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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Experimental musician Harry Partch made his own instruments from objects such as artillery shell casings, eucalyptus branches and bottles of sherry. Artist Jason Macier concocts portraits with beans, noodles and yarn. Both resemble my friends Cybil and Juliana, who've cobbled together a family of 10 people with no blood relation to each other: a transsexual Cuban and two other adults with whom they have a five-way marriage; three adopted children from Guatemala, Kenya and Romania; an elder Hopi medicine man and a 71-year-old ex-nun they rescued from a nursing home. I hope these examples inspire you, Aries, to begin work on a kaleidoscopic masterpiece of your own in the coming weeks — perhaps combining resources in ways they aren't normally used.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If I could give the 11 other signs of the zodiac one essential piece of advice about you, it would be to never underestimate a Taurus. Many people do, then pay for it later, often in the form of a lost opportunity. Luckily for everyone, however, you're now in a favorable position to correct their misconceptions. All the tribes, even Aries and Aquarius, are suddenly more receptive to your true value. You, in turn, are better able than usual to communicate the fullness of your earthy wisdom and tender power. Get out there, Taurus, and gently blow our minds.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It would be a good time to teach the poetry of Rumi and Allen Ginsberg to teens at an inner-city high school. The omens are also favorable for you to make big bucks by posing for a Calvin Klein underwear ad. Other exotic but practical experiences you might seek out: learning to pilot a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet; working as a well-capper at an out-of-control natural-gas rig in Louisiana; or getting tips on seduction by swimming with dolphins that are courting each other. The key, Gemini, is to have constructive fun as you stretch yourself a little past your limits.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If your jail cell had air conditioning installed, you wouldn't postpone your parole hearing, right? If someone threw air fresheners into a fetid snake pit, you wouldn't suddenly regard it as a top vacation choice. The moral of the story, my fellow Cancerian: Just because you've become somewhat numb to your once-excruciating pain doesn't mean you should stop looking for a cure. The time has come, the walrus said, to stoke the purifying fires of righteous anger.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "What do alcohol, sunshine, iodine, iron, copper, sodium and cholesterol have in common?" asked science writer Robert Ehrlich in a recent Washington Post article. They're all good for you in small amounts, he answered, but harmful if absorbed in large quantities. I'd add another agent to that list, at least during the coming week: humans born under the sign of Leo. In small doses, you folks will have a radiantly healing impact on the rest of us. Prolonged exposure, on the other hand, may have an almost radioactive effect. Please be responsible for yourself, my dear. Be alert for when you're about to change from helpful to hurtful.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If this week were a song, it would have a great beat that made it easy for you to summon your most out-of-your-mind dancing. If this week were a meditation retreat, it would rouse your spiritual insight to such a fever pitch that you'd coalesce a fresh, hot vision of the divine presence, providing you with stirring symbols to feed your sacred longings for months to come. And if this week were a golf game, Virgo, you could regularly shoot holes-in-one with your eyes closed.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I decided I should take my performance-art shtick down to the American Legion Log Cabin Bar at Memorial Park. No more preaching to the choir! I wanted my therapeutic theater to reach folks who aren't like me. Alas, the grizzled, beer-guzzling, middle-aged softball players hanging out at the Log Cabin weren't too appreciative of my ecstatic prayers to the goddess or the tender "world kisses" I applied to the floor, TV, clock and bar stool. One guy accepted my offer to officiate his marriage to himself, but only because he was falling-down drunk. I bring this up, Libra, because although I think you should also try to get more pragmatic about your ideals, maybe you should start with a more modest effort than I did.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In her poem, "How To Take Back The Picture," Gayle Kaune suggests a strategy I'd like you to consider in the coming days. "Roll the film into the camera," she writes. "Unplow/the field, leave the landscape smooth,/unfettered … undrench the rain, suck it back/into the clouds … take back the stars,/make it day." Normally, such a return to an original state is not possible, Scorpio. But because of a rare loophole in cosmic law — not to mention the karmic credit you've earned through your recent struggles — the way is now clear.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In her book What Do I Say Next?, Susan RoAne (cq) tutors us in the nearly lost art of conversation. Don't be a show-off or a manipulator, she advises. Avoid engaging in debates, interrogations, soliloquies, unsolicited advice, sales pitches, gossip, bashing or lectures. What's left, you ask? Excellent question, Sagittarius. Astrologically speaking, you're at the heart of the season of dialogue. You should be expanding and refining your approach to communication. I suggest, therefore, that you express yourself with lucid verve even as you listen to others with scintillating curiosity. (P.S. It's also prime time to learn a lot about the language of love.)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): While I was browsing at the toy store, a mischievous-looking crone sidled up, winked, and handed me a G.I. (cq) Joe doll dressed in an outfit that reminded me of Mexico's freedom-fighters, the Zapatistas. "Subcomandante Marcos has a message for your Capricorn readers," she cackled. A piece of paper was stuffed in the doll's jacket. I unfolded it and read the following: The more you lose, the more you gain. The woman ran off before I could ask her to elaborate. Later, while meditating on your current astrological omens, I came to the conclusion that they agree with her oracle: You have a Houdini-esque talent for wiggling free of straitjackets, stripping away masks and slipping out of pigeonholes. In conclusion, I believe you should try to shed things that are cramping your style.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): When heroes in fairy tales are rewarded (usually for their acts of kindness), the gifts they get are often designed to be used for protection or stealth: perhaps a cloak of invisibility or a magic cudgel that can drive away enemies; some get shoes of swiftness that bestow the power to flee every danger. Other heroes receive blessings that are meant mostly to enhance the enjoyment of life: a lamp with a genie, a cauldron that provides a never-ending supply of delicious, rejuvenating food or a horn that can summon enchanted playmates from the fairy realm. I bring this up, Aquarius, because I believe you will soon collect a boon for your recent good deeds. If you have any choice in the matter, the stars say you should ask for something from the latter category.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I was out of gomasio, a blend of sesame seeds and sea salt that I sprinkle on my meals. Since dinner was imminent, I decided to make a special trip to the health food store. Thirty minutes later, I was back home, unloading my groceries. Oops. Though I'd gathered $150 worth of grub, I'd somehow neglected to snag the delicacy that had motivated my foray. Immediately I fell into a swoon of self-criticism. "What does it say about me," I fumed, "that I forgot to even look for the thing I wanted most?" An hour later, as I meditated on your astrological omens, I realized you needed to hear my sad tale. Let's hope it wakes you up to your own tendency to go blank about your fondest dream. Let's get you ready for a Summer of Love by having you write your ultimate personal ad. Share it with me at

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