Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): As I meditated on your immediate future, I got a vision of you making your way through an obstacle course—scurrying across booby-trapped terrains, shimmying through tunnels, climbing over barriers, leaping across ditches. Curiously, there was not the least bit of stress etched on your face. On the contrary, your eyes were wide and your expression was exultant. You seemed to regard this not as an ordeal, but as a welcome opportunity to expand your resourcefulness.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In 1953, Ena Bridge got engaged to Tony Baker in their hometown of Kent, England. But they broke up and lost touch with each other until recently. Now they're engaged again, planning to go through with the marriage they shrunk back from 52 years ago. I regard them as your good luck charms, Taurus. Soon you, too, will be returning to the site of a long lost dream, or revisiting a desire you abandoned years ago, or exploring a potential union you gave up on in the past.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I was born in Texas near a facility that manufactured nuclear weapons. When I lived in South Carolina, my neighbor was a bigoted Klansman. During my time in Philadelphia, I found a hand grenade on the sidewalk. I was shot in North Carolina and beaten up in Michigan. I've almost been arrested on fraudulent charges twice, once in New York and once in Washington. Despite it all, I love America—every part of it, the red states as well as the blue states. I love its loudness, unpredictability, extravagance, and contradictions. I'm intrigued by the bizarre myths at the heart of the public discourse and entertained by the hysterical tone of that discourse. Now, using my example as inspiration, Gemini, proclaim your appreciation for influences that sometimes drive you half-crazy.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "Dear Rob: Whenever I'm beset by fear, I sleep with the shield I made for myself. It's a hubcap on which I've glued a bunch of protective symbols, like a million dollars in Monopoly money, the fragment of a mirror I stole from the hospital where I was born, the toothbrush of an ex-lover I'm still good friends with, 20 Tamiflu pills arranged in the shape of a peace sign, a notebook page on which I wrote my best dream ever (in which my mom and dad were Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama), a library card from Princeton with both my name and Einstein's on it, a painting of a mutant butterfly dive-bombing a rainbow that's on fire, and a bumper sticker that reads 'Adrenaline is my drug of choice.' -Laughing at My Anxieties." Dear Laughing: I love your shield idea so much I'm recommending it for my Cancerian readers while they're in their "I Love to Worry" season.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Of course I want to do everything I can to help you make your dreams come true. But right now there's a more pressing concern. You've got to dream bigger and hotter and wilder. You need to demand more from your imagination and conjure up more daring fantasies. Here, then, is a prescription from your soul doctor: In the coming week, spend at least ten minutes a day brainstorming at the outskirts of your understanding.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Passing a video store window in San Francisco, I spied a poster advertising a set of DVDs for allseven years of some old TV program. What show it was, I couldn't tell. Most of the sign was obscured. But the blurb at the very top promised that "You may never get up off the couch again"— presumably because you'd become so immersed in the world of the TV show that you'd have no need to actually go out and live your own life. While I don't usually recommend that you pursue this kind of escapism, Virgo, it's perfectly fine—maybe even healthy—to do so now. Please feel free to disappear from the grind for a few days. If necessary, flee into an alternate reality.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem," wrote psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. "That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all." I hope this observation is a sufficiently gentle preparation for your assignment, Libra. Are you ready to make the entire world your classroom, to expand your capacity to be taught, and to master a slew of new tricks? I hope so. To pull it off, you must be willing to let your ego die.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Biologist Francis Crick (1916-2004) won a Nobel Prize for co-discovering the DNA molecule. Naturally, he didn't have any use for the religious right's pet dogma, Intelligent Design. But neither did he fully endorse evolution. That theory says Earth's first life forms arose from organic molecules, which in turn coalesced from inorganic matter. In Crick's opinion, that process was impossible because there wasn't enough time for such a stupendously complex series of events to unfold, given the fact that our planet is only 4.6 billion years old. To address the discrepancy, Crick favored the theory of "directed panspermia," which proposes that life arrived here via an advanced extraterrestrial civilization. Your assignment, Scorpio, is to do as Crick did: Carve out a middle ground between two competing perspectives, transcending the narrow definitions that each of them uses to frame the big questions.

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