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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): America's invasion of Iraq will unleash far-reaching consequences that profoundly affect all of us. In the coming months, we'll encounter events that require us to revise our understandings about the very nature of reality. Our imaginations will have to be ingenious and our hearts alert in order to keep up with the exotic changes. To locate truth amidst waves of propaganda, we'll have to be fiercely disciplined and tenderly hate-free. To avoid being infected by popular delusions, we'll have to cultivate compassionate lucidity, humble courage and a determination to rouse beauty everywhere we go. You’re the logical choice to serve as a supreme role model for the approach I've just outlined.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The ancient Egyptian creator god Ptah was a miracle worker, though sometimes he used unconventional means. Legend held that he defeated a legion of Assyrian marauders with an army of rats. Waiting till the enemy soldiers were asleep, Ptah sent the rats into their camp to gnaw through their bowstrings and shield handles, rendering them defenseless. Can you imagine a way in which you might draw inspiration from the Egyptian god's methods? How could you win a great victory by summoning the help of an influence you usually regard as a pest?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Self-anointed "debunkers" rail against astrologers' predictions, acting as if speculating about the future was a crime against rational thought. Meanwhile, economists, meteorologists, sportscasters, trend analysts and political pundits are out there regularly making bad prognostications based on dubious data. The National Weather Service's forecasts fail to anticipate more than half of all tornadoes and flash floods. But do debunkers denounce them as quacks? Never. Sorry for the rant, but I have a prophetic point to make: Every single hypothesis about the future that you are aware of now and that you hear about in the next four weeks will be wrong — except this one.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): It's Freethinkers Week, a holiday created especially for you. To celebrate, indulge in any of the following festive acts: 1) Declare your independence from anyone to tries to tell you, either subliminally or directly, who you are or how you should live. 2) Declare your independence from your past, especially memories that oppress your sense of possibility and self-images that inhibit your urge to explore. 3) Declare your independence from peer pressure, groupthink and conventional wisdom. 4) Declare your independence from your previous conceptions of freedom so that you'll be free to come to a completely fresh understanding of it.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): It's time for you to acquire a pair of lucky pants. How will you know they're lucky? Because they'll endow you with an intuitive sense of where to walk in order to have adventures that'll inspire you to see the big picture. It will also be a favorable week for you to rummage around in thrift stores until you find a pair of magic X-ray specs that'll give you the power to perceive the secret motives of everyone you gaze upon. And you'll soon have a vivid dream in which you explore what's hidden below the tip of the iceberg.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I love it when I'm so energized and purified from riding my bike up Mt. Tamalpais that I experience a lightning bolt of realization about some crucial truth I've been hiding from myself. I love it when I'm walking through the city's trash-spattered concrete jungle and am suddenly blessed with the fresh smell of dirt from a renegade garden. I love it when the pathological decisions of bad leaders inspire my tribe to redouble its commitment to fight for outrageous peace, ingenious love and wild understanding. Where do you look for your breakthroughs and redemptions? It's time to be on high alert.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Your idealism is one of your greatest assets, but it can also be a liability. Driven to seek beauty and harmony, you sometimes become blind to the messy truth. That's why I was so pleased to get the following oracle when I consulted the I Ching, on your behalf: "It is only when you have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events by which the path to success may be recognized." I interpret this to mean that you are about to temporarily suspend your idealism in order to see the messy truth, which will in turn lead you to an opportunity to practice your idealism on a higher level.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In their book An Incomplete Education, Judy Jones and William Wilson list the favorite colors of famous poets. T.S. Eliot loved eggplant, sable and mustard; Wallace Stevens preferred vermilion, chartreuse and wine; Ezra Pound liked ivory and jade. In light of current astrological omens, I urge you to draw inspiration from these poets' lyrical tastes. Refine your definitions of your favorite everything, Scorpio: colors, smells, feelings, tastes, physical sensations, tones of voice, types of wind, qualities of light — everything.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): During 15 months in 1888 and 1889, Vincent van Gogh churned out more than 200 works of art. In one 10-week stretch he produced an average of a picture a day. I predict that you will soon slip into a comparable phase. Original ideas will come surging up into your awareness with such relentless exuberance that you'll be hard-pressed to catch them all. Decide where you want to channel all that prolific creativity; don't let it leak out wastefully.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Prize-winning gardener R.J. Harris has no interest in astrology or New Age notions. Yet he carefully monitors lunar cycles. Practical observation, not superstition or philosophy, has shown him that certain parts of the cultivation process go best when done during certain phases of the moon. In his book, R.J. Harris's Moon Gardening, he suggests sowing the seeds of below-ground crops right after the new moon. In the early days of the second quarter, he advises, plant seedlings and above-ground crops. (April 9-12.) At the outset of the fourth quarter (April 23), add fertilizer to the soil. Prune later in the fourth quarter (April 28-30). These same principles apply to your own growth.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I've been following the progress of a patch of ground a mile from my home. A year ago it was a grubby gully, a no-man's land between two suburban McMansions. A ruined shack, long abandoned, stood at the bottom, imprisoned by thick underbrush. Six months ago, bulldozers arrived to clear away the thickets and raze the rotting wood structure. Three months ago, another crew arrived to contour the land and create a level spot for construction. Metaphorically speaking, that's where you are in your life right now. Your next step is to do the equivalent of what happened this past week, when the foundation was poured for a new home on the land that was once a grubby gully.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I have selected two words that convey the role you're best suited for in the coming week. The first is the Yiddish term tummler, derived from tumlen, to make a racket. A tummler stirs up a commotion, makes things happen, and incites people to action through his or her affectionate agitation. Clowning and pranks may be part of their repertoire. Your second word of power, Pisces, is the Iroquoian ondinnonk. It has two related meanings: 1) a secret wish of the soul; 2) the angelic part of our nature that longs to do good deeds. So let your ondinnonk guide you as you carry out your mission as a tummler. Send your visions and prophecies about the best imaginable outcome of the predicament we're in.

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