Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The opportunity that’s available to you may not be entirely appealing to your pride. It would require you to place yourself in service of a force that’s greater than you. I compare it to the role played by Steve Williams, the caddie for golf superstar Tiger Woods. Carrying around a bag of golf clubs may not seem glamorous, but Williams earns as much as $1 million a year doing it for Woods.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Novelist Ursula K. Le Guin decries the linear perspective that dominates modern storytelling. She says it’s "like an arrow, starting here and going straight there and THOK! hitting its mark." Furthermore, she complains, plots are usually advanced through conflict, as if interesting action can’t possibly arise without it. Your assignment in the coming week, Taurus, is to rebel against these oppressive conventions. Boycott any story whose narrative drive is fueled primarily by painful events. Protest movies that imply most human experiences are fraught with difficulty and resolved neatly. Most importantly, look back and celebrate the luminous mysteries that have shaped your life story that didn’t lead to tidy conclusions, the adventures whose success was built on sweet breakthroughs rather than triumphs over suffering.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Since your life has more than a slight resemblance to a chess match these days, I’m calling upon grandmaster Victor Korchnoi to talk a little strategy. "I like to coax my opponents into attacking," he says, "to let them taste the joy of the initiative, so that they may get carried away, become careless and sacrifice material." Please meditate on how you might adopt this approach for your next gambit, Gemini. It’s time, in my astrological opinion, for some smart mischief.

VANQUISHER (aka CANCER) (June 21-July 22): Have you ever thought about becoming an astrologer? This would be an ideal time to explore the possibilities. For that matter, you will attract grace and synchronicity if you do anything to expand your understanding of how big archetypal forces interact with our little personal lives. Reading books by psychologist Carl Jung or mythologist Joseph Campbell would be excellent for your health. So would doing a meditation session under the night sky or contemplating your dreams as you take in a planetarium show. The cosmos is reflected in your psyche, and vice versa. Look everywhere for evidence that it’s true.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In Grimms’ version of the fairy tale, "Sleeping Beauty," all the trouble stemmed from a seemingly minor mistake: The king and queen invited 12 of the realm’s fairies to their daughter’s party, but ignored the 13th simply because they only had 12 gold plates. This last fairy came anyway, angrily crashing the feast and casting a curse as vengeance for her snub. Don’t make a similar gaffe this week, Leo. Even if your personal equivalent of the 13th fairy is an awkward character or a disruptive presence, you need that influence right now. And the practical fact of the matter is that if you don’t welcome it, it’ll mess with you; if you do welcome it, it’ll bless you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Speaking on your behalf, I hereby give notice to the cosmos that it must try harder to please you. Its roundabout approach to helping you fulfill your dreams must become more direct and straightforward — or else! Specifically, I demand that the gods, fates or dispensers of karma must, no later than March 13, 2004, begin to provide you with a steady stream of satisfying interpersonal encounters. This must include, though it is not limited to, more tender intimacy, more engaging friendships and more interesting conversations.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You still have a chance to avoid that Pyrrhic victory you’re spiraling towards. For those of you without a dictionary nearby, a "Pyrrhic victory" is defined as a costly triumph, useless advantage, or empty success. What’s your best bet for avoiding it? First, start thinking of what your soul needs rather than what your ego craves. Second, forget about trying to provide balance to a distorted situation that’s too fixed to be influenced. Third, become aware of how your focus on what you dislike is reinforcing what you dislike.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Dear Rob Brezsny: As much as I enjoy reading your stuff, I have to admit that I almost always have to do the opposite of whatever you advise. It’s just my nature. So here’s my request: Could you write a horrorscope for those of us Scorpios who are backwards — the negatively aligned people? —Knee-jerk Rebel in Sacramento." Dear Knee-jerk: Your wish is hereby granted. This week you should avoid all experiences that might result in you experiencing heaping doses of love and liberation. Repress the warm, sexy emotions welling up inside you. Devote yourself to boring tasks that make you feel numb.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Are you ready to negotiate with the chaotic, confusing feelings you usually hide from? Would you consider tunneling down into your soul’s darkest pit and hunting for the hidden treasure there? Here are a few morsels to take with you on your journey. 1.) "That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate." —Jung. 2.) "Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave." —Rilke. 3.) "The great epochs in our lives are at the points when we gain the courage to rebaptize our badness as the best in us." —Nietzsche.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I’m guessing that your senses are heightened yet on the verge of being overwhelmed. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you’re going through a phase that at its best might be called a medley and at its most challenging a hodgepodge. It has resemblances to the sibuxiang, a mythic Chinese animal with the head of a dragon, antlers of a deer, tail of a lion, hooves of an ox, and body covered with fishy scales. So is there anything you can do to ensure that you use this time to stir up innovative solutions to long-standing problems? Here’s one suggestion: Once a day for five minutes, close your eyes and visualize yourself pulling off rodeo tricks while riding an exuberant sibuxiang.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It’s check-in time, Aquarius. What progress have you been making in your work on this year’s major assignment? As I suggested last December, everything you thought you knew about commitment is due for a major overhaul. Before 2004 is over, you must transform the way you weave your fortunes together with worthy allies. By now, you should be at least halfway through this extended turning point; you should have shed outworn ideas about collaboration and conjured up fresh approaches. The next stage of the process begins soon: wherein you formally break off pacts with erratic and emotionally unavailable people, and seal deals with responsible, emotionally intelligent people.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Imagine that your life is a detective story. The goal is not to solve a crime, but to solve the mystery of why you’re here on earth so you can carry out the special mission you’ve come to accomplish. Sometimes you go for months without even looking for clues. You sleepwalk through the world, reacting blindly to the tricks that the gods use to try to wake you up. Then there are those phases when hot leads and fresh evidence pop up all over the place, convincing you beyond a doubt that magic is one of the fundamental properties of reality. This is one of those times, Pisces. Here’s this week’s homework: If you had to live anywhere besides where you are, where would it be and why? Explain at

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