Free Will Astrology

ARIES When I was a kid, I read Highlights magazine. My favorite feature was the section that asked Zen-like questions like "Can you laugh and cry at the same time?" or "If you were a talking parrot, what words would you want to learn?" For this week's horoscope, I've borrowed the spirit of that old source of inspiration. May the following passage incite your raw wonder and feral innocence. What's more beautiful, the smell of an orange or the sight of a green hill in spring? Under what circumstances might you eat dessert before the main course? Is it possible to fall up instead of down? Describe how you'd catch a dragonfly without hurting it. Can you grow brain cells just by thinking you want to?

TAURUS Lately I have this recurring vision of you crawling up out of a deep hole. Each time, you seem to defy gravity as you climb by clawing at the sides of the hole and pulling yourself higher and higher until you finally emerge into daylight. Why am I having these fantasies? Are they a metaphor for your life right now? I shudder to think that you've been in an abyss as profound as the one I've been seeing, though I'm ecstatic about the prospect that you're about to escape.

GEMINI The Chinese poet Yuan Mei (1716-1798) was heavily influenced by Buddhism but was also skeptical toward it. The book of his selected poems is entitled I Don't Bow to Buddhas. This is an excellent time for you to follow Yuan Mei's lead. Are you smart and subtle enough to practice his split-minded approach? I think you are. Try this: Intensify your love and respect for the ideas you're inspired by, even as you explore your doubts about them and subject them to rigorous testing.

CANCER "What astrological transit did Galileo have when he first turned a telescope toward the heavens?" asks Richard Tarnas, author of Cosmos and Psyche. "What transit was coming to bear on Betty Friedan when she conceived of her seminal book The Feminine Mystique? What transit was Sigmund Freud experiencing when he had the breakdown-cum-breakthrough that propelled him into his life's work?" There's not enough space to answer those questions here. I invoke them because I want to suggest that you're currently basking in cosmic influences that could hatch a similar quantum leap.

LEO "Dear Rob: I have to say that you unfailingly tune in to my subconscious screams every week and help me transform them into something beautiful, fresh and worthy of serious amusement. How do you do it? Can you teach me how to perform the same service for myself? — Leo Longing for Self-Mastery." Dear Future Self-Master: You may not realize it yet, but in the past few weeks you have acquired scads of data that could provide excellent fodder in your quest for self-mastery. I suggest that you pore over your recent past and gather up the clues.

VIRGO On the third anniversary of America's invasion of Iraq, many protests took place. But they were more like Sunday picnics than the fierce mass demonstrations that raged in 2003. New York's rally drew a mere 1,000; Washington's, 300. The march near where I live was led by two octogenarian women singing "This Little Light of Mine." I was shocked and awed by the lack of passion, especially since now it's even more appallingly obvious how stupid the war is than it was in the beginning. Don't allow a similar apathy to creep in to your own fight for justice. For the sake of your future, you've got to redouble your righteous anger.

LIBRA The coming week should include a lot of back and forth, give and take, and to and fro. It will be a favorable time to jump into spirited debates and seek clarification through good-natured arguing. Dynamics that might feel uncomfortably adversarial at any other time could be invigorating now. In fact, I encourage you to bring up touchy subjects that everyone has been avoiding, because it's likely you'll finally be able to deal with them in candid and constructive ways. Your power symbol for the week is a child's seesaw.

SCORPIO "Dear Dr. Brezsny: Usually I gobble up your words. They're soul food that nourishes me for days. But last week's 'scope gave me indigestion. Was there a hidden meaning? Can I coax a deeper interpretation out of you? Would it help if I told you that I've gathered gossip about you that thus far I've chosen not to reveal? Help me out. — Scorpio Who Hates Secrets Unless I'm Keeping Them." Dear Scorpio: I think the problem is that you've been keeping so many secrets for so long that you've come to assume that every situation is crammed with secrets. The truth is, this is a highly unsecretive time for you. You should proceed as if there's no good reason to hide anything and as if everyone is willing to reveal themselves freely.

SAGITTARIUS "The wisdom of this year is the folly of the next." So said the fortune cookie message I got last night when I was having dinner at a Chinese restaurant with two Sagittarian friends. As I read my oracle aloud, one of my companions said, "Ain't that the truth!" and the other barked, "You got that right!" I take this to mean that it's my duty to share my fortune cookie oracle with you. What wisdom from last year is now being revealed as folly? And what are you going to do about it?

CAPRICORN In the Bible's Book of Exodus 34:14, God says his name is "Jealous." Literally. Why isn't this fact more widely discussed by people who care about religion? In his book 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know, Russ Kick says it's because America's Pledge of Allegiance would have to be altered to say, "one nation, under Jealous," and would lead to a redesign of U.S. currency, in which the motto "In God we Trust" became "In Jealous we trust." Your assignment is to withdraw your support for any deity that calls himself or herself "Jealous" — even as you also renounce any impulse in you that indulges in jealousy. It's insane to compare your life to anyone else's. You're perfect the way you are.

AQUARIUS Years ago I had a girlfriend who was a performance artist. At Easter time every year, she did a show in which she walked barefoot on top of a spiral row of 22 colored, uncooked eggs without breaking more than a couple of them. Being 5 foot 3 and 102 pounds helped her accomplish this semi-miraculous feat, but it still required great skill and concentration. I believe you have a comparable task ahead of you. Better start practicing.

PISCES Here are your words of power for the coming week: finagle, serendipitous, tinker, ad lib, revise, crafty, rectify. I urge you to carry out actions that embody the spirit of all those terms. Once you do, you'll be in perfect alignment with the cosmic forces coming to bear on you, and will therefore have prevailed upon those cosmic forces to provide you with the metaphorical equivalent of a skeleton key, universal password or Swiss army knife.