Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have one little whisper of warning and one big blast of encouragement for you. First, the warning: Don't be like the ancient Roman emperor Caligula, who declared war on Neptune, god of the sea, and commanded his troops to hurl their spears into the water. Now here's the encouragement: If you heed my warning, the coming weeks will be an excellent time to go to war, metaphorically speaking. There's a 95 percent chance that your cause will be just, a 90 percent chance that you'll be able to enlist a solid fighting force, and an 85 percent chance that you'll acquit yourself with resourceful courage.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In his book Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, psychotherapist John Welwood writes, "Psychological work focuses more on what has gone wrong: how we have been wounded in our relations with others and how to go about addressing that. Spiritual work focuses more on what is intrinsically right: how we have infinite resources at the core of our nature that we can cultivate in order to live more expansively. If psychological work thins the clouds, spiritual work invokes the sun." In my opinion, Taurus, both approaches are useful, depending on the season of your life. For the foreseeable future, though, spiritual work should be your emphasis.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): It's a scary responsibility to give people astrological advice. What if I suggested that you call in sick (even though you're not sick) so you could wander off into the Great Unknown in quest of close encounters with mind-blowing teachings? And what if in the course of following my suggestion you learned so many lessons about how to permanently expand your frontiers that you then decided to burn down a bridge to nowhere and give away most of your emotional baggage and live in greater devotion to your soul's radically simple needs? Could I then get sued by someone in your life who really doesn't want you to escape your traps?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): You're being compelled to get reacquainted with forbidden dreams and buried secrets and hidden truths. Be honest: It's not so bad; it's probably even a bit thrilling. Though it may generate some pungent and poignant dramas, you've got to admit that the dramas are pretty entertaining. And besides, if you can find a way to feel amused as you cooperate with these forbidden dreams and buried secrets and hidden truths, they will ultimately dissolve obstacles that have been postponing your future.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In her book Traveling Mercies, Ann Lamott says the two best kinds of prayer are "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." The former was appropriate for you to unleash a few weeks ago, Leo, but these days the latter makes more sense. I know some of you may think that's a waste of time. Of what practical value is it to express gratitude for what you've already been given? Here's why: Expressing exuberant thanks tends to attract into your life even more reasons to be thankful; it turns you into a magnet for blessings.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): When Martin Luther King Jr. was 12 years old, he was so depressed he tried to commit suicide. I'm glad he didn't succeed. He grew up to be one of my heroes: a peaceful warrior who fought for justice with militant love. Studying his life, I learned that it's possible for a man to have both a well-honed intellect and a fierce spiritual faith. He showed me that uplifting passion, lyrical language, and inventive imagination are essential elements of political activism. He proved you can be devoted to divine mysteries without turning into a fundamentalist fanatic who hates non-believers. In accordance with the astrological omens, Virgo, I urge you to draw inspiration from a hero who means as much to you as King does to me. For extra credit, find out how this indomitable soul managed to triumph over his or her life's low points.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "The disease of niceness cripples more lives than alcoholism," said writer Raymond Chandler. That's an exaggeration, in my opinion, but I think his point is important--especially for you Libras right now. As much as I love your ability to cultivate harmony, seek out beauty, and find the common ground between people, I encourage you to let the sweet and polite sides of your nature recede into the background for a while. Emphasize feistiness and grit. Tap into the fiery, primal aspect of your nature that drove you out of your mother's womb and into this world in the hour when you were born. Be inspired by the creator gods and goddesses of ancient myth, who playfully forged millions of beautiful things using wind, mud, tears, and lightning.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Some people think of me as a pure Californian, marinated in Left Coast politics and raised on New Age memes. But the truth is I spent the first 12 years of my life in the Midwestern heartland, the next six years on the East Coast, then nine years in the South. I'm as mongrel a breed of American as it's possible to be. Though I may bloom with Californian-style eccentricities, my roots are deep in down-to-earth cultural memes. Now I'd like you to do for yourself what I just did, Scorpio, only more so. Remember in detail your origins. Take inventory of the places that have helped make you who you are. Note wryly the differences between what people imagine you to be and what you know you are.

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