Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Happy Valentine Daze, Aries! As I meditated on what advice would be most likely to energize your love life, I thought of what Clarissa Pinkola Estes said in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves. "The desire to force love to live only in its most positive form," she wrote, "is what causes love ultimately to fall over dead." She obviously doesn't mean you should seek negativity on purpose. Rather, you should freely acknowledge that even the most sublime intimacy has a dark side. As long as you welcome love's difficulties, it will remain vital.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Happy Valentine Daze, Taurus! After extensive meditation about what advice would be most useful for your love life in 2006, I rejected this observation by The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening: "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." Do not, under any circumstances, make those your words to live by. Instead, consider the following counsel from Norman Mailer: "Love asks us that we be a little braver than is comfortable, a little more generous, a little more flexible. It means living on the edge more than we care to."

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Happy Valentine Daze, Gemini! After strenuous meditation about what advice would be most likely to energize your love life, I decided on some wisdom from journalist Mignon McLaughlin. "The hardest-learned lesson," she wrote, "is that people have only their kind of love to give, not our kind." I hope her perspective liberates you to enjoy what love actually is, rather than to always be pining for what it could or should be.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Love at first sight may be a matter of instinctively recognizing someone who will allow you to continue in comfortingly familiar—and often destructive—patterns learned in childhood." So said Salon.com's Lisa Zeidner in her review of Maggie Scarf's book Intimate Partners. Make that idea your watchword in the coming weeks. Let it be the beacon that guides you away from the sentimental illusions about romance that you may still be drawn to. After all, there are few things that undermine authentic love more than infantile wishes and naive fantasies. Happy Valentine Daze, Cancerian!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Welcome to Free Will Astrology's annual "Swimsuit Issue." We do it differently than other publications. Sports Illustrated, for instance, fills its pages with photos of barely-clothed female models, whereas we provide verbal stimuli to help you get your fantasy life tuned up for the season of naked fun, which begins any minute for you Leos. The first image we'd like to evoke in your mind's eye is of you lounging in a swimsuit on an otherwise deserted tropical beach with an attractive member of your favorite gender (or three of them if you're in an expansive mood). Visualize him or her or them engaging in some behavior that simultaneously rouses your lust, your tenderness, and your compassion. See them carrying out a series of acts that not only thrills you sensually but also moves you to happy tears and causes you to overflow with spiritual contentment. Keep fantasizing for at least 15 minutes. Happy Valentine's Day, Leo!

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Virgo! To begin our meditation on romance, let's consider psychologist Carl Jung's words: "People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul." Do you fit that description? Have you ever employed tortured logic to explain to yourself why you're not following your heart's promptings? In the past year, did you take a detour that has led you further and further away from your true home? Are you engaging in evasive measures in order to keep yourself from seeing the open secret about love that's right in front of you? I'm just asking, Virgo, not accusing. Only you know the correct answers.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Happy Valentine Daze, Libra! After an extensive search for the wisdom that would be most likely to energize your love life, I found the perfect advice. It comes to you courtesy of psychologist James Hillman: "For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining." How will you act on this excellent counsel? Maybe you could take you and your closest ally to a sanctuary you've never dreamed you'd go to in a thousand years. Or do an exercise in which you ask each other questions you've never broached before. Or devise an experiment in which the two of you get to face an unfamiliar challenge together.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Happy Valentine Daze, Scorpio! To begin our meditation on love, let's turn our attention to Abhishek Parikh, an Indian man who claims to be the reincarnation of a very special woman. In his present life as well as in his last one, he believes he has served as the wife of the snake god Naagraaj. To perform his wifely duties, he sometimes transforms into a female snake himself, though he always returns to his male human form. I bring this up, Scorpio, because I think that you yourself have the potential of getting intimate with a snake god or snake goddess in the coming weeks. My gut instinct tells me so, and so does my analysis of the astrological omens. You don't have to become the deity's full-time wife or husband; being a part-time companion or apprentice will be just fine.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Happy Valentine Daze, Sagittarius! The more animal noises you make during the season of love, the better you're going to feel and the more successful you're likely to be. The astrological omens indicate that cosmic rhythms will tend to align in your favor if you express a whole range of primal feelings with moans, growls, cackling, and other non-verbal sounds. P.S. If you don't pursue this agenda with conscious intent, beastly behavior might possess you at inappropriate times, such as lion-like super-yawns in the middle of a meeting or uncontrollable yapping when you're suddenly overcome by territorial instincts.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Happy Valentine Daze, Capricorn! To begin our meditation on love, let's turn our attention to your appearance. I think you owe a huge debt of gratitude to the fact that you don't have the face and body of a dazzling supermodel or gorgeous hunk. The temptation to rely on your physical attractiveness at the expense of developing your character would be virtually irresistible. In the coming days, this fact will bring you a fresh batch of benefits, including a subtle breakthrough in your romantic life. Here's your quote of the week, from Katherine Hepburn: "It is the plain women who know about love. The beautiful women are too busy being fascinating."

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Happy Valentine Daze, Aquarius! The English novelist Julia Pardoe expressed an idea that would be useful for you to integrate into your thoughts about love in 2006. "In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, a donkey, and a nightingale," she wrote. "Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity." Why is this important for you to contemplate? In the coming weeks, I believe, you will have an unprecedented chance to bring the tiger and nightingale aspects to the forefront of both your own heart and the hearts of those whose affections mean most to you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Happy Valentine Daze, Pisces! Borrowing the words of poet Pablo Neruda, I've prepared a love note for you to use as your own. Feel free to give these words to the person whose destiny needs to be woven more closely together with yours. I love you between shadow and soul. I love you as the plant that hasn't bloomed yet, and carries hidden within itself the light of flowers. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. Because of you, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth lives in my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses.

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