Free Will Astrology: September 9 through 15

ARIES [March 21–April 19] I don't think I'm being unduly optimistic when I say that you're on the verge of achieving a victory over your bad self. You have been dealing more forthrightly with the lowest aspects of your character and have also become aware of the difference between your out-and-out unregenerate qualities and the unripe aspects of your character that may someday become very beautiful. There's a second sign that you're close to transforming one of the most negative things about you: You have almost figured out the truth about a murky curse that you internalized some time ago. When you identify it, you will know how to banish it forever.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] I expect that you'll be a force of nature in the coming days. In fact, you might want to give fair warning to loved ones who assume that you have always been and will always be steady and mild. Otherwise, they may be freaked out when your intelligence explodes like a double rainbow. They might accuse you of "not being yourself" when your decisions hit with the force of the aurora borealis. It'll be interesting for you to notice which of your close cohorts responds most favorably to this outbreak of your elemental gifts.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] "Here's what I did not do this summer," begins the testimony of Beth Hylton. "Not once did I swing on a tire swing over the river, watching the pink shimmery reflection of myself in a wetsuit on a tire swing. I did not take a day off work to sneak out alone to Jones Beach with a book and a beer in a ginger ale bottle. I did not eat outside at a red-checkered-tablecloth-and-too-much-cheese-on-the-pasta Italian restaurant. I did not catch fireflies for the satisfaction of setting them free, and I did not nap in the noontime sun. Where are all the 'I dids'?" I'm happy to inform Beth, as well as any of her fellow Geminis who might have been remiss in doing the kinds of activities she named, that the next three weeks will be a very favorable period to make up for lost time.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] Murmurs and whispers will have more clout than clamors and shouts. Short jaunts could transform everything permanently; long trips might only shift things slightly and temporarily. Forceful confrontations may lead to a muddle; feints and tricks and bluffs could spark crafty solutions. The "simple facts" will probably be tainted by lies of omission; the messy contradictions are likely to be eminently trustworthy.

LEO [July 23–August 22] KFC is test-marketing a flamboyant new item at selected restaurants in the U.S. This delicacy is an exotic sandwich that consists of bacon, cheese, and special sauce, all held together by two slabs of fried chicken. I nominate this spectacular creation to be your earthy metaphor of the week. In accordance with the astrological omens, I hope it inspires you to head out to the frontiers of extravagance in both your spiritual affairs and your romantic life. The coming days will be an ideal time to pray to both Christ and the Goddess while making love, for example, or to get sandwiched between two delicious devotees while meditating naked, or to perform a boisterous ritual to invoke emotional riches with the help of a genius of love.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] It's Build Up Your Confidence by Any Means Possible Week. During this holiday, you have an astrological mandate as well as a poetic license to pluck the easy victories. So go ahead and solve the kinds of riddles that are your specialty. Put yourself in the presence of people who think you're a gift to the human race, and subtly encourage your secret admirers to be less secretive. If you have any trophies or awards, make them more visible. There's no shame in bragging this week, Virgo, but for best results, do it with your best understated elegance.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] My first demand is that you weed out the wishy-washy wishes and lukewarm longings that keep you distracted from your burning desires. My second demand is that you refuse to think that anyone else knows better than you what dreams will keep your life energy humming with maximum efficiency and beauty. Now, please repeat the following assertions about 20 times: "I know exactly what I want. I know exactly what I don't want. I know exactly what I kind of want, but I won't waste my time on it anymore because it sidetracks me from working on what I really, really want."

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Ants may literally be crawling in your pants as you pull off a savvy coup or a brilliant stroke. An annoying pest may try to distract you at about the same time that movers and shakers are tuning in to your magnificence. But I don't mean to imply that minor irritants will undermine your victories. I think you're too unbeatable for that to happen. At worst, you'll have a mild headache as you receive your reward or stumble slightly as you stride into the spotlight.

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