Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I suggest you deal creatively with budding tension between you and your allies. Maybe you could convince them to get down on the floor with you and tussle like puppies. Or how about organizing a game of paintball? Gather together in someone’s backyard and throw rocks at dishes, bottles, and old TVs. Or stage a Lying Contest in which everyone competes to tell the most outrageous whoppers. Any one of these strategies will go far towards ensuring the success of joint ventures in the coming weeks.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Mathematician Paul Erdos used to describe himself as a ‘machine for turning coffee into theorems,’" writes philosopher Helena Cronin at "In much the same way, genes are machines for turning oxygen, water, light, zinc, calcium and iron into bears, beetles, bacteria or bluebells." It’s a perfect time, Taurus, to apply this way of thinking to yourself. By the end of this week, see if you can fill in the blanks in the following sentence: "I am a machine for turning _______ into _______." In other words, define the nature of the alchemical magic you are here on Earth to carry out.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, Gemini poet Dante Alighieri described Hell as having nine levels, each deeper in the earth and each filled with more terrible sinners than the one above it. Condemned to the eighth level, along with liars, pimps, hypocrites and frauds, were astrologers. Yet in another book, The Convivio, Dante revered astrology as the highest and most noble of all the sciences. Was he confused? No. He believed that though astrology is a high and noble science, some of its practitioners abuse it so dreadfully they give it a bad name. Can you do what Dante did, Gemini? Can you comfortably hold big paradoxes? I hope so. Wherever you seem to see nonsensical incongruities this week, you will need to penetrate deeper and understand better.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): One of the things I like best about the Dalai Lama (our fellow Crab) is his practical approach to spirituality. An interviewer once urged him to discourse on how to cultivate loving kindness. His Holiness said something like, "That may be too much to ask. How about if we just work on getting the ‘kindness’ part right?" I bring this up, Cancerian, because the astrological omens suggest that there’s nothing more important for you in the coming week than to be charitable and helpful. It doesn’t matter whether or not you feel charitable and helpful; be that way anyway.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In Norway, women comprise 40 percent of the government, and state-owned businesses are required to have at least 40 percent of their board seats filled by women. Private companies will have to meet this standard by 2005. In contrast, 14 percent of the U.S. government is female, while American women hold 13 percent of their country’s corporate board seats. If you’re thinking what I am, the government and corporations of our country desperately need a makeover. I nominate the Leo tribe to lead the charge in the coming months. The astrological omens suggest that whatever gender you are, you will have an enhanced ability to promote females and feminine values in any sphere where you have influence.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Jack Nicklaus had more major tournament wins than any other golfer in history. Skill and practice were at the heart of his athletic prowess, but on at least one occasion he tapped into a more mysterious source of power. In 1973, he got into an uncharacteristic slump that had him stumped. Then one night he had a dream in which he experimented with a new grip on his clubs. When he went to the golf course the next morning, he tried the dream’s suggestion. It worked; his funk ended. I hope you’ll draw inspiration from Nicklaus’ example, Virgo. If you start drawing a blank in your area of expertise, be willing to call on help you’d normally never seek — maybe even the woo-woo kind.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I invoke Kwan Yin, Chinese goddess of compassion, and ask her to receive the cry of your heart. I pray to Agni, Hindu god of fire, that he might arouse and feed your most catalytic creativity. I summon Bast, Egyptian goddess of play, to show you how to deepen your commitment to life by having more fun. Finally, I offer a bribe to Lilith, Pagan trickster goddess, in the hope that she will steal one of your inhibitions and reveal to you the location of an erogenous zone you’ve neglected.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Astrologer Steven Forrest says that you Scorpios are experts at picking the locks to your unconscious minds. Many of the other signs prefer to keep their hidden depths off-limits, but you are inexhaustible explorers, always burrowing down further into the Scary Unknown to discover more clues to the Great Mystery. Libras may specialize in fostering beauty and harmony, and Cancers are masters of nurturing, but your sign is adept at busting taboos and undoing repression. I hope you’re ready to live up to your reputation, because the coming weeks will be prime time for your signature brand of soul retrieval.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The way politicians create legislation is akin to how the meat industry makes sausage. The average person might like or benefit from the result, but she’d really prefer not to know how it’s done or what goes into it. Though you may not be a sausage-maker or politician, Sagittarius, I foresee a similar kind of process occupying your attention in the coming week. Your challenge will be to patch together a workable, maybe even attractive outcome by taking care of all the messy details with discreet integrity.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It’s prime time for you to steal good ideas from creative innovators and use them to enhance your life. The right influences — bright and beautiful and benevolent influences — can lead to rapid progress. Copy the styles of fashion adepts, Capricorn. Borrow the successful methods that your competitors and cohorts have employed at their jobs. Read stories about people who are skilled at the art of living, and adopt their strategies as your own. You should always give credit to your sources, of course. The point is not to pretend you’re the most original thinker in the history of the world, but to make yourself happier and freer.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In the last 50 years, America’s Great Plains area has lost a third of its population, due largely to the disappearance of family farms. People are moving out in droves. Ghost towns are proliferating. From one perspective, that’s sad, but from another, it’s cause for celebration: The wilderness is returning in some places, and vast herds of buffalo once again roam the land. Is there any chance you’d consider initiating a comparable transformation in your inner realms during the coming weeks, Aquarius? Personally, I’d like to see some of your over-civilized parts revert to the natural state and the astrological omens agree.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The task you’ll be faced with this week reminds me of what Australian TV personality Steve Irwin did a few weeks ago. No, you won’t have to literally stand next to a 13-foot crocodile and feed it a hunk of meat by hand while cradling a baby in your other arm. But you may very well have to be fierce and tender at the same time, or wild and protective, or daring and loving. Homework: Around February 2 every year, pagans make a pledge to the Goddess about what their main intention will be in the coming year. What’s yours? Testify at

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