Free Will Astrology: May 12-18, 2010

ARIES [March 21–April 19] What happens when someone "sells out"? It refers to a person who overrides her highest artistic standards or her soul's mandates in order to make a bundle of money. But I want to enlarge the definition to encompass any behavior that seeks popular appeal at the expense of authenticity. I think you have to be especially on guard against this lapse in the coming days, Aries—not only in yourself but also in those you're close to.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] "I can't live the button-down life," says Homer Simpson. "I want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles." Homer is unusual for a Taurus. Many of your tribe love the creamy middles, but are quite content to live without the terrifying lows, even if that means being deprived of dizzying highs. While that may sometimes seem like a boring limitation, I don't expect it to be any time soon. The creamy middles that are looming for you are the lushest, plushest creamy middles I've seen in a long time. Terrifying lows and dizzying highs will be irrelevant.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] Francisco Goya created an etching entitled El Sueño de la Razón Produce Monstruos. Its two possible translations have very different meanings: "The sleep of reason produces monsters" or "The dream of reason produces monsters." The first version suggests that when our reasoning faculties go dormant, we're susceptible to doing dumb and crazy things. The second version implies that if we rely excessively on our reasoning faculty, it acquires a lunatic hubris that devalues our emotions and distorts our imagination. You're more susceptible to the former than the latter right now, Gemini, but it's crucial that you avoid both. A way out of your pain is available if you use your reason just right—neither too little nor too much.


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CANCER [June 21–July 22] Some of your illusions seeped into you before you learned to talk. Others sneaked into you later. Eventually, you even made choices to adopt illusions because they provided you with comfort. There's no need to be ashamed of this. It's a natural part of being a human being. Having said that, I'm happy to announce that you're entering a phase when you will have the power to shed at least some of your illusions—especially the ones you consciously chose—in ways that don't hurt you. To begin the process, declare this intention: "I have the courage to see life as it really is."

LEO [July 23–August 22] According to a statute in the state of Indiana, you may not use your bare hands to catch a fish. In Fairbanks, Alaska, you're breaking the law if you let a moose slurp an alcoholic drink. In Flowery Branch, Georgia, you may be arrested if you shout "Snake!" And I've got to say that you Leos could probably get away with all of these acts and more in the coming weeks. The omens suggest that your levels of freedom are extremely high, as is your amount of slack. You'll have clearance to do many things you wouldn't normally be able to do.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] I didn't think it was possible, but paranoid visions of doom and gloom have become even more popular in the past few years than ever before. Apocalypse-watching is no longer a fringe hobby reserved for conspiracy fetishists; it has gone mainstream. And yet here I am in the midst of the supposed mayhem, babbling my eccentric ideas about how we are living in the single most wonderful time in the history of civilization. So let me ask you a crucial question, especially if you're one of the millions of normal people who believes that cynicism is a supreme sign of intelligence: Do you really want to be getting your fortune told by a rebel optimist like me? You should know that all my horoscopes are rooted in the hypothesis that expecting the best makes you happier, safer, kinder, wilder, stronger, and smarter. What happens in the coming weeks will, in my opinion, be dramatic proof of that.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] The bad news is that climate change is really under way. That's why Purbasha Island has sunk beneath the waves, swallowed up by rising sea levels and shifts in monsoon patterns. The good news is that its disappearance has ended a dispute between India and Bangladesh, both of which claimed it as their own. There's nothing left to fight over. I foresee a metaphorically comparable scenario coming to your life, Libra: an act of nature that will render a conflict irrelevant.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] Some experts say methamphetamine is more addictive than any other drug. Here's one reason why: "The effect of an IV hit of methamphetamine is the equivalent of 10 orgasms all on top of each other lasting for 30 minutes to an hour, with a feeling of arousal that lasts for another day and a half." After a while, hell sets in and the body is no longer happy. Luckily, you Scorpios won't be tempted to fall victim to meth splurges any time soon. Without relying on anything more than your natural powers, your capacity for experiencing erotic pleasure will be substantial.

SAGITTARIUS [November 22–December 21] Your eyes can discriminate between about 500 shades of gray. Let's hope your moral compass is as precise in its power to distinguish subtle differences. Why? Because there will be no easy black-vs.-white decisions to make in the future—no simple, foolproof way to determine the distinctions between good and bad. I recommend that for now you give up hope of achieving utter certainty, and instead celebrate the refined pleasures of nuanced, complicated truth.

CAPRICORN [December 22–January 19] These days, you have an extraordinary capacity to perform magic. And when I use the word "magic," I mean: causing practical changes to occur in accordance with your most noble and beautiful desires. I'm not talking about the kind of "magic" that helps you gratify mediocre wishes or tawdry fantasies. I'm not saying you should go on an acquisitive binge as you gather up booty and bragging points. Instead, I'm letting you know that you have the power to create inspiring transformations in the way your life works.

AQUARIUS [January 20–February 18] Do you want to know where all the power lies for you? It's nowhere. But before you jump to conclusions about what I just said, read this passage from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell: "We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move. We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable."

PISCES [February 19–March 20] A Pisces woman I know was harried by ant swarms invading her kitchen. She could have run out to the drugstore and brought home loads of poisonous little ant hotels. Instead, she gave her imagination the go-ahead to brainstorm—soon, she'd come up with a solution. She scooped up a host of ants and threw them in a blender with the other ingredients of her smoothie, then drank it all down. The next day, all the ants had departed, as if scared off by the Great Devourer. I suggest you learn from her example, both in the sense of being open to outlandish possibilities and in the sense of finding alternate ways to deal with adversaries.

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