beauty. It's a perfect moment to celebrate — and make good use of — your idiosyncrasies.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The genius of Leonardo da Vinci was in part fueled by his buoyant curiosity. In his work as an artist, musician, inventor, engineer, and writer, he drew inspiration from pretty much everything. He's your role model for the coming week, Scorpio. Just assume that you will find useful cues and clues wherever you go. Act as if the world is full of teachers who have revelations and guidance specifically meant for you. Here's some advice from da Vinci himself: "It should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas."
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Ready for a reality check? It's time to assess how well you know the fundamental facts about where you are located. So let me ask you: Do you know which direction north is? Where does the water you drink come from? What phase of the moon is it today? What was the indigenous culture that once lived where you live now? Where is the power plant that generates the electricity you use? Can you name any constellations that are currently in the night sky? What species of trees do you see every day? Use these questions as a starting point as you deepen your connection with your specific neighborhood on planet Earth. Get yourself grounded!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): There's a writer I know whose work is brilliant. Her ideas are fascinating. She's a champion of political issues I hold dear. She's well-read and smarter than me. Yet her speech is careless and sloppy. She rambles and interrupts herself. She says "uh," "you know," and "I mean" so frequently that I find it hard to listen, even when she's saying things I admire. I considered telling her about this, but decided against it. She's an acquaintance, not a friend. Instead, I resolved to clean up my own speech — to make sure I don't do anything close to what she does. This is a strategy I suggest for you, Capricorn: Identify interesting people who are not fully living up to their potential, and change yourself in the exact ways you wish they would change.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The German word Verschlimmbesserung refers to an attempted improvement that actually makes things worse. Be on guard against this, Aquarius. I fear that as you tinker, you may try too hard. I'm worried you'll be led astray by neurotic perfectionism. To make sure that your enhancements and enrichments will indeed be successful, keep these guidelines in mind: 1. Think about how to make things work better, not how to make things look better. 2. Be humble and relaxed. Don't worry about saving face and don't overwork yourself. 3. Forget about short-term fixes; serve long-range goals.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "Telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen," says musician and businessman Derek Sivers. Numerous studies demonstrate that when you talk about your great new idea before you actually do it, your brain chemistry does an unexpected thing. It gives you the feeling that you have already accomplished the great new idea — thereby sapping your willpower to make the effort necessary to accomplish it! The moral of the story: Don't brag about what you're going to do someday. Don't entertain people at parties with your fabulous plans. Shut up and get to work. This is especially important advice for you right now.