Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A reader from Fiji is encouraging me to pay a visit. "Fiji is heaven on earth," she says. "You'll be ecstatic here." While I have no doubt that's true, it's hard for me to imagine being any more ecstatic than I am when I travel to Hawaii. It, too, has resemblances to paradise. And the plane flight there takes five hours less and is $600 cheaper than the jaunt to Fiji. Do I really need a more heavenly heaven on earth than, say, Waimoku Falls Trail in Maui? I expect you're facing a metaphorically similar situation, Aries. The question you may want to ask yourself is this: Should you pine and aim for a state beyond perfection, or will mere perfection serve you just as well?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The Washington Post solicited ideas from readers about innovative strategies for wasting time. I'll offer you a few in the hope that they'll inspire you to take a major break from the Big Pressing Issues you're obsessed with. It's high time, in my opinion, to give yourself an enormous amount of slack . . . to forgive yourself for not being perfect . . . to dissolve any guilt you feel for not having accomplished all your life goals yet. In that spirit, consider the following time-wasters: (1) Send letters to the editor about grammatical mistakes in the classified ads. (2) Make yourself the world's top expert on a person randomly chosen from the phone book. (3) Keep a logbook in your bathroom to verify that the toilet bowl cleaner really does work for 1,000 flushes. (4) Set the Guinness record for time spent reading the Guinness Book of Records.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In her book Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, biologist Olivia Judson extols the male members of the fruitfly species Drosophila bifurca. Although they are barely one-eighth of an inch long, their sperm can be up to 2.3 inches long. If a man were capable of the same prodigious production, his sperm would be as big as a whale. Metaphorically speaking, you Geminis now have the ability to generate phenomena on this scale. That's why I hope you will devote all your ingenuity and resourcefulness to creating an intricate, beautiful masterpiece, not a humongous, complicated mass of confusion.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Lewis Thomas was a physician who wrote elegantly about biology in books like The Lives of a Cell. I want to bring your attention to his meditation on warts. "Nothing in the body has so much the look of toughness and permanence as a wart," he wrote. And yet "they can be made to go away by something that can only be called thinking . . . Warts can be ordered off the skin by hypnotic suggestion." (tinyurl.com/3clzc5) Thomas regarded this phenomenon as "absolutely astonishing, more of a surprise than cloning or recombinant DNA." According to my astrological reckoning, Cancerian, you currently have a comparable marvel at your disposal. Using the power of your mind, you can shrink, dissolve, or banish a wart-like vexation.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): This would be a perfect time for you to write your ultimate personal manifesto. I'm talking about composing a sweeping statement of the core ideas that fuel your lust for life. To get you in the mood, take a look at the following lyrics from Danny Schmidt's song "Company of Friends." "I believe in restless hunger . . . I believe in private thunder . . . I believe in inspiration . . . I believe in slow creation . . . I believe in lips on ears . . . I believe in being wrong . . . I believe in contradiction . . . I believe in living smitten . . . I believe our book is written by our company of friends.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "The Japanese believe that crying babies grow fast," wrote John Flinn in the San Francisco Chronicle, "and that the louder an infant wails, the more the gods have blessed it." The astrological omens suggest that a similar principle will soon hold true for you: The more you sob and blubber, the smarter you'll get. The louder you howl and moan, the more likely you'll be to attract benevolent influences and unexpected help.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In order for some plants to thrive in the tropical forests of South America, they need bats to eat their fruits and poop out their seeds while flying around. Biologists call the bat excrement by a more lyrical name: seed rain. It's not too much of a stretch to invoke this relationship as an apt metaphor for your life right now, Libra. Like the bat-dependent plants, you now require the help of fertility agents whose work may be a bit messy.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It's the Week of the Fabulous Smirk. Not the Week of the Arrogant Smirk or the Vengeful Smirk or the Hateful, Whiny, Passive-Aggressive Smirk. Rather, the Smirk that Passeth All Understanding. The Wise, Charitable, Forbearing Smirk. The Uber-Smirk that says, "I've figured out what everyone's hiding, and I love them anyway." You are ready, Scorpio, to explore the Divine Smirk that arises naturally when you have outwitted an obstacle that was obscuring the truth from you; when you have finally seen through the delusion you were under and guessed the secret you weren't smart enough to see before.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): This would be a good week for you to compete in a flamethrower competition. You'd probably win. Why? Because according to my analysis of the astrological omens, you currently have an unprecedented knack for playing with fire. You would most likely also be victorious in a marshmallow-roasting contest or a jump-over-the-bonfire tournament. And you would probably do surprisingly well in any activity that might be described as "sitting in the hot seat."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "The great theme is not Romeo and Juliet," said poet Anne Sexton. "The great theme we all share is that of becoming ourselves, of overcoming our father and mother, of assuming our identities somehow." This is certainly your great theme, Capricorn. And it's especially important for you to devote yourself to it now. You're at a turning point in your life-long transformation. You're being presented with a clear-cut choice between sinking back into the ill-fitting yet comfortable mold that others have shaped for you, or else striding out into the frontier in a brave push to become a higher, deeper, more complete version of yourself.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "We only hear questions that we are able to answer," said Friedrich Nietzsche. Luckily for you, Aquarius, there are two big, long-simmering questions for which you have recently begun to sniff out the answers. That means you're now able, at least potentially, to hear those questions. I have three pieces of advice to help ensure that you actually hear them. First, wash your brain out so it's got more free space in it. Second, give your listening skills a tune-up. Third, meditate on Edgar Allen Poe's idea that "Those who dream by day know many things which escape those who dream only by night."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Back in 1995, I began seeing a psychotherapist whose influence ultimately improved me in a thousand ways. At the end of our first session, she handed me a note as I left. It read: "If you don't articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true." She gazed at me firmly and said, "Don't come back until you've proved to yourself that those words are true. All my work will be of no use to you unless you take them to heart." It took me exactly 23 days to prove to myself that what she'd written was true. Now I offer you the same challenge, Pisces. Spend the upcoming week in intense contemplation on the hypothesis, "If you don't articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true.

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

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