Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I like to fantasize about my ideal world. I dream of people being rewarded financially in direct proportion to how much beauty they create. I envision convenience stores that sell sacred books, dream of wise elders who sit around dispensing jocular oracles. I think of what it would be like to belong to a tribe of spiritual laughaholics whose prayers were expressed in the form of goofy dances. What about you, Aries? I'm hoping you'll read this testimony and be inspired to conjure up a burst of your own fresh, hot fantasies. It's the perfect astrological moment to heal yourself by liberating your joyous imagination.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Would you ever convert to arborsexuality? Have your amorous misadventures with people made you so cynical about love that you'd consider an intimate relationship with a tree? After all, a tree will never leave you out on a limb. It won't bark at you for your faults or become impatient with how slowly you might be growing. But my advice is to hold off on this experiment for a little while longer, Taurus. Give human romance another chance. I predict that events in 2001 will rejuvenate the innocence of your attractions to two-legged, hot-blooded creatures. Get ready to see an omen to that effect this week.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When I was mopping floors at the Town Hall nightclub in Chapel Hill, N.C., many years ago, I never dreamed I'd someday be sitting here lecturing you about pumping up your ambition. When I fell in love with French poetry in college and took on the esoteric pseudonym of "Rambo Rimbaud," I couldn't have predicted I'd be approached many years later by a major publishing house to write the ultimate astrology cookbook for pets. It just goes to show you that success often comes at you from crazy, cockeyed angles. Like now, for you, Gemini.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If this were a New Age astrology column, I'd take you on a guided meditation into your past lives. To motivate you to set aside your skepticism, I'd perhaps flatter you with intimations that you were once a queen or a saint or a famous artist. But since this is actually a certifiably intellectual, scientifically formulated horoscope, I will instead encourage you to lead yourself on a guided meditation into the ways your past is impacting your present. I'll also let you know that the Old You has risen from the dead in order to provide the New You with some good advice and ask the New You for several favors.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Venus, the planet that rules emotional affinities, will be cruising through your astrological House of Goose Bumps for an unusually long time. As a result, your intimacy is likely to take on a rather rambunctious quality. Between now and early June, adventures in collaboration will invite you out to the frontiers of your understanding. If you're brave and humble enough to experiment with new models of relationship, you'll learn more about love than you ever thought possible.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You could think of this week as a kind of psychological boot camp designed to boost your emotional intelligence. Or you could imagine that the gods are giving you a sneak preview of what your life will be like in five years if you continue to follow the path you're on now. From my perspective, the imminent adventures constitute a friendly reminder from the cosmos that it's high time to wash your own brain. But however you choose to define this bracing wake-up call, don't let any of your preconceptions stop you from having a howlingly good time. I hope your howling muscles are in good shape.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Did you or did you not get a veiled invitation to sample a forbidden fruit last October or November? Were you or were you not all set to take a bite when the offer was withdrawn? And haven't you just about given up on it by now? But won't you be surprised when the delicious temptation returns sometime soon? And won't you be perplexed at how different the flavor and texture of the fruit is when you finally sink your teeth into it? And won't you be smart if you instantly shed your former expectations?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Many of you Scorpios harbor your own personal version of catastrophe theory. You seem to feel that no progress is possible without periodic nerve-frying crises. "No pain, no gain" is not just your mantra; it's the absolute truth at the core of your belief system. But I am sensing that you're at a crossroads in your relationship with this bugaboo. The teaching power of pure joy is welling up in you. It could soon spill over into a pleasurable transformation rivaling even the best lessons that have come your way through torment and disaster.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Oddly enough, the planetary omens suggest it's an excellent time to launch a career as a performance artist. If you're game, I suggest that you smear yourself with chocolate syrup, take yourself hostage in a luxurious sanctuary and issue a list of demands. Here are a few to get you started: 1. Anyone who claims they are smitten by you has to prove their love by carrying out a three-hour ritual of adoration. 2. Anyone from your past who claims they want to become part of your future must prove their sincerity by paying their debts to you or forgiving your debts to them. 3. Anyone who wants you to be more like them must first pledge to be more like you.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I have an astrologically inspired hunch that you will soon get an answer to one of your most embarrassing questions. Luckily, my astrological analysis tells me that the answer won't embarrass you anywhere near as much as you feared it would. In fact, I'm betting this long-lost clue will inspire you to prove once and for all that the forces of light are stronger in you than the forces of darkness, bad timing and unscratchable itchiness combined. And that, in turn, will embolden you to ask yet another, even more deeply embarrassing question. And another. And another. Until there are no more embarrassing questions left.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I hope that as long as you live you never lose the capacity to fall in love. On the other hand, it would be a real drain on your integrity if you were continually infatuated with a never-ending parade of fresh hotties. So I hope, too, that as you grow older you always keep expanding your repertoire of what you're able to fall in love with. In that spirit, let's see if in the next couple weeks we can get you to be swept away not by a cute member of your favorite gender but by a surprising teaching, magical place, provocative work of art or future masterpiece that you could create.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Major League baseball player (and Piscean) Doc Ellis pitched one of the best games in history while high on LSD. It's a long story how it came about, but on June 12, 1970, after having ingested a tab of acid, he hurled a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the San Diego Padres. And why am I telling you this? Am I suggesting that you get stoned in order to court a breakthrough in your life's work? No, of course not. Only you know what specific kind of radical departure or divine intervention you should seek to achieve that. But achieve it you should. Confess, brag and expostulate about what inspires you to love. Write

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