Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hope you decided against participating in that contest in which you would have competed to see who could bang their head against the wall the most times before passing out. I trust you also turned down any invitations to show off your amazing wounds or prove how attractive your problems are. Continue to show a similar forbearance in the coming week. The worst is over. The pressure to express yourself perversely will soon diminish as the very hassles that have been frustrating you will morph into elegant opportunities.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Karvina, a town in the Czech Republic, has made it illegal to grow weeds. Offenders can be forced to pay a hefty fine if the Weeds Commission finds, say, a thistle flourishing amidst the potato plants. I'm tempted to enforce an equally stringent requirement on you, at least for the next two weeks. For your own long-term good, as well as everyone else's, you cannot afford to be lax toward interlopers, whether they're actual or metaphorical weeds. Maintain the highest standards; commit yourself with passionate integrity to incorruptible purity.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You should be seriously considered for employee of the month, since you've been brightening up the workplace with your bursts of imaginative flair. If your associates have not yet registered the fact that your already- considerable value has risen even further, I urge you to show them this horoscope. I'm also certain that you should also be named shopper of the month. On the one hand you've been healing an obsessive glitch in your consumer habits, while on the other hand you've been delightfully intuitive about which purchases will improve your life in the most lasting ways.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): In a scene on the HBO TV show "Six Feet Under," George told Ruth about a house he'd owned in New England. Built over a stream, it had originally been a mill, though the wheel and grinding stones had been removed decades before. After he'd lived there for a while, George decided to put a new floor in the kitchen. He ripped out the old surface, then tore up the first wooden plank of the foundation below. There, just two feet below him, was the stream — alive, sparkling, thrilling. He had known about it all along, but at that moment he actually saw it flowing beneath his house. You will have a similar breakthrough in the coming week. You will commune intimately with a source of magic you have had only indirect or imaginative contact with.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): When many people I know talk about their childhood, they emphasize the alienating, traumatic experiences they suffered. Few report vivid memories of the good times. This has always felt dishonest to me. I attribute it to the cynical tenor of our age rather than the objective truth. I don't mean to downplay the way our early encounters with pain demoralized our spirits. But it's crucial for you to acknowledge and honor the gifts you were given in your early years: all the joyful encounters, wise teachings and blessings that helped you bloom.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You will be in a hearty, even triumphant mood in the coming week. Unfinished business will either complete itself or else reveal to you how to wrap it up simply and quickly. However, even if you have to pass through a moment or two of dark doubt, it's essential that you stay committed to your mood of hearty triumph. Please carry this poem from Tony Hoagland in your wallet: "No matter how you feel, you have to act like you are very popular with yourself; very relaxed and purposeful, very unconfused and not like you are walking through the sunshine singing in chains."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Black South Africans fought for more than 40 years to dismantle apartheid. One of their most potent weapons was toyi-toyi, a militantly exuberant form of singing and dancing. It mobilized the energy of crowds at the large protest demonstrations that ultimately broke the will of the white minority rulers. Imagine how confounded their authoritarian minds must have been when confronted by thousands of high-spirited people singing and dancing in unison. I wish you were uninhibited enough to lead a celebratory form of uprising like toyi-toyi. There's a status quo you're part of that desperately needs a friendly shock of that caliber. Can you maybe think of something a little less outrageous but equally fun, rebellious and effective?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you're a songwriter, it's a good time to make yourself a Jennifer Lopez sock puppet, install it on your left hand and ask it to help you create a tune that will sell a million copies. If you're a painter, it's a perfect moment to channel the spirit of Pablo Picasso as you dash off a few dozen masterworks; if you're a writer, you should pretend you're the reincarnation of F. Scott Fitzgerald and whip out a future bestseller. I recommend that you imitate people who have been successful in the way that you want to be. If necessary, get a new hero who inspires you to even greater heights than your old familiar heroes.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind," said visionary poet William Blake. There's not a person alive who can ignore that counsel; in various degrees, we all suffer from the mental illness of dogmatism. And it's a perfect moment to flush out the standing water in your own psyche. You will attract unexpected help whenever you seek information that might shake up your staunch theories and beliefs about the way the world works.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "You do not truly know someone until you fight them." That's one of my favorite lines in the film The Matrix Reloaded. The oracle's bodyguard, Seraph, says this to the hero, Neo, after starting a brouhaha with him. It seems Seraph doesn't necessarily want to kick Neo's ass, but rather find out more about him so as to determine whether he can be trusted to consult with the oracle. I suspect you'll have some interesting conflicts in the coming weeks. Their purpose is to bring you closer to the people you'll struggle with, not drive you apart.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Everyone has an allergy, either physical or psychic. Mine is to cats. My colleague Sophie's is to peanuts. My friend Jason's is to his family of origin. (He starts sneezing if he merely sees a photo of his brothers and sisters.) I have an acquaintance, Justine, who swears she's allergic to environments that are too clean and orderly. Your allergy might be to something concrete like tree pollen or dairy products, or it might be more mysterious, like Jason's or Justine's. Whatever it is, you should redefine your relationship with it in the next two weeks. You can reduce its power to make you sick.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Listen to this tale of role reversal. It stars a beautiful flower as the villain and a grubby little insect as the hero. It's taking place all over Africa right now, where the water hyacinth has been choking rivers and lakes with its rapacious growth. A non-native species brought from Brazil a century ago, the hyacinth has had no impediments to its out-of-control spread until recently. Then a scientist found weevils that eat nothing but hyacinths, and sicced them on the out-of-control flower. His strategy is already working. The moral of the story: If you're threatened with getting way too much of a good thing, enlist an unlikely ally to assist you. Make a prediction about the dicey victory you will pull off between July 21 and 23. Testify at

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