Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): My Uncle Ned is an advertising executive. I consider his work to be the dark side of a set of abilities we share. We both dream up catchy language to captivate people's imaginations. But my purpose is to tune people in to their inner wisdom and encourage them to cultivate the soul power that our culture relentlessly devalues. Ned's work is to seduce people into thinking they can achieve happiness and measure their success through the items and images they consume. I bring this up, Aries, because I suspect there's about to be a showdown in your psyche between the opposing influences my uncle and I embody.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Of your zillions of longings, Taurus, which is most important? Please do yourself a big favor and decide, then nurture it with all your fierce and tender might for the next 28 days. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you have an opportunity to supercharge the growth of that primal dream, and you'd be crazy to pass it up. So set aside all your flabby inklings and half-assed wishes for now. Channel your libido into one (and only one) flying wedge of raw, flaming ambition.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In my humble astrological opinion, Gemini, it's high time to expand your repertoire of personalities from a mere five (a number you’ve been stuck on for too long) to at least eight. As versatile as you are, I believe you'll need to develop even greater multiplicity and adaptability in order to take full advantage of the expansive invitations that'll be tempting you in the coming weeks. For best results, give a nickname to each of your eight selves, and throw regular parties where they can all get together and compare notes.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Years ago I predicted Jesus would soon return in the form of an African-American lesbian mother. I had all but forgotten about it when a stranger claiming to fit the description introduced herself to me at a café a month ago. In our first five minutes together, she described several obscure events from my past that only I knew. Before she left an hour later, she gave me several oracles about my immediate future. They ultimately unfolded exactly as she said. So when she phoned me last night with a prophecy for you, I listened. She said you'll come into possession of three secrets which you must protect and shepherd. Don't speak about them at first, she advised. Let them incubate and ripen into their full value. The first secret you can reveal to your advantage after March 7, the second after May 1, and the third Aug. 20.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Now it turns out that one of the battles you've been fighting all this time isn't the right battle. We might even call it a red herring. It has been distracting you from a more worthwhile and winnable struggle. Don't waste time feeling scads of remorse, though. With the notable exception of one dubious "ability" you'll have to unlearn, other skills you've been sharpening in this misplaced tussle will serve you well in a catalytic contest to come. Ready to make the transition? Declare a unilateral truce and start mobilizing your subtle but heroic assault on the real adversary.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "It's antithetical to the definition of power in this culture that a person might derive power by service rather than control, but that's the essence of midwifery." So says midwife Elizabeth Davis. I'd like that thought to be your secret formula this year, Virgo — the magic spell you return to again and again for solace and inspiration. In fact, why not cut out this horoscope and tape it to your bathroom mirror? Here's my prediction: If you give yourself boldly to what's trying to be born, your authority and reputation will grow markedly.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Welcome to your annual Left Brain Shakedown. Do not remain seated, do not remain calm. Take off your shoes and socks, plaster a goofy look on your face, then dance in circles until you're dizzy. Kiss the sky, hug a tree, shout both curses and blessings in the direction of heaven, imagine you are the most creative person in the world. (Who knows? You just might be.) For best results, improvise 10 further outbreaks that are inspired by the spirit of what I've just suggested. Continue playing like a wild child until you find yourself unable to think a single negative thought.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The story goes that the mad Russian monk Rasputin possessed such uncanny mental powers that on several occasions he walked into a bank in broad daylight and removed money from the tills without being noticed. He claimed he could do this simply by concentrating on making himself psychologically invisible. You have both the mandate and skill to approximate this technique now, though I hope you won't rob a bank. Self-protection is more the issue here, along with privacy, introspection and the need to work without being spied on. You've got to be able to do what a Scorpio has got to do without worrying about whether you'll be judged.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Is there a spiritual technique for flossing one's teeth? Yes. I once observed an Indian holy man do it after a yogic dinner. And what about changing a diaper with artistry and grace? Is it possible? I know it is, because I've done it. But how about this: Is there a righteous way to gossip and jockey for position and play one side against the other? Well, Sagittarius, I believe it's now your job to prove there is. For helpful clues, study the favorite formula of professional spin doctors: Whoever defines the debate, wins it. But then use that formula to fight for beauty and truth and justice. Subvert the agendas of the small-minded manipulators and authoritarian personalities.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You have a date with a nice fresh twist in your financial destiny; I'd like to make sure that all your money karma is squeaky clean for the occasion. So be a saint in all matters related to earning and saving and buying and selling, please. As much as possible, pay off your debts and your dues. Contribute to charities. Wear a T-shirt that reads "I'm not a slave of my buyological urges!" Don't purchase items that were assembled in Third World sweatshops or whose manufacture required the torture of little animals. And finally, Capricorn, don't you dare try to get somethin' for nuthin'.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I think, I hope, I pray that you're finally ready to jump. That fence you've been sitting on is no longer suitable as a permanent home for a person of your growing beauty and originality. In the name of all the resolute warriors in your lineage, I beg you to take the plunge. Yes, I realize you haven't been able to assemble all the facts that you'd like to have in order to make a fully informed determination. But the rest of the story won't be coming any time soon, and you can't afford to waffle another day. Trust your gut! Now! Please? (P.S.: If you don't make the decision soon, blind fate will make it for you.)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): There've been times during the blockbuster you call your life that I've wanted to take you aside and whisper point-blank, "You worry too damn much!" Other times I've been in awe of your superhuman capacity for meticulous worrying, but wished you'd agonize about more of the right kind of problems. This week, though, I'm fretting about a whole new frontier of your worrying. It seems you've become so addicted to it that you're reluctant to give it up even when obvious solutions are in sight — almost as if you find it more entertaining to worry about the predicaments than fix them. Are you concerned that peace of mind would bore you? Take a chance that it won't, Pisces. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised. Tell how everyone in the world should be more like you. Write:

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