Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Yawning often occurs during the time we're transitioning from a passive state to a more active one, like when we're waking up in the morning or when we've decided to stop watching TV, get up off the couch, and head out for a jog. Psychology professor Robert Provine, an expert on the subject, says that concert pianists and Olympic athletes typically yawn as they gear up for their moments in the limelight. Judging from these facts, Aries, I imagine you'll soon be indulging in more yawns than usual. You're about to go from a phase of relative inertness to one of mind-jiggling adventure.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Surveys show that two out of every ten people have bought stuff they found out about through e-mail spam. While you're no doubt too sophisticated to be among that number, you might want to open your mind a bit to the possibility. That's because the astrological omens suggest you may soon receive useful information and out-of-the-blue inspiration from sources you've ignored in the past–even chattering gossipers and questionable teachers and TV news shows. Don't be too sure you already know where your juiciest clues will be coming from.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Florida's Pensacola Christian College has a strict code of conduct that regulates the interaction of male and female students. One of the forbidden acts is "optical intercourse," also known as "making eye babies." This occurs when two people gaze into each other's eyes too long and too deeply. Luckily, you don't attend Pensacola Christian College, and will thus face no prohibitions if you choose to carry out my astrological advice: Make eye babies in abundance during the coming week. This is the best time in eons for you to build soul-to-soul intimacy with those who've earned your exuberant trust. P.S. If you don't have a lover with whom you want to make eye babies, do it with a good friend, with a favorite animal, or with yourself in a mirror.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): A literature professor told me an amazing fact: Many of Emily Dickinson's poems can be sung to the tune of the traditional folk song "The Yellow Rose of Texas." (Try it with the poem that begins "The soul should always stand ajar," which you can read at http://snipurl.com/sjrh. To hear the music, go here: http://snipurl.com/sjla.) I like this unexpected resonance between high art and rustic style, between subtleness of mind and earthy feelings, between elite ideas and populist execution. Furthermore, I recommend that you yourself try similar blends in the coming week.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Nature loves courage," said visionary philosopher Terence McKenna. "It shows you it loves courage because it will respond to your brave commitment by removing impossible obstacles." While I believe this is always true, Leo, it's especially apropos for you right now. You've fallen short of your potential because you have not yet summoned more than a fraction of the boldness that lies within you. But this is a turning point when you finally have what it takes to tap into your dormant reserves. I hope you rise to the occasion, and so does nature.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "What this country needs is a good five-cent reverie," philanthropist Paul Mellon once said. I completely agree. There are more than enough dreams that tempt us to spend a fortune… fantasies that cost a hundred million dollars to make… expensive head trips that distract us from enjoying the simple things in life. The astrological omens suggest that you keep this theme uppermost in your mind, Virgo. Focus on a marvelous reverie that will set you free for free. Daydream about a pearl of great price that you can have for a song.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Mother Jones magazine reports that the widow of Black Panther founder Huey Newton is trademarking his slogan "Burn, baby, burn" for use in marketing her new barbecue sauce. Meanwhile, the insurance company AFLAC has trademarked the quacking of the duck in its TV commercial, MGM has trademarked the roaring of its lion, and Pillsbury has trademarked the giggling of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Do you have a signature phrase, gesture, noise, trick, service, or product, Libra? This would be an excellent time for you to shelter it with a trademark, patent, copyright or other kind of protection.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In his book Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas says the planets don't emit invisible forces that shape our destinies as if we were puppets. Rather, they are signals of the unfolding evolutionary pattern. Just as clocks tell time but don't create it, the heavenly bodies show us the big picture but don't cause it. Quoting ancient Greek philosopher Plotinus, Tarnas writes "the stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together." Can you work yourself into a state in which you perceive this sublime interconnectedness, Scorpio? You desperately need to. If you can, you won't have to be an astrologer to catch profound glimpses of the overarching purpose and meaning of your life. Everything in the world, not just the planets' positions, will be full of signs for you to read.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): As I take my daily bike ride into the hills, I pass a place where a beer-truck driver named Elijah lives. It's a trailer with old tires and rusty tools littering the driveway. Today there was a new addition: a 1975 Chevy El Camino, a vehicle that's like a car up front and a pick-up truck in back. It had a bumper sticker that read "Theresa and Johnny's Comfort Food – Live Free or Die." The whole scene reminded me of the message I want to convey to you, Sagittarius. First, I believe you should bring into your sphere a fresh old thing that's an amalgam of two different categories, akin to Elijah acquiring a brand new 31-year-old vehicle that's half-car and half-truck. Second, I think you should make sure you feel extremely secure--stocking up on the equivalent of "comfort food"– as you initiate a major push for liberation.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You: difficult to push around, more hungry for intimacy than you let on, smarter than 85 percent of the people you know. Me: provider of friendly shocks, fond of playing a didgeridoo in the rain at dusk and dawn, outrageously tolerant of other people's eccentricities. So is there any hope of a relationship between us? Well of course there is. We're having a relationship right now, aren't we? Maybe it's not the exact kind of connection you'd like to have with me, but you've got to admit there's value in it. Now please apply that lesson to your thinking about all your close alliances: Love them for what they are, and don't criticize them for what they're not.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In one of his poems, the late, great Charles Olson praised "lovers of the difficult." He didn't mean that in some sadomasochistic sense; he wasn't cheering on people who perversely enjoy suffering. Rather, he meant to express his admiration for those whose lust for life drives them to seek answers to the knottiest questions. He was recommending that we wrestle with intractable problems whose solutions unleash blessings on the world. In the coming week, Aquarius, I encourage you to be one of these lovers of the difficult..

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The dance called the waltz is regarded as schmaltzy, but it was originally the punk music of its era. After its first appearance in England in 1816, an editorial in The Times called it obscene, a dance worthy only of prostitutes, because of its "voluptuous intertwining of the limbs and close compressure on the bodies." Religious authorities in Europe thought it was vulgar and sinful. My prediction is that you're currently entertaining a new trend that will have a history not unlike that of the waltz. It may cause a ruckus in the beginning, but will eventually become the pinnacle of normalcy.

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