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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Have you had productive fantasies about faraway places or exotic sanctuaries or mercurial X-factors lately? Have you sent messages to freedom fighters or remote beauties or high-flying networkers? Have you monitored the progress of unsung helpers or dark horses or unification specialists who are flying under the radar? If you'll notice, I'm hinting that in the near future, everything will come in threes — except when it comes in twos, and that'll mean you should track down the missing third. Don't make the call of the wild wait and wait and wait.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It looks like the war in heaven has been downgraded to a mere skirmish in your mind. Even that may soon wind down into nothing more than a kind of pillow fight or tickling match. I can envision the lonely bull and sacred cow striking up a hot bargain over a sound track of futuristic love songs. I foresee the red-eyed angel apologizing for the rude oversights and coming to fling a few blessings at those alert enough to grab them.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The Amish follow strict customs that dramatically set them apart from the rest of us. In a quest for simplicity, they refrain from using electricity and driving cars. Their clothes are ascetic and old-fashioned and they don't use alcohol or drugs. Even battery-operated TVs are taboo. Yet these understated folks also have a tradition called rumspringa or "running around." At 16, every member of the community is given the opportunity to try on the crazy values of the outside world. If after a period of carousing they decide they prefer the quiet life they grew up with, they're welcomed back. I encourage you to consider going on your own rumspringa in the coming weeks. Escape from your familiar customs and try on beliefs and styles you've always wondered about.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Writing for www.thespark.com, Christian Rudder asserts that not only do Eskimos have 34 words for snow, but they also have 47 terms meaning, "This sucks." I hope this inspires you to purge all the bile from your system in one fell swoop. Set aside an hour when you will perform a Ritual of Arrgghh. Express every last drop of disgust, resentment, self-pity, irritation and anger that is infecting your beautiful organism. Come up with 47 ways to express the sentiment, "This sucks." By thoroughly disgorging the backlog of toxic psychic waste, you will create a clean, empty space into which sweet blessings can flow in the weeks to come.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Now in his 80s, Jim Bellows served as an editor for several influential American newspapers. Recently he published a book about his legendary career. It's ambitiously called The Last Editor: How I Saved the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times from Dullness and Complacency. Please borrow the spirit of Bellows' subtitle and use it to name your own life story for a while. Try something like How I Saved Everyone I Like and Even Some People That Annoy Me from Dullness, Complacency, Mediocrity and Apathy.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "My house is stuck in fast forward," begins a sixth-grade student's response to a creative writing assignment. "The moment you walk in, you are sucked into another dimension. It reeks with sound and motion. Stillness does not exist. TVs are babbling without being watched. Music is blaring without being heard. Tomorrow night's dinner is cooking. Schedules on the wall shout deadlines through 2004." I present this testimony in the hope that it will move you to undo and dissolve anything in your own sphere that resembles the mood it describes. You can't be even mildly successful in the coming weeks unless you slow way down.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I love how undignified some spectators are at sports events. With no concern for how ridiculous others might think them, they wear giant foam-rubber hats resembling cheese wedges. They paint their bellies with the home team's insignia and go shirtless outdoors in subfreezing weather. They scream nonsense words and make strange faces and wave their arms in frantic salutes. I suspect that some of these folks might be bodhisattvas in disguise — wise tricksters modeling the beauty and power of being oblivious to appearing foolish. I sometimes recommend this approach to life, especially now that you're in a phase of your astrological cycle when it's crucial not to take anything too seriously.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Believing in things you can't see may sometimes be hazardous to your intelligence, but so is a fanatical faith in the infallible authority of the scientific method. This theme will be especially apropos for you in the coming week, when superstitious spouters of mumbo-jumbo will be fighting it out with know-it-alls who try to cloak their irrationality and emotional biases in reasonable language. What to do? Take the middle path between the frothy believers and the dogmatic skeptics. Be both a practical mystic and a lover of supple objectivity.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): If I hung out with you this week, I'd probably feel fascination and agitation mixed with sweetness and confusion. Being in your presence might resemble lounging in a hot tub while hassling on the phone with a friend whose feelings I'd hurt. Being with you might be like dancing to inspiring music all night around a beach bonfire with my tribe, knowing that earlier that day my landlord had given me notice and I had to start looking for a new place to live. Being with you in the coming days might have a certain similarity to eating pizza-flavored ice cream or watching "Fear Factor" on TV with the sound off while listening to a New Age meditation CD. No, my dear, you definitely won't be boring.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I'm here today to read you your rights: 1) You have the right to prove you're not chicken without actually playing chicken. 2) You have the right to put fewer hours into building other people's fantasies and more hours into building your own. 3) You have the right to stop trying to meet the right people in the wrong places. 4) You have the right to remain silent, but I wouldn't advise it. 5) You have the right to ignore the flavor of the week and the fad of the month so you'll be fully available when the tough-love opportunity of the year comes along.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The brilliant San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll recently corrected some misinformation he'd provided in an earlier piece. "My dreamy view of the dissent during the Civil War was perhaps just a tiny bit completely wrong," he noted, then went on to admit that President Lincoln ruthlessly quashed dissidents. "My apologies to the truth," Carroll concluded. I love that line. It suggests the truth is a living entity with which one can have a relationship. Which brings me to my point. I urge you to have a long conversation with the truth, summing up the recent developments between you. You could start with something like, "I didn’t know how gorgeous and sexy you are."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I've noticed an uncanny uniformity of theme arising in the Piscean experience lately. Members of the fish tribe have been e-mailing me in unusually large numbers, seeking my help in addressing what they have variously called "an ambition deficiency," "a missing rung on the ladder of success" and "a lagging fire in the belly." Here's my counsel: Tune in intensely to your feeling of alarm about the deficit. It's the best possible way to activate your sleeping reserves of ingenuity and passion. In other words, the best cure for your lack of motivation is to get upset about it. Compare the person you are now with the person you were two years ago today. Make a list of the five most important differences between the two. Testify at

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