Free Will Astrology

Nov 7, 2001 at 12:00 am
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Traditional astrologers fear the planets Pluto and Saturn. Pluto, they assert, brings radical transformation that's mostly uncomfortable. Saturn enforces constriction and contraction, hemming us in and limiting our options. And when the two are on opposite sides of the solar system, as they are now, their dour dance spoils every party. Or so say the doomsayers. While I acknowledge that these planets can at times be a real pain in the assets, they may also be great allies. By invoking Saturn's influence we can find the niche that best accommodates our unique set of talents and needs. Pluto can show us what we've been unconscious of, deepening our souls and leading us to hidden reserves of wealth and power. These are the more likely scenarios for you, Aries.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Welcome to the big preholiday sale at Ancient Wisdom Mart, the world's only sacred shopping center. We're pleased to inform you that you've been chosen by our in-house oracle, Rob Brezsny, to win a free upgrade of your communication skills. Here's a sampling of the therapeutic advice you'll receive. 1) If you want to be better listened to, hone your listening skills. 2) To ensure that your feelings will be clearly understood by others, make sure that you yourself always know exactly what you feel. 3.) Given the fact that men tend to use language to dominate and women use language to communicate, you should emphasize the female approach more than ever. 4) For maximum impact, speak your truths from your gut with tender force, and never put your listeners on the defensive.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Some astrologers say this year's challenging relationship between Saturn and Pluto has triggered our current global predicament. According to Robert Hand, the meaning of their dynamic can best be described as "revolution through shrinkage." In other words, the established order and status quo are in the midst of a shakedown that will require rollback and reduction. Ah, but here's the rub: Will that be relatively bad or good? Will it bring oppressive limitations or rather a sharpened focus? A loss of freedom or else a purge of low-level priorities that had been diluting our devotion to our dreams? Which way it all plays out in your personal life, Gemini, may largely depend on your attitude.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Until she was 9 years old, my Cancerian friend Diana did not know that crickets produce the thrumming whir that fills the air on summer nights. She sincerely imagined the source was the stars in the heavens. To this day, she retains a measure of the same sweet innocence that conjured such a winsome belief. And yet she is also a kick-ass poet with a medicinal knack for exposing raw and sometimes disquieting truths. She manages to be both virginal and penetrating; spontaneous and crafty; generous and relentless. In other words, my fellow Crabs, she masterfully embodies the beautiful contradictions that are every Cancerian's birthright. I hope you take advantage of this ripe astrological moment to be inspired by her example.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Cocooning is rampant. Many of us are spending huge amounts of time trying to re-create the womb. The withering of the natural world's greenery, autumn's annual ritual, is one factor motivating the mass retreat. But far more pressing is the demoralizing specter of terrorism. As much as I understand the urge to turn inward, I also mourn the fact that it's driven so much by fear. Wouldn't it be more rejuvenating if we cultivated the arts of nesting in order to better hear ourselves think? To shield ourselves from the inane and frenzied decadence of consumer culture? To act on the truth that being with those we love is what matters most? To seek out the restorative hum of the divine song? If anyone can make the shift to motivations like these right now, Leo, you can.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "Chrysanthemum growers — you are the slaves of chrysanthemums!" So admonishes Robert Hass in his translation of a haiku by Japanese poet Yosa Buson. I couldn't have come up with a better oracle for you, Virgo. As much as I admire the beauty you have been freshly cultivating these last two months, I also want to warn you not to sacrifice too much while in service to it. Chrysanthemum growers — be the chrysanthemums' collaborators!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I'd love you to learn more about how to push your own buttons and pull your own strings and unfreeze your own assets and understand your own motives and provide your own inspirations. I'd be overjoyed if you grew in your ability to unbreak your own heart and kick your own ass and wash your own brain. This is, by the way, not a prescription for loneliness, but for greater self-sufficiency. And that, ironically, is the key to making your collaborations more deeply synergistic. In fact, it's guaranteed to bring more grace and authenticity into all your relationships.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Each year the MacArthur Foundation gives away prestigious cash awards to unsung geniuses. The most recent crop included an activist who turns old hotels into housing for homeless people and a molecular biologist who studies primitive bacteria that survive without light or oxygen in undersea volcanoes. If I myself had the means to reward brilliant virtuosity, you would be my top choice. Why? Because of your determination to keep digging and digging, through the layers of superficial desires we've all been programmed with, until you get to the bottom of your irreducible primal yearnings. In recognition of your ongoing work, which is now entering a new phase, please accept this metaphorical prize: an image of a giant heart beating at the center of the Earth.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Don't leave me hanging, Sagittarius. What the hell happens next? How could you imagine you've wrapped the whole thing up? Baby, you've got one more fish to fry, one more parting shot to deliver, one more element of surprise to conjure. To stop now would be a crime against nature and a full chapter short of a best seller. The so-called "climax" you're calling The End was just the final foreplay before the real denouement. So, come on now, Crescendo Maestro. Get out there and bring this story all the way home.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It's Practice What You Preach Week for you Capricorns. It would not only be wrong for you to violate your own standards and ignore your own advice, it would be downright dumb. At any other time you could probably get away with a minor outbreak of hypocrisy, but not now. That's the bad news. The good news is that if you embody more of the latent beauty and power of your most precious truths, you will become eligible for a previously unimaginable level of worldly success.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A woman I met at a party told me the following story. When her son was still young, she gave him to her parents and disappeared from his life for three years. During that time, she fixed the damaged parts of her own psyche, but her son grew to resent the woman who had abandoned him. When she returned and humbly asked to be his mother again, he refused. For two years she persisted patiently in her attempts to win back his trust. One day, five years after she'd originally fled, he accepted her back into her life. I feel there's an analogous story transpiring in your life right now, Aquarius. The situation's not as intense, and the time periods aren't as long, but the potential for a rich and dramatic karmic adjustment is similar.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): How'd you like a free chance to stare into the face of God? Before you answer this trick question, allow me to drop a few hints. First, to avoid frying your brains, don't stare. Catch fleeting glimpses. Act curious but not desperate. And don't speak unless spoken to, or unless you have a really good question. Don't misunderstand me, Pisces. I'm not trying to scare you away from your fair share of the divine shock wave and all its healing benefits. Just respect the limits of how much sublime revelation you can absorb all at once.

What fresh influence would motivate you to pursue your dreams with more pragmatic and passionate devotion? How will you attract that influence into your life? Write: