Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In his book And They All Sang, Studs Terkel interviewed jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. "When people say, 'I don't understand your music,'" reported Gillespie, "I say, 'Don't try to understand it, just try to feel it.'" That's excellent advice to keep in mind as you weave your way through the complicated, uncanny, revelatory weeks ahead. Full comprehension of the meaning of this era may not be available until later. But that won't be a problem if you live your life as if it were a song you love.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Dear Dr. Brezsny: I dreamed that an angel who looked like Angelina Jolie was teaching me how to gather energy high in the sky and release it in the form of lightning bolts. It required great upper arm strength because I had to make broad sweeping motions with my arms that gathered the necessary electricity into a vortex that would serve as my launching area. I was exhilarated, though nervous about how much force I had at my disposal. What does my dream mean? -Taurus with Goose Bumps." Dear Taurus: Your dream is a symbol of the situation many Bulls are facing right now. You have enormous energy at your disposal. Here's my advice: Don't use your lightning bolts to intimidate people and institutions that have offended you. Instead, put on a demonstration of strength, impressing everyone—adversaries and allies alike—with your ability to command great power responsibly.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Last Christmas Day, I had dinner at a sushi restaurant in downtown San Rafael, CA. The place was deserted except for a drunk at the bar, me and my two companions, and the table next to us, which was occupied by actors Sean Penn and Robin Wright and their daughter. I thought of going over to compliment Robin on her work in various films and to tell Sean how much I loved his articles in the San Francisco Chronicle about his travels in Iraq, but I decided against it. Don't follow my example in the coming week, Gemini. Express your appreciation to those whose work has inspired you, even at the risk of appearing foolish. It's a perfect moment to explore the emotions of admiration and respect, and to pay homage to your influences.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The mayor of Las Vegas has suggested a novel idea for discouraging graffiti on his city's highway walls. Oscar Goodman envisions televised spectacles in which the vandals' thumbs are cut off. His proposed punishment goes too far for my tastes, but I'm wondering if you might approve of it. Lately you've been having bouts of overreaction, entertaining extreme fantasies in response to circumstances that don't necessarily warrant them. I'm not saying your intense emotions are completely unjustified, Cancerian, nor do I recommend that you repress them. I'm simply asking you to let some time pass before you take action on your feelings.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): An executive at the UK's biggest pharmaceutical company admitted that most prescription medicines aren't very effective. "The vast majority of drugs only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people," said Allen Roses of GlaxoSmithKline. His explanation: Many patients have idiosyncratic genes that prevent the medicines from functioning as they were designed to. In my opinion, Leo, there's a similar principle at work regarding just about everything that conventional wisdom says is good for you. That's always important to keep in mind, of course, but especially for you right now. More than ever, you'll benefit profoundly from not only questioning authorities and experts, but giving them the third degree.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The elegant, shimmering fabric known as silk is obtained from the cocoon of a worm larva. Typically the cocoon is dunked in boiling water to kill the pupa inside before it can chew its way out. Another precious material with gross origins is ambergris. It's a foul-smelling excrement that sperm whales vomit. After years of exposure to the sun while floating on the ocean, it transforms into an aromatic, waxy substance that's used as a major ingredient in perfume. Silk and ambergris are your personal power symbols in the coming weeks, Virgo. I predict that you'll turn crap into treasure.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Mirrors should think longer before they reflect," said French filmmaker Jean Cocteau. That's especially true for you this week, Libra. You shouldn't automatically believe every bit of feedback about yourself that comes your way, either from mirrors or any other source. Be skeptical of every image that people have of you, and don't sit there passively while they barrage you with their expectations. In order to further upgrade your integrity (a project I hope you're in the midst of), you may have to make yourself immune, at least temporarily, to what everyone thinks of you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Imagine that you're a circus acrobat whose specialty is working high in the air. You're skilled at swinging from one trapeze to another. You have utmost confidence in your timing and concentration and grip, so that when you let go of one bar and are flying toward the next, there's no doubt you'll make it. I believe that your life has now brought you to a transition that's metaphorically similar to the moment of being in between trapezes. Don't think too hard as you soar across the abyss; trust your instincts.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress. While serving seven terms, she was an outspoken warrior who fought tirelessly for the rights of women, minorities, and the poor. "My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear," she said, "is my mouth, out of which comes all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency." Yet one of Chisholm's most famous exploits was her visit to segregationist politician George Wallace in the hospital after he was shot. Her supporters complained that she was consorting with the enemy, but years later it paid off. Wallace helped her win the votes of southern congressmen when she sponsored legislation to give domestic workers a minimum wage. Be like Chisholm this week, Sagittarius: Even as you open your big mouth to articulate controversial truths, reach out to those who disagree with you.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Readers sometimes ask me about Ophiuchus, the supposed 13th constellation. They've heard that it should be included in astrological thinking, and that it messes up the whole zodiacal system. Here's the truth: The proponents of Ophiuchus are self-described debunkers who hate astrology. Furthermore, they haven't actually taken the trouble to educate themselves about the ancient art. If they did even a smattering of honest investigation, they'd see how irrelevant their theory is. Let this serve as a cautionary tale, Capricorn. Right now it's crucial that you get your facts straight before critiquing anyone. Make sure that those who want to analyze you do the same. And beware of red herrings, straw men, and fool's gold.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Fashion designer Ennio Capasa was asked if he found his work difficult. "If it wasn't difficult I wouldn't enjoy it," he replied. That's the kind of activity you will specialize in during the coming week, Aquarius. The more it stretches your capacity and forces you to dig deeper into yourself for stamina and willpower and resourcefulness, the happier you'll be—and the more successful, too.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Life is stark at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, even for the people who aren't imprisoned there. Newsday reports that there are 23 men for every woman among the 2,800 free Americans. Raccoon-sized rats are fixtures in the local wildlife. The border between the base and the rest of Cuba is littered with underground mines. In recent months, however, a few luxuries have begun to arrive. There's now a Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and miniature golf course. I don't want to make light of the situation, but I do want these new developments to serve as a metaphor for you. What's the most desolate, forbidding area of your psyche? Build the equivalent of a miniature golf course there.

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