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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you were alive 150 years ago and needed to get a tooth extracted, you might have called on a barber or blacksmith or wigmaker to do the job. (Dentistry didn’t become a formal occupation until the latter part of the 19th century.) Today you wouldn’t dream of seeking anyone but a specialist to attend to the health of your mouth. But I’m wondering if you are being less particular about certain other matters concerning your welfare. Have you been seeking financial advice from your massage therapist? Spiritual counsel from your car repair person? Nutritional guidance from a fast-food addict? I suggest you avoid such behavior. It’s time to ask for specific help from those who can actually provide it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “My music is best understood by children and animals,” said composer Igor Stravinsky. A similar statement could be made about you Tauruses in the coming weeks: You will be best understood by children and animals—and by all others who have a capacity for dynamic innocence and a buoyant curiosity rooted in emotional intelligence. In fact, those are the types I advise you to surround yourself with. For now, it’s best to avoid sophisticates who overthink everything and know-it-all cynics whose default mode is criticism. Take control of what influences you absorb. You need to be in the presence of those who help activate your vitality and enthusiasm.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “Nikhedonia” is an obscure English word that refers to the pleasure that comes from anticipating success or good fortune. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in this emotion as long as it doesn’t interfere with you actually doing the work that will lead to success or good fortune. But the problem is, nikhedonia makes some people lazy. Having experienced the thrill of imagining their victory, they find it hard to buckle down and slog through the gritty details necessary to manifest their victory. Don’t be like that. Enjoy your nikhedonia, then go and complete the accomplishment that will bring a second, even stronger wave of gratification.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has a collection of Japanese art that is never on display. It consists of 6,600 wood-block prints created by artists of the ukiyo-e school, also known as “pictures of the floating world.” Some are over 300 years old. They are tucked away in drawers and hidden from the light, ensuring that their vibrant colors won’t fade. So they are well-preserved but rarely seen by anyone. Is there anything about you that resembles these pictures of the floating world, Cancerian? Do you keep parts of you secret, protecting them from what might happen if you show them to the world? It may be time to revise that policy. (Thanks to Molly Oldfield’s The Secret Museum for the info referred to here.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In the next two weeks, I hope you don’t fall prey to the craze that has been sweeping Japan. Over 40,000 people have bought books that feature the photos of hamuketsu, or hamster bottoms. Even if you do manage to avoid being consumed by that particular madness, I’m afraid you might get caught up in trifles and distractions that are equally irrelevant to your long-term dreams. Here’s what I suggest: To counteract any tendency you might have to neglect what’s truly important, vow to focus intensely on what’s truly important.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Writing at FastCompany.com, Himanshu Saxena suggests that businesses create a new position: Chief Paradox Officer, or CPXO. This person would be responsible for making good use of the conflicts and contradictions that normally arise, treating them as opportunities for growth rather than as distractions. From my astrological perspective, you Virgos are currently prime candidates to serve in this capacity. You will continue to have special powers to do this type of work for months to come.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In accordance with the astrological omens, you are hereby granted a brief, one-time-only license to commit the Seven Deadly Sins. You heard me correctly, Libra. As long as you don’t go to extremes, feel free to express healthy amounts of pride, greed, laziness, gluttony, anger, envy, and lust. At least for now, there will be relatively little hell to pay for these indulgences. Just one caveat: If I were you, I wouldn’t invest a lot of energy in anger and envy. Technically, they are permitted, but they aren’t really much fun. On the other hand, greed, gluttony, and lust could be quite pleasurable, especially if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Pride and laziness may also be enjoyable in moderate, artful amounts.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio novelist Kurt Vonnegut rebelled against literary traditions. His stories were often hybrids of science fiction and autobiography. Free-form philosophizing blended with satirical moral commentary. He could be cynical yet playful, and he told a lot of jokes. “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over,” he testified. “Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” He’s your role model for the next four weeks, Scorpio. Your challenge will be to wander as far as you can into the frontier without getting hopelessly lost.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Make a name for the dark parts of you,” writes Lisa Marie Basile in her poem “Paz.” I think that’s good advice for you, Sagittarius. The imminent future will be an excellent time to fully acknowledge the shadowy aspects of your nature. More than that, it will be a perfect moment to converse with them, get to know them better, and identify their redeeming features. I suspect you will find that just because they are dark doesn’t mean they are bad or shameful. If you approach them with love and tenderness, they may even reveal their secret genius.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Pet mice that are kept in cages need to move more than their enclosed space allows, so their owners often provide them with exercise wheels. If the rodents want to exert their natural instinct to run around, they’ve got to do it on this device. But here’s a curious twist: a team of Dutch researchers has discovered that wild mice also enjoy using exercise wheels. The creatures have all the room to roam they need, but when they come upon the wheels in the middle of the forest, they hop on and go for prolonged spins. I suggest you avoid behavior like that, Capricorn. Sometime soon you will find yourself rambling through more spacious places. When that happens, don’t act like you do when your freedom is more limited.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It’s transition time. We will soon see how skilled you are at following through. The innovations you have launched in recent weeks need to be fleshed out. The creativity you unleashed must get the full backing of your practical action. You will be asked to make good on the promises you made or even implied. I want to urge you not to get your feelings hurt if some pruning and editing are required. In fact, I suggest you relish the opportunity to translate fuzzy ideals into tidy structures. Practicing the art of ingenious limitation will make everything better.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It’s always important for you to shield yourself against our culture’s superficial and sexist ideas about sex. It’s always important for you to cultivate your own unique and soulful understandings about sex. But right now this is even more crucial than usual. You are headed into a phase when you will have the potential to clarify and deepen your relationship with eros. In ways you have not previously imagined, you can learn to harness your libido to serve both your spiritual aspirations and your quest for greater intimacy.

Homework: Compose an exciting prayer in which you ask for something you’re not “supposed” to. FreeWillAstrology.com