Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia, there's a 1500-word piece extolling a few of the many ways in which I feel that living on this planet is a glorious privilege. You're in a phase of your astrological cycle when it makes perfect sense for you to write something similar. To be in maximum alignment with cosmic luck, therefore, you should sit down and compose a list of everything that works well for you, delights you, and helps you feel at home in the world. Call it your "Joy Manifesto."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): For the last nine years the daffodils in my yard have blossomed in mid-February. This time around, however, their yellow blooms sprouted in the first week of January. Another sign of global warming? I don't know. So far the flowers' early arrival hasn't been a problem. They're still going strong, showing a hardy resistance to sporadic bursts of cold and rain. According to my astrological analysis, Taurus, you have also ripened a bit prematurely. Ahead of schedule, you've accomplished your upgrade and are ready to try your hand at a spicier challenge. Like the daffodils, you will probably do fine. Just one piece of advice, though: Don't scrimp on your efforts to protect and nurture yourself.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Having ridden my mountain bike through Marin County's hills for years, I've watched Mt. Tamalpais go through endless changes. Depending on the weather, the season, and the time of day, it has been a different mountain on each occasion I've seen it. When the low-slung sun illuminates the thin layer of mist covering it late on a winter afternoon, for example, I can't believe it's the same mountain that lies beneath a full moon beaming down on it through a hole in the streaming clouds on a summer night. The poet in me says I'd be justified in giving it a new name on each of the thousands of times I've been in its presence. If you're honest, Gemini, you know that my relationship with Mt. Tamalpais is very much like your experience of the people you see every day. They're always fresh, always different from who they were last time. This is an ideal time to acknowledge and celebrate that mystery.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Two people in Evansville, Indiana were exploring an office building they wanted to buy. To the surprise of the owner, they discovered the structure had a second story that had been closed up for decades. The three of them gained access to the hidden area and found business papers that had last touched human hands in 1931. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, Cancerian, you will soon make a similar find. Sealed-off parts of your world you didn't know existed will become available for your inspection.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The Galactic Question Center at Galquest.blogspot.com asks you to imagine the following scenario: Upon awakening one morning, you find that you are lying on top of a mile-high pole that is 24 feet in diameter. Next to you is a can of unopened chicken soup, a tube of strong glue, a half-mile long rope, and a German shepherd dog. Can you come up with a way to get yourself back down to the ground? I don't think you will face this exact predicament in the coming week, Leo, but it has a metaphorical resemblance to a knotty riddle you'll be presented with. Fortunately, you have the brain power to solve it.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Burton Butler is Northern California's top Skunk Whisperer. Because he has developed a special rapport with skunks, he's often called on by spooked suburbanites to safely remove the critters when they take up residence in basements and garages. I believe you will have an analogous talent in the coming weeks, Virgo. Due to your smart, unsentimental brand of sensitivity, you will be able to defuse potentially smelly problems with little or no damage to either the stinker or stinkees.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In the science fiction film Contact, Jodie Foster plays a scientist who's chosen as an astronaut for a solo trip to an alien world far from our solar system. As she careens through a staggering array of sublime celestial phenomena, she muses aloud to herself, half crying, "It's so beautiful . . . so beautiful . . . They should have sent a poet." To properly understand and appreciate the experiences that lie ahead for you, Libra, adopt her advice: Awaken the poet within you, and let him or her lead the way as you go on your adventures. You say you don't have an inner poet? I disagree. We all have one. It's the part of you that thinks like the moon, dreams like the sun, and loves like the earth.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In her San Francisco Chronicle column, Leah Garchik reported that a woman shopping at a local Safeway grocery store had heard "Blitzkrieg Bop," a snarling anthem by the Ramones, playing over the loudspeaker. Was it an unfortunate development that besmirched the integrity of the seminal punk band, or a welcome sign that what was once raw rebel squawk is infiltrating the mainstream? You're ready to entertain an analogous question that pertains to your own personal quest for authenticity, Scorpio. Should you compromise a little so as to inject your influence into a setting where it's desperately needed? Or should you remain aloof and pure, content to affect mostly just those who already agree with you?

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