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COLUMN

Free Will Astrology

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LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) As a child, French philosopher and writer Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) loved math. But his father, who homeschooled him, forced him to forego math and concentrate on studying the humanities. Blaise rebelled. When he was 12 years old, he locked himself in his room for days and immersed himself in mathematical investigations. When he emerged, he had figured out on his own some of Euclid’s fundamental theorems about geometry. Eventually, he became a noted mathematician. I see the coming weeks as prime time to do something like the young Pascal did: Seal yourself away from other people’s opinions about who you’re supposed to be and explore the themes that will be crucial for the person you are becoming.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) In 1609, Dutch sea explorer Henry Hudson sailed to America and came upon what we now call Coney Island. Back then it was a barren spit of sand whose main inhabitants were rabbits. But it was eventually turned into a dazzling resort – an “extravagant playground,” according to the documentary film Coney Island. By the early 20th century, there were three sprawling amusement parks packed into its two square miles of land, plus “a forest of glittering electric towers, historical displays, freak shows, a simulated trip to the moon, the largest herd of elephants in the world, and panoramas showing the Creation, the End of the World, and Hell.” I mention this because 2014 could feature your very own Henry Hudson moment: a time when you will discover virgin territory that will ultimately become an extravagant playground.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) “If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows,” said 19th-century social reformer Henry Ward Beecher. That might be an accurate assessment for most people, but I don’t think it will be true for you in the foreseeable future. Your animal intelligence will be working even better than usual. Your instinctual inclinations are likely to serve as reliable guides to wise action. Trust what your body tells you! You will definitely be clever enough to be a crow.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Can you guess what combination of colors makes the most vivid visual impact? Psychologists say it’s black on yellow. Together they arrest the eye. They command attention. They activate a readiness to respond. According to my reading of the astrological omens, this is the effect you can and should have in the coming weeks. It’s time for you to draw the best kind of attention to yourself. You have a right and a duty to galvanize people with the power of your presence. Whether you actually wear yellow clothes with black highlights is optional as long as you cultivate a similar potency.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) I’m guessing that in a metaphorical sense, you’ve been swallowed by a whale. Now you’re biding your time in the beast’s belly. Here’s my prediction: You will be like the Biblical Jonah, who underwent a more literal version of your experience. The whale eventually expelled him, allowing him to return to his life safe and sound – and your story will have the same outcome. What should you do in the meantime? Here’s the advice that Dan Albergotti gives in his poem “Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale.” “Count the ribs,” he says. “Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals. Call old friends. Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Review each of your life’s ten million choices. Find the evidence of those before you. Listen for the sound of your heart. Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope, where you can rest and wait.”

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) How do you like your tests? Short, intense and dramatic? Or leisurely, drawn-out and low-pressure? Here’s another question: Do you prefer to pick out the tests you take, making sure they’re good fits for the precise lessons you want to master? Or do you find it more exciting and adventurous to let fate determine what unpredictable tests get sent your way? Ruminate about these matters, Pisces. You’re due for a nice big test sometime soon, and it’s in your interest to help shape and define how everything unfolds.

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