Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "People demand freedom of speech," said Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, "as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they never use." I hope this smart-ass witticism gets you agitated, Aries, and prods you to wonder whether you sometimes let your mouth race ahead of your brain; whether you’re not as free from conventional wisdom as you imagine. Your courage has propelled you halfway up the mountain; to get to the top you’ll have to become more skilled at questioning your assumptions.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Visualize your greatest fear. How much of it is based on the possibility that a dreaded experience could actually happen? What part of your foreboding, though, is fueled by your active imagination and your habitual propensity to worry? Once you’ve meditated on those questions, Taurus, try these prescriptions: In the next 24 hours, take one step to reduce the level of anxiety you’ve accepted as normal. Take another step to diminish the power of your greatest fear. The astrological omens say you’ll receive unexpected help if you do.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You’re a force of nature barely contained in your clothes, Gemini. You’re elemental and irresistible; primordial yet playful. You’re laughing like a river, dreaming like a volcano and as surprising as a snowstorm on a summer day. You can talk the way the animals think. How could anyone not be drawn to you? How could anyone not feel a bit nervous while drinking in your unpredictable charisma? You’re way over the top, and I like it very much.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Here’s a friendly warning to keep in mind during these last few days of tests and trials, courtesy of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Would you like to avoid this fate, Cancerian? (Say yes! Say yes!) All you have to do is relax with heroic effort. Release every last ounce of tension. Surrender, slacken and slow down with a consuming passion for repose. And do not, under any circumstances, try too hard.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "I have a dream," Martin Luther King, Jr. sang during his stirring speech in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’…I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." To help align yourself with current astrological influences, Leo, read or listen to King’s entire speech in the coming days. Let it inspire your own personal "I have a dream" manifesto. It’s high time you fantasized about creating heaven on earth.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If an astrologer from the old school were writing this, he might say that now is an excellent time to advance your ambitions through gossipy manipulation. But since you and I are in the business of creating a new civilization based on values that feed the soul, my take on your imminent future is different. I say it’s a perfect moment to engage in uplifting gossip that serves the greater good. Praise unsung heroes and name everything that’s working well. The irony is that for people like us, dissing people always hurts our ambitions. One of the best ways to enhance our own possibilities is to use our power of speech to promote others’ chances for happiness and success.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When I’m mountain biking on the ridge, I usually stick to the relatively smooth parts of the dirt trails. Now and then, though, I head straight towards the most jagged bumps and deepest pits. It feels good to test my sense of balance so dramatically — to have to make countless split second adjustments as my bike rumbles over the rugged terrain. Far from being a hardship, it’s exhilarating. I do it on purpose because it’s fun. From my analysis of the astrological omens, Libra, I reckon you’re now in a phase comparable to the one I just described. Enjoy every minute of the wild ride.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Writing in Sky & Telescope magazine, Roy Gallant described how long it took for scientists to consider the evidence for meteorites. Until the 1800s, "the scientific community scoffed at those who believed stones fell from the heavens, though meteorites had been seen to fall and had been collected since ancient times by the Chinese and Egyptian…As stones continued to rain down from the sky, learned scientists explained them away as condensations of the atmosphere or concretions of volcanic dust." This cautionary tale is for you, Scorpio. There’s a certain truth you’ve been dead set against believing, let alone seeing, despite steadily growing evidence. This week indisputable proof will come pouring in. Don’t pretend it’s not there.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Do you have a muse? If not, get one as soon as possible. You shouldn’t go another week without a mysterious, inspiring creature to drive you wonderfully crazy. If you do have a muse that is doing a fine job, reward him or her. Throw an exotic party in an unexpected location with vivacious revelers. Buy or make a surprising gift that has a muse-like effect on your muse. There is a third possibility: Maybe your muse hasn’t whipped you into the kind of delightful frenzy you need to keep your soul healthy. If that’s the case, go off on a retreat together and come up with a new plan.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In her San Francisco Chronicle column, Leah Garchik reported an amazing fact about an outdoor concert hosted by famed tree-sitter Julia Butterfly Hill. The 10,000 people who attended left behind less than one Dumpster’s worth of trash, whereas a normal crowd that size would have filled 10 Dumpsters. I suggest you begin mastering this approach to waste production, Capricorn — especially psychic waste. That way, you will never again have to slog through the massive karmic cleanup you’re enduring right now.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): At a candy store last Easter, I heard a debate about Jesus-themed confections. "It’s just not right to eat a symbol of God," one woman said, gazing at a chocolate Christ on the cross. A man agreed: "It’s sacrilegious. An abomination." An employee jumped in. "I’ll ask my boss to take that stuff off the shelf," she clucked. I was tempted to say what I was thinking: "Hello?! The holiest ritual of Christian worship involves eating Christ’s symbolic body and blood." But I held my tongue; I wasn’t up for a brouhaha. Now I can speak freely, though, and luckily, Aquarius, it’s good news: You’re at the peak of your capacity to blend sensual pleasure with spiritual inspiration. A great way to express that would be to feast upon a delicious embodiment of the god or goddess you love best.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Your first image of power comes from "Volcanoes," a poem by Susan Katz: "A man in his glass house, inside the heart of a blizzard, harvests roses." Let it console you, Pisces, whenever you feel the world is hostile or apathetic to the masterpiece that’s quickening under your care. Your second image of power comes from poet Emily Dickinson. She said she always knew when she was reading a good poem because it made her feel like the top of her head was about to come off. You’ll know you’re on the right track, Pisces, if now and then you have the sensation she described. Visualize what you’ll be doing and feeling when you pull off your next peak performance. Testify at

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