Free Will Astrology

May 24, 2006 at 12:00 am
ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Donald Rumsfeld never listens to anything except the voices inside his own head," wrote San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll. Though this is an unfortunate situation, given the fact that the U.S. Secretary of Defense has so much power over others, it is not all that uncommon. From time to time, all of us get temporarily hypnotized by the rants of the little voices in our heads. You’re especially at risk for that to happen in the near future, Aries. There are two things you can do to ensure it doesn’t. First, cultivate an ironic distance toward those inner voices. Evaluate what they say with rigorous objectivity. Second, listen really hard to people who are both thoughtful and humble.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Surveys show that 21 percent of the population says they’re "regularly bored out of their minds." If those surveys included astrological data in their research, I bet they’d find that among Tauruses who suffer bouts of boredom, 85 percent are most susceptible to that state during the end of May and the first half of June. That’s why I encourage you to make dramatic efforts to keep yourself stimulated and amused in the coming days. Don’t fall prey to the lowest common denominator of plain old ordinary fate. Use your imagination to fill your schedule with novelty, intrigue, learning experiences and high adventure.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to change the world?" That’s the question asked by Marc Hedlund in the intro to his "Proverbs for Entrepreneurs" ( Since you’re experiencing new opportunities to bring more entrepreneurial spirit into your life and work, I thought I’d offer you a few of his suggestions. 1) Give people what they really need, not necessarily what they say they need. 2) If you keep your brilliant ideas secret for fear they’ll be stolen, people will hide their brilliant ideas from you. 3) Great things are made by people who share a passion, not by partners who have been talked into it.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Every one of us has at some time in the past created a monstrous thing — a terrible relationship, a big mistake in judgment or a wrong move that damaged our credibility, integrity or income. According to my reading of the astrological omens, it’s a perfect time for you to atone for your own personal monstrosity — to make amends, seek forgiveness and fix what’s possible to correct. I also urge you to analyze the unconscious patterns that led you to act in such a distorted way.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Author and peace activist Anne Herbert coined the suggestion, "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." Recently I found myself driving behind a battered blue truck with a bumper sticker that had a variation on that advice: "Commit random acts of beautiful coolness." Now, just in time for your "season of ingenious compassion," Leo, I have borrowed from them both to create an oracle that’s in perfect alignment with your astrological omens: Commit random acts of the coolest kindness and most intriguing beauty you can dream up.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Have you heard of the Lorax, the fuzzy yellow hero of the Dr. Seuss story? When a greedy factory owner moves into his idyllic little paradise and begins despoiling the forest, the Lorax complains on its behalf, saying, "I speak for the trees, because the trees have no tongues." Be like the Lorax, Virgo. Stand up for those who are too meek or weak or inarticulate to defend their own interests. It’s the right thing to do — and by doing so you will make connections that generate lucky breaks for you.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): William Vollman is an author who travels the world in search of crazy experiences to write about. In the course of his adventures, he has lived with prostitutes in Cambodia, hung out with rebel insurgents in Afghanistan, and almost died on two occasions. Despite having lived the equivalent of 10 lifetimes, however, he’s not jaded. Reviewing his work in The New York Review of Books, Michael Wood says Vollman has "seen it all but he still hasn’t lost his innocence." Your assignment right now is to achieve a Vollman-esque state of open-minded freshness as you seek out adventures that are as feisty (though not as risky) as Vollman’s.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): According to mythologist Michael Meade, real warriors are those who are experts at avoiding violence. They know how to prevent the escalation of conflict. They’re skilled at resolving problems before they explode. In fact, Meade says, war breaks out only when there are no authentic warriors involved in the situation. In this spirit, Scorpio, I exhort you to cultivate your skills as a warrior. You can be instrumental in dispersing the brewing tension well before it erupts into a brawl.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In 2005, a band called the Mountain Goats released the album The Sunset Tree. They dedicated it "to young men and women anywhere who live with people who abuse them." In this spirit, I’m dedicating your horoscope to those of you who promise to sever your connection to people who abuse you and to those of you who vow to never again tolerate a relationship with anyone who treats you with chronic disrespect. The next eight weeks will be prime time for you to ask for more good magic from all your intimate alliances.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Twice a year you enter a short-lived phase in your astrological cycle when tough challenges are the best gifts you can possibly receive. This is one of those times. To honor this richly disconcerting moment, I offer you three gems from sages who understood how to get the most out of their trials. Psychologist C.G. Jung: "We need difficulties; they are necessary for our health." French diplomat Jean Monnet: "If you have a problem you cannot solve, enlarge the context." Albert Einstein: "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Your power animal is the queen bee, which lays up to 2,000 eggs a day in the spring. Like her, you are stupendously fertile. In fact, you’re capable of so much creative expression that it could take months for you to ripen all the new life that you’re now spawning. Just because you have this potential, however, doesn’t guarantee that you will use it well or completely. There’s a first important step you can take to help ensure that you do: Treat yourself with the same care and reverence and optimism you would a woman who’s nine months pregnant.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Sri Lankan-born overachiever Suresh Joachim has a fascinating hobby: He attempts outlandish feats that get him written up in the Guinness Book of World Records. Among his many successes, he’s the current champion in the category of marathon TV watching. Given your current astrological omens, Pisces, you could exceed his mark of 70 consecutive hours. You have the potential to achieve miraculous levels of laziness. But it’s my duty to inform you, however, that this same tendency could be directed in more constructive directions. For example, your capacity for breakthrough meditation is at a peak. You also possess the ability to achieve marvelous states of relaxed stillness that will fill you with expansive new understandings of the way life really works. Here’s this week’s homework: What name would you choose for yourself if you couldn’t have the one you do now? Write: