Horoscope

ARIES(March 21–April 19): The advice I have for you may not go over well with the part of you that's prone to acting like a battering ram. Nevertheless, I'm convinced it's the correct thing to do, so please suppress your head-butting instincts for now and heed these bits of wisdom from ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu. (1) "The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest thing in the universe." (2) "In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it."

TAURUS(April 20–May 20): In my astrological opinion, it's time to make some radical new promises to yourself. What acts of ingenious love do you vow to carry out in the months to come? I'll offer a few suggestions; feel free to dream up 20 more. Say this aloud: "I will never forsake, betray, or deceive myself. I will always adore, forgive, and believe in myself. I will never ignore, belittle, or underestimate myself. I will always amuse, delight, and redeem myself."

GEMINI(May 21–June 20): Having a wingspan of almost three feet, the ivory-billed woodpecker was a beauty that once thrived in the hardwood forests of the Southern U.S. Native Americans believed the bird's ivory bill had magical powers. They used it as currency and made it into crowns worn by great warriors. Sadly, the species had been thought extinct since 1944, when the last of its kind disappeared. But a month ago, conservationists announced a great reversal of fortunes: Several ivorybills have recently been spotted in the Arkansas woods. You should regard this as a metaphor for events unfolding in your own life, Gemini. Magic that you thought was gone forever is returning.

CANCER(June 21–July 22): It's graduation time for you, Cancerian. Maybe you're finishing up work at an actual school, or maybe your classroom has been in the streets, but in any case you're completing lessons you've been studying for many moons. Personally, I've enjoyed watching you work. It has been a pleasure seeing you evolve from an innocent amateur into a proficient veteran without losing your purity. As you journey on to your next challenge, I hope you'll find a way to use the expertise you've developed even as you cultivate maximum curiosity about the next frontier.

LEO(July 23–Aug. 22): Andrea Levy never read a book until she was 23 and didn't start writing until her mid thirties. Now 49, she's the author of four books, including Small Island, which in 2004 won three major awards in her native Britain. She's your role model for the next four weeks, Leo. What natural talent have you failed to develop so far? Let Levy inspire you to shed your regret about it and dive into a new era of full engagement.

VIRGO(Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Nearly half of American high school students believe that the government should have the power to censor the news. Surveys also show that a majority of adults in the U.S. would vote against the Bill of Rights if it were presented to them in a referendum. Don't be anything like those wackos in the coming days, Virgo. On the contrary, you should fight for all the freedom you can imagine, including the freedom of other people as well as your own. Be an expert in liberation.

LIBRA(Sept. 23–Oct. 22): There is no God. God is dead. God is a drug for people who aren't very smart. God is an illusion sold to dupes by exploitative religions. God is a right-wing conspiracy. God is an infantile fantasy clung to by superstitious cowards who can't face life's existential meaninglessness. Just kidding! In fact, anyone who says she knows what God is or isn't, doesn't. That's why I suggest that you confess what you don't know about God. If you do, ironically, you'll get a direct bolt of communication from God Herself. Now read Adolfo Quezada's prayer: "God of the Wild, you are different from what I expected. I cannot predict you. You are too free to be captured for the sake of my understanding. I can't find you in the sentimentalism of religion. You are everywhere I least expect to find you. You are not the force that saves me from the pain of living; you are the force that brings me life even in the midst of pain."

SCORPIO(Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Here's your dream dictionary for the coming week. If you have a dream of walking through the mist at dawn and coming upon flamingos nesting in a rusty red 1959 Cadillac convertible in a junkyard, it means you should expand your ideas about where you might find beauty. A dream of baking a birthday cake for Buddha in the kitchen of a ship passing through the Panama Canal means you're primed to upgrade your skill at expressing generosity. A dream of finding traces of marijuana in a 17th-century pipe found in the house where William Shakespeare lived means you should rethink your ideas about where your best inspiration comes from. A dream of a driver who doesn't use his turn signal means you shouldn't follow anyone too closely. (PS: Even if you don't have the dreams I described, you should still heed the counsel they provide.)

SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22–Dec. 21): It's the beginning of the upside-down and backward time of year for you, Sagittarius. As long as you cooperate with the unusual flow of fate, you will thrive. Here are some exercises to get you in the proper frame of mind: Picture yourself having the body of the opposite gender. Hold a pen with your non-dominant hand as you write about your taboo fantasies. Gaze at yourself in a mirror that reflects your image from another mirror. Consider the possibility that there's something you really need but you don't know what it is. Make up a dream in which you change into an animal. Compose a prayer in which you ask for something you think you're not supposed to.

CAPRICORN(Dec. 22–Jan. 19): Viticulturalists have noticed that wine often tastes better if the soil where the grapevines are planted is less than top quality. It seems that when the grapes have to work harder to flourish, they're more robust. I foresee a similar situation for you in the coming weeks, Capricorn. The growing conditions might be less than optimal, but I bet the stuff you produce will be extraordinary.

AQUARIUS(Jan. 20–Feb. 18): Dusty Baker, manager of baseball's Chicago Cubs, got frustrated with the numerous health problems of his players and how long it was taking for them to recover. Turning to alternate approaches, he acquired some holy water and applied it to selected injuries. "I just hope my sinning doesn't negate the effectiveness of it," he agonized. If he had only consulted the famous Chicago-area medical intuitive Caroline Myss, he wouldn't have worried. She has made it clear that one doesn't have to be a highly evolved paragon of enlightenment in order to ease suffering and bestow blessings. Let that be your watchword in the coming week, Aquarius. You will have enormous powers to help and heal, even if a couple of your flaws might be hanging out.

PISCES(Feb. 19–March 20): I am absolutely democratic and non-hierarchical. In my view, no one is more important than anyone else in the big scheme of things. God has an equal love for Paris Hilton, the Dalai Lama, and Ahmed, the clerk at the convenience store where I buy gas. Every single person's role is crucial to the unfolding of evolution. I urge you to meditate on the possibility that this perspective is true, Pisces. Be especially eager to discover what it might mean for how you live your life from day to day. Here's one implication, articulated by Martin Luther King Jr.: "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."


HOMEWORKIn what circumstances do you tend to be smartest? When do you tend to be dumbest? Testify at freewillastrology.com.

Call Rob Brezsny, day or night, for your expanded weekly horoscope. 1-900-950-7700 $1.99 per minute. Touch-Tone phone required, 18 and over, C/S 612-373-9785. freewillastrology.com.


Free Will Astrology is a weekly horoscope published every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST

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