Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Don’t try to rob a bank this week, Aries. The astrological omens indicate you’d have a very low chance of succeeding — and besides, it’s wrong. I also discourage you from buying hundreds of lottery tickets, selling your childhood collection of Barbie dolls or baseball cards, or wheedling your aging relatives into giving you your inheritance before they die. The cosmic forces *are* showing signs of coalescing in a way that will bring you financial gain. But in my opinion they’ll only do so if you sit down and plot out a sensible, disciplined, ethical master plan.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your most important accomplishment this year has been a deepening of your capacity for love. That alone should inspire you to leap up in the air and sing a song of joy. More and more you understand that in order to get the passionate affection you want, you simply have to give the passionate affection you want. If you continue to expand your generosity in the coming months, Taurus, you will receive a flood of evidence about how beautiful you really are. That, in turn, will ensure that the influences you want to bring into your life will also be good for you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It’s molting time, Gemini. If you were a bird, you’d lose your worn-out feathers and sprout a fresh batch. If you were a snake, you’d shed your old skin to make way for the new. If you were a lobster, you’d slough off your exoskeleton because it was constraining your ability to grow, then replace it with a bigger version. Maybe some aspect of your persona needs to be cast off. Or maybe some armor that previously shielded you has begun to cramp your style. It won’t happen overnight, and you’ll feel vulnerable during the transition. But the process is perfectly normal; indeed, it’s essential for your health.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The DuPont company has patents on 17 varieties of corn. Yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury has copyrighted and trademarked his poses and breathing techniques. Corporations are acquiring private ownership of fresh water that once belonged to local communities. McDonald’s virtually owns the prefix "Mc," and sues new businesses with names that begin with those two letters. In the entrepreneurial spirit of these big thinkers, and by the authority of the planetary gods, I hereby present you Cancerians with full possession of the Dionysian spirit, good for the next four weeks. Now go party harder and smarter than you’ve ever dared.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol was, like you, born under the sign of Leo. One of his goals in life was to blur the distinction between fine art and pop culture. The fact that his paintings of Campbell’s soup cans hang in prestigious museums proves he succeeded. My analysis of the astrological omens suggests that you’d be wise to imitate his method this week. In whatever way is most fun for you, bring high and low together; blend what’s sophisticated and casual; do experiments that synthesize the sublime and the ordinary.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You have two options to choose from, Virgo. The contrast between them reminds me of the difference between two singers, Norah Jones and Ani DiFranco. Jones’s work is "tasteful and listenable," said *the New York Times,* though "Nothing much happens in her songs." About Ani DiFranco, *the New York Times* noted that "It’s worth putting up with a few overbearing moments to hear someone so willing to take chances." *Billboard* said DiFranco’s latest CD is "raw — for better (the immediacy of the performance) and worse (traces of off-key harmonies)." So which way will you go, Virgo: Bland and classy like Jones, or rough and stimulating like DiFranco?

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It’s time to rise up and fight back, Libra. Maybe there used to be semi-good reasons for you to endure the abuse, but they have become irrelevant. Draw inspiration from the Brazilian crowds that beat up the sharks that were stalking swimmers at a Rio de Janeiro beach. Be as fierce as the Philadelphia schoolgirls who pursued and pummeled the pervert who’d been exposing himself to them.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Back in 1987, my life in Santa Cruz was carefree. I loved being an unemployed bohemian with lots of leisure time to write poetry and play music. One summer day, while working on a new song, I heard my doorbell ring. Opening the door, I found a man in a hooded trench coat aiming a slingshot at me. As my heart raced, he lowered the slingshot, removed his hood, and chuckled, "Made you flinch!" It was my Scorpio pal, Fred. He said he couldn’t stay — had just come by to make sure I wasn’t getting too comfortable. When he left, I went into a creative frenzy and wrote three songs in an hour. In the coming week, I foresee you encountering a milder version of Fred’s style of inspiration, which will unleash a similar burst of productive energy.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It’s time to update that pessimistic set of formulas known as Murphy’s Laws. In the old version, the rule was: "If anything can go wrong, it will." The new, improved version, which you will soon exemplify, is "If anything can go wrong, it will, but in correcting it you will stumble upon a lucky break you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise." Here are other Murphy’s Laws to revise, Sagittarius. Old version: "Everything takes longer than you think." New version: "Everything takes longer than you think, which is a good thing, because if it took only as long as you thought, you wouldn’t be doing it right."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If you’re average, 90 industrial compounds and pollutants are circulating through your body. You also have the residues of 20 million advertisements and 200,000 televised acts of violence stored in your brain. That’s the bad news, Capricorn. The good news is that you’ll soon have an abundance of experiences that are highly effective at neutralizing toxins. I’m referring to encounters with play, delight and love. Rejoice in the fact that every time you grin, giggle, or chuckle in the coming weeks, you’ll purge a nasty influence that had been sapping your energy. A single belly laugh could flush out 50,000 commercials.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): John Goldhammer is a psychotherapist who specializes in working with patients’ dreams. Over the course of 25 years, he has concluded that there is one sure way to free yourself from a recurring nightmare: Stop running away from the monster that’s chasing you. The moment you’re able to change your behavior in the dream — to turn and face the monster, maybe even embrace it or give it a gift — the haunting will end; you’ll never have the nightmare again. I’d like you to apply this approach in your waking life, Aquarius: Turn and face the uncomfortable truth that’s plaguing you. Maybe even express your love and gratitude for it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Geminis often get credited with being the most versatile sign of the zodiac, but you Pisceans are strong competitors for the title. These days, in fact, your patron saint is the recently deceased George Plimpton. That chameleon- like bon vivant, who had four planets in Pisces, was not only a writer. He also performed as a circus trapeze artist and stand-up comedian, played percussion in a symphony, drove racecars, acted in movies and TV, and competed in exhibition games with professional boxers and football players. Are you ready to claim more of your astrological potential with a Plimpton-like exuberance? Here’s this week’s homework: Of all the ridiculous situations you’ve ever been in, which one is your favorite? Testify at

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