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July 12, 2012

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Let’s hypothesize that there are two different kinds of freedom possible for you to pursue. One is simplistic and sterile, while the other is colorful and fertile. The first is characterized by absence or emptiness, and the second is full of rich information and stimulating experiences. Is there any doubt about which is preferable? I know that the simplistic, sterile freedom might be easier and faster to attain. But its value would be limited and short-lived, I’m afraid. In the long run, the tougher liberation will be more rewarding.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Some people believe that a giant sea serpent lives in a Scottish lake. They call it the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie for short. The evidence is anecdotal and skimpy. On the other hand, Nessie has long been a boon to tourism in the area. The natives are happy that the tales of its existence are so lively. I’d like to propose using the Loch Ness monster as a template for how to deal with one of your scary delusions. Use your rational mind to exorcise any anxiety you might still be harboring, and figure out a way to take advantage of the legendary story you created about it.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “The soul should always stand ajar,” said 19th-century Emily Dickinson poet in one of her poems, “That if the heaven inquire, He will not be obliged to wait, Or shy of troubling her.” Modern translation: You should keep your deep psyche in a constant state of readiness for the possible influx of divine inspiration or unexpected blessings. This is always a sound principle to live by. But it will be an especially valuable strategy in the coming weeks. Right now, imagine what it feels like when your soul is properly ajar.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Some people wonder if I’m more like a cheerleader than an objective reporter. They think that maybe I minimize the pain and exaggerate the gain that lie ahead. I understand why they might pose that question. My optimism is medicine to protect you from the distortions that the conventional wisdom propagates. Having said that, I’d like you to know that I’m not counterbalancing at all when I give you this news: You’re close to grabbing a strategic advantage over a frustration that has hindered you for a long time.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment,” said Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck. “This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath.” While I appreciate Beck’s advice, I’m perplexed why she put such a heavy emphasis on lessons that arise from difficult events. In the weeks ahead, you’ll be proof that this is shortsighted. Your teachers are likely to be expansive, benevolent, and generous.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): A lathe is a machine that grips a chunk of metal or wood or clay and rotates it so that someone wielding a tool can form the chunk into a desired shape. From a metaphorical point of view, I visualize you as being held by a cosmic lathe right now. God or fate or whatever you’d prefer to call it is chiseling away the non-essential stuff so as to sculpt a more beautiful and useful version of you. Although the process may be somewhat painful, I think you’ll be happy with the result.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I’m hoping you will take maximum advantage of the big opportunity that’s ahead for you, Capricorn: an enhancement of your senses. That’s right. For the foreseeable future, you not only have the potential to experience extra vivid and memorable perceptions. You could also wangle an upgrade in the acuity and profundity of your senses. For best results, focus less on the thoughts rumbling around inside your mind and simply notice what’s going on around you.

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July 12, 2012

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