Free Will Astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): The imperial phase of your astrological cycle ends on Feb. 22. I suggest you use the time between now and then to fine-tune and safeguard the masterwork you've recently consummated. You don't want it to turn into a Frankenstein monster when you go off chasing wild geese and mutated rainbows in March, right? Make sure your proud creation can function smoothly without your direct supervision. Take every precaution to ensure that its effects will match your intentions.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Hoping to further her education in the art of dissent, I brought my Taurean daughter Zoe to the "Hail to the Thief" protest against George W. Bush in San Francisco a few weeks ago. She was entertained for a while, but as the speeches dragged on, she grew bored. By the time the parade began, she'd pulled a Nancy Drew mystery from her backpack (The Clue of the Dancing Puppets) and was reading intently. Though I've always admired her self-possessed ability to concentrate, I was truly awed by what followed. As we marched along with 15,000 chanting, drumming demonstrators, Zoe calmly polished off 35 pages. You yourself will need this level of single-mindedness in the coming days, Taurus. Please focus on what's most crucial, even in the face of interesting distractions.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Wondering about the future of your career? I hope my mystical vision can help. In a waking dream, fueled by five cups of coffee, I beheld three characters engaged in a debate about you. They were identified by titles on their T-shirts. "Pragmatic Rebel" wanted you to play more by the rules now in order to earn the right to mess with the rules later. "High-Strung Control Freak" felt you should sever your connection to boring tasks so you could devote yourself fully to what you love. "Cool Fool on the Hill" made your résumé into a paper airplane to serve as a kind of oracle; wherever it pointed when it landed would be the direction you were supposed to go. (P.S. In my next vision, I hope to coax a consensus out of them.)

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I predict that in the next two weeks you will overflow with the best kind of Cancerian wisdom. That means you'll have an impeccable sense of how to nurture others without smothering them, how to give your gifts without sacrificing yourself and how to be acutely sensitive without becoming one big wound. There's even more good news. I believe you're primed to turn this outbreak of emotional intelligence into a practical advantage — even material gain. It'll be an excellent time to sell yourself — your real self, not the pretty packaging – without selling your soul.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): There are many reasons to cry besides being sad or feeling sorry for yourself. A sudden rush of insight into a nagging problem always does it for me. My friend Corina breaks into sobs of reverent joy whenever she gazes on the ocean at dawn. In a recent National Geographic, NASA's chief scientist for Mars exploration confessed what stirs his emotions up from the depths. "When I first gazed at the images (of the Martian landscape) from Surveyor's camera," said Jim Garvin, "I was moved to tears." I bring this up, Leo, because a series of poignant pleasures are headed your way. Please give yourself to the Bawling Season with all of your crazy heart.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I dare you to belt out a song that best expresses the feeling that you've already lived a thousand years' worth of soul-stirring, lesson-crammed experiences in this lifetime. Then I dare you to do a metaphorical rain dance in which you summon a flash flood of emotion to carry you back to where you once belonged — and must belong again. Finally, Virgo, I

dare you to perform the ultimate pain dance — a whirling dervish-style explosion of ferocious grace. With this purgative uprising, you will thank your signature pain for all it has taught you and give notice that since its job is done, it must now leave you in peace.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): For a limited time only, you're in a position to do what many people never get to do as long as they live. Yes, maestro, you now have the opportunity to consciously choose your next set of problems. If you go looking for provocative new trouble, in other words, the same old tired and trivial hassles won't bother to come looking for you. Do you realize what this means? You could soon be committing the most original sins ever. Not only that. You may be on the verge of shucking a really boring kind of hard luck you feared you were stuck with forever.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I asked Thera, a psychic child I know, to draw a picture depicting the current state of your fate. She used crayons to create an upside-down tree that had its roots in the sky and branches in the earth. Beneath the boughs was a cave where a pregnant woman danced ecstatically around an open treasure chest. What could Thera's scene mean? Here are my educated guesses. 1. Your reversal of an old order will lead you to secret riches. 2. Your unorthodox return to the source will result in the birth of resources that your soul (but perhaps not your ego) will deeply appreciate. 3. You must go against the flow or work against the grain in order to become realigned with what's most dear to you. 4. All of the above.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Your upcoming relationship with the planet Mars should be invigorating, fun, disruptive, and challenging. Whereas it usually stays in your sign for two months every two years, in 2001 it'll be there from Feb. 14 till Sept. 8 — its longest visit since 1969. During this time Mars will continually prod you to be a high-minded, fair-fighting warrior who battles for truth and justice. If you don't cooperate, on the other hand, it'll whip up discord and stimulate your anger. So what'll it be, Saj? Six months of fiery devotion to your most beautiful ambitions? Or would you rather meander along chaotically, unable to make up your mind about which goals to serve, consumed by irritating skirmishes with unworthy foes?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Mr. Complexity has two simple questions this week: What binds you? And how are you going to undo the binds? Address these riddles with the blended powers of your heart and mind, Capricorn, and life will show you how to replace your shackles with beautiful weavings. Now Mr. Complexity would like to pose two rather complicated queries, if it's not too much to ask. Have you considered the possibility that you're more creative than you realize? And that as long as you tolerate the aforementioned binds, you're enforcing your ignorance about your creativity?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You've managed to gain passage through the First Gate, Aquarius. Congratulations! There's nothing wrong with feeling ebullient, even cocky, about your success in this initial test. But don't let your satisfaction distract you from the preparations necessary to finish your quest. The tricks you'll need to open the Second Gate will have to be more tender and ingenious than those you've used before, and the mood of the guardian of the Third Gate will be thoroughly unpredictable. If I could give you just one gem of advice to guide your navigations, it would be an epigram from the Greek philosopher-poet Heraclitus: "Fire rests by changing."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I'm always astounded when the cosmic omens make extremely specific recommendations, but this week's revelations for you outstrip all my previous amazements. Get this, Pisces. It'll be a perfect time for you to get a vanity license plate that reads KZMYAZ or to unleash a greedy prayer while playing in a fountain. You will also have subtle but powerful help from invisible sources if you use sex consciously to generate the energy to overcome limitations in your work or art. Other recommended activities: acquire a snow globe of a dolphin drinking beer; skywrite erotic poems above the Vatican; consecrate an amulet to the goddesses Inanna or Isis; read Dante's Divine Comedy: Paradise and Milton's Paradise Regained; or act out the following epigram: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Please comment on the following: "Sooner or later, each of us will be a well-rounded, incredibly kind, extremely wealthy genius with lots of leisure time and an orgiastic feminist conscience." Write:

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