FREE WILL ASTROLOGY 


;ARIES You're facing a classic dilemma: You can either run away from demanding responsibilities toward an illusory freedom that might allow you to cling to a false sense of pride … or else you can gleefully embrace interesting responsibilities that will build your self-confidence as you fight for a whole new kind of freedom. The outcome is uncertain, and won't be determined by vibrations from the planets. Everything depends on whether you'll make use of your dormant reserves of willpower.

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;TAURUS "Cosmic giggle" was Terence McKenna's term for an event in which the inherent benevolence of the universe suddenly bowls you over with a delightful shockwave of synchronicity. He believed you could and should actively court such eruptions. How? Take a vacation from your obsessions. Relax the part of your mind that's so certain of what it knows. Wander around like an innocent explorer in search of anything that captivates your imagination. Or put on all red clothes, climb to the top of a mobile home and hurl a doughnut as far as you can as you shout out the name of your beloved. Now is a perfect time to try this strategy.

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;GEMINI Studies show that people in Utah take antidepressant drugs at a rate twice the national average. Why? It may have to do with Mormon culture, which is a dominant influence in the state. The argument goes that church members feel they have to be perfect and act happy no matter what's bothering them. If this is an accurate assessment, the antidepressant glut in Utah may soon abate. That's because Geminis living there (and all over the world, for that matter) will just naturally be finding new ways to feel good by acknowledging and dealing with the imperfections in their lives.

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;CANCER In his article "The Evolution of Culture," Cliff Bostock says that many Europeans who emigrated to the New World after 1492 believed it was a magical land promising fabulous wealth and the secret to eternal youth. Meanwhile, however, European scientists developed the view that "everything in America — from the land to the people, animals and plants — was biologically inferior to its European ‘originals.'" Some Cancerians have a comparable split about their destinies. On the one hand, they idealize the past, imagining it to be better or happier than the present time. On the other hand, they ache for an idealized future that will be better or happier than today. Does that describe you? If so, this your wake-up call. Right here and right now is where all the interesting stuff is happening.

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;LEO Welcome to the Season of the Oxymoron. During this unsettling yet intriguing time, you'll have poetic license to celebrate all the paradoxes that drive you half-crazy and teach you how to be vividly alive. Keep in mind that while there are relatively negative oxymorons, like "holy war" or "military intelligence," there are also positive varieties, like "wild discipline" and "aggressive sensitivity." Avoid the former; embrace the latter.

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;VIRGO In May 2005, while floating in a heated, heart-shaped swimming pool in Milan, Italy, Andrea Pedrani and Federica Di Venosa kissed underwater for 87 seconds. That's got to be a world record, right? If their mark is ever broken, I bet it will involve at least one Virgo and will happen in the next few weeks. By my reckoning, your tribe is in a phase when you're capable of peak performances in both the erotic arts and oceanic emotions; you're primed for transcendent acts of sensual pleasure and rich amusements in warm, watery depths.

;;LIBRA Russian economist Yevgeny Yasin told the London Guardian that Russia's ongoing crises were severe, but that there were two possible ways the situation could be salvaged. In the wildly optimistic scenario, the Russian people would correct the problems themselves. In a more realistic scenario, extraterrestrials from outer space would fix the problems for them. In your personal life, the situation is exactly reversed. You may be fantasizing about some improbable intervention that will arrive to rescue you from your current dilemma, but the only truly practical approach is to solve it yourself.

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;SCORPIO As I contemplate the growing wonder of your animal magnetism, my urge to spout poetry is uncontrollable. You're like a dancing heron or a singing tiger or a snake spelling out words by assuming different letter-shaped poses. You're a crazy-mirrored funhouse full of tool-using ravens. You're a convention of laughing hyenas partying at a watering hole on the other side of the tracks from paradise. You're as impossible to predict as a drunk hummingbird, as dangerously smart as a shape-shifting fox from Japanese mythology.

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;SAGITTARIUS "Dear Rob: I was lying in my bed basking in a sunbeam this morning, too comfortable to get up and take my Prozac, when I thought, Hey, what if I'm not, you know, emotionally challenged? What if I'm just lazy? Maybe if I worked harder at cultivating happiness, I'd just sort of outgrow my depression — you know, render it irrelevant. Do you have an opinion about this theory? — Slothful Sagittarius." Dear Slothful: I'd have to know more about your personal history to evaluate whether laziness is the cause of your depression. I do know this, though: Many Sagittarians have become lax about their pursuit of happiness. But it's a perfect time for them to get aggressive about mastering the art of feeling good.

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;CAPRICORN Accountants at an Australian car insurance company have found that Capricorns are the safest drivers. Correlating birth data with crash rates, they found that your sign is the least accident-prone. This probably has to do with your renowned patience and carefulness. While I applaud you for that accomplishment and urge you to continue expressing your attention to detail while operating heavy machinery, I also recommend that in the coming week you make room for happier kinds of accidents. You need certain educational blessings that only serendipity can provide.

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;AQUARIUS I apologize, but this week's horoscopes for the other signs are so long that I'm left with less space for you. I think you'll be fine, though, because you're extraordinarily resourceful right now. You not only can make do with smaller doses of everything, you can thrive and prosper that way. Indeed, you actually need less of everything in order to be your best.

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;PISCES Baobab trees are oddly beautiful, with thick, hollow trunks that can serve as shelters for people and animals. They have an enormous capacity for storing water, allowing them to survive during draughts. Humans carve and paint their fruits, making them into ornaments, and also use their leaves, fruits and bark for food and drink. The tree's white flowers open only at night, and are pollinated by bats. You remind me of a baobab right now. You're freakishly gorgeous, have enormous staying power and hundreds of uses, are a rich source of nourishment and comfort and bloom under the moonlight, when you do your best collaborative work.

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