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Free will astrology

Week of December 24

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LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Do you know any world travelers, shamanic healers, or visionary entrepreneurs? If not, there's a good chance you'll meet some in 2010, possibly even forge alliances with them. Crafty activists, brilliant artists and deep thinkers may come your way, as well. Another possibility is that cohorts and comrades you've been linked to for some time will embark on mind-expanding quests that blow your mind as well as theirs. One way or another, Leo, the coming year will bring you more than the usual benefits and challenges that come from being in relationships.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I was in my first rock band in North Carolina in the 1970s. We did a mix of cover tunes by David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Patti Smith, plus original hippie-punk songs and my poetry rants. Controversy arose virtually every time we performed, especially in places like the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh (where we competed with the cacophony of mooing cows) and frat parties (where we endured the shouted insults of drunken jocks). It wasn't until I moved to California that I synced up with an audience that appreciated my idiosyncratic musical sensibilities. According to my reading of the omens, Virgo, 2010 could bring you a comparable transition: finding listeners or hooking up with collaborators who are a better fit for your unique qualities.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I'm always befuddled by astrologers who preach the gospel of doom and gloom when they talk about the influence of Saturn. My experience is that the ringed planet provides the greatest gift imaginable: motivation to become the person you were born to be. It steers you away from pursuing goals that aren't in alignment with your soul's code. It pressures you to give up vain fantasies that even if fulfilled wouldn't make you happy. That's why I'm happy to report to you the following good news: as Saturn travels through your sign for much of the time between now and October 2012, I expect that you will be prompted and prodded to cut away the irrelevancies that distract you from claiming your birthright.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Comedian Chris Rock has a joke that plays on the stereotypes about your sign: "Most Scorpios die while they're making love!" (Only he uses the f-word instead of "making love.") I understand the source of his satire. There are more than a few grains of truth in the notion that Scorpios revel in the enigmas of eros and death. On the other hand, I wouldn't reduce your mystique to such a simple formula. I'd prefer to say something like this: You're sexy when you're letting go of your staunch self-control. Or: You're an expert at transcending humdrum modes of awareness by stimulating intense pleasure. Or: if fully harnessed, your orgasmic power could kill off any destructive compulsions you might be harboring. And by the way, 2010 will be one of the best years ever for you to cash in on these capacities.