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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY for the Week of Jan. 26, 2012

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SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Poet Elizabeth Alexander says that in order to create a novel, a writer needs a lot of uninterrupted time alone. Poems, on the other hand, can be snared in the midst of the jumbled rhythms of everyday chaos — between hurried appointments or while riding the subway or at the kitchen table waiting for the coffee to brew. Alexander says that inspiration can sprout like grass poking up out of the sidewalk cracks. Whether or not you're a writer, Sagittarius, I see your coming weeks as being more akin to snagging poems than cooking up a novel.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "A true poet does not bother to be poetical," said the poet Jean Cocteau. "Nor does a nursery gardener perfume his roses." I think that's wise counsel for you in the coming weeks, Capricorn. It's important that you do what you do best without any embellishment, pretentiousness, or self-consciousness. Don't you dare try too hard or think too much or twist yourself like a contortionist to meet impossible-to-satisfy expectations. Trust the thrust of your simple urges.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Collectors prefer wild orchids, says William Langley, writing in the UK's Telegraph. Orchids grown in nurseries, which comprise 99.5 per cent of the total, are tarnished with "the stigma of perfection." Their colors are generic and their petal patterns are boringly regular. Far more appealing are the exotic varieties untouched by human intervention, with their "downy, smooth petals and moistened lips pouting in the direction of tautly curved shafts and heavily veined pouches." Whatever your sphere or specialty is, Aquarius, I suggest you model yourself after the wild orchid collectors in the coming days. Shun the stigma of perfection.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): While doing a film a few years ago, actress Sandra Bullock stumbled upon a stunning secret: Rubbing hemorrhoid cream on her face helped shrink her wrinkles and improve her complexion. I predict that at least one and possibly more comparable discoveries will soon grace your life. You will find unexpected uses for things that were supposedly not meant to be used in those ways. Here's a corollary, courtesy of scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, that describes a related talent you'll have at your disposal: "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."

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