Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your first assignment is to practice feeling that everywhere you go you are standing on holy ground. Capitalize that phrase in your imagination — "I AM STANDING ON HOLY GROUND" — as you move through the world. Your second assignment, which may at first seem unrelated, is to kick your evil twin's ass. Do it tenderly and compassionately, with full awareness that both you and your evil twin are standing on holy ground. But don't stop kicking until you convince your evil twin to take greater responsibility for his or her personal share of the world's darkness.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Which kind of person are you?" asks editor Paul Somerson. "Are you a spineless lickspittle wage-slave cog toiling away to make someone else wealthy, destined to lead a bleak anonymous Wal-Mart life of relative poverty? Or are you someone with guts and brains who wants to get out from under the thumb of capricious, unappreciative bosses, create something new, and reap financial rewards?" Personally, I think he's engaging in a bit of hype. There's lots of fine territory to stake out in-between the extremes he describes. Still, it's a good idea to push and prod you with his provocative question. You're in a phase when you have more potential than usual to change your livelihood for the better.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "If love is a drug, I guess we're all sober," mourns Nerina Pallot in her song "Everybody's Gone to War." Your two-part assignment stems from that formulation. First, you should experiment with the hypothesis that love is in a sense a drug. Meditate on the fact that it literally changes your body chemistry and affects the way your mind functions. Second, make sure you're not sober. Get yourself high on love in every way you can imagine, whether that means giving generously of yourself, encouraging the best in everyone, expressing your beauty extravagantly, or making it easy for others to adore you.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Move the furniture around. In fact, why not move some of it right through the front door and out of your life? If we're lucky, this will get you in the mood to launch a purge of everything that no longer belongs under your roof. Maybe you could throw a Simplification Party, complete with an exorcism. Or corral your friends for a haul-it-all-away caravan to the garbage dump. I don't care how you do it, Cancerian. Just get rid of all knick-knacks, wall hangings, funny mirrors, broken dreams, balls and chains, and formerly cute mementoes that have lost their cuteness. It's time to liberate your home.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Zam Zam Cola is a popular soft drink in the Middle East, an alternative to Pepsi and Coke in a place where many people have made a political decision not to buy American products. It's named after the revered Well of Zamzam, which is located near the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. In accordance with your current omens, Leo, I urge you to do the metaphorical equivalent of naming a cola beverage after a spiritual power spot. For example, you might imagine that a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich contains the essence of your favorite god or goddess. As you eat it, fantasize that you're absorbing that deity's divine energy. The point is to be casual about something you regard as precious; to be playful with something you take seriously; to have fun with what's most sacrosanct to you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If forced to decide between being filthy rich and living with one's soulmate, 92 percent of the population would choose the big bucks. I hope that's not your position, Virgo. In fact, I hope you're not the kind of person who would even agree to entertain a question like that. The fact is, you won't have to choose between love and money in the coming weeks, even if that initially seems to be the case. I urge you to hold out for both the $10 million AND the romantic bliss. Formulate a clear intention that you won't sacrifice material security for emotional intimacy, or vice versa.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Here's a brief mythic history of the birch tree, according to Philip Carr-Gomm's book Druid Mysteries. The birch used to be called the pioneer tree because it was often the first tree planted on virgin soil, and so in a sense gave birth to the forest. The word "birch" is derived from a root meaning "bright" or "shining" in Indo-European languages. In Britain, birches were made into maypoles, which celebrants danced around during the fertility feast of Beltane. Siberian shamans, at the climax of their initiation ceremonies, climbed a birch tree, circling its trunk nine times. In the spirit of this rich folklore, Libra, I nominate the birch to be your tree of power as you begin a phase of bright beginnings and exuberant fertility.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You will soon be dealing with a challenge you have faced before: how to synchronize your two major archetypes, the lover and the warrior. As always, it will be a daunting task. You will be asked to cultivate the tender, considerate instincts of the lover within you while simultaneously feeding the fiery discipline of your inner warrior. I know you can do it, Scorpio — even if it seems impossible from where you're standing right now.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In one of his "Letters to Lucilius," the ancient Roman writer Seneca described the daily habits of his ancestors. "Those who have studied the customs of our early history tell us that people washed their arms and legs every day," he reported, "but washed the whole body only three times a month." In the coming weeks, Sagittarius, you should avoid this approach not only in the way you bathe, but in everything you do. It will be crucial for you to always go all the way. No partial solutions, please. No half-assed efforts or slapdash treatments.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Washington, D.C.'s most renowned vagrant never begs for money. Instead, he hangs around the streets all day and doles out praise and flattery to passers-by. He calls himself Compliment Man. "Those are beautiful shoes you're wearing," he may say as you walk by, or "The two of you look great together" if you're with a friend. In accordance with the astrological omens, Capricorn, your assignment is to be inspired by the Compliment Man in two ways. First, dramatically increase the blessings you bestow and the admiration you express; be a fount of felicitations. Second, expand your capacity for attracting and gracefully accepting compliments. Make yourself fully available, in every way you can imagine, to receive approval and applause. (P.S. I think you'll find that carrying out task #1 will make task #2 occur quite naturally.)

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It'll be a good week to watch clouds. In fact, you're likely to tune in to very useful information while communing with the ever-changing skyscape. You may think catalytic thoughts and overflow with interesting feelings that would never have come to you unless you gazed upwards for extended periods. Please also consider exposing yourself to these influences: people who expand your sense of what's possible; sights and sounds that diminish your fear; experiences that fill you with compassion for your fellow humans; and stories that awaken your longing for adventure.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "You know how it feels when you're leaning back on a chair," muses comedian Steven Wright, "and you lean too far back, and you almost fall over backwards, but then you catch yourself at the last second? I feel like that all the time." If you're a typical Pisces, you know exactly what he's talking about. That's the bad news. The good news is that you're in a phase when you could figure out how to escape that feeling forever. It may be hard for you to imagine (but luckily I'm here to help you imagine) how much power you have right now to build more security and stability into your life.

In addition to this column, Rob Brezsny offers EXPANDED WEEKLYÊAUDIO HOROSCOPES and DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPESÊdesigned to inspire you. To buy access, go to RealAstrology.com.

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