Free will astrology

Feb 6, 2002 at 12:00 am
ARIES (March 21-April 19): It's time to celebrate Return the Favor Week. Tell jokes to clowns and cook gourmet meals for chefs. Give crawling demonstrations to babies, sing to the birds, offer advice to the wise counselors you know, and shout out blessings towards the sun to thank it for its ceaseless work in your behalf. I think you get the picture. Apply this principle in every way you know how.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): "Whatever it is," begins Louis Simpson's poem "American Poetry," "it must have/a stomach that can digest/rubber, coal, uranium, moons, poems. ..." I couldn't imagine a better metaphor for the work you're doing. Your powers of assimilation are being tested to the max — both by the sheer variety and the unwieldy mass of the stuff you're absorbing. You'll be a more interesting, bigger person when this phase is finished. I suspect a further reward will come a little later, a hint of which appears in a Robert Duncan poem: "Often I am permitted to return to a meadow.../that is a place of first permission. ..."

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In 1994, a rare white buffalo was born in Wisconsin. Native American tribes saw it as an omen heralding the fulfillment of a hopeful prophecy — the unification of the black, red, white and yellow races. Now an equally miraculous event has occurred at an Omaha zoo: the virgin birth of a bonnethead shark. It was born to a mother that had not been near a male for more than two years. This marvel signals the consummation of my 1990 prediction: the rise of a new breed of pure and virtuous businesspersons untainted by the macho "shark" behavior that currently dominates corporate culture. I expect your tribe to be at the forefront of this revolution. Your ability to get richer quicker in the foreseeable future will grow if you infuse your ambitions with love.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Feelings that originate in the human genitalia are among the most powerful forces on earth. They have a complex relationship with the feelings that stem from the human heart: at various times in competition or in harmony. These primal energies have forged and toppled empires; unleashed terrible and wonderful ideas; spawned the greatest stories ever told. One of the supreme goals of spiritual work is to harness the sexual urges in service to the heart's wisdom. You're ripe to discover the secrets of how to do just that.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The Psychic Reader's Kristin Miller prophesies that David Duchovny will romance Britney Spears in 2002. A "happy pill" will simulate spiritual enlightenment. Psychics will join the fight against terrorism. White hair will be the fashion rage. There'll be no California earthquakes. Miller's most interesting prediction: Through breakthroughs in interspecies communication, humans will facilitate pets to write books for humans. If that's accurate, I bet Leo horse whisperers (and snake and cat and bird whisperers) will lead the way. Your tribe has a burgeoning talent for communing with life forms you've never made intimate contact with before, including animals, departed souls, aliens and attractive allies that were previously off your radar.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Psychotherapists are sometimes called "shrinks," short for "headshrinkers." I’m a "scrub," an abbreviated form of "brainscrubber." It's my job to clean out toxic sludge dumped in your psyche by bad teachers, treacherous lovers, neurotic friends, and the news and entertainment industry. Here's how to tell if you need my services. 1) Are you analyzing yourself more than you're loving yourself? 2) Are your superhero fantasies often followed by super-loser fantasies? 3) Are you spending more time thinking about what you don't have than what you do have? 4) Are you prone to visualizing what you don't want rather than what you do want? Simply by asking these questions, I have offered you an important part of my service.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You have been selected to receive a gift by the Prayer Warriors, a team of telepathic do-gooders. You are a wise romantic fool with a beautifully broken heart and a kaleidoscopic soul. You have never actually collected all of the sweet, tender adoration you've earned. Which is where our gift comes in. To claim it, simply go to sleep this evening as usual. During the night the Prayer Warriors will induce in you a dream of the smartest love you have ever experienced. When you wake up tomorrow you will know exactly what to do to raise your love IQ by 20 points.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): English poet, essayist and conversationalist Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) used to say that humans need to be reminded more than instructed. I often have the sense that this is my greatest gift to you: not so much as a teacher, but as a friendly pest who pushes you to remember what you already know. Here's this week's memo: You inevitably feel most at home in the world when you penetrate surface appearances and rummage around for hidden truths in the depths.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "The eagle may soar high above the earth, but the beaver never gets sucked into a jet engine." Keep that epigram in mind as you diligently do your busy work in the coming days. You may sometimes wish you could fly away from it all, but now is not an astrologically favorable time to do so. If you insist on indulging such counterproductive fantasies, your tasks will feel uninspiring, demeaning and thankless. If you accept the beaver as your temporary power animal, you'll be at peace with the understanding that you're laying the intricate groundwork for a great springboard. Keep up the good work and the springboard will be ready by April.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The Tarot card I divined for you this week is the Eight of Cups. I suggest you focus your attention on two tasks. First, identify your most important desires and visualize how to express them in their most beautiful forms. For instance, your sexual longing is likely to bloom in its full glory when it's directed toward a person who deeply understands you and treats you with respect. Secondly, the Eight of Cups exhorts you to brainstorm about the wisest ways to satisfy each of your most important desires. It's time to shed all haphazard, half-hearted, insecure strategies for getting what you want.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): "We get so much in the habit of wearing disguises before others that we finally appear disguised before ourselves." So wrote French epigrammatist Francois de La Rochefoucauld. What he didn't say is that now and then there come times when it's actually fun and easy to strip away our masks — even if they've gotten stuck to our faces. This is one of those liberating moments for Aquarians. Start stripping, baby. You won't believe how good it'll feel and how potent it'll make you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In medieval Europe, self-flagellation came into vogue as a religious practice. Practitioners believed that by scourging themselves for their sins, they cut down on the punishment they'd have to endure in the next world. My sources indicate the innovators of this "shortcut to salvation" were Piscean monks in southern France. Then as now, your tribe was most likely, of all the signs of the zodiac, to hype the gain that comes from pain. But as much as I admire your capacity to capitalize on misfortune, I think you'd be mistaken if you assumed that was the appropriate approach to take these days. What would be the opposite of self-flagellation? It's high time to find out. I dare you to write yourself a three-page love letter in time for Valentine's Day. Send a copy to