FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, November 5, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The phenomenon of couvade occurs in a variety of indigenous cultures: A man experiences morning sickness and other symptoms similar to his pregnant mate. He may even have labor pains as the child is being born, as if he were mysteriously able to take on some of the mother’s distress. I suggest we make couvade your word of power for now, Aries. It’s likely that someone close to you will soon be giving birth, at least metaphorically. The more you help bear a share of the wonderful ordeal, the bigger your reward will be later.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Change your relationship with mirrors, Taurus. If you tend to be obsessed with what they tell you, lose your addiction and escape their tyranny. If you usually avoid them out of fear, summon your courage and approach them with your warrior’s heart fully engaged. If you’re typically apathetic toward them, develop a more intimate connection. It’s time to shift the dynamic between you and your reflection.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini Kathleen Raine won literary awards for her mystical nature poetry and was highly respected for her knowledge of Yeats and Blake. She died last August at age 95. Her obituary noted that she was surprised to have survived so long. More than 35 years ago, a prophetic figure in a dream proclaimed that she had less than nine years to live. It just goes to show that even the smartest, most refined students of the great mysteries are susceptible to being deceived by the little voices in their heads. Be aware of that as you listen to the jabber that fills your inner landscape in the coming week.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Cancerian mascot is the crab, which is typically a small, shy creature that moves sideways and backward a lot. The giant land crab of Cuba is a species apart, however. It runs so fast it can outrace a horse. I nominate this super-crab to serve as your power animal during the coming weeks, when cosmic forces will be conspiring to make you exceptionally robust, forceful, and direct. Charge!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): To research his book, The Age of Missing Information, Bill McKibben watched 1,700 hours of videotaped tv shows. In the babble he detected a single relentless subliminal message: “You are the most important thing on Earth.” He was disturbed by this, seeing it as a big reason our culture is infected with toxic levels of narcissism. Normally I share his aversion, but this week, Leo, it is true for you. Soak up the glory, attention, and adoration — and be prepared to exercise far more responsibility than usual, too.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “Dear Rob: Help! I’m stuck! I give till it hurts, then lash out at those I’ve lavished my generosity on. I set expectations too high almost on purpose so I have an excuse if things don’t pan out. I worry about everything that might go wrong, sometimes precipitating what I worry about. Please advise! -Virgo in a Rut”

Dear Virgo: The lucid honesty you just demonstrated is a first step in quitting your addiction to these unwanted behaviors. Now is a perfect time to go further. The next step is to feel compassion and forgiveness for the part of you that acts so automatically.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Your body contains enough iron to make a spike strong enough to hold your weight.” So proclaims the web site. I would like you to visualize yourself holding such a spike right now, Libra. Think of it as your secret talisman for the coming weeks — a symbol that will motivate you to transform your flabby sense of purpose into an iron will. You now have the power to intensify your discipline and drive beyond what you ever imagined was possible.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Warning and congratulations! Wake-up calls are on tap. Here are examples of the kinds of benevolent shocks you may be treated to in coming days: 1. You reverently approach a cherished idol. As you bow down, you spy a dirty sock on the floor. 2. You dream of hiking through green hills in springtime and come upon a mare giving birth to a colt. 3. You receive a Hallmark card in an envelope with no return address. The corny cartoon on the front turns you off. But inside is a brilliant, handwritten poem that fills you with catalytic emotions.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Many mythic traditions describe an underworld where souls reside after death and where those who are still alive can visit to gain desperately needed insights. The latter category fits you right now, Sagittarius. You’re wandering in the shadowy nether regions, searching for clues that will be useful to you here in the sunlit realm. This exploration, as confounding as it may be, is actually fun in an eerie sort of way. The really hard part will come once it’s time for your return. You may be tempted to hang around down there too long. Don’t. The treasure you find will be wasted unless you bring it back promptly.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.” That’s what Goethe said back in the 19th century, and it’s especially true for you now. Here’s a corollary that’s true only for you in the next two weeks: “Thinking is more useful than knowing, but less useful than looking.” In other words, gathering facts and being an expert should be your lowest priority in the coming days. Questioning and analyzing should be moderately important. But the activity you should emphasize most is seeing into the heart of the world around you with compassionate, penetrating objectivity.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You have the keys to doors that don’t exist yet; save those keys. You know the titles for unwritten stories; write those titles down. You’ve caught glimpses of your future, but they’re confusing because you can’t imagine how you’ll get to that future; imprint those glimpses on your memory. In conclusion, Aquarius, shout “hallelujah” and pour yourself a glass of champagne. You have all you need to cultivate a potent kind of faith that’s based on hard data, not hopes and wishes.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): My preparations for writing this horoscope were extensive. I read Milton’s Paradise Lost and the sequel, Paradise Regained. I ate both gourmet organic meals and greasy junk food. I rode the roller coaster with a scholarly friend, with whom I discussed the Kabbalah, and watched horror films in the basement with my smart but degenerate friend who’s writing a novel about his past life as a queer pirate in Barbados. In other words, Pisces, I had to soar to the transcendent heights and plunge into the grungy depths — sort of like what you’ll be doing this week.

Homework. Finish this sentence: “The one thing that really keeps me from being myself is _______.” Send to: Excuses, Excuses,

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