Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
It may be difficult to figure out how your problems are necessary, but that's what I'm asking you to do. What part does your suffering play in holding your world together? How do your most intractable dilemmas help you avoid reaching goals you're afraid to strive for? In what sense do your crazy-making frustrations entertain you or keep you from being bored? Do you ever find yourself sort of bragging to others about the difficulties you have to endure? Are they essential to the construction of your self-image? Please write out your answers and mail them to yourself.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
I thought of you recently while I was at a concert by mystic folksinger Lakshmi Ma in Fairfax, California. Introducing a song she wrote while in Maui, she extolled the inspirational effect of the lush vegetation. "There's more green there than the eye is capable of seeing," she concluded. It so happens, Taurus, that wherever you're now situated on this planet, even in the desert, you're about to receive an influx of the blooming creativity that erupted in Lakshmi in response to Maui's teeming flora. If you're a pagan, expect a most rousing encounter with the Green Man.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Astrologer Caroline Casey offers an apt metaphor to illustrate how crucial it is for us to hear and read good stories. She notes that if we don't have enough of the normal, healthy kind of iodine in our bodies, we absorb radioactive iodine, which has entered the food chain through nuclear test explosions conducted in the atmosphere. Similarly, unless we fill ourselves up with transformative, soulful stories, we're more susceptible to sopping up poisonous, degenerative narratives. This is always true, but it's especially apropos for you now, Gemini. Why? Because you're erecting new structures in your psyche, and you need the very best building materials. Poet Muriel Rukeyser said, "The world is made of stories, not atoms." I'd add, "You are made of stories, too."

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CANCER (June 21-July 22)
While on the job, professional wine tasters don't actually drink any of the wine they sample. They swirl it around in their mouths, then spit it out. Why? They believe that swallowing diminishes their ability to discern all the subtleties of the experience. Given the experimental nature of your imminent future, Cancerian, and given how crucial it is for you to maintain a high level of discrimination, I suggest you apply the wine tasters' approach to everything you do.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Here's the hypothetical situation: You're seeking supernatural help to gain insight into your life's most maddening mystery. In an old grimoire, or book of spells, you find a ritual that promises to do just that. Among the raw materials it calls for are a beet harvested at the full moon, morning dew from a spiderweb, a plum flower sucked on by a hummingbird, a piece of bark from an oak tree that's at least 100 years old, and the tongue of a black snake. Now let's say you balk at that last ingredient. Couldn't you substitute something that's easier to obtain, like maybe a honeysuckle stamen or even a salamander's tail? I'm here to tell you no, Leo. Follow the magical instructions exactly, or else don't try the magic in the first place.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
From an astrological perspective, it's a pretty good time to be a cute brat, wear red shoes, and push your own buttons before anyone else can. It also happens to be an absolutely perfect moment to do the following: fantasize that your so-called "dark side" is sweet and creamy, meditate on how the calcium in your bones and the iron in your blood were originally forged at the core of a red giant star that died billions of years ago, and consider the possibility that one of the secrets of life is to change yourself in the exact way you want the world around you to change.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Don't be overly alarmed just yet, but the spooks under your bed may soon be crawling out looking for more action. Likewise, you should monitor other hot spots where potential mischief might be brewing. For instance, the skeletons in your closet may be about to rouse themselves and try on your dirty laundry as a prelude to staging a coming-out party. Please consider trying a do-it-yourself exorcism as a preventive measure. The astrological omens suggest that the eruption of a weird mess is by no means inevitable.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Wanted: gutsy Scorpio of any gender to serve as a model for a statue of the Egyptian goddess of justice, Maat. You must be willing to sit on a lion, wear ostrich feathers, and hold a sword aloft for long hours. Your thighs should be strong and you should be able to make your eyes look wild with the desire to foment balance and mercy everywhere you go. Ideally, you are in a phase of your personal life when you are sincerely angry about all forms of injustice, even those that don't directly affect your own interests. Furious curiosity is also a plus.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
The reviews for your current performance are beginning to pour in. Here's the first crop: "Spellbinding, hot-blooded. We were swept away." —Journal of Constructive Melodrama. "A splashy surprise . . . hugely entertaining." —Intimate Spectacle magazine. " A visual treasure-house overflowing with gorgeous images." —Chronicle of Real-Life Fairy Tales. "Refreshingly unpredictable. Gleefully ridiculous. Scarily enjoyable." —Personal Evolution Review. "Hilarious! Finger-snapping, laugh-out-loud fun!" —Shattered Dogma Weekly.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
How about some more lessons in making the best of the Aquarian Age, Capricorn? Last week we dealt with channeling. This time we present forms of divination you can use to descry embryonic possibilities lurking on the frontiers of your world. You are, after all, wading into the most exploratory, experimental phase of your astrological cycle. (1) Cledonism: Your prophetic sign comes via the first words you hear after getting up in the morning. (2) Ornithomancy: Obtain your omen by reading the flight patterns of birds. (3) Surrealomancy: Study all of my horoscopes and heed the one you like best. (4) Peanutbutterandjellyomancy: Throw an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the air. The cosmic reply is "yes" if the sandwich falls face down, "no" if it's face up.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
My grandma often told me that since I have a nice voice I should be a radio disc jockey. My seventh-grade science teacher assured me I'd be a great biologist, and my college adviser urged me to become a professor in religious studies. Through the years, many other critics and helpers have also shared their thoughts on how best to live my life. In the end, I've always decided it was wisest to obey no other authority but my muses. What's your position on this issue, Aquarius? Considering the epic surges of expectations that are now flowing your way, you might want to follow my example. PS: Those you love have the greatest power to come between you and your muses. For the foreseeable future, gently excuse yourself from their pressure to be who they want you to be.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
A case can be made for the role of perfume and cologne in the escalating rate of failed relationships. Why? Because humans emit pheromones, subtle smells rich with psychosexual signals. Everyone has a signature set of pheromones that naturally draws certain potential mates and repulses others. But synthetic scents interfere with the pheromones' job, bringing together couples whose chemistry is at odds. One of the deeper issues here is that manufactured fragrances may derail us from trusting the intuitions provided by our instincts. I'll leave you to draw further morals from the story, especially as they apply to your quest for a kind of intimacy that doesn't require the use of any artifice at all.


Homework: Compose a love spell to get the exact kind of intimate connection you want, but without messing with anyone's free will. Send your spell to zenpride@freewillastrology.com.

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