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Free Will Astrology


Published November 24, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Should you rely on hard facts or soft feelings? Would it be advisable to trust your tried-and-true medicine or else a potion brewed from the tongue of a snake, the feather of a crow and a mandrake root? Can you get better results by mingling with staunch allies or with rebel upstarts who have a knack for shaking things up? Only you can decide on these matters, Aries. My opinion? You’ll probably generate more interesting developments by going with the feelings, the mandrake root and the upstarts.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “We cannot have any unmixed emotions,” said poet William Butler Yeats. “There is always something in our enemy that we like, and something in our sweetheart that we dislike.” I hope that’s OK with you, Taurus. In fact I hope you regard that as a peculiar blessing — as one of the half-maddening, half-inspiring perks of life on Earth. The fact is, as I see it, you are in the thick of the Season of Mixed Emotions. The more graciously you accept that — the more you invite it to hone your soul’s intelligence — the better able you’ll be to capitalize on the rich and fertile contradictions that are headed your way.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Louisiana porn star Stormy Daniels considered running for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010, although she eventually dropped out because it was too expensive. I admired one of her campaign strategies: She went on a “listening tour,” traveling around her state to hear what potential constituents might want to tell her. I encourage you to embark on your own listening tour in the coming weeks, Gemini. It will be prime time for you to find out about everything you don’t even realize you need to know. Adopt a mode of maximum receptivity as you ask a lot of questions. Wipe your mind clean of assumptions so you can get all of the benefits possible from being innocent and curious.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I love astrology. It excites my imagination and helps ensure that my relationship with the world is never too literal or prosaic. It anchors me in the paradoxical insight that although many things are out of my control, I have huge amounts of free will. My study of the mysterious meanings of planetary omens provides guidance, keeps me humble, and is a constant reminder that poetry provides an understanding of reality that’s as useful as science. On the other hand, astrology sometimes feels oppressive. I don’t like any system, even one as interesting as astrology, to come between me and the raw truth about reality. I aspire to see the actual person who’s in front of me, not be interpreting everything she does through the lens of her horoscope. Now I urge you to do what I’ve just done, Cancerian: Express your appreciation for something in your life that provides beauty and power, even as you also critique its downsides.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Bees pollinate apples. Butterflies perform the same service for lilies and moths do it for tobacco. Horse chestnut requires the help of hummingbirds to pollinate, wild ginger needs flies, and oak trees depend on the wind. The world’s largest flower, the rafflesia, can be pollinated by elephants’ eyebrows as the beasts use their trunks to search for nectar. My point is that in the natural world, fertilization is species-specific. Bees don’t pollinate lilies and butterflies don’t pollinate horse chestnut. A similar principle holds true for you, Leo. Can you name the influences that fertilize you? Now’s a good time to get very clear about that, and then seek out a more focused connection with those influences.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Native Americans took care of the land better than the white people who appropriated it, but they were by no means masters of sustainability. Recent research reveals they had a sizable carbon footprint, pumping lots of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as they cleared and burned forests. (More info at Taking a cue from that little shock, I’m encouraging you to see if there are aspects of your personal past that should be reinterpreted. The astrological omens suggest that you’d be wise to revise some of the stories you tell about what happened to you way back when.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): British engineer John Reid wants to translate dolphins’ speech into human language. For years, he has been working on the Cymascope, a machine that will help him analyze the basic patterns of dolphin grammar and vocabulary. I encourage you to be inspired by his efforts, Libra. It is now an excellent time for you to devote your ingenuity to improving the way you communicate with alien species like black sheep, fallen angels, feral mavericks, your mother-in-law, odd ducks, coworkers who resemble raccoons and bears, and zombies who don’t share your political views.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I think that sums up the choice you have before you. There is something to be said for going fast; it may be that you can get as far as you need to go by starting immediately and speeding along by yourself. On the other hand, the distance you have to cover may be beyond your ability to estimate in the early days. If you think that’s the case, you might want to opt for the slower-paced power of a joint operation.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I t’s Experiment With Your Self-Image Week — a time when it would be invigorating to shift and play with your identity. During this reinvention phase, you might find you can change yourself on the inside simply by rearranging yourself on the outside. So have fun wearing clothes you’ve never donned before. Entertain yourself with a new hairstyle. Speak in foreign accents or use words you don’t usually utter. Amuse yourself with a variety of novel approaches to walking, laughing, gesticulating and moving your face. Think of your persona as a work of art that you love to tinker with.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t,” said physician James Gordon. “It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” That’s why you may soon appear to the casual observer, Capricorn, as someone who’s able to call on enormous reserves of willpower. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you are now more amenable to change than you’ve been in a long time. In fact, I suspect that in the coming weeks you’ll be willing and even eager to initiate transformations that seem heroic to people who are addicted to the status quo.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): All belief systems, ideologies, philosophies and religions are mostly wrong, even though many of them have chunks of useful information that contribute to the common good. Said another way, absolutely no one has the whole truth, but pretty much everyone has a part of the truth. Now it so happens, Aquarius, that your little fraction of ultimate wisdom is currently clearer and stronger than usual. That makes you especially valuable to your gang, family or tribe. It doesn’t mean you should be the supreme arbiter of correct thinking forever, but it does suggest that right now you should exert extra leadership with forceful grace.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Think back over the course of your life and identify any worthy ambitions that got irretrievably blocked or frustrated or squandered. Once you’ve named those lost chances, do a ritual in which you completely let go of them. As much as possible, give up all regrets. Flush the sadness. Forgive anyone who interfered. Wipe the slate clean. Only by doing this can you open the way to an opportunity that’s lurking just outside your awareness. And what exactly is that opportunity? Even if I told you, you wouldn’t know what I was talking about. Your ability to find it requires you to do the preliminary work of purging your remorse for missed opportunities.

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