Free Will Astrology

�ARIES (March 21-April 19): I'm afraid I had to name you "Underachiever of the Month" for September, Aries. You didn't quite succeed at wrestling your frustrations into submission, though you had the power to do so. You also failed to cash in on much of the great potential you had for smashing injustice, exposing fakery, and toppling the rotting status quo. That's the bad news. The good news is that some of your missed opportunities will become available again in the coming week. Make up for lost time, please.

�TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I predict that in 2013, the United Nations will designate a 52,000-square-mile area in Canada's far north to be the world's dumping ground. By then global warming will have melted much of the ice that currently makes it problematical to access that area by sea, allowing a steady stream of ships to deliver loads of garbage from every country on the planet. I'm not saying this is a good thing; I'm just reporting the facts as I foresee them. But I'd also like to propose that you use this idea as a metaphor in dealing with your own psychic waste. What if you had a certain place and a regular time where you could ritually dispose of it? Let's say you'd go to there every Saturday at 10 a.m. After a short meditation, you'd take out a piece of paper, scribble down everything that's making you sick and crazy, then burn it or bury it or rip it to shreds. Try it.

�GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If you've ever dreamed of being a flamenco dancer or lion trainer or midwife when you grow up, now's a perfect time to make a big push in that direction. The astrological omens suggest the universe is more favorably inclined toward your wilder fantasies than it has been in a long time. At the very least, Gemini, revisit thrilling schemes that at some time in the past you dismissed as impossible. They may not be quite so absurd anymore.

�CANCER (June 21-July 22): I predict that in the future, palm-size "emotional control" machines will be available. With a flick of a switch, people suffering from unwanted feelings will use the device to beam an electromagnetic pulse at their brains, erasing the offending emotion and arousing a sense of well-being. Unfortunately, I don't foresee this new technology being ready until 2020. Fortunately, you can teach yourself how to do the same trick using only your own willpower. And it so happens that you're currently in a phase when you can go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): My friend Gail told me about her harrowing journey on a purple bus through small towns in Guatemala. "We needed three drivers," she said. "One to handle the steering wheel, one to constantly wipe off the windshield when it rained, and one to lean out the door and yell at pedestrians to get out of the way." This reminds me of the challenge you have ahead of you, Leo. A single guide won't be enough as you wend your way through serpentine but scenic complications. Nor will one cook or one planner or one choreographer. To succeed, you've got to have multiple directors who are skilled at coordinating their efforts. Keep control freaks out of the loop.

�VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In his "MuseLetter," Richard Heinberg writes that Jesus "taught renunciation of ephemeral desires, fearless and carefree public behavior, and contempt for riches." This happens to be a precise prescription for those of you who hope to put yourself in maximum alignment with cosmic rhythms in the coming week. I suggest you suspend your pursuit of the relatively trivial goals that soak up an inordinate amount of your attention, and instead intensify your devotion to your single most important reason for living. This should help you lose your unnecessary inhibitions. It should also free you from any delusions you might have that greed is normal or that you need more than enough of anything.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Many people who live in countries steeped in the Judeo-Christian tradition look down on voodoo, considering it a mishmash of superstition and sorcery. But in her book Vodou Visions, Sallie Ann Glassman argues that Vodou (the preferred spelling among its practitioners) is an authentic religious tradition worthy of respect. She does acknowledge that some of its beliefs may seem odd to polite society. For instance, Vodou's calm, gentle, sweet spirits are not always forces for good, while some of its hot, turbulent, revolutionary spirits are not necessarily bad. Be open to the possibility that there'll be similar principles at work in your life in the coming week, Libra— whether or not you have any connection to Vodou.

�SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I went to first grade in a working class town in Michigan. One day while walking home from school, I encountered three third-grade bullies. They dragged me into an alley, where two of them held my arms while the other belted me once in the abdomen. "Why?" I cried. No one answered. The puncher sneered and got ready to deliver another smack. Just then a woman's voice called out. She was hanging wet laundry on a clothesline in her backyard nearby. "You stop that nonsense right now!" she exclaimed, and ran toward us. The boys fled. She took me into her house, fed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and called my mother. I was a little shaky yet ecstatic, feeling I had proof that angels were always watching over me. This story is an apt metaphor for your experience in the coming week, Scorpio.

�SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): For many people, physical appearance is the most important consideration in their search for a mate. Social status is often a decisive factor as well, as well as religious and political compatibility. In contrast, here's what evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller told The New York Times when asked why he chose the wife he did: "Because she was very witty and funny and a woman I thought I could learn a lot from. You look for somebody you feel you could talk to for years without getting bored." I recommend that you adopt Miller's criteria for selecting your next three new allies, Sagittarius. It's time to refine your approach to creating your network.

�CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In his poem "Jerusalem, Easter," Stanley Moss writes, "On this bright Easter morning / smelling of Arab bread, / what if God simply changed his mind / and called out into the city, / ‘Thou shalt not kill,' and, like an angry father, ‘I will not say it another time!' / They are praying too much in Jerusalem . . ." With this as your inspiration, Capricorn, I'd like you to meditate on two themes: 1) What crucial message do you keep getting from God or life but continue to ignore? 2) Is there a certain ideal you say you believe in but sometimes neglect to carry out in your day-to-day encounters?

�AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): This would be an excellent time to escape every boring routine that is sapping your life energy. And when I say "escape," I'm hoping you don't settle for a trip to a Wal-Mart in a city 50 miles away. The more dramatic and complete your break with habit, the better. Would you consider exploring the Outback of Australia on the back of a camel? Or how about rafting down Tibet's "River of Golden Sand," or reconnoitering Botswana's Okavango Delta, Africa's most beautiful oasis?

�PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): By comparing your biorhythms with those of hundreds of celebrities, Celebmatch.com analyzes which of those glamorous people you'd be most compatible with. I was surprised to find that I would get along extremely well with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, tennis star Venus Williams, and Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. I suggest you find out the luminaries who would be your best matches, Pisces. According to the astrological omens, it's prime time to bring a playful stimulus or two to your romantic fantasy life.

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