ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the 18th century, the French Academy laid down rules about the differences between professional and amateur paintings. It was decreed that true artists must create a "licked surface," hiding all evidence of their brushstrokes. The illusion was more convincing that way; viewers could sink their attention into the image without being distracted by the artist's process. When the Impressionists barged onto the scene in the 1870s, one of their rebellions against convention was to reject the licked surface. By making some of their brushstrokes visible, they declared they weren't interested in upholding the artifice. They wanted their audience to get involved in their subjective interpretation of the scene that was portrayed. In the coming week, I encourage you to forget about presenting a licked surface. Reveal the inner workings whirling behind your eyes.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If your home is like a museum, a staid assemblage of fine memories, I suggest you shake things up a bit. If your imagination is filled with tape loops that run storylines you've heard a thousand times before, shake things up a bit. If your daily actions are so possessed by the anesthetizing demons of habit that you can't recall your last creative innovation, shake things up a bit. On the other hand, there's no need for blame. Don't berate yourself for your sluggishness. It was an inevitable byproduct of your efforts to solidify and stabilize your life. Just slip into a more playful mode and enjoy a bout of experimentation.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Maybe you know a person like my friend Joanna. She's bright but terse, open-minded but not chatty. Like an inscrutable Buddha, she watches everything closely and churns her thoughts carefully. Silence is her ally. Now and then, though, when moved by an inner prompting that has nothing to do with drinking wine, she will suddenly erupt with a torrent of sweet talk and pithy observations and wild explorations. I predict that for you, Gemini, that the entire world will soon resemble Joanna when she's overflowing.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): This would be an excellent time for you to get aggressively inventive about your education. It wouldn't be too crazy, in my opinion, to launch your own school, with you as the only student. You could design your own curriculum for the coming years. Decide who your teachers will be. Think about where you can get the stuff you'll need to expand your mind, enhance your skills, and just plain increase your intelligence. You could call your center of higher learning the University of Wily Exuberance or the Academy of Astonishing Grace or the Institute of Getting Down to Business.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): For the people of Finland, the word sisu refers to a courageous strength of will that can be sustained for a long time – a staunch ferocity that refuses to be defeated. We all could use more of that good stuff, not only to weather our personal ordeals but also to stay plucky in the face of the world's lunacy. The coming weeks will be an especially good time for you to build up your reserves of sisu, Leo. How? Start by taking inventory of all the resources and allies and skills you have at your disposal.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "Ever upstream from myself," wrote Belgian poet Edmond Vandercammen. "I advance, implore and pursue myself." I suggest you adopt that attitude, Virgo. Assume that your best self is sailing along at a rapid clip, somewhere in the distance ahead of you, and it's your job to catch up. Your highest form of expression is eluding you, but you're hunting it down. The most beautiful possible embodiment of all your potentials is surging toward the future, and it's your fun job to close the gap between you and unite with it.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In one possible scenario I could foresee for you in the coming week, you're sweaty and tearful, enmeshed in an extreme state that causes an internal blockage to dissolve. The sweat is purgative, the tears are cathartic and you're riding a wave of relief and release that clears out a backlog of emotional congestion. In a second possible future, I could see you as supernaturally relaxed and exuberant, periodically laughing so hard that you break up an internal blockage. The calm is purgative, the laughter is cathartic and you're riding a wave of relief and release that clears out a backlog of emotional congestion. Which scenario would you prefer?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Last June, comedian Stephen Colbert reported that President Obama's big TV address to Americans about the Gulf catastrophe was a failure because it went over the heads of too many people. Language experts who analyzed Obama's speech determined that it was written at a 10th-grade level – too professorial, scolded Colbert. I wonder what he would say about the horoscopes I compose, which are designed for readers who enjoy thinking metaphorically and have a high degree of emotional intelligence. In the coming week, Scorpio, I suggest that you take the approach that Obama and I use rather than the one Colbert (farcically) recommended. Don't talk down to your audience or pander to the lowest common denominator. Raise everyone up with your appeals.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): My favorite baseball player Tim Lincecum told San Francisco magazine: "I think you either get in the canoe with your oar and control the boat, or get into it and let the current take you. I'm kind of in between. I want to be able to enjoy the ride but don't want to be swept away by it. I don't want to be overwhelmed; I want to see what's going on." Whether you are customarily the type of person who controls the boat or the type who enjoys drifting dreamily along, I suggest you take Lincecum's approach for now. Be half in charge and half surrendered.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The poet Jean Perrin dreamed "of marrying the dawn with the light of the moon," and I invite you to do the same. The darkness you've been immersed in will leave you soon. As it does, please don't forsake the pale, moon-like radiance that has provided you with a bit of guidance and consolation. Rather, bring along what it has taught you as you head into the far brighter phase you're entering. In other words, retain some of the wisdom the dim light has compelled you to learn.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I know two people in their 80s who have accomplished a sensational long-running creative art project: They've been happily married for 65 years. The amount of reinvention they've had to dream up in order to keep loving each other is so profound that it confounds the imagination. How could they possibly have continued to stay closely interwoven through all the changes each of them has gone through as they've aged? During the fascinating relationship tests that will be coming your way in the weeks ahead, Aquarius, I'd love for you to summon some of their dogged ingenuity and tenacious collaborative skills. In fact, I predict you will be able to do just that.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): For the last 20 years, I've worn just one brand of shoes – all-black Converse high-top sneakers. I've had them on them at weddings and while jogging, at my daughter's high school graduation and while performing at my shows. Am I too set in my ways? Definitely. In any case, Pisces, don't be like me. Whatever your version of covering your feet with nothing but black Converse high-top sneakers may be, the upcoming weeks will be an excellent time to change your ways. Break out and branch out! Try something new about how you present yourself – the equivalent of me switching over to suede moccasins or snakeskin cowboy boots.
Homework: Whether or not we believe in gods, we all worship something. What idea, person, thing, or emotion do you bow down to? Go to Freewillastrology.com and click "Email Rob.";