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Free Will Astrology

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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): There's a good chance that you will soon find something you lost a while back. It may even be the case that you will recover an asset you squandered or you'll revive a dream that was left for dead. To what do you owe the pleasure of this blessing? Here's what I think: The universe is rewarding you for the good work you've done lately on taking better care of what's important to you. You're going to be shown how much grace is available when you live your life in rapt alignment with your deepest, truest values.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Chris Richards wrote a story in the Washington Post in which he complained about the surplus of unimaginative band names. At this year's SXSW music festival in Austin, he counted six different bands that used "Bear" and two with "Panda." Seven bands had "Gold," including Golden Bear. Marshmallow Ghosts was one of seven bands with "Ghost" in their names. You're in a phase of your life when it's especially important not to be a slave of the trends, Libra — a time when it's crucial to your well-being to come up with original language, unique descriptions, and fresh approaches. So what would your band's name be? (tinyurl.com/BadNamesForBands)

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You've got to cry one more tear before the pungent comedy will deliver its ultimate lesson and leave you in peace. You've got to make one further promise to yourself before you will be released from the twilight area where pain and pleasure became so tangled. You've got to navigate your way through one more small surrender before you will be cleared to hunt down your rebirth in earnest. But meanwhile, the catharses and epiphanies just keep on erupting. You're growing more soulful and less subject to people's delusions by the minute. Your rather unconventional attempts at healing are working — maybe not as rapidly as you'd like, but still, they are working.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book," says religious writer Rami Shapiro. If they did, they'd know that Satan is not implicated as the tempter of Adam and Eve. There's no mention of three wise men coming to see baby Jesus, nor of a whale swallowing Jonah. Homilies like "This too shall pass" and "God helps those who help themselves" never appear in the scriptures. And contrary to the Ayn Rand-style self-reliance that evangelicals think is a central theme of their holy book, the Bible's predominant message is that goodness is measured by what one does for others. I bring this up as a teaching about how not to proceed in the coming weeks, Sagittarius. You really do need to know a lot about the texts and ideas and people and situations upon which you base your life. (tinyurl.com/BibleFog)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence." So says the Gertrude Stein character in Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris. As an aspiring master of crafty optimism myself, I don't buy the notion that existence is inherently empty. I do, however, wish that more artists would be motivated by the desire to create cures for the collective malaise that has haunted every historical era, including ours. In alignment with your current astrological omens, I invite you to take up this noble task yourself in the coming weeks, whether or not you're an artist. You now have much more than your usual power to inspire and animate others.

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