Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Scads of holidays are coming: Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Carnival, Chinese New Year, Purim, Lent, Black History Month and the pagan Brigit's Day, celebrating the return of the light. According to Chase's Calendar of Events, February also brings I Hate Financial Planning Awareness Week, and is Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month. But even this plenitude of excuses to celebrate isn't enough for you. Why? Because you're bigger than life and hotter than sin right now. Luckily, February is Expand Your Web of Allies Month and Harvest the Fruits of Your Long-Term Hard Work Month — for Rams only.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In 1979, my Taurus brother Tom began a gig as janitor at India Joze restaurant in Santa Cruz, Calif. Through hard work and charm, he ultimately traded his overalls for three-piece suits and became part-owner of the place by 1984. I'm not predicting an ascent as spectacular or swift for you, but I do believe you will climb at least one rung up the ladder of success before March 15. Take five minutes right now to rehearse the exhilarated feelings that will course through you when you leap to the next level.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When his royal cash flow slowed to a trickle, England's King Richard II (1367-1400) pawned his golden crown. When my financial health suffered a downturn a few years back, I panicked and raised some funds by selling my treasured baseball card collection. Now you may be tempted to lease your soul to a devil in disguise in order to buy some time. It's not my place to dictate how you should proceed, but I want you to know that you don’t have to purchase as much of an extension as you might imagine. Besides, there is a cheaper option available. Shop around.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): French painter Henri Matisse wanted his art to be "free from unsettling or disturbing subjects ... soothing, a cerebral sedative as relaxing as a comfortable armchair." Spanish painter Pablo Picasso had a different opinion. "Art is offensive," he asserted. "At least, art should be allowed to be offensive. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared." At most times, your effect on the world tends to be more like Matisse's. In the coming weeks, though, Picasso is a better role model. But avoid going so far as to imitate Frank Zappa, who said, "My guitar wants to kill your mama."

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I'm offering you a new nickname: Ouverture. It's a French word that means "opening." Here's a little history: Toussaint Breda (1743-1803) was the leader of a slave rebellion in Haiti. He was called "L'Ouverture" because he had a talent for discovering openings in enemy lines. You currently possess that skill, as well as a knack for finding openings among friends and potential allies. I believe you'll be able to get yourself invited anywhere you really need to be. Furthermore, you're primed to transform any situation in which you have been acting even a little bit like a slave.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): On behalf of Brigit, the goddess of gutsy communication, I hereby relieve you of any tendency you might have to believe the lies everyone tells themselves. You are under no obligation to reinforce the wishful thinking your cohorts indulge in. Feel free to critique fantasies that are no closer to being fulfilled now than they were a year ago. But wait. There's more. You have a cosmic mandate to tell the righteous, pulsating, up-to-the-minute truth.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In Homer's epic tale, The Odyssey, he described nepenthe, a potion that induced forgetfulness of pain and trouble. You once could have really used a drink like that. These days you'd benefit more from a different form of magical assistance: a tonic to stir up memories of all the experiences that have gone right in your life. Since there is currently no such elixir available, I suggest you spend quality meditation time ruminating on past events that have brought you happiness and fulfillment. That will make you highly receptive to the wondrous secrets that are so close to spilling forth.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Let me direct your attention to the burgeoning "slow food" movement ( Created as an antidote to the global blight known as fast food (read Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of The All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser), this alliance promotes the conviviality that blooms when we take time and care with the rituals surrounding food. A snail figures prominently in the slow food logo. I recommend you adopt this creature as your mascot. May it inspire you to be luxurious and unhurried and devoted to the art of living with good taste. Can I also convince you to try slow sleep, slow perception and slow love? The stars recommend it.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Science writer Carl Sagan liked marijuana, according to Keay Davidson in the San Francisco Examiner magazine. "[On] one occasion while high," Sagan is quoted as saying, "I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of Gaussian distribution curves. I went to write the idea down. One idea led to another, and at the end of an hour of hard work I had written 11 essays on a range of social, political, philosophical and biological topics ... I have used them in public lectures and my books." I bring this up not to urge you to take drugs, but rather to egg you into being edgier about where you get your information. The same old sources aren't rich enough to help you understand the changes you're going through.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Some piranhas are vegetarians. A few Christians really do love their enemies, as Jesus recommended. Capricorns aren't exactly renowned for fomenting revolution, yet some benevolent troublemakers have been born under your sign, such as insurrectionary leader Benjamin Franklin, abolitionist and suffragette Lucretia Mott, muckraker I.F. Stone and civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr. I hope these role models inspire you to rebel freely in the coming week. This is one of those moments when you will really benefit from finding the exception to every rule — especially the rules that desperately need their authority questioned.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I suggest you launch a new tradition this year: Celebrate your special day for at least two weeks. Throw little surprise parties for yourself continuously, always sweetly demanding gifts and handing out favors like key chains bearing your favorite Rumi poem or homemade comic books starring you as a superhero. Tell your co-workers you were born on, say, Feb. 2, but make your buddies at the gym think it's Feb. 4, while assuring various friends it's Feb. 6 or 8 or 11 or 13. Only your mom will know when it really is. Now here are my two presents for you: 1) the arrival of an ingredient that has been missing forever; 2) a wild card you can use to penetrate a circle that has previously been closed to you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A girlfriend once dragged me to a psychic workshop. Arriving early, we found a roomful of people sighing loudly as they unleashed nonstop histrionic yawns. "Yawning opens up your telepathic faculties," she explained. Though skeptical, I opened my mouth wide and joined the gang. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, but in a few minutes I was seeing auras and picking up what seemed to be the thoughts of nearby people. This yawning trick may be overkill for you, since you're in the most psychic phase of your cycle. But try it anyway. You can never have too much inside information, right? Around Feb. 2 every year, pagans make a pledge to the goddess about what their main intention will be in the coming year. What's yours?

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