Free Will Astrology: Don’t Hang Dildos from your Christmas Tree, Gemini

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In alignment with the current astrological omens, I have prepared your horoscope using five hand-plucked aphorisms by Aries poet Charles Bernstein. 1.) “You never know what invention will look like or else it wouldn’t be invention.” 2.) “So much depends on what you are expecting.” 3.) “What’s missing from the bird’s eye view is plain to see on the ground.” 4.) “The questioning of the beautiful is always at...

Read More

Free Will Astrology: Don’t Lose Your Lotto Ticket, Sagittarius

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Many people go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after,” observed Henry David Thoreau. The spirit of Thoreau’s observation is true about every one of us to some extent. From time to time, we all try to satisfy our desires in the wrong location, with the wrong tools, and with the wrong people. But I’m happy to announce that his epigram is less true for you now than it has...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus
Nov06

Free Will Astrology: Pimples Are Your Friends, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Adriana Martinez and Octavio Guillen got engaged to be married when they were both 15 years old. But they kept delaying a more complete unification for 67 years. At last, when they were 82, they celebrated their wedding and pledged their vows to each other. Are there comparable situations in your life, Aries? The coming months will be a favorable time to make deeper commitments. At least some of your reasons...

Read More
Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria
Oct30

Wellness: Your friendly gut bacteria

Madeleine Vanstory was visiting her sister, Melissa Redwin of Westhampton, when they decided to come to Nourish Wellness Cafe in Northampton for lunch with Melissa’s newborn, Lucena. “I finally made the connection, after decades of bad eating, (between) how you nourish your body with food and how you feel,” said Vanstory, a physician and health consultant in Oregon. “And I just know that I feel better when I eat things that require...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Johnny Cash Didn’t Take Voice Lessons Either, Scorpio
Oct30

Free Will Astrology: Johnny Cash Didn’t Take Voice Lessons Either, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): America’s Civil War ended in 1865. A veteran from that conflict later produced a daughter, Irene Triplett, who is still alive today and collecting his pension. In the coming months, I foresee you being able to take advantage of a comparable phenomenon, although it may be more metaphorical. Blessings from bygone times, perhaps even from the distant past, will be available to you. But you’ll have to be alert...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: What the Stars Say You Should Be for Halloween
Oct23

Free Will Astrology: What the Stars Say You Should Be for Halloween

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I share Vincent Van Gogh’s belief that “the best way to know life is to love many things.” But I also think that the next twelve months will be an inspiring time for you to be focused and single-minded in your involvement with love. That’s why I encourage you to take an approach articulated by the Russian mystic Anne Sophie Swetchine: “To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others.”...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Stick with Garfunkel For Now, Scorpio
Oct16

Free Will Astrology: Stick with Garfunkel For Now, Scorpio

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I am my own muse,” wrote painter Frida Kahlo. “I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” Would you consider trying out this perspective for a while, Aries? If so, you might generate a few ticklish surprises. You may be led into mysterious areas of your psyche that had previously been off-limits. You could discover secrets you’ve been hiding from yourself. So what would it mean to be...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Thrillseeking Snails Ride on Turtles
Oct09

Free Will Astrology: Thrillseeking Snails Ride on Turtles

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In his book The Logic of Failure, Dietrich Dorner discusses the visionaries who built the Aswan Dam in Egypt. Their efforts brought an abundance of cheap electricity to millions of people. But the planners didn’t take into account some of the important effects of their innovation. For example, the Nile River below the dam no longer flooded its banks or fertilized the surrounding land every year. As a result,...

Read More
Zapping Depression
Oct02

Zapping Depression

Armené Margosian, 52, of Greenfield, sat waiting in a medical chair at Achieve TMS East’s Northampton office on Pleasant Street, her hands holding a pillow alongside her car keys. Her head was covered in a dark blue cap, while strapped into a metal, robotic-looking helmet. A magnetic pulse the machine delivered 36 times over the span of two seconds caused her right eye to twitch, but didn’t cause her any pain. Margosian is...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Follow Samsung By Transcending Dried Fish
Oct02

Free Will Astrology: Follow Samsung By Transcending Dried Fish

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You wouldn’t expect a five-year-old child to paint a facsimile of Picasso’s Guernica or sing Puccini’s opera, La Boheme. Similarly, you shouldn’t fault your companions and you for not being perfect masters of the art of intimate relationships. In fact, most of us are amateurs. We may have taken countless classes in math, science, literature, and history, but have never had a single lesson from teachers whose...

Read More
Free Will Astrology: Pink Underpants, Not Purple, Taurus
Sep25

Free Will Astrology: Pink Underpants, Not Purple, Taurus

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats likes to play along with the music of nature. On one occasion he collaborated with Mandeville Creek in Montana. He listened and studied the melodies that emanated from its flowing current. Then he moved around some of the underwater rocks, subtly changing the creek’s song. Your assignment, Aries, is to experiment with equally imaginative and exotic collaborations. The coming...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
“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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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....

Read More
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:...

Read More
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?...

Read More
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...

Read More
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....

Read More
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...

Read More