Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There are several ways to break an egg. You can knock it against the edge of a pan or strike it with a knife. You can squeeze it hard enough to crack it or hurl it at a disgusting politician. Professional Easter egg painters pierce both ends of it with a needle in order to drain the stuff inside. Is one method better than the others? Not in general, of course, though if you're planning to cook the egg, you shouldn't open it via a high-velocity encounter with the kitchen wall. Your assignment in the coming week, Aries, is to do the metaphorical equivalent of breaking open an egg in a way that's exactly appropriate for how you'll use it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "In my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." President George W. Bush spoke those words to the press during his meditations on overhauling Social Security, but I could have easily said the same thing about my job. This week, for instance, I'm going to catapult my benevolent propaganda in three different ways. Ready for the onslaught? (1) "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken," said Samuel Johnson. (Which is why you should break a budding bad habit now, even though you can barely feel it.) (2) To wake yourself up from the trance you've been in, pinch yourself with both hands as you simultaneously kick yourself in the butt. (3) "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." -Adrienne Rich.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Two storks have built nests on a golf course in Krogaspe, Germany. That in itself is odd, since storks usually construct their brooding areas up high, in trees or buildings. But what's even more unusual is that the birds are attempting to hatch golf balls they've stockpiled in the nests. I present this vignette as a cautionary tale for you, Gemini. In the coming weeks, you'll have to be in very close touch with your intuition so that you don't end up in a similar position: trying to nurture and grow something that will never be able to respond to your care. Be picky about whom and what you offer your blessings to.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): You need a new launching pad. Not rocket fuel--you've got plenty of that. Not a reliable internal guidance system or a strong hull or redundant safety features. You've got all those things. The only essential that's lacking is the right place for you to blast off. So shop around in the coming days, Cancerian. Except for that key factor, you're more than ready to get your project off the ground with a bang. Ideally, ignition and lift off will happen no later than July 14.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Hardly anyone takes photos with film anymore. Digital cameras have become the instrument of choice for both pros and amateurs. As a result, businesses that sell film are becoming obsolete. "I refer to myself as a buggy whip salesman or a blacksmith," said the owner of one such shop, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle. During the next 10 years, I predict that just about every one of us will face a similar prospect: Something we sell or a task that we do well will become irrelevant. This week is a perfect astrological time for you to muse about what that is likely to be for you, and then start making plans about how you'll adjust when your skill or product is no longer needed.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Sharks have a bad reputation among many people, but to the native people of the Hawaiian island of Niihau they are na'aumakua, guardian spirits. I propose that they serve as your tutelary animal in the coming week, Virgo-- protectors and guides that will inspire you to be tough-minded and fully at home as you hang out higher in the food chain than you ever have before.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Dave Chappelle's show on TV's Comedy Central has been enormously popular. The DVDs of both his first and second seasons have been bestsellers. And yet on the eve of season three's debut, Chappelle mysteriously absconded, temporarily leaving the future of his gig in doubt. A reporter from Time magazine hunted him down in South Africa, where he confessed he'd fled for a spiritual retreat. He said he needed to get away from the complications of his success so he could take a personal inventory and make sure his intentions were still pure. I bring this up, Libra, because I expect that you, too, will be moving up in the world. Are you ready to deal with the complications of your success? Prepare yourself. Reflect on what your motivations really are and how well your integrity is holding up.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In my astrological opinion, you need to take a long, relaxing excursion down a sun-drenched stream of consciousness. So please consider interrupting your slog through the shady swamps. Stop poking around in the mud and slime for the treasure you imagine is there. Leave your props and accessories behind, head out into the open, and scout around for the best natural flow you can find. It's high time for you to float and muse as you gaze into the vault of the great unknown.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Russian Orthodox Christians believe it's sacrilegious to depict saints dancing, which is why they protested a recent ballet show that portrayed some of their holiest icons. Meanwhile, white Southern Baptists in the U.S. have traditionally discouraged dancing with such ferocity that they spawned the famous joke: "Why can't Baptists have sex standing up? Because God will think they're dancing." These two religious groups are the embodiment of what you should not do in the coming week, Sagittarius. It's a perfect moment for you to express your spiritual impulses through all manner of bodily movement: leaping, shaking, skipping, dancing, and boinking.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Mirrors will be your best teachers this week. The revelations they bring may sometimes make you uncomfortable, but for the most part they will energize you. By week's end, you'll have every reason to celebrate because of their lessons. Keep in mind that the mirror of the moment won't always be a shiny glass surface that reflects images. It may be a person giving you feedback, an unfamiliar situation that shows you surprising secrets about yourself, the way an animal behaves around you, and other things that neither you nor I could predict.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): When America invaded Iraq in 2003, the leaders of France objected. Conservative U.S. Congressman Walter Jones got so enraged by their resistance that he led a campaign to purge the word "French" from common usage. French fries would become "freedom fries," he proposed; French toast would be "freedom toast." Two years later, though, Jones has become an opponent of the Iraq attack. America initiated hostilities "with no justification," he told a North Carolina newspaper; he regrets having launched the name- change crusade. I nominate Walter Jones to be your role model in the coming week, Aquarius. It's high time to disavow one of your old positions, reverse a discredited opinion, or officially change your mind about an issue you got wrong.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I've known more than a few people who have slept with things they consider power objects: a teenager who liked to cuddle with the trophy he won for bowling a perfect game, for example, and a macho dude who was never without his stuffed turtle from childhood, and a woman who worshiped a special rock she had been sitting next to when she had the revelation that changed her life. I mention these precedents, Pisces, in the hope that it will help you feel utterly uninhibited about going to bed with a certain good luck charm or mojo-drenched fetish. I assure you there will be some magic in doing so.

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