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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The seeds of some trees are so tightly packed within their protective cones that only flames can free them and allow them to sprout. The lodgepole pine and jack pine can't reproduce, in other words, without the help of forest fires. I suspect that you will come to resemble those fire-dependent, fire-resistant seeds in the coming months, Aries. Your ability to prosper and flourish may require you to spend time in the metaphorical equivalent of a large blaze. Don't worry for your sanity or safety. Just as the seeds in jack pine cones can tolerate temperatures of 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be very hardy. P.S. Your first trial by fire may begin any minute now.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your soul is the best friend you keep forgetting you have. It's closer than your breath and older than death. It dreams like a mountain, laughs like a river and communicates with you in the exuberantly mysterious style of animals and gods. You are alive because of your soul! It loves you with nonstop unconditional ingenuity. Isn't it right, then, to devote at least one special day each year to honoring it and giving thanks for its blessings? From an astrological perspective, this is a perfect time to do just that. Schedule Soul Celebration Day for this week.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It's an excellent time for you to fuel your urge to compete. But wait! Before you start working yourself into a frenzy about rivals and adversaries, before you erupt with a surge of jealous fantasies, read this quote from ballet superstar, Mikhail Baryshnikov: "I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself." That's the kind of competitive zeal I advise you to stoke in the coming weeks, Gemini.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Centuries of travel lore suggest that when we no longer know where to turn, our real journey has just begun." So says Phil Cousineau in his book, The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred. I hope that's a perfect description of your current state, Cancerian. It may not be obvious yet, but losing your direction is the best gift you could have possibly been given. Being unsure of your next move is a crucial development in your life story, and a virtual guarantee that you will be in the right place at the right time for a divine intervention a few weeks from now.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): One good way to celebrate your astrological Season of Rapture would be to acquire the book Sexual Energy Ecstasy: A Practical Guide to Lovemaking Secrets of the East and West by David and Ellen Ramsdale. Carry out any of the exercises between Pages 333 and 339, including these: 1) Imagine your house is burning around you while you're making love; too blissfully engrossed to flee, you die in each other's arms. 2) As you make love, imagine you're dreaming, and will soon wake up. 3) Imagine your lover's face keeps changing, becoming the faces he or she had in past incarnations. 4) Make love with paper bags over your heads. Cut out holes for your eyes and mouths. 5) Imagine that you're making love to Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, Buddha, Tara, Kwan Yin, Krishna, Parvati or some other enlightened one.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Don't fight the inevitable. Don't resist and bitch and curse it. On the other hand, don't just lie down and let it roll over you, relinquishing your will and spunk. Instead, Virgo, have fun with the inevitable. Tease and question it. Influence it through the your playfulness. Develop a relationship with it that allows you to be true to yourself even as you learn to love it.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My house isn't big enough for my stuff, so I keep some of it at a local storage facility in Room 417. It's in the middle of a long hall lined with rooms that other people have rented for their junk. The numbering is odd: 415 to 416 to 417 to 752 to 418 to 419 to 420. How did 752 get in there? It's a mystery — sort of like your life in the coming week, Libra. I predict that you'll soon experience a comparable interruption in the orderly flow of things. Don't worry about it. I suggest that you just glide through the seemingly out-of-place event, having faith that the regularly scheduled flow will return after a relatively brief blip.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In 1964, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson declared an unconditional war on poverty. It was an unprecedented attempt to channel the macho federal might into an onslaught of benevolence. Now I call on you to pull off a comparable trick. In the coming weeks, convince your inner warrior to turn away from all temptations to express rage and destruction. Reprogram him or her to fight wildly in behalf of beauty, truth, justice and love.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Be here now. That's usually pretty good advice. It means reeling your mind in from daydreaming about the past and future so that you can be fully attentive to the present moment. To really be here now; stop fantasizing about what might happen or what could have been; focus on what's actually unfolding right in front of you. Having said all that, however, I'm going to give you astrological permission to spend an inordinate amount of time in the coming week following a different mandate. For a limited time only, Sagittarius, you can and should be there then: Vividly imagine yourself in a desirable future as if it were already happening. Feel the feelings you'll have when it materializes.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In his book, The Secrets and Mysteries of Hawaii, Pila Chiles recounts the advice given him by an Indian holy man: "If you have lost the business, your house and wife after you have been pronounced terminally ill and life has dealt you the worst blows, there is only one duty left. That is to crawl over to the nearest mirror, hoist yourself up, look deeply into it with your last breath and say aloud seven times: 'Cock-a-doodle-doo!'" No matter how low you might feel, Capricorn, you have to admit that your problems aren't even nearly as serious as that. You should find it relatively easy, then, to go to a mirror right now and crow "cock-a-doodle-doo!" seven times. Please do.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Dr. Ivan Goldberg (psychcentral.com/maniaquiz.htm) has created a questionnaire to help excitable people know when they may be about to go over the edge. For instance, he advises them to be wary if they're thinking things like, "My mind has never been sharper," "I need less sleep than usual," "I have more new ideas than I can handle," "I have been feeling particularly playful" or "I have been feeling like 'the life of the party.'" The weird thing is, Aquarius, that you're expressing many of the symptoms he names, only in you it's a sign of extraordinary vitality. Now please tap into the generosity and joy you've got in such abundance and make the following affirmation, which is No. 15 on Goldberg's list: "I have special plans for the world."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): For far too long, Pisces, you have been overly tolerant of sober, solemn approaches. You have allowed business-like people with a lack of emotional riches to define important questions. You have acted as if the absurdly literal mindset that views everything in black and white is strong and authoritative. What better time than now, therefore, to launch a strike in the name of irreverence, hilarity and wildly poetic justice? Here's this week's homework: What kind of teacher do you need the most right now? What is the ignorance that's causing you to suffer? Write:

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