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Free Will Astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): A few months after America invaded Iraq in 2003, soldier Brian Wheeler wrote the following to help us imagine what it was like over there: "Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find. Go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them, and in the loudest voice possible yell that every Crip and Blood within hearing distance is a PANSY." As a character-building exercise, Aries, I highly recommend you try something like this yourself. APRIL FOOL! I was just kidding. What I just said is not an accurate reading of the astrological omens. But this is: Get out of your comfort zone, yes, but with a smart gamble, not a crazy risk.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): According to a recent poll, God's approval rating has dipped below 40 percent for the first time on record. My research suggests the new low is due in part to a disproportionate amount of dissatisfaction by those born under the sign of Taurus. Can you fix this please? If you're one of the discontent, please see if you can talk yourself into restoring some of your faith in the Divine Wow. APRIL FOOL! The real truth is, I encourage you to be skeptical in regards to all authorities, experts, and topdogs, including God. It's an excellent time in your cycle to go rogue, to scream "I defy you, stars!" Be a rabble-rousing, boat-rocking doubter.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Photographer Darrin Harris Frisby doesn't think people should smile in photographs. He regards it as "superficial and misleading." In the greatest portraits ever painted, he says, the subject's gaze is almost always neutral, "neither inviting nor forbidding." Did Rembrandt ever show people grinning from ear to ear? No. Did Vermeer, Goya, Titian, Sargent, or Velasquez? Nope. Make that your guiding thought in the coming week, Gemini. Be a connoisseur of the poker face. APRIL FOOL! I lied. The truth is, in the coming week you will have more than ample reasons to be of good cheer. You should therefore express delight extravagantly.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Back in 1835, a newspaper known as The New York Sun resorted to an extreme measure in order to boost readership: It ran a story about how the renowned astronomer Sir John Herschel had perfected a telescope that allowed him to see life forms on the moon, including unicorns, two-legged beavers that had harnessed fire, and sexually liberated "manbats." If I'm reading the astrological omens correctly, Cancerian, you temporarily have license to try something almost equally as wild and experimental to "boost your readership." APRIL FOOL! I lied about the unicorns. Don't refer to cliched chimeras like them. But it's fine to invoke more unexpected curiosities like fire-using beavers and sexually liberated manbats.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In his documentary film Prohibition, Ken Burns reports on the extreme popularity of alcohol in 19th-century America. He says that the typical person over 15 years of age drank 88 bottles of whiskey a year. In light of the current astrological omens, Leo, I suggest you increase your intake to that level and even beyond. APRIL FOOL! I lied. It's not literal alcoholic spirits you should be ingesting in more abundance, but rather big ideas that open your mind, inspirational sights and sounds that dissolve your inhibitions, and intriguing people who expand your worldview.

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