Free will astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): Harper's Index reports that it would require 60,133 ants to carry away a 10-pound picnic basket and 14,286,000,000 fireflies to create a ball of light equal in brilliance to the sun. These images should embolden you as you contemplate the intricate work ahead of you. While you probably won't accomplish any stunning breakthroughs overnight, you just might be able to complete a quantum leap comprised of a thousand baby steps about two weeks from now.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In most circumstances I wholeheartedly endorse the motto of Harry Potter's school, Hogwarts: Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, or "Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon." Given the odd strains of luck that are currently weaving their way into your fate, however, combined with a fresh surge in your power to command animal energy in all its forms, I'm moved to make an exception. You're not just a great dragon tamer these days; you could actually coax dragons into going to work for you. So let the tickling begin, Taurus! One caveat: If I were you I wouldn't try to get them to do trivial tasks like toasting marshmallows.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I never thought I'd see the day when I would quote the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Stuffy, scholarly, reserved and abstract, the dude was in many ways the opposite of me. And yet I now find myself driven to draw on his teaching for your seed of the week. Whatever action you take, he said, you should regard it as illustrative of a maxim worthy of being a universal law. This is tough but useful advice for you, Gemini, as you enter into a phase when you'll be tempted to believe you can get away with living by a special set of rules.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Are you a typical Crab? Do you unleash so much nurturing that at times you don't know when to stop? If so, I have good news. The gods are now willing to help you develop a better sense of when you're about to cross the line into compulsive, toxic generosity. As you work on this task, keep the following scene in mind as a guide: When flight attendants give the safety spiel as an airplane is readying for take-off, they note that in the event of a loss of pressure in the cabin, oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling for the use of passengers. If you're in charge of a small child, they say, you should put your mask on first, then the child's. The moral of the story: You're no good to those you want to help unless you take expert care of yourself first.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): This week's assignment came directly from my inside sources at the kingdom of heaven. They suggest that you make a voodoo doll of yourself, then do the opposite of what's usually done with such an effigy. A simple sock puppet will work fine, though the magic will be enhanced if you devote your most loving artistry to the project. Once you've constructed your Mini-Me, shove 13 pins in it to represent the wounds you've collected over the years. Then, on a night when you can be alone, dine on your favorite food, take a long bath, and light a purple candle. One by one, remove the pins and pass them through the flame. As you do, visualize a fountain of joy and vitality welling up inside you, and say, "Be gone forever, old prick! You no longer have any power to hurt me."

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Whether you're male or female, straight or gay or bisexual, you are now as luxuriantly fecund as your fellow Virgo, blues musician B.B. King, who by most accounts has fathered 16 children with 16 different moms. While I would argue against you modeling your next moves precisely after King's approach, I nevertheless hope you will express your fertility with an equal exuberance and prolificness.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My favorite Welsh myth has themes akin to the adventures looming for you. Here 'tis. The witch Cerridwen prepares a cauldron for a brew that will confer great wisdom. Because it'll take a year to cook, she hires a boy named Gwion to stir it. Near the end of the job, three drops splash onto Gwion's finger. When he tastes it, he's filled with power and knowledge, much to Cerridwen's dismay: He's not the intended recipient. Gwion flees, turning himself into a hare using his new magic. Cerridwen changes into a greyhound and pursues him. He then becomes a fish in a river, and she an otter; he a bird and she a hawk; he a grain of wheat and she a hen that swallows him. Nine months later, he's born from her belly and begins a new life in which he becomes a great wizard.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): For weeks you've dreamed of pawing through a pigpen on your hands and knees, hunting for the pearl that may or may not be there. For months you've been poring over your lost chances and frustrated dreams, searching for that one unambiguous clue to the Great Liberation. And now, finally, Scorpio, you're seriously thinking of giving God an ultimatum: "Either put up or shut up!" But before you actually lift your gaze skyward and scream that dubious prayer, let me beg you to wait another two weeks. In the meantime, as both a tease and a promise, I offer you these two lines of a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "Earth's crammed with heaven/ And every common bush afire with God."

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "Let it be known, once and for all, I do not wish to be civilized," proclaimed Oscar Wilde's nephew, the boxer-poet Arthur Cravan. This was 80 years ago. At the time he made his proclamation, he was steering a wheelbarrow through the streets of Paris distributing his hot-off-the-presses, rabble-rousing magazine Maintenant. I believe this scene could be of great inspiration for you, Sagittarius. Think about it. Cravan was making a tangible impact on people with his passionate ideas while at the same time declaring his intention to stay wild. Isn't that what you should be doing in the weeks to come?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "The miracle of the psyche's ways," says Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Women Who Run With the Wolves, "is that even if you are halfhearted, irreverent, didn't mean to, didn't really hope to, don't want to, feel unworthy to, aren't ready for it, you will accidentally stumble upon treasure anyway." I believe this describes what has recently happened to you, Capricorn. And your next move? What is the half-thrilling, half-oppressive challenge you now face? Estés: "Then it is your soul's work to not overlook what has been brought up, to recognize treasure as treasure no matter how unusual its form."

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Before heading off to the Democratic National Convention, some friends of mine were trained in nonviolent protest by the Ruckus Society. They learned how to scale high places to unfurl banners and how to remain polite toward cops whose provocations might make their bodies flood with adrenaline. They also found out that if they expected to block an intersection or doorway by binding themselves together with other activists for a good long time, they had to be willing to wear diapers. Are you ready to rise to this intense level of commitment this week, Aquarius? I hope so. My advice is this: If you're not willing to be more than half-assed, don't get your ass involved at all.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "Dear Dr. Brezsny: Please answer the question all of us Pisces beg to know. How do we find that sexual partner who is relaxed yet dominating, polite yet dirty, intelligent yet grunting, sensitive enough to be humble, but happy enough not to care what I think about his every little move — and of course, totally devoted yet not a psychotic stalker? —Earth Chick." Dear Earth Chick: Your answer is similar to the reply I give everyone who's on a quest: To get what you want, become what you want. For you, that would mean being relaxed yet dominating, polite yet dirty, intelligent yet grunting, etc. Homework. Would you rather be globally famous or secretly immortal? Why? Write

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