Free Will Astrology 

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This horoscope is a collaboration between me and Rumi, a Sufi poet who died 730 years ago. "All disquiet springs from a search for quiet," Rumi would like you to know. "And so the best way to cultivate inner peace," I add, "is to learn to love the way everything keeps changing." Rumi continues: "All illnesses spring from scavenging for delicacies." I conclude: "So pluck the simple, inexpensive riches that are right in front of you." TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A long-distance runner I know prepares for his competitions in a way that seems counterintuitive. For his next race, a 38-mile marathon in August, he has been running five miles a day four times a week. He will never actually practice a 38-mile jaunt in one stretch. This approach has never failed him in preparing for previous races. Like him, Taurus, you will soon be called on to pull off a marathon version of a task you've been doing on a smaller scale. By my astrological reckoning, you'll have all the stamina and savvy you need to succeed. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Decide what mental pictures you're sick and tired of looking at, then banish them from the sacred temple of your imagination. Next, browse the fertile depths of your subconscious mind, searching for exciting new mental pictures that you want to install in your awareness full time. For instance, you might want to exorcise a certain fearful scenario that pops up whenever you're under stress, and replace it with a bright, shiny vision of you at the top of your game. CANCER (June 21-July 22): Many fantastic beasts that are known to Harry Potter and his fellow wizards are invisible to Muggles, the ordinary people. They include the yeti, also know as bigfoot; the clabbert, a tree-dwelling animal that's a cross between a monkey and a frog; and the phoenix, a bird that periodically bursts into flames, dies, then resurrects itself from its ashes. But my favorite magical creature is the billywig, a mosquito-like insect whose sting causes its victims to become giddy and levitate off the ground. Even if you're a Muggle, I predict you will have an experience that resembles a billywig bite in the coming week. An annoying prick will lead to a pleasant floating sensation. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The force of gravity can't be seen, heard, or touched, and almost no one can explain it. There wasn't even a word for it until the seventeenth century, when Isaac Newton identified it and gave it a name, borrowing the Latin term *gravitas,* meaning "heaviness" or "seriousness." I predict that you'll enjoy a similar breakthrough in the next month, Leo. You will finally recognize an essential energy or power or beauty that has forever been a secret to you, even though it has always been all around you. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Largely because of humans, animal and plant species are dying off at a record rate. The earth is in the midst of the greatest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If the trend continues, a quarter of the mammals will be gone in 30 years, and half of all species will be exterminated by 2100. Most people aren't consciously aware of the ongoing annihilation, yet we all feel it in our bones and know it in our souls. As a result, we carry a huge load of unacknowledged grief. If you wonder why you sometimes feel down or anxious even though your life is going well, this secret tragedy may be the cause. Now is an excellent time to tune in to the sadness, Virgo, and recognize that it's not caused by your personal failure. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The legislatures of most American states have devoted a lot of time to choosing their power symbols. Pennsylvania, for instance, has made the chocolate chip cookie its Official State Cookie. The bola tie is the Official State Neckwear of Arizona; the morel is the Official State Mushroom of Minnesota; the Tule duck decoy is the Official Artifact of Nevada; and "Red or green?" is the official state question of New Mexico. According to my astrological analysis, Libra, you're in a phase when you should make similar designations for your own personal empire. What is your official cookie, neckwear, mushroom, artifact, and question? Don't stop there. Add at least 20 more categories. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In a study of modern democracy, a British political scientist has concluded that lying is necessary and justifiable. "Politics should be regarded as less like an exercise in producing truthful statements and more like a poker game," said Glen Newey. "And there is an expectation by a poker player that you try to deceive them as part of the game." Personally, I find this attitude distasteful. My policy is to *never* be dishonest if I can help it. But then I have the luxury to live like that. As a self-employed poet, I don't have to hash out compromises with ideological adversaries or hang out in moral gray areas in order to serve a greater good. But your path may be different, Scorpio. In August, you might have to lie a little as you fight for a noble cause. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I've tried a wide variety of meditative practices from many traditions. I've calmed myself through rhythmic breathing; watched bemusedly as the nonstop cavalcade of images paraded across my mind; visualized sacred mandalas and cultivated unconditional love; taken rigorous inventories to determine whether the integrity of my actions matches my high ideals. And that's just a few. But in 25 years, I've never heard of a meditation that asks me to go into a public place, take my attention completely off myself, and observe people with precise and compassionate objectivity. Luckily, you're in a perfect phase to pioneer this radical new mode. It'll energize you enormously. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): My friend Jane Heaven is an uncanny catalyst. Good things happen for me when she's around; interesting connections and fun challenges pop up. Why? It has to do with her curiosity and willingness to try new things. One night on her radio talk show on KPFA, she goaded me and five other guests not to speak but rather to sing everything we wanted to communicate. For the next two hours we improvised a cappella melodies and rhythms as we carried on our meandering discourse. I came away inspired to write two new songs, which I produced the next day. Now listen to this, Capricorn: Your own personal equivalent of Jane Heaven is either already in your life, waiting for you to ask for more direct help, or else is hovering close by, ready to be summoned. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): On a Star Trek rerun, a female starship captain 370 years in the future was considering a love affair with a nineteenth-century Irish bartender -- or rather a hologram of the bartender in a realistic holographic recreation of an Irish village. Though she felt an attraction, she wished several things about the man were different. Since she literally had the power to reprogram him, she did, creating an even more desirable character. But after their fling she felt remorse and sought advice from the ship's non-human doctor. "I've noticed you humans often try to change those you fall in love with," the doc noted. "Why is that?" Let this serve as a teaching story for you, Aquarius. You may feel like redesigning people you love in the coming weeks, but I suggest you change yourself instead. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Songbirds are disappearing all over the world, in part due to deforestation. If current trends continue, the tunes of Yellow-throated Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos, along with many others, will be gone forever. Meanwhile, crows, starlings, and blue jays are enjoying a population explosion. You'll be hearing a lot more of their shrieks in the coming years. While you may not be able to do anything to prevent this, Pisces, being aware of it could help you avoid an analogous development in your personal life. In August, encourage your inner bird -- the part of you that loves to take flight -- to be melodious rather than shrill.

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