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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The astrological omens say it’s a favorable time for you to seek greater exposure and get yourself noticed. But there are relatively bad ways and good ways to proceed. Do not, for example, distribute nude photos of yourself over the Internet or proclaim your mad love for an unavailable genius in a full-page newspaper ad. Instead, try this: Spruce up your physical appearance, stoke your charisma, improve your packaging and hire a marketing consultant.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It seems 66-year-old Taurus actor Jack Nicholson is a paragon of receptivity. "I’m dying to have my mind changed," he told Esquire magazine. "I’m probably the only liberal who read Treason, by Ann Coulter. I like listening to everybody. This is the elixir of life." Nicholson’s refreshing declaration should be your words to live by in the next couple of weeks, Taurus: It’s your astrological season of expansion and experimentation. Don’t just grudgingly agree to have your theories challenged. Learn to love the uncanny stretching sensation.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I believe you should draw your inspiration this week from the British graffiti artist Banksy. He bought an unremarkable landscape painting at a flea market and glued police "Do Not Cross" tape onto it. Then, disguised as a shuffling old man, he smuggled it into London’s prestigious Tate Museum and managed to hang it on a wall, where for a while it was regarded as a legitimate work of art. Is there some place in your life that needs a comparable touch of prankish levity, Gemini? Any overly dignified or formal environment that could use the healing touch of a gentle lampoon?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The oldest woman to have a No. 1 pop song was Deborah Harry, born under the sign of Cancer. She conquered the UK charts with "Maria" when she was 53 years old. The world’s oldest astronaut was another Crab, John Glenn, who flew on the space shuttle when he was 77. Now you too have a chance to make history through success in an activity that most people might regard as impossible or inappropriate for someone your age. Don’t let anyone shame you into shrinking from the challenge.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I really like a lot about "Suga Suga," a song by hip-hop artist Baby Bash. The rhythm is crafty, the lead guitar line is tasty and the chorus melody is infectious. I love Baby Bash’s sinuous rap cadences and Franky J’s gorgeous singing. The lyrics of "Suga Suga," on the other hand, are vapid and vulgar. And the video of the song is morally idiotic, depicting men leering at a succession of surgically sculpted women who dress and preen like android porn stars. Is there anything in your life that you both love and hate, as I do "Suga Suga," Leo? I’m betting the answer’s an intense, "Yes!" What should you do? Try to ignore the part you’re allergic to or abandon the entire enterprise altogether? Don’t decide until at least February 1.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Pope John Paul II has canonized 477 new saints, exceeding the total of the last 86 popes combined. His secret? Previously, candidates had to have performed three miracles, whereas now it’s two at most. Other saint-makers have been inspired by the Pope’s example. The Church of the Subgenius is creating an average of 2,100 new saints per year (non-Catholic variety), while the Discordians are close behind with 1,875. I’m embarrassed to say that my own faith, the Temple of Sacred Uproar and Rowdy Blessings, has been lagging far behind — until now, that is. In honor of the miraculous feats of beauty, truth and love that "Free Will Astrology"-reading Virgos have been pulling off lately, I hereby bestow sainthood upon every one of you.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Accountants are experts about money that doesn’t belong to them. A scholar may read the texts of mystical spiritual traditions but not be able to enter into the sublime states of consciousness described therein. Please refrain from getting into a relationship like this with the resources you need, Libra. Don’t just study them; own them. Seek up-close experiential immersion, not conceptual understanding from a distance.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Creativity comes in a wide variety of forms, from the unruly originality of an avant-garde music composer to the brilliant tactics of a four-year-old manipulating his parents into buying him more toys. The creativity you will specialize in during the coming weeks, Scorpio, is a cross between that of an engineer building a bridge over a steep gorge and a gadfly who prods two ancient enemies into sitting down to talk. It will fit the description articulated by writer William Plomer: "Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected."

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian Pudge Rodriguez is one of the best catchers in professional baseball. Last October, he played a major role in helping the Florida Marlins win the World Series. His contract expired at the end of the season, however, and he was insulted when the Marlins proposed a future salary of only $8 million per year, a significant cut from the $10 million he earned in 2003. He rejected the Marlins’ offer. Though I admire his fierce pride, I urge the rest of you Sagittarians to be less demanding. If you’re offered 8 million of anything — hugs, gold stars, M&Ms, dollars — instead of the 10 million you wanted, definitely take the 8 million.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Following Castro’s revolution in 1959, 11-year-old Carlos Eire was exiled forever from his beloved homeland of Cuba. Raised in America, he became a Yale professor, but never lost his yearning for paradise lost. His recent memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana, recounts his cherished memories. "In the past 38 years," he wrote, "I’ve seen 8,917 clouds in the shape of the island of Cuba." What’s your equivalent, Capricorn? A fugitive dream that floats across your mind’s eye as you’re falling asleep? I predict you will be united with it in 2004. A crucial pointer will arrive soon. Watch the clouds.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In a recent speech, "Boondocks" comic strip creator Aaron McGruder said that if liberals want to regain power in America, they’ll have to learn to be meaner. Leftist singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco echoed the theme in an interview in "Indie Culture" magazine. "It’s our job to help and inspire each other," she mused, "but I don’t think that all my songs have to be about nature and children and love and hugging. There are ways of helping people by expressing anger." I almost always advise you to err on the side of kindness, Aquarius. But this is the time to take McGruder’s and DiFranco’s words to heart. It’s crucial that you find ways to creatively and constructively focus your sacred rage on what’s wrong in your world.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In hopes of helping you fully claim the rising levels of goodies and self-confidence that are now available, I urge you to sing or chant the following rant ten times a day for the next two weeks. "All I ever wanted in life was to make a difference, be worshipped like a god, conquer the universe, travel the world, meet interesting people, find the missing link, fight the good fight, live for the moment, seize each day, make a fortune, know what really matters, end world hunger, vanquish the dragon, be super-popular but too cool to care, be master of my own fate, embrace my destiny, feel as much as I can feel, give too much, and love everything." (Thanks to Tatsuya Ishida at www.sinfest.com for dreaming up this set of affirmations.) Here’s this week’s homework: What part of you is over-civilized, super-domesticated or way too tame? What are going to do about it? Tell all at www.freewillastrology.com.

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