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Free Will astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s an excellent time for small experiments. Not grand, sweeping gambles; not daring excursions to the frontiers where you tempt fate and court chaos. I mean carefully contained tests and trials. Do preliminary research on the wisdom of departing from the way things have always been done. Dye a streak of your hair, not the entire mop. Write a lighthearted haiku to the one you secretly admire, not a 10-page love letter steaming with purple prose. Make a brief visit to the suburbs of paradise, not a pilgrimage to the holy of holies.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Sometimes you win by losing. A famous example happened to Helen Tweedy, who owned several top racehorses. According to the New York Times, she arranged for her mare Somethingroyal to mate with Ogden Phipp's stallion, Bold Ruler. A coin flip decided which breeder would claim the first offspring of the mating. Tweedy lost, and had to be content with getting the second-born foal. While the first-born never amounted to much, Tweedy's consolation prize turned out to be Secretariat, a Triple Crown winner that appeared on the cover of Time. I predict an analogous twist of fate for you in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "In my dreams, I was drowning my sorrows. But my sorrows, they learned to swim." So sings Bono in U2's "Until the End of the World." Unless you act quickly, your sorrows will also learn to swim. If you hope to leave them behind for good — if you prefer them not to follow you to the new world you're headed for — make sure you don't do anything to help them stay afloat.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I finally took down the Christmas decorations. The red ribbon on the front gate had turned pink from the sun and rain. Most of the tiny bulbs on the outdoor lights had burned out. The tinsel on the discarded Christmas tree in the back yard was dissolving. The hassle was invigorating. Once done, I jumped into other long-postponed tasks, such as writing a conciliatory letter to an estranged friend, addressing business problems I'd long ignored and going to a dentist for the cavity that had ached for weeks. I hope you get inspired by me. If you're like most of us who are born under the sign of Cancer, you're a procrastinator. That’s not good in the coming astrological phase.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): One night when I was 19, I reached what I thought was the peak of accomplishment. My fledgling rock band had been selected to play for the homecoming dance at a high school in Gaffney, S.C. As I belted out our mix of original songs and covers of David Bowie and the Grateful Dead, I gazed at the awkwardly dancing teens as if they were my worshipful subjects. This seems laughable to me today; my ambitions have evolved. I invoke this theme because your own visions of success are now mutating. The dreams of glory that have fueled you for many moons will be quite different in a month.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "I asked if I could have a purple light saber," Samuel L. Jackson told Maxim magazine in discussing his role as a Jedi knight in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. "I just figured a purple light would help me find all the lint on my robes so I could pick it off." That's pretty funny as a dig at the seriousness with which some people treat the Star Wars mythos. But it won't be funny if you let it become a metaphor for your life. Please don't do the equivalent of using a light saber as a lint remover, a diamond brooch as a doorstop or a silk prayer cloth as a rag to wipe the table.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When my daughter was in second grade, her class did a theatrical production of Noah's Ark. In a stroke of ingenious casting, the teacher chose the rowdiest, strangest boy to play the part of God. By turns wry, evasive, histrionic, tender and unpredictable — sometimes all at once — he was an effervescent alternative to the stilted portraits of the supreme being offered by the major religions. Your assignment is to be inspired by the wild boy portraying God. Celebrate the divine beauty of your idiosyncratic qualities. Tune in to the spiritual power of your boisterous playfulness. Imagine a benevolent deity who has a hell of a lot of soul.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Let the rites of purification begin. Flush out the gunk in your sensitive psyche, the angst in your courageous heart and the toxins in your beautiful body. Purge and shun every influence except those few that propagate the jiggle and the hop in your soul. Only you know how best to perform the cleansing. See if you can go seven consecutive days in which you never even glance at a TV screen.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I took a hike into the hills in quest of an oracle for you. Just before I reached a lightning-struck tree at a sharp crook in the trail, I found an omen: a dog-eared tarot card, the eight of cups, lying in the dirt. Back at home, I consulted a book by Angeles Arrien, my favorite tarot interpreter. She said the card means you're feeling drained or emotionally stagnant as a result of overextending yourself or not honoring your own limits and boundaries. You should cut back on giving to others and take better care of yourself.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I have a radical request. It is among the most difficult tasks I've ever assigned, so I'll understand if you decide you can't muster the chutzpah to carry it out. In the coming week, before you undertake every action, ask yourself, "What is the most savvy and abundant expression of love I can offer to the experience I'm about to have?" If you have the guts to commit yourself to this shocking experiment, I predict you will reap crazy joy.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Our imaginations can drive us crazy. They are at work continuously, churning out endless streams of fantasies, theories and judgments. So filled to the brim are we with these ephemera that it's often hard to see what's actually happening right in front of us. That's the bad news. The good news is that it is possible to see what's happening right in front of us. The great news is that in the coming weeks you will have lots of cosmic assistance if you dare to attempt this heroic feat. Can you imagine what it will feel like to gather objective perceptions of reality, untainted by clouds of assumptions and projections?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Try to invoke the feelings that welled up in you after the trauma of last Sept. 11. Recall the ways in which that historical turning point roused you to rearrange your priorities. Think of how different the world looked to you as you gazed through the filter of the shock. Once you've done that, turn your deep attention to the drama provoked by the crisis in the Middle East. Study and meditate on it. Allow it to touch you with an emotional intensity comparable to your response to the terrorist attacks on our country. In ways that are impenetrable to logical analysis, these two spectacles are intimately related: not only in their impact on global politics and human evolution, but also in their meaning for your personal life. Describe the time in your life when you were closest to being perfectly content. Then vow to recreate, during the next three weeks, the conditions that prevailed then. Testify at

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