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Free will astrology for the week of August 28th

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VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): As you know, real confidence has no bluster or bombast. It's not rooted in a desire to seem better than everyone else and it's not driven by a fear of appearing weak. Real confidence settles in when you have a clear vision of exactly what you need to do. Real confidence blooms as you wield the skills and power you have built through your hard work and discipline. And, as I think you already sense, Virgo, the time has come for you to claim a generous new share of real confidence. You are ready to be a bolder and crisper version of yourself.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): As I understand your situation, Libra, you have played by the rules; you have been sincere and well-meaning; you have pressed for a solution that was fair and just. But that hasn't been enough. So now, as long as you stay committed to creating a righteous outcome, you are authorized to invoke this declaration, originally uttered by the ancient Roman poet Virgil: "If I am unable to make the gods above relent, I shall move hell." Here's an alternate translation of the original Latin text: "If heaven I cannot bend, then hell I will stir."

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Start every day off with a smile and get it over with," said the misanthropic comedian W.C. Fields. I know it's weird to hear those words coming from a professional optimist like me, but just this once I recommend that you follow Fields' advice. In the near future, you should be as serious and sober and unamusable as you have ever been. You've got demanding work to attend to: knotty riddles to solve; complex situations to untangle. So frown strong, Scorpio. Keep an extra sour expression plastered on your face. Smiling would only distract you from the dogged effort you must summon. Unless, of course, you know for a fact that you actually get smarter and more creative when you laugh a lot. In which case, ignore everything I said. Instead, be a juggernaut of cheerful problem solving.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972) was a renowned African-American gospel singer who lent her talents to the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. often called on her to be an opening act for his speeches. She was there on the podium with him on August 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C. when he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In fact, it was her influence that prompted him to depart from his prepared notes and improvise the stirring climax. "Tell them about the dream, Martin," she politely heckled. And he did just that. Who's your equivalent of Mahalia Jackson, Sagittarius? Whose spur would you welcome? Who might interrupt you at just the right time? Seek out influences that will push you to reach higher.

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