Free will astrology for the week of February 5th 

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): In 1979, Monty Python comedian John Cleese helped direct a four-night extravaganza, The Secret Policeman's Ball. It was a benefit to raise money for the human rights organization Amnesty International. The musicians known as Sting, Bono, and Peter Gabriel later testified that the show was a key factor in igniting their social activism. I see the potential of a comparable stimulus in your near future, Aries. Imminent developments could amp up your passion for a good cause that transcends your immediate self-interests.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the film Kill Bill: Volume 1, Taurus actress Uma Thurman plays a martial artist who has exceptional skill at wielding a Samurai sword. At one point, her swordmaker evaluates her reflexes by hurling a baseball in her direction. With a masterful swoop, she slices the ball in half before it reaches her. I suggest you seek out similar tests in the coming days, Taurus. Check up on the current status of your top skills. Are any of them rusty? Should you update them? Are they still of maximum practical use to you? Do whatever's necessary to ensure they are as strong and sharp as ever.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): French Impressionist painter Claude Monet loved to paint the rock formations near the beach at Étretrat, a village in Normandy. During the summer of 1886, he worked serially on six separate canvases, moving from one to another throughout his workday to capture the light and shadow as they changed with the weather and the position of the sun. He focused intently on one painting at a time. He didn't have a brush in each hand and one in his mouth, simultaneously applying paint to various canvases. His specific approach to multitasking would generate good results for you in the coming weeks, Gemini. (P.S. The other kind of multitasking — where you do several different things at the same time — will yield mostly mediocre results.)

CANCER (June 21-July 22): In 1849, author Edgar Allen Poe died in his hometown of Baltimore. A century later, a mysterious admirer began a new tradition. Every January 19, on the anniversary of Poe's birth, this cloaked visitor appeared at his grave in the early morning hours, and left behind three roses and a bottle of cognac. I invite you, Cancerian, to initiate a comparable ritual. Can you imagine paying periodic tribute to an important influence in your own life — someone who has given you much and touched you deeply? Don't do it for nostalgia's sake, but rather as a way to affirm that the gifts you've received from this evocative influence will continue to evolve within you. Keep them ever fresh.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "What happens to a dream deferred?" asked Langston Hughes in his poem "Harlem." "Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore — And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over — like a syrupy sweet?" As your soul's cheerleader and coach, Leo, I hope you won't explore the answer to Hughes' questions. If you have a dream, don't defer it. If you have been deferring your dream, take at least one dramatic step to stop deferring it.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgo author John Creasey struggled in his early efforts at getting published. For a time he had to support himself with jobs as a salesman and clerk. Before his first book was published, he had gathered 743 rejection slips. Eventually, though, he broke through and achieved monumental success. He wrote more than 550 novels, several of which were made into movies. He won two prestigious awards and sold 80 million books. I'm not promising that your own frustrations will ultimately pave the way for a prodigious triumph like his. But in the coming months, I do expect significant progress toward a gritty accomplishment. For best results, work for your own satisfaction more than for the approval of others.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Hall-of-Fame basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon had a signature set of fancy moves that were collectively known as the Dream Shake. It consisted of numerous spins and fakes and moves that could be combined in various ways to outfox his opponents and score points. The coming weeks would be an excellent time for you to work on your equivalent of the Dream Shake, Libra. You're at the peak of your ability to figure out how to coordinate and synergize your several talents.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In 1837, Victoria became Queen of England following the death of her uncle, King William IV. She was 18 years old. Her first royal act was to move her bed out of the room she had long shared with her meddling, overbearing mother. I propose that you use this as one of your guiding metaphors in the immediate future. Even if your parents are saints, and even if you haven't lived with them for years, I suspect you would benefit by upgrading your independence from their influence. Are you still a bit inhibited by the nagging of their voices in your head? Does your desire to avoid hurting them thwart you from rising to a higher level of authority and authenticity? Be a good-natured rebel.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The crookedest street in the world is a one-way, block-long span of San Francisco's Lombard Street. It consists of eight hairpin turns down a very steep hill. The recommended top speed for a car is five miles per hour. So on the one hand, you've got to proceed with caution. On the other hand, the quaint, brick-paved road is lined with flower beds, and creeping along its wacky route is a whimsical amusement. I suspect you will soon encounter experiences that have metaphorical resemblances to Lombard Street, Sagittarius. In fact, I urge you to seek them out.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In the baseball film The Natural, the hero Roy Hobbs has a special bat he calls "Wonderboy." Carved out of a tree that was split by a lightning bolt, it seems to give Hobbs an extraordinary skill at hitting a baseball. There's a similar theme at work in the Australian musical instrument known as the didgeridoo. It's created from a eucalyptus tree whose inner wood has been eaten away by termites. Both Wonderboy and the didgeridoo are the results of natural forces that could be seen as adverse but that are actually useful. Is there a comparable situation in your own life, Capricorn? I'm guessing there is. If you have not yet discovered what it is, now is a good time to do so.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In 1753, Benjamin Franklin published helpful instructions on how to avoid being struck by lightning during stormy weather. Wear a lightning rod in your hat, he said, and attach it to a long, thin metal ribbon that trails behind you as you walk. In response to his article, a fashion fad erupted. Taking his advice, fancy ladies in Europe actually wore such hats. From a metaphorical perspective, it would make sense for you Aquarians to don similar headwear in the coming weeks. Bolts of inspiration will be arriving on a regular basis. To ensure you are able to integrate and use them — not just be titillated and agitated — you will have to be well grounded.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): According to the Bible, Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Author David Foster Wallace added a caveat. "The truth will set you free," he wrote, "but not until it is finished with you." All this is apropos for the current phase of your journey, Pisces. By my estimation, you will soon discover an important truth that you have never before been ready to grasp. Once that magic transpires, however, you will have to wait a while until the truth is fully finished with you. Only then will it set you free. But it will set you free. And I suspect that you will ultimately be grateful that it took its sweet time.

Homework: What's the best possible mess you could stir up — a healing mess that would help liberate you? Testify at FreeWillAstrology.com.

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