FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, October 15, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): This may sound crazy, but the best way to attract good luck in the coming week will be to try doing the opposite of what you usually do. For instance, you could act as if limitations are fantastic opportunities. Instead of indulging your impulses, you can question them — lightheartedly, of course. Rather than leading everyone into interesting temptation with your fiery enthusiasm, you could be a meditative follower who listens well and tries out other people’s daring plans. Any other ideas?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): The next couple of weeks will be an excellent time to purge any nagging karma that has been haunting your love life. Then you can move on to new romantic frontiers. To achieve the proper spirit of rowdy fierceness, I suggest you learn these songs and belt them out now and then: “You Done Tore Out My Heart And Stomped That Sucker Flat,” “How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?,” “I Wouldn’t Take You To A Dawg Fight, Cause I’m Afraid You’d Win,” “I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well,” and “Get Your Tongue out of My Mouth, I’m Kissing You Goodbye.”

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): This is your official too-much-of-a-good-thing warning. To protect and preserve the sweet progress you’ve enjoyed in recent weeks, make sure that abundance doesn’t tip over into gross excess. How? Refuse to become a slave to your good ideas. Don’t let your triumphs lead to exhaustion. Avoid expressions of generosity that are wasted on the recipients or motivated mostly by the urge to impress people. You can keep all your well-earned rewards, dear Gemini, if you’ll start setting graceful new limits now.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Most healers believe in the gradual approach. Psychotherapists and acupuncturists, for example, typically see their clients once a week, theorizing that even deep-seated problems have to be undone slowly and gently. Some mavericks take a more radical approach. One acupuncturist I know has her clients stay at her clinic for six consecutive days, having treatments every two hours. This is the approach I recommend for you right now. You’re on the verge of curing a certain longstanding imbalance, and intense concentrated attention is the best way to do it.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I shopped at a supermarket for months before talking with Wendy, a check-out clerk. “How was your weekend?” I asked. “I worked at my two other jobs,” she said. I was surprised, assuming her career was tallying grocery purchases. “I’m a psychotherapist at a group home for disturbed teens,” she continued, “and I’m trying to finish my dissertation.” I was embarrassed; I’d thoroughly misread her. We then discussed adolescent angst and the politics of psychotherapy. I suggest you make Wendy your inspirational symbol this week. Let her remind you to dig beneath the surface and uncover the deeper truths about everything you think you have figured out.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “The fox knows many things,” said the Greek poet Archilochus, “but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Contemporary philosopher Isaiah Berlin took this as an organizing principle in describing writers: Hedgehogs like Dante and Plato yearned to explain life’s apparent chaos with an all-embracing theory, whereas foxes like Shakespeare preferred to revel in the messy multiplicity without trying to unify it in one system. My astrological experience has convinced me that most Virgos tend to be foxes. In the coming days, however, you might try out the hedgehog perspective. It’ll ensure you don’t miss the forest for the trees.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Where exactly does happiness come from, ask David Meyers and Ed Diener in The Futurist magazine. Do you experience happiness primarily through being a good person or contemplating the meaning of life? From indulging in pleasure or knowing the truth? From preserving comfy illusions or purging yourself of pent-up rage and sadness? All of the above? Let these questions be the starting point for your own meditations, Libra. It’s a perfect moment to get very serious about defining what brings you joy and making concrete plans to harvest more of it.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The science newsletter, Mini-Annals of Improbable Research, polled its readers on the question, “Does reality exist?” Forty-two percent answered yes; 31 percent asserted that it most certainly does not. The remaining 27 percent were undecided. A few of them believed that their reality exists but no one else’s does. Two people said, “Yes, reality exists, but you can’t get to it.” One said, “Reality exists only when it is really necessary.” Remember that line. It will be quite necessary for your reality to exist in the coming weeks. Here’s another good response for you to make: “Reality especially exists right after a thunderstorm.” I predict that your reality will become vivid and deep once your metaphorical tempest ends in a few days.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Fate is conspiring to suck you into an intensive behavioral modification program. The goal: to weed out the wishy-washy wishes and leech out the lukewarm longings that are keeping you distracted from your burning desires. Here’s the paradoxical formula that will be at the heart of this process: If you try to maintain the illusion that you’re not losing yourself, you will in fact lose yourself. But if you surrender and agree to lose yourself, you will break through to a new level of communion with the deepest, most eternal part of yourself.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Nice guys finish last,” proclaimed crusty old baseball player Leo Durocher, famous for his rough play and dirty tricks. His once-wicked insinuation has, 50 years later, devolved into a decadent platitude. It needs an update. As you enter a phase when it will make sense to become more strategic, try these formulas: Nice guys finish last because they follow all the rules by rote. Nasty guys often don’t even finish because they break the rules by rote. Smart guys and riot grrrls win because they get away with inventing new rules that update the meaning of the ever-evolving game.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Would you consider acquiring a three-foot-long double-edged sword like the one Beowulf wielded in his famous battle with the monster? A blade resembling King Arthur’s Excalibur would be fine, too, as would one modeled after Glamdring, which belonged to the wizard Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. I’m not suggesting that you’ll need this weapon to defend yourself from physical attack in the coming days. Rather, I advise using it as a magical prop in a ritual to rouse your warrior spirit. Hold it in front of you as you visualize yourself scaring off your inner demons and cutting away the inessential concerns that are bogging you down.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): This may be the time your descendants will tell stories about: the turning point when you outwit an old nemesis and undo an ancient knot, freeing you to finally begin fulfilling your life purpose in earnest. On the other hand, this may be the moment when you shrink back from a challenge similar to one that many generations of your family have faced. If that’s what happens, your descendants will be lacking an important clue when they encounter their own version of the ancestral puzzle. Which will it be, Pisces? Answering the call to adventure or refusing it?

Homework: What Halloween costume could you choose to help you activate a secret or dormant part of your potential? Testify at

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