Free Will Astrology 

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Couvade" occurs in a variety of indigenous cultures. It’s a phenomenon in which a man experiences morning sickness, unusual appetites, and other symptoms similar to his pregnant mate. There’s no known physiological basis for it. He may even have labor pains during the birth, diminishing the mother’s distress as though mysteriously able to take some of it on. I suggest we make "couvade" your word of power for now, Aries. It’s likely that someone close to you will soon give birth, at least metaphorically. The more you help bear a share of the wonderful ordeal, the bigger your reward later.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Change your relationship with mirrors, Taurus. If you are obsessed with what they tell you, lose your addiction and escape their tyranny. If you avoid them out of fear, summon your courage and approach them with a warrior’s heart. And, if you’re apathetic towards them, develop an intimate connection. It’s time to shift the dynamic between you and your reflection.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini Kathleen Raine won awards for her mystical nature poetry and was a respected scholar who specialized in William Butler Yeats and William Blake. She died this August at age 95. An obituary in The Daily Telegraph noted that she was surprised to have survived so long. More than 35 years ago, a prophetic figure in one of her dreams proclaimed that she had only 100 months (less than nine years) left to live. It just goes to show you that even the smartest students of the great mysteries are susceptible to self-deception. Be aware of that as you listen to the voices that fill your inner landscape this coming week.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Cancerian mascot is the crab, which is a small, shy creature that moves sideways and backwards a lot. The giant land crab of Cuba is a species apart, however. It runs so fast it can outrace a horse. I nominate this super-crab as your power animal during the coming weeks, when cosmic forces will be conspiring to make you exceptionally robust, forceful and direct. Charge!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): To gather research for his book, The Age of Missing Information, Bill McKibben watched 1,700 hours of videotaped TV shows. In the midst of the babble he detected a relentless subliminal message: "You are the most important thing on Earth." He was disturbed by his discovery, seeing it as the force for cultural narcissism. Normally I share his aversion, but this week I’m making an exception. For a limited time only, Leo, you truly are the most important thing on Earth. Soak up the glory, attention and adoration -- and be prepared for far more responsibility than usual, too.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "Dear Rob: Help! I give till it hurts, then lash out at those I’ve helped. I set expectations too high almost on purpose so I have an excuse if things don’t pan out. I worry about everything that might go wrong, sometimes precipitating exactly what I worry about. Please advise! –Virgo in a Rut"

Dear Virgo: The lucid honesty you just demonstrated is a first step in quitting your addiction to unwanted behaviors. Now is a perfect time, astrologically speaking, to go further: forgive the part of you that acts so automatically.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Your body contains enough iron to make a spike strong enough to hold your weight." So proclaims the www.madscience.com Web site. I would like you to visualize such a spike right now, Libra. Think of it as your secret talisman for the coming weeks – an inspirational symbol that will motivate you to transform your flabby sense of purpose into an iron will. You now have the discipline to drive beyond what you ever imagined was possible.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Warning and congratulations! Wake-up calls are on tap. Here are examples of the kinds of benevolent shocks you may be treated to. 1. You approach a cherished idol. As you kneel, you spy a dirty sock on the floor. 2. You dream of hiking through green hills in springtime. As you loop around a huge boulder, you find a mare giving birth to a colt. 3. You receive a Hallmark card in an envelope with no return address. The corny cartoon cover turns you off. But when you open it up you find a handwritten poem that fills you with catalytic emotions.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Many mythic traditions describe an underworld where the dead reside and where the living visit them to gain vital insights. The latter category fits you right now, Sagittarius. You’re wandering in the shadowy regions, searching for clues that will be useful when you come back to deal with your problems in the sunlit realm. I’m guessing that this exploration, confounding as it may be, is actually eerie fun. The hard part will come once it’s time to return. You may be tempted to stay down there too long. Don’t. The treasure you find will be wasted unless you bring it back promptly.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking." That’s what the German writer Goethe said in the nineteenth century, and it’s especially true for you now. Here’s a corollary that’s true only for you in the next two weeks: "Thinking is more useful than knowing, but less useful than looking." In other words, Capricorn, becoming an expert should be your lowest priority in the coming days. Questioning and analyzing should be moderately important. But most important is seeing into the heart of the world around you with compassionate, penetrating objectivity.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You have keys to doors that don’t exist yet; save those keys. You know the titles for stories that haven’t happened yet; write those titles down. You’ve caught glimpses of your future, but they’re confusing because you can’t imagine how you’ll get there; imprint those glimpses on your memory. In conclusion, Aquarius, shout, "Hallelujah!" and pour a glass of champagne. You have all you need to cultivate a potent faith based on hard data, not hopes and wishes.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In addition to meditations on the cosmic omens, my preparations for writing this horoscope included reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. I ate both gourmet organic meals and greasy junk food. I rode the roller coaster with my scholarly friend, Arthur, with whom I discussed the Cabala; and watched horror films in the basement apartment of my smart but degenerate friend Rocky. In other words, Pisces, to work myself into the right frame of mind to channel your oracle, I had to soar to transcendent heights and plunge into the grungy depths – sort of like what you’ll do this week. Homework. Finish this sentence: "The one thing that really keeps me from being myself is _______." Send to: Excuses, Excuses,

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