Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): For too long, grace has eluded you; you have had to fight your way through life. But now your luck is about to turn; your soul will get the refreshment it needs. To celebrate, imagine you’re the one speaking in this poem by Theodore Roethke: "Near the rose, in this grove of sun-parched, wind-warped madrones/Among the half-dead trees, I came upon the true ease of myself,/As if another person appeared out of the depths of my being,/And I stood outside myself, Beyond becoming and perishing./A something wholly other,/As if I swayed out on the wildest wave alive,/And yet was still./And I rejoiced in being what I was."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the first Matrix movie, the central character, Thomas "Neo" Anderson, gradually begins to suspect that his entire understanding of reality is a delusion. At a key moment, a mysterious ally named Morpheus offers him a choice between two pills. If Neo takes the red pill, Morpheus tells him, he will be able to see the truth he has been blind to. If he swallows the blue pill, he will sink comfortably back into the lie he has been living. I see the coming weeks as a comparable turning point for you, Taurus. Which will it be, the red pill or the blue pill?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I’ll tell you a little cosmic secret, Gemini. One of the best ways to stay on top — which is where you are now, right? — is to keep paying homage to the bottom. So as you harvest your good fortune in the coming weeks, I suggest you express your gratitude for the painful experiences that have taught you how to thrive. While basking in the glow of people’s praise and attention, recall the parts of you that are still unripe. When you come home after a day of radiant success, take out the garbage.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Last century, Walt Disney coined a word for the inventive engineers who designed the rides and attractions for Disneyland: imagineers. In anticipation of the creativity I expect will flow through you this week, Cancerian, I’m going to describe you, too, as an imagineer. It’s not that I expect you to literally invent a radical new variation on a roller coaster or anything. But there’s a good chance you’ll come up with brilliant innovations in the way you have fun.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): What’s the best way to get yourself in sync with the plans that the Goddess has for you? Follow poet Robert Bly’s admonition to "poke holes in your habits." Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Strike up a conversation with a person you’d normally ignore. Write with your non-dominant hand. Try a food you’ve never tasted. Sprinkle seldom-used words like "sublime," "curiosity" and "reverence" into your conversation. Walk backwards now and then. Slap a crafty grin on your face and wish for something impossible.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Don’t sit there passively, Virgo, hoping that fate will be nice to you. Be aggressive about cultivating good fortune. Drum up and track down the lucky breaks you need. To get you in the mood, I’ve infused the rest of this horoscope with subliminal suggestions that are scientifically formulated to make you a magnet for favors and synchronicities. (Combustion luster verve blaze.) They will set in motion shifts in your inner chemistry that will help other people see how beautiful you are. (Luminous flourish lucid mojo.) Soon you’ll be tuning in to evidence that life is actually conspiring for you to succeed. (Lightning splendor wake-up fuel.)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I’m always on the lookout for real heroes. Not the celebrities, athletes and other fake heroes endlessly hyped by the mainstream media, but brave innovators who show courageous flair in standing up for what’s right. The good news is that I recently located an actual hero and he’s a Libra. It’s Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco, a Rosa Parks-like figure in the crusade to extend a full array of civil liberties to gays. In his calm fight for fairness and in his artful approach to breaking an absurd taboo against joy and passion, he has embodied the highest expression of your sign’s potentials. I recommend that you imitate his approach in your own sphere during the coming weeks.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In his book, America As Empire: Global Leader or Rogue Power?, Jim Garrison says America has changed from being a republic to an imperial empire. How will America wield its global power? Will it be a bully using brute force to serve its narrow economic aims? Or will it be a gracious sovereign, leading a movement to bring democracy and freedom to every corner of the globe? In my view, Scorpio, you’re facing a small-scale version of this dilemma in your personal sphere. How will you handle the weighty responsibilities that accompany your increasing clout? Will you mostly indulge your selfish interests, or will you work for the good of all?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It took six years for Mark Salzman to write his novel, Lying Awake. When it was done, he told The New Yorker about the tortures he’d put himself through as he fought against writer’s block. During one stretch, he shut out distracting sounds by wrapping a towel around his head. To discourage his cats from crawling on his lap as he wrote, he covered his lower body with aluminum foil. But nothing worked until he fled to a quiet cabin in the woods. "It was like waking from a bad dream," he said, "the removal of all the reminders of art as a profession, as a way of making money or gaining a reputation. The book wrote itself in five weeks." I suspect that after enduring a period akin to Salzman’s arduous warm-up, Sagittarius, you’re about to have a cathartic five-week breakthrough of your own.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your imminent future reminds me of the archaeologists in Scotland who celebrated when they thought they found the remains of a ninth-century Viking village. Upon further review, however, they realized it was actually the site of a suburban patio from the 1940s. Like them, Capricorn, you will probably be disappointed in your initial forays into the mysterious depths; what you unearth will rouse hopes that are quickly dashed. Unlike the archaeologists, though, you will eventually locate treasure lying beneath the discredited discovery — if you keep digging, that is.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Be born into the right family. Choose your chromosomes wisely." So begins a list in which Aquarian heiress Paris Hilton details her secrets of success. "Develop a way of entering a room that looks almost royal — but NOT snobby," she continues. "Never have only one cell phone when you can have many. Eat only the worst junk food or the most fabulous food there is, but nothing in between." I offer you these definitions, Aquarius, in the hope that they’ll inspire you to compose your own list. It’s an ideal time for you to get very specific about how you plan to achieve happiness and fulfillment.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It’s check-in time, Pisces. What progress have you been making in your work on this year’s major assignment? As I suggested last December, 2004 will be prime time for learning much, much more about the arts of intimacy. So have you been shedding bad habits and unripe attitudes that in the past interfered with your ability to get the closeness you want? Have you vowed to seek unions only with emotionally intelligent people who take responsibility for their own darkness? Here’s this week’s homework: If you became ruler of the world, what three decrees would you issue immediately to begin the mass healing? Write:

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