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): Are you afraid that you lack a crucial skill or aptitude? Do you have a goal that you're worried might be impossible to achieve because of this inadequacy? If so, now is a good time to make plans to fill in the gap. If you formulate such an intention, you will attract a benevolent push from the cosmos. Why spend another minute fretting about the consequences of your ignorance when you have more power than usual to correct that ignorance?
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Imagine you're in a large room full of costumes. It's like a masquerade store at Halloween plus a storage area where a theater troupe keeps the apparel its actors use to stage a wide variety of historical plays. You have free reign here. You can try on different masks and wigs and disguises and get-ups. You can envision yourself living in different eras as various characters. If you like, you can even go out into the world wearing your alternate identities. Try this exercise, Taurus. It'll stimulate good ideas about some new self-images you might want to play with in real life.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Ray LaMontagne sings these lyrics in his tune "Empty": "I looked my demons in the eyes. Laid bare my chest and said, 'Do your best to destroy me. I've been to hell and back so many times, I must admit you kind of bore me.'" I wouldn't be opposed to you delivering a message like that to your own demons, Gemini — with one caveat: Leave out the "Do your best to destroy me" part. Simply peer into the glazed gaze of those shabby demons and say, "You bore me and I'm done with you. Bye-bye." And then walk away from them for good.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I know a devotee of Tibetan Buddhism who got an unexpected message from her teacher. He told her she has made such exemplary progress in her quest for enlightenment that she has earned the ultimate reward. When she dies many years from now, the teacher said, she will enter nirvana! She will have no further karmic obligation to reincarnate into a new body in the future, and will be forever excused from the struggle of living in the material world. Although her teacher meant this to be good news, she was heartbroken. She wants to keep reincarnating. Her joyous passion is to help relieve the suffering of her fellow humans. Can you guess what sign she is? Yes: a Cancerian. Like her, many of you are flirting with an odd and challenging choice between selfishness and selflessness.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A lawyer named John Keogh filed an application with the Australian Patent Office. It was for a "circular transportation facilitation device." His claim was approved. He thus became the owner of the world's first and only patent for the wheel. So far, he has not tried to collect royalties from anyone who's using wheels. I nominate him to be your role model, Leo. May he inspire you to stamp your personal mark on a universal archetype or put your unique spin on something everyone knows and loves.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): This may be the best week in a long time to practice the art of crazy wisdom. And what is crazy wisdom? Here's how novelist Tom Robbins described it to Shambhala Sun: It's "a philosophical worldview that recommends swimming against the tide, cheerfully seizing the short end of the stick, embracing insecurity, honoring paradox, courting the unexpected, celebrating the unfamiliar, shunning orthodoxy, volunteering for tasks nobody else wants or dares to do, and breaking taboos in order to destroy their power. It’s the wisdom of those who turn the tables on despair by lampooning it, and who neither seek authority nor submit to it." And why should you do any of that weird stuff? Robbins: "To enlarge the soul, light up the brain, and liberate the spirit."
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Why should we honor those that die upon the field of battle?" asked Irish poet William Butler Yeats. "A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself." A woman may show similar bravery, of course. In my astrological opinion, that's the noble adventure beckoning to you, Libra: a dive into the depths of your inner workings. I hope that's the direction you go; I hope you don't take your stouthearted struggle out into the world around you. All the best action will be happening in that fertile hub known as your "soul."
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Historical records suggest that ancient Greek philosopher Democritus went blind late in his life. There are different stories about why. According to one account, he intentionally did it to himself by gazing too long into the sun. That was his perverse way of solving a vexing problem: It freed him from the torment of having to look upon gorgeous women who were no longer interested in or available to him because of his advanced age. I hope you won't do anything like that, Scorpio. In fact, I suggest you take the opposite approach: Keep your attention focused on things that stir your deep attraction, even if you think you can't have them for your own. Valuable lessons and unexpected rewards will emerge from such efforts.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Search your memory, Sagittarius, and recall a time when you pushed yourself to your limits as you labored over a task you cared about very much. At that time, you worked with extreme focus and intensity. You were rarely bored and never resentful about the enormous effort you had to expend. You loved throwing yourself into this test of willpower, which stretched your resourcefulness and compelled you to grow new capacities. What was that epic breakthrough in your past? Once you know, move on to your next exercise: Imagine a new assignment that fits this description, and make plans to bring it into your life in the near future.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Nairobi is Kenya's capital and home of over three million urbanites. A few minutes' drive from the city center, there's a 45-square-mile national park teeming with wildlife. Against a backdrop of skyscrapers, rhinos and giraffes graze. Lions and cheetahs pounce. Wildebeests roam and hyenas skulk. I suggest you borrow the spirit of that arrangement and invoke it in your own life. In other words, be highly civilized and smartly sophisticated part of the time; be wild and free the rest of the time. And be ready to go back and forth between the two modes with grace and ease.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In the wild, a tiger's diet consists entirely of meat. The big cat loves to feast on deer and wild boar, and eats a variety of other animals, too. The hunt is always solitary, never done in collaborative groups. That's why the creature's success rate is so low. A tiger snags the prey it's seeking only about five percent of the time. It sometimes has to wait two weeks between meals. Nevertheless, a tiger rarely starves. When it gets what it's after, it can devour 75 pounds of food in one sitting. According to my astrological analysis, Aquarius, you're like a tiger these days. You haven't had a lot of lucky strikes lately, but I suspect you will soon hit the jackpot.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The French word flâneur is a meme that refers to a person who strolls around the city at a leisurely pace, exploring whatever captivates her imagination. To the casual observer, the flâneur may seem to be a lazy time-waster with nothing important to do. But she is in fact motivated by one of the noblest emotions — pure curiosity — and is engaged in a quest to attract novel experiences, arouse fresh insights, and seek new meaning. Sound fun? Well, congratulations, Pisces, because you have been selected as the Flaming Flâneur of the Zodiac for the next two weeks. Get out there and meander!