Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Arizona Diamondbacks are the macho kingpins of baseball. Last November, they dethroned the invincible New York Yankees with a come-from-behind World Series victory. As the players joyfully mobbed each other, an anthem blasted from the loudspeakers: "We Are The Champions," a song written and sung by a famous gay musician, Freddie Mercury. Did the notoriously homophobic dudes on the field recognize the irony? I offer you this vignette in hopes it might inspire you. When your own shining hour arrives in the coming weeks, reach out magnanimously to an influence you've always marginalized or excluded.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Jeannine Parvati is an astrologer and midwife who has authored three books. With her partner, Rico, she has made intelligent parenting an essential part of her spiritual path. This has been problematic for some of her colleagues. One expressed dismay when she announced she was pregnant again. "Jeannine, you should be writing more books instead of having more babies," the critic moaned. "Think of how famous you would be if you'd devote as much ambition to your writing career as you do to raising your kids." Parvati replied, "But I'm already famous with God." I offer that thought as a blessing to you. The work you're doing may be only partially visible to the naked eye, but it is seen and appreciated by the divine helpers.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Most forms of wild obsession and manic fantasy hurt your ability to carry out your dreams, but there are also a few kinds of madness that keep you honest and spice up your life. This is a perfect moment for you to identify your personal version of the rousing, healing stuff, then take steps to care for it and cultivate it in the months to come. As Seal says in his song "Crazy": "We're never gonna survive/Unless we get a little crazy."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Dear Dr. Brezsny: I've wrestled all my life with fear, which I've heard is common for us Cancers. But lately it's been even worse than usual. My personal demons seem to be winning or at least getting the better of the fight. I think it's related to the fact that I have worked hard to lose all my illusions, and now I find maybe that was a mistake. Perhaps I needed my illusions to keep the demons at bay? —Crybaby Crab." Dear Crybaby: Hang on. I know it may seem that the illusions you dissolved were the main barriers safeguarding you from your demons. But those illusions were food for your demons. Very soon now they'll be starving. If they don't die off, they will at least fly away in search of other nourishment.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): As the Taliban fled Kabul in mid-November, Afghans celebrated amid the chaos. There was a mood of exhilaration as local residents resumed activities that had been banned by the fundamentalist Taliban. Men shaved their beards again. Children flew kites. Women threw off their veils. Everyone listened to music. I urge you to draw inspiration from their example, Leo. The uproar around you in the coming months, though nowhere near as intense as the one in Kabul, will be invigorating if you're passionately determined to celebrate amid uncertainty.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you believe everything I tell you, you have not yet become a sufficiently independent thinker. As careful as I am not to infringe on your free will, I can't possibly give you the precise advice you need every single week. For the sake of your soul's health, you have a duty to rebel against me from time to time, just as you do against all the so-called "experts," "teachers" and "leaders" who pass themselves off as supremely knowledgeable. I'm mentioning this because it has now become absolutely essential for you to be a cheerful skeptic who asks penetrating, exuberant and outrageous questions.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I'm a genius — and so are you. That's the law in the new world we're creating. In this new world, you don't have to be shy about how wonderful you are, because you genuinely long for other people to shine. You have confidence in your capacity to be proud but not arrogant; you openly exult in your own mastery but are sympathetic and sensitive toward everyone else. Best of all: As you express more and more of the unique potential you were born with, you inspire others to claim more of their own idiosyncratic brilliance.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you're an elementary-school teacher, it's a perfect moment to think about moonlighting as a nightclub singer — and vice versa. If you're a physician trained in Western medicine, it's a favorable time to investigate alternative healing traditions. If you're a physicist, I recommend you read some mind-boggling poetry; if you're a starving artist, study the Wall Street Journal. In other words, open up a channel to what you've been missing. Explore the gaps in your education. Entertain possibilities you've barred from even crossing your threshold of awareness.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Endangered species: Utah prairie dog, Hawaiian monk seal, Guam Micronesian kingfisher, Sagittarian grandiosity. While I mourn the first three, I'm quite pleased with the last. I'm hoping it means you're learning to scale down your inflated expectations and overblown promises without diluting any of your passionate enthusiasm. Maybe by this time next year your idealism will have become so practical that you will have accomplished twice as much good work as you have in the past.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Thank you for not smoking while reading this horoscope. Thank you as well for not burping, drooling, picking your nose, getting drunk, spilling food on yourself, thinking nasty thoughts about anyone or letting your mind leap from undisciplined ideas to out-of- control feelings like a mean monkey on amphetamines. All such behaviors would interfere with your ability to register on deep subconscious levels the meaning of this horoscope: Calm down. Still your nervous habits. Avoid knee-jerk reactions. Silence your judgments. Count your blessings. Empty your heart of expectations. Remember what's truly important. Purify yourself in every way you can imagine.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The planets are ganging up in your chart to precipitate long-postponed climaxes. As one of the fringe benefits, I'm betting you'll finally get to utter some magic words you've been waiting an eternity to say — maybe something like "Ha! Now you have to gimme it! So gimme it now!" Or perhaps it'll be something a little classier, like "Ahem. I hate to tell you I told you so, but ... I always knew I'd receive my rightful reward in the end." Whatever the magic words are, Aquarius, I'm sure they'll ring with vindication, pride, and childlike giddiness.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): All her life, my friend Morgana suffered from excessive sensitivity and reactiveness. Her moods swung unpredictably, often triggered by imagined slights or ephemeral disappointments. She didn't like this about herself, but found it difficult to change. Then she got a job as a social worker at a battered-women's shelter. In service to the daily tumult of extreme emotions, she became a pillar of equanimity. Mothers and children alike grew to depend on her good-natured stability. I nominate Morgana to be your patron saint in 2002, Pisces. According to my astrological analyses, your feelings, like hers, will mature at a rapid rate. You're already planting the seeds. What gifts do you need and want and deserve most this holiday season? Send your outrageous demands to

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