Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): On February 1, six big-name entertainers took control of the Super Bowl halftime show. The result was a histrionically boring spectacle of robotic sexuality and fake emotion. If there was any saving grace amidst the monumental emptiness, it was Janet Jackson’s climactic unveiling. In a New York Times article, Alessandra Stanley wrote, "The one moment of honesty in that coldly choreographed tableau was when the cup came off and out tumbled a normal middle-aged woman’s breast instead of an idealized Playboy bunny implant." Your assignment in the coming week, Aries, is to be inspired by that moment of honesty. Strip away pretension and phoniness, thereby exposing the raw humanity that lies beneath. One caveat: Do this ethically, and without breaking the law.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The President of Belarus has issued a mandate to his country’s athletes regarding their performance in the 2004 Summer Olympics. "You should have clear-cut plans for victory," Alyaksandr Lukashenka told them. "It is unacceptable for you to win fewer than 25 medals." That sounds a bit unrealistic to me, so I won’t be that demanding in my decree to you, Taurus. But the astrological omens are on my side as I command you to pull off a feat that would be your equivalent of a gold medal between now and March 20. In addition, I order you to garner a new title.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): After years of occupation by the Soviet Union, Georgia became an independent republic in 1991. Its new leader was Eduard Shevardnadze, who over the next 12 years brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy and became the most hated man in public life. Last November he relinquished power in the face of a "revolution of roses," a bloodless insurrection led by protestors brandishing flowers. Two months later, one of the leading "rose revolutionaries," 36-year-old Mikhail Saakashvili, was elected Georgia’s new president. I suggest that you Geminis make Saakashvili your role model for the next two months. You’ve got a lot of status quo to overthrow, and the best way to do it is with your version of flower power.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): According to my analysis of the astrological omens, it’s time for you to make two corrections. First, you are suffering from an exaggerated sense of what’s possible to accomplish in the short term. I urge you to deflate your grandiosity a bit. Second, your expectations of what you can pull off in the long run are way too small. I authorize you to pump up them up.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Our subject this week, class, is the aphorism, "If at first you don’t succeed, redefine the meaning of success." Your assignment is to make practical use of this principle, and I think the best place to apply it might be in your love life. If you agree, here’s how to proceed. First, figure out what you’ve been doing wrong that has kept you from getting the kind of love you want. Second, revise your definition of the kind of love you want, incorporating a more realistic assessment of who you are. Third, forgive yourself for having previously had an inadequate definition.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I’m grateful for my years of psychotherapy. They’ve been crucial in helping me shed bad mental habits and master the art of being happy. How about you, Virgo? Have you ever met regularly with an empath whose primary purpose is to listen to you? It’s a perfect time to start giving yourself this necessary luxury. Or, if you’re one of the lucky few who already has a skilled wise person working in your service, it’s time to dive deeper into the work. You now have the power to get more help than you’ve received before — but you have to ask for it.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is a bit stiff, but his Libran wife Teresa is just the opposite. "She can be as unbuttoned in her speech as Kerry is buttoned up in his," wrote Philip Gourevitch in The New Yorker, "with the result that she is sometimes impolitic and always worth listening to." In, Rebecca Traister said Teresa has complained that George W. Bush "is afraid to be Socratic" and that he entered his presidency "with a lack of curiosity about the job." She playfully told one interviewer that if John is elected, her main job as first lady will be to keep him humble. I urge you to make Teresa your role model in the coming week, Libra. Be unbuttoned, impolitic, Socratic, curious and worth listening to. Use humor to keep yourself and everyone around you humble.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Love may not conquer all in the coming weeks, Scorpio, but it could conquer 60 percent, and even as much as 75 percent. The key factor in determining love’s power to accomplish wonders will be your knack for avoiding obsessive perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking. You should work with love like a master politician who’s skilled at compromise, not like a glory-seeking hero who thinks everything can be changed overnight.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "The fishermen of the Colombian coast must be learned doctors of ethics and morality," writes Eduardo Galeano in The Book of Embraces, "for they invented the [Spanish] word sentipensante, or ‘feeling-thinking,’ to define language that speaks the truth." I advise you to make sentipensante your word of power in the coming days, Sagittarius. It may help you synchronize your galloping emotions and your restless intellect. And that may be your best hope for solving the conundrums headed your way. Here’s another way to describe your assignment: Think with your heart and feel with your mind.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In his 1989 song, "Fight the Power," Public Enemy’s Chuck D expressed his opinion of Elvis Presley: "Elvis was a hero to most/ But he never meant shit to me, you see/ Straight up racist that sucker was, simple and plain." Thirteen years later, Chuck D presented a different story, telling Newsday he had "a great deal of respect" for Elvis. I suggest you follow Chuck D’s example in the coming week, Capricorn. It takes courage to shift your position as radically as he did, and I hope you can do the same. It’s a perfect moment to officially change your mind about at least two important issues.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The Pentagon could not account for $22 billion in expenditures last year, according to Harper’s Index. How about you, Aquarius? Has your relationship with money been suffering from any ignorance or chaos? If so, the next seven months will be a favorable time to fix that. The cosmos will be conspiring to help you upgrade your financial savvy. To the degree that you co-conspire, you will get richer a lot quicker. Here’s the best news: It all starts in earnest now. Respond aggressively to a hot tip that arrives this week.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You will wake up one morning and realize you’re more free than you’ve been in a long time. Nagging ghosts will have lost their power to bug you. Stale traditions will have faded. Through an act of grace you don’t fully understand, mind-forged manacles will have vanished. So what should you do next? I suggest you celebrate. Throw a "Get Out of Jail" party for yourself. Then run wild for a couple of days. When you’re good and ready to harness your adorable new independence, ask yourself, "In what area of my life is it most important that I start fresh?" Here’s homework: Compose a sincere prayer in which you ask God or Goddess for something you’re not supposed to. Tell us about it at