Horoscope

ARIES [March 21–April 19]
"Everything absolute belongs to pathology. Joyous distrust is a sign of health," proclaimed Friedrich Nietzsche. Note 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 garbage men 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.

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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 temperatures of 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and generate enough energy to illuminate a lightbulb 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 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 round trips from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to Columbia, South Carolina. The back roads I drove on were sparsely traveled and my ancient pickup 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.

HOMEWORK Forget what Time magazine thinks: Who is your "Person of the Year"? Tell me at FreeWillAstrology.com; click on "E-mail Rob."

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