Free Will Astrology (March 17-23) 

JAMES NOELLERT
  • James Noellert

ARIES: March 21 – April 19: Poet Ocean Vuong speaks of the Hawaiian word kipuka. It refers to a patch of earth that doesn't get covered with lava when an active volcano exudes its molten material. "Before the lava descended," Vuong writes, "that piece of land was insignificant, just another scrap in an endless mass of green." But now that piece of land is special, having endured. I encourage you to identify your metaphorical equivalent of kipuka, Aries. It's an excellent time to celebrate the power and luck and resilience that have enabled you to persevere.

TAURUS: April 20 – May 20: "Extraordinary things are always hiding in places people never think to look," writes Taurus author Jodi Picoult. Luckily for you, Taurus, in the near future you'll be prone to look in exactly those places — where no one else has thought to look. That means you'll be extra likely to find useful, interesting, even extraordinary things that have mostly been hidden and unused. You may also discover some boring and worthless things, but the trade-off will be worth your effort. Congratulations in advance on summoning such brave curiosity.

GEMINI: May 21 – June 20: "When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice," said Gemini author Saul Bellow. So if you've come here today to read my horoscopes, it's possible that you're seeking an accomplice to approve of you making a decision or a move that you have already decided to make. OK. I'll be your accomplice. But as your accomplice, the first thing I'll do is try to influence you to make sure your upcoming actions serve not only your own selfish interests (although there's nothing wrong with that), but also serve the interests of people you care for. The weeks ahead will be a favorable time to blend self-interest and noble idealism.

CANCER: June 21 – July 22: A character in Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Lacuna is told to "go rub his soul against life." Now I'll advise you to do the same. Why? While it's true that you have a beautiful soul, you sometimes get in the habit of hiding it away or keeping it secret. You feed it a wealth of dreams and emotions and longings, but may not go far enough in providing it with raw experience out in the messy, chaotic world. In my judgment, now is one of those times when you would benefit from rubbing your soul against life. Please note: I don't mean you should go in search of rough, tough downers. Not at all. In fact, there are plenty of pleasurable, safe, educational ways to rub your soul against life.

LEO: July 23 – August 22: If you love the work of self-help author Paulo Coelho, you might be inclined to adopt his motto as your own: "Being vulnerable is the best way to allow my heart to feel true pleasure." But maybe you wouldn't want to adopt his motto. After all, what he's suggesting requires a great deal of courage and daring. Who among us finds it easy and natural to be soft and receptive and inviting? And yet according to my analysis of the astrological omens, this is exactly what your assignment should be for the next two weeks. To help motivate yourself, remember the payoff described by Coelho: the possibility that your heart will feel true pleasure.

VIRGO: August 23 – Sept. 22: Virgo author Michael Ondaatje celebrates "the hidden presence of others in us — even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross." As you approach your own upcoming border-crossing, dear Virgo, I encourage you to tune in to memories about seven specific people who over the course of your life have provided you with the most joy and the most interesting lessons. Close your eyes for 20 minutes and imagine they're all gathered together with you in your favorite sanctuary. Remember in detail the blessings they bestowed on you. Give thanks for their influences, for the gifts they gave that have helped you become your beautiful self.

LIBRA: Sept. 23 – Oct. 22: "A balance that does not tremble cannot weigh. A person who does not oscillate cannot live." So wrote biochemist Erwin Chargaff, who did crucial research leading to the discovery of DNA's double helix structure. Since you're the zodiac's expert on balance and oscillation, and because these themes will be especially meaningful for you in the coming days, I'll ask you to meditate on them with extra focus. Here's my advice: To be healthy and resilient, you need to be aware of other possibilities besides those that seem obvious and simple and absolutely true. You need to consider the likelihood that the most correct answers are almost certainly those that are paradoxical and complicated and full of nuance.

SCORPIO: Oct. 23 – Nov. 21: In her poem "Sandra," Scorpio poet Ariana Reines testifies that she has too many feelings — and that's not a problem. On the contrary. They are her wealth, she says, her "invisible splendor." I invite you to regard your own "too many feelings" in the same way, especially in the coming weeks. You will have opportunities to harness your flood of feelings on behalf of transformative insights and holistic decision-making. Your motto: Feelings are healing.

SAGITTARIUS: Nov. 22 – Dec. 21: Historian and author Thomas Berry described "wildness" as the source of our "authentic spontaneities." He said it's "the wellspring of creativity" at the root of our lust for life. That's a different definition from the idea that wildness is about being unruly, rough, and primitive. And Berry's definition happens to be the one that should be central to your work and play in the coming weeks. Your assignment is to be wild: that is, to cultivate your authentic spontaneities; to home in on and nourish the creative wellspring of your lust for life.

CAPRICORN: Dec. 22 – Jan. 19: Some of the great discoveries in the history of physics have been made while the trailblazing physicists are lolling in bed or in the bathtub. They've done the research and carried out the rigorous thinking, and are rewarded with breakthroughs while relaxing. I think that will be your best formula for success in the coming weeks. Important discoveries are looming. Interesting innovations are about to hatch. You're most likely to gather them in if you work intensely on preparing the way for them, then go off and do something fun and rejuvenating.

AQUARIUS: Jan. 20 – Feb. 18: My typical horoscope is an average of 108 words long. In that limited space, I can't possibly tell you all the themes and threads that will be active for you during the upcoming phase of your cycle. I have to make choices about what to include and what not to include. This time I'll focus on the fact that you now have an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your sense of smell — and to purposefully nourish your sense of smell. Your homework: Decide on at least five scents with which you will cultivate an intimate, playful, delightful connection in the coming days. (P.S., you might be surprised at how this practice will deepen your emotional connection with the world.)

PISCES: Feb.19 – March 20: No one had ever proved that there was such a thing as electromagnetic waves until Piscean physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857–1894) did so in 1886. He was the innovator who first transmitted and received controlled radio waves. Alas, he didn't think his breakthrough was useful. In 1890, he confessed, "I do not think that the wireless waves I have discovered will have any practical application." But other scientists were soon capitalizing on his work to communicate long distances. Radio broadcasts were born. I will encourage you not to make a Hertzian-type mistake in the coming months. Always follow through on your initial labors. Have faith that the novelties you dream up will eventually have practical value.

This week's homework: If you believed everything you see in the "news," you'd be so full of despair you couldn't move. Describe how you protect yourself. Truthrooster@gmail.com

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