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Free will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When Time magazine reviewed Ralph Ellison's book Invisible Man many years ago, it wrote: "Before [this novel] is over, the hero can face up to one of life's bitterest questions, 'How does it feel to be free of illusion?' and give an honest answer: 'Painful and empty.'" Your experiences during the next few weeks will lead you to a very different answer to that question. If I ask you "How does it feel to be free of illusion?" on your birthday, I bet you'll say, "Strong and full of possibilities."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Hope you don't mind my lack of irony and cynicism this week. Your burdens are growing lighter and your duties more interesting. A joyless mission is becoming irrelevant, making you available for a fresh assignment that'll inspire you to get more serious about playing. You're in possession of such raw mojo that you could probably make your enemies wet their pants just by looking at them. I’d be willing to bet my entire collection of antique Tarot cards that you'll soon be wielding influence over a situation that had been out of your control.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The Aztecs originally wandered through the land now called Mexico, settling briefly in various areas ruled by more powerful people. An old prophecy led them to believe that they'd eventually find a permanent home in a place where an eagle perched on a cactus as it gnawed a serpent. One day in the 14th century, they finally spied this very sign on an island in a lake. Then and there they began building the city that ultimately became the heart of their vast realm. Do you have an analogous prophecy, O restless one? If not, conjure one up. If you do, look for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Your personal empire will soon undergo a building boom.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you were a lobster, it'd be time to molt your shell. If you were a river, you'd be about to flood. The old containers can't hold you. The boundaries you knew you'd transgress some day are finally ripe for transgressing. I feel your attention span stretching. I sense you're ready to stop living week-to-week and start formulating a five-year plan. Your words of power: bust out.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Some colleges offer credit for courses in pornography, says U.S. News & World Report. "Students listen to lectures from porn stars," writes John Leo, "write porn fiction, film their own sex scenes, and take part in inhibition-lowering dramas, like donning S&M outfits and being tied up and whipped." As much as I celebrate inhibition lowering, I'm sad to see it done under the auspices of porn's vulgar view of sexuality. I wish it were rooted instead in the loving spirituality of tantric philosophy. Information on tantra is harder to find than porn, but more satisfying to the soul. Keep this in mind now that you're so ripe to upgrade your erotic skills. Check out books such as Sexual Energy Ecstasy, by the Ramsdales, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy by Margo Anand or Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving by the Muirs.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "As above, so below" is the maxim at the heart of astrology. The nature of the cosmos is intimately reflected here on earth — and vice versa. Everything we imagine to be far away and "out there" has a parallel in the mundane world around us. Many spiritual traditions share this vision, urging the faithful to base their daily practice on it. I usually preach the wisdom of seeking relatedness. This week, however, I recommend that you be cautious about promoting unity. Writer Hanna Blank sets the right tone. "My cat attempted to adorn a prayer rug with a hairball, and I had to stop her," she says. "There are some instances in which we do not wish all things to be interconnected."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When a friend gazed at the warm sun and cloudless sky and exclaimed "What a beautiful day!," I cringed. "Do you mean to say that an overcast, chilly day is not a beautiful day?" I complained only half-jokingly. "Or a drizzly, windy day?" It's almost as if I felt a vicarious sense of hurt feelings on behalf of the earth. From our planet's perspective, every day is gorgeous, magnificent, and revelatory. Take this view and apply it as an all-purpose metaphor. It will help you get the most out of the lyrical murk and the fertile gunk in the coming week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): When you go to a county fair, never play the throw-darts-at-balloons game and win a giant stuffed dragon at the beginning of your visit. You'll have to carry the bulky thing around with you the rest of the day. This teaching can serve as a valuable metaphor for you in the coming weeks. You're entering a phase when fun will continually flood in your direction, and it doesn't make sense to weigh yourself down with the first questionable "treasure" that comes along. Enjoy the minor thrills that arrive in the next few days, but don't pledge your undying devotion to them.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Your power symbol for the coming week is not the ocean, but a quiet pond in a fertile valley. Among the magical implements on your altar there should not be an ornate silver chalice fashioned by a skilled craftsman but rather a small ceramic cup made by a beloved child. At least once every day you should have a ceremonial drink of holy water blessed by a smart young girl, not by an older male priest or wizard. Nurture the wild beauty of your imagination with small wonders.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It's noon on a Wednesday. I'm lounging on my couch in my faux Kung Fu robe. An old "Twin Peaks" video is playing with the sound off on my TV, and I'm snacking on leftovers from last night's chocolate feast, which my friends and I staged as a way to spit in the eye of Old Man Winter. How I wish I could in good conscience advise you to do what I'm doing: play hooky; goof off nonstop; let laziness teach you its marvelous secrets. Alas, I can only authorize you to spend one day like that this week. OK, maybe two. As for the rest of the time: Multitask like crazy. Master the art of constructive frenzy. Either clone yourself or enlist helpers who'll carry out your every instruction to the letter.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Professional expenses I incurred while researching this horoscope: $623. The sum includes: food and wine used to coax stories from four Aquarians who've had dramatic success in translating their ideals into dollars; consultations with a personal coach who has expertise in motivating restless minds to focus on a single goal; and a hypnotherapist who put me in a trance and had me imagine myself as a triple Aquarius whose perfectionism interferes with my ability to be pragmatic. Please feel no obligation to reimburse me for what I spent on your behalf. I'd rather you take that money and seek out the kind of advice I got.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Want some ideas for how to break dramatically with your past? This might work: Sing made-up songs about your future while dancing in the dark in slow motion with your clothes on inside out. Or how about this? Fill a paper bag with symbols of everything you want to leave behind, then burn the sucker in your fireplace. You might also compose a love letter to the person you want to be a year from now or light a candle at twilight and whisper, "I am free of my history" 10 times. What part of you is way too tame? What are you going to do about it? Tell all at

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