Free Will Astrology: December 3 through 9

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Until recently, the EU banned the sale of ugly carrots with knobby protrusions, cucumbers that were grossly curved, and equally unaesthetic specimens of 24 other fruits and vegetables. "It makes no sense to throw perfectly good products away, just because they are the 'wrong' shape," said the EU's commissioner for agriculture. I suggest you make a metaphorically similar shift, Aries. It's time for you to expand your capacity to welcome useful things that look a bit imperfect.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] In Passing Strange, the narrator praises the healing power of mysterious songs: "You know when the music goes right over your head, bypasses your mind, and strengthens the part of you that's most beautiful?" That's the kind of nourishment I encourage you to seek out in the coming week. You need soul-toning experiences that elude your rational understanding—encounters with wise animals, unpredictable love, and twilight whispers that blissfully boggle your imagination.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] According to the Weekly World News, the devil doesn't sit by passively as people beseech God for help. Using his own version of stealth technology, the evil one "intercepts or jams" up to one-third of all prayers on their way heavenward. Timid and fuzzy prayers are the easiest for him to block. Just in case this is true, Gemini, take special measures when you send out appeals for assistance in the coming days. To ensure that the devil (or one of his surrogates) can't interfere, formulate your messages concisely and communicate them with crisp confidence.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] George Bush is dreaming of his retirement these days, although he takes time out to create executive orders that undo environmental protections. Barack Obama is planning hard for the monumental recovery he hopes to lead when he assumes the presidency, but his time won't come until January 20. Meanwhile, all the things that have been falling apart under Bush's watch are continuing to fall apart, only bigger and badder. Writes Josh Marshall in Talkingpointsmemo.com: "We're paying mightily for having no captain at the helm at one of the most perilous points in our recent national history." In regard to your own personal life, Cancerian, please avoid acting like America. Don't wait for a deadline to make your moves. Expedite the transition from the old order to the new with the force of a thousand ecstatic activists.

LEO [July 23–August 22] "It's better to be clumsy than clever," says Poets' Jade Splinters, "better plain than affected, better crude than weak, better eccentric than vulgar." That's a good prescription for you, Leo. Here's another: "Inspiration enters at the border between hard work and laziness." That suggests you've got to work hard and discipline yourself in order to earn the right to inspiration, but often the inspiration flows in when you're goofing off or giving yourself some slack.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] In 1952, composer John Cage created the infamous "4'33"," a "song" that consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of pure silence. Recently, a San Francisco performance artist, Jonathon Keats, remixed that tune and made it available as a ringtone. I'd love for you to be inspired by those two geniuses in the coming week, Virgo. It'll be an excellent time for you to come to a perfect stop, fill yourself with stillness, and bask in the healing power of undiluted nothingness.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] I urge you not to Google the word "duh," Libra. If you do, you'll mark yourself as a conformist trend-slave, joining over 33 million people who have already done it before you. Also, you will be in danger of wasting the potential the cosmos is offering you, which is to reap rich rewards by exploring brave new frontiers on the edges of your awareness. So please be insanely curious about stuff you've never heard of and people you've never met. Research subjects that tantalize your imagination and stick your nose in where it supposedly doesn't belong. But don't Google "duh."

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Researchers say that you've got longer than you imagine to salvage food that has dropped on the floor. Bacteria don't start growing on your pizza or muffin for at least 30 seconds. Keep that in mind as a metaphor in the coming days, Scorpio. Anything that you fear has already been spoiled or tainted may actually be possible to restore and redeem. You probably have more time than you thought.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] I got an invitation to audition for the Vagina Monologues. While I was honored to be asked, I wasn't sure that the kind of audience members who would come to see the Vagina Monologues would want to hear me, a man, expound on the central topic. Upon reading the fine print, however, I found out that the producers were indeed seeking some male actors. The metaphorical moral of the story, Sagittarius, is to be open to invitations, opportunities, and requests that may at first seem odd, misdirected, or irrelevant.

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] From 1987 to 2006, Alan Greenspan was chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve and a major force in shaping the world's most powerful economy. When the recent troubles hit, Congress called on him to testify, and he confessed that there had been a flaw in his model of reality. All those years, he'd believed that "free, competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies." Now, he saw he was wrong. While I'm sorry for the collective pain his mistaken ideas have unleashed, I'm elated for him personally: How many 82-year-old men are open to the possibility that their philosophy of life needs adjustment? How many people of any age are receptive to changing their ideas about how the world works? I invite you to take your inspiration from Greenspan, Capricorn. Be curious about how your own theories might need revision. Doing this heroic deed will energize you with good karma.

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