Features & Columns

Free Will Astrology:
Week of August 22, 2018

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The two pieces of advice I have for you may initially seem contradictory, but they are in fact complementary. Together they'll help guide you through the next three weeks. The first comes from herbalist and wise woman Susun Weed. She suggests that when you face a dilemma, you should ask yourself how you can make it your ally and how you can learn the lesson it has for you. Your second burst of wisdom is from writer Yasmin Mogahed: "Study the hurtful patterns of your life. Then don't repeat them."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Speak the following declaration aloud and see how it feels: "I want strong soft kisses and tender unruly kisses and secret truth kisses and surprise elixir kisses. I deserve them, too." If that puts you in a brave mood, Taurus, add a further affirmation: "I want ingenious affectionate amazements and deep dark appreciation and brisk mirthful lessons and crazy sweet cuddle wrestles. I deserve them, too." What do you think? Do these formulas work for you? Do they put you in the proper frame of mind to co-create transformative intimacy? I hope so. You're entering a phase when you have maximum power to enchant and to be enchanted.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): As you map out your master plan for the next 14 months, I invite you to include the following considerations: an intention to purge pretend feelings and artificial motivations; a promise to change your relationship with old secrets so that they no longer impinge on your room to maneuver; a pledge to explore evocative mysteries that will enhance your courage; a vow to be kinder toward aspects of yourself that you haven't loved well enough; and a search for an additional source of stability that will inspire you to seek more freedom.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you have been communing with my horoscopes for a while, you've gotten a decent education—for free! Nonetheless, you shouldn't depend on me for all of your learning needs. Due to my tendency to emphasize the best in you and focus on healing your wounds, I may neglect some aspects of your training. With that as caveat, I'll offer a few meditations about future possibilities. 1. What new subjects or skills do you want to master in the next three years? 2. What's the single most important thing you can do to augment your intelligence? 3. Are there dogmas you believe in so fixedly and rely on so heavily that they obstruct the arrival of fresh ideas? If so, are you willing to at least temporarily set them aside?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "All the world's a stage," wrote Shakespeare, "And all the men and women merely players." In other words, we're all performers. Whenever we emerge from solitude and encounter other people, we choose to express certain aspects of our inner experience even as we hide others. Our personalities are facades that display a colorful mix of authenticity and fantasy. Many wise people over the centuries have deprecated this central aspect of human behavior as superficial and dishonest. But author Neil Gaiman thinks otherwise: "We are all wearing masks," he says. "That is what makes us interesting." Invoking his view—and in accordance with current astrological omens—I urge you to celebrate your masks and disguises in the coming weeks. Enjoy the show you present. Dare to entertain your audiences.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I think you've done enough rehearsals. At this point, the apparent quest for a little extra readiness is beginning to lapse into procrastination. So I'll suggest that you set a date for opening night. I'll nudge you to have a cordial talk with yourself about the value of emphasizing soulfulness over perfectionism. What? You say you're waiting until your heart stops fluttering and your bones stop chattering? I've got good news: The greater your stage fright, the more moving your performance will be.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In all the time we've worked on diminishing your suffering, we may have not focused enough on the fine art of resolving unfinished business. So let's do that now, just in time for the arrival of your Season of Completion. Are you ready to start drawing the old cycle to a close so you'll be fresh when the new cycle begins? Are you in the mood to conclude this chapter of your life story and earn the relaxing hiatus you will need before launching the next chapter? Even if you don't feel ready, even if you're not in the mood, I suggest you do the work anyway. Any business you leave unfinished now will only return to haunt you later. So don't leave any business unfinished!

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Are you ready to mix more business with pleasure and more pleasure with business than you have ever mixed? I predict that in the coming weeks, your social opportunities will serve your professional ambitions and your professional ambitions will serve your social opportunities. You will have more than your usual amount of power to forge new alliances and expand your web of connections. Here's my advice: Be extra charming, but not grossly opportunistic. Sell yourself, but with grace and integrity, not with obsequiousness. Express yourself like a gorgeous force of nature, and encourage others to express themselves like gorgeous forces of nature.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "When I picture a perfect reader," wrote philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "I picture a monster of courage and curiosity, also something supple, cunning, cautious, a born adventurer and discoverer." I suspect he was using the term "monster" with a roguish affection. I am certainly doing that as I direct these same words toward you, dear Sagittarian reader. Of course, I am always appreciative of your courage, curiosity, cunning, suppleness and adventurousness. But I'm especially excited about those qualities now, because the coming weeks will be a time when they will be both most necessary and most available to you.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You do not yet have access to maps of the places where you need to go next. That fact may tempt you to turn around and head back to familiar territory. But I hope you'll press forward even without the maps. Out there in the frontier, adventures await you that will prepare you well for the rest of your long life. And being without maps, at least in the early going, may actually enhance your learning opportunities. Here's another thing you should know: Your intuitive navigational sense will keep improving the farther you get from recognizable landmarks.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Healing isn't impossible. You may not be stuck with your pain forever. The crookedness in your soul and the twist in your heart may not always define who you are. There may come a time when you'll no longer be plagued by obsessive thoughts that keep returning you to the tormenting memories. But if you hope to find the kind of liberation I'm describing here, I advise you to start with these two guidelines: 1. The healing may not happen the way you think it should or imagine it will. 2. The best way to sprout the seeds that will ultimately bloom with the cures is to tell the complete truth.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Nineteenth-century British painter J. M. W. Turner was one of the greats. Renowned for his luminous landscapes, he specialized in depicting the power of nature and the atmospheric drama of light and color. Modern poet Mary Ruefle tells us that although he "painted his own sea monsters," he engaged assistants "to do small animals." She writes that "he could do a great sky, but not rabbits." I'm hoping that unlike Turner, you Piscean folks will go both ways in the coming weeks. Give as much of your creative potency and loving intelligence to the modest details as to the sweeping vistas.

Homework: What's the part of yourself that is least evolved and needs most transformation? Testify at Freewillastrology.com.