Free Will Astrology: May 7 through 13

ARIES [March 21–April 19] For many Aries, independence is a virtue that flows in abundance—so much so that it's sometimes on the verge of becoming excessive and turning into a vice. That's why I'm thrilled to inform you that the mysteries of dependence could be especially intriguing and useful to you in the coming days. They might also lead, paradoxically, to a form of interdependence that would in the long run nourish your independence. So how about it? Without compromising your freewheeling spirit, can you blend yourself more thoroughly with trustworthy souls who care about you?

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Alison Covarrubias is a mentor for female entrepreneurs. Her "Ladies Who Launch" program inspires women to be brave and brazen as they develop their own businesses. One of Covarrubias's prime pieces of advice: "If you don't feel like you're going to throw up, you're not taking enough risks." That's also my message for you, Taurus. In the name of smart gambles and tricky success, I dare you to push yourself way out of the comfort zone.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] According to a survey, one out of every 10 people says the Internet makes them feel closer to God. I predict that you will be part of that group in the coming days, Gemini. But it's not just surfing the Web that will bring you into more intimate communion with the Divine Wow. Washing dishes will do it too, as will buttering toast, brushing your teeth, and skipping down the street. For that matter, throwing imaginary rocks at the sky, blowing your nose on your sleeve, and pretending you're a rock star will put you into a more fluid alignment with the Primal Root—in fact, pretty much everything! What if you're an atheist? You're free to ignore the evidence of Spirit's presence pressing in on you from all sides. But even if you do that, I bet you'll still enjoy a profoundly enhanced sense that life is wildly meaningful.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] According to physicist Paul Steinhardt, "Good science creates two challenging puzzles for each puzzle it resolves." I propose that we expand that formula to make it apply to life in general: Good decision-making about anything at all creates two challenging puzzles for each puzzle it resolves. That should be your guiding meditation, Cancerian. You are currently at the height of your ability to wrestle longstanding dilemmas into more satisfying configurations. I expect that whenever you capitalize on this potential, you will conjure up fresh riddles that will energize you for weeks.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Are you fully prepared for your showdown with The Machine? Are you as confident as you need to be in order to fight for the rights of soulful beauty? Of course not. None of us is ever perfectly prepared as we go up against the Big Lies of the mechanical thinkers. But I do have great faith in your ability to prevail—especially if you strengthen yourself with this meditation from the book Less Than One, by Joseph Brodsky: "The surest defense against evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality—even, if you will, eccentricity . . . Evil is a sucker for solidarity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balance sheets."

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] My songwriter friend Darius has created some fine music, but he periodically goes through phases when everything he produces sounds contrived. It's not writer's block that he suffers from: During his bouts with bad composing, he's often teeming with ideas. The problem is that he gets caught up in a vortex of too much thinking. He can't stop his mind from tinkering endlessly with every raw impulse that wells up. Recently, he joined the Immersion Composition Society, an organization that helps "talented basket cases" and "tortured geniuses" cut through their tendency to overanalyze and thereby reconnect to their pure inspiration. One technique: Musicians agree to take on firm deadlines that compel them to create songs wicked fast. I hope you find the equivalent assistance for your own field of expression, Virgo. The time is ripe for you to dissect less and build more.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] "What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn't have any doubt," wrote columnist Hal Boyle. "It is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn't want to go anywhere else." Your assignment for the rest of 2008, Libra, is to do whatever's necessary to make yourself fit this description. The next eight months will provide unprecedented opportunities to turn yourself into a river flowing toward your destiny with surprisingly sublime freedom.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] You're not any more narcissistic and egotistical than the rest of us, but this week happens to be your special time to make amends for being that way. Therefore, I recommend that you try the following corrective measures: 1) Every day, do three things motivated by compassion that are helpful to people you know. 2) For a few minutes each day, use your imagination to get inside the mind of someone you care about and see the world through his or her eyes. 3) Every day, take at least one action that will in some way beautify your environment, contribute to the well-being of strangers, or help save the world.

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