Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hope you've been trying to bolster your stick-to-it-iveness, Aries. I trust you've been pumping up your follow-through and supercharging your determination. If you haven't been attending to this unglamorous yet heroic work, play catch-up. Your final exam will be administered no later than May 24. Here's a sneak preview of some of the material you'll be tested on. If a teammate drops the ball, do you: a. quit the game; b. throw the ball in your teammate's face; c. pick up the ball and start running in the direction your teammate was supposed to?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The daytime TV soap opera The Young and the Restless has been the most highly-rated show in its time slot for more than a thousand consecutive weeks. First appearing in 1973, the show ascended to the top slot in 1988 and has never slipped since. I'm happy to announce that in 2008 you have the potential to begin a comparable run of success, Taurus. Whether you're able to cash in on that potential may depend on the preparations you make in the coming weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "Pain is weakness leaving the body," says fitness trainer Mark Duval. If that's true, you have gotten a lot stronger in recent weeks. By my astrological reckoning, you've shed a few months' worth of emotional distress, you've purged a few years' worth of frustration, and you've exorcised a couple of lifetimes' worth of confused dreams. Congratulations on all the new vitality you've earned through your constructive losses.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): As part of the arrangement your soul entered into before you were born, you were given the mission to accomplish five specific miracles. Three of these you have not yet even guessed the nature of. Why? For one thing, none of your elders or teachers ever named them for you while you were growing up. Secondly, you have been overly timid about imagining what you're capable of. That's the bad news, Cancerian. The good news is that you're very close to the mystery spot where one of those undiscovered dreams has been moldering.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "The maxim for any love affair," wrote Charles Williams, "is 'Play and pray, but do not pray when you are playing and do not play when you are praying.' We cannot yet manage such simultaneities." But I strongly disagree with Williams, especially in regards to your destiny in the coming weeks. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you can and should play while you pray, and pray while you play. In fact, I recommend that you blend reverence and irreverence in every way you can imagine. Explore the revolutionary concept of sacred fun.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Seems you're pushing to learn all you can from places and ideas you barely even know existed a few months ago. Your experiments continue to provide such valuable lessons that you'd rather not wrap them up yet. That's fine. No rush. Take your time. We here at the Grind will welcome you back anytime you're ready. We completely understand if you want to stay out there on a limb until you're absolutely sure that the butterfly won't have any reason to try changing back into a caterpillar.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Dear Rob: I've been a Libra all my life, and I'm always puzzled by those who say that Librans have trouble making decisions. My experience of the Libra approach to life is that we are connoisseurs of completeness. We work hard to be considerate of other people's viewpoints. We strive to include all the applicable information in our deliberations, even if it's at odds with our personal perspective. Now it's true that urgency and speed are the cultural norms. 'If it can't happen immediately, I'm not interested in it' is an approach that has infected the majority. In that light, Librans may seem wishy-washy and hesitant. But in fact, we're actually thoughtful and judicious. Please help correct the bad stereotype about us. - Discerning Libra." Dear Discerning: You make excellent points. I will pass them on to my Libra readers because it's crucial that in the days ahead they avoid being misinterpreted in the way you described.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): A journalist visiting the home of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr was surprised to see a horseshoe nailed to the wall. "Can it be that you, of all people, believe a horseshoe will bring you good luck?" he asked. "Of course not," Bohr replied, "but I understand it brings you luck whether you believe it or not." I suggest you adopt the physicist's mindset in the coming week, Scorpio. Without dumbing down your powers of logic, be open to the possibility that you will benefit from forces that are beyond your imagining or unaccounted for by your belief system. [Source: Living Biographies of Great Scientists, by Henry & Dana Lee Thomas.]

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In his folk song "Farewell to the Gold," Nic Jones tells the story of a failed gold prospector. After two years of finding no more than a few flecks of the precious metal, the unlucky man is giving up his search. "Farewell to the gold / that never I found," he sings. "Goodbye to the nuggets / that somewhere abound. / For it's only when dreaming / that I see them gleaming / down in the dark deep underground." If I'm reading the omens correctly, Sagittarius, it's time for you, too, to say goodbye to a quest that hasn't panned out. Yes, it'll be sad. But here's the happy ending: Within a month of the time you surrender, you'll be led to a better quest with more chance of success.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): During your entire life, you have maybe never been as free as you are now from the need to be rescued by some savior. You don't need anyone to rescue you from your own dark fantasies because, at least for the moment, your bright fantasies have rendered them obsolete. You don't need anyone to liberate you from oppression or enslavement, because you are fully empowered to do the job yourself. You don't even need anyone to deliver you from evil, since your recent hard work has made evil allergic to you.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The complexity of your current astrological aspects almost overwhelmed me. I couldn't see how to compose a meaningful oracle in the face of such rich and confounding prospects. I was stumped. Then, as my deadline approached, the unthinkable happened: I decided to goof off. Fleeing my office, I wandered down to the beach, where I strolled aimlessly and emptied my mind. At one point I spied a fortune cookie perched absurdly on top of a fence post. The moment I broke it open and read the fortune inside, I knew I'd found the perfect message for you. It said, "If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy man. He will find an easier way to do it."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In their lust to prove there's no God, atheists often invoke the existence of suffering. "What kind of deity," one asked me, "allows a child in Darfur to starve to death after seeing soldiers kill his mommy?" While I don't claim to have the authoritative answer to that accusation, I think it's worthwhile to consider the possibility that suffering is a gift God gives us in order to prod our evolution. On a personal level, your longing to escape your suffering is a primal force in making you smarter. On a collective level, nothing refines and ennobles us more than our passion to keep others from suffering. For every dead child in Darfur, 100 people in other places on the planet have responded with a radical commitment to create a world in which future Darfurs won't happen. These are worthy ideas for you to meditate on in the coming weeks. You will have a tremendous capacity to convert your old wounds, as well as the old wounds of others, into brilliant opportunities.

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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