Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego, mamihlapinatapai is a word meaning "gazing into each other's eyes, each hoping that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start." If I'm reading the astrological omens correctly, you've been experiencing some version of this poignant deadlock lately. It may have made sense for you to refrain from making the first move up until now, but it no longer does. Get yourself in a generous mood and provide the jumpstart you've both been hesitant to try.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Symphonie Fantastique is widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of music of the 19th century. French composer Hector Berlioz wrote it in 1830 as a response to being rejected by the woman he loved, hoping to seduce her with the power of his artistry. Your assignment in the coming week, Taurus, is to emulate Berlioz: Capitalize on a refusal you've had to endure; create a masterpiece in rebellion against a repudiation you've experienced; make a thing of beauty to compensate for being shunned or ignored. (P.S. The woman in question, Harriet Smithson, eventually married Berlioz.)

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "I feel worst when I'm not learning," writes Harker, one of my readers, "whether it be the stickier details of things I've almost mastered or the fresh spring wind of something entirely new to me." If you share that perspective, as many Geminis do, I've got some good news for you: In the next 30 days you could learn more about love and intimacy than you have in the past two years. For those of you who are brave enough to shed your know-it-all romantic theories, the coming weeks could be like an intensive workshop in the fine art of creating exciting togetherness.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Neuroscientists at Britain's Bristol University have concluded that playing in the dirt can make you feel really good. That's because most soil is crawling with species of bacteria that interact favorably with the human body, strengthening the immune system and stimulating the brain in the same way antidepressants do. The astrological omens suggest that you capitalize on this discovery, Cancerian. You can obtain great health benefits from playing in a sandbox, wrestling with a friend in the dirt, creating mud pies, or smearing clay on your face. In fact, having any kind of messy, down-to-earth fun is highly recommended.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The nature of your imminent future has certain resemblances to what happened at a Chinese zoo, where a baby tiger named Sai Mai was breast-fed by a mother pig and fully accepted by her piglet "siblings." As your ruling metaphor, we could also use the scenario that unfolded at an animal facility in Kenya, where a young hippopotamus named Owen was adopted by a giant, 120-year-old tortoise. In other words, Leo, you should expect exotic pairings that lead to unprecedented expressions of symbiosis and synergy.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you use email, you have a spam filter. You block out the sales pitches, fake information, and random noise that constantly flow toward your inbox. In the coming week, I urge you to expand your concept of what constitutes spam by shielding yourself against all the other junk food for thought that besieges you. Be ruthlessly discerning about the toxins that spew from the radio, TV, Web, newspapers, and magazines. Minimize your contact with narcissists who think "conversation" consists of you soaking up their compulsive self-revelations. You might even erect a psychic spam filter to repel the fearful images that sometimes bubble up from your subconscious mind.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Art critic Simon Schama prefers not to think of Van Gogh's Wheatfield With Crows as the work of an unhappy madman battling with suicidal urges. Rather, he prefers to see it as the seminal masterpiece of a modern genius who launched modern painting. Without denying that the first theory has some validity, he chooses to emphasize the truth of the second interpretation. I urge you to adopt a similar approach as you evaluate the meaning of recent events in your life: Don't repress the pain they unleashed, but on the other hand, play up and celebrate their gloriously redemptive aspects.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Of all the signs in the zodiac, you routinely enjoy the most interesting problems. No one else can compete with your talent for dreaming up original sins, either. I expect that in the coming weeks, you'll once again assert your mastery in these two areas, leaving the rest of us muttering in amazed awe as we behold the beautiful, stinking, useful, hellacious, intriguing messes you stir up. Congratulations in advance for the resourcefulness and courage I know you will summon from the abyss of your subconscious mind.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Homer Simpson, star of the TV show "The Simpsons," has a continually evolving list of the many feats he hopes to accomplish in his life. Among the fantasies that have come true for him are being the manager of a country-western singer, keeping a diary while living in the wilderness, devouring the world's most massive hoagie, and seeing Steve Nicks naked. In accordance with your astrological omens, Homer is your role model in the coming week. May he inspire you to carry out one of your lifelong dreams, and to add three more lifelong dreams to your list for the future.

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