Free Will Astrology

May 1, 2002 at 12:00 am
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Half of what you know today will be obsolete in five years. This is a perfect time to figure out which half that might be; all the supposedly tried-and-true information that has already begun to decay. Next, plan your learning adventures. What training can you get that will ensure you're not out-of-date by May 2007? What educational quests will fill you and thrill you between now and then?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): What's your official relationship with snakes? Maybe you're more aligned with the fear-and-loathing camp, believing there's a good reason the creatures have often been symbols of dangerous or misused power. Or perhaps you've been a serpent sympathizer ever since you read Joseph Campbell and discovered that snakes, because they periodically shed their skin, have also been symbols of regeneration, fertility and healing. Neither attitude is "correct," of course. The snake represents a primal psychic force that can be expressed for either good or evil. I bring this up because in the coming weeks you will have abundant access to the good stuff.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): There's a party in your astrological House of Self-Definition. Four planets have converged there for a rare get-together: forceful Mars, ingenious Mercury, intimate Venus and concretizing Saturn. What does it mean? This is the best time in many moons to get to know yourself better, to glorify yourself with feisty precision and to nurture relationships that will activate your dormant potential. Choose just one dream that will best serve all those purposes, then initiate plans to make it your labor of love for the next two years.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): My acquaintance Patty was awash in a mix of ecstatic uproar and exasperation. "Today I wanted to go up to every person I saw," she said, "grab them by the shoulders, and say, 'Do you know that God is head over heels in love with you right now?' But I stopped myself. I didn't want to get locked up in jail or a mental institution." I happen to share Patty's certainty about the supreme being's feelings. And since I probably won't be put away for making radical claims (and because you're in a phase when you're wildly receptive to generous truths), I'm picking up where Patty left off. God totally adores you and is eager to demonstrate this love in abundance if you will only allow God to do magic. It might help if you return these feelings with an equal intensity.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Calculated annually, the gross national product (GNP) is the standard by which countries gauge their prosperity. In an age when all other values are subservient to the obsession with material wealth, the GNP is in essence a measure of the current worth of the Holy Grail. In recent years the small Buddhist nation of Bhutan has rebelled against this vulgarity, proposing a different accounting system: gross national happiness. While it takes into consideration economic development, it also includes factors such as the preservation of the environment, enrichment of the culture and quality of governance. I suggest you estimate your own gross personal happiness this week. It's a perfect time to evaluate and increase your levels of joy.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Today I narrowly avoided a head-on collision with a butterfly. As I hurtled on my bicycle at high speed down a rural road, the fluttering red-and-gold creature appeared out of nowhere a few yards in front of my face. I slammed on the brakes and ducked. Once coming to a stop, I was relieved to realize that it had not smashed against me. Where, then, had it gone? It was nowhere in sight. I ran my fingers gingerly through my hair and — hallelujah! — dislodged it from where it had safely come to nest. Everything I just described is a metaphor for your life in the coming week. You will have a run-in with soulful beauty, thereby unleashing a whimsical act of grace.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I dare you to place a photo or paint an image of a lightning bolt on the wall above your bed. I double dare you to light a red candle and say a voracious prayer to the fire. I triple dare you to temporarily set aside your obsession with harmony, fairness and objectivity, and I quadruple dare you with honey and jalapeños on top to give yourself without restraint to a brilliant, blazing adventure that belongs to you and you alone.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It'll be a paradoxical week. You'll be simultaneously boggled and soothed as you witness the profound interdependence of apparent opposites. There'll be open secrets and genuine imitations and passive aggressions. You'll encounter clever fools and peaceful warriors. "Anarchy rules!" may be your mantra as you wade through an organized mess in search of something resembling toasted ice. New traditions will be born. Partial pregnancy may be an operative metaphor. Fuzzy logic will be de rigueur.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Usha Lee McFarling reports in the Los Angeles Times that eerie omens are sweeping through the far north. Stretches of sea that are normally capped with thick layers of ice did not freeze last winter. Warm winds from the south, previously rare, have become common. Willows are sprouting up where no trees have ever grown. Seasoned hunters can no longer read the coming weather in the sky. Lately you have experienced your own version of this unsettling ambiance in your personal sphere. Unlike the conditions in the Arctic, though, your strangeness is temporary. You may proceed on the assumption that dumb luck will begin ushering you towards a more fun and relaxing brand of craziness by May 14.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Maybe you've seen a bumper sticker that says, "He who dies with the most toys, wins." It carries two implications about how to be victorious in the game of life. First, it suggests, you should retain the playful spirit you had as a kid. Second, you should build up your self-worth by accumulating possessions. Here's a slightly different formula for success, borrowed from Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai's poem "1924": "Whoever remembers his childhood best/is the winner." As you begin a new search for the fountain of youth, this is a far better keynote than the bumper sticker slogan. What can you do to rouse more of the fresh, spontaneous, innocent love of life you had when you were 4 years old?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Leaving behind her beloved Europe, Anais Nin arrived in New York full of misgivings. "I hate it," she wrote about the city in one of her famous diaries. "I find it superficial. [It's] an ugly prison." She was not unwilling to have her mind changed, however. "Make me love New York," she told photographer Alfred Stieglitz, a long-time resident. "Show me what you love." I exhort you to be inspired by Nin's challenge in the coming week. Pretend I have come to visit you. Imagine all the places you'd take me and the experiences you'd give me to demonstrate what delights you about your home turf. This will put you into sweet alignment with the astrological omens, which suggest that you should shake off the numbing trance of overfamiliarity and rekindle your excitement for your everyday life.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I trust you took my advice my last week and celebrated the holidays I created for your use. Let's get you started on harvesting the fruits of the intense learning experiences that hopefully resulted. If you observed Ask Crazy-Like-a-Fox "Stupid" Questions Day, you gathered rich information with which you can now heal an aching rift in your life. If you celebrated Defy All Weak-hearted Conceptions Day, you'll soon be able to free yourself from the parasitic effects of half-assed commitments. As for the Festival of Sauntering Past the Edge of the Known World: The hard part of the saunter should be over; the really fun stuff will get underway shortly. There's still time to relive all these fresh feast days. Better tardy than never. The complete list is on my Web site: Homework: Make two fresh promises to yourself: one that's easy to keep and one that's at the edge of your capacity to live up