Free Will Astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have fallen prey to a widespread sin — overusing the term "sacred." I haven’t sunk to the vulgar depths of New Age hucksters who offer workshops in "sacred dog-walking." But I want to be more spare in invoking the term so that on those rare occasions when I do, you will be appropriately awed. Like now, for instance. You will soon be roused to reverence by a visitation fitting the description given by Phil Cousineau in his book, The Art of Pilgrimage: "If you aren’t trembling as you approach the sacred, it isn’t the real thing. The sacred, in its various guises as holy ground, art, or knowledge, evokes emotion and commotion."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Taurus William Henry Seward was the U.S. secretary of state in the 1860s, and is best known for buying Alaska from Russia. His contemporaries thought this batty — Alaska was regarded as a frozen wasteland — and referred to it as "Seward’s Folly." Ultimately, his determination to follow his dream in the face of ridicule proved to be an act of brave genius. For 2.5 cents an acre, he added a rich land that now composes one-fifth of the United States. You will soon have a chance to pull off your own version of Seward’s Folly.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Trial and error should be your main strategy these days. It’s your best hope for generating reliable information. As you grope and stumble, keep in mind the following thoughts from philosopher Robert Anton Wilson. "These are the batting averages of the best hitters in baseball history: Ty Cobb: .367; Rogers Hornsby: .358; Joe Jackson: .356. Since an average of .333 means a player did not get a hit two out of every three times he batted, these champions made an out more often than they got a hit. Most professional players do much worse. Moral of the story: Unless you’re a brain champion equal to these baseball champions, you’re probably wrong close to two out of three times."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you’re in love and happy with your partner, this is a perfect moment to ask for even more from your relationship. If there is room for improvement in the way your love life is unfolding, it’s an even more perfect moment. Try this: After taking a bath and while still naked, write down the worst things that have happened to you because of being in love. Burn this document in the flame of a white candle while chanting: "I am letting go of past disasters." Then dab cinnamon on your forehead, chest, and genitals while murmuring: "I deserve to be in love with a lover who brings out the best in me — a lover who inspires me to be in love with everything alive."

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Do you know where your pancreas and spleen are, let alone what they do? Can you describe what happens to the air you inhale once it enters your lungs? Have you ever taken the trouble to study and experiment in order to discern what diet is best for your unique physiology? Do you know how much sleep you need to be highly alert and psychologically healthy? This is a favorable astrological time to deepen your understanding of your body’s mysteries.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I’ve been staring at my astrological charts for hours trying to determine where your head is at. You’re off the map, between the worlds, beyond the boundaries. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but I can at least tell you about the powers that this kind of outsider position usually confers: 1) sharper-than-usual intuition about the future; 2) a knack for making unexpected connections you didn’t realize you needed; 3) an unpredictability that makes you attractive to people who can help draw out and clarify your unconscious desires.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Dear Rob: Your horoscopes tickle me in just the right place — wherever the opposite of my funny bone is. It’s like you’re following me around, but not like a creepy stalker — more like a kindly and slightly frazzled guardian angel, giving me the odd nudge to avoid doing something stupid, suggesting when I should duck and rousing the part of me that’s ready to give up. Thank you. —Appreciative Libra"

Dear Appreciative: Somehow you knew that it’s a perfect time to express your gratitude to those who have helped and inspired you. Saying thanks right now will be a kind of prayer that works better than begging for what you lack. It will have the mysterious effect of attracting to you even more goodies.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You’re on the verge of tapping into a huge reservoir of fresh, starting-over energy. To aid you in capitalizing on this gift, I offer you Ellen Kort’s poem, "Advice to Beginners." Begin. Keep on beginning. Nibble on everything. Pull up anchors. Sit close to the god of night. Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast. Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder. Measure the color of days around your mother’s death. Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you. Swim with the sea turtle into the moon. Drink wild geranium tea. Run naked in the rain.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "Modern woman’s premenstrual crankiness is not just a physical syndrome," writes Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves, "but is equally attributable to her being thwarted in her need to take enough time to revivify and renew herself." I would add that men get cranky as often as women, and for the same reason: There are no ritually sanctified time-outs built into our crazy-making schedules. None of us has the slack necessary to avoid periodic meltdowns. This is a crucial point you cannot afford to ignore. You’re overdue for a sabbatical from your routine.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your mental hygiene is as good as it’s possible to be. Here’s a great way to celebrate: Share the wealth; commit vivid acts of generosity. But be discriminating about where you bestow your blessings. Since you can’t help everyone, concentrate your attention on high-functioning people who will in turn multiply your gifts as they help and save others.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A few years ago a group of smart-ass nerds hosted a jokey International Conference on Mad Science. They called for the submission of papers on topics like "tampering with the life-sustaining forces of the Universe," "exceeding the limitations of the human body via grotesque metamorphoses" and "ill-advised dabbling with supernatural intelligences." I protest their slanderous satire. The eccentric yet often brilliant experiments of the Aquarian tribe suggest that some forms of mad science result in good and beautiful works. And it’s a perfect time for you to prove me right. You’re poised to collaborate ingeniously with the life-sustaining forces of the universe, transcend limitations through graceful metamorphoses and enjoy useful communications with supernatural intelligences.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The last six weeks have been brought to you by BeerCoffee, the elixir that relaxes your defenses and pumps up your ambition. You’ve been the perfect poster child for this amazing product — a dramatic example of what happens when a sensitive soul mellows out and gets excited at the same time. The good folks at BeerCoffee thank you for your excellent role modeling, and wish you well during the next phase of your development, when you’ll be exploring the opportunities that have been blasted open by your paradoxical brilliance. Write a page of praise about a person you don’t want anything from. Send it to

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