Free will astrology 

Week of January 8

ARIES (March 21-April 19): During his time in the Senate, former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain has been a strong advocate for Native Americans. As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, he sponsored or co-sponsored seven bills in support of Indian rights. And yet Native Americans voted overwhelmingly for McCain's opponent, Barack Obama, who has no such track record. When asked why, Native American author Sherman Alexie said that unlike most other groups, Indians don't vote merely for their own narrow self-interest, but rather for the benefit of all. They felt Obama would be the best president for America. That's the standard I urge you to use in the coming weeks, Aries. Stretch yourself as you work hard for the greater good, not just your own.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Hope "is not the conviction that something will turn out well," wrote Czech writer and politician Vaclav Havel, "but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." That's the kind of hope I suggest you invoke during your current adventures, Taurus. Be hungrier for meaning than for any specific outcome. If you do that, ironically, the outcome is more likely to be one you feel pretty good about.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Describing my writing, one critic said that I was "like a mutant love-child of Anais Nin and Jack Kerouac." That also happens to be an apt description of the spirit you should bring to life in the coming weeks. So be like the memoirist Anais Nin: a collector of secrets, a connoisseur of intimacy, a fiercely sensitive alchemist who knows her own inner terrain better than anyone else knows their inner terrain. And also be like the novelist Jack Kerouac: a free-wheeling, fast-talking, wide-open traveler in quest of the spirit as it makes its wild plunge into matter.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): In giving the Nobel Prize for literature to French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, the award committee praised him as an "explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization." I suggest you consider doing some of that kind of exploring yourself in 2009, Cancerian. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you will generate rich benefits for yourself by learning from people and influences that are beneath the notice of the mainstream, whether they're outside the box, off the grid, under the radar, or immune to the taint of the collective delusions.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Obstacles are a natural part of life, just as boulders are a natural part of the course of a river," notes the ancient Chinese book I Ching. "The river does not complain or get depressed because there are boulders in its path." I'd go so far to say — this is not in the original text, but is my 21st-century addition — that the river gets a sensual thrill as it glides its smooth current over the irregular shapes and hard skin of the rocks. It looks forward to the friction, exults in the intimate touch, loves the drama of the interaction. Sound like a pleasure you'd like to cultivate, Leo? It's an excellent time to try it.

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