Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): As an astrologer, I've been able to study my own horoscope to discern what qualities I lack, then try to correct those shortcomings. For instance, I have no planets in Aries in my natal chart. But I've worked for years to develop the strengths you Rams are famous for — a single-minded sense of purpose, a fiery knack for burning away the obstacles to my dreams, a restless passion to keep reinventing myself and a reverence for adventures that compel me to build more courage. In 2003, I urge you to recommit yourself to cultivating all these beautiful talents, which are your birthright. I also suggest you identify the part of you that's weakest, and use your dynamism to bolster it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Professional trend analysts are touting the concept of "medievalizing" for 2003. They say we'll be retreating into feudal self-protectiveness, cloistering ourselves from war, terrorism and economic recession. It's the old concept of cocooning, multiplied tenfold. According to my astrological analysis, you are already well underway in pursuing a healthier version of this homing instinct. You're being driven mostly out of love, not fear. You're raising the art of nesting to esthetic new heights, and you will continue to become more comfortable in profound and enlivening ways in the coming months.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Sand castles are icons of ephemerality. They're best built in the wet sand left behind on the beach when the tide goes out; they're demolished when the tide comes back in a few hours later. I'd like to make them one of your sacred emblems for 2003. I don't mean to imply that your certainties will be any less transitory than usual. Rather, it's my way of urging you to capitalize on the fleeting nature of all things, which should be one of your specialties in the coming months. As the Buddhist monk and genius Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I make a distinction between emotions and feelings. Emotions are instinctual reactions, often negative, that aren't necessarily appropriate to the events that seem to stimulate them. You can just as easily become angry, sad or jealous when you've misinterpreted a person's actions as when you have understood them correctly. Feelings, on the other hand, are one-of-a-kind responses that arise in resonance to the unique qualities of a specific moment. You may be filled with a wistfully sweet sense of loss as you walk in the misty twilight after achieving a dream that commanded your attention for a long time. I suggest you make your emotions more objective in 2003, even as you cultivate the idiosyncrasies of your feelings.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I predict that you will come into possession of some real magic in 2003, something equivalent to pixie dust or mystical beans or an enchanted potion. But coming into possession of it and being able to use it successfully are two separate matters. There's no guarantee you'll know how to make it work. These guidelines should help: 1) Don't speak about your lucky stuff to anyone unless they absolutely need to know. 2) Before using it to change your life, practice with it once or twice in a low-risk situation. 3) Make sure it harms no one.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Tony was the roughest, toughest dude in my high school class. He organized midnight drag races down suburban streets when he was 14, sold vodka on the playground at 15 and shaved his pimples off with razor blades in the boys' bathroom at 16. By the time he graduated, he'd gotten two girls pregnant. I lost touch with him. Years later, I ran into a friend who'd stayed in contact with Tony. My friend said he'd become a policeman — and a pretty good one at that. Let Tony's transformation serve as one of your guiding metaphors for 2003. I predict that the most unredeemed part of you — your inner Tony — will undergo an amazing conversion.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Your lucky number for 2003 will be 1.6180339887, also known as phi. In his book The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number, astrophysicist Mario Livio asserts that it has been a key factor in creating many beautiful objects, from the Mona Lisa to Stradivarius violins to the Great Pyramid. Also known for hundreds of years as the divine proportion, 1.6180339887 is renowned as exquisitely harmonious and useful. Everything I just said about it should be applied to the effects you can have on your world in the coming months.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As public schools continue to decline and private schools become more expensive, increasing numbers of parents are home-schooling their children. I predict that an analogous phenomenon will arise in 2003. Called the "home-church" movement by Christians and the "home-synagogue" movement by Jews, it will consist of people creating altars and conducting worship sessions in their own abodes. Seekers pursuing this approach to spiritual communion will be their own priests, priestesses, and rabbis. I believe that there will be a disproportionately high percentage of Scorpios leading this phenomenon.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Alan was telling me about the journey he's planning. Along with his wife, 2-year old daughter, and 6-month-old son, he'll fly to Turkey, where they'll launch a 20-month bicycle trip around Asia and Europe. "How are you going to handle the diapers?!" I marveled in disbelief. "We'll work it out somehow," Alan said without a trace of anxiety. I was unsure whether to pity him for his naiveté or admire him for his easy-going audacity. I bring this up, Sagittarius, because I think it's likely that in the coming months you'll have a comparable version of Alan's great adventure. While I'm worried you won't plan very well about how to handle details like dirty diapers on a bicycle tour, maybe your easy-going audacity will make my concerns irrelevant.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Time travel will be one of the top metaphors for you in 2003. That's not to say you'll be chosen as a subject in an experiment involving a time machine — though you may sometimes feel as if you've actually been transported into the past or future. The potential downside to this is that you might get confused about where you are in your long-term cycle. A psychic version of jet lag could periodically creep in. The upside is that you will have an unprecedented chance to weave together previously disparate threads of your life. Past events that have never made sense will acquire new meaning; future dreams that have been too vague to pursue will finally come into focus.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You should throw far more water balloons than usual in 2003. It would also be smart of you to enjoy pillow fights and spitting contests more frequently. I feel that you should start more good-natured arguments and seek out more entertaining conflicts. You will derive great benefit from skirmishing with opposing forces as long as you maintain a spirit of fun and adventure.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In our previews of the future, we astrologers are accurate and helpful at least as often as weather forecasters, economists who predict the financial future, and lifestyle trend consultants. On the other hand, like those other three types of prognosticators, we astrologers are sometimes wrong or misleading; our advice should not be regarded as the word of God. Please keep this clearly in mind as you read my horoscopes. It will be crucial for you to become far more discriminating than ever before in the coming months. I encourage you to supercharge your analytical powers as you question every authority, expert, teacher, leader and guru. Homework: Send your predictions about your own life in 2003 to

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