Free Will Astrology: August 6 to 12

 ARIES [March 21–April 19] Do you get aroused squeezing balloons until they explode? Do you quiver with delight as you watch popcorn pop? Have you ever stood in front of a ripe flower bud for hours waiting for its slow explosion into full bloom? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're in for an orgasmically pleasing week, Aries: Lots of things will be changing into something else through the process of eruption or sprouting or bursting forth.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] In my vision of your ideal future, you would spend the next two weeks both way out on the frontier and yet close to home. Paradoxical? Yes, but that's the magic and mystery of the unusual opportunity you have before you. Don't just take my word for it, Taurus: Meditate on how to wander free on the outskirts of everything you know, even as you draw deeply on the mother lode—the power of the familiar.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Although the platypus is technically a mammal, a new study of its genetic code reveals that it also has qualities in common with birds and reptiles: It has venom like a snake, a bill like a duck, and lays eggs like both. That's why it's the perfect creature to serve as your totem in the coming week, Gemini. Life is about to bring you unexpected mixtures and improbable hybrids, and you won't be able to make sense of it all if you rely on your usual categories.


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CANCER [June 21–July 22] Write down five exciting things you love to do or think about. Take this list with you everywhere you go. Then write down five things that demoralize you. Put this list at the back of your closet. For the next seven days, try to keep your mind from wandering to the things on the bad list. Meanwhile, undertake an aggressive campaign to cultivate, seek out, and enjoy the things on the good list. Don't worry: The items on the second list will still be there at the end of the week. Or will they? Maybe they'll have mutated into something more manageable.

LEO [July 23–August 22] When David Bowie first came to America in 1973, he said that he felt like a fly in a glass of milk: He was half-drowning in a flood of interesting new sensations and perceptions, while at the same time greedily and joyously drinking it all in. According to my astrological projections, Leo, you will soon be in that fly-in-the-milk state yourself—assuming you're not already there now.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] The light in your eyes looks a little foggy, Virgo. The fire in your belly seems to be dying down, and your brain has started to hiccup. Am I worried? Not at all. After the nonstop breakthroughs you enjoyed for a while there, I expected that you would eventually need time to slow down and let it all sink in. So I suggest that you cultivate a state of low-key contentment as your deepest mind integrates the transformations you've set in motion.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] I'm not a fan of free-market guru Milton Friedman, whose philosophy has wreaked more suffering on the world than any since Communism. (Read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism for the gross details.) But there's one particular keystone of his belief system that's especially important for you to rebel against in the coming weeks. He said that "only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change." In the name of all you hold holy, Libra, I ask you to prove him wrong. Show yourself and everyone who looks to you for inspiration that real change can be motivated by an exuberant lust for life—a generous longing to risk adventures that will yield greater rewards.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] According to Tony Horwitz's book A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World, the guy who gave his name to the Americas started out as a pickle salesman. After a stint in Spain selling his vitamin C–rich produce to outbound ships, Amerigo Vespucci got to travel to the New World in 1499 and 1502. The stories he penned about his adventures there were highly imaginative (like his description of giant native women with huge breasts who employed poisonous fluids extracted from insects to super-size their husbands' penises). I nominate Amerigo to be your role model in the coming weeks, Scorpio: May you also do what comes naturally and be your own funky self in ways that lead to glory and renown.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] "Two chemicals called actin and myosin evolved eons ago to allow the muscles in insect wings to contract and relax," writes Deepak Chopra in The Book of Secrets. "Today, the same two proteins are responsible for the beating of the human heart." Likewise, Sagittarius, the actions you take or ideas you embrace in the coming days will send reverberations deep into your future. They'll show up many years hence in altered form, but imprinted with the essence you give them now. This is your chance to bestow a profound blessing on the person you will later become.

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