Free Will Astrology: Emily Dickinson Knows The Size of Aquarius Brains
Sep18

Free Will Astrology: Emily Dickinson Knows The Size of Aquarius Brains

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Psychologists say most people need a scapegoat — a personification of wickedness and ignorance onto which they can project the unacknowledged darkness in their own hearts. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to neutralize that reflex and at least partially divest yourself of the need for scapegoats. How? The first thing to do is identify your own...

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Free Will Astrology: Move Forward Like An Emu, Aries
Sep11

Free Will Astrology: Move Forward Like An Emu, Aries

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Two animals are pictured prominently on Australia’s coat of arms: the kangaroo and the large flightless bird known as the emu. One of the reasons they were chosen is that both creatures rarely walk backward. They move forward or not at all. Australia’s founders wanted this to symbolize the nation’s pledge to never look back, to remain focused on advancing toward the future. The coming weeks will be a...

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Acupuncture Becoming More Mainstream, But Still Not Fully Covered
Sep05

Acupuncture Becoming More Mainstream, But Still Not Fully Covered

Northampton resident Bob Flaherty, a radio personality on WHMP, was practicing for a golf tournament earlier this year when he missed the ball and hit the dirt. Pain shot through his arm; he thought he broke it. “I couldn’t do anything,” he said. “I figure I’m not going to do tennis, golf, kayak. Riding a bike is the thing I do most, and I couldn’t even make the brakes work. My arm didn’t work.” Flaherty wound up seeking acupuncture...

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Third Eye Roaming: So Over THE Yoga Body
Sep05

Third Eye Roaming: So Over THE Yoga Body

Google yoga images and you’ll find a sea of thin, white women who look as if the road rises to greet them. Their bodies are ideologically perfect. Their yoga attire and accessories are meticulous. They are serene and smiling. Gee — if they’re so perfect, then do they even need yoga? Of course. Even those who ascribe to society’s view of perfection need yoga. Everybody does for better mind and body health. That’s a philosophy that most...

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Free Will Astrology: Leo, Eating The Buddha’s Snot Is Good Luck
Sep05

Free Will Astrology: Leo, Eating The Buddha’s Snot Is Good Luck

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You’re half-intoxicated by your puzzling adventures — and half-bewildered, as well. Sometimes you’re spinning out fancy moves, sweet tricks, and surprising gambits. On other occasions you’re stumbling and bumbling and mumbling. Are you really going to keep up this rhythm? I hope so, because your persistence in navigating through the challenging fun could generate big rewards. Like what, for example? Like the...

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Free Will Astrology: Capricorn: Be Improbable Like Oscar Wilde
Aug28

Free Will Astrology: Capricorn: Be Improbable Like Oscar Wilde

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems,” said businessman Lee Iacocca. You are currently wrestling with an example of this phenomenon, Aries. The camouflage is well-rendered. To expose the opportunity hidden beneath the apparent dilemma, you may have to be more strategic and less straightforward than you usually are — cagier and not as blunt. Can you...

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Free Will Astrology: Sensitive Swashbuckler Sagittarius
Aug21

Free Will Astrology: Sensitive Swashbuckler Sagittarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Welcome to Swami Moonflower’s Psychic Hygiene Hints. Ready for some mystical cleansing? Hint #1: To remove stains on your attitude, use a blend of Chardonnay wine, tears from a cathartic crying session, and dew collected before dawn. Hint #2: To eliminate glitches in your love life, polish your erogenous zones with pomegranate juice while you visualize the goddess kissing your cheek. #3: To get rid of...

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Free Will Astrology: Lay Off Metaphorical Bombing Campaigns, Scorpio
Aug14

Free Will Astrology: Lay Off Metaphorical Bombing Campaigns, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “To disobey in order to take action is the byword of all creative spirits,” said philosopher Gaston Bachelard. This mischievous advice is perfect for your use right now, Aries. I believe you’ll thrive through the practice of ingenious rebellion — never in service to your pride, but always to feed your soul’s lust for deeper, wilder life. Here’s more from Bachelard: “Autonomy comes through many small...

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Free Will Astrology: Believe In Woo-Woo, Juju, Mojo
Aug07

Free Will Astrology: Believe In Woo-Woo, Juju, Mojo

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hope you’re making wise use of the surging fertility that has been coursing through you. Maybe you’ve been reinventing a long-term relationship that needed creative tinkering. Perhaps you have been hammering together an innovative business deal or generating new material for your artistic practice. It’s possible you have discovered how to express feelings and ideas that have been half-mute or inaccessible...

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Free Will Astrology: Love Is Your Gritty But Sacred Duty
Jul31

Free Will Astrology: Love Is Your Gritty But Sacred Duty

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In my astrological opinion, your life in the coming days should draw inspiration from the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, a six-day bout of revelry that encouraged everyone to indulge in pleasure, speak freely, and give gifts. Your imminent future could (and I believe should) also have resemblances to the yearly Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, which features a farcical cavalcade of lunatics, like the...

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Third Eye Roaming: Weed and Yoga
Jul31

Third Eye Roaming: Weed and Yoga

Yoga may free you from your suffering, but sometimes you’re suffering too much to do yoga. That’s where the marijuana comes in. Knee aching too much for warrior pose? There’s a THC-infused lotion that works well. Stress of the day weighing you down too much for yogic liftoff? Try a strain high in cannabinoids. In a nation increasingly open to lifting laws against marijuana, we’re entering a new age of exploration for yogis. For the...

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Wellness: The Health Benefits of Massage
Jul31

Wellness: The Health Benefits of Massage

Many people think of massage as a great way to relax and pamper yourself. That’s true, but it’s not the only reason to get one. Massage in and of itself has a number of health benefits. Darius Greenbacher, medical director of Baystate Medical Practices in sports and exercise medicine, said he often prescribes massage not just to treat injury, but to get at the root cause of why the injury happened in the first place. “Just therapeutic...

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Where You Can U-Pick In Western Mass Farms
Jul24

Where You Can U-Pick In Western Mass Farms

Why should the farmers have all the fun harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables from their own farms? U-pick farms abound in the Pioneer Valley. Strawberry season has mostly gone by, but blueberries are ripe for the pickin’, and it won’t be long before apple season hits us. Below is a list of farms where you can grab your own produce. These farms have pick-your-own that is open to the public, but some area farms allow members...

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Free Will Astrology: Libra, You’re Nobler and Sparklier Than the Rest of Us
Jul24

Free Will Astrology: Libra, You’re Nobler and Sparklier Than the Rest of Us

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Are you feeling as daring about romance as I suspect? If so, I’ve composed a provocative note for you to give to anyone you have good reason to believe will be glad to receive it. Feel free to copy it word-for-word or edit it to suit your needs. Here it is: “I want to be your open-hearted explorer. Want to be mine? We can be in foolishly cool drooling devotion to each other’s mighty love power. We can be in...

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Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females
Jul20

Pioneer Valley Roller Derby Open To More Than Just Fierce Females

In its heyday in the 1970s and ‘80s, roller derby was known for fierce females, fishnets, spiked hair and names like “Iron Maven.” After a lull in the ‘90s, roller derby was resurrected in the early 2000s as an all-female, athletic sport. But in the Pioneer Valley, which was at the forefront of the roller derby revival, the sport has evolved from, as Pioneer Valley Roller Derby (PVRD) Team Captain Teresa Huang described it, a...

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“Recipes from the Herbalists Kitchen” Great for Herb-an Renewal
Jul17

“Recipes from the Herbalists Kitchen” Great for Herb-an Renewal

Yes, I had cooked with herbs before, or I thought I had. But the first lesson that Conway author Brittany Wood Nickerson’s Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen (just out from Storey Publishing in North Adams http://www.storey.com) taught me is that my prior forays in cooking with basil, oregano, and thyme were feeble attempts at best. My wife and I picked a recipe for miso peanut sauce and the first ingredient was two full cups of...

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Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp
Jul17

Introducing the Quaffle to a New Generation: UMass Quidditch Team Starts Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick. The University of...

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Free Will Astrology:Strawberry Is Your Power Fruit, Pisces
Jul17

Free Will Astrology:Strawberry Is Your Power Fruit, Pisces

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Greek word philokalia is translated as the “love of the beautiful, the exalted, the excellent.” I propose that we make it your keyword for the next three weeks — the theme you keep at the forefront of your awareness everywhere you go. But think a while before you say yes to my invitation. To commit yourself to being so relentlessly in quest of the sublime would be a demanding job. Are you truly prepared...

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Leo, Press 3 For Fresh Inspiration
Jul10

Leo, Press 3 For Fresh Inspiration

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s not your birthday, but I feel like you need to get presents. The astrological omens agree with me. In fact, they suggest you should show people this horoscope to motivate them to do the right thing and shower you with practical blessings. And why exactly do you need these rewards? Here’s one reason: Now is a pivotal moment in the development of your own ability to give the unique gifts you have to give....

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Third Eye Roaming: Passing Gas In Yoga Class
Jul03

Third Eye Roaming: Passing Gas In Yoga Class

Ah, farts. Can’t live with ’em and can’t live without passing ’em. When I started this column nearly two years ago, I knew that at some point I would have to broach the issue of passing gas in yoga class. It’s an endless point of fascination for folks who don’t do yoga in a class setting, and even some who do. “What if I fart?” is a question I get all the time when I’m encouraging someone to try a yoga class for the first time. Or:...

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Free Will Astrology: Make Fun Of Your Zealotry, Aquarius
Jul03

Free Will Astrology: Make Fun Of Your Zealotry, Aquarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Unless you were raised by a pack of feral raccoons or a fundamentalist cult, now is a perfect time to dive in to your second childhood. Is there a toy you wanted as a kid but never got? Buy it for yourself now! What were the delicious foods you craved back then? Eat them! Where were the special places you loved? Go there, or to spots that remind you of them. Who were the people you were excited to be with?...

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Free Will Astrology: The Tides Of Destiny Shouting For Scorpio
Jun26

Free Will Astrology: The Tides Of Destiny Shouting For Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This is a perfect moment to create a new tradition, Aries. You intuitively know how to turn one of your recent breakthroughs into a good habit that will provide continuity and stability for a long time to come. You can make a permanent upgrade in your life by capitalizing on an accidental discovery you made during a spontaneous episode. It’s time, in other words, to convert the temporary assistance you...

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Free Will Astrology: Gemini: Take Advice From Virginia Woolf
Jun19

Free Will Astrology: Gemini: Take Advice From Virginia Woolf

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There are places in the oceans where the sea floor cracks open and spreads apart from volcanic activity. This allows geothermally heated water to vent out from deep inside the earth. Scientists explored such a place in the otherwise frigid waters around Antarctica. They were elated to find a “riot of life” living there, including previously unknown species of crabs, starfish, sea anemones, and barnacles....

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Free Will Astrology: Phone Reminders Will Help Taurus Actualize
Jun12

Free Will Astrology: Phone Reminders Will Help Taurus Actualize

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You have to admit that salt looks like sugar and sugar resembles salt. This isn’t usually a major problem, though. Mistakenly sprinkling sugar on your food when you thought you were adding salt won’t hurt you, nor will putting salt in your coffee when you assumed you were using sugar. But errors like these are inconvenient, and they can wreck a meal. You may want to apply this lesson as a metaphor in the...

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Free Will Astrology: More Bohr Than Einstein, Capricorn
Jun05

Free Will Astrology: More Bohr Than Einstein, Capricorn

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you chose me as your relationship guide, I’d counsel you and your closest ally to be generous with each other; to look for the best in each other and praise each other’s beauty and strength. If you asked me to help foster your collaborative zeal, I’d encourage you to build a shrine in honor of your bond — an altar that would invoke the blessings of deities, nature spirits, and the ancestors. If you hired...

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Easthampton ‘Acroyoga’: A Fun, Interactive Path To Inner Peace
May30

Easthampton ‘Acroyoga’: A Fun, Interactive Path To Inner Peace

My shoulders and arms stretched backward like wings, I couldn’t help feeling like Rose from Titanic, and a grin spread across my face as I said: “I’m flying!” On a recent Friday I gave acroyoga a shot and it was the most fun I’ve had in while. Live music played beside the acroyoga group of about 10 people at Mill 180 Park in Easthampton, joined by a Facebook group and a Meetup page. The phenomenon is taking hold internationally with...

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Belchertown Family Rallies To Help Opioid Addicted Son
May30

Belchertown Family Rallies To Help Opioid Addicted Son

Jill Panto knows Narcan. She’s been trained in how to administer it. She has organized Narcan trainings for her community in Belchertown. By now, she could probably teach people herself how to use the life-saving opiate overdose reversal drug, a key weapon in the fight against opioid deaths. But nothing prepared her for the night, two days before Christmas, when she had to use it to save her own son. Christopher Besancon, 27, was home...

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Free Will Astrology: Aquarius, Red Is Your Color
May30

Free Will Astrology: Aquarius, Red Is Your Color

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Life is in the mood to communicate with you rather lyrically. Here are just a few of the signs and portents you may encounter, along with theories about their meaning. If you overhear a lullaby, it’s time to seek the influence of a tender, nurturing source. If you see a type of fruit or flower you don’t recognize, it means you have a buried potential you don’t know much about, and you’re ready to explore it...

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Free Will Astrology: Aries: Cultivate More Surprising and Original Sins
May22

Free Will Astrology: Aries: Cultivate More Surprising and Original Sins

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Sin” is a puerile concept in my eyes, so I don’t normally use it to discuss grown-up concerns. But if you give me permission to invoke it in a jokey, ironic way, I’ll recommend that you cultivate more surprising, interesting, and original sins. In other words, Aries, it’s high time to get bored with your predictable ways of stirring up a ruckus. Ask God or Life to bring you some really evocative mischief...

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Addiction Response Milestone: Spike In Local ODs Non-Fatal
May15

Addiction Response Milestone: Spike In Local ODs Non-Fatal

An unprecedented cluster of drug overdoses in Northampton late last month tested the city’s first responders. Their preparation — including training in the use of Narcan — helped prevent any fatalities. As the abuse of prescription and illegal opioids continues to plague the Valley, state and nation, the response has become more sophisticated and effective. That is largely due to emergency networks such as the one established in...

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Free Will Astrology: Gemini – Pack Your Decrepit Emotional Baggage in Garbage Bags
May15

Free Will Astrology: Gemini – Pack Your Decrepit Emotional Baggage in Garbage Bags

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “A two-year-old kid is like using a blender, but you don’t have a top for it,” said comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Would you like to avoid a scenario like that, Aries? Would you prefer not to see what happens if your life has resemblances to turning on a topless blender that’s full of ingredients? Yes? Then please find the top and put it on! And if you can’t locate the proper top, use a dinner plate or newspaper...

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Free Will Astrology: Leo – Dominate Your Emotions Like Oscar Wilde
May08

Free Will Astrology: Leo – Dominate Your Emotions Like Oscar Wilde

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The process by which Zoo Jeans are manufactured is unusual. First, workers wrap and secure sheets of denim around car tires or big rubber balls, and take their raw creations to the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi City, Japan. There the denim-swaddled objects are thrown into pits where tigers or lions live. As the beasts roughhouse with their toys, they rip holes in the cloth. Later, the material is retrieved and used...

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Third Eye Roaming: Goat Yoga in Easthampton
May01

Third Eye Roaming: Goat Yoga in Easthampton

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally listed writer Amanda Drane as the author of this story. It was written by Caitlin Ashworth. The Advocate regrets the error. Seven young goats wandered throughout the room, climbing on yoga students in child’s pose, sniffing feet and — at times — chewing hair. Audrey Blaisdell, co-owner of Valley Hot Yoga in Northampton, said she used many downward-facing positions designed to entice the goats...

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Free Will Astrology: Spit it out, Cancer!
May01

Free Will Astrology: Spit it out, Cancer!

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Beware of feeling sorry for sharks that yell for help. Beware of trusting coyotes that act like sheep and sheep that act like coyotes. Beware of nibbling food from jars whose contents are different from what their labels suggest. But wait! “Beware” is not my only message for you. I have these additional announcements: Welcome interlopers if they’re humble and look you in the eyes. Learn all you can from...

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5 Things To Know About Postpartum Health
May01

5 Things To Know About Postpartum Health

Each week on Thursday afternoons is a Beyond Birth group in the little yellow house by Cooley-Dickinson Hospital. While my wife and I were on leave following the birth of our son, we tried to attend this group as often as we could. The group welcomes parents of babies up to six months to share the triumphs and challenges of those exciting and very difficult first months of parenting. Among the biggest surprises — both for my wife and...

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