Free will astrology 

Week of July 9

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Miracle of miracles: A pointless pain in the butt will soon stop bugging you. Meanwhile, an annoying itch in your heart is subsiding, and may even disappear. As a result of these happy developments, you will be able to concentrate on a much more interesting and provocative torment that has been waiting impatiently for your loving attention. Actually, it's an ancient torment dressed up in a new package. But as before, it's a torment you've never had the right name for. That's about to change, however. You're finally ready to find the right name for it, and when you do, you'll be halfway toward a permanent cure.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): When he was growing up, the father of basketball superstar Pat Riley forced him to play basketball with kids who were stronger and tougher than he was. He said it forged his son into a winner. I can see the principle at work, but it doesn't come naturally to me. In my efforts to provide you with the parenting you missed as a kid, I've always preferred a gentler, more nurturing approach. Nevertheless, the time has come to override my personal desires for the sake of your character-building needs. I recommend that you force yourself to play with grown-up kids who're stronger and tougher than you.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I wouldn't get too agitated about the supposed "writing on the wall" if I were you. The handwriting is not God's, for God's sake. It's not even that of a wise elder or young genius. So don't attribute too much authority to it, please. It's just the opinion of someone who doesn't know any more about the ultimate truth than you do. So I suggest you cover it up with black spray paint and then carefully inscribe your own version of the writing on the wall. Reality is especially malleable right now, so the most forcefully expressed prophecy will probably come true.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I believe that when you chatter carelessly about a big change that's in the works, you're in danger of draining it of some of its potency. So I don't want to trumpet or gossip about the gift that's on its way to you. I'll just mention that it's coming, and urge you to prepare a clean, well-lit place for it to land. Here's a hint: It could, among other things, help you convert one of your vulnerabilities into a strength or inspire you to start transforming an area of ignorance into a future source of brilliance.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): At the farmer's market, an escape artist performed in the middle of the street. As a crowd gawked, he had two big strong men tie him up tight in a straitjacket and 50 feet of chain. For the next 20 minutes he shimmied and contorted and bent over backwards. His face grew red and sweaty. There were no Houdini-like magic tricks. There were no puffs of smoke or magic boxes or mirrors or distracting assistants. He rarely spoke as the ordeal progressed, but in the end, after the last of the chains slipped off and he wrestled his way out of the straitjacket, he said simply, "Now I invite all of you to go home and use what I just did as a metaphor for your life." It was a supremely sexy performance, and I realized maybe it would help you with your current situation.

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