Free will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This horoscope is adapted from a manual used to train special troops in all-climate, all-terrain survival techniques. It has been researched and tested by experts. Now it is being made available to you — just in time for the last few miles of your crawl across the wasteland. With the help of the subliminal clues embedded in this text, you will be able to turn poison into medicine, take advantage of your so-called weaknesses and mutate a turgid "no" into a sleek "yes." Now utter the magic word of power: reverence.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your metaphorical fantasy muscles have grown flabby. Possible cause: your overconsumption of glossy entertainment concocted by Hollywood hacks. I suggest you launch an intensive exercise program, beginning with these calisthenics. 1) Visualize yourself as a superhero. What are your powers? Your costume and name? 2) If you could summon a brilliant ally from history, who would it be and what would you want to discuss? 3) Dream up three stories you'd love to read in the newspaper. 4) A skilled tapestry weaver offers to create a masterpiece featuring scenes from the great turning points in your life. Which events will you choose?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The taskmaster planet Saturn has been in your sign since last April. No doubt you've felt the squeeze. But now Saturn's slipping into a smooth, silky arrangement with the warm and fuzzy planet Neptune. You should already be feeling a sense of relief, as if a benefactor had taken on some of the emotional baggage you'd been lugging around. You can expect the divine easement to continue for a few weeks. And if you play your wild cards right — that is, if you capitalize on this grace period by paying off the karmic debt that required you to become a beast of burden in the first place — you might even be permanently excused from carrying that extra emotional baggage.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Since ancient times, China has harbored three great religions: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. The typical Chinese has traditionally cobbled together a mélange of beliefs gathered from all three. This differs from the Western way, which is to be faithful to one religion or another and never mix and match. But where I live, there is a growing tribe that has adopted the Chinese approach. We borrow elements from Buddhism, paganism, cabalism, Sufism, esoteric Christianity and Hermetic mysticism to create a personalized spiritual path. Religious historians call this syncretism. I recommend you try it in the coming months. It's a perfect time for you to expand your appreciation for God's love of outrageous variety.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You're in that muddy gray area that combines breathtaking views of the twilight zone with the morally ambiguous ambiance of limbo. This is not the time to go around telling other people how they should change. The only way to avoid taking a direct hit of slimy karma may be to keep very busy changing yourself. Upgrade the quality of your food, information, self-care, and love. Offer yourself a gift that symbolizes your commitment to continually outgrow your previous successes.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you're normal, you average one greasy-food stain per month, would rather talk about your sex life than how much money you make, throw out 1,905 pounds of garbage per year, have 1.3 phobias, will have forgotten by tomorrow 80 percent of everything you learned today, have never eaten a bug, are less likely to do the right thing when you're hungry, drunk, stressed, or sleep-deprived and still hold most of the beliefs you formed by age 18. The astrological aspects coming to bear on you during the next four weeks will not be overly favorable if you carry on in a normal manner. They will, however, be quite good if you act atypical, even a little freaky. I suggest, therefore, that you rebel against the above profile.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In one old fairy tale, a virtuous hero goes to punch an evil witch. But due to her magic spell, the thrust of his fist boomerangs and he smashes himself in the nose. Blood flows from his nostrils. He wipes it with his fingertips and flings a few red drops in the witch's direction. Hallelujah! This sends her fleeing. He's saved. Moral of the story: His wound is his ultimate protection. Apply this lesson to your own life, Libra, as you struggle against your adversary.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Man in his present state has as much desire to urinate as he has to make vows to Artemis," says writer Edward Dahlberg. Most modern humans have no relationship with wild female deities, nor would they ever conceive of a reason why that might be fun or sincere or inspiring. You contradict Dahlberg. Artemis is not dead; she is not just a figment of the archaic Greek mind. She is a living archetype of fiercely nurturing female energy. Goddess of the ever-changing moon, strong protectress of the undomesticated soul, she gives sanctuary to all who prize liberated fertility. I dare you to make a vow to her.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "In teaching my students," says Waldorf teacher Meg Gorman, "I try to figure out what questions I can ask that have no right answer. I seek to frame paradoxes, to force the student to develop original thought." If you follow my column, you know that this is my recipe for becoming a soulful human being. Fondness for mystery and comfort with ambiguity are always sound approaches to life, in my opinion. But they're especially so now. You're in a phase when your sleeping potentials can only be awakened by asking impossible questions.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I have a vision of you dressed in a snappy black leather ensemble, your eyebrows perfectly sculpted from a session with an image consultant, your speech booming charismatically from your diaphragm after a few sessions with a voice teacher. Are you also wearing a silk scarf? Yes. It's terra-cotta colored, made in Bali. In my psychic revelation, Capricorn, I see you in your town's hippest eatery, dining on coq au vin, surrounded by a bevy of movers and shakers who are hanging on your every word. "What a sexy catalyst!" is the thought playing in the backs of their minds.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): For Buddhists, bodhisattvas are souls that have reached enlightenment but have foresworn nirvana so that they might continue to be reincarnated and work to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. Bodhisattvas don't always have conscious knowledge that they are noble saints; even those who do sometimes keep it a secret. I bring this to your attention for two reasons. First, whether or not you are a bodhisattva, the cosmos is now inviting and even pushing you to act like one. Second, this is a perfect moment for you to expand and experiment with the role that generosity plays in your self-expression.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Some people feel polluted when they look at porn; some when they eat Pringles and Twinkies. Myself, I experience a sense of violation after being exposed to celebrity gossip. And yet, if I've learned anything about how to maintain a healthy relationship with purity, it's that a fanatical adherence to it is as dangerous as a compulsive rejection of it. This will be especially true for you in the coming weeks. Therefore, I exhort you to rebel cagily against any urge you might have to be in total control; I urge you to not remain spotless and lily-white. Just to prove I practice what I preach, I promise to read People magazine cover to cover. Name 10 items from among your personal possessions that you would put in a time capsule to be dug up by your descendants in 500 years. Tell us at

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