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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): To prepare you for your upcoming encounters with inexpressible mystery, I offer you the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. "Not everything has a name," he said. "Some things lead us into a realm beyond words ... to revelations unattainable by reason. It is like that small mirror in fairy tales — you glance in it and what you see is not yourself; for an instant you glimpse the Inaccessible, where no magic carpet can take you. And the soul cries out for it."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Do one thing that scares you every day," counsels Kurt Vonnegut. That’s easy for a risk-loving Scorpio like him to say, but is it good advice for you Tauruses, who typically thrive on peace and safety? At most other times, I’d suggest you force yourself to face your fears no more than once a month. But the coming weeks are shaping up as a departure from your usual rhythms. You can do a lot to ensure your long-term peace and safety through regular encounters with unpredictable experiences that will scare up your hidden reserves of courage.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): At one point in Steve Martin’s novella The Pleasure of My Company, the main character Daniel says: "The real me and a false one were competing against each other." San Francisco Chronicle reviewer David Kipen comments that "You could easily read the whole novella as the story of this competition between real and false Daniels." We can apply a similar description to your adventures in the coming weeks: The deep, genuine version of you will be struggling for supremacy with the artificial, fragmented one.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Dear Mr. Brezsny: I’m a feminist in a post-feminist era, a warrior-poet when poetry is considered irrelevant in war, and a lone wolf amidst yapping coyotes. I’ve been a firefighter, journalist and janitor — and damn good at all three, not that anybody noticed. Why is my success with men like that of a goat trying to herd trucks? Why is the only luck I ever have the "avoided the falling piano at the last second" kind? Are there any cake-raffle winnings in my future? —Anti-Heroic Crab

Dear Anti-Heroic: The mournful conditions you described will take a turn for the better when you devote a concentrated time to becoming emotionally self-sufficient. During that period, vow to draw all the love you need from either yourself or whatever passes for god of goddess in your world. Now would be the perfect moment to begin.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a psychotherapist and cantadora, "a keeper of the old stories." She believes that feeding the soul with nourishing tales is a great healing art. Her repertoire is filled with myths and fairy tales that "cut fine wide doors in previous blank walls, openings that lead to the dreamland, that lead to love and learning, that lead us back to our own real lives." Get some of this good stuff. Feast on unpredictable stories that replenish your innocence and rekindle your sense of wonder. Estes’ book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, has some good ones. Try "Skeleton Woman" or "Sealskin, Soulskin."

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Charlie’s Angels star Cameron Diaz, a Virgo, hates to give autographs to fans. She’s so notorious that Autograph Collector magazine named her the least approachable celebrity entertainer. Another Virgo luminary, Shannon Elizabeth, was ranked right behind Diaz in her stinginess. To redeem your tribe’s reputation, I urge you to give away your autograph to anyone and everyone in the coming week. Such generosity would dovetail nicely with the astrological omens, which suggest you should engage in playful acts that make you feel like a star.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Many plants used for prescription drugs originate in tropical rainforests. Do their endangered ecosystems therefore harbor other healing herbs that are as yet undiscovered? Probably. But a recent study suggests that weeds growing in easily accessible places near human settlements may be an equally important source of medicine. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports that the Highland Mayans of Chiapa "rely almost exclusively on disturbed areas for medicinal plants, even in communities that are adjacent to stands of primary forest." This is an apt metaphor for you in the coming days. The best goodies are more likely to be close at hand in the midst of familiar clutter, not in far-off enclaves of peace and plenty.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): To supply the newsprint for the average Sunday edition of the New York Times, about 63,000 trees must die. Is that a worthy sacrifice? Maybe. To keep your body fueled with caffeine for a year, more than 1,000 plants must give up their lives. Is that a worthy sacrifice? Possibly. To make sure your freshly hatched dream will ultimately reach full bloom, at least three of your tired old illusions will have to croak. Is that a worthy sacrifice? Hell, yes. Let the mercy killing begin.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You’re not awakening from a coma or anesthesia, but the effect will be similar. Events you’ve been blind to will suddenly become visible. You’ll become a magnet for clues you’ve been repelling. Your emotional numbness will recede, allowing a flood of feelings to come rushing into your awareness. The net effect, at least initially, may be confusing: You’ll be filled up with too much information too fast to make sense of it. But be patient and concentrate on digesting the glut; by this time next week the mess will have evolved into a web of fresh insights.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "I go through the canned-goods department of my soul," mused columnist Jon Carroll, "and I write down how many cubes of spiritual bouillon I have left." Take a similar tack this week. In other words, add a touch of self-mocking frivolity as you make a profound inventory of your current relationship with the Great Mystery. And be sure to mix in a few wacky, winsome questions with your heartfelt yearning for deeper understanding. Here’s how Carroll expressed it: "Who am I? Why am I here? Is there an entity greater than myself? If there is, how can I get it to like me?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "Satan is broke!" declared a recent article in the Weekly World News. "He’s selling back souls at half price to avoid bankruptcy." On the face of it, this is an amusing riff dreamed up by one of the comic geniuses who writes for the notorious tabloid. But oddly enough, there is a metaphorical grain of truth in it. A huge window of opportunity has opened for those who need redemption. It is a favorable moment for lost souls to find themselves, for black sheep and prodigal sons to return to the fold, and for incorrigible troublemakers to mend their ways. Your tribe, more than any of the other signs, is in the best position to facilitate rehabilitations and restorations of all kinds — both for others and for yourself.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "I’ve finally got my relationship problem figured out," wrote Melinda, a reader from Philadelphia. "It has been a lifelong, insidious misunderstanding of what I’m entitled to, combined with a fear of abandonment that has made me grab onto the wrong companions." I bring this testimony to your attention because I think it resonates with realizations you’re ready for. The coming months will be a favorable time for you to discern the hidden karma that has been keeping you from getting the love you want. A good way to begin your search will be to take inventory of your fear of abandonment and your misunderstanding of what you’re entitled to. Describe what you’re ever so thankful for. Tell all at

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