Free Will Astrology, Week of February 16 

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): There are many different facets to your intelligence, and each matures at a different rate. So for example, your ability to think symbolically may evolve more slowly than your ability to think abstractly. Your wisdom about why humans act the way they do may ripen more rapidly than your insight into your own emotions. In the coming weeks, I expect one particular aspect of your intelligence to be undergoing a growth spurt: your knowledge of what your body needs and how to give it what it needs.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): What is the proper blend for you these days? Is it something like 51 percent pleasure and 49 percent business? Or would you be wiser to shoot for 49 percent pleasure and 51 percent business? I will leave that decision up to you, Taurus. Whichever way you go, I suggest that you try to interweave business and pleasure as often as possible. You are in one of those action-packed phases when fun dovetails really well with ambition. I'm guessing that you can make productive connections at parties. I'm betting that you can spice up your social life by taking advantage of what comes to you through your work.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In 1900, the world's most renowned mathematicians met at a conference in Paris. There the German whiz David Hilbert introduced his master list of 23 unsolved mathematical problems. At the time, no one had done such an exhaustive inventory. His well-defined challenge set the agenda for math research throughout the 20th century. Today he's regarded as an influential visionary. I'd love to see you come up with a list of your own top unsolved problems, Gemini. You now have extra insight about the catalytic projects you will be smart to work on and play with during the coming years.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Spanipelagic" is an adjective scientists use to describe creatures that typically hang out in deep water but float up to the surface on rare occasions. The term is not a perfect metaphorical fit for you, since you come up for air more often than that. But you do go through phases when you're inclined to linger for a long time in the abyss, enjoying the dark mysteries and fathomless emotions. According to my reading of the astrological omens, that's what you've been doing lately. Any day now, however, I expect you'll be rising up from the Great Down Below and headed topside for an extended stay.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): When faced with a big decision, you might say you want to "sleep on it." In other words, you postpone your final determination until you gather more information and ripen your understanding of the pressing issues. And that could indeed involve getting a good night's sleep. What happens in your dreams may reveal nuances you can't pry loose with your waking consciousness alone. And even if you don't recall your dreams, your sleeping mind is busy processing and reworking the possibilities. I recommend that you make liberal use of the "sleep on it" approach in the coming weeks, Leo. Revel in the wisdom that wells up in you as you're lying down in the dark.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In 1962, Edward Albee published his play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It won numerous awards and is still performed by modern theater groups. Albee says the title came to him as he was having a beer at a bar in New York City. When he went to the restroom, he spied the words "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" scrawled in soap on the mirror. I urge you to be alert for that kind of inspiration in the coming days, Virgo: unexpected, provocative, and out of context. You never know when and where you may be furnished with clues about the next plot twist of your life story.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Edward III, a medieval English king, had a favorite poet: Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1374, the king promised Chaucer a big gift in appreciation for his talents: a gallon of wine every day for the rest of his life. That's not the endowment I would have wanted if I had been Chaucer. I'd never get any work done if I were quaffing 16 glasses of wine every 24 hours. Couldn't I instead be provided with a regular stipend? Keep this story in mind, Libra, as you contemplate the benefits or rewards that might become available to you. Ask for what you really need, not necessarily what the giver initially offers.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): To make the cocktail known as Sex on the Beach, you mix together cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peach schnapps, and vodka. There is also an alternative "mocktail" called Safe Sex on the Beach. It has the same fruit juices, but no alcohol. Given the likelihood that your inner teenager will be playing an important role in your upcoming adventures, Scorpio, I recommend that you favor the Safe-Sex-on-the-Beach metaphor rather than the Sex-on-the-Beach approach. At least temporarily, it's best to show a bit of protective restraint toward the wild and sometimes erratic juvenile energy that's pushing to be expressed.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby, the Scrivener," a lawyer hires a man named Bartleby to work in his office. At first Bartleby is a model employee, carrying out his assignments with dogged skill. But one day everything begins to change. Whenever his boss instructs him to do a specific task, Bartleby says, "I would prefer not to." As the days go by, he does less and less, until finally he stops altogether. I'd like to propose, Sagittarius, that you take inspiration from his slowdown. Haven't you done enough for now? Haven't you been exemplary in your commitment to the daily struggle? Don't you deserve a break in the action so you can recharge your psychospiritual batteries? I say yes. Maybe you will consider making this your battle cry: "I would prefer not to."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." That's what American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson advised. Even if you're not naturally inclined to see the potential wisdom of that approach, I invite you to play around with it for the next three weeks. You don't need to do it forever. It doesn't have to become a permanent fixture in your philosophy. Just for now, experiment with the possibility that trying lots of experiments will lead you not just to new truths, but to new truths that are fun, interesting and useful.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The art of the French Aquarian painter Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927) appears in prestigious museums. He isn't as famous as his fellow Impressionists Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, but he wielded a big influence on them both. His career developed slowly because he had to work a day job to earn a living. When he was 50 years old, he won a wad of free money in the national lottery, and thereafter devoted himself full-time to painting. I'm not saying you will enjoy a windfall like that anytime soon, Aquarius, but such an event is possible. At the very least, your income could rise. Your odds of experiencing financial luck will increase to the degree that you work to improve the best gifts you have to offer your fellow humans.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "It isn't normal to know what we want," said pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow. "It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement." That's the bad news, Pisces. The good news is that you may be on the verge of rendering that theory irrelevant. In the coming weeks, you will be better primed to discover what you really want than you have been in a long time. I suggest you do a ritual in which you vow to unmask this treasured secret. Write a formal statement in which you declare your intention to achieve full understanding of the reasons you are alive on this planet.


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