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): "You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings," says author Elizabeth Gilbert. I recommend that you experiment with this subversive idea, Aries. Just for a week, see what happens if you devote yourself to making yourself feel really good. I mean risk going to extremes as you pursue happiness with focused zeal. Try this: Draw up a list of experiences that you know will give you intense pleasure, and indulge in them all without apology. And please don't fret about the possible consequences of getting crazed with joy. Be assured that the cosmos is providing you with more slack than usual.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits," writes Taurus author Annie Dillard, "but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air." I recommend you try on her perspective for size. For now, just forget about scrambling after perfection. At least temporarily, surrender any longing you might have for smooth propriety. Be willing to live without neat containment and polite decorum. Instead, be easy and breezy. Feel a generous acceptance for the messy beauty you're embedded in. Love your life exactly as it is, with all of its paradoxes and mysteries.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Studies show that when you're driving a car, your safest speed is five miles per hour higher than the average rate of traffic. Faster than that, though, and the danger level rises. Traveling more slowly than everyone else on the road also increases your risk of having an accident. Applying these ideas metaphorically, I'd like to suggest you take a similar approach as you weave your way through life's challenges in the coming week. Don't dawdle and plod. Move a little swifter than everyone else, but don't race along at a breakneck pace.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The key theme this week is relaxed intensification. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to heighten and strengthen your devotion to things that are important to you—but in ways that make you feel more serene and self-possessed. To accomplish this, you will have to ignore the conventional wisdom, which falsely asserts that going deeper and giving more of yourself require you to increase your stress levels. You do indeed have a great potential for going deeper and giving more of yourself, but only if you also become more at peace with yourself and more at home in the world.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Last year a young Nebraskan entrepreneur changed his name from Tyler Gold to Tyrannosaurus Rex Gold. He said it was a way of giving him greater name recognition as he worked to build his career. Do you have any interest in making a bold move like that, Leo? The coming weeks would be a good time for you to think about adding a new twist to your nickname or title or self-image. But I recommend something less sensationalistic and more in line with the qualities you'd actually like to cultivate in the future. I'm thinking of something like Laughing Tiger or Lucky Lion or Wily Wildcat.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): African-American jazz singer Billie Holiday was the great-granddaughter of a slave. By the time she was born in 1915, black people in the American South were no longer "owned" by white "masters," but their predicament was still extreme. Racism was acute and debilitating. Here's what Billie wrote in her autobiography: "You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation." Nothing you experience is remotely as oppressive as what Billie experienced, Virgo. But I'm wondering if you might suffer from a milder version of it. Is any part of you oppressed and inhibited even though your outward circumstances are technically unconstrained? If so, now's the time to push for more freedom.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What resounding triumphs and subtle transformations have you accomplished since your last birthday? How have you grown and changed? Are there any ways you have dwindled or drooped? The next few weeks will be an excellent time to take inventory of these things. Your own evaluations will be most important, of course. You've got to be the ultimate judge of your own character. But you should also solicit the feedback of people you trust. They may be able to help you see clues you've missed. If, after weighing all the evidence, you decide you're pleased with how your life has unfolded these past ten to eleven months, I suggest you celebrate your success. Throw yourself a party or buy yourself a reward or climb to the top of a mountain and unleash a victory cry.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Monmouth Park in New Jersey hosts regular horse races from May through November. During one such event in 2010, a horse named Thewifenoseeverything finished first, just ahead of another nag named Thewifedoesntknow. I suspect that there'll be a comparable outcome in your life sometime soon. Revelation will trump secrecy. Whoever is hiding information will lose out to anyone who sees and expresses the truth. I advise you to bet on the option that's forthcoming and communicative, not the one that's furtive and withholding.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You have both a poetic and a cosmic license to stretch yourself further. It's best not to go too far, of course. You should stop yourself before you obliterate all boundaries and break all taboos and smash all precedents. But you've certainly got the blessings of fate if you seek to disregard some boundaries and shatter some taboos and outgrow some precedents. While you're at it, you might also want to shed a few pinched expectations and escape an irrelevant limitation or two. It's time to get as big and brave and brazen as you dare.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): When I was 19, a thug shot me in the butt with a shotgun at close range. To this day, my body contains the 43 pellets he pumped into me. They have caused some minor health problems, and I'm always queasy when I see a gun. But I don't experience any routine suffering from the wound. Its original impact no longer plagues me. What's your own personal equivalent of my trauma, Capricorn? A sickness that racked you when you were young? A difficult break-up with your first love? The death of someone you cared about? Whatever it was, I suspect you now have the power to reach a new level of freedom from that old pain.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Want to take full advantage of the sexy vibes that are swirling around in your vicinity? One thing you could do is whisper the following provocations in the ear of anyone who would respond well to a dose of boisterous magic: 1) "Corrupt me with your raw purity, baby; beguile me with your raucous honesty." 2) "I finally figured out that one of the keys to eternal happiness is to be easily amused. Want me to show you how that works?" 3) "I dare you to quench my thirst for spiritual sensuality." 4) "Let's trade clothes and pretend we're each other's higher selves."
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Some people put their faith in religion or science or political ideologies. English novelist J.G. Ballard placed his faith elsewhere: in the imagination. "I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world," he wrote, "to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen." As you make your adjustments and reconfigure your plans, Pisces, I suggest you put your faith where Ballard did. Your imagination is far more potent and dynamic than you realize—especially right now.