Free Will Astrology: August 19 through 25

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Maybe you weren't listened to very attentively as a child. Perhaps you were dressed in clothes you didn't like and fed food you were allergic to. I suppose it's even possible that your parents were drug dealers who kept you chained to a radiator in their basement. If that's the case, I would understand if you had an urge to devote the next three decades to bewailing your past and scheming up ways to wreak revenge on the cruel world. But if you have ever been curious about whether there might be better ways to allocate your time and energy, I have good news: You now have it in your power to overcome your toughest memories and set out on a course to become almost as secure as if those bad things had never happened.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Let's say you're listening to your favorite band on a stereo system. There is a place between the two speakers where you will hear the two streams of music blend perfectly, exactly as the sound engineer intended. This place is called the sweet spot. If you play tennis or baseball, you know about another version of the term "sweet spot." It's the area on the racquet or the bat where you get best results when striking the ball. This will be your ruling metaphor for the next three weeks. You have arrived at your very own sweet spot—the embodiment of all that is melodious, graceful, delicious, aromatic, and effective.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Squirrels often bury the nuts they find, intending to come back and retrieve their bounty at a later time. The only trouble is, they sometimes forget where their hiding places are, and the nuts go uneaten. This, at least, is the story told by children's book writer Beatrix Potter, and I regard her as an authority on such matters. You're entering a phase when it will be wise for you to track down and accumulate extra reserves of a prime resource. As you do, make sure you remember all the pertinent details that will allow you to fully access them when you need them in the future.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] You are at least temporarily becoming more psychic. You may really enjoy having an enhanced ability to tune in to what people are thinking and feeling, and it could prove useful. Knowing what's really on everyone's mind might give you a significant edge as you work to turn grand fantasies into well-grounded realities. But it also might tax your empathy or tempt you to ignore boundaries that should be upheld. I hope that by informing you of this situation, I have made it far more likely that your higher sensitivity will be a gift instead of a glitch.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Your strategies are very close to working. The results you've generated so far are almost useful, bordering on the brink of being beautiful. My question now is: You won't stop here, will you? You've already garnered a measure of recognition. Will you be satisfied with these breakthroughs, or will you fight and kick and scratch to strip away the almosts and ascend to utter triumph?

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] No more rotten dessert, Virgo. No more silky danger or juicy poison. No more worthless treasures or empty successes or idiotic brilliance. Soon, all those crazy-making experiences will be gone, blasted, dead. By this time next week, the bad influences that were trying to pass themselves off as good influences will have fallen away in response to your courageous drive for authenticity. You will be primed to restore your innocence and play in places where purity is the rule, not the exception. Already, the wisdom of your wild heart is regenerating, giving you the strength to overthrow the sour, life-hating influences that were threatening to smother your spirit.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] An epic treasure hunt will soon begin. Are you ready for it? To get yourself in shape to perform at a high level, I suggest you open your mind wider than ever. The clues that will be most helpful won't resemble any clues you've ever valued in the past, and they'll be arriving from unforeseen sources. I'll give you a hint about what to look for in the early going of the quest for the magic boon: What circumstance in your life has a certain metaphorical similarity to a speakeasy during the time when alcohol sales were illegal in America?

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] It's not a favorable moment to get your honey's name tattooed on your forearm. On the other hand, it's an excellent time to determine whether your lover is willing to have your name tattooed on his or her forearm. I also encourage you to figure out which of your allies would give you half of their brownie and which wouldn't; which authority figures would be inclined to give you what you want rather than see you walk out of their lives; and which of your associates are too jealous of you to be helpful. Be cagey about how you apply the tests, Scorpio. See if you can subtly gauge where everyone stands in relationship to you.

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