Free Will Astrology 

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Whenever I feel like I can't go forward and I can't go back," says my friend Briana, "I know I'm on the verge of a creative surge." Then there's my pal Allie. "Being between a rock and a hard place," she bubbles, "is an invitation to become very pliable, sort of like a claymation figure. That always lets me squeeze free. More than that, it works like the psychological equivalent of a laxative." So there you have it, Aries: medicinal words for you to swallow as you squirm in the stuck place.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You're gorgeous right now. Your physical attractiveness is at a peak, and your soul is a stunning work of art. This is a good thing, right? Mostly. While well-adjusted people will enjoy the unpredictable effects of your radiant grace, some on-the-edge folks may be allergic to it. Don't let them discourage you from shining full blast. In fact, take their uneasiness as a sign to start wielding your beauty as a beneficent weapon.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Maybe in late September I'll dare you to take smart risks and be a feisty adventurer. Right now, though, there's a more humble theme to work on: your security needs. That's why I'd like you to write out a list of every last thing that would make you feel profoundly safe. I know you Geminis often resist being at peace with your destiny. You're afraid stability might diminish the power you imagine you derive from being so compulsively restless. But let's put that delusion to sleep for now, OK? Believe it or not, the best way to prep for this autumn's feisty adventures will be to build up the cohesive, dependable, permanent parts of your life.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): When he tried scriptwriting, Picasso was unable to invoke anywhere near the same brilliance he possessed as a painter. The one play he created, "Desire Caught by the Tail," was a flop. William Shatner, likewise, hasn't impressed as many with his singing of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as he did in his performance as Star Trek's captain. On the other hand, Leonardo da Vinci turned out some impressive work as a scientist in addition to his objets d'art, and Thomas Jefferson was not only a skillful politician, but also a decent architect. I believe you're poised to branch out in the da Vinci and Jefferson modes, Cancerian. Your skill in one sphere is ripe for translation into another.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Honed in the fires of strenuous meditations, purified by many years of battling my selfishness, distilled from careful reading in a wide variety of sacred texts, this horoscope is worth $1.6 million. But for you, Leo, it's absolutely free — on two conditions. First, you must give generously and joyously of resources you've always been a bit stingy about. Second, you must not worry about whether you'll receive anything in return for your gifts. Think you can do that?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you build it, they will come. If you merely pretend to build it, they may come anyway, then end up staying because of your other charms. If you play hard to get or give out mixed messages, they'll be intrigued and attracted for a short time, but probably won't actually come. My advice, then, is to at least start pretending to build the sucker in earnest while you find out if you have the stamina and interest to actually do it.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Flush your placebos down the toilet, Libra. Donate your psychological crutches to charity. I have every reason to expect that the next three weeks will bring you a glorious victory over your bad self, not to mention the bad selves of a couple other people. A streak of warrior pluck is about to possess you, killing off the meek visions that have soured your luck. In fact, I'll make this reckless but true prophecy: Not since 1996 have you had this much power over debilitating habits, lame excuses and weakness disguised as strength.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I have acquired two new gurus. One is my old acquaintance Mark, the most boring nuisance I've ever known. I hadn't seen him in years but he just moved to the town where I live. The other is George W. Bush, who has moved to the top of the list of performers I distrust. Why are they my gurus? Because I long ago made a vow to love and bless all sentient beings, and this is tough to do with people who repulse me. Thus I feel tremendous gratitude for George and Mark. They're prodding me with frontier teachings about the work I have to do to live up to my ideals. May I humbly suggest you try a similar approach, Scorpio? Pledge to extract all the value you can from those who ignore you, frustrate you, or disagree with you. If this week had a title it'd be "Snuggling up to Strange Bedfellows."

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I trust you've indulged in at least two lengthy sabbaticals this summer, and I hope that during your furloughs you ripened your fantasy life dramatically. If you've been heeding all the divine guidance that's been offered, your imagination now has a very wide expanse in which to wander, and you're as unburdened by the past as you've been in many moons. Which brings us to your next assignment. Speaking on behalf of the same cosmic powers that invited you to run wild and free, I suggest that you enjoy a reverse vacation — a period when you take time out from your leisure schedule so as to apply yourself with voracious enthusiasm to the work you love best.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I'm not one of those hidebound astrologers who asserts that all Capricorns are stuffy prigs. Some of the rowdiest minds I've ever known have belonged to members of your tribe. Still, I believe that many of you do periodically suffer from an excess of dignity and decorum. That's why I suggest you visit the Burning Man Festival, an eight-day revel in the Nevada desert where everyone is a crazy genius artist and naked pagans dance in ecstatic trance around bonfires consecrated to the Goddess. (For info, go to www.burningman.com.) If that's too far away, find an event closer to home where you can become inflamed with unreasonable joy and wise foolishness.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I predict that you'll dream of Ronald McDonald twice in the coming week. I foresee that in the first dream you will passively sit back and grin numbly as he shows off his standard shtick. But by the second dream you will rise up and shout, "I'll have no goddamn commercials in my dreams, thank you," then stuff a Burger King Whopper down his pants. I believe this liberating sequence will mirror events in your waking life — perhaps even be a spur for a healthy rebellion and escape.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You Pisceans are the most devotional of all the signs. One of your potential superpowers, in fact, is your reverent and creative dedication to what you love. Given the intensity of this gift, it's crucial that you choose wisely about where you direct it. While you may be temporarily energized from obsessively helping a no-good loser or worshiping a celebrity who reminds you of your own dormant, godlike nature, you know there are much better receptacles into which to pour your adoration. And now is the perfect time to fine-tune your priorities. Homework: What do you like best about the part of yourself that is least evolved and needs most work? Write:

Speaking of Spirituality, Free Will Astrology

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