Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): For all we know, in your past life you were a virgin who was thrown into a volcano to appease a fire deity. But whether or not that's an actual fact, we can say this with certainty: At some time in your current life, you made a great sacrifice in an effort to pacify a person whose anger or violence or manipulativeness you were intimidated by. Now I say unto you, Aries, that it's an excellent time to fix any distortions that were unleashed in your life because of that sacrifice. You've got the personal power and insight you need to set the healing in motion. Halloween costume suggestions: the mythical phoenix; a virgin-turned-warrior carrying the severed head of the fire deity; a fireman, firewoman, or firedancer.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Empathy is the most radical of human emotions," says activist Gloria Steinem. What does she mean by "radical"? I think the word implies audacity, fierceness, and extreme courage. It connotes a revolt against the status quo, a transcendence of what's normal and habitual. And that's exactly the spirit I hope you bring to your expression of empathy in the near future, Taurus. To enjoy life to the fullest, you should marshal an extravagant ability to feel what others are feeling. Halloween costume suggestions: Be a mirror, a psychotherapist, a giant ear, or a sponge.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): My writer friend Jeff Greenwald is looking for a publisher for his book Fifty Ways to Leave Your Comfort Zone. I think it's a great concept, which is why I'm surprised that some of Jeff's colleagues discouraged him from using that title. "At this tormented moment in history," said one person, "the last thing anyone wants to hear is how to do what's inconvenient and nerve-wracking." To be true to your current omens, however, that's exactly the advice I'm duty-bound to offer you, Gemini. The most interesting pleasures you can generate in the next few weeks will come from leaving your comfort zone. Halloween costume suggestion: whoever is least like you in the whole world.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Spiritual teacher A.H. Almaas believes that a genuinely creative act is always motivated by generosity. If that's true, how do you explain all the ego-obsessed "geniuses" who treat everyone like dirt even as they churn out their supposedly brilliant art? In any case, I'm siding with Almaas' definition, and I advise you to keep it in mind now that you're in the most imaginative and self-expressive phase of your astrological cycle. To ensure that your creative juices keep flowing in ways that make you feel really good, dedicate them to spreading inspiration and giving gifts. Halloween costume suggestions: a pregnant painter, a flower exuding bursts of pollen, a sexy midwife.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): If you visit the Polish village of Szymbark, you'll find an upside-down house. Philanthropist Daniel Czaplewski hired a team of construction workers to build it in the reverse position with meticulous detail. The floor is above you, with all the furniture hanging down, and the ceiling is what you walk on. I urge you to make this place your power symbol in the coming weeks, Leo. Use it to inspire you as you experiment with changing your home around every which way. Dare to be crazy, wise, and funny as you rearrange, reinvent, and renovate the domestic vibes. Halloween costume suggestion: an upside-down house. (See a news story on the place at tinyurl.com/2ywstz.)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Writing in the L.A. Times, Rosa Brooks bemoaned the budgetary cuts that have caused the mass firings of reporters at many major newspapers. This sad development means there are "fewer persistent, nosy people with a mandate to wander around the world asking questions." Whatever you do in the coming weeks cannot single-handedly fix this problem, of course. But it will be your astrological mandate to be a persistent, nosy person wandering around asking questions. Halloween costume suggestions: journalist, spy, muckraker, whistleblower.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): A survey of Russians revealed their thoughts about the best ways to get rich. A third of them said that stealing is most effective, whether that comes in the form of embezzlement, fraud, extortion, or plain old larceny. I don't recommend that approach to you, Libra, even though you're in an astrological phase that's favorable for increasing your wealth. Instead, consider these strategies: working harder and smarter, expanding and deepening your web of connections, intensifying your commitment to excellence, and reading a book like Personal Finance for Dummies. Halloween costume suggestion: an impeccably styled schmooze specialist carrying a wad of big bills and a Wall Street Journal.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Don't eat stale candy from a vending machine where it has sat for six months. Don't seek advice from people who haven't changed their minds about anything since the last century. And don't wear clothes you acquired before 2005 or cling to attitudes you adopted before last month. Catch my drift, Scorpio? You need to evade every influence that tends to keep you frozen in the past. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that it's time to make yourself fully available for the healthiest kind of future shock. Halloween costume suggestions: a grinning exclamation point, a rose bud about to burst open, a welcome sign, a religious devotee dressed in white.

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