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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY for the Week of Feb. 23, 2012

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LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Veterans of war who've been wounded by shrapnel often find that years later, some of the metal fragments eventually migrate to the surface and pop out of their skin. The moral of the story: The body may take a long time to purify itself of toxins. The same is true about your psyche. It might not be able to easily and quickly get rid of the poisons it has absorbed, but you should never give up hoping it will find a way. Judging by the astrological omens, I think you are very close to such a climactic cleansing and catharsis, Leo.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Distilled water is a poor conductor of electricity. For H2O to have electroconductivity, it must contain impurities in the form of dissolved salts. I see a timely lesson in this for you, Virgo. If you focus too hard on being utterly clean and clear, some of life's rather chaotic but fertile and invigorating energy may not be able to flow through you. That's why I suggest you experiment with being at least a little impure and imperfect. Don't just tolerate the messiness. Learn from it; thrive on it; even exult in it.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): According to my reading of the astrological omens, you are neither in a red-alert situation nor are you headed for one. A pink alert may be in effect, however. Thankfully, there's no danger or emergency in the works. Shouting and bolting and leaping won't be necessary. Rather, you may simply be called upon to come up with unexpected responses to unpredicted circumstances. Unscripted plot twists could prompt you to take actions you haven't rehearsed. It actually might be kind of fun as long as you play with the perspective Shakespeare articulated in As You Like It: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Dear Rob: For months I've had a recurring dream in which I own a pet snake. Here's the problem: The only cage I have to keep the snake in is sadly inadequate. It has widely spaced bars that the snake just slips right through. In the dream I am constantly struggling to keep the snake in its cage, which is exhausting, since it's impossible. Just this morning, after having the dream for the billionth time, I FINALLY asked myself, what's so terrible about letting the snake out of its cage? So I gratefully wrote myself this permission note: 'It is hereby allowed and perfectly acceptable to let my dreamsnake out of its cage to wander freely.' — Scorpio Devotee." Dear Devotee: You have provided all your fellow Scorpios with an excellent teaching story for the upcoming weeks. Thank you!