Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Buddhism's holiest objects are ringsel, pearly deposits left behind by dead saints who've been cremated. I recently visited a collection of them at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, Calif. A pamphlet there said, "The ringsel are of unimaginable benefit for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Their power does not depend on the viewer having faith in them." Though I am not a Buddhist and was initially skeptical, I soon changed my mind. As I sat in the presence of the ringsel, I was flooded with useful insights, including a solution to my longest-running problem. I predict you'll soon receive a blessing from a visitation whose magic you don't believe in.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If an infinite number of monkeys typed for an infinite number of days on an infinite number of typewriters, they would eventually produce all the works of Shakespeare, as well as the following horoscope, which is apt advice for you in the coming week: You could let your monkey mind jabber on forever; you could allow it to spew out a million options about how to deal with your most pressing dilemma, hoping that one of them will miraculously be the answer you desperately need. But there’s a better option: Dive into your deep eternal self and open yourself gladly to its clear, simple wisdom about what to do.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Don't bother looking for help from great minds and deep thoughts this week. You're in one of your "folk wisdom" phases, when the only kind of counsel that can be of any use is the goofy brilliance that now and then gurgles up out of that vast compost heap known as mass culture. Here, for instance, are the slogans that are most in alignment with your astrological needs. 1) "I will not obsess. I will not obsess. I will not obsess." 2) "We all have problems. Mine are just more important than yours." 3) "If all the world's a stage, I'll be needing more wardrobe." 4) "Excuse me. I'm off to see the wizard."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you choose to take the following prescription seriously, consider the possibility that you should regard it as a metaphor, not as a call for concrete action. Or if you do decide it would be appropriate to treat it as a call for concrete action, do not carry it out in such a way that would scare people or destroy property belonging to anyone but yourself. Got that? Here we go: The most empowering ritual you could perform in the coming week is to kick in a locked door.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A few months ago there was a story in the news about an awkward situation at the San Francisco Zoo. Two tigers there were completely psyched out by an oil painting of another tiger. They seemed to regard the image, an eight-square-foot piece on the wall of their home, as a giant, ghostly competitor. Whenever they came close to it, their eyes bulged, their mouths gaped and their ears retracted. This reminds me of you lately. A mere picture that exists only in your mind's eye has you all messed up. It's time to reclaim your regal authority over it and any other images that intimidate you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The World Health Organization says that a good diet should consist of no more than 10 percent sugar. Lobbyists for the sugar industry disagree. They maintain that you'll be fine as long as no more than 25 percent of your diet contains their favorite product. In regards to your current needs, I disagree with both assessments. Since you're in a phase when you need to toughen up, strengthen your will, and think leaner and meaner, I believe you should temporary limit your sugar intake to 3 percent or less.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): This is the right astrological moment to raise the bar and up the ante; to throw your weight around and kick some butt; to call in favors and claim your rewards; to make everything official and seal the deal; to assume a new title and create your own rite of passage. Don't wait around for VIPs or authorities to initiate any of this; don't fantasize about what "fate" intends or whether you should prepare a little longer. The time is now. The place is here.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): At a recent outdoor party, the host's German shepherd shuffled over to me and dropped something at my feet. Crouching down, I found a tiny twig. It dawned on me that the dog wanted to play "fetch." I plucked the twig off the ground and threw it as far as it would go, which was only about two feet; it wasn't heavy enough to carry any further. The dog moseyed over, delicately snagged it in his teeth, and returned to me for another round. I was mystified. Why didn't he bring me a decent-sized stick that I could hurl a great distance so we could enjoy the full pleasures of "fetch"? I pose an analogous question to you: Isn't it time to expand the parameters of your favorite game?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In his book, On the Road to Baghdad: A Picaresque Novel of Magical Adventures, Guneli Gun offers his analysis of what's wrong with everything. "The world is run by those who can't make love," one of his characters says, "or those who do it badly. That's why the world is in trouble." I agree. And people who want to become better leaders would be smart to purge their negative imprints about sex and improve their lovemaking skills. I'm sure you've already gone pretty far in that work, but there's always room for improvement. This is a perfect astrological moment to boost your political and social authority by enhancing your mastery of the erotic arts.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Kary Mullis is the only Nobel Prize-winning scientist ever to assert that astrology is valid. He's also the most distinguished Capricorn in history to have described a close encounter with a UFO. When he's not doing pioneering research on the human genome, he enjoys life as a surfer, lover and shamanic adventurer. "A scientific genius with a vibrant soul," said one critic in reviewing his autobiography, Dancing Naked in a Mind Field. "There is nothing too preposterous for him to rigorously investigate and learn something valuable from," said another observer, "just as there are few commonly held truths in which he cannot find some fundamental fallacy." I suggest you make Mullis your role model for now. Imitate everything about his spirit, including the way he blends intellectual discipline and open-minded curiosity.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It's time once again to evaluate the quality of your emotional pain. Every year, I ask you to take inventory; to determine how you're progressing in your efforts to cultivate useful suffering and avoid the useless stuff. So how have you been doing? Are you getting better at steering clear of boring torments you've repeated a thousand times before? Have you made yourself less susceptible to being hurt by ignorant, careless people? Are you able to quickly shake off the effects of relatively trivial trouble? Do you find yourself drawn to fascinating angst that compels you to become smarter and more resourceful? PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Fertility clinics in the United States are filled to the brim with frozen human embryos. Forty thousand would-be fetuses are now on ice, waiting for a go-ahead from the couples that spawned them. This backlog of potential life in limbo reminds me of you. If you could get access to the parts of your imagination that are immobilized by fear, you'd become a powerhouse of focused creativity. Your future self has sent a message to you back through time. What does it say? Testify at

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