Free Will Astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): Hi, I'm from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Aries. For weeks, I've planted subliminal signals in the horoscopes of the other signs, covertly persuading them to be extra nice to you during the astrological month of Pisces (February 19-March 20), which every year brings you Rams face to face with your moldiest karma. Frankly, though, I fear that you will be my toughest customer. What inducements can I offer you to resist the tempting slide towards self-abuse? How about a subscription to Beating Sadomasochism magazine?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): My favorite visionary astrologer, Elias Lonsdale, is a Taurus. The most inspiring and exacting teacher I've ever had, my daughter Zoe, is a Taurus. The versatile, brilliant Gretchen Giles, who has performed wonders as my executive assistant, was born under the sign of the Bull. I also count among my Taurean acquaintances a potent Wiccan priestess, a compassionate real estate agent who gives his clients great psychological counseling, a poet whose writing is both earthy and sublime and an editor who's expert at helping authors imbue their work with emotional intelligence. I'll celebrate them all, as I will you, dear reader, during the glorious weeks to come, when you will get to harvest the juiciest fruits of your wisdom.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you're a yoga enthusiast, it'll be the kind of week when you can do your asanas (cq) with more ease and grace than you thought possible. If you're a hard-working wage slave, your favorite TV shows will amuse you more than ever before and you will discover a tasty new dip for your chips. Are you a right-wing golfer? In the coming days you'll have experiences that have a metaphorical resemblance to tax cuts and holes-in-one. Are you an astronomer who's part of the SETI program? You'll detect an anomalous signal that may be from an extraterrestrial intelligence. And if you're a soulful devotee of beauty and truth, Gemini, the animal within you will cooperate beautifully with your spirit as you struggle to master the difference between sacred love and profane love.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): It'll be a good week to plan journeys to exotic sanctuaries, glimpse the back of your own head and research sexual frontiers. It'll also be prime time to try games with no rules, launch playful rebellions and venture out on secret missions that remind you of how you felt when you were a teenager. You need more room to ramble and mess around, Cancerian. You need crazier fantasies and a bigger voice and more extravagant experiments. Just this once, the cosmos is willing to give you the right to grab a little success by gambling.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): While exploring old boxes in the attic, my brilliant astrologer friend Luke found an award he got in high school. "Luke Dryer has attained the highest average in science in his class," was the inscription. He also came across his SAT scores, which included an excellent 751 in math. Luke enjoyed a laugh as he thought about all the astrology debunkers over the years who've called him a fuzzy-brained mystic. If they'd bothered to examine his work closely, they'd have seen he is a clear, objective thinker. But that would have required them to shed their irrational biases. Moral of the story: No matter how hard you work to express the fullness of your beautiful, complicated self, there will always be people who project distorted images onto you. But as long as you know it's their problem, not yours, they can't hurt you or throw you off-center.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Welcome to the mating and hating Season, Virgo. To celebrate, I'm offering you my prescriptions for ensuring an emphasis on the "mating" part. Here's what you do: 1) Grant your true loves (or the closest approximation) a 50 percent reduction in their emotional debt to you. 2) Persuade them to appreciate what they imagine to be their physical flaws. 3) Solicit their inspiration to help you do what you fear. 4) Request that they collaborate with you on improvising a partial solution to a complex problem. 5) Bless them with an experience resembling sex in zero gravity.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I was fortunate to have had my feelings hurt by articulate feminists when I was coming of age. Their tough analysis of my macho conditioning motivated me to become a good listener, educate my emotions and resist the temptation to be a know-it-all. These qualities ultimately made me lucky in love and a more interesting person. The reason I bring this up, Libra, is not necessarily to nag you into asking for critiques from strong, well-balanced women who've thought a lot about gender issues. Most of us, both men and women, would benefit from that. But I'd like to suggest that you could really benefit right now from a willingness to capitalize on challenging feedback.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Your body is so healthy these days that you may not believe what you're feeling. Your brain is working at such peak efficiency you could be in danger of scaring yourself. Love makes so much sense that you might be worried you're misinterpreting the evidence. But the cosmic joke is on you, Scorpio. These gifts are yours at no cost and without obligation. There'll be no hell to pay later. So tell that big, bad, critic in the back of your mind to shut up. Let the liberation begin.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The archer is one of the symbolic roles of the Sagittarian. Ironically, though, many of you shoot your metaphorical arrows into the air without knowing or caring where they're going. You're satisfied simply to unleash the soaring power; you're too in love with the sensation of launching the flight. So what is to be done? How can you become a more evolved version of yourself? First, aim at specific targets. Not a hundred different targets, mind you, just a few choice ones. Now here's the really good news: This is prime time, astrologically speaking, to do this work.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I wonder how far you'd be willing to go to acquire the resources you need to activate your full potential. Would you tattoo an advertisement for Calvin Klein on your arm if you were offered $10,000? Would you fake a kidnap of yourself if it would raise $40,000 in ransom money from your rich uncle? Would you sludge away at meaningless drudge work for a million peanuts a year? All of that stuff's pretty tame compared to what I'm going to ask you to do: Formulate a master plan that'll put you in the exact job you want.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I usually applaud your inclination to remain above the fray and churn out cool observations. I normally honor your instinct to distance yourself from petty partisan squabbles. But this week's different. I'd like it very much if you plunged into the pit and unleashed the kind of grunts that come with total, mud-spattered commitment. Set aside your idealistic visions for now, I say, and start a riot on behalf of righteous pragmatism. Witty, evasive action, no. Hard-nosed gut-checks, yes. Be the mover and shaker with a thousand nuts and bolts, not the big talker with a thousand promises.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It's never too late for more New Year's resolutions. In fact, I believe you'll have better luck keeping resolutions you make now than those you unveiled around January 1. Here are some suggestions to get you started. Feel free to use them, but also dream up your own batch. "I will not keep secrets from myself. I will pursue fanaticism in moderation. I will perfect my understanding of the difference between smart risks and dumb ones. I will master the art of having wild adventures that aren't dangerous to my emotional well-being." Send your secrets for how to increase your capacity for love to: Love Hog, PO Box 150247, San Rafael, CA

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