Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I'm not sure what to make of the strange and wonderful abilities you'll exhibit in the coming week. You could temporarily lose your self-control in a most productive way. You might summon a hauntingly beautiful meditation on grace while cleaning a toilet, might make a dizzy plea that actually changes an intractable problem. You could also prove my improvement on Rambo's old adage ("To survive war, you must become war"), which is: "To survive love, you must become love."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There's been more teasing than pleasing going on in your vicinity, more bluffing and waffling than getting to the point. A bit of your own subterfuge may be the only approach that will defuse the subterfuge around you. Here are some tips: Learn more about the power of unpredictability by studying 5-year-olds and Scorpios. Be politely skeptical of anyone who is acting nice as a way to avoid being real. Never take "maybe" for an answer; insist on the magic of crisp, clear choices.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Shun coloring books and microwave popcorn this week. Avoid one-size-fits-all overalls and talking heads that spout demagogic clichés. Don't even think about squeezing yourself into pigeonholes, cubicles or itchy niches. Refuse to answer multiple-choice questions. Your future self is depending on you to be wild and free as you explore the untapped potentials of your richest idiosyncrasies.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Born and raised in a small town in Poland, my great-grandmother Elizabeth had a child out of wedlock at 16. The father was a sea captain of royal blood who died soon after. Two years later, Elizabeth took her young child — my grandmother — and emigrated to America as a single mother. She settled in Detroit, where she became a social powerhouse in the Polish-American community while living with a man she never married. During the times I spent with her as a child, she struck me as a feisty, plainspoken crone with a will of steel. This week I will be celebrating her life. I'll honor her pioneering spirit and give thanks for the maverick genes she bequeathed me. If you want to be in tune with astrological forces, you'll follow my example. It's a perfect moment for Crabs to deepen our relationships with the ancestors who helped make us who we are.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Joshua trees, native to the Mojave Desert, are both hardy and delicate. While they may live as long as 10 centuries, their flowers blossom just one night each year and can only be pollinated by the yucca moth. At this moment, Leo, you remind me of a Joshua tree. Very soon, there will be a brief window of opportunity for you to be psychically fertilized — and you will need a specific agent to do the job. If all conditions are right, a blessed awakening will occur. Even if the beauty that sprouts is visible for just a short time, its effects will last for years.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Every now and then, a week comes along that shakes you to your foundations, revealing the divine purpose behind all your adventures. This is probably not one of those weeks, but it may be foreplay for one. Adroit breakthroughs frequently follow long, tedious attention to detail. A brave confrontation with one's guilty conscience can often be the trigger for a cathartic religious experience.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Mantras are spiritually potent phrases that are supposed to purify and uplift those who chant them. The magic is said to work even if the devotee doesn't understand the words. So for example it's not necessary to know that the Sanskrit om namaha shivaya is sometimes translated as "I honor the divine within" or "Salutations to that which I am capable of becoming." With all due respect to the ancient tradition, I propose that we expand the concept by creating mantras in our native tongues. Here's one that's a perfect fit for your current astrological needs: "It's finally my turn, damn it." Speak, whisper or bellow that mantra hundreds of times in the coming week, preferably in conjunction with om namaha shivaya. Use these words of power to remind you that it's time for you to claim your fair share.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The best science-fiction show on TV is "Farscape." John Crichton stars as an astronaut who has been accidentally flung to the far reaches of the galaxy during a chance encounter with a wormhole. His predicament has a resemblance to yours, wouldn't you say? Like him, you're making the most of your wayward adventure. There's another parallel. "I'm the reverse King Arthur," Crichton brags at one point, oozing self-deprecating humor. "I can put the sword back into the stone." I advise you to do something similar: Return the magical you-know-what to where it came from. A few weeks from now, you can circle back and retrieve it. Then you'll be primed to take full advantage of the power you're not yet ready to use.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It's a good time to brainstorm about fund-raising strategies with a cute venture capitalist in Tahiti. It’s also a good time to slink around Web-based matchmaking services looking for an emotionally intelligent millionaire to accompany you on a vision quest to a sacred sanctuary. Likewise, it’s a good time to wear sexy underwear made from hemp silk as you meditate on your romantic and financial future in a bungalow on a beach in the south of France. In other words, your luck will be electric any time you blend travel with love, love with money or money with travel. If you can combine travel, love and money in the same adventure, your luck may be downright supernatural.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Welcome to "What's My Deepest Longing?" I'm pleased that you've decided to play our game. To begin, place yourself in a comfortable position and let all the tension drain out of your beautiful body. When you are amazingly relaxed, allow your mind's eye to fill up with images of the experiences that move you to tears and laughter. I am not talking about your wishy-washy wishes or mediocre pleasures or half-assed distractions. I mean the primal dreams that shimmer and hum at the roots of your soul. Name them. Entertain and nourish them. Give them license to unleash their raw and secret truths.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Novelist Mario Vargas Llosa has written a how-to book called Letters to a Young Novelist. In it, he takes on the role of a mentor speaking to a novice, revealing the storytelling techniques he has worked long and hard to master. At the end of his dissertation he pulls a little prank. "[Now] forget everything you've read in my letters," he says, and "just sit down and write." I'd like you to apply his method to a certain skill you're beginning to master. Study everything that has been written by experts who've come before you. Then empty yourself of their load of wisdom and tackle your joyful discipline with a fresh, innocent mind.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I recently went to a party that celebrated the 35th anniversary of San Francisco's Summer of Love. The invitation suggested that we wear "discerning exotica." There were, therefore, no hippie love beads or tie-dyed bell-bottoms. Platform sneakers were also absent, as were rainbow fright wigs and pink hot pants. Instead, elegant outrageousness prevailed. I saw an ankle-length, gold-and-black robe fit for an African chieftain, a tunic of crimson feathers that called to mind a Peruvian shaman and a replica of what fashionable men wore in London in the 1890s. The astrological omens suggest that "discerning exotica" is the perfect keynote for you in the coming week. Be mysteriously outlandish as you exude understated poise. What’s the most important bit of self-knowledge you're still ignorant about? Testify at

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