Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When you're at your best, you see the cracks in the facades as opportunities; you get giddy as you careen over bumps in the road; you love the enticing magic that flows from situations that other people regard as rough or crooked. Since you will soon be at your best again, I expect you'll be encountering a surge of juicy serendipity. Here's a quote to incite you, courtesy of Aries poet Charles Baudelaire. "That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal: from which it follows that irregularity — that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment, are an essential part and characteristic of beauty."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): One of your reliable tools isn't broken yet — so fix it before it is. The monster in your closet is still safely asleep — so call in an exorcist or exterminator now, before it wakes up. Are you catching my drift? Because you've been smart and lucky enough to tune in to this horoscope, you have all the forewarning you need to prevent a crisis.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You know how a song can get stuck in your head and won't leave you alone? You'll be unusually susceptible to this phenomenon in the coming week. I suggest, therefore, that you immediately begin working to ensure that you'll be invaded by only the most inspiring and motivating songs. Make a list of your top five, then hum them for a while. Want some suggestions? How about "Cleanin’ Out My Closet," by Eminem or "I See God in You," by India.Arie? Or maybe "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," which ends with the lines "Deep in my heart the answer was in me/ And I made up my mind to find my own destiny."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Just before my friend Juliana learned she'd gotten the dream job she'd applied for, she'd been devoutly depressed, reading tabloids and eating doughnuts in her pajamas at 2 p.m. When my friend Jessie found out he'd been chosen as a back-up singer for the world tour of a group he'd idolized for years, he was recovering from a nasty hangover while playing video games with his 10-year-old nephew, whose family was letting him freeload during his fifth month of unemployment. I'm not saying the lightning bolt that will illuminate your world will be as dramatic as these two examples, but a lightning bolt is a lightning bolt.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In his book Animals and Psychedelics, ethnobotanist Giorgio Samorini proves that many animals deliberately alter their consciousness. His evidence includes robins that get drunk on holly berries and act "like winged clowns," as well as goats that are dependent on caffeine and reindeer that seek out hallucinogenic mushrooms. Samorini concludes that the desire to get high is a natural drive. He suggests that intoxication has served as an evolutionary force for some species, breaking down outworn habits in such a way as to improve long-term survival. You now have a cosmic mandate to shed your shticks and expand your awareness. Since you're not just an animal, but also an ingenious human, you don't have to resort to drugs and alcohol to do it. But you should do it.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Many otherwise intelligent people cling to a perverse model of intimacy articulated by Norman Mailer. As reported in Leah Garchik's column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Mailer described marriage as "an excretory relationship, in which you take all the crap you hide from the world and dump it on the person closest to you. But the proviso is that you have to be willing to take theirs." If your approach to intimate communion has even a shred of this vulgar stupidity, it’s time to banish it from your repertoire forever. You'll attract uncanny luck and inspiration whenever you work in a way opposite to Mailer's; when you train yourself to call up all the beauty you hide from the world and offer it up to the person closest to you.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Your word of power in the coming weeks will be stretch. Intone it as a mantra 55 times a day and write it in red ink on an index card that you keep in a prominent place in your environment. I also urge you to regularly embody these three meanings of stretch: 1) to make longer, wider or bigger without breaking or tearing; 2) to straighten and extend your body to its full span so as to increase circulation and forestall cramps; 3) to carry out a demanding task that requires you to enlarge your capacities or go beyond what you thought was possible for you to do.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You've been very resourceful in your efforts to push love to a new frontier. You've been an artist in the way you've reinvented passion and you've been a pioneer as you've dared to explore collaborations that require you to leave your comfort zone. During the next three weeks, meditate often on these words, originally penned by poet Percy Bysshe Shelley: "Love withers under constraint: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited, where its votaries live in confidence, equality, and unreserve."

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I found a love note in the trashcan at the post office. It was addressed to "My Succulent, Surging, Sagacious Sagittarius" from "Your Perfectly Imperfect Instigator." "Let's be radically curious explorers together," Instigator told Sagittarius. "Let's bushwhack through the wilds in search of the rawest truths that the laws of nature will allow us to dive into." I was shocked to find this thing discarded. What Archer in his or her right mind would throw away such a provocative invitation? Please don't do anything resembling this mistake in the coming weeks, even if your potential collaborator is "perfectly imperfect."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I'm not writing this horoscope. You are. I'm channeling it from the depths of your innermost mind. Why? Your conscious ego has been so caught up in the daily whirl that it has been steadfastly ignoring an important message from your still, small voice. Here's what it wants you to know: You desperately need to tune in to the still, small voice. The communiqué it has to convey to you is simple and brief, yet richer than 30 hours' worth of advice from 30 experts. It will help you save an enormous amount of time and pull off a constructive cosmic joke.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It's one of those blessed times when you'll heighten your attractiveness by thinking more deeply; when pursuing higher education will help you create conditions in which you can better satisfy your desires; when you can make yourself sexier by becoming smarter — and vice versa. In the spirit of this happy confluence of id and intellect, I offer you a few librarian pick-up lines, gleaned from 1) "I'd luuuuuv to check you out." 2) "I couldn't help noticing what a great book bag you have." 3) "Are you a librarian? Because when you walked in the room I knew I was overdue."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In 1985, when my roommate Arlena asked her new acquaintance, Joey the escaped convict, to stay at our house for a few weeks, I overcame my propensity to be an overly patient, absurdly accommodating doormat. "There is no way in hell that Joey will ever spend even a night here," I told Arlena firmly, and despite her protests, I prevailed. I have an intuition that you will receive a comparable opportunity to exercise a strong and lucid new version of your willpower in the coming week. Send ideas for April Fool's jokes to Uplifting Pranks, Inc. in care of