Free Will Astrology

Dec 3, 2003 at 12:00 am
ARIES (March 21-April 19): British performance artist Mark McGowan was offended by the widespread international mockery of his country's cuisine. He decided to express his pride by turning himself into an English breakfast. A store near London let him live in the front window for 12 days, while he sat in a vat of baked beans with a crown of sausages on his head and a deep-fried potato wedge lodged in each nostril. You should be as bold and imaginative as McGowan in support of your own pet cause.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If typical, you will make love about 2,500 times in your lifetime. But maybe only 25 of those encounters will offer this week's blend of physical rapture and spiritual breakthrough. The cosmos is inviting you to be the recipient of a mind-expanding peak experience or two. To take maximum advantage, be as innocent and open as you dare. Find the place in you where lust and compassion overlap. If you're single, shed any shame you have about solo sex and explore its mysteries.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Every poll I've seen asserts that far more women than men make use of astrology. It was only a matter of time before macho dudes discovered this and sought to exploit it. One such guy is Gemini Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies. In an interview in a men's magazine, he marveled at how much success he'd had on first dates by talking about horoscopes. In the coming weeks, his experience will apply to you — only more so. No matter your gender or sexual preference, discussing astrology will be a surefire way to advance romance. For that matter, initiating conversations about any subject that gives a mythic flavor to intimate matters will stimulate the flow of sexy vibes. You might want to check out Skymates: Love, Sex and Evolutionary Astrology, by Jodie and Steven Forrest.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I'm worried you'll suffer an attack of shyness or modesty this week. Instead of pushing to get exactly what you want, you might dream up lame excuses to explain to yourself why it's OK if you don't get exactly what you want. Or you may be satisfied too easily and retreat to your hiding place before fate has a chance to bestow the fullness of its unexpected blessings on you. Please fight off this trend. Give your inner wimp a dozen roses and send your inner warrior out to collect your just desserts.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Pop quiz! 1) You are so attractive that you risk rousing the envy of people whose support you need. True or false? 2) You can change the weather merely by wiggling your eyebrows or wrinkling your nose. True or false? 3) Since you are so exceptionally fertile — with an equal power to supercharge the growth of beautiful blooms and nasty weeds — you will have to be very discriminating about where you point your mojo. True or false? 4) You are unusually susceptible to being manipulated through flattery. True or false?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The Chilean Legislature has recently considered a bill that would mandate afternoon siestas for all workers. As a nap activist who has lobbied long and hard for everyone to get more dream time, I cheered this revolutionary proposal. Now I'm asking you to join me in the struggle to gain even more sleepers' rights. What to do? Spend more time asleep and dreaming in the coming week than you ever have — and don't let any workaholic, sleep-deprived cranky-head shame you for it. Your productivity will rise; I guarantee it. (You should also battle the tyranny of Type A overachievers who think everyone should be as addicted to stress as they are.)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Octopuses have eyes that can focus on two different scenes simultaneously. In some species one eye is specialized to see things in the murky depths while the other eye concentrates on sights in sunlit waters. Make this creature your power animal in the coming week. To keep apprised of the complex plots that will be unfolding around you in every direction, you will need the equivalent of the octopus' vision.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): For a mere $99.95, I could remove the curse you're suffering from. But I'd feel bad about taking your money when you could get rid of the damn thing yourself. In fact, why don't you do just that, and send yourself a check for $99.95? 1) Visualize an object that symbolizes the accursed influence. Picture yourself throwing it into a furnace. 2) Visualize the person you feel is most responsible for the curse. Imagine that one end of a rope is tied around your waist and the other end around the person. Picture yourself cutting through the rope with a chainsaw as you call out, "You have no friggin' power over me!" 3) Repeat steps one and two twice a day for 11 days. 4) On the 11th day, laugh so long and hard that you fall on the floor and cry tears of joyful release.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Master astrologer Steven Forrest believes Sagittarians often thrive on learning things the hard way. I agree. Here are my three explanations of why this is so. 1) One of your main tasks in life is to cultivate wisdom, and you'll never accomplish that if everything comes too easily for you. 2) To maintain your mental hygiene, you need to push regularly into the unknown, where the rules for success are as yet unwritten. 3) You are sometimes susceptible to being dogmatic, which can interfere with your ability to discern simple, obvious, up-to-the-minute truths. To shock you out of your tunnel vision, your higher self needs to trick you into making interesting mistakes.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Slashing through undergrowth and counting poop is an expensive, time-consuming, dirty, hot, and nasty business," said Dr. Richard Ruggiero of the African Elephant Conservation Fund. Quoted by Andrew Revkin in the New York Times, he was talking about studying forest elephants that are threatened with extinction. But I immediately thought of you when I read that. It's a good metaphor for what's happening in your life. An important and beautiful aspect of your animal nature is in peril, and the only way to save it may be for you to do work that fits Ruggiero's description.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Psychotherapy obsesses on what's wrong with people and gives short shrift to what's right. The manual of the profession is a 943-page text called the DSM-IV that identifies scores of pathological states but no healthy ones. I often complain about this tragic fact and ask my readers to help me compile material for a proposed Anti-DSM-IV, a compendium of all the positive, noble, feel-good categories. One reader has suggested a condition that you Aquarians will be able to achieve regularly this week. He calls it "Joyful Poignance," and describes it like this: "The ability to be buoyantly joyful while remaining aware of the sadness, injustices, ancient wounds and future fears that form the challenges in an examined life."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You might enjoy Pearl Cleage's novel Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do. It's got soulful characters, a strong social consciousness, and a dramatic mix of suffering and redemption. But you don't have to read the book to carry out the advice in this week's horoscope. All you have to do is write your own personal version of Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do — a two-page stream-of-consciousness essay is fine — and then go out and start actually doing the things you've described therein. Tell what you've discovered about feeding honey to crocodiles. Write