Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19) Researchers in Peru have recently tracked down many previously unknown varieties of wild cacao plants. What that means is that there are exotic kinds of chocolate that you and I have never dreamed of, and they will be commercially available within a few years. As delicious as your Chocolove XOXOX Extra Strong Dark candy bar may taste to you now, you will eventually journey further into a new frontier of ecstatic delectability. I propose that we use this theme as a metaphor for the work you have ahead of you right now. It is time for you to make good things even better — to take fun diversions and transform them into experiences that engender transcendent bliss. Turn “yes” into “YESSSS!!!!”

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) At your next meal, imagine that the food you are eating is filled with special nutrients that enhance your courage. During the meal after that, fantasize that you are ingesting ingredients that will boost your perceptiveness. The next time you snack, visualize your food as being infused with elements that will augment the amount of trust you have in yourself. Then you will be ready to carry out your assignment for the coming weeks: Use your imagination to pump up your courage and perceptiveness as you carry out smart adventures that you haven’t trusted yourself enough to try before now.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) The leaves and berries of the deadly nightshade plant are highly poisonous. If ingested, they cause delirium and death. On the other hand, a drug obtained from the same plant is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It’s helpful in treating many illnesses, from gastrointestinal and heart problems to Parkinson’s. Is there a metaphorical equivalent in your life, Gemini? An influence that can either be sickening or healing, depending on various factors? I suspect that now is one of those times when you should be very focused on ensuring that the healing effect predominates.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) A New York doctor offers a service he calls Pokertox. Jack Berdy injects Botox into poker players’ faces so as to make their expressions hard to read. With their facial muscles paralyzed, they are in no danger of betraying subtle emotional signals that might help their opponents guess their strategy. I understand there might sometimes be value in adopting a poker face when you are in the midst of trying to win at poker or other games. But for the foreseeable future, Cancerian, I recommend the opposite approach. You’re most likely to be successful if you reveal everything you’re feeling. Let your face and eyes be as eloquent as they can be.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) When we are launching any big project, our minds hide from us the full truth about how difficult it will be. If we knew beforehand all of the tests we would eventually face, we might never attempt it. Economist Albert O. Hirschman called this the principle of the “hiding hand.” It frees us to dive innocently into challenging work that will probably take longer than we thought and compel us to access new resources and creativity. To be clear: What’s hidden from us are not only the obstacles but also the unexpected assistance we will get along the way.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) The literal meaning of the Swedish word smultronställe is “wild strawberry patch.” Metaphorically, it refers to a special place that feels like your private sanctuary. It may be hard-to-find or unappreciated by others, but for you it’s a spot that inspires you to relax deeply. You might have had a life-changing epiphany there. When you’re in this refuge, you have a taste of what it’s like to feel at home in the world. Do you have a smultronställe, Virgo? If not, it’s time to find one. If you already do, spend extra time there in the coming week.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) If I’m reading the astrological omens correctly, the bells are about to ring for you. The festive lights will flash. The celebratory anthems will throb. It’s like you’re going to win a fortune on a TV quiz show; like you will get an A-plus on your final exam; like you’ll be picked as homecoming king or queen. But it’s possible I’m a bit off in my projections, and your success will be subtler than I anticipate. Maybe, in fact, you are about to accomplish the Healing of the Year, or discover the Secret of the Decade, or enjoy the Most Meaningful Orgasm of the Century.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) A teenage Pakistani boy decided he wanted to help his country’s government clean up the local Internet. Ghazi Muhammad Abdullah gathered a list of more than 780,000 porn sites and sent it to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Big job! Hard work! I would love to see you summon similar levels of passion and diligence as you work in behalf of your favorite cause, Scorpio. The coming weeks will be prime time for you to get very excited about the changes you would like to help create in the world.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Working as a journalist for the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier, Simon Eroro wanted to interview a group of indigenous rebels in a remote jungle. He decided he was willing to do whatever was necessary to get the big scoop. After making a difficult journey through rough terrain to reach them, he was told he would be given the information that he sought on one condition: that he be circumcised with bamboo sticks as part of a cleansing ritual. Eroro agreed to the procedure, got the story, and ultimately won a prize for his report. I don’t recommend that you go quite that far in pursuit of your current goal, Sagittarius. On the other hand, it might be wise for you to consider making a sacrifice.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Kintsukuroi is a Japanese word that literally means “golden repair.” It refers to the practice of fixing cracked pottery with lacquer that’s blended with actual gold or silver. Metaphorically, it suggests that something may become more beautiful and valuable after being broken. The wounds and the healing of the wounds are integral parts of the story, not shameful distortions to be disguised or hidden. Does any of that resonate with you about your current experience, Capricorn? I’m guessing it does. Let’s call this the kintsukuroi phase of your cycle.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Near the end of his career, the painter Henri Matisse created a paper-cut composition he called Le Bateau, or The Boat. It is an abstract piece that does not depict a literal boat. That’s why the Museum of Modern Art in New York City should perhaps be forgiven for mistakenly hanging it upside-down back in 1961, upon first acquiring the piece. Fortunately, after a month and a half, a knowledgeable person noticed, and the position of Le Bateau was corrected. I’m wondering if there’s a comparable phenomenon going on with you right now, Aquarius? Is it possible that a part of your life got inverted or transposed? If so, will you be sharp enough to see the goof and brave enough to fix it? I hope you won’t allow this error to persist.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice,” said British author G.K. Chesterton, “and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” I’m going to endorse that approach for you, Pisces. In my astrological opinion, I don’t think anyone can possibly give you accurate counsel in the coming weeks. Your circumstances are too unique and your dilemmas are too idiosyncratic for even the experts to understand, let alone the people who care for you and think they own a piece of you. I do suspect it might be useful for you to hear what everyone has to say about your situation, though. Seeing their mistaken or uninformed perspectives should help you get clarity about what’s right.

Homework: “You know what to do and you know how to do it.” True or False? Why? Testify at [email protected].

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