Free Will Astrology: August 31 - September 6, 2011

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Strange but true: To pave the way for your next liberation, you will have to impose some creative limitation on yourself. In other words, there's some trivial extravagance or unproductive excess in your current rhythm that is suppressing an interesting form of freedom. As soon as you cut away the faux "luxury" that is holding you back, all of life will conspire to give you a growth spurt.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Using two tons of colorful breakfast cereal, high school students in Smithfield, Utah, helped their art teacher create a gymnasium-sized replica of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night. After admiring it for a few days, they dismantled it and donated it as food to pig farm. You might benefit from trying a comparable project, Taurus. What common everyday things could you use in novel ways to brighten up your personal palette? What humdrum part of your routine could you invigorate through the power of creative nonsense? Try some experiments in play therapy.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] "The energy you use to read this sentence is powered, ultimately, by sunlight," says science writer K.C. Cole, "perhaps first soaked up by some grass that got digested by a cow before it turned into the milk that made the cheese that topped the pizza. But sunlight, just the same." That's a good seed thought to meditate on. You will thrive by gleefully remembering your origins, by exuberantly honoring the depths that sustain you, and by reverently returning to the source for a nice, long drink of magic.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] Speaking about her character Harry on the TV show Harry's Law, Cancerian actress Kathy Bates said, "Harry is her own woman. She isn't going to take guff from anybody. I'm very much like her. I try to be diplomatic, but sometimes pterodactyls fly out of my mouth." I wouldn't always advise you to follow Bates' lead, Cancerian, but in the coming week, be as tactful and sensitive as possible, but don't be shy about naming the difficult truths or revealing the hidden agendas. Pterodactyls may need to take wing.

LEO [July 23–August 22] "My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant's point of view," said gardener H. Fred Ale. Experiment with a similar approach in your own chosen field. Conjure up more empathy than you ever have before in your life. Use your imagination to put yourself in the place of whomever or whatever it is you hope to nurture and commune with and influence. Be perfectly willing to make productive errors as you engage in this.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Gertrude Stein was renowned for her enigmatic word play and cryptic intuitions, which brought great pleasure to her long-time companion, Alice B. Toklas. "This has been a most wonderful evening," Alice once remarked after an especially zesty night of socializing. "Gertrude has said things tonight it'll take her 10 years to understand." I expect that something similar could be said about you in the coming week. It's as if you'll be stumbling upon prophecies that will take months, maybe even years, to unveil their complete meaning.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] I periodically perform a public ritual called Unhappy Hour. During this focused binge of emotional cleansing, participants unburden themselves of their pent-up sadness, disappointment, frustration, and shame. They may choose to mutter loud complaints or howl with histrionic misery or even sob uncontrollably. At the end of the ceremony, they celebrate the relief they feel at having freely released so much psychic congestion. Many people find that by engaging in this purge, they are better able to conjure up positive emotional states in the days and weeks that follow. It's a perfect time for you to carry out your own Unhappy Hour, Libra. For inspiration, listen to my version at bitly.com/UnhappyHour.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] "Age of Mythology" is a computer game that invites participants to strategically build up their own civilization and conquer others. There are, of course, many "cheats" that help you to bend the rules in your favor. For instance, the "Wrath of the Gods" cheat gives you the godlike powers of lightning storms, earthquakes, meteors, and tornadoes. With "Goatunheim," you can turn your enemies into goats, and "Channel Surfing" allows you to move your armies over water. But the cheat I would recommend for you right now, whether you're playing "Age of Mythology" or the game of your own life, would be "Wuv Woo," a flying purple hippopotamus that blows rainbows out its back end and blasts lovey-dovey hearts from its mouth.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22-December 21]: Of all the tribes of the zodiac, Sagittarius is most skilled at not trying too hard. That isn't to say that you're lazy or lax. What I mean is that when it's time for you to up the ante and push toward your goal with more force and determination, you know how to cultivate a sense of spaciousness. You've got an innate knack for maintaining at least a touch of cool while immersed in the heat of the struggle. Even when the going gets tough, you can find oases of rejuvenating ease. In the coming week, I suggest you make an extra effort to draw on these capacities. You will need them more than usual.

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