Free will astrology for the week of October 1st 

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ARIES (March 21-April 19):
The next seven weeks will NOT be a favourable time to fool around with psychic vampires and charismatic jerks. I recommend you avoid the following mistakes, as well: failing to protect the wounded areas of your psyche; demanding perfection from those you care about; and trying to fulfill questionable desires that have led you astray in the past. Now I'll name some positive actions you'd be wise to consider: hunting for skillful healers who can relieve your angst and aches; favouring the companionship of people who are empathetic and emotionally intelligent; and getting educated about how to build the kind of intimacy you can thrive on.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
You may have seen websites that offer practical tips on how to improve your mastery of life's little details. They tell you how to de-clutter your home, or how to keep baked goods from going stale, or why you should shop for shoes at night to get the best fit. I recently come across a humourous site that provides the opposite: bad life tips. For instance, it suggests that you make job interviews less stressful by only applying for jobs you don't want. Put your laptop in cold water to prevent overheating. To save time, brush your teeth while you eat. In the two sets of examples I've just given, it's easy to tell the difference between which tips are trustworthy, and which aren't. But in the coming days, you might find it more challenging to distinguish between the good advice and bad advice you'll receive. Be very discerning.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
On a windy afternoon last spring I was walking through a quiet neighbourhood in Berkeley. In one yard there was a garden plot filled with the young green stems of as-yet unidentifiable plants. Anchored in their midst was a small handwritten sign. Its message seemed to be directed not at passers-by like me but at the sprouts themselves. "Grow faster, you little bastards!" the sign said — as if the blooming things might be bullied into ripening. I hope you're smart enough not to make similar demands on yourself and those you care about, Gemini. It's not even necessary. I suspect that everything in your life will just naturally grow with vigour in the coming weeks.

CANCER (June 21-July 22):
"I am rooted, but I flow," wrote Virginia Woolf in her novel The Waves. That paradoxical image reminds me of you right now. You are as grounded as a tree and as fluid as a river. Your foundation is deep and strong, even as you are resilient in your ability to adapt to changing circumstances. This is your birthright as a Cancerian! Enjoy and use the blessings it confers. (P.S. If for some strange reason you're not experiencing an exquisite version of what I've described, there must be some obstacle you are mistakenly tolerating. Get rid of it.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Should I offer my congratulations? You have corralled a gorgeous mess of problems that are more interesting and provocative than everyone else's. It's unclear how long this odd good fortune will last, however. So I suggest you act decisively to take maximum advantage of the opportunities that your dilemmas have cracked open. If anyone can turn the heartache of misplaced energy into practical wisdom, you can. If anyone can harness chaos to drum up new assets, it's you. Is it possible to be both cunning and conscientious, both strategic and ethical? For you right now, I think it is.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
Let's say you have walked along the same path or driven down the same road a thousand times. Then, one day, as you repeat your familiar route, a certain object or scene snags your attention for the first time. Maybe it's a small fountain or a statue of the Buddhist goddess Guanyin or a wall with graffiti that says "Crap happens, but so does magic." It has always been there. You've been subconsciously aware of it. But at this moment, for unknown reasons, it finally arrives in your conscious mind. I believe this is an apt metaphor for your life in the next week. More than once, you will suddenly tune in to facts, situations, or influences that had previously been invisible to you. That's a good thing! But it might initially bring a jolt.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
The 20th century's most influential artist may have been Pablo Picasso. He created thousands of paintings, and was still churning them out when he was 91 years old. A journalist asked him which one was his favourite. "The next one," he said. I suggest you adopt a similar attitude in the coming weeks, Libra. What you did in the past is irrelevant. You should neither depend on nor be weighed down by anything that has come before. For now, all that matters are the accomplishments and adventures that lie ahead of you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
A windbreak is a line of stout trees or thick bushes that provides shelter from the wind. I think you need a metaphorical version: someone or something to shield you from a relentless force that has been putting pressure on you; a buffer zone or protected haven where you can take refuge from a stressful barrage that has been hampering your ability to act with clarity and grace. Do you know what you will have to do to get it? Here's your battle cry: "I need sanctuary! I deserve sanctuary!"

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
Your fellow Sagittarian Walt Disney accomplished a lot. He was a pioneer in the art of animation and made movies that won numerous Academy Awards. He built theme parks, created an entertainment empire, and amassed fantastic wealth. Why was he so successful? In part because he had high standards, worked hard, and harboured an obsessive devotion to his quirky vision. If you aspire to cultivate any of those qualities, now is a favourable time to raise your mastery to the next level. Disney had one other trait you might consider working on: He liked to play the game of life by his own rules. For example, his favourite breakfast was doughnuts dipped in Scotch whisky. What would be your equivalent?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
October is Fix the Fundamentals Month. It will be a favourable time to substitute good habits for bad habits. You will attract lucky breaks and practical blessings as you work to transform overwrought compulsions into rigorous passions. You will thrive as you seek to discover the holy yearning that's hidden at the root of devitalizing addictions. To get started, instigate free-wheeling experiments that will propel you out of your sticky rut and in the direction of a percolating groove.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
Have you made your travel plans yet? Have you plotted your escape? I hope you will hightail it to a festive playground where some of your inhibitions will shrink, or else journey to a holy spot where your spiritual yearnings will ripen. What would be even better is if you made a pilgrimage to a place that satisfied both of those agendas — filled up your senses with novel enticements and feed your hunger for transcendent insights. Off you go, Aquarius! Why aren't you already on your way? If you can't manage a real getaway in the near future, please at least stage a jailbreak for your imagination.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
Pablo Neruda's Book of Questions consists entirely of 316 questions. It's one of those rare texts that makes no assertions and draws no conclusions. In this spirit, and in honor of the sphinx-like phase you're now passing through, I offer you six pertinent riddles: 1. What is the most important thing you have never done? 2. How could you play a joke on your fears? 3. Identify the people in your life who have made you real to yourself. 4. Name a good old thing you would have to give up in order to get a great new thing. 5. What's the one feeling you want to feel more than any other in the next three years? 6. What inspires you to love?

Homework: Send testimonies about how you've redeemed the dark side to: Sex Laugh,


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