~ FREE WILL ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

\”Ambition is a bad excuse for not having enough good sense to be lazy,\” my ex-girlfriend Arlene used to say. She claimed to be a Zen master whose duty it was to deprogram me out of my absurd striving to make something of myself. She believed the key to enlightenment was to do nothing as much as possible. \”You\’re egotistically attached to your identity as a poet,\” she\’d yell into my room as I toiled over my writing. \”Come out here and show me you have the spiritual guts to sit in front of the TV and lose your grandiose self in a meaningless game show.\” While I did eventually emerge from our relationship with an appreciation for the value of emptiness, it was not ultimately my destiny to downplay ambition. On the contrary! Which is why I\’m here to exhort you, Aries, to treat your desires as sacred rocket fuel — in 2008, more than ever. In the coming months, in accordance with your astrological omens, I will intensify my efforts to supercharge your ambition.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

\”Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices,\” said author Laurence J. Peter. One of your top assignments in 2008 will be to prove him wrong. I hope that you will aggressively pursue a more authentic form of higher learning in numerous ways, from exploring the frontiers of your world to reading more good books to seeking out the company of original thinkers. I trust that as you expose yourself to novel data and expansive perspectives, you will get your mind blown over and over again.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

How do you numb your pain, Gemini? In 2008, I suggest that you do that less than you ever have before. Instead, launch a fierce, relentless campaign to heal the pain so that you no longer have to numb it. The astrological omens say that if you establish that as your intention, you will attract into your life the helpers and inspiration you need to make it happen. More than that: You\’ll be likely to generate the kind of good fortune that will render at least some of the pain obsolete.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

You worked your ass off in 2007. Am I right, my fellow Cancerian? In fact, you threw yourself into your hard labors with so much dutiful fervor that you sometimes lost sight of the fact that they were mostly just preparation for bigger and better assignments. Luckily for you, I\’m here to snap you out of your amnesia. Please begin immediately to formulate a vision of how you will make the transition to those bigger and better assignments.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

Some weeds are good for flowers and vegetables, protecting them from predatory insects. So say horticulturalists Stan Finch and Rosemary Collier, writing in Biologist magazine. When the bugs come looking for their special treats — the plants we love — they often get waylaid by the weeds, landing on them first and getting fooled into thinking there\’s nothing more valuable nearby. So for example, when cabbages are planted in the midst of clover, flies lay eggs on only seven percent of them, compared to a 36-percent infestation rate on cabbages that are grown in bare soil with no clover nearby. I recommend that you use this as a key metaphor in 2008, Leo. Make sure there are always a few chickweed or henbit weeds surrounding your ripening tomatoes.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

\”Life is a punishment,\” wrote poet Robert Frost. \”All we can contribute to it is gracefulness in taking the punishment.\” That\’s the opposite of my philosophy. I say life is a miraculous gift, and the best way to express our gratitude is to be fountains of generosity. Where do you stand on the issue, Virgo? Even if you\’ve had a view like Frost\’s up to this point in your journey, I think you\’ll have good reasons to convert to my perspective in 2008. You will, of course, have to be open to that possibility in order for it to happen. If you\’re addicted to believing that life is punishment, you\’ll miss a flood of clues contradicting that quaint notion.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

The coming months will be a favorable time to work hard on improving your number one relationship: you know, the one between you and yourself. So I hope you\’ll have a lot of long, deep, sympathetic conversations with yourself in 2008, even as you cut way back on the scattered, careless, unloving conversations. To get your pep talks off to a hot start, go to a mirror that makes you look your very best and unleash a hail of wild praise and outrageous compliments toward the gorgeous genius gazing back at you.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

I meditated on the perfect holiday gift for you. What might inspire you to be in closest alignment with the cosmic currents in 2008? I decided that if I could, I\’d buy you a costume shop. That way you could try on a thousand different masks and disguises. And that would put you in the proper frame of mind for the assignment I hope you will carry out all year long, which is to play with your identity and experiment with new self-images and maybe even treat your life as an epic theatrical extravaganza.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Due to the gravitational pull of the Moon, the Earth\’s rotation is gradually slowing down. A billion years ago, a day lasted only 18 hours. In about 14 million years, it will be 48 hours long. Imagine how much more you\’ll be able to accomplish in your future incarnations with all that extra time. By then, I\’m sure someone will have also invented a pill that reduces the amount of sleep you need, further boosting your capacity to get things done. In 2008, I predict you will be blessed with a foreshadowing of that glorious period 14 million years from now. You will work smarter and do things more efficiently and engage in less wasted motion and maintain a crisper to-do list. Because of that, time will seem to expand for you.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

French author and statesman André Malraux observed that Jesus Christ was the only anarchist who ever really succeeded. It\’s no coincidence that Christ was a Capricorn, I might add, since the evolved members of your tribe have many of the qualities necessary to thrive in situations where there are no formal rules or laws. If you would like to move more in the direction of being the highly evolved Capricorn you were born to be — and I think 2008 will be a very favorable time to do just that — you should cultivate the qualities of a successful anarchist. In other words, be self-motivated, disciplined, and respectful of the needs of other people. Do the right thing without having to be coerced to do the right thing. Foster in yourself a reverence for freedom and a knack for making constructive use of your freedom.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Last July 11, lightning zapped the steeple of the Newman United Methodist Church in Grants Pass, Oregon. Later that same evening, another bolt from the heavens struck the exact same spot. Was this bad luck? A punishing message from an angry God? No. The rare double shot knocked the siding off the steeple, revealing a problem that no one at the church had suspected: The inner structure was rife with dry rot that would have collapsed soon. In exposing the hidden danger, the lightning did everyone a big favor. I predict that you will benefit from a metaphorically comparable sequence in early 2008, Aquarius.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

If you wanted to, you could be a skilled rainmaker in 2008, and make big bucks catalyzing downpours in drought-stricken areas. Your magical potentials are such that you might even be able to divert the flows of rivers, purify the pollution out of suffering lakes, and staunch the tears of people who\’ve cried way too much. In other words, Pisces, you will have great power over the element of water. You could even use your wizardry to achieve a masterful equanimity toward your own oceanic emotions.

~ FREE WILL ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

\”Everything absolute belongs to pathology. Joyous distrust is a sign of health.\” So proclaimed Friedrich Nietzsche. Note well that he used the adjective \”joyous\” to describe distrust, not \”cynical\” or \”grumbling\” or \”sour.\” The key to remaining vital and strong while questioning every so-called absolute is to cultivate a cheerful, buoyant mood as you do it. That\’s one of your top assignments in the coming weeks, Aries: Practice joyous distrust.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

Here are the best and most enjoyable ways to capitalize on your current astrological omens: (1) Transform one of your so-called liabilities into at least a temporary asset; (2) lose any attachment you have to pleasures and rewards that won\’t mean much to you a year from now; (3) allow and even invite people to show you how you can get smarter; (4) compassionately identify the limits of the people you care about; (5) squeeze every last lesson out of what you\’re leaving behind.

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

In Big Russ and Me, a memoir about growing up, journalist Tim Russert writes a lot about what he learned from his father. Here\’s one story: Whenever a family member accidentally broke some glass, his dad took extraordinary precautions wrapping up the shards in a sealed box before depositing them in the trash can. Why? Because he wanted to be sure the garbagemen wouldn\’t cut their hands. I urge you to be that conscientious in the coming week, Gemini. Imagine in detail the impact your actions might have on all the people, both known and unknown, whose lives you touch. The gods will reward you for doing so.

CANCER

(June 21-July 22)

Are your cohorts looking at you quizzically, wondering why you seem so energized from exploring the shadowy, off-limits places? I\’ll offer some suggestions about what you could say to them. First, try to make them see that until you\’ve risked going too far, you may not know when to stop. Second, tell them that you suspect there are healthy desires buried at the roots of your dark feelings, and you\’re hoping to free them. Third, explain to them that you\’re not picking at your scabs in order to prolong your hurt, but rather to better understand the hurt. If those rationales are too subtle for your companions to understand, cackle softly and say that you just need to be a little bad in order to give your goodness more soul.

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

A lightning bolt is hot, fast, and potent. It can travel at 100,000 mph, reach temperature of 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and generate enough energy to illuminate a light bulb for two months. And yet it\’s usually no more than an inch in diameter. This is an apt metaphor for the kind of highly concentrated power you will have available in the coming days, Leo: deceptively petite in proportion to its enormous wallop. Please use it wisely.

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

At Free Will Astrology, we love to turn things upside-down and inside-out every now and then. It keeps our mental hygiene sparkling clean, and yours, too. This week, in order to incite a purifying ruckus, we\’re offering you a challenge from psychologist James Hillman. Please suck the following thoughts into the deepest recesses of your understanding, and enjoy the brainstorms they detonate: \”By accepting the idea that you are the effect of a subtle buffeting between hereditary and societal forces, you reduce yourself to a result. The more your life is accounted for by what already occurred in your chromosomes, by what your parents did or didn\’t do, and by your early years now long past, the more your biography is the story of a victim.\” What I\’m trying to tell you, Virgo, is that it\’s a fine time to rebel against your genetic heritage, your upbringing, and your conditioning. Imagine a life for yourself in which you don\’t believe that those factors control what you\’re capable of.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

It\’s the Season of Returns and Recoveries, Libra. You will generate good fortune if you look for what you lost. Here are some suggestions on how to proceed: Recall important memories you\’ve almost forgotten, retrieve any valuable things you rashly threw away, and bushwhack your way back to a promising path you strayed from. For best results, you should forgive yourself of any mistakes you think you made that led to the loss.

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

For reasons too silly to go into here (involving romance, of course), I once spent six months making thrice-weekly three-and-a-half-hour roundtrips from Chapel Hill, NC to Columbia, SC. The back roads I drove on were sparsely traveled and my ancient pick-up truck didn\’t have a radio, so I passed the time by reading. I became quite skilled at continually darting my eyes back and forth between the road and the open book resting on my steering wheel. In this way I got through James Joyce\’s Ulysses, Leo Tolstoy\’s Anna Karenina, and Thomas Mann\’s Magic Mountain. I don\’t advise you to try something so dangerous, Scorpio, but I do believe it\’s a perfect astrological moment for you to master the art of slipping back and forth between two starkly different realities.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

A group of us decided to throw a party. The Sagittarian among us, Rosa, insisted on being in charge of supplying the desserts. She feared that if anyone else handled this task, there wouldn\’t be enough, and they wouldn\’t be sweet enough or rich enough or decadent enough. To make sure the delectable treats were available in rapturous abundance, she felt she could only trust herself. In this spirit, I appoint you to be the sweet, rich, decadent dessert-provider for the entire world in the coming weeks. I\’m using \”desserts\” in both the literal and metaphorical senses.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Among modern Baghdad\’s most prominent architectural features are its blast walls. These omnipresent concrete barriers shield buildings from truck bombs and random gunfire. They were nothing but oppressive eyesores up until a few months ago, when a team of 40 artists began covering them with brightly colored murals that depict idyllic landscapes and glorious scenes from Iraqi history. Your next assignment, Capricorn, is to try an equivalent conversion. Add beauty to something ugly; bring a light touch and a creative spirit to a troublesome situation; dress up your defense mechanisms in silk and gold.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Let\’s meditate on events that have an impact at a great distance from their origins. For instance, African dust reaches Florida, raising pollution levels, just as particulate matter from China floats over to sully California\’s skies. Here\’s another example: The CIA played a major role in overthrowing the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953, and this is still wreaking chaos on the current relationship between the U.S. and Iran. In the coming week, Aquarius, I predict your life will provide another example of this theme, although in your case the long-range influence is likely to be far more benign than the other cases I cited — possibly even downright benevolent.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

\”Open your minds, sweethearts,\” begins the soothing rant of enlightenment advisor Dvorah Adler (Dvorahji.com). \”Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. It\’s time for you to hear the big secret of the ages, the radical truth of truths that only the wisest gurus and avatars and grandmothers are brave enough to reveal. Are you ready? Here it is: \’SHUT UP AND BE HAPPY!\’\” I\’m pleased to convey Dvorah\’s ancient truth to you, Pisces, because it\’s what you need to hear right now. So please, darlings: Shout, whisper, or sing \”SHUT UP!\” to all the voices in your head that are so addicted to saying \”What am I doing wrong?\”, \”When will I finally be happy?\”, and \”Why can\’t everything be perfect forever?\” The fact is, you are exactly where you need to be, and everything is proceeding with mysterious grace.

~ FREE WILL ASTROLOGY ~

ARIES

(March 21-April 19)

This would be an excellent time for you to visit terminally ill patients in a hospice or go on a tour of a maximum security prison. To take maximum advantage of the current cosmic opportunities, you might also travel to the Slum Theme Park in Americus, George, where Habitat for Humanity has built replicas of the leaky-roofed, earthen-floored, bug-infested huts that so many millions of the world\’s poor call home. In other words, Aries, I recommend that you give yourself firsthand exposure to people whose problems are much more demanding than yours. To do so at this juncture in your life\’s journey would provide a helpful shock that would inspire you to conquer the personal challenge you find most daunting.

TAURUS

(April 20-May 20)

These last two weeks before the solstice will stir up a vortex of novelty in your depths. Among the sparkly surprises swirling around down there will be some shimmering intuitions about your life in 2008. So stay on high alert, Taurus. Snag every one of those prophetic glimpses. Here are questions to focus your attention: What new interests are gestating within you? How is life asking you to modify your ideas about who you are? What do you suspect will be your best three creations in the coming year?

GEMINI

(May 21-June 20)

I love how electrifyingly your intelligence works, Gemini — how fast you can comprehend things that other people require many twists and turns to grasp. But I don\’t love how your quick mind sometimes alienates you from those who are moving more slowly than you, and I don\’t love it when that undermines your ability to capitalize on your brilliance. Fortunately, I don\’t think this will be a problem in the coming days. From what I can tell, you will have uncanny fun without making any karmic messes as your brainpower generates breathtaking feats of voluminous understanding.

CANC

ER

(June 21-July 22)

Hell isn\’t an imaginary place dreamed up to scare the faithful, according to Pope Benedict XVI. He says sinners are actually tortured by fire for all eternity. My opinion is that his crazy talk is less worthy of consideration than the rants of the homeless guy downtown who thinks evil reptilian extraterrestrials have taken over George Bush\’s brain. To prime you for this week\’s advice, I ask you to purge any tendency you might have to believe in cartoony notions of hell like the Pope\’s. That will free you to meditate on the possibility that we do in fact ultimately suffer for the pain we cause others. Not by being literally tortured in a demonic realm, not at the hands of a \”devil,\” but rather by the ugliness we have unleashed inside us. It\’s a good week for you to spend quality time in your personal hell, Cancerian, making up for any hurtful or greedy or unconscious things you may have done in 2007. (P.S. You\’re not any guiltier than the rest of us; it\’s just that this is a good time for you to atone.)

LEO

(July 23-Aug. 22)

To many Tibetan Buddhists, the snow lion is a symbol of fearless joy, which is a cornerstone of their spiritual practice. I trust that in 2007 you have learned a lot about this sublime quality, and I hope you will make it the basis of your daily rhythm in 2008. These last two weeks before the solstice will be an excellent time to integrate all the teachings you\’ve absorbed about fearless joy, and to prime yourself to take your mastery to the next level. What other terms can you come up with to describe this superpower? How about \”brave bliss,\” \”aggressive happiness,\” or \”fierce pleasure\”?

VIRGO

(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

In some places, you can\’t buy a gun 15 minutes after you get an itch to hold it in your hand. In America, for example, a few of the states force you to delay your purchase for a short time. Many countries also require couples seeking marriage licenses to endure a cooling-off period of a few days before they can officially tie the knot. I urge you to adopt this approach to making important decisions, Virgo. Impose a waiting period on yourself if you\’re thinking about acquiring heavy artillery, intensifying your relationship commitment, altering your consciousness, or initiating any other big action.

LIBRA

(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

You\’re coming to the climax of the season of fertile tension and productive arguments. (Let\’s hope you haven\’t allowed it to devolve into the season of fruitless disputes and awkward silence.) As you prepare to harvest the full potential of the opportunities that have been made available, I offer you three pieces of advice from the French essayist Joseph Joubert. (1) \”Never cut what you can untie.\” (2) \”It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.\” (3) \”The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.\”

SCORPIO

(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

You won\’t believe how talented you\’re going to be at blending pragmatism and idealism in the coming days, Scorpio. You may be amazed at your knack for being down to earth and up in the clouds at the same time. Among the feats you could accomplish are the following: making money from doing what you love; acquiring crucial nuts and bolts for a long-deferred fantasy; and turning lead into gold just in time to make a big down payment on a dream boat, dream home, or dream trip.

SAGITTARIUS

(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

A man in Santiago, Chile won $250,000 in a contest held by his bank. There was only one catch: In accepting the money, Mario Habit had to abide by the bank\’s stipulation that he spend all of his winnings in one day. Summoning a manically relaxed concentration, he succeeded, paying off his substantial debts while also buying two cars and three apartments. I believe a comparable opportunity is about to come your way, Sagittarius. You will be offered a new resource or blessing that has to be used quickly in order for it to be fully available and effective.

CAPRICORN

(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

The phrase \”new roses\” can serve as an antidote to neurosis in the coming days — as a kind of magical spell. Invoke it whenever you\’re in danger of getting undermined by either your own neurosis or someone else\’s. If you notice, for instance, that your subconscious mind is spiraling down into a sour fantasy stirred up by one of your habitual fears, start muttering a cheerful round of \”new roses, new roses, new roses.\” If your allies engage in compulsive behavior that they tend to get stuck in when stress overflows, chant \”new roses, new roses, new roses\” in a blithe, sing-song tone.

AQUARIUS

(Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Few people realize that in the 15th century the Buddha was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. He was officially called Saint Josaphat, a name that\’s derived from the word \”bodhisattva,\” which refers to a deeply compassionate person devoted to becoming an enlightened being. Virtually every element of Josaphat\’s life story as reported by the Church is a duplicate of the original legends about the Buddha. I expect to see a comparable theme unfold in your life in the coming weeks, Aquarius. I bet you will get credit or receive an honor or be given an acknowledgement that seems rather accidental, or comes from an unexpected source. Like the Buddha, you will richly deserve the reward, even though it may feel odd or askew at first.

PISCES

(Feb. 19-March 20)

How would you go about relocating Tanzania\’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to the south of France? How might you undo and fix the debacle of America\’s occupation of Iraq? What steps could you take to creatively disrupt the pathological family patterns that have knocked you off-center for years? In 2008, I predict that you will have extraordinary potential to solve impossible problems like those. More than ever before, you will be able to attract the help and summon the inspiration necessary to accomplish goals that have previously seemed beyond your power. And it all starts now, Pisces.

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