Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai wants to wipe out his country's opium fields. To do so would destroy the lucrative heroin trade, and local warlords couldn't use their ill-gained profits to influence the parliamentary elections coming up in April. But American military leaders don't want to burn all the poppies. They fear that might destroy Afghanistan's economy and make elections impossible. Heroin is a major export and source of revenue, after all. I predict that you'll soon be facing a personal quandary with resemblances to this one, Aries. What should you do? I suggest you avoid abstract speculations about morality, and instead simply do what's most likely to build up the moral courage of everyone involved.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You're being called on to meet a higher standard. You're being asked to boost your output or take on more responsibility or show you can handle greater expectations. While it's understandable if that's unnerving, I urge you to keep it all in perspective. Remember what journeyman basketball player Jon Koncak said when assigned the task of replacing his team's departed all-star, Shaquille O'Neal. Reporters asked him if he felt a lot of pressure. "Not at all," he replied. "Pressure to me is being in an airplane and the pilot dies and they ask me to fly the plane." The challenge you face may be daunting, Taurus, but it's nothing like that.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It's a perfect time to convene a summit conference for all your sub-personalities. Most of them are now amenable to setting aside their differences and agreeing on a new master plan. Even your inner child and your inner stuntperson are inclined to see eye-to-eye. That bodes well for the possibility of staging a festival of harmony that brings out the cooperative spirit in your inner gadfly, your inner rebel, your inner spy, and several other inner selves that normally pursue their private agendas.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I was meditating on your horoscope as I rode my bike up the hill in a misty rain. "Give me a sign," I prayed to the grey-yellow sky. "What do Cancerians need to know?" As I peddled over the last hump and reached the top, a spectacular response materialized--a five-alarm fire of a rainbow. To my further amazement, I saw where one end of it landed: on the rusty metal roof of a shack in a horse pasture not too far away. I threw down my bike and dashed to it. There were slats missing in the shack's walls, so I could peer inside. I saw a black metal safe in the middle of the room, surrounded by wisps of straw and chained to a u-shaped pipe that disappeared into the floor. I knew I had obtained the oracle you needed--a rough metaphor for the uncanny fate awaiting you. My intuition told me there'll be one difference between my experience and yours: Whereas I had no legal right to whatever was in the safe, you can and should gain access to the storehouse you find.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In 1972, Leo singer Mick Jagger said, "When I'm 33, I'll quit rock and roll. That's a time when a man has to do something else. I don't want to be a rock star all my life." At age 61, Jagger has now been reneging on that promise for almost three decades. It's probably for the best. A person with an ego as monumental as his would likely have been unhappy as, say, a kindergarten teacher or economist. I bring this up, Leo, because it is Renege on Your Unwise, Unwarranted, Unworkable Promises Week. Let Jagger be your inspiration as you weasel out of or bravely renounce an old vow.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "People change and forget to tell each other," mourned playwright Lillian Hellman. I bring this thought to your attention, Virgo, because at least one of your relationships now fits this description. It's at a pivotal point when the accumulated changes you have both undergone can no longer remain unspoken. To avoid becoming irrelevant to each other, you must communicate the backlog of truth now. (P.S. I suspect there are actually two relationships like this.)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Charles Darwin spoke of the "survival of the fittest" as being a central factor in the process of evolution. What exactly did he mean by that phrase? The following quote from his seminal book, The Origin of Species, makes it clear: "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change." I suggest you make that thought the seed of your meditations in the coming weeks, Libra. Your literal survival won't be at stake, but the survival of some of your fond dreams might be in question. The only way to guarantee that they thrive is to keep transforming yourself.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The python is your power animal right now, Scorpio. It's renowned for eating large meals. By stretching its jaws, it can devour an entire deer or crocodile in one sitting, providing enough nutrition for as long as a year. Somewhat like the python, you're now in position to ingest a huge amount of food for thought--a banquet of rich and tasty revelations. The feast will take months to digest, and will be a continual source of nourishment the entire time.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I've decided to install Britney Spears as the Sagittarius of the Week. Not because of her singing or dancing, nor her eccentric relationship with the institution of marriage. Rather, I'm giving her temporary status as your role model because of her disdain for what anyone thinks of her. In recent weeks she has been photographed wandering down the sidewalk with white pimple cream liberally spread on her face. Other photos have revealed her picking her nose, wearing a white t-shirt stained brown from an apparent soft drink spill, and sporting a baseball hat bearing the slogan "Carpé Assüm: Seize the Ass." Be like her in your own sphere, Sagittarius: cheerfully immune to the oppression of public opinion, peer pressure, conventional wisdom, and the law of the pack.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If you try to operate a chainsaw or backhoe before you've been trained in its use, you might hurt yourself or others. That doesn't mean the chainsaw and backhoe are evil. Now let's apply this idea as a metaphor for a situation you face right now. I believe you are at the earliest stages of your relationship with a freshly discovered potential. You've realized the benefits that it can ultimately offer you, but you're nowhere near being able to wield it safely and effectively. Having sounded this warning, however, I want to encourage you to begin learning how to use it immediately.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "It's not that I'm so smart," said Albert Einstein, "it's just that I stay with problems longer." This thought should be your foundation in the coming week, Aquarius. As innovative as you can be in dreaming up solutions to knotty dilemmas, you are sometimes insufficiently devoted to the drudgery of executing all the details of your solutions; you don't always follow up on your promising beginnings. The good news is that this is a perfect moment to change that old pattern. I dare you to endure boredom for the sake of a very good cause.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Your official role model for the coming weeks is the Vietnamese freedom fighter, Trieu Thi Trinh, who resisted the Chinese occupation of her country in the third century. Unlike her, you shouldn't literally raise a rebel army, establish your own sovereign enclave, and ride into battle against the invaders on the back of an elephant. (Although it's fine to do all that stuff metaphorically.) Like her, you should agitate for liberation with unstinting exuberance, as if your soul's health depended on it. I suggest you write her most famous utterance on a piece of paper and carry it with you everywhere you go: "My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the harks. I will not resign myself."

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