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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The V-Spot: My Sex Drive’s Back But My BF’s Isn’t
Apr24

The V-Spot: My Sex Drive’s Back But My BF’s Isn’t

Writer’s note: This column mentions depression and suicidality. When me and my BF first got together about a year and a half ago, we were having the best sex of our lives! Then I decided with the help of my therapist that I needed to be medicated due to suicidal thoughts and anxiety/depression. The medication helped a lot with my mental illness, but unfortunately it made my sex drive plummet. I was still able and happy to get my man...

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Free Will Astrology: Virgo, cook an omelet over Niagara gorge
Apr24

Free Will Astrology: Virgo, cook an omelet over Niagara gorge

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have misgivings when I witness bears riding bicycles or tigers dancing on their hind legs or Aries people wielding diplomatic phrases and making careful compromises at committee meetings. While I am impressed by the disciplined expression of primal power, I worry for the soul of the creature that is behaving with such civilized restraint. So here’s my advice for you in the coming weeks: Take advantage of...

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Free Will Astrology: Aries be like Washington, Sagittarius like Lincoln
Apr18

Free Will Astrology: Aries be like Washington, Sagittarius like Lincoln

ARIES (March 21-April 19): After George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States, he had to move from his home in Virginia to New York City, which at the time was the center of the American government. But there was a problem: He didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for his long-distance relocation, so he was forced to scrape up a loan. Fortunately, he was resourceful and persistent in doing so. The money...

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Free Will Astrology: When life gives Scorpios lemon rinds…
Apr10

Free Will Astrology: When life gives Scorpios lemon rinds…

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Before visiting Sicily for the first time, American poet Billy Collins learned to speak Italian. In his poem “By a Swimming Pool Outside Siracusa,” he describes how the new language is changing his perspective. If he were thinking in English, he might say that the gin he’s drinking while sitting alone in the evening light “has softened my mood.” But the newly “Italianized” part of his mind would prefer to...

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Tick, Tick, Tick … Boom? No bumper crop of ticks this year, but keep your socks tucked into your pants anyway
Apr03

Tick, Tick, Tick … Boom? No bumper crop of ticks this year, but keep your socks tucked into your pants anyway

Every year billions of ticks creep through wooded areas across Massachusetts and New England, feeding vampirically off the blood of wildlife, pets, and humans. With ticks comes the most obvious fear: Lyme disease. But how much of what seems like common knowledge about ticks is really true? Do cold winters or mild winters affect tick populations? Is it really the smallest ticks that carry diseases most of time? “They’re always...

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The V-Spot: When Did I Get on the Relationship Escalator?
Apr03

The V-Spot: When Did I Get on the Relationship Escalator?

I have a few questions about monogamy. I guess, part of it stemming from a recent post I saw on your Instagram — @the_vspot — about “The Relationship Escalator,” polyamory, and monogamy. In my last partnership, my partner and I were very intentional about not falling into that trajectory, but now I think that The Relationship Escalator is something that I want. Can The Relationship Escalator coexist alongside actively constructing...

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Free Will Astrology, April 6-12, 2017
Apr03

Free Will Astrology, April 6-12, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Be interested in first things, Aries. Cultivate your attraction to beginnings. Align yourself with uprisings and breakthroughs. Find out what’s about to hatch, and lend your support. Give your generous attention to potent innocence and novel sources of light. Marvel at people who are rediscovering the sparks that animated them when they first came into their power. Fantasize about being a curious seeker who...

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The V-Spot: Our Sex Is All About Him
Mar27

The V-Spot: Our Sex Is All About Him

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and we’re best friends. Mutual respect exists in almost every way between us. Sometimes, however, the sex feels, well, sexist. First, he enjoys watching porn together, but I really don’t. However, he always tries to initiate porn watching even though I’ve told him I don’t enjoy it. Secondly, I perform far more oral sex than he does. He rarely performs oral or hand sex on me, and when...

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Free Will Astrology: March 30-April 5, 2017
Mar27

Free Will Astrology: March 30-April 5, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The dragon that stole your treasure will return it. Tulips and snapdragons will blossom in a field you thought was a wasteland. Gargoyles from the abyss will crawl into view, but then meekly lick your hand and reveal secrets you can really use. The dour troll that guards the bridge to the next big thing will let you pass even though you don’t have the password. April Fool! Everything I just described is only...

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Third Eye Roaming: Yoga for cancer survivors: Calming the battle within
Mar20

Third Eye Roaming: Yoga for cancer survivors: Calming the battle within

Mary Kennedy of Northfield says she could barely move her neck before she began taking yoga with Pam Roberts at the YMCA in Greenfield about six years ago. Kennedy, a breast cancer survivor living with torticollis, a painfully twisted neck, says yoga has at times saved her, making her “stronger and stronger. Now, I can actually move my head to the right again. I have a quality of life I didn’t have before yoga.” Cancer is among the...

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The V-Spot: When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?
Mar20

The V-Spot: When it Comes to Self-Lovin’ What’s Better: Lube or Lotion?

I recently saw a guy friend masturbating with lotion instead of lube and was wondering if lube would be a better alternative for him. If so, could you explain why? — A Little Help for My  Masturbating Friends One of my favorite conversations to strike up with my penis-equipped friends is: What ever did you do with your penis during your sexual exploration period? If I had had a penis during my teenaged sexual development ages, I’m...

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The V-Spot: I’m Hot; He’s Cold: Clash of the Libidos
Mar13

The V-Spot: I’m Hot; He’s Cold: Clash of the Libidos

I recently started dating somebody who ticks nearly all of the “right” boxes for me. This is the first time since breaking up with my sweetheart of over two years that I’ve felt this way, and it’s really exciting. There’s only one hiccup: He prefers to cuddle; I’d have sex twice a day if I could. We talked about this shortly after we started seeing each other, and it seems like things are workable, at least for...

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The V-Spot: Am I in a Healthy Open Relationship?
Mar06

The V-Spot: Am I in a Healthy Open Relationship?

I’m in a happy, long-distance monogam-ish relationship with the human of my dreams. Really; things are so good. This is my first time having an open relationship, and I think we talk through things really well and effectively. He has several partners — all of which I’ve met and adore — and I can say really genuinely that I’m happy that he has these other sexual relationships in his life. The thing is, even though I was the person to...

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Wellness: Tapping Away the Stress
Feb27

Wellness: Tapping Away the Stress

Emotional Freedom Technique and what it’s all about If anxiety made a baby with a hive of buzzing bees, you’d get me. Hi, I’m an extremely nervous person. My tendency to worry works out great when reporting and I just can’t let a question go, but it’s a burden when it’s midnight and I’m checking the doors — again — to make sure they’re all locked. So, when I heard there is a simple ritual that I can perform myself that may shed...

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The V-Spot: My Boyfriend Might Be Gay. Should I Care?
Feb20

The V-Spot: My Boyfriend Might Be Gay. Should I Care?

I recently began “dating” my best guy friend over this winter break. He’s told me that he was raised by a super religious mom and that when he was younger he “rebelled,” and experimented with other men, which he blamed on his homophobic upbringing. He told me he’s had sex with another man, but has since concluded that he was straight. I didn’t ask many questions other than, “So, do you think you’re gay?” to which he responded, “No,...

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Free Will Astrology: Feb. 23-March 1, 2017
Feb20

Free Will Astrology: Feb. 23-March 1, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): My astrological radar suggests there’s a space-time anomaly looming just ahead of you. Is it a fun and exotic limbo where the rules are flexible and everything’s an experiment? That might be cool. Or is it more like an alien labyrinth where nothing is as it seems, you can hear howling in the distance, and you barely recognize yourself? That might be weird. What do you think? Is it worth the gamble? If so,...

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Astrology: Week of Feb. 16, 2017
Feb13

Astrology: Week of Feb. 16, 2017

ARIES (March 21-April 19): By my estimates, 72 percent of you Aries are in unusually good moods. The world seems friendlier, more cooperative. Fifty-six percent of you feel more in love with life than you have in a long time. You may even imagine that the birds and trees and stars are flirting with you. I’m also guessing that 14 percent of you are weaving in and out of being absurdly, deliriously happy, sometimes without any apparent...

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The V-Spot: How to Have a Discussion about Self Lovin’
Feb13

The V-Spot: How to Have a Discussion about Self Lovin’

I’m a 19-year-old male college student. I just started to masturbate, but I don’t know how other people will react if I get into a relationship with them and tell them about this. I would like to know how to be fully comfortable with pleasuring myself as well as see how to bring up masturbation in a relationship. Thank you! — Seeking Masturbation without Hesitation I’m reading your question in two different ways: the first is “How do...

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The V-Spot: Open Sex, Closed Convos
Feb06

The V-Spot: Open Sex, Closed Convos

I’ve been in an on-again/off-again, oftentimes long-distance, relationship with my for-now ex-boyfriend for six years. Right now we have a “when we’re together, we’re together” arrangement and we’ve defined our relationship as open in the past. Well, things are shifting again and we’re thinking about moving toward being more seriously together, but still long-distance and open. If we decide to get back together, I’d like one of my...

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Third Eye-Roaming: Self-help and Farts, Local yogi and author writes ‘108 Prompts’ to improve your practice
Jan30

Third Eye-Roaming: Self-help and Farts, Local yogi and author writes ‘108 Prompts’ to improve your practice

Brian Leaf wants you to pass gas, audibly, in yoga class at least once. Why, you might ask? He says the practice reacquaints you with your humanity. The barrier-breaking suggestion is one of many in a new book written by local author Leaf, The Teacher Appears: 108 Prompts to Power Your Yoga Practice. He calls it a “self-help book on intuition.” “I don’t want to turn people off with the semantics,” he says. “I don’t want to be like,...

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