Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Dear Smart Gambler: That you're attracted to this horoscope is proof that you rank in the top 5 percent of the population in expressing quirky intelligence, funny logic and the ability to suspend disbelief. No other group rivals your healthy sense of absurdity and willingness to use yourself as a guinea pig. I'm sure you'll do the right thing, then, when I advise you to stick your neck out but cover your ass. You'll no doubt also interpret the following instruction correctly: Keep your feet on the ground as you get your head up in the clouds.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You're overflowing with greedy needs, Taurus. That could either be bad or good, depending on how adeptly you tread the middle path between ruthlessly repressing them and indulging them with gross excess. Given that you're currently harboring more than 10,000 greedy needs, I can't name them all. However, I'll begin the list and hope you'll be inspired to finish it. You desperately, achingly, poignantly require the following: A new mommy substitute, an adrenaline rush, Bach's "Mass in B Minor," a loophole in the law of gravity, a mud puddle up to your ankles, a sweet crying jag, exotic desserts and a spanking administered by hands wearing velvet gloves.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Lady Godiva was more than a seminal performance artist. She was also a patron of the arts and a humanitarian who funded the building of a monastery. When she doffed her clothes and rode a white horse through the English town of Coventry back in 1057, her purpose was philanthropic. Her husband, the local assessor, had promised to abolish all taxes on the local folk if she did the daring deed. I bring this up, Gemini, to inspire you to take advantage of the ripe astrological possibilities that are now available. I believe that you too can achieve altruistic feats while au naturel. So get out there and bestow erotic blessings, bare your soul, reveal the naked truth — or all three.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Border collies are a type of dog whose herding behavior has been bred for centuries. Their instinct is so strong that they will not only round up livestock but also cats, children, rabbits, deer, lawn mowers and anything else that moves. Remind you of anyone, Cancerian? It should. You yourself have a primal need to act like a good shepherd these days. I suggest you find a constructive outlet for it. Give extra guidance to the children in your care, for instance, or lavish nurturing leadership on your tribe or gang. Just don't be lazy about expressing this urge. It would be a shame if you wasted it on herding a gaggle of chocolate Easter bunnies into your mouth.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You remind me of Vince, the 11-year-old kid next door, who recently took up skateboarding on the big trampoline his parents set up in the backyard. Like him, you're trying to travel in two modes simultaneously. (At least you're being safe about it; you're not doing the equivalent of, say, thumping around on a pogo stick while piloting a Cessna.) When Vince first started, he had trouble trying to coordinate the rolling and the bouncing. Eventually, though, he got the hang of it. I predict that you will also become pretty good at your made-up game.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Fundamentalist Christians don't have a lock on the term "born again." The concept originated in Egyptian mystery schools 3,000 years ago, and has been a central goal for many practitioners of the Western Hermetic tradition. It refers to a ritual that begins with a metaphorical death. The seeker must give up both her comfortable and painful illusions about life. She has to accept the loneliness that will come from no longer sharing the materialistic perspective of everyone around her. Done right, this surrender catalyzes her dramatic awakening to the living divine presence that throbs just beneath the veil of the everyday world. From darkness and loss come joy and revelation. I nominate you, Virgo, as the sign most likely to be born again this Easter season.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Professor of religion Elaine Pagels provides an alternative interpretation of what went down in the Garden of Eden. Early Gnostic scriptures, she says, "characterize [Jehovah] as the jealous master, whose tyranny the serpent taught Adam and Eve to resist." After studying your astrological aspects, Libra, I've come to believe that your current situation has some resemblance to this scenario. In years to come, ignorant outsiders may describe your imminent revolution as an unseemly rejection of a genial authority. But you and I will know better: The tempter is your wise and benevolent ally.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Whatever's wrong with you won't be fixed by punching your pillow or giving your inner child a lollipop. Your neuroses are too cagey to fall for that simple-minded crap. No, Scorpio, the best possible therapy is for you to meditate on cryptic riddles. Here are a flurry of ’em. 1) Refuse gifts that infringe on your freedom. 2) Work for fun. 3) Get a vacuum cleaner for your dirty magic carpet) 4) Make your imagination work twice as hard. 5) Look for your lucky number scrawled on a lightning-killed tree. 6) Speak the language of love with a wacky accent.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In one of my past lives, I was Christ's jester. He charged me with the task of making sure he didn't take himself too seriously. Contrary to the doctrines later forged in his name, he wanted to pass down a religion full of wise jokes and liberating foolery. Maybe that explains why I often have laughing fits when I go into churches. Easter in particular always puts me in an uproarious mood. By my astrological calculations, Sagittarius, you're now in a similar state. Your ability to find the breakthrough humor in everything is peaking at the same time as your spiritual clarity.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The Official State Dirt of my home turf, California, is the silty loam of the San Joaquin Valley. An average acre of the stuff can generate 60,000 pounds of tomatoes — if, that is, it's crammed with pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer. Without those supplements it's only moderately productive. I'd like to name a more naturally fecund soil as the Official Capricorn Dirt: good old peat moss. It holds water well, is easily workable, contains abundant plant food and warms up quickly in the spring. With peat moss as your lucky soil, you'll be well on your way to fulfilling the promise of this April's astrological omens. No poisonous additives should be necessary for you to churn out the metaphorical equivalent of 80,000 pounds of juicy blooms per acre by next August.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The factor most likely to drive us to addiction or insanity is a lack of intimate contact with spirit. We all need a daily dose of vastness. Paradoxically, many of us would also benefit from a lot more microscopic vision. Because we're so deprived of divine connection, we're half-dreaming all the time; our unconscious yearning for our eternal source makes our minds wander and saps our energy to dig in and master the gritty details right in front of us. What I wish for you this week, Aquarius, is that you'll be eager to grapple with every last nut and bolt. Believe it or not, it will prime you to be more attuned to the vastness you're missing.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Now and then I meet a wise old woman named Elixo in my dreams. She describes herself as your secret teacher. Last night she instructed me to give you this visualization exercise. Imagine that you have been relieved of your responsibilities for a month. People you trust will take care of everything. You won't even have to work to make money, for you'll be given all you need. Neither will you have to clean your home, wash your clothes, make your food or care for your kids. Here comes the million-dollar question: What do you do now that you're free to do anything you like to do? How do you proceed when you have to do only what you like to do? Elixo says this meditation should guide your quest in the coming weeks. Your assignment this week is to report your favorite graffiti from a bathroom wall.

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