FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, January 23, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In one of your past lives you may have been a peasant who never traveled more than five miles from home your whole life. Or perhaps you were the bastard child of a nun and monk, taught by private tutors in a remote section of the monastery. Scenarios like that would explain why you now have the privilege of being a proud, free, strong-willed, and adventurous Aries. You must have paid your karmic debt last time around! Get ready — I believe you’re about to harvest a blessing that you earned during your difficult past.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In 1997, when Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in persuading more than 100 countries to ban land mines, she held a press conference at the end of a dirt road near her Vermont farmhouse, barefoot and wearing jeans and a tank top. This unassuming nature had served her well during years of dogged efforts to change the world. I nominate this ordinary hero to be your role model in the coming weeks, Taurus. I believe your matter-of-fact persistence will give you the power to make a fundamental improvement in the way your environment reflects your ideals.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Feeling daunted by looming decisions? I’m happy to inform you that you’ll discover helpful clues in places where you’d normally never look. In fact, the further outside your usual sphere you go, the more likely you are to find exactly what you need. Here are a few suggestions to whet your imagination: Pore over the journals of American pioneers Lewis and Clark; ask a professional baker to create a loaf of bread from scratch right in front of your eyes; gaze at the planet Jupiter through a powerful telescope; go to a high perch where you can see for miles and miles.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): As you read this passage by poet James Tate, I’d like you to find in it an unfinished metaphor for a situation you’re involved in. Then write a few sentences about what you think will happen next. Here’s the passage. “Mostly we were able to ignore the hairy thing in the corner. It seemed to be leaking some green fluid, but we could walk around that. It gave off an unpleasant odor, a cross between Limburger cheese and a decomposing skunk, but we never mentioned it. We didn’t seem to have a plan for getting rid of it. It wasn’t really hurting anybody. And then one day I thought I heard it singing. And another day it seemed to say “I love you.”

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Below is a “to do” list of items on your cosmic calendar for the coming weeks. You could postpone them, but I believe you’ll fare best if you surrender to their necessity in the near future. 1. Open your heart as far as it’ll go without ripping apart. 2. Dive into a whirlpool of emotions without being pulled to the bottom or swept away. 3. Deepen and intensify a juicy relationship with a worthy ally, but without distorting your relationship with yourself. 4. Get smarter about love than you ever dreamed it was possible to be.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your crafty and practical intelligence could help you elude the cosmic jokes that are brewing in your vicinity. But in order to grab an extra advantage in your guerrilla battle with the forces of mischief, I suggest you indulge regularly in a good, long primal scream. Go out in the middle of the woods if necessary, or find a sanctuary where no one will call the cops: Just find a way to unleash a soul-cleansing howl that will flush away your festering anxieties. There’s no better technique for making yourself unappealing to rascally demons and pests.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “After several hours of careful rumination and a difficult weighing of the possibilities,” said a character on the tv show Frasier, “I have decided to be playful today.” This is the exact approach I recommend for you in the coming week, Libra. Be disciplined in your preparations for a wild release. Carefully organize the events that will allow you to explode in joyous spontaneity. Think long and hard about how you can bring more fertile, rejuvenating chaos into your life.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Here’s one of my favorite paradoxes. All of us are eminently fallible nobodies. We’re crammed with delusions and base emotions. We give ourselves more slack than we ever give anyone else, and we’re brilliant at justifying our biases with seemingly logical explanations. And yet it’s equally true that every one of us is a glorious creation unlike any other in history, a god or goddess in the making. This week, Scorpio, I suspect you will vividly embody this paradox, as you range from the ignominious depths to the breathtaking heights.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): To celebrate his birthday last month, 7-year-old Sagittarian Michael Wong-Sasso invited 40 kids to a party at his favorite spot: the Sunshine Canyon Landfill near Los Angeles. “I like putting trash where it belongs,” he told a reporter. “I like making the world cleaner. Recycling is good for all the people in the world.” I hope that you Archers are infected with a similar passion in the coming week. Omens suggest this is an excellent time to get really excited about throwing away stuff you no longer need. Staging a bash at your local garbage dump may be a bit much, but how about getting together with Sagittarian friends and sympathizers for a Purge the Junk Party?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I predict that you’ll be able to squeeze blood out of a turnip this week. You’ll derive dramatic lessons from seemingly ordinary events. You’ll get more done in less time and draw more delight than usual from familiar pleasures. Sleep will be deeper and dreams richer, so you may be able to go to bed later and wake up earlier. Your body will extract more nutrients from the food you eat, and you’ll be able to suck secrets from the most impenetrable mysteries.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Your birthday season begins now, Aquarius. It doesn’t matter whether the official date is today or in 25 days: You have astrological and poetic license to launch the celebration immediately and not finish up until Feb. 18. May I suggest a few gifts you might give yourself during this glorious personal festival? First, present yourself with something luxurious, sensual, and elegant. Two days later, treat yourself to something bold, brash, and bright. Next, how about a legal high? And after that, maybe a secret weapon, followed by a magical tool, and then a map to buried treasure. Before you’re done, I hope you will have blessed yourself with at least seven exciting surprises.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Good news for all you hard-driving stress-managers who think you’re wasting time if you’re not doing two tasks at once: In the next few weeks, you’ll be working hard even while fast asleep. Lucid revelations to your knottiest dilemmas will come from an unprecedented confluence of your unconscious and conscious minds, so keep pen and notebook handy. Devote at least half an hour to problem-solving each morning, while your nocturnal insights are still fresh. Even if you don’t actually remember your dreams, their rich after-images will subliminally give your analytical mind a boost.

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