~ HOROSCOPE ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

“The supple willow tree does not contend against the storm.” So says the Shaolin monk advising his young pupil in the old TV show, Kung Fu. Let that be your watchword, Aries. There will be other times when your best interests will be served by digging in, steeling your will, and launching a fierce counteroffensive. But this is not one of those occasions. If you’re as supple as the willow, no harm will come to you. In fact, you’ll probably end up feeling like you’ve gotten a very deep, long massage.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

The greatest gift you can give right now might be the gift that you yourself were never given. The most valuable service you have to offer your fellow humans may be the service you have always wished were performed for you. An experience that wounded you could and should move you to help people who’ve been similarly wounded. You now have the power to heal yourself by healing others.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

Welcome to your crash course at Happiness School, Gemini. To begin your first lesson, say the following aloud: “In the next 20 days, I will rigorously test the hypothesis that it’s possible for me to become far more skilled at creating happiness for myself. During that time, I will do everything within my power to make myself feel good.” Now take a piece of paper and write a list of ten familiar experiences that you really enjoy and ten untried experiences that would fill you with well-being if you summoned the courage and initiative to actually attempt them. Finally, Gemini, do at least one of those 20 experiences every day for the next 20 days.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

As of this week, I have written 1,500 astrology columns. Some have been better-written and more useful than others, but I’ve given my utmost effort to every single one. My style has mutated over the years; the horoscopes I penned in, say, 1994, are so unlike those I write now that they almost seem to be the product of a different author. But then I myself have transformed radically since then, so it makes sense that my work has, too. In fact, my personal development has been fueled by my growth as a writer. I urge you to do what I’ve just done, fellow Cancerian. Take an inventory of the big tasks you’ve been doing for years. Evaluate the way they’ve evolved and how they’ve shaped your destiny. It’s time for an expansive look at the labors of love that have made you who you are.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

Japanese farmers have perfected a way to grow square watermelons. At the market the fruit can be stacked with more ease and efficiency, and at home it fits better in the refrigerator. I suggest that you make the square watermelon your metaphor of the week, Leo. What can you do to retrain nature so that it better serves your practical goals? How might you engineer your unruly instinctual urges so as to further your civilized needs?

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

In her book Gender Shock, Phyllis Burke notes that as recently as 70 years ago, pink was regarded as a strong, masculine color, and blue as delicate and feminine. This is one of many pieces of evidence she cites to support her argument that definitions of gender arise more from transitory cultural biases rather than biological axioms. If you’d like to align yourself with cosmic rhythms, Virgo, you’ll experiment with her hypothesis. Are there ways you’ve cut yourself off from potential powers because you wrongly assume they’re a specialty of the other gender? For instance, if you’re a woman, have you been timid about developing your will? If you’re a man, have you crippled your ability to be receptive?

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

If you have been experiencing some form of injustice, it’s an excellent time to stage a protest, strike, or boycott. The astrological omens don’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get all your demands met, but they do make it likely you’ll be able to harness your anger with maximum lucidity. For best results, don’t just fight for your own rights, but for the rights of others as well. You should also make sure that in fighting the disrespect you’ve suffered that you yourself don’t disrespect anyone.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

“You can’t wait for inspiration,” proclaimed writer Jack London. “You have to go after it with a club.” That sounds too violent to me, though I agree in principle that aggressiveness is the best policy in one’s relationship with inspiration — especially for you in the coming weeks. Here’s my modified version of London’s advice: “Don’t wait for inspiration. Go after it with a butterfly net, fishing rod, specimen jars, petri dishes, leashes, sweet treats, juicy bait, persuasive arguments, and sincere flattery.” And whatever you do, Scorpio, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that inspiration is a rare stroke of luck you’re powerless to summon.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

“Earth is a school and daily life is our classroom,” asserts Dan Millman in his book Living on Purpose. Our teachers aren’t always experts and authorities, he says, but often appear in the guise of strangers, acquaintances, children, animals, and unexpected circumstances. The lessons we’re asked to master come to us first as simple, straightforward challenges. If we refuse to work at solving them, they take on progressively more difficult and painful forms. Among the most basic of our assignments is the mandate to take good care of our bodies. In my opinion, Sagittarius, that’s the most important homework you have in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll make dramatic strides in your understanding of what helps your body thrive.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

The language we use has a tremendous power to shape our experience. This is especially true for you right now. The words you choose to describe your feelings and adventures will tip the balance of your energy toward delight and vigor or else toward discouragement and apathy. The fewer negative perspectives you formulate, the better your health will be. To spur yourself in the right direction, make frequent use of beautiful words like the following (or create your own list): mellifluous, thrive, melody, luminous, undulate, freshening, reverence, primordial, shimmer.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

There was an indignant uproar after revelations that James Frey’s bestselling memoir A Million Little Pieces contains fabrications. Hearing about it prompted me to ruminate on whether there’s any such thing as a completely accurate account of any person’s life. My conclusion: no. In every autobiography and biography ever written, the author imaginatively strings together selectively chosen details to conjure up artificially coherent narratives rather than depict the crazy-quilt ambiguity that actually characterizes everyone’s journey. If you and nine writers set out to tell your life story, you’d produce ten wildly different tales, each rife with subjective interpretation, misplaced emphasis, unintentional distortions, and exorbitant extrapolations from insufficient data. Your assignment this week, Aquarius, is to celebrate the malleability of reality. Regale listeners with stories about the time you worked as a pirate in the Indian Ocean, or rode the rails through Kansas as a hobo, or gave Donald Trump sage advice in an elevator.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake regularly riles up the scientific establishment with his theories about telepathy and other taboo subjects. After he published his book A New Science of Life, the editor of the prestigious British journal Nature denounced it, saying “This infuriating tract is the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.” The same editor later attacked Sheldrake for “heresy,” advocating that he be “condemned in exactly the same language that the Pope used to condemn Galileo.” I propose that if you’re doing your job correctly in the coming weeks, Pisces, you will attract similar protests from the status quo. Fulfilling your mission will require you to wander into territory that’s regarded as off-limits by the guardians of the way things have always been done.

~ HOROSCOPE ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

In his book And They All Sang, Studs Terkel interviewed jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. “When people say, ‘I don’t understand your music,’” reported Gillespie, “I say, ‘Don’t try to understand it, just try to feel it.’” That’s excellent advice to keep in mind as you weave your way through the complicated, uncanny, revelatory weeks ahead. Full comprehension of the meaning of this era may not be available until later. But that won’t be a problem if you live your life as if it were a song you love.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

“Dear Dr. Brezsny: I dreamed that an angel who looked like Angelina Jolie was teaching me how to gather energy high in the sky and release it in the form of lightning bolts. It required great upper arm strength because I had to make broad sweeping motions with my arms that gathered the necessary electricity into a vortex that would serve as my launching area. I was exhilarated, though nervous about how much force I had at my disposal. What does my dream mean? -Taurus with Goose Bumps.” Dear Taurus: Your dream is a symbol of the situation many Bulls are facing right now. You have enormous energy at your disposal. Here’s my advice: Don’t use your lightning bolts to intimidate people and institutions that have offended you. Instead, put on a demonstration of strength, impressing everyone—adversaries and allies alike — with your ability to command great power responsibly.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

Last Christmas Day, I had dinner at a sushi restaurant in downtown San Rafael, CA. The place was deserted except for a drunk at the bar, me and my two companions, and the table next to us, which was occupied by actors Sean Penn and Robin Wright and their daughter. I thought of going over to compliment Robin on her work in various films and to tell Sean how much I loved his articles in the San Francisco Chronicle about his travels in Iraq, but I decided against it. Don’t follow my example in the coming week, Gemini. Express your appreciation to those whose work has inspired you, even at the risk of appearing foolish. It’s a perfect moment to explore the emotions of admiration and respect, and to pay homage to your influences.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

The mayor of Las Vegas has suggested a novel idea for discouraging graffiti on his city’s highway walls. Oscar Goodman envisions televised spectacles in which the vandals’ thumbs are cut off. His proposed punishment goes too far for my tastes, but I’m wondering if you might approve of it. Lately you’ve been having bouts of overreaction, entertaining extreme fantasies in response to circumstances that don’t necessarily warrant them. I’m not saying your intense emotions are completely unjustified, Cancerian, nor do I recommend that you repress them. I’m simply asking you to let some time pass before you take action on your feelings.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

An executive at the UK’s biggest pharmaceutical company admitted that most prescription medicines aren’t very effective. “The vast majority of drugs only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people,” said Allen Roses of GlaxoSmithKline. His explanation: Many patients have idiosyncratic genes that prevent the medicines from functioning as they were designed to. In my opinion, Leo, there’s a similar principle at work regarding just about everything that conventional wisdom says is good for you. That’s always important to keep in mind, of course, but especially for you right now. More than ever, you’ll benefit profoundly from not only questioning authorities and experts, but giving them the third degree.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

The elegant, shimmering fabric known as silk is obtained from the cocoon of a worm larva. Typically the cocoon is dunked in boiling water to kill the pupa inside before it can chew its way out. Another precious material with gross origins is ambergris. It’s a foul-smelling excrement that sperm whales vomit. After years of exposure to the sun while floating on the ocean, it transforms into an aromatic, waxy substance that’s used as a major ingredient in perfume. Silk and ambergris are your personal power symbols in the coming weeks, Virgo. I predict that you’ll turn crap into treasure.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

“Mirrors should think longer before they reflect,” said French filmmaker Jean Cocteau. That’s especially true for you this week, Libra. You shouldn’t automatically believe every bit of feedback about yourself that comes your way, either from mirrors or any other source. Be skeptical of every image that people have of you, and don’t sit there passively while they barrage you with their expectations. In order to further upgrade your integrity (a project I hope you’re in the midst of), you may have to make yourself immune, at least temporarily, to what everyone thinks of you.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Imagine that you’re a circus acrobat whose specialty is working high in the air. You’re skilled at swinging from one trapeze to another. You have utmost confidence in your timing and concentration and grip, so that when you let go of one bar and are flying toward the next, there’s no doubt you’ll make it. I believe that your life has now brought you to a transition that’s metaphorically similar to the moment of being in between trapezes. Don’t think too hard as you soar across the abyss; trust your instincts.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Sagittarian Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress. While serving seven terms, she was an outspoken warrior who fought tirelessly for the rights of women, minorities, and the poor. “My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear,” she said, “is my mouth, out of which comes all kinds of things one shouldn’t always discuss for reasons of political expediency.” Yet one of Chisholm’s most famous exploits was her visit to segregationist politician George Wallace in the hospital after he was shot. Her supporters complained that she was consorting with the enemy, but years later it paid off. Wallace helped her win the votes of southern congressmen when she sponsored legislation to give domestic workers a minimum wage. Be like Chisholm this week, Sagittarius: Even as you open your big mouth to articulate controversial truths, reach out to those who disagree with you.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Readers sometimes ask me about Ophiuchus, the supposed 13th constellation. They’ve heard that it should be included in astrological thinking, and that it messes up the whole zodiacal system. Here’s the truth: The proponents of Ophiuchus are self-described debunkers who hate astrology. Furthermore, they haven’t actually taken the trouble to educate themselves about the ancient art. If they did even a smattering of honest investigation, they’d see how irrelevant their theory is. Let this serve as a cautionary tale, Capricorn. Right now it’s crucial that you get your facts straight before critiquing anyone. Make sure that those who want to analyze you do the same. And beware of red herrings, straw men, and fool’s gold.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Fashion designer Ennio Capasa was asked if he found his work difficult. “If it wasn’t difficult I wouldn’t enjoy it,” he replied. That’s the kind of activity you will specialize in during the coming week, Aquarius. The more it stretches your capacity and forces you to dig deeper into yourself for stamina and willpower and resourcefulness, the happier you’ll be—and the more successful, too.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

Life is stark at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, even for the people who aren’t imprisoned there. Newsday reports that there are 23 men for every woman among the 2,800 free Americans. Raccoon-sized rats are fixtures in the local wildlife. The border between the base and the rest of Cuba is littered with underground mines. In recent months, however, a few luxuries have begun to arrive. There’s now a Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and miniature golf course. I don’t want to make light of the situation, but I do want these new developments to serve as a metaphor for you. What’s the most desolate, forbidding area of your psyche? Build the equivalent of a miniature gold course there.
Homework: What part of you is too tame? How can you inspire it to seek wilder ways of knowing? Write www.freewillastrology.com.

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