Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): *Machismo* is a term that refers to the aggressive demonstration of stereotypical masculine qualities. *Feminismo,* on the other hand, signifies a potent expression of what are usually thought of as feminine traits. These include sensitivity, receptivity, emotional intelligence, nurturing and a skill for building relationships. This will be important for you to keep in mind in the coming months, because 2005 will be the Year of Feminismo for both Aries men and women. Are you ready to supercharge your feminine qualities?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): All of us have a dark side — a part of our psyches that is unripe, a bit crazed and out of synch with our highest values. If you try to suppress it or deny its existence, it controls you surreptitiously. If you acknowledge its presence and cultivate a relationship with it, you may be able to harness some of its raw power for good causes. You’ve got to give it voice without allowing it to possess you. I mention all of this, Taurus, because 2005 should be the year you refine the role that your dark side plays in your life.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): To guide your journey in 2005, I’ve selected two quotes. I suggest you write them out and keep them in your wallet or under your pillow for the next ten months. The first is from mythologist Joseph Campbell: "The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature." Your second keynote comes from the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu: "Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found." Now here’s your homework, Gemini: Meditate on how these themes articulate two angles of approach to the same joyful work.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Since 1991, my Cancerian friend Jared has donated blood to a local blood bank 105 times. He volunteers as a big brother to fatherless kids and donates 20 percent of his salary to charity. Yet I’ve never once heard him ask anyone for help. Vanessa, another Cancerian friend, compulsively takes care of all her friends, bringing them home-cooked meals and thoughtful gifts whenever they’re down. I know she suffers bouts of depression herself sometimes, but as far as I’m aware, no one brings her treats. Jared and Vanessa are going to be the poster children for my crusade to bring balance to your life in 2005. You must expand your capacity to accept assistance and blessings from other people.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): This should be the year you devote yourself to the maddening and glorious details, Leo. I encourage you to dive into the mysteries of intricacy as you master the thousand and one practical matters that will ultimately make your dreams come true. You might want to memorize the following quote from philosopher William James: "I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillaries."

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I’m not given to extravagant tastes, but I do allow myself one unreasonable habit: a craving for organic grapes in the wintertime. If they’re available in the stores at all, two bunches of pesticide-free Concords can set me back as much as a three-course meal at my favorite Thai restaurant. But they’re good for me, and I’m pretty self-controlled the rest of the time, so I regard my appetite for the grapes as an acceptable form of self-indulgence. I mention this, Virgo, because I believe you have cosmic permission in 2005 to raise your quota of healthy greed. I suggest you brainstorm right now about the salubrious pleasures you plan to demand more of in the coming months.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Curiosity did not kill the cat," reports John Olson in *Free Stream Velocity*, his book of prose poems. "Boredom killed the cat." Let that be your rallying cry in 2005, Libra. In the coming months you will have a sacred duty to elude all situations that make your eyes glaze over. To meet your dates with destiny, you must not tolerate BLAH or HO-HUM in any form. "Curiosity was born with the universe," Olson reminds you. "It redeems and is erotic."

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Srinivasa Ramanujan was one of India’s greatest mathematical geniuses. He lacked formal training and his work was thought peculiar by his fellow mathematicians, but he made dramatic breakthroughs. He attributed his success to the Hindu goddess Namakkal. She appeared regularly in his dreams, where she revealed innovative formulas he had only to verify when he awoke. I hereby appoint Ramanujan to be your official role model for 2005. May he inspire you in your quest to establish a practical alliance with a benevolent deity, imaginary friend or guardian angel.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Before the U.S. election a few weeks ago, *What Is Enlightenment?* magazine asked five religious leaders, "Many people argue that the upcoming presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. Do you agree?" Four respondents said, in effect, "Yes, because Bush is bad for America and the world." But the fifth, Zen Buddhist Jan Chozen Roshi, replied, "I don’t know. Our existence is so short, it’s like a dust mote in the eye of God. To say that the time in which my dust mote existed was the most important is a self-centered view." Roshi’s wisdom reminded me of an anecdote told by Henry Kissinger, who once asked Chinese premier Zhou Enlai what he thought of the French Revolution, which had happened two centuries earlier. "Too soon to tell," Chou answered. Keep these stories in mind in 2005, Sagittarius. Think often of long-term processes. Focus on the *very* big picture.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The coming year will be a perfect time for you to write your autobiography, or even your autohagiography. You will also attract cosmic favors if you create a new mission statement and an updated manifesto summing up your philosophy of life. Re-examine and revise your life story in 2005, Capricorn. Get in the habit of imagining yourself as the star of a hero’s journey. For extra credit, heed the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Make your own Bible. Collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like a blast of triumph."

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Irregularity and unpredictability are important features of health," wrote John R. Van Eenwyk in his *Quest* magazine article, "The Chaotic Dynamics of Everyday Life." "On the other hand," he continued, "decreased variability and accentuated periodicities are associated with disease. Healthy systems don’t want homeostasis. They want chaos." Do you dare act as if this is true, Aquarius? Do you have the courage to live with greater uncertainty, knowing that it’s good for you? The coming year will be a perfect time to figure out how to change your mind in such a way so as to accomplish this noble trick.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A study at McGill University concluded that moms and dads who launch screaming fights in front of their kids may actually be helping them. Listening to their parents yelling often makes children more imaginative because it forces them into a fantasy world to escape. Can you think of similar reversals in your own life, Pisces — difficult events that have ultimately served you? The coming year will be an ideal time to redeem these gifts from the past. Be constantly on the lookout for ways you can use old traumas and setbacks as sources of inspirational power. Here’s this week’s homework: Happiness, that elusive beast, sometimes needs to be tracked through the bushes before capture. Send a description of your plan for hunting down happiness in 2005. Write to

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