Free Will Astrology 

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Many people who consult astrology columns want hardheaded advice about money, love, career and power. I hope I don't disappoint you, then, when I predict that you'll soon have a close brush with a religious conversion or spiritual epiphany. If it's any consolation, please be assured that this will be no ordinary, airy-fairy encounter with the unseen world. I'm betting it has the potential of rousing up more good ideas about money, love, career and power than a year's worth of generic horoscopes in your daily newspaper. In fact, if I had to give your week a title it might be "$10,000 Worth of Practical Mysticism."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Whenever I write horoscopes about romance and togetherness, I attract a storm of complaints from readers who are solitary. "How dare you imply that everyone has or should have a partner!?" is a typical protest. "I'm quite content being alone!" is another. Let it be known henceforth, dear Taurus, that I do not believe your happiness depends on having a spouse or lover. What I do suspect is that your soul needs some sacred relationship in order to thrive, whether it's with a good friend, a beloved animal, a beautiful patch of earth, the Divine Wow or anything that's not you. When I urge you to seek deeper, wilder communion — like now — feel free to interpret it as a call to explore any kind of intimacy that draws you closer to the secret heart of the world.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I'll give you a hard time for just one more week, and then we can resume our love fest. Promise you won't hold it against me? Remember, I'm merely channeling back to you the veiled contents of your own subconscious mind. It's not my fault that even your guardian angel gets PMS now and then. So anyway, as I was saying before you made me feel guilty for doing my job: Emotional constipation is nature's way of telling you that you haven't digested all the fishy stories you've swallowed whole.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): You're now experiencing astrological conditions that have been linked in laboratory rats to dramatic escalations of self-esteem. To test the hypothesis that these experimental results with animals may be applicable to humans, I urge you to act like a charismatic power-tripper this week. Well, let me amend that. Of course I mean you should do this with a Cancerian twist. Act like a compassionate, sensitive, lyrical, charismatic power-tripper.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I think we can all agree that lately you've been feeling far hungrier than usual. To what do we attribute this gnawing insatiability? Do you have an actual need for larger quantities of food? Is your body trying to tell you that you're suffering a nutritional deficiency? Or is the chronic voraciousness a cover for a yearning to be better appreciated and recognized? It's also possible, I suppose, that you're aching for a love you're not getting. Or maybe your soul is starved for adventures to which your ego is oblivious. My advice? Experiment with different forms of nourishment until the bottomless pit begins to feel full.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Sports writer Tom Fitzgerald reported on the weekly ritual of a pro football player. "I put my left sock on first before every game," Bill Schultz said, "write my grandmother's name on my wrist tape before putting on my gloves, walk on the field to see how my shoes feel before putting on my pads, then throw up." Most of us have similar customs — superstitious habits we cling to even though they require a sour sacrifice. In Schultz's case, he has developed an instinctive belief that in order to succeed at football he has to puke. You may believe, on the other hand, that in order to be of use to people you have to suppress your desires or suffer some deprivation. But this is a perfect moment to rebel against such nonsense.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I've been boning up on an oracular technique called scarpomancy. It involves divining character from a person's old shoes. This week I've examined the well-worn footwear of more than a hundred Librans, and I've concluded that you folks are making gritty strides toward developing a more practical approach to life. You're walking your talk more than you perhaps ever have before. The baby steps you've taken toward greater discipline and organization are beginning to add up to a giant step. There was one last truth revealed to me in the course of my soothsaying: You need to go out and buy new shoes that are attractive but comfortable.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In Joseph Campbell's vision of myth, the hero is typically a solitary male who sporadically receives aid from a remote and ineffable muse. But let's consider an alternative. In some stories, Buddha had a female ally as he sat under the bo (cq) tree seeking enlightenment. Many early Christians described Jesus and Mary Magdalene as equal collaborators. The Sufi mystic poet Rumi may not have actually made love with his teacher Shams (then again, he might have), but it's clear that the two men pursued a spiritual quest rooted in collaboration, not lonely solo work. Why am I bringing up these examples? I'd love you Scorpios to look to intimate relationship as not just a source of sex and companionship but also as a spur to your most noble and transcendent ambitions. The coming months will bring rich opportunities to learn more about this.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): There's no way to say this without enraging churchgoers who take their religion way too seriously, so if you're one of that tribe, please stop reading now. The fact is, Sagittarius, the planetary forces are now conspiring to give you delightfully intimate, possibly even erotic dreams about God and goddess. And that's just one likely symptom of the moist breakthroughs you're courting. I also expect at least one of the following events: cleansing tears in the face of unexpected beauty; gales of laughter that liberate you from a fixation you've clung to perversely; and a bracing foray into the borderlands that will disperse an ancient curse.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Imagine that you've been searching for treasure, Capricorn. With dogged patience, you've scoured the wide world, following clues that have come to you from dreams, overheard conversations and quirky books. Now, finally, this week, you stumble upon a large wooden chest shut tight with a rusty lock. It's half- buried in a scrubby patch where a park meets a warehouse district. You dig it up with your bare hands, barely manage to lift it into the trunk of your car, then haul it home. Ripping it open with a crowbar, you find some of the valuables you hoped would be in it — along with stuff that's a total surprise. Describe the contents and what you'll do with them in the years to come.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Socialize like a Libra who specializes in creating a robust harmony that energizes everyone. Collaborate like an enlightened Scorpio who's a master of blending self-interest with generous idealism. Inspire group enthusiasm like a Sagittarius oozing contagious excitement. Celebrate like a highly evolved Pisces who doesn't need drugs and alcohol to achieve cathartic intoxication. And finally, dear Aquarius, network like a relaxed Aquarius whose frenetic monkey mind is not holding the rest of you hostage.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): If you hired me as your mentor or trainer or guide, you know what I'd do right now? I'd convince you to stop working. I'd ask you to redirect all the energy you normally spend on the job to producing results and improving yourself. I'd show you that the activity most worth pursuing during this phase of your astrological cycle is no-holds-barred play — exuberant fun that's free of ambition, creative messing around that has nowhere to go and nothing to prove and inventive experiments that inspire you to suspend inhibitions. I dare you to try just such a program, Pisces. Are you who you say you are? Or are you someone very different from the image you project? Send proof to P.O. Box 150247, San Rafael, CA 94915 or

Speaking of Spirituality, Free Will Astrology

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