FREE WILL ASTROLOGY 

Aries, surround yourself not with Palahniuk-type curses but with good news and uplifting stories.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I was at an airport bookstore. A businessman near me plucked Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted from the shelf and said to his companion, "I've heard this book makes some people actually vomit. Listen to this passage." He read it aloud. It was about a guy who eats ten freeze-dried turkey dinners, and dies when his stomach literally explodes. Moments after reciting this gruesome tale, the businessman collapsed and went into convulsions. I knelt down and cradled his head. A saleswoman called paramedics, and 15 minutes later he was fine. "That never happened to me before," he said. "I don't have epilepsy. It must have been a reaction to what I read." The moral of the story, Aries: Words will have potent effects on you in the coming days. You should therefore surround yourself not with Palahniuk-type curses but with good news and uplifting stories and people who dispense articulate blessings.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I heard a guy on the radio tell the following story. He and his wife stopped to enjoy a sunset. After a few minutes, they noticed that its breathtaking beauty remained static; the scene wasn't evolving. Upon further investigation, they registered the embarrassing fact that they had actually been admiring an image on a billboard. Make sure a similar event doesn't happen to you, Taurus. Avoid getting hooked on substitutes, stand-ins, or simulacrums. Insist on the real thing.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In her song "Deeper Well," Emmylou Harris says she's "looking for the water from a deeper well." Make that your assignment, Gemini. And if you're feeling brave, extend your search to an even more challenging quest: what Harris refers to as searching for a "holier grail." According to my reading of the omens, your biggest, brightest dream isn't as big and bright as it could be. Raise your standards.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The omens suggest that you're most likely to be happy and healthy in the coming weeks if you treat the whole world as your classroom. Thank God, then, that you won't suffer anytime soon from sophophobia (a fear of learning) or optophobia (fear of opening one's eyes). It's my duty to inform you, however, that you could experience politicophobia (fear of politicians) or myxophobia (fear of slime). Ironically, that would be quite lucky, because it's crucial that you avoid manipulative power-brokers and mud-slinging know-it-alls who might confuse you about the educational experiences you need to pursue.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Raising kids is like making pancakes," muses Brian Copeland in his show Not a Genuine Black Man . "You always mess up the first one." A similar idea might apply to a certain multi-pronged project you've been working on, Leo. I'm not saying you should abandon or throw away your initial effort. On the contrary, like rookie parents whose inexperience has slightly tweaked their first-born, you should be thorough in trying to undo your mistakes. But I also suggest that you immediately get started on the next creation in the series, being sure you've learned all you can from the consequences of your earlier ignorance.

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