Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Dear Rob: When my wife got pregnant, she was warned that one side effect might be that her feet would grow a bit. She’s now a few months along, and while her feet remain a dainty size 7, my own feet have expanded from size 12 to 13! I’ve heard husbands sometimes have sensations that parallel their pregnant wives’ symptoms, but this is crazy, don’t you think? —Vicarious Aries." Dear Vicarious: You Rams are in a phase of heightened ability to share the feelings and experiences of others. I suggest you take advantage of this opening to supercharge your empathy and get closer to your loved ones.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The new CEO of corporate giant PepsiCo is Indra Nooyi, striking a modest but significant blow for female equality in the business world. That’s the good news. The bad news? Pepsi is a terrible product that rots teeth, has no nutritional value and contributes to the obesity epidemic. Keep this in mind as you carry out your assignment in the coming week, Taurus. Fight and claw and scheme and dream to raise up the power of the feminine (yes, even if you’re a man), but only if it’s a version of the feminine that raises up everyone and everything else too.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "It was like a masquerade festival at eternal midnight," says a character named Flux in Antero Alli’s magical realist movie The Drivetime, "with everyone throwing off mask after mask and never getting to the bottom." That description has a resemblance to what your life has been like lately, Gemini. Any day now, however, that will change. The last masks will finally come off. All will stand revealed. You’ll get to the bottom of the core identities.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Get a hold of some of that million-year-old salt from the Himalayas and use it to season your food. Maybe you’d like to sample the Chinese delicacy know as thousand-year-old duck eggs. Wash it all down with the beer from Greenland that’s made of 2,000-year-old water obtained from melted glaciers. By doing these things, you’d symbolically imbibe ancient purity, pristine rawness and the wildest spirits of nature. That would be right in alignment with what the astrological omens say you need.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Sunny Sky’s is an ice cream store in North Carolina that sells a flavor called Cold Sweat, which is made with three varieties of hot peppers and two kinds of hot sauce. It’s sweet and creamy and cool and spicy and prickly and fiery all at the same time — kind of like what I foresee for you in the coming week, Leo. To get the most out of this extravagantly paradoxical time, I suggest you take small bites. And please wait a while following each new mouthful to see what the after-effect is before you load up on more.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Writing in The New York Times, Joyce Wadler captured the essence of poetry, calling it "an art form somewhat like rap," but noting that "since the death of Lord Byron [in 1824] there has been a paucity of bling-bling." At the risk of nudging you toward a cultural dead end, then, Virgo, I’ll ask you to expose yourself to concentrated doses of poetry this week. In my astrological opinion, you need to have your brain scrambled and heart flushed in a lyrically healing way, which good poetry can do. Try James Broughton, Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Rainer Maria Rilke and Daniel Ladinsky.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): U.S. Patent number 5,996,568 is an apparatus for safely shooting hot dogs into a crowd. Patent 4,834,212 is a device into which someone can scream and howl without bothering anyone nearby. Patent 2,272,154 is a ladder that spiders can use to climb out of a bath. Patent 4,247,283 is a gadget that allows a trumpet to be used as a flamethrower while being played. These are exactly the kinds of imaginative innovations I urge you to work on, Libra. Your inventiveness is at an all-time high, as is everyone’s need for your inventiveness.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It’ll be a good time to feed your demons apple pie and ice cream. Don’t scrimp! Other actions that will put you in fortuitous alignment with the cosmic rhythms: looking for interesting, uplifting, inspiring trouble; unleashing explosive belly-laughs as you contemplate everything that makes you angry; forcing yourself to think a kind thought about someone who misunderstands you; bellowing curses in the direction of the brightest star you can see, blaming it for all your problems; and hopping and skipping down the sidewalk or hallway as you sing-song the names of everyone you dislike.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The week-long Burning Man festival is in its second decade, annually drawing thousands of celebrants to a barren patch of Nevada desert to participate in a "gift economy," where no money changes hands and art is as abundant as advertisements are back in the "real" world. Founder and director Larry Harvey says success didn’t come quickly. "I was a failed janitor, failed gardener, failed bike messenger, failed taxi driver," he testifies. "Now I see that this was actually a sustained course of study for everything I’m doing now." With this as your cue, Sagittarius, make a supreme effort to reinterpret all your so-called flops as crucial lessons that helped you develop your unique mission.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I was 9 years old when I first risked my ass to fight for the rights of others. A fifth-grader named Jerry Demasko was insulting and belittling the girls when I snapped, tackled him, sat on him and drove his face into the freshly fallen snow. "Promise you’ll stop being a mean bastard every minute of your life!" I demanded. He resisted at first, but when my inflamed strength kept him pinned, he broke. Your assignment, Capricorn, is to recall the first time you felt an eruption of pure compassionate rage in the face of injustice. Once you’ve done that, spend the next 10 days cultivating and expressing that beautiful emotion.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): At any single moment, approximately 0.7 percent of the people on our planet are drunk — at least in a normal week. In the coming days, however, I believe that a sudden profusion of intoxicated Aquarians will ensure that the global average rises to at least 1.5 percent. To be totally accurate, not all of those Aquarians will be sloshed on alcohol or zonked on drugs. Some will be flying high solely on the strength of their exhilarating adventures in the unknown, while others will have transcended the everyday trance through the power of their boundary-shattering. Don’t you dare miss out on this dizzying opportunity to lose your mind in the most constructive way possible.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "When you follow your bliss," wrote mythologist Joseph Campbell, "doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else." That’s always true, Pisces, but it’s especially apropos for you now. If you swear a blood oath to follow your bliss, vowing to do what your secret self loves more than anything else, a portal will open that’s as big as a garage door and as sweet as a gateway to a secret garden. Here’s this week’s homework: Provide proof of the hypothesis "You know what to do and you know when to do it," at

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