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): "If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid." That could turn out to be a useful mantra for you in the coming week. Being pragmatic should be near the top of your priority list, whereas being judgmental should be at the bottom. Here's another mantra that may serve you well: "Those who take history personally are condemned to repeat it." I hope you invoke that wisdom to help you escape an oppressive part of your past. Do you have room for one more inspirational motto, Aries? Here it is: "I am only as strong as my weakest delusion."
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Don't you just love to watch the spinning of those wheels within wheels within wheels? Aren't you grateful for the way the ever-churning plot twists keep you alert and ready to shift your attitude at a moment's notice? And aren't you thrilled by those moments when fate reveals that its power is not absolute — that your intelligence and willpower can in fact override the seemingly inexorable imperatives of karma? If you are unfamiliar with the pleasures I've just described, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to get deeply acquainted.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It won't be a good week to issue unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered demands. And please don't make peanut butter and jelly a part of your sex life, take a vacation in Siberia, or photocopy your butt and deliver it anonymously to your boss. On the other hand, it will be an excellent time to scrawl motivational poetry on your bedroom wall, stage a slow-motion pillow fight, and cultivate your ability to be a deep-feeling free-thinker. Other recommended actions: Give yourself a new nickname like Highball or Root Doctor or Climax Master; write an essay on "The Five Things That the Pursuit of Pleasure Has Taught Me;" and laugh uproariously as you completely bypass the void of sadness and the abyss of fear.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In the mid-19th century, prospectors mined for gold in the mountains of western Nevada. The veins weren't as rich as those in California, but some men were able to earn a modest living. Their work to extract gold from the terrain was hampered by a gluey blue mud that gummed up their machinery. It was regarded as a major nuisance. But on a hunch, one miner took a load of the blue gunk to be analyzed by an expert. He discovered that it contained rich deposits of silver. So began an explosion of silver mining that made many prospectors very wealthy. I suggest you be on the alert for a metaphorical version of blue mud in your sphere, Cancerian: an "inconvenience" that seems to interfere with the treasure you seek, but that is actually quite valuable.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): When pioneer filmmaker Hal Roach worked on scripts with his team of writers, he sometimes employed an unusual strategy to overcome writer's block. He'd bring in a "Wildie" to join them at the conference table. A Wildie was either a random drunk they found wandering around the streets or a person who lived in an insane asylum. They'd engage him in conversation about the story they were working on, and he would provide unexpected ideas that opened their minds to new possibilities. I don't necessarily recommend that you seek the help of a Wildie, Leo, but I hope you will come up with other ways to spur fresh perspectives. Solicit creative disruptions!
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Is the term "unconscious mind" a good name for the foundation of the human psyche? Should we really be implying that the vast, oceanic source of everything we think and feel is merely the opposite of the conscious mind? Dreamworker Jeremy Taylor doesn't think so. He proposes an alternate phrase to replace "unconscious": "not-yet-speech-ripe." It captures the sense of all the raw material burbling and churning in our deep awareness that is not graspable through language. I bring this up, Virgo, because you're entering a phase when a lot of not-yet-speech-ripe stuff will become speech-ripe. Be alert for it!
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In 1928, biologist Alexander Fleming launched a medical revolution. He developed the world's first antibiotic, penicillin, making it possible to cure a host of maladies caused by hostile bacteria. His discovery was a lucky fluke that happened only because he left his laboratory a mess when he went on vacation. While he was gone, a bacteria culture he'd been working with got contaminated by a mold that turned out to be penicillin. I'm thinking that you could achieve a more modest but quite happy accident sometime soon, Libra. It may depend on you allowing things to be more untidy than usual, though. Are you game?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "I am iron resisting the most enormous Magnet there is," wrote the Sufi mystic poet Rumi. He was wistfully bemoaning his own stubborn ignorance, which tricked him into refusing a more intimate companionship with the Blessed Source of all life. I think there's something similar going on in most of us, even atheists. We feel the tremendous pull of our destiny — the glorious, daunting destination that would take all our strength to achieve and fulfill our deepest longings — and yet we are also terrified to surrender to it. What's your current relationship to your Magnet, Scorpio? I say it's time you allowed it to pull you closer.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): NASA used whale oil to lubricate the Hubble Space Telescope and Voyager spacecrafts. There was a good reason: Whale oil doesn't freeze at the low temperatures found in outer space. While I certainly don't approve of killing whales to obtain their oil, I want to use this story to make a point. It's an excellent time for you, too, to use old-school approaches for solving ultra-new-school problems. Sometimes a tried-and-true method works better, or is cheaper, simpler, or more aesthetically pleasing.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The theory of the "butterfly effect" proposes that a butterfly flapping its wings in China may ultimately impact the weather in New York. Here's how the writer Richard Bernstein explains it: "Very slight, nearly infinitesimal variations and the enormous multiplicity of interacting variables produce big differences in the end." That's why, he says, "the world is just too complicated to be predictable." I find this a tremendously liberating idea. It suggests that every little thing you do sends out ripples of influence that help shape the kind of world you live in. The coming week will be an excellent time to experiment with how this works in your daily life. Put loving care and intelligent attention into every little thing.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Former football quarterback Joe Ayoob holds the world's record for throwing a paper airplane the longest distance. After it left his hand, the delicate craft traveled over 226 feet. I propose we make Ayoob your patron saint and role model for the coming week. From what I can tell, you will have a similar challenge, at least metaphorically: blending power and strength with precision and finesse and control. It's time to move a fragile thing or process as far as possible.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A source of fulfillment you will enjoy in the future may seem almost painful when it initially announces its presence. In other words, your next mission may first appear to you as a problem. Your situation has a certain resemblance to that of prolific Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who produced a wide variety of enduring works, including symphonies, ballets, operas, and concertos. When he was a precocious child, he was assailed by the melodies and rhythms that frequently surged through his mind. "This music! This music!" he complained to his mother. "Take it away! It's here in my head and won't let me sleep!"