Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19) Shakespeare got modest respect while he was alive, but his reputation as a brilliant bard didn't gel right away. It wasn't until almost 50 years after he died that anyone thought his life and work were notable enough to write about. By then, all his colleagues and compatriots were gone, and he left little information to build a biography around. That's why next to nothing is known about the person who made such a dramatic impact on the English language and literature. Let this inspire you not to be blasé about the greatness that is in your vicinity. Don't take superlative intelligence, talent or love for granted. Recognize it, bless it, be influenced by it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) You are the lord of all you survey! I'm almost tempted to say that you have the power to command whirlwinds and alter the course of mighty rivers! At the very least you are able to mobilize the ambition of everyone you encounter and brighten the future of every group you're part of! Act with confident precision! Speak with crisp authority! Your realm waits expectantly for the transformative decisions that will issue from the fresh depths of your emotional intelligence!

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) It's time for you to fly away — to flee the safe pleasures that comfort you as well as the outmoded fixations that haunt you; to escape at least one of the galling compromises that twists your spirit as well as a familiar groove that numbs your intelligence. You need to get excited by stimuli that come from outside your known universe. You need fertile surprises that motivate you to resort to unpredictable solutions.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) Many creative people I know actually brag about how messed-up their early life was, as if that was a crucial ingredient in turning them into the geniuses they are today. Well, excuse me for breaking the taboo, but I had a happy childhood, and it did not prevent me from becoming a sensitive artist. In fact, it helped. Are you brave enough to go against the grain and confess that your early years had some wonderful moments? You're in a phase when recalling the beauty and joy of the past could be profoundly invigorating.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) Usually I overflow with advice about how to access your soul's code. I love to help you express the unique blueprint that sets you apart from everyone else. But every now and then it's a healing balm to take a sabbatical from exploring the intricacies of your core truths. For the next 10 days, I invite you to enjoy the privilege of being absolutely nobody. Revel in the pure emptiness of having no clue about your deep identity. If anyone asks, "Who are you?," relish the freedom that comes from cheerfully saying, "I have no freaking idea!"

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Gustave Flaubert is generally regarded as one of the greats. His novel Madame Bovary appears on many lists of the greatest novels of all time. And yet writing didn't come especially easy for him. It wasn't uncommon for him to spend several agonizing days squeezing out a single page. On some occasions he literally beat his head against a wall, as if trying to dislodge the right words from their hiding place in his brain. He's your role model in the coming week. You can create something of value, although it may require hard labor.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Right now the whole world is in love with you. Creatures great and small are more apt than usual to recognize what's beautiful and original about you. As a result, wonders and marvels are likely to coalesce in your vicinity. Is there anything you can do to ensure that events unfold in ways that will yield maximum benefits for everyone concerned? Yes: Be yourself with as much tender intensity as you can muster.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) I hope you saw the horoscope I wrote for you last week. And I hope that you acted on my advice and refrained from all sweating and striving and struggling. These past seven days were designed by the universe to be a time for you to recharge your psychic battery. Assuming that you took advantage of the opportunity, you should now be ready to shift gears. In this new phase, your assignment is to work extra hard and extra sweet on yourself. By that I mean you should make your way down into your depths and change around everything that isn't functioning with grace and power. Tweak your attitudes. Rearrange your emotional flow. Be an introspective master of self-refinement.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) This horoscope borrows from one of my favorite Sagittarian visionaries, Jonathan Zap. The advice he gives here, which is in accordance with your astrological omens, is designed to help you avoid the fate he warns against: "Many of the significant problems in our lives are more about recognizing the obvious rather than discovering the mysterious or hidden. One of the classic ways we deceive and hide from ourselves is by refusing to recognize the obvious and shrouding what is right before us in rationalization and false complexity. We often delay and deny necessary transformation by claiming that there is a mysterious answer hidden from us, when actually we know the answers but pretend that we don't."

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) It's time to take inventory of all the stories you allow to pour into your beautiful head. Do you absorb a relentless stream of fear-inducing news reports and violent movies and gossipy tales of decline and degeneration? Well, then, guess what: It's the equivalent, for your psyche, of eating rotting bear intestines and crud scraped off a dumpster wall and pitchers full partially hydrogenated oil. But maybe, on the other hand, you tend to expose yourself to comedies that loosen your fixations and poems that stretch your understanding of the human condition and conversations about all the things that are working pretty well. If so, you're taking good care of your precious insides; you're fostering your mental health. Please drink in this fresh truth from Nigerian writer Ben Okri: "Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world."

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) In the coming week, I predict that you will NOT experience disgusting fascinations, smiling-faced failures, sensationalized accounts of useless developments or bizarre fantasies in the middle of the night. You may, on the other hand, have encounters with uplifting disappointments, incendiary offers of assistance, mysterious declarations of interdependence and uproars that provoke your awe and humility in healing ways. In other words, it'll be an uncanny, perhaps controversial time for you — but always leading in the direction of greater freedom.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Congrats on your growing ability to do more floating and less thrashing as you cascade down the stream of consciousness. I think you're finally understanding that a little bit of chaos isn't a sign that everything's falling apart forever omigod the entire planet's crashing and evil is in ascension … but rather that a healthy amount of bewildering unpredictability keeps things fresh and clean. Learn to relax even more as you glide through the bubbling and churning waters of life.

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