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COLUMN

Free Will Astrology

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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Do you ever fantasize about a more perfect version of yourself? Is there, in your imagination, an idealized image of who you might become in the future? That can be a good thing if it motivates you to improve and grow. But it might also lead you to devalue the flawed but beautiful creation you are right now. It may harm your capacity for self-acceptance. Your assignment in the coming week is to temporarily forget about whom you might evolve into at some later date, and instead just love your crazy, mysterious life exactly as it is.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Novelist Jeffrey Eugenides says he doesn't have generic emotions that can be described with one word. "Sadness," "joy" and "regret" don't happen to him. Instead, he prefers "complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions," like "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy" or "the excitement of getting a hotel room with a mini-bar." He delights in sensing "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" and "sadness inspired by failing restaurants." In the coming days, I think you should specialize in one-of-a-kind feelings like these. Milk the nuances! Exult in the peculiarities! Celebrate the fact that each new wave of passion has never before arisen in quite the same form.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) After analyzing your astrological omens for the coming weeks, I decided that the best advice I could give you would be this passage by the English writer G.K. Chesterton: "Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a person can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of set rules and set tasks."

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) My general philosophy is that everyone on the planet, including me, is a jerk now and then. In fact, I'm suspicious of those who are apparently so unfailingly well-behaved that they NEVER act like jerks. On the other hand, some people are jerks far too much of the time, and should be avoided. Here's my rule of thumb: How sizable is each person's Jerk Quotient? If it's below 6 percent, I'll probably give them a chance to be a presence in my life – especially if they're smart and interesting. This gauge may be useful for you to keep in mind during the coming weeks.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) The French painter Cezanne painted images of a lot of fruit in the course of his career. He liked to take his sweet time while engaged in his work. The apples and pears and peaches that served as his models often rotted before he was done capturing their likenesses. That's the kind of approach I recommend for you in the coming days. Be very deliberate and gradual and leisurely in whatever labor of love you devote yourself to. No rushing allowed! With conscientious tenderness, exult in attending to every last detail of the process.

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