FREE WILL ASTROLOGY 


;ARIES "Baksheesh" is a term derived from the Persian word for "gift." In the Third World, it has several meanings, among which are these: 1) bribes paid to authorities to get them to stop hassling you, and 2) tips given to strangers who insist on being of assistance even if you don't want them to. Baksheesh will soon serve as an apt metaphor for you. Be ready to offer compensation (cash, flattery, presents, information) to people in order to get them to both stop bothering you and stop "helping" you.

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;TAURUS The biggest food fight on the planet will soon take place. More than 20,000 lunatic combatants will gather in the Spanish town of Buñol to hurl 45 tons of overripe tomatoes and other veggies at each other. Maybe you should book a flight there; you'd do yourself a big favor by indulging in senseless but harmless mayhem that allows you to lose control in the name of fun. Nothing would be more healing than a big dose of maniacal fervor.

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;GEMINI Russ Kick searches for messy facts that lie half-hidden beneath the official versions of reality. In his two volumes entitled 50 Things You're Not Supposed to Know, he reveals, for example, that most corporations don't pay federal income taxes, George Washington embezzled government money, a third of all American homeless men are military veterans and Shakespeare filled his plays with sexual references. Russ Kick is your role model. May you adopt his brazen approach as you breeze in to off-limits areas to get the scoop on tantalizing truths that have been missing in action.

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;CANCER Throughout history there have been secret schools that don't advertise their existence. To enroll, students must be invited or stumble on them by chance. In post-Renaissance Europe, for example, Rosicrucian mystery schools taught an esoteric form of Christianity; 17th-century English poet Andrew Marvell and his cohorts had their underground School of the Night; and ancient Greek poet Sappho stealthily gathered young women at her "House of the Muses." In recent years the Sexy Bratty Genius School has convened classes at 3 a.m. under a highway overpass in San Francisco. You're close to making contact with a similar source of teaching. Whether you end up actually matriculating depends on whether you want to learn about things you've considered impossible.

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;LEO Psychologists Ed Diener and Martin E.P. Seligman cite 150 studies that suggest economic factors have little to do with happiness levels. For example, the Masai of Kenya, whose per capita income is under $300 a year, are as satisfied with their lives as the 400 wealthiest plutocrats in America. People living in the slums of Calcutta are slightly less filled with well-being, but not much. Explore the personal implications of this. Can you get to the point where you truly feel that your ability to enjoy life has little to with how much money you have?

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;VIRGO Philosopher George Gurdjieff declared that most of us are essentially asleep, even as we walk around in broad daylight. We're ignorant about the higher levels of awareness we're capable of; we're blind to the continuous flow of life's miraculous blessings. He said that in order to wake up and stay awake we need regular shocks. Some of these are uncomfortable, forcing us to face our own stupidity. Other shocks are delightful doses of sacred medicine that entice us to shake off our sleepiness and come to attention in pleasurable ways. In the coming weeks you'll be offered a steady supply of the latter.

;;LIBRA At the BFD concert near San Francisco in June, Yeah Yeah Yeahs lead singer Karen O screamed for two minutes and 17 seconds straight. (I timed it.) I recommend that you set aside some quality time in the next two weeks to experiment with big outbreaks of self-expression that resemble hers. It's the Purge and Purify Season for you — a time when you should indulge in activities that exorcise your demons, wash your brain and incite toe-curling, sweat-inducing, soul-animating catharses.

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;SCORPIO An artist in Santa Fe, N.M., built a replica of England's famous Stonehenge. But instead of using huge slabs of rock to mimic the original, Adam Horowitz erected his spectacular monument with 200 old refrigerators. Hence its name: Stonefridge. This would be a perfect time for you to draw inspiration from his efforts. Create your own personal imitation of a resource you love — a beautifully funky, playfully accessible substitute for a marvel that is impossible for you to own or control.

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;SAGITTARIUS As I contemplate your week ahead, I can't help but think of the Butthole Surfers' song "Pepper": "They were drinking from a fountain/That was pouring like an avalanche/Coming down the mountain." Are you ready for much, much more of everything that interests and stimulates you? Can you imagine what you'd have to do to expand your capacity for big emotions and provocative sensations? Of course not: No one can be fully prepared for an avalanche. But do the wildest best you can and your lust for life will provide you with all the intuitions you need.

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;CAPRICORN It's Fake Smile Week. On one hand, you should be on guard for people who are pretending to feel better than they actually do. I urge you to forgive them for their deception, but don't get derailed by it. On the other hand, you yourself should put on a happy face as a disguise when you're not sure what exactly is going on. In other words, act agreeable until you gather all the information necessary to make a sound decision. Is the advice I'm offering hypocritical? Only if you use it to serve your narrow self-interests. If you're intent on doing what's best for all concerned, my counsel is ethically impeccable.

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;AQUARIUS At the Coachella music festival, I found myself next to a guy sporting a rainbow mohawk and wearing a Speedo, black socks, golf shoes, a necktie, angel wings, a red clown nose and a hard hat with a sticker that read "Martinis and brown rice." He turned to me and said, "You know what I like most about being an Aquarius? It's a never-ending opportunity to send out mixed messages in a friendly, nonmanipulative way." Most of us are addicted to thinking in simplistic categories and obsessed with making sense. Sending out mixed messages, therefore, can be valuable if it's done in a spirit of compassionate play, because it subverts those bad habits. Of all the signs in the zodiac, you do this best. I hope you ply your specialty lavishly in the coming weeks. People in your life have an acute need to get their certainties scrambled.

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;PISCES Are you ready to dive deeper into the mysteries of togetherness? If so, you'll meet provocative candidates for future alliances, and people you already know and love will become more available. As you can imagine, it'll be crucial for you to study the truths of your own heart with ruthless honesty. There'll be no excuse for getting tangled up with so-called "pleasures" that don't really activate your most fervent zeal. Exercise discrimination, please, even as you seek out thrills.

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