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COLUMN

Free Will Astrology

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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) As I see it, you have one potential enemy in the coming weeks: a manic longing for perfection. It's OK to feel that longing as a mild ache. But if you allow it to grow into a burning obsession, you will probably undo yourself at every turn. You may even sabotage some of the good work you've done. My recommendation, then, is to give yourself the luxury of welcoming partial success, limited results and useful mistakes. Paradoxically, cultivating that approach will give you the best chance at getting lots of things done. Here's your motto for the week, courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) When I was 9 years old, one of my favorite jokes went like this: "What's worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm? Give up? Biting into an apple and finding half a worm." According to my reading of the astrological omens, that's a good piece of information for you to keep in mind right now. If and when a serpent offers you an apple, I hope you will sink your teeth into it with cautious nibbles. I'm not saying you shouldn't bite, just that you should proceed warily.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Normally we think of a garbage dump as a spot where we go to get rid of trash and worn-out stuff we no longer need. It emits a stench that wafts a great distance, and it's a not a place where you wear your finery. But there is a dump in northern Idaho that diverges slightly from that description. It has the usual acres of rubbish, but also features a bonus area that the locals call "The Mall." This is where people dispose of junk that might not actually be junk. It has no use for them any more, but they recognize that others might find value in it. It was at the Mall where my friend Peter found a perfectly good chainsaw that had a minor glitch he easily fixed. I suspect that life may be like that dump for you in the coming week: a wasteland with perks.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) According to Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, time "is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire." I believe he meant for that statement to be true for all of us. Luckily for you, though, you'll soon be getting a temporary exemption. For a while, you'll be more like the tiger than the one the tiger devours; you will have more in common with the fire than with the one consumed by the fire. In other words, you will have more power than usual to outwit the tyrannies of time. Are you ready to take advantage? You're primed to claim more slack, more wiggle room, more permission.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) San Francisco band Smash-Up Derby approaches their music-making with a spirit that might be useful for you to emulate in the coming week. Each of their songs is a blend of two famous tunes. Typically the instrumentalists play a rock song while the singers do a pop hit with a similar chord progression. Imagine hearing the guitars, bass and drums play Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" while the lead vocalist croons Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." The crucial part of their ongoing experiment is that it works. The sound coming from the stage isn't a confusing assault. You could pull off a challenge like that: combining disparate elements with raucous grace.

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