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COLUMN

Free Will Astrology

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Greek philosopher Plato suggested that we may become more receptive to spiritual beauty by putting ourselves in the presence of physical beauty. The stimulation we get when inspired by what looks good may help train us to recognize sublime truths. I’m not so sure about that. In my experience, people often get so entranced by their emotional and bodily responses to attractive sights and sounds that they neglect to search for higher, subtler sources of splendor. But I do believe you may be an exception to this tendency in the coming months. That’s why I’m giving you the go-ahead – indeed, the mandate – to surround yourself with physical beauty.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Before he died in 1902, Libran cartoonist Thomas Nast left a potent legacy. Among his enduring creations were the modern image of Santa Claus, the iconic donkey for America’s Democratic Party and the elephant for the Republican Party. I’m guessing that 2012 is going to be a Thomas Nast kind of year for you Librans. The work you do and the ripples you set in motion are likely to last a long time. So I suggest you choose the influences you unleash with great care and integrity.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) “If you’re in a good relationship, chances are you’re bored out of your mind,” spouts comedian Chris Rock in his show Never Scared. “All good relationships are boring. The only exciting relationships are bad ones. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow when you’re in a bad relationship. You never know when they’re gonna walk through the door and say, ‘Hey, you gave me crabs.’ That’s exciting!” Rock is making a satirical overstatement, but it does contain grains of truth. Which is why, in accordance with the astrological omens, I deliver the following request to you: In 2012, cultivate stable relationships that are boring in all the best ways.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Once every decade or so, you’re asked to make a special point of practicing forgiveness and atonement. According to my reading of the astrological omens, that time will be the next few months. I think it’ll be quite important for you to cleanse the grungy build-up of regrets and remorse from your psyche. Ready to get started? Compose a list of the sins you could expiate, the karmic debts you can repay and the redemptions you should initiate. I suggest you make it into a fun, creative project that you will thoroughly enjoy.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Happiness isn’t a state you acquire by luck. It takes hard work and relentless concentration. You have to rise up and rebel against the nonstop flood of trivial chaos and meaningless events you’re invited to wallow in. You have to overcome the hard-core cultural conditioning that tempts you to assume that suffering is normal and the world is a hostile place. It’s really quite unnatural to train yourself to be peaceful and mindful; it’s essentially a great rebellion against an unacknowledged taboo. Here’s the good news: 2012 will be an excellent time for you to do this work.

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