FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, October 22, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I confess to having fallen prey to the increasingly common sin of overusing the term “sacred.” (Although I never sank to the vulgar depths of New Age hucksters who offer workshops in “sacred e-mail marketing” or “sacred dog-walking.”) I want to save the term for rare occasions, on which you will be appropriately awed by its use. Like now. I predict you will soon be roused to reverence by a visitation like that described by Phil Cousineau in his book, The Art of Pilgrimage: “If you aren’t trembling as you approach the sacred, it isn’t the real thing. The sacred, in its various guises as holy ground, art, or knowledge, evokes emotion and commotion.”

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The career of Taurus William Henry Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State in the 1860s, included many notable achievements, but he is best known for buying Alaska from Russia. His contemporaries thought it was a batty idea to buy a frozen wasteland and referred to it as “Seward’s Folly.” Ultimately, his determination to follow his dream in the face of ridicule proved to be an act of brave genius. For 2.5 cents an acre he added a rich land that now composes one-fifth of the entire United States. I predict that you, Taurus, will soon have a chance to pull off your own version of Seward’s Folly.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): These days, trial and error provide your best hope for generating reliable information. As you grope and stumble, remember this thought from philosopher Robert Anton Wilson: “These are the batting averages of the best hitters in baseball history: Ty Cobb: .366; Rogers Hornsby: .358; Joe Jackson: .356. Since an average of .333 means a player did not get a hit two out of every three times he batted, these champions made an out more often than they got a hit. ... Unless you’re a brain champion equal to these baseball champions, you’re probably wrong close to two out of three times.”

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Even if you’re in love and happy with your partner, this is a perfect moment to ask for even more from your relationship. To launch the intimacy revolution, try this. After taking a bath and while still naked, write down the worst things that have happened to you because of being in love. Burn this document in the flame of a white candle while chanting the words “I am letting go of past disasters.” Then dab cinnamon on your forehead, chest, and genitals while murmuring, “I deserve to be in love with a lover who brings out the best in me — a lover who inspires me to be in love with everything alive.”

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): We’re all pretty ignorant about how our bodies work. Do you even know where your pancreas and spleen are, let alone what they do? Can you describe what happens to air once it enters your lungs? Have you ever taken the trouble to figure out what diet is best for your unique physiology? Do you know how much sleep you need to be highly alert and psychologically healthy? This is a favorable astrological time to deepen your understanding of your body’s mysteries.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I’ve been staring at my astrological charts for hours trying to determine where your head is at. The best I can figure out is that you’re off the map ... between the worlds. Sorry I’m not able to be more specific. I guess you’re pretty much on your own for now. I can at least tell you about the powers that this kind of outsider position usually confers: 1) sharper-than-usual intuition about the future; 2) a knack for making unexpected connections you didn’t realize you needed; and 3) an unpredictability that attracts people who can help you draw out and clarify your unconscious desires.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Dear Rob: Your horoscopes tickle me in just the right place: wherever the opposite of my funny bone is. It’s like you’re following me around, but not like a stalker — more like a slightly frazzled guardian angel, giving me the odd nudge to avoid doing something stupid, suggesting when I should duck, and rousing the part of me that’s ready to give up. Thank you, thank you, thank you. — Appreciative Libra” Dear Appreciative: Somehow you knew that it’s a perfect time to express gratitude to those who have helped and inspired you. Saying thanks right now will be a kind of prayer that will have the mysterious effect of attracting even more goodies to you.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You’re about to tap into a huge reservoir of fresh, starting-over energy. To aid you in this, I offer Ellen Kort’s poem, “Advice to Beginners.” Begin. Keep on beginning. Nibble on everything. Pull up anchors. Sit close to the god of night. Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast. Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder. Measure the color of days around your mother’s death. Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you. Swim with the sea turtle into the moon. Drink wild geranium tea. Run naked in the rain.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves, wrote that premenstrual crankiness is not just physical syndrome, but is also caused by women’s frustration at not having enough time to revivify and renew themselves. I believe men get cranky as often as women and for the same reason: There are no ritually sanctified time-outs built into our crazy schedules. None of us has the slack necessary to avoid periodic meltdowns. You cannot afford to ignore this crucial point, Sagittarius. You’re overdue for a sabbatical from routine.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You’re about as emotionally healthy right now as it’s possible to be. Here’s a great way to celebrate: Share the wealth; commit vivid acts of generosity. But be discriminating about where you bestow your blessings. Since you can’t help or save everyone, concentrate your attention on high-functioning people who will in turn multiply your gifts as they help and save others.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A few years ago a group of smart-asses hosted a jokey International Conference on Mad Science. They called for papers on topics like “tampering with the life-sustaining forces of the Universe,” and “ill-advised dabbling with supernatural intelligences.” I protest. The eccentric yet often brilliant experiments of the Aquarian tribe suggest that some forms of mad science result in good and beautiful works. To help prove me right, you’re poised to collaborate with the life-sustaining forces of the universe, transcend limitations through graceful metamorphoses, and enjoy useful communications with supernatural intelligences.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The last six weeks have been brought to you by BeerCoffee, the elixir that both relaxes your defenses and pumps up your ambition. You’ve been the perfect poster child for this amazing product — a dramatic example of what happens when a sensitive soul mellows out and gets excited at the same time. The good folks at BeerCoffee thank you for your excellent role modeling and wish you well during the next phase of your development, when you’ll be exploring the opportunities that have been blasted open by your paradoxical brilliance.

Homework: Write a page of praise about a person you don’t want anything from. Let me see it, please:

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