Free Will Astrology: July 9 through 16

ARIES [March 21–April 19] "The only way to get a difficult feeling to go away is simply to love yourself for it," says author Christiane Northrup. "If you think you're stupid, then love yourself for feeling that way. It's a paradox, but it works. To heal, you must . . . shine the light of compassion on any areas within you that you feel are unacceptable." I suggest adding a twist to double its effectiveness: As you're loving yourself for your difficult feeling, literally laugh out loud at how crazily worried and wound up you are about it.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] According to the Harper's Index, 97 percent of us believe that following our own conscience is the sign of a strong character, while 92 percent also believe that obeying the authorities is. What this apparently means is that most of us feel we can heed the dictates of our conscience and please the people who control things. In the coming weeks, I think that might be possible for you to do once or twice. But most of the time, I suspect you'll have to decide between them.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Some people skip to the end of a book and read the last few pages; they want to know what will ultimately happen without going through the steps that lead up to it. While that's harmless enough, adopting a similar approach with your life could cause problems in the coming weeks. Trying to "time-travel" into the future and foresee the outcome of a process you're still in the middle of could sap your ability to carry out the work you need to do, or it could fill you with false expectations. Be patient.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] Mazel tov is a Hebrew phrase meaning "Good luck," but its literal translation is "May the stars be good to you." In his book Jewish Magic and Superstition, Joshua Trachtenberg riffs on the subject: "The stars determine human actions, but they too are creatures of G-d, established by Him to perform this special function, and therefore the influence they exert is subject to His Will. Repentance, prayer, piety, charity, good deeds . . . are the instruments by means of which man can induce G-d to alter His decrees and consequently to modify the fate that is written in the stars for him." I offer this, Cancerian, as evidence that the title of my column, "Free Will Astrology," is not an oxymoron. You have more power to shape your destiny than you imagine—and now is a perfect time to prove it.

LEO [July 23–August 22] This oracle was originally commissioned by a spiritual wilderness school to train its students in high-stress meditation. It has been tested by disciplined explorers who've learned to be fluid and resourceful in the midst of natural chaos. Now it's being made available to you, Leo—just in time for the last stretch of your dash (or crawl) across the wasteland. By contemplating this message, you will discover the key for turning poisons into medicine and knowing your direction without a compass. Here it is: "Love the beauty and intelligence that are hidden in your darkness."

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] In Terry Pratchett's book Wyrd Sisters, he talks about how the sun conspires with the forest to pump millions of gallons of sap hundreds of feet from the ground up into the sky. And it all happens "in one great systolic thump too big and loud to be heard." That's the kind of activity I recommend for you in the coming weeks, Virgo: Collaborating with the source of all life to pull off a huge movement of lifeblood that brings sustenance from below to above.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] In July 1969, astronaut Buzz Aldrin was the second human to walk on the moon. That was the good news. The bad news was that as he carried out his heroic feat, he wet his pants. (He testifies to the event in the documentary film In the Shadow of the Moon.) I suspect you may soon have a comparable experience, Libra: experiencing a little boo-boo or no-no while you're riding high. Though it may make you feel vulnerable at the time, it's trivial in the big scheme of things and isn't likely to stick with you.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] About nine million people see this column regularly. On average, nine of them experience a one-in-a-million coincidence each week. In the next seven days, however, I believe as many as 90,000 of my readers will have that kind of mind-blowing synchronicity, and most of them will be Scorpios. That's because your tribe is in a phase when happy accidents and miraculous flukes are practically unavoidable. Even if you don't brush up against a one-in-a-million stroke of luck, I bet you'll be touched by a one-in-a-thousand event.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] "Dear Flow Meister: I've been surfing the tidal waves of emotion for many days and am proud to say I haven't wiped out once (though there were two near-misses). But to tell you the truth, I don't know how much longer I can perform this balancing act. Do you psychically see signs that I'll reach shore anytime soon? —Wobbly Surfer." Dear Wobbly: I predict an end to your trials by Wednesday, July 23—or even earlier if you, too, become a flow meister.

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