Free Will Astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): China is now marketing an amazing product: milk beer. Appealing to both the infantile longing for creamy liquid nourishment and the adult craving for inhibition-loosening alcohol, it's bound to become the 21st century's first new staple. The time is ripe for you to gorge yourself with a blend like milk beer. If it's not yet being sold in your area, mix up your own batch.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Dear Mr. Brezsny: Your horoscopes are useless. Most of them are full of philosophical crap that has nothing to do with my daily life. Enough with the metaphors already! Just tell me if there's love or money or trouble in my future — stuff that normal horoscopes say! —Testy Taurus."

Dear Testy: In the coming week, you and your fellow Bulls will have close encounters with the kind of experience you just directed at me. People will try to get you to be something other than what you are. Do not, under any circumstances, cave into them.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini performer Keith Hennessy teaches classes in improvisation. I'll quote his ideas about the subject because they perfectly describe the nature of the spirit you should invoke in the coming weeks. Here's his definition of improvisation. "The art of being in full awareness and integrity right now. The opposite of repression. The closest we get to the source language of creativity, soul, play and magic. A crazy attempt to align body and mind not only in the pursuit of freedom, but in the actual experience of freedom. Intentional spontaneity. The beauty and truth of the wild."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your future lies beyond the yellow brick road. It's time to let go of the fairy-tale vision of success that fueled you when you were young and naive. A more mature dream is calling, inviting you to get older and wiser fast. Initially, this replacement may feel like a loss, but ultimately it will awaken passions and ingenuity that the original goal would never have coaxed out. Ironically, it will also lead you to rewards that the yellow brick road promised but never could have delivered.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Dragon alert! You have a date with an influence that has a metaphorical resemblance to a scaly, winged, fire-breathing beast. You shouldn't avoid it; it will actually help your soul grow bigger and stronger. On the other hand, there's no need to immediately race over to the dragon's cave and poke it with a stick. Try to arrange a meeting that takes place on your home turf and in the presence of your allies.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): A fundamentalist is anyone who thinks his belief system trumps all others. Religious fanatics are the most obvious example, but scientists can be fundamentalists. So can socialists or capitalists, environmentalists or atheists. Every fundamentalist divides the world into two camps, those who agree with him and those who don't. To him, there is one right way and a million wrong ways to interpret reality. And every one of us has the fundamentalist virus. It may not be as virulent in you and me as it is in the bad guys we love to hate. But we're all infected. Luckily, you can achieve a partial cure. To begin, take everything less seriously and less personally and less literally.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My acquaintance John traveled to Antarctica. On the first day, the guide took him and his group to a remote area and left them alone for an hour to commune with the pristine air and unearthly stillness. After a while, a penguin ambled up and launched into a ceremonial display of squawks and stretches. John responded with recitals of his favorite memorized poems, imagining he was "engaged in a conversation with eternity." Then the penguin sent a stream of green projectile vomit cascading against his chest, and shuffled away. Though John initially felt deflated by eternity's surprise, later he came to see it as a first-class cosmic joke, and treasured its value as an amusing story with which to regale his friends back home. You will have an analogous experience in the coming week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You're like an arrow in flight, like a half-cooked feast, the fifth month of pregnancy, the week before a big election. When I turned my psychic vision toward you just now, I saw an image of a worker bee freshly returned to the hive to perform the dance that will tell its companions where to find a patch of blooming snapdragons. Have you ever mastered a second language? Where you are at this moment resembles the time right before you attain fluency.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): When I relocated from Santa Cruz to Marin County in 1991, I moved from a hotbed of alternative lifestyles to a very wealthy community. In making the transition, I knew I'd have to deal with a character flaw: my prejudice against rich white people. I've made great progress in dissolving my bigotry, but today I was sorely tested. While walking downtown, I spied a Lexus SC-430 with a vanity license plate that read "PUREHRT." I thought, "It's inconceivable that the owner of a $60,000 sports car could have a pure heart!" But soon my compassionate mind kicked in, and I opened to the possibility, quieting my judgmental reflex. Let this tale serve as your inspiration this week. It's time to have a showdown with your deepest prejudice.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): At last year's Burning Man, the week-long festival of cheerful mischief in the Nevada desert, a character calling himself Mother Very Superior was omnipresent. Clad in a nun's habit and black leather chastity belt, he roamed far and wide, dispensing blessings with a toy cat-o'-nine-tails. "I hereby absolve you of your sins," he chanted as he softly whipped anyone who consented to his gift, "so now you are free to go ahead and sin like crazy." Find someone to do you a similar favor. To take maximum advantage of the explosive fun that will be available in the near future, you should get your karmic debt down as close as possible to zero.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Being right doesn't guarantee success in the coming week. Nor does being strong or smart or rich or well-connected. None of the usual assets will be of much use if you want to triumph over adversity. There is another way, though. It would require you to be tricky yet ethical. You'd have to be good in a sneaky way, or pull off some subterfuge while aflame with a noble purpose. Here's another tip for ensuring victory: Renounce any attachment you have to getting full credit for your heroic efforts.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Everyone needs music, but you can't survive without it. Your moist, hungry, undulating soul tends to devolve into confusion without regular exposure to music's wild intelligence. It's also important for you to keep finding fresh songs to commune with. Depending solely on those that moved you once upon a time encourages you to commit the sin of living in the past. As for what music would nourish you best right now, I'll trust your intuition to guide you. But here's some soul food for thought from the song "Green Light: Now Begin," by hip-hop group Blackalicious: "No more of that sittin' in a slump/ No more of that coulda-woulda-shoulda junk/ No more of that waiting for the inspiration, innovation/ It's time to expand, power from within, you're takin' over this dominion/ Green light, now begin." What other name would you give yourself if you could take a vacation from your present name? Why? Report to

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