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): In her TED talk, science writer Mary Roach made it clear that human beings don't need genital stimulation to experience orgasms. She spoke of a woman who routinely reaches ecstatic climax by having her eyebrows caressed, and another woman who reaches the big O simply by brushing her teeth. Then there's the woman who can simply think herself into coming, no physical touch necessary. I can't guarantee that a similar aptitude will suddenly turn on in you, Aries, but the coming days could bring you as close as you have ever been. Right now you're a connoisseur of deep pleasure—a blessed bliss master.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "The fact that someone else loves you doesn't rescue you from the project of loving yourself," writes blogger Sahaj Kohli. Nothing else rescues you from that quest, either, I would add. Sooner or later, whether it's now or 20 years in the future, you will have to master this fine art. It's not enough to merely feel affection for yourself; not enough to seek pleasure and avoid pain. You've got to make extensive investigations to discover what it means to love yourself; you have to develop rigorous plans for how to accomplish it; and you must fire up a deep commitment as you actually carry out those plans. By the way, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to work on mastering this fine art.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "Drunk with my madness, I shouted at him furiously, 'Make life beautiful! Make life beautiful!'" So says a character in a prose poem by Charles Baudelaire. And now, even though I am neither drunk nor furious nor consumed with madness, I am whispering the same command to you. I hope you will respond by embarking on a heroic effort to make life beautiful everywhere you go. The astrological omens suggest that if you do, you will be inundated with practical blessings that are as valuable as money. This will also be an excellent way to drum up the kind of love you crave.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Here's what I wish for you during the Valentine season: to be happily in love with an intimate partner who loves you back. If that's not feasible, here's what I hope: that you are learning provocative lessons about yourself through your growth-inducing relationship with a close ally. And if you're not blessed with either of those experiences, here's a third alternative: that you cherish your fathomless longing for its own sake, feeling wonder and reverence for its wild power even if it's unfulfilled.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Making eye contact is essential for building potent links with people you care about. It bypasses rational thought, stimulating chemical reactions in your bodies that enhance empathy and intimacy. In practicing the art of love, it's one of the most potent moves you can make. This Valentine season would be an excellent time for you Leos to explore the frontiers of what's possible through prolonged eye contact. Start here: Cultivate a sincere desire to know what's simmering inside the souls of your dearest allies. With that as your driving force, your gaze won't be clouded by shyness or self-consciousness.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "I prefer an ecstatic orgasm to a lot of angst," says Filipino artist David Medalla. I hope you consider making that your battle cry during this Valentine season. It would be in rapt harmony with the current cosmic omens. There really is no need for you to get sidelined by anxiety or distracted by stress when the natural remedy is so easily available. In every way you can imagine, Virgo, fight off sourness and dourness by engaging in acts of joy and pleasure.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In her poem "Implications of One Plus One," Marge Piercy marvels at the way she and her long-term partner keep finding new nuances in their love-making. "Ten years of fitting our bodies together / and still they sing wild songs in new keys," she writes. What's their secret? It's "timing, chemistry, magic and will and luck." What I wish for you this Valentine season, Libra, is that you will have access to all five of those ingredients as you reinvigorate your relationship to love. More importantly—based on the current cosmic omens—I predict you will have access to them.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Jesuit priest Pedro Arrupe touted the practical value of being totally in love. "What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything," he said. "It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude." Are you in love, Scorpio? With either a person, a beloved animal, a certain patch of land, your creative work, or life itself? If not, there's no excuse! Astrologically speaking, it's an excellent time for you to be stupendously in love with someone or something—anything! If you are already in this state, trust your intuition to make it even smarter and finer.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Borrowing the words of Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks), I've prepared a love note for you to use as your own. Give it to a person whose destiny needs to be woven more closely together with yours: "You are the sky my spirit circles in, the love inside love, the resurrection-place." Would you like even more inspirational words to deliver to your chosen one? I hope so. Be greedy for lyrical bonding. Lust for springy intimacy. Feed your churning yearning. Try saying this, lifted from the book The Last Unicorn: "We are two sides of the same magic." And be sure to say this, paraphrased from Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh: "I love you in a way that will always make you feel free."
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "People think a soul mate is your perfect fit," says author Elizabeth Gilbert. "But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back . . . They tear down your walls and smack you awake. . . shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you . . . transform your life." Does that sound like the kind of person you want in your life, Capricorn? Or do you prefer someone who likes what you like, appreciates you just as you are, and makes your life more secure and comfortable? This Valentine season is a good time to make or renew your commitment to one choice or the other. Whatever you decide, you're likely to experience it on a richer, deeper level during the next 12 months.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Do you feel oppressed by Valentine's Day? Maybe you're single and reject the cultural bias that says being in an intimate relationship is the healthy norm. Or maybe you're part of a couple but are allergic to the cartoonish caricatures of romance that bombard you during the Valentine marketing assault. If you'd rather consecrate love and intimacy in your own unique way, untainted by the stereotypes flying around, I invite you to rebel. Make this the year you overthrow the old ways and start a new tradition: Valentine's Day 2.0. Mock sappy, sentimental expressions of romance even as you carry out futuristic experiments in radically slaphappy love.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "I have come to be fascinated with the messiness of desire," writes novelist Ashley Warlick, "with the ways people fit themselves together, take themselves apart for each other, for want of each other, for want of some parts of each other." Your assignment, Pisces, is to celebrate the messiness of desire; to not just grudgingly accept it as an inconvenience you've got to tolerate, but rather to marvel at it, be amused by it, and appreciate it for all the lessons it provides. Your motto this Valentine season could be, "I bless the messy largesse of my longing.”