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Free Will Astrology 

ARIES Your horoscope this week comes from the Chinese book of oracles, the I Ching, translated by Richard Wilhelm. The title is "Liberation." Here's the heart of it: "In times of standstill it will happen that inferior people attach themselves to you and even seem to grow indispensable. But when the time of deliverance draws near, with its call to action, you must free yourself from such chance acquaintances with whom you have no inner connections. For otherwise the friends who share your views, on whom you could rely and together with whom you could accomplish great things, mistrust you and stay away."

TAURUS Animals will be especially attracted to you in the coming days. The light of the sun will seem to possess an uncanny sparkle. You may experience vivid fantasies like seeing a talking cat in a tree or hearing advice coming from a soap dispenser. Strangers may gaze at you for no apparent reason. You may be reunited with precious memories that have been lost to you for a long time. I call this "natural magic time."

GEMINI "I am a fugitive from the law of averages," writes one of my readers. "I swore a long time ago that I would never be taken alive by anything that was average, commonplace, standard or ordinary." His attitude is especially recommended for you right now. In order to harvest the potential rewards the cosmos has prepared for you, you've got to push to excel; you've got to cultivate a lust to be unique; you've even got to be willing to risk making other people envious of you. One of the worst sins you could commit would be half-assed mediocrity.

CANCER Siam's King Mongut had a harem of 9,000 women. On his deathbed, however, before succumbing to the ravages of syphilis, he confessed that he was truly in love with only 700 of his lovers — less than 8 percent of the total. Why he didn't concentrate on them and forget the rest we'll never know. Don't make a similar mistake in the coming months. You will have the chance to indulge in a variety of pleasurable adventures, but only a fraction will have the potential of nourishing your soul.

LEO What's the best way to defeat a dragon? Some fairy tales propose the use of brute force, while others suggest that the protection of a magical amulet is preferable. Still other myths say the optimum strategy is to use stealth to avoid the dragon completely, though that usually means living in constant fear of the beast. From what I can tell, your future happiness will be best served if you use none of the above, but instead employ one of the two lesser-known methods of dragon-taming: Either ask it sly riddles to confuse it or else pacify it through the entertaining power of your songs and dances.

VIRGO "We have art so that we may not die of reality," said Friedrich Nietzsche. While I'm sure you won't literally be killed off by reality this week, it could bore you half to death — unless you aggressively subject yourself to massive amounts of really fine art. I'm not just talking about listening to formulaic pop music or getting a glimpse of the Mona Lisa on an ad for the upcoming film The Da Vinci Code. I'm referring to intensive exposure to inspired painting, sculpture, music, architecture, dance, and literature — sublime forms of creative expression that you may have to work hard to find.

LIBRA To be of real service to you, I have to do more than be simplistically optimistic. It's important for me to be your cheerleader, counterbalancing the negative reinforcement that so often comes your way, but it would be irresponsible of me to inflate you with false hopes. This week, for instance, I have to report that there's a 65 percent chance of you achieving a major breakthrough in at least one of your relationships, but only if you lose every ounce of self-pity and refuse to blame anyone for your sorrows. I also foresee the possibility of you healing 55 percent of one of your old wounds, but only if you stretch yourself to learn a new lesson from the original trauma.

SCORPIO A few years ago, a major record label signed my band. We were the next big thing. Or at least that's what they told us up until the moment they demanded that we change the titles and lyrics to some of our songs. They were afraid we'd be sued for our songs "Marlboro Man Jr." and "Kmart Tribal Ballet." We agreed to make the changes only because, if we refused, our music never would have been heard. The company owned the rights to it. Let this serve as an example of what not to do in the coming weeks. Do all the research and strategic long-range thinking necessary to avoid getting into a position where people you don't know control your fate.

SAGITTARIUS It's a good time to reconnect with your childhood memories — especially the ones that made your heart sing. You will derive great practical benefits from remembering specific scenes that embodied the essence of who you were in the beginning. Was there a time you read a book under the covers with a flashlight way past your bedtime? Or waded in the creek searching for a treasure some big kid told you about? I hope you give yourself the pleasure of reliving those events, trusting they'll provide you with the emotional lift you need.

CAPRICORN This would be an excellent week to tilt all your paintings so they're hanging crooked, call yourself the "Wizard of Desserts" and stand in a mud puddle up to your ankles. Take advantage of the astrological opportunities by using a felt-tip pen to draw tattoos of magic symbols on your body, making love with grocery bags over your heads and reciting dirty limericks in front of people who think you're too serious. It's high time for you to lose your cool.

AQUARIUS Metaphorically speaking, you will duck at just the right time to miss the cream pie that's headed toward your face. At least that's what I predict. In addition to your good timing and skill at protecting yourself, you will also have a knack for avoiding messy complications, which is lucky given the fact that people around you may act as if messy complications are fun and interesting. Here's further good news: You will have an instinct for detecting the slivers of truth that are embedded in wads of total BS. That will allow you to act with lucid efficiency while others are out fighting nonexistent demons.

PISCES One day 17 years ago I was lying alone on my acupuncturist's table, floating in that hypnogogic state you sometimes slip into when your ears, wrists, feet and forehead are pierced with needles. At one point she came in to check on me. Patting me on the upper arm, she murmured, "You will live a long life." I received it as a prophecy, as a gift from her intuition to mine. In the days and months that followed, it stripped away the habitual anxiety I carried around with me and freed me to live with more courage and abandon. It gave me license to believe more wildly in my own potential. Now I'm offering you the same gift. If you're reading this horoscope today, you will live a long life.

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