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 his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera says that the brain has "a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful." In the coming days, it will be especially important for you to tap into this power spot in your own grey matter, Aries. You need to activate and stir up the feelings of enchantment that are stored there. Doing so will make you fully alert and available for the new delights that will be swirling in your vicinity. The operative principle is like attracts like.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Our ancestors could see the Milky Way Galaxy spread out across the heavens on every clear night. Galileo said it was so bright, it cast a shadow of his body on the ground. But today that glorious spectacle is invisible to us city-dwellers. The sky after sundown is polluted with artificial light that hides 90 percent of the 2,000 stars we might otherwise see. If you want to bask in the natural illumination, you've got to travel to a remote area where the darkness is deeper. Let's make that your metaphor, Taurus. Proceed on the hypothesis that a luminous source of beauty is concealed from you. To become aware of it, you must seek out a more profound darkness.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "Dear Gemini: I don't demand your total attention and I don't need your unconditional approval. I will never restrict your freedom or push you to explain yourself. All I truly want to do is to warm myself in the glow of your intelligence. Can you accept that? I have this theory that your sparkle is contagious—that I'll get smarter about how to live my own life if I can simply be in your presence. What do you say? In return, I promise to deepen your appreciation for yourself and show you secrets about how best to wield your influence. -Your Secret Admirer."
CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Cancerian artist Rembrandt became one of the world's greatest painters. It was a struggle. "I can't paint the way they want me to paint," he said about those who questioned his innovative approach. "I have tried and I have tried very hard, but I can't do it. I just can't do it!" We should be glad the master failed to meet his critics' expectations. His work's unique beauty didn't get watered down. But there was a price to pay. "That is why I am just a little crazy," Rembrandt concluded. Here's the moral of the story: To be true to your vision and faithful to your purpose, you may have to deal with being a little crazy. Are you willing to make that trade-off?
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The Indian spiritual teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj offered a three-stage fable to symbolize one's progression toward enlightenment. In the first stage, you are inside a cage located in a forest where a tiger prowls. You're protected by the cage, so the tiger can't hurt you. On the other hand, you're trapped. In the second stage, the tiger is inside the cage and you roam freely through the forest. The beautiful animal is trapped. In the third stage, the tiger is out of the cage and you have tamed it. It's your ally and you are riding around on its back. I believe this sequence has resemblances to the story you'll be living in the coming months. Right now you're inside the cage and the tiger is outside. By mid-May the tiger will be in the cage and you'll be outside. By your birthday, I expect you to be riding the tiger.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): What is "soul work," anyway? It's like when you make an unpredictable gift for someone you love. Or when you bravely identify one of your unripe qualities and resolve to use all your willpower and ingenuity to ripen it. Soul work is when you wade into a party full of rowdy drunks and put your meditation skills to the acid test. It's like when you teach yourself not merely to tolerate smoldering ambiguity, but to be amused by it and even thrive on it. Can you think of other examples? It's Soul Work Week for you.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Are you close to anyone who is a catalytic listener? Is there a person who tunes in to what you say with such fervent receptivity that you get inspired to reveal truths you didn't realize you knew? If so, invite this superstar out to a free lunch or two in the coming days. If not, see if you can find one. Of course, it is always a blessing to have a heart-to-heart talk with a soul friend, but it is even more crucial than usual for you to treat yourself to this luxury now. Hints of lost magic are near the surface of your awareness. They're still unconscious, but could emerge into full view during provocative conversations with an empathetic ally.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): On my blog, I quoted author Ray Bradbury: "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." I asked my readers what word they would use in place of "writing" to describe how they avoided being destroyed by reality. Popular responses were love, music, whiskey, prayer, dreams, gratitude, and yoga. One woman testified that she stayed drunk on sexting, while another said "collecting gargoyles from medieval cathedrals," and a third claimed her secret was "jumping over hurdles while riding a horse." There was even a rebel who declared she stayed drunk on writing so she could destroy reality. My question is important for you to meditate on, Scorpio. Right now you must do whatever's necessary to keep from being messed with by reality.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Does your mother know what you are up to these days? Let's hope not. I doubt if she would fully approve, and that might inhibit your enthusiasm for the experiments you are exploring. It's probably best to keep your father out of the loop as well, along with other honchos, cynics, or loved ones who might be upset if you wander outside of your usual boundaries. And as for those clucking voices in your head: Give them milk and cookies, but don't pay attention to their cautious advice. You need to be free of the past, free of fearful influences, and free of the self you're in the process of outgrowing.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): For the foreseeable future, I urge you not to spend much time wrangling with bureaucrats and know-it-alls. Avoid frustrating projects that would require meticulous discipline. Don't even think about catching up on paperwork or organizing your junk drawer or planning the next five years of your career. Instead, focus on taking long meandering walks to nowhere in particular. Daydream about an epic movie based on your life story. Flirt with being a lazy bum. Play noncompetitive games with unambitious people. Here's why: Good ideas and wise decisions are most likely to percolate as you are lounging around doing nothing—and feeling no guilt for doing nothing.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Are you waiting? Are you wondering and hoping? Are you calculating whether you are needed, and if so, how much? Do you wish the signs were clearer about how deeply you should commit yourself? Are you on edge as you try to gauge what your exact role is in the grand scheme of things? I'm here to deliver a message from the universe about how you should proceed. It's a poem by Emily Dickinson: "They might not need me but — they might — / I'll let my Heart be just in sight — / A smile so small as mine might be / Precisely their necessity -"
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You will soon get a second chance. An opportunity you failed to capitalize on in the past will re-emerge in an even more welcoming guise, and you will snag it this time. You weren't ready for it the first time it came around, but you are ready now! It's probably a good thing the connection didn't happen earlier, because at that time the magic wasn't fully ripe. But the magic is ripe now!