Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Dear Rev. Brezsny: Is there a time limit on your weekly predictions? Are they like milk that spoils if not used by the date stamped on the carton? I'm wondering because I really liked the prediction you made two weeks ago — that we Aries would find enlightenment — but I've been so busy I haven't had time to capitalize on your offer. Is it still good? —Tardy Ram."

Dear Tardy: My oracles are generally fresh for 8-10 days. However, the Aries horoscope from late November — the one that promised a bolt of spiritual wisdom — may still be in effect if you've made full use of the rowdy, playful energy the cosmos has made available lately. Have you been tenderly making fun of everything, especially yourself? If so, expect a divine breakthrough.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "All that maddens and torments; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby-Dick." So wrote Herman Melville in his novel about the white whale relentlessly pursued by Captain Ahab. I offer up this passage to you, Taurus, to encourage you to find your own ultimate scapegoat. Though I usually preach the path of love and peace, this week is one of those rare times when you'll be smart to feel your wrath in its pure state. There's no need to actually punch or scream at your chosen symbol of devilry. Merely allowing yourself to guiltlessly experience white-hot anger will be amazingly healing.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In the view of ace astrologer Caroline Casey, Jupiter is the planet that tells you, "I will make you a wealthy person according to what you define as wealth." Her crisp truth has a heightened importance for you and your tribe, as Jupiter is now in Gemini and will continue to be until next July. If I were you, I'd get very clear on what you plan to treat as your greatest treasures during the next 12 years. Money? Good allies and strong community? The ability to communicate powerfully? Abundant creativity? Love that intrigues and stabilizes you?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): My dear fellow Crab, I hope you and I can collaborate in 2001 to dispel two of our most harmful delusions. The first is that it's possible for us to benefit through other people's losses. The second is that we may have to hurt ourselves in order to help someone else. Our conscious minds may have pooh-poohed these energy-draining misconception long ago, but I'm afraid that stubborn remnants still persist in our subconscious patterns. Let's devote our fiercest willpower to dissolving them in the coming months. And let's begin today.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The star of Frederick Buechner's (cq) book On the Road with the Archangel is the archangel Raphael. This supernatural helper has a tough gig: gathering up the prayers of human beings and delivering them to God. Here's how he describes the range of pleas he hears. "'There are prayers of such power that you might say they carry me rather than the other way around ... There are prayers so apologetic and shamefaced and halfhearted that they all but melt away in my grasp like sad little flakes of snow. Some prayers are very boring.'" I wanted you to read this passage now, Leo, while you're at the height of your power to ask for what you want. May it inspire you to express prayers of such potent grace that they blow the archangel's mind.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): People who have recently fallen in love almost never get sick. Several studies show that the immune system performs at peak efficiency for those lucky fools in the throes of deep infatuation. That's one reason why I'm recommending that you Virgos adopt an additional self-care strategy as the cold and flue season begins: Plunge into a passionate, adoring state of blissful connection — if not with a brand-new partner, then with an old familiar one. There is another reason I'm suggesting this action: The planetary omens tell me that the gods are conspiring to whip up a good strong love fest in your vicinity, and I thought you might want to cooperate with them.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Even as everyone around you increasingly acts as if they're waging a pitched battle against the clock, the planetary omens tell me that you'll cultivate a more relaxed relationship with time in 2001. That's the good news. The great news is that you should be able to pull off this revolutionary feat without any loss of energy: I predict you'll have more sparky verve at your disposal than ever before. There are two holiday gifts you can give yourself to encourage these developments. The first is a round-trip ticket to a funky paradise where the natives observe a more luxurious tempo. The second is a sundial, to remind you of the cosmic origins of time's passing.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): How did you get so good at bringing passion into ordinary events? What uncanny power allows you to transmute chaos into creativity? What events in your life taught you to apply death's lessons to living a deeper and wilder life? And why, when I try to fathom your current mysteries, do I get visions of luscious Chilean grapes arriving in the stores of snowbound Warsaw? (Homework: Ask yourself four more questions in this style.)

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Happy Holy Daze, Sagittarius! If I could bless you with just one holiday gift, it would be a Tiffany diamond engagement ring. Actually, I'd give it to you in the hope that you would give it to yourself. I'd want you to slip it on your finger as you pledged to get married to yourself in 2001. Maybe you'd even be inspired to begin planning that happy day (sometime in the first two weeks of June?) when you will proclaim, "I am no longer looking for the perfect person. I am that perfect person."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Judging from upcoming astrological omens, I believe you'll need to resort to using smoke and mirrors on more than a few occasions in 2001. That's not to say your efforts will be phony or dishonest. On the contrary, I think you'll have a lot of integrity. It's just that some of the VIPs you'll have to persuade to go along with your plans may not do so unless you conjure up irresistible magical effects. Having provided this explanation, I think you can see why I'd love to buy you symbolic gifts like a fog machine and a dozen funhouse mirrors this holiday season.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I bet you'd enjoy turkey-bowling in a grocery store this week. (Set up paper towel rolls as the pins and use a frozen turkey as the bowling ball.) You might also get a lot of pleasure from sleeping with snakes or competing in blowgun shooting contests or spray painting passages from James Joyce on bridges. Yes, Aquarius, seeking out exotic adventures like these could very well help you scratch the weird itches you're feeling. Truthfully, though, I'd prefer to see you dabble in more practical experiments. Like maybe you could get a rich attorney to buy you expensive dinners in exchange for you writing dirty stories about his enemies. Or perhaps you could win new friends and influence people by embodying Salvador Dali's brag, "I do not take drugs — I am drugs."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Thirty years ago, protestors of the Vietnam War burned their draft cards to signify their refusal to be conscripted. Feminists torched their bras back then as well, declaring their liberation from constricting conventions. In the late 1980s, as the ravages of America's greedocracy began to expand beyond poor folks, some debt-ridden members of the middle class set fire to their credit cards. It is in the spirit of these symbolic rituals that I offer my gift suggestion for you this holiday season, Pisces: a doormat, lighter fluid, and matches. As you use the latter two items to incinerate that emblem of victimhood, you will assert your intention to no longer be so easily walked upon in 2001. This is the last week of the yearly cycle, a time to bid farewell to outworn approaches and lost causes. Tell me if you do. Write:

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