Free Will Astrology

ARIES(March 21–April 19):"Surreal hope" means having faith in a future opportunity that at first appears in an out-of-context situation. Say, for example, that you have an unsettling initial exposure to a stranger whom you will eventually realize is an important ally. Maybe when you see this person for the first time, he or she is looking dazed and disheveled on a street corner with tear stains on the cheek, having just broken up with a lover. And maybe you feel a strange attraction to this weirdo despite his or her unflattering appearance. Having surreal hope, in this instance, would mean that you'd refrain from being dismissive and judgmental, but would instead entertain the possibility that your fascination might portend an interesting link under more favorable circumstances at a later date.

TAURUS(April 20–May 20): "Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem," wrote English novelist John Galsworthy. In other words, most people find it easier to stick to their noble beliefs and neat theories when they don't have to deal with the messy details of real life. I trust that you will be a stirring exception to this rule in the coming weeks, Taurus. Judging from the astrological omens, I predict that you'll be a master of Utopian pragmatism. As you penetrate further and further into the heart of every matter, you'll come up with workable strategies for bringing out the best in people.

GEMINI(May 21–June 20): For millions of years, the great rivers of the world have flowed into seas—or at least they have up until now. Because of their overuse by humans, several ancient rivers are in danger of drying up before they reach their destinations. Among them are China's Yellow River, the Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East, and America's Rio Grande. I offer this as a cautionary metaphor to consider as you contemplate your long-term future. There are things you can do in the next six weeks to ensure that the river of your life will always connect to a greater source. I suggest you make that a high priority.

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CANCER(June 21–July 22): "Quetzalcoatl instructed the Aztecs to offer hyacinths and copal [a resin] to their idols instead of human flesh," wrote Edward Dahlberg in his book The Sorrows of Priapus. Alas, the priests didn't heed their god's directive. Their predilection for ripping the hearts out of their sacrificial victims is infamous. Now I'm asking you to attend to a less dramatic but comparable matter, Cancerian. You have a prime opportunity to stop making an extreme sacrifice you've been doing for a long time. The gods no longer demand it of you; it serves no holy purpose; and there's a milder and more useful sacrifice you can make instead.

LEO(July 23–Aug. 22): The geography of your heart is evolving. In places, coastlines are disappearing. Elsewhere, new islands have risen out of the sea. Boundaries are shifting, as some nations dissolve and others are born. Even the climate is changing, with warm winds blowing where once there was year-round chill, and monsoon-like conditions invading desert ecosystems. Roads that formerly led to the center of the action no longer do, and highways that used to be peripheral are now main routes. I suggest you take note of all this by redrawing your map, Leo. Get up to date with your heart's new landscapes.

VIRGO(Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States for eight years after serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. Early in his career, however, he didn't win many accolades. Referring to his mediocre stint as an undergraduate at the U.S. Military Academy, he said, "If anybody saw signs of greatness in me while at West Point, they kept it to themselves." Keep his story in mind during the coming weeks, Virgo. You may have to summon an extra measure of self-motivation as you keep pushing toward your goal despite a lack of recognition or applause.

LIBRA(Sept. 23–Oct. 22): In their translation of a poem by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell write, "I'm the chimp of chance, the champ of chance, I'm a chum of chance and a chump of chance." Judging from your astrological omens, Libra, I suspect it'll soon make sense for you to speak those words yourself. Dumb luck and blind fate will be swirling around you, whipping up both unexpected pleasures and knotty challenges. What can you do to be more of a champ and a chum of chance, and not so much of a chimp and a chump of chance? Welcome everything that happens, with no exceptions. Love the easy and the difficult, the playful and the contrived, the lucid and the confusing.

SCORPIO(Oct. 23–Nov. 21): I suggest we title this chapter of your life story "The Perplexing Joy of Hundreds of Emotions," or maybe "The Wild Peace of Way Too Many Feelings." That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's an apt reflection of your immediate future: extreme, expansive, melodramatic, spectacularly educational, and filthy rich with intrigue. You may not break the world's record for most mood shifts in a good cause, but you could very well smash your own personal record.

SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Imagine what it feels like to rub your hand over the stubble that's just beginning to spring from the skin you shaved. Visualize a single small purple flower jutting through the dry brown stalks lining the trail you're hiking along. Remember a moment, after an argument with an ally, when the first tentative spark of reconciliation flowed between your eyes and his or hers. These are good metaphors for the kinds of experiences you should seek out, cultivate, and concentrate on in the coming week.

CAPRICORN(Dec. 22–Jan. 19): You've gotten a little addicted to habits that are rooted in fear and worry. I suggest we resort to exotic measures to pry you out of your rut. After you read the proposed actions below, compose four more of a similar nature, then go out and actually do at least half of them. (1) On an empty milk carton, paste a collage of cutout images and phrases that symbolize your anxieties. Then put it on the floor and stomp it to death as you growl. (2) Slap your own hand briskly 10 times as you bark, "Stop being such a wuss!" (3) Everywhere you go, visualize yourself being accompanied by three great warriors who're dedicated to your well-being. (4) Gaze at a picture of a person who makes you nervous and yell "I'm not afraid of you, you mysterious slime-sucking bastard."

AQUARIUS(Jan. 20—Feb. 18): In 18th-century France, the public was sometimes invited to watch when the women of the king's family gave birth. Can you imagine the modern-day equivalent? As the actresses and pop stars of Hollywood brought their babies into the world, TV news teams would be there on the scene, their cameras rolling. It's probably not going to happen anytime soon (though be on the alert if you hear Paris Hilton is pregnant). But I suggest you seek out the nearest metaphorical equivalent in the coming week. You'll really benefit from being in the presence of a primal, ecstatic, royal hatching.

PISCES(Feb. 19—March 20): In the ancient Gnostic Gospel of Philip, discovered in Egypt last century, the author writes of the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. In one place he says, "Jesus often kissed Mary on the . . . ." Unfortunately, there's a hole in the original document right where that next word was. Did Jesus kiss her on the cheek? The mouth? The neck? Unless other versions of the old text are found, we'll never know. On the other hand, I predict that you will soon solve a comparable mystery in your own love life. Some gap that has long mystified you will be filled in. A missing clue will turn up.

HomeworkUpon waking up for the next seven mornings, sing the song that fills you with feisty hope. Report results to me by going to realastrology.com and clicking on "Email Rob."

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