Free Will Astrology

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Maybe you're not literally in exile, but you may nevertheless be feeling banished. It could be due to a condition that storyteller Michael Meade names: "We may experience exile as a lack of recognition, a period of transition, an identity crisis, a place of stuckness, or else having a gift and no place to give it." Do any of those describe your current predicament, Aries? The good news, Meade says, is that exile can shock you awake to the truth about where you belong. It can rouse your irrepressible motivation to get back to your rightful place.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] Do you have a recurring nightmare that has plagued you? If so, I suspect it will recur again soon. Only this time, Taurus, you will beat it. You will trick or defeat the monster that's chasing you. Or else you will outrun the molten lava or disperse the tornado or fly up off the ground until the earth stops shaking. Congratulations on this epic shift, Taurus. Forever after you will have more power over the scary thing that has had so much power over you.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] The following request for advice appeared on Reddit.com: "My identical twin is stuck in an alternate dimension and she can only communicate with me by appearing as my own reflection in mirrors and windows. How can I tell her I don't like what she's done to her hair?" This question is a variant of a type of dilemma that many Geminis are experiencing right now. You will soon get a chance to commune directly with your alter egos. Your evil twin will be available to engage in meaningful dialogue. So will your doppelganger, your shadow, your mirror self, and your stuntperson.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] Usually I advise Cancerians to draw up precise borders and maintain clear boundaries. As a Crab myself, I know how important it is for our well-being that we neither leak our life force all over everything nor allow others to leak theirs all over us. We get into trouble when we're wishy-washy about what we want. OK. Having said all that fatherly stuff, I now want to grant you a partial and temporary license to get a little wild and fuzzy. Don't overdo it, but explore the smart fun you can have by breaking some of your own rules.

LEO [July 23–August 22] In the course of formulating his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin read many books. If there was a particular part of one that he didn't find useful, he simply tore it out, cast it aside, and kept the rest. I recommend this as a general strategy for you in the coming week, Leo. In every situation you're in, figure out what's most valuable to you forget the irrelevant and extraneous stuff.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] Here's a passage from Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations: "It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." Judging from the astrological omens, Virgo, I suspect your life may be like that in the coming days. The emotional tone could be sharply mixed, with high contrasts between vivid sensations. The nature of your opportunities may seem warm and bright one moment, cool and dark the next. If you regard this as interesting rather than difficult, it won't be a problem, but rather an adventure.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] "I worked as a hair stylist in Chicago's Gold Coast for 20 years with some of the most gorgeous woman and men in the world," writes sculptor Rich Thomson. "Once I asked a photographer how he picked out the very best models from among all these great-looking people. His response: 'Flaws. Our flaws are what make us interesting, special, and exotic. They define us.' " Your challenge is to meditate on how your supposed imperfections and oddities are essential to your unique beauty. It's a perfect moment to celebrate—and make good use of—your idiosyncrasies.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] The genius of Leonardo da Vinci was in part fueled by his buoyant curiosity; he drew inspiration from pretty much everything. He's your role model for the coming week, Scorpio. Act as if the world is full of teachers who have revelations and guidance specifically meant for you. Here's some advice from da Vinci himself: "It should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas."

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] It's time to assess how well you know the fundamental facts about where you are located. So let me ask you: Do you know which direction north is? Where does the water you drink come from? What phase of the moon is it today? What was the indigenous culture that once lived where you live now? Can you name any constellations that are currently in the night sky? What species of trees do you see every day? Use these questions as a starting point as you deepen your connection with your specific neighborhood on planet Earth. Get yourself grounded!

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] There's a writer I know whose work is brilliant. Her ideas are fascinating. She's well-read and smarter than me. Yet her speech is careless; she rambles and interrupts herself. She says "uh" and "you know" so frequently that I find it hard to listen, even when she's saying things I admire. I considered telling her about this, but decided against it. She's an acquaintance, not a friend. Instead, I resolved to clean up my own speech—to make sure I don't do anything close to what she does. This is a strategy I suggest for you, Capricorn: Identify interesting people who are not fully living up to their potential, and change yourself in the exact ways you wish they would change.

AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] The German word Verschlimmbesserung refers to an attempted improvement that actually makes things worse. Be on guard against this, Aquarius. I fear that as you tinker, you may try too hard. To make sure that your enhancements and enrichments will be successful, keep these guidelines in mind: 1. Think about how to make things work better, not how to make things look better. 2. Be humble and relaxed. Don't worry about saving face and don't overwork yourself. 3. Forget about short-term fixes; serve long-range goals.

PISCES [February 19–March 20] "Telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen," says musician and businessman Derek Sivers. Numerous studies demonstrate that when you talk about your great new idea before you actually do it, your brain chemistry does an unexpected thing. It gives you the feeling that you have already accomplished the great new idea—thereby sapping your willpower to make the effort necessary to accomplish it! The moral of the story: Don't entertain people at parties with your fabulous plans. Shut up and get to work.

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