Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to my reading of the astrological omens, you need to feel high levels of both reverence and exuberance in the coming week. You’ll thrive whenever you can experience awe and rowdy happiness in the same setting. Here’s one possible way to achieve that: Dance in a church, synagogue, mosque, oak grove, mountaintop or meditation sanctuary. Take a boom box or Walkman with you, and move your beautiful body with sacred, uproarious grace.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I almost always discourage you from feeding your anxieties. The worrisome specters that sometimes eat away at your imagination only rarely have much resemblance to what’s actually happening. But I’m going to make a departure from my usual practice this week. During the brief transition period ahead, your fears have the potential to make you stronger and wiser. You will find power in marshaling measured responses to any influence that seems to oppose you. Here’s the paradox: You’re not in any real danger, but it will be useful for you to act as if you are.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Your horoscope this week is brought to you by Wendell Berry’s poem, "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front," which appeared in his book, *The Country of Marriage*. It’s the perfect gift for you during your unbirthday season, when you have a mandate to go against the grain. Here’s an excerpt. "Friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. Practice resurrection."

CANCER (June 21-July 22): One of my favorite prophets, John Hogue, thinks you Crabs can get lost in your dreamy visions at the expense of your commitment to the real world. Your karmic lesson, he says, is to "transcend your attachments to sweet but isolating illusions." I believe the coming months will offer you an excellent chance to accomplish this. If you’re open to the truth, the real world will actually be more fun and interesting than your fantasy world. And the week ahead will provide you with a vivid opportunity to start the transition.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Playing off the concept of deja vu, comedian George Carlin has proposed a variation: *vuja de,* or "the uncanny feeling that none of this has ever happened before." Write that term on the back of your hand, Leo. Imprint it on your mind’s eye. *Vuja de* will be your operative theme for the coming week. You’ll see events you’ve never seen and feel emotions that maybe no one in the history of the planet has ever felt. If you’re ever tempted to repeat yourself or get bogged down in familiarity, stop what you’re doing immediately. Take full advantage of this unprecedented chance to cultivate beginner’s mind.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I turn your attention to Cory Doctorow’s review of Neal Stephenson’s three-volume "Baroque Cycle." Writing for, Doctorow says Stephenson’s books are like good curry. "They’re mild and interesting when you first taste them, but after you’ve swallowed, they grow on you, spreading a warm fire throughout your digestive system, making beads of sweat appear on your forehead." This is an excellent description of the experiences you’ll be invited to enjoy in the coming week, Virgo. They’ll go down easy and ultimately make you hot with inspiration.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In a past incarnation, it’s possible that you were imprisoned or burned at the stake for expressing your beliefs. That might help explain why you’re sometimes reluctant to speak your mind with total candor in this life. But you can’t afford to let that ancient inhibition rule you now, Libra. Somehow you’ve got to find the courage to express your core truths with unflinching clarity. To do so won’t lead to a punishment nearly as severe as what you may have suffered in that previous lifetime, but there may still be a bit of hell to pay. The tradeoff will strengthen your soul in ways you can’t imagine.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The entrance to my local post office is an odd set of double doors. One of the doors is of normal width, but the other is bizarrely narrow, like something out of *Alice in Wonderland*. The only way I can use it is to turn sideways and squeeze through it. I believe this is an apt symbol for the metaphorical door you will have to negotiate in the coming week, Scorpio. As you approach it, you may feel bothered by its illogical and inconvenient construction. You may even be inclined to take it personally, as an affront to your dignity. Avoid those reactions. Just turn sideways and squeeze through as best as you can, suppressing the urge to complain. That will prepare you perfectly for the weird but good luck that awaits you on the other side.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Let’s say, hypothetically, that you came into possession of an instrument that might allow you to wield supernatural power: a magic wand, for example, or an Aladdin’s lamp or ruby slippers like the kind Dorothy had in The Wizard of Oz. But let’s also hypothesize that the instrument had a quality that made it problematic for you to use: Maybe the wand was six feet long, weighed 200 pounds and was hard to pick up, let alone wave around. What then? I suspect that the vignette I just outlined is an apt metaphor for the dilemma you will soon face. There *is* a solution that will allow you to tap into the mojo of the magic instrument, but you’ll be have to be dogged and ingenious to discover it.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Ernest Hemingway didn’t find it easy to let go of his novel, *A Farewell to Arms*. He revised the last page 39 times. Like Hemingway, Capricorn, you have been displaying a bit of obsessive-compulsive behavior as you put the finishing touches on your long-term projects. But according to my understanding of the astrological omens, you shouldn’t allow closing time to last beyond Dec. 18. Please try to wrap everything up by then. If there are still a few messy details that are driving you half-crazy on Dec. 19, forget about them as best as you can.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It’s always a smart idea to be kind, but especially so right now. Your benevolent acts are desperately needed by the people whose lives you touch. Being generous is also important for the sake of your own selfish needs; you won’t meet your appointed date with destiny unless you’re unrestrained in doling out blessings. By the way, kindness is much more than doing nice, polite deeds. It’s also about stirring up surprising acts of beauty, imaginative eruptions of love, and artful expressions of liberation.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I am pleased to inform you that you have been granted a special dispensation in the coming week: a temporary exemption from cosmic compulsion. During this grace period, fate will have a dramatically reduced power to whip you around like a rag doll in a gale. You will be virtually immune to the ravages of peer pressure, guilt trips and the nagging little voices in your head. While it is, of course, impossible to completely escape the tyranny of the clock, you *will* experience a release from the most ignominious debilitations of that tyranny. In fact, you may have more free will than you’ve ever had before. In the days ahead, playtime is never over. Here’s this week’s homework: What non-material object would you most like to receive as a gift this holiday season? Write:

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