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Free Will Astrology 

Sept. 1-7

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Avant-garde author Gertrude Stein was renowned for her enigmatic word play and cryptic intuitions, which brought great pleasure to her longtime companion Alice B. Toklas. "This has been a most wonderful evening," Toklas 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, Virgo. It's as if you'll be glimpsing possibilities that won't fully ripen for a while; as if you'll be stumbling upon prophecies that will take months, maybe even years, to unveil their complete meaning.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 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, and they go back out into the world feeling refreshed. 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 here.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 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 god-like 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. (P.S. Using it will make other good cheats easier to access.)

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 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.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Wild mountain goats in northern Italy have been photographed moseying their way up and across the near-vertical wall of the Cingino Dam. It looks impossible. How can they outmaneuver the downward drag of gravity, let alone maintain a relaxed demeanor while doing it? They are apparently motivated to perform this feat because they enjoy licking the salty minerals that coat the face of the dam. I foresee you having a comparable power in the coming weeks, Capricorn. Rarely have you been able to summon so much of your mountain goat-like power to master seemingly unclimbable heights.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Phrygia was an ancient kingdom in what is now Turkey. In its capital city was the Gordian Knot, a revered icon that symbolized the power of its ruler. According to legend, an oracle predicted that whoever would be able to untie this intricate knot would become the king of all Asia. Early in his military career, Alexander (who would later be called Alexander the Great) visited the capital and attempted to untie the Gordian Knot. He was unsuccessful, but then changed his tack. Whipping out his sword, he easily sliced through the gnarled weave. Some regarded this as the fulfillment of the prophecy, and Alexander did in fact go on to create a vast empire. Others say that he cheated - didn't really do what the oracle had specified. And the truth is, his empire fell apart quickly. The moral of the story, as far as you're concerned, Aquarius: Untie the knot, don't cut through it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "If you don't become the ocean, you'll be seasick every day," sings Leonard Cohen in his song "Good Advice for Someone Like Me." I think you already know that, Pisces. Of all the signs of the zodiac, you're the top expert in simulating the look and feel of an ocean. But even experts sometime need tune-ups; even professionals always have more to learn about their specialty. And I think this is one of those times when you will benefit from upgrading your skills. If your intentions are pure and your methods crafty, you just may reach a new level of brilliance in the art of living oceanically.

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 painting "Starry Night." After admiring it for a few days, they dismantled the objet d'art and donated it as food to a farm full of pigs. You might benefit from trying a comparable project in the coming days, 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? It's high time to 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 during the current phase of your astrological cycle. In the coming weeks, 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 I do: 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-Aug. 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. I urge you to experiment with a similar approach in your own chosen field, Leo. 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. And be perfectly willing to make productive errors as you engage in this extravagant immersion.

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