Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There goes your exaggerated respect for gnarled chunks of complications. Here comes your now-or-never break for bubbly freedom. But you'll need to travel light. Peel off that armor. Wipe that 40-pound sneer of resentment off your face. Bury your broken-down dreams by the side of the road and push temperamental contraptions right off the cliff. Strip down to the bare minimum. All you'll need where you’re going are your good looks and a fresh, hot attitude.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Before going to sleep last night, I asked my subconscious mind to send me a dream with a useful symbolic message for you. I dreamed of caterpillars slowly but surely devouring the Big Bad Wolf. When they were finished, they spun cocoons. After a while they emerged as giant yellow butterflies with the shapes of bulls on their wings. Here's my dream interpretation: I believe you are entering a phase when a young or "larval" part of your psyche will nibble a problem to death, setting the stage for a rebirth in which the problem will be transformed into a beautiful thing.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "I don't wake up and get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day," says supermodel Linda Evangelista. While it may be unwise for you to set your financial goals quite so high, I don't think it's unreasonable for you to cop some of Evangelista's feelings of entitlement. After all, cosmic forces are currently conspiring to enhance your economic well-being and will continue to do so for a few months. There's no reason you can't wake up on July 1 and declare, "I'm not getting out of bed for less than $350 a day."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you lived in London, England, in the 1700s, you could buy insurance against going to hell. Though we have no such service these days, an excellent substitute is now available to you. You're primed to perform so many extraordinary good deeds in the coming weeks that you can virtually assure yourself of not going to hell when you die many years hence. I don't mean to imply that you've been stingy with your gifts up until now, but there's something special about the imminent future. Your generosity will be both exceptionally creative and unusually intense. Your charisma will soar and your ability to sense exactly what people need will be uncanny. I predict that these factors will combine to generate a hoard of the richest, finest karma.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "In my opinion there are only two stories in the whole world," says novelist William Vollman. "One is: a person is born, grows up, gets old and dies. The other is: two people meet each other and they love or hate each other and something happens." His theory has an appealing simplicity except for the fact that it doesn't account for the truly uncategorizable epic you are living through. I don't mean to give you an exaggerated sense of self-importance, but right about now it would make perfect sense to title your melodrama The Greatest Story Never Told. Please refrain from comparing your adventure to anything ever experienced in the history of the world.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): What and whom are you attracted to? Are their influences on you in close alignment with your noblest ideals? Or do you often find yourself being drawn to experiences and people that end up being no damn good for you? If there is a discrepancy, this is an excellent time to correct it. And if there is no discrepancy — if you've already trained yourself to get excited by stimuli that bring out the best in you — then prepare for the arrival of some high-quality fun.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Now and then there comes a time when you have to break the mold; when you can no longer afford to squeeze yourself into a one-size-fits-all pattern. On other occasions, you urgently need to renounce the images that people have projected onto you; when your ability to live as a free soul requires you to rebel against all the expectations you're surrounded by. And every once in a great while, you're called on to shatter the molds and purge the projections in the same mad, healing rush. Now is such a turning point.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You know how there are certain things in your life that are both good and bad for you? Experiences that can both drive you crazy or make you wildly healthy? People who on some days bring out the best in you and at other times turn you into a snarling gargoyle? It's high time for you to deepen and ripen your relationship with these influences. I'm not saying this will render your connections any less paradoxical. But it will ensure that your reasons for being together are rooted in the spirit of the here and now, not in dead habit.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Science News reports that the flora of the Northern Hemisphere now awakens from its winter sleep a week earlier than it did just two decades ago. One of the perks of global warming? Probably. But this awakening of the earth's life forces cannot alone account for your libido's rapidly elevating mood. I believe we can also attribute it to your wise decision to slow down and recharge your psychic battery in the past few weeks. Next assignment: Prepare for a flood of stimuli that will trigger record levels of soul hunger — and soul satisfaction.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Between now and June 2003, you'll be receiving opportunity after opportunity to learn more about relationships. Will you take advantage of this embarrassment of riches? I hope so. I believe there's nothing more important than deepening your capacity for togetherness. You might imagine you have better things to do — like building your career or making more money, for instance. But the irony is that cultivating your intimacy skills will change you in the precise ways that are most likely to serve your worldly ambitions.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Aquarian inventor Thomas Edison came up with a lot of ideas that went nowhere. While trying to develop the perfect battery, his unsuccessful experiments were comically legion. "I have not failed," he mused. "I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." There are other ways in which he didn't match the profile we usually associate with genius. He rarely had a dramatic breakthrough out of the blue, for instance. Most often, he tinkered and fussed until he discovered some new useful thing. Of his 1,093 patents, some were inventions he purposefully set about to create, but most he simply stumbled upon. I urge you to apply all of these approaches to your life in the coming weeks. The tinkering season is about to begin.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Beneath the visible surface of one of the world's most famous paintings, the "Mona Lisa," are three previous versions. X-rays show this conclusively. In other words, it took a few false starts before the artist, Leonardo da Vinci, finally gave birth to his masterpiece. Let's apply this theme to your life. Judging from the current astrological aspects, I estimate you've completed at least two and possibly three of your allotted false starts. Any day now, I predict you'll begin the definitive version of a breakthrough creation. Send precious junk mail, confusing flattery, eternal art and amazing predictions to P.O. Box 150247, San Rafael, CA

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