FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, August 1, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Studies show that if you’re normal, you’re in a weird mood 10 percent of the time. You have five bad hair days a month and say something you shouldn’t at least once a week. But all this could change, Aries. If you align yourself with the exuberant cosmic mojo now in your vicinity, your bouts with off-kilter emotions — and coiffures and words — could shrink dramatically. Ahhh, but could you bear that much happiness and well-being? Would you feel at a loss without the levels of discomfort that normally keep you motivated? Answers will soon be revealed. You are about to be tested.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I have several friends who are massage therapists, and they have each offered a similar testimony: They know their work is having the desired effect when drool spills from a client’s mouth and drips on the floor. That is the exact level of serenity you need this week, Taurus. You may well be able to pull off high-intensity, white-hot, life-changing feats, but only if you also carve out luxurious dips into rhapsodic peace.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If I ever get around to gathering the birth dates of history’s greatest jugglers, I’m sure I’ll find that a disproportionately high percentage of them have been Geminis. Members of your tribe are famously adept at keeping things up in the air. Through the centuries, your sign has probably also dominated the professions of tightrope walking, sleight of hand, and ventriloquism. All these talents (or their metaphorical equivalents) will come in handy in the next few weeks.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “I have always been possessed by obsessive thoughts that I can’t get rid of unless I act them out.” So says my Cancerian friend Andrew, a conceptual artist. Luckily, he said, he’s retrained himself in recent years “to feed on creative obsessions that inspire my art rather than on petty obsessions that disrupt my life. I’d be an obnoxious lunatic if I didn’t have my work to serve as an outlet for my relentless fantasy life.” This is an excellent approach for most Cancerians, and it’s especially apropos these days. Your imagination is even more fertile than usual; it’ll drive you crazy unless you channel it toward a noble goal.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Is there a school where you can go to learn how to create fireworks displays? If so, the astrological omens suggest this is a good time to think about attending. How about a course that teaches the art of building fountains? If you’ve ever had a desire to become a master in the field, now is a favorable moment to begin. Other pursuits likely to be blessed with divine favor: flower-arranging, spitting champagne off a bridge, throwing bread and fishes into a hungry crowd, leaping up into the air and clicking your heels together, and sending mischievous prayers toward heaven.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I was simmering in a heated mud bath at an outdoor spa in Southern California. The gooey blend of clay, peat moss, and water from a local hot spring covered me up to my neck. A tangy, earthy fragrance provided the perfect aromatherapy, while warm winds swooned through the pine trees above. “This is exactly what every Virgo needs right now,” I thought to myself, “to be held in the erotic, comforting embrace of the Mother Earth; gently cooked in an alchemical stew of earth, fire, water, and air; suspended outside of time in a place that’s a cross between the grave and the womb.”

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The ancestors of my niece Gabrielle lived in Slovakia, Poland, the Cherokee nation, and the American South. Her new husband Arturo is of Filipino and Mayan descent. Their recent wedding was a feast of multi-cultural influences. Toasts were delivered in three languages, and their vows drew from several religious traditions. Music ranged from mariachi folk tunes to old disco songs to sacred Hindu chants set to hip-hop rhythms. I mention this in hopes of inspiring you to seek similar rituals of cross-fertilization and integration, Libra. It’s a favorable time, astrologically speaking, to weave together the diverse threads of your life — including some whose greatest contributions still lie in the future

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Here’s Stephen Berg’s translation of a verse by Japanese poet Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481): “nobody knows I’m a storm/ I’m dawn on the mountain/ twilight on the town.” Those words would fit well in your mouth in the coming weeks, Scorpio. Astrological omens suggest you will be quietly casting a profound influence over everything you touch. Now here’s a more direct, less subtle way to describe your mandate, courtesy of Teddy Roosevelt: “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It’s the flying and soaring season for you Sagittarians. If you’ve ever fantasized about becoming a pilot, this is prime time to launch. Hang gliding, parasailing, and skydiving are also appropriate. Less literal approaches are good, too. Close your eyes and visualize yourself hovering and swooping above the treetops. Learn how to induce flying dreams with the help of Stephen Laberge’s book, Lucid Dreams. Or picture what the story of your life looks like from on high. To get in the properly playful mood for this time, lie on your back with your arms outstretched and have a friend measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the other. Do you have the same wingspan as a hawk? Eagle? Osprey?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It’s the perfect astrological moment to upgrade your approach to kissing. Cosmic forces will benevolently conspire in your behalf if you experiment profusely. Suggestions to get you started: Butterfly your lips over every square inch of your lover’s body with the same attention and tenderness that you usually apply to the primary erogenous zones. Make out with each other while eating ice cream and cake. Blow collaborative kisses to the sky and rivers and fields. Meditate on how opening your heart wider and deeper might inspire you with a flair for innovative soul kisses.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Whether you’re male, female, or transgendered, straight, gay, or both, the next seven days will be Learn To Be Your Own Wife Week. What’s the best way to celebrate this turning point in your relationship with yourself? Renounce all yearnings to be waited on and cleaned up after. Divest yourself of every last deluded wish that one day someone will come along to magically understand and attend to your every need. Pledge that from now on you will be a connoisseur of caring for yourself. (P.S. If you earnestly undertake this transformation, you may stir up a fresh delivery of love from a non-wifely type of person.)

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Nothing’s going right in my life. I feel anxious and paranoid all the time. My relationships are a mess.” In my line of work, I often hear confessions like that. My first response is usually something like this: “Do you habitually gobble junk food near bedtime, steal a paltry five hours of sleep per night, gulp two cups of coffee and no breakfast in the morning, then bolt to a workplace where you get no sunlight or exercise and sit in an uncomfortable chair?” More than 80 percent of the time, they reply, “How did you know?!” My point: Many psychological troubles stem from chronic failure to address our physical needs. This is especially important for you to remember in coming weeks, dear Pisces.

Homework: What good old thing could you give up in order to attract a great new thing into your life? Testify at

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