Free Will Astrology: July 23 through 29

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Anna Renalda Hyatt, a reader from Colorado, writes: "My capacity for expressing love far surpasses that of anyone I have ever met. I am a Sublime Genius of Love, a Master of Unconditional Compassion, a Virtuoso of Deep Empathy." Your assignment in the coming days, Aries, is to compete with her: Unleash a perfect storm of ingenious passion that will ignite subtle revolutions everywhere you go.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Your teeth aren't white enough. Your laugh sounds weird. Something's amiss with the way you solve problems—I'm not sure what; I just know you've got a disability there. And as for your hair: Could you please change it so it doesn't make you appear so out of touch with reality? OK, now relax. Everything I just said isn't true at all. I wanted to show you how susceptible you are to believing the lie that you should be different from what you actually are. The fact is, Taurus, this is an excellent time for you to practice feeling a total acceptance of and curious fascination with yourself. Try saying this out loud: "I am perfectly myself."

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] At the end of a recent school year, only 37 percent of New York's high-school students passed the state-administered math exam. Instead of withholding diplomas from the other 63 percent, officials nullified the results and eased the standards for future tests. Normally I'm queasy about lowering the criteria for success, but in this case I approve. Math is absurdly overvalued as an educational necessity; there are many other subjects that should get more emphasis in the high-school curriculum. Teach logic, not algebra! Teach critical thinking, not trigonometry! My rant is a prelude to the climax of your horoscope, which is this: Stop pushing so hard to accomplish a task that's really not all that important in the long run.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] During a trip to India, my friend Jeff paid a boatman to row him out into the Ganges for a little recreational cruise. When they got there, the boatman stopped and refused to move, let alone row him back to shore, unless Jeff forked over a surcharge. Don't let something like that happen to you in the coming week, Cancerian. Be experimental, yes. Explore new territory, yes. Be willing to surrender some control, yes. But make sure you've got a return ticket.

LEO [July 23–August 22] "Everybody experiences far more than he understands," said Marshall McLuhan. "Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior." This is always true, but it will have special meaning for you in the coming days. You're about to be inundated by a flood of raw perceptions, sensations, and feelings, and only a fraction of it will be namable, let alone comprehensible. That shouldn't be a problem, though: Your job is simply to marvel at all the novelty that's flowing in—not be in an anxious hurry to define it.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Your life story is about to deepen and sweeten and get more interesting—if, that is, you follow the trail of clues into the dark forest, and if, as you travel, you hum songs that are both happy and sad, and if you call on the spirit of your favorite dead person to accompany you. Of course, you're perfectly free to refuse the call of your destiny, but in my opinion, that would cheat you out of some profound fun.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] I came across a website called the Common Man's Book of World Records. It lists triumphs that have been ignored by the more famous Guinness Book. It tells us that Basel Nevins licked an asphalt road for 77 minutes straight, establishing an unsurpassed benchmark; Melissa Lassitter set the world record for the number of hoagies crammed into a bra, with eight; and Charles Zenk threw a mailbox 33 feet. In the coming week, I invite you to be inspired by these unsung masters, Libra; you're primed to attain peaks of accomplishment that few others have even attempted.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] According to Jewish legend, there are 36 righteous humans in each generation who prevent the world from being destroyed through their extraordinary good deeds and their love of the divine spark. They're not famous, though; they go about their business anonymously, and no one knows how crucial they are to our well-being. Might you be one of the 36? After all, the ripples of benevolence you initiate could ultimately go around the planet and return to you.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] In his book The Medusa and the Snail, science writer Lewis Thomas said that the English word "error" developed from a root meaning "to wander about, looking for something." That's why he liked Darwin's idea that error is the driving force in evolution. I think this should be the driving force in your personal evolution, Sagittarius. The coming weeks will be a great time to meander and get distracted and stumble upon unexpected opportunities. May all your mutations have a positive spin!

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] I predict you will have 32 dreams as you sleep in the coming week. In at least five of them, you will be offered a chance to wield a magic hammer like the one that belonged to the Norse god Thor. You're under no obligation to use it, of course. But if you do, you could not only use it to smite dream adversaries, but also to build things, like a dream house or a dream boat. The proper use of the hammer will be a constant test, since you'll have to be ever-alert and adaptable as you decide whether to employ it for destruction or creation.

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