Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Henry Kissinger once noted that "You first have to create the problem in order to solve the problem." While I wish Dr. K had been wiser and more compassionate in formulating the predicaments he himself whipped up to solve, his idea is still useful as we meditate on your future. This is a perfect moment, you see, for you to dream up riveting new puzzles. Please do your best to make sure they're more worthy of your passion than the stale old dilemmas that have been numbing your emotions and squelching your creativity.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Our product development team is holed up in the Beauty and Truth laboratory, working to perfect a host of fine items for the psychic renewal of anyone who dares to try them. Sadly, none of our magic treasures were ready in time for your birthday. But I'd like to tell you about some of them so you can create your own versions. The maximum-security clearance grants you access to frontiers that have previously been off-limits. The karmic credit card can be used to pay off one of your major debts to the past. Then there's our psyche detergent. It's a unique soap, created from a top-secret, 5,000-year-old formula smuggled out of the Himalayas, designed especially for use in washing your own brain. All three of these would come in handy in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In the months we've been working on your therapy, I wonder if we've ever gotten you to master the fine art of tying up loose ends? We'll soon see. There's a certain drama that needs to come to a definitive end, but forces are conspiring behind the scenes to keep it on life support in a fuzzy state of limbo. I urge you to attend to every last boring detail to make sure it's completely resolved. Any business you leave up in the air now will only come back to haunt you later, probably when you least expect it.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): For years Cancerian Bill Watterson created "Calvin and Hobbes," a comic strip that pulled off the rare feat of being both artistically brilliant and wildly popular. Yet he killed it off, citing the pressures of working in a cramped format with relentless deadlines. The fact that he rejected a huge merchandising deal suggests he was further motivated by a disgust with commercialism. Because he has withdrawn into seclusion and produced nothing since he quit, I surmise that he also hates fame. While I hesitate to psychoanalyze Bill, he does seem to suffer from a typical Cancerian problem. His rigorous ideals, fear of limits and obsessive need for privacy have made it hard for him to give his greatest gifts to the world. I bring this up because it's a perfect moment for you Crabs to negotiate with this tendency in yourselves.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Some New Age seekers regard a vision quest as a weekend retreat designed to reinvigorate their link to spiritual sources. Shamans from indigenous cultures, on the other hand, are more likely to conceive of a vision quest as a sacred cycle that takes months or even years to fulfill. I'm not here to sneer at the shortcut approach; I appreciate how hard it is for modern wage slaves to find the time to be totally authentic. But I do want you Leos to know that while it's a good time to try the three-day version of this venerable ritual, it's also an absolutely excellent moment to launch a more shamanic commitment.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Many of you Virgos are hungry for knowledge but inefficient at shedding old ideas that no longer serve you. This can create a problem that might be called intellectual constipation. The fresh information you absorb can be digested better if you make room for it through regular data dumps. I bring this up because you're in a phase when it's relatively easy to empty out your mental garbage. Now study this apt quote from futurist Alvin Toffler: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My sources from high society say that when you eat caviar, you shouldn't use silver spoons: It taints the eggs with a metallic taste. Instead, always choose flatware made of gold or mother-of-pearl. Similarly, my connections in low society suggest than when you dive into trash bins foraging for discarded food, your best bet is the stuff in dented cans, since it's probably unbesmirched by any toxic garbage lying nearby. These tips should be useful metaphors for you in the coming days, Libra, as you'll have chances to extract bounty not only while you're visiting soaring peaks but also when you're scrounging around dismal abysses.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): From time to time readers ask me which other signs are most compatible with their own. I hesitate to address this subject because — surprise — generalizations can be misleading. It's true that Virgos, Capricorns, and Tauruses can often be good matches for you. Pisceans tend to bring out your hidden beauty. The affairs between Cancerians and Scorpios are among the greatest love stories when they're not cheat-filled wrestling matches in snake pits. But sometimes it's more fun to forget about who's supposed to be your type, and instead experiment with friends, business partners, or lovers who don't fit the profiles — especially now, while you're at the height of your attractiveness to everyone. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): When I worked as a houseboy at a dominatrix brothel in Berkeley many years ago, I learned a lot about how an imbalance of power between two people can distort their relationship. Since then, I've been allergic to relationships built on a dynamic of inequality and I've tried to avoid them. If I do enter into the kind of partnership that has traditionally been fraught with such a discrepancy — for instance, mentor-student or boss-employee — I work aggressively to adjust it. What does this have to do with you? Well, Sagittarius, you're in a prime time to ripen your attitudes about these issues. Forget what you used to believe and what you've always done. How do you want to handle it all in the future?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I consulted one connoisseur who described you as having "an exuberant texture and piquant fragrance." "Not for the timid," he warned. A second expert said you're "a mélange of spicy cloves and peppery honey with a toasted caramel elegance." To make sure these analyses weren't aberrations, I sought out a third authority. With a fluttery look in her usually calm eyes, she conjured a burst of poetic epithets, including "silky tangy," "brisk yet creamy," and "smooth, lush and zesty." My conclusion? You're ripe to be enjoyed by anyone with rich sensibilities or a hungry heart.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Outside the door to my shrink's office is a vigorous oak tree stranded in the midst of a paved parking lot. Over the years, its roots have gradually exploded the blacktop; in places they jut up through the cracks. I love to come upon this spectacle as I leave the therapeutic sanctuary. It serves as a symbol of the Herculean work I've attempted in the previous hour. This week, Aquarius, I'd like the oak's inexorable roots to be your personal talisman. Why? Because you're engaged in a slow-motion uprising that I hope will crumble the dense surface that has been cramping your style.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "When you come to a fork in the road, find a third way." So advises a fictional proverb from an imaginary culture in the Star Trek universe. I thought this was the perfect adage for you to mull over as you wander around that half-wild, half-civilized realm you've been so enamored with lately. Soon your experimental rambling will have to come to an end, and you'll be called on to commit yourself to a specific path with heart. Be open to the possibility that the best choice will only be visible if you look out of the corners of your eyes. What are you more than ready for? What change have you prepared yourself to embrace? What lesson are you ripe to master? Write:

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