Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "When are your cats old enough to learn about Jesus?" asks *The Onion,* America’s finest newspaper. Think about that question for a while, Aries. Then, once you’ve worked yourself up into a riddle-solving frame of mind, move on to these other, more pressing brain-teasers: When will you finally be old enough to figure out what you want to do when you grow up? When will it be the right time to reveal your secret super-powers to the world? How long are you going to wait before you get around to being completely committed to what you were born to do?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Should we attribute any oracular significance to the fact that hundreds of flowers bloomed on a cherry tree in Brooklyn during the first week of winter? Is it a portentous marvel akin to, say, the births of three white buffalos on a farm in Janesville, Wis.? (The odds of a single white buffalo are a million to one.) I don’t know for sure, Taurus, but my meditations do suggest that the Brooklyn miracle is an apt metaphor for a scenario you’ll soon be experiencing: an early ripening of a possibility that you had assumed wouldn’t be ready or available for quite some time.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In 1958 Chinese dictator Mao Zedong declared sparrows to be enemies of the state. Because their diet included farmers’ crops, he said, they were a threat that had to be eliminated. Under his orders, the Chinese people spent 72 consecutive hours scaring the birds with loud noises, preventing them from landing and causing hundreds of thousands to die from exhaustion. Later, though, there was a population explosion among the insects that the dead sparrows would have eaten. Plagues of grain-devouring bugs swept the countryside, leading to mass starvation among the human population. The moral of the story: Learn to tolerate and even love a mild pest that has redeeming qualities and whose influence keeps away a truly noxious pest.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Let me clarify your situation for you, Cancerian. Up until a short time ago, you’d been wandering through halls of mirrors, metaphorically speaking. Then you spied a hammer on the floor, got seized by a rash impulse, and proceeded to smash a lot of glass — again, metaphorically speaking. That was the first step to finding your way out of the labyrinth. Now you’re ready to escape. As you head out, I advise you to be careful that you don’t cut yourself on all the shards. Liberation is near enough; there’s no need to rush. Walk calmly and carefully towards the sound of the heartbeat you hear in the distance, metaphorically speaking.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): This would not be a good week for the rapid consumption of a six-pack of Heineken, a pint of Southern Comfort, a quart of tequila, and a double bong-load of skunk weed. On the other hand, it would also be a bad time to stay stone-cold sober, play strictly by the rules, and be meticulously devoted to dignity. In other words, Leo, strike a balance between sloppy excess and fastidious perfectionism. In fact, be as slippery as you need to be in order to avoid getting squeezed between two extremes of any kind. The middle path will be safest, smartest and most stylish.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I hate greed almost as much as I hate hatred. So I was mistrustful when your inner teacher hinted that I should look in the thesaurus under "acquire" for clues to your major themes in the coming months. There I found words like "amass," "collect," "gather," "secure," "earn," and "take possession." After duly meditating on your astrological aspects, I decided that what your inner teacher was driving at is this: 2007 should be a time of building up your reserves and carving out a more substantial niche. So here’s my question to you: Can you engage in this much acquisition without becoming grasping, predatory and manipulative? Personally, I’m sure you can.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): To create a pearl, an oyster needs an aggravating parasite inside its shell. It builds layers of calcium carbonate around the invader, gradually fabricating the treasure. How long does it take from the initial provocation to the finished product? Five years for a pearl of average size, and as many as 10 years for a big one. I hope that puts into perspective the tenacious work you’re doing on your own master project, Libra. It may seem sometimes as if you’ve been striving to transform your irritant for an eternity, but you’re actually right on schedule.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Employees who work at the Grand Canyon are not supposed to tell visitors that the monumental gorge is more than five million years old. Officials are worried that doing so might offend fundamentalist Christians. Keep this vignette in mind during the coming week, Scorpio. Let it serve as a warning beacon. I suspect that, like a non-fundamentalist tourist at the Grand Canyon, you’re going to be fed a line of BS that was designed for people who can’t handle the truth. Either that, or someone will withhold the facts from you out of a concern that you’d be furious to have your assumptions questioned. As an antidote, be devoted to learning the real story that’s hidden beneath the official account.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "There is nothing in the world more futile than the attempt to find out how a task should be done when one has not yet decided what the task is." Philosopher Alexander Meiklejohn said that, and now I’m relaying his advice to you. Please ignore it if you’re having no trouble at all figuring out what you should do next. But if you are the least bit fuzzy about your future direction, spend some time in the coming days defining the precise nature of your short-term goals.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your body, mind, soul and hairdo have at least temporarily slipped into the kind of alignment that makes you a lightning rod for messages from the future. Want to glimpse a vision of the best three things you can accomplish in the coming year? Sit yourself down in a sanctuary, banish every last shred of fear for 15 minutes, and visualize the person you will be on Jan. 20, 2008. Then ask that beautiful character to telepathically communicate his or her rich secrets to you.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Your whole life passed before your eyes in a flash, and yet you survived. The veil parted and revealed sights too weird and wonderful to consciously register, changing you in ways that won’t fully sink in for months. Now you may feel as if you’re waking up at 3 p.m. after an all-night binge. You might be so overloaded with uncanny new wisdom that you don’t quite know what practical use to make of it all yet. But have no fear: As your birthday approaches, you’ll begin to understand the teachings you didn’t even know you absorbed.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Due in part to the relentless barrage of disguised brainwashing in the form of ads, news, and entertainment, most people are not themselves an average of 45 percent of the time. You, however, are currently refuting that scary statistic in style. Your percentage of being-true-to-yourself is at an all-time high, and holding steady above the 85 percent mark. Keep up the good work, Pisces. In fact, take advantage of your momentum to push for even greater authenticity. Say exactly what you mean even more. Think your own thoughts even bigger and louder. Here’s this week’s homework: Imagine that one of your heroes comes to you and says, “Teach me the most important things you know.” What would you say? Testify at

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