FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, September 17, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): My acquaintance Delilah is a left-wing pagan hippie who makes big bucks working as a hospital X-ray technician. She’s a pacifist, but serves as president of the local chapter of the American Legion, an organization for military veterans. She has been engaged forever to a dreadlocked man 25 years her senior, though he looks her age because he has practiced sex magic and eaten nothing but wheat grass and lived outside for decades; on the other hand, she loves to flirt with young businessmen with buzz cuts. Delilah is your role model and patron saint for the coming week, Aries. Like her, you can and should be a cheerful master of contradictions.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A large proportion of the brave adventurers I met during my recent visit to the Burning Man festival were Tauruses. One was Melissa Whitman, who leaves soon for a yearlong stay in Madagascar, where she’ll be the only female and English-speaker on a team working to save the scops owl from extinction. Though she’s afraid of heights, she’ll have to climb tall trees at night to study the birds in their natural habitat. Another was Jennifer from Napa, an art therapist for the criminally insane. She risks her life daily. Did I encounter this herd of daring Bulls because the expansive planet Jupiter is cruising through your astrological House of Extravagant Self-Expression? Whatever the cause, I urge you to sync up with the audacious vibes now available to your tribe.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In her book, Simply Sophisticated: What Every Worldly Person Needs to Know, Suzanne Munshower lists the requirements for an elegant home: at least one needlepoint pillow, sheets with a threadcount of at least 200 per inch, bookcases with no paperbacks in sight, ceramic bathroom accessories. Now that you’ve heard Munshower’s ideas, Gemini, please rebel against them. According to my analysis, you’ll put yourself in alignment with current cosmic rhythms if you make your home more playful and less formal, more in tune with what delights you and less with what others think.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): In its original use, the phrase “priming the pump” referred to the fact that a hand-operated water pump didn’t provide a steady, abundant flow of water until you first lubricated it with a little water. In modern parlance, it’s often a way of saying that to make money you have to invest some, or that in order to get lots of goodies you have to give some. To take maximum advantage of the current astrological potentials, Cancerian, regard “priming the pump” as your metaphor of power.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): When I’m not writing this horoscope column, I pursue a career as a performance artist. For a recent show, I bought eight jars of pigs’ feet, 200 pairs of white underpants, and 20 alarm clocks. None of the clerks who took my money at three different stores expressed the slightest interest in the reasons for my peculiar orders. That was deeply disturbing — how could they have so thoroughly repressed their natural curiosity? You should avoid such behavior in the coming week, Leo. Awaken to the longing to know everything you can about the unexpected marvels of life.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): During my recent visit to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, I drank in an abundant array of confounding sights and enriching adventures that I’ll remember forever. The last surprise I saw before heading home was modest, but it’s a perfect choice to serve as your ruling symbol for the coming week: a sign for “The Very Tidy Pirates,” showing a bad-ass dude wearing an eye patch and apron and wielding a vacuum cleaner and feather duster. I hope this vignette inspires you to be wildly disciplined, neatly rowdy, and boisterously organized.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Your great victories of the past, Libra, have often been achieved through your graceful willpower or fine intelligence. At other times they have been the result of your unflagging commitment to creating harmony. But none of those skills will be your main source of power during the turning point just ahead. As you pull off this next big triumph, your secret weapon will be your flourishing imagination.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Beginnings and endings will overlap in the near future, Scorpio, demanding that you grow rapidly. It won’t always be easy to tell them apart, either; you’ll have to become wiser faster in order to understand the clues. Two meditations that should help: Which of the long-running dramas of your life have run their course? And, what struggling dreams are aching to bloom again as if for the first time? Once you figure out the answers, act dynamically to nurture what’s being born and expedite the dissolution of what’s dying.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Dear Dr. Brezsny: I’ve become aware recently that the Universal Mind has lost Her train of thought. I believe we are now under the care of a substitute ‘Universal Mind,’ and that therefore the laws of karma are not being strictly enforced, and cosmic slack is available in extravagant amounts. Tell your readers to take advantage of it by aggressively reconfiguring their little slice of reality to reflect their deepest needs. —Opportunistic Sagittarius” Dear Opportunistic: I totally agree with your assessment, especially as it applies to you Sagittarians. As you suggest, karma now has a reduced power to whip your fate this way and that; your willpower has more room than usual in which to maneuver. I call this phase “Freedom from Cosmic Compulsion.”

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): To borrow a phrase from the old astrology columnist Stella Spambottom, this is a week you could make the boogieman cry. Your anger is smarter and your fears are weaker than they’ve been in many moons. You have a lot of courage, more powerful than ever because it’s rooted in quiet confidence, not blustering egotism. As you fight evil in the coming days, your forceful actions will no doubt be fair and enlightened. On behalf of the cosmic powers, therefore, I authorize you to induce tears in boogiemen, out-of-control tyrants, and the devil himself.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Every August, the temporary city of Burning Man sprouts in the Nevada desert. Upwards of 30,000 freaks and mutants mingle in entertaining rituals carried out in hundreds of “theme camps.” You can eat fresh sushi off the naked bellies of clowns posing as supermodels, play a giant game of billiards using bowling balls, and take a joyride on a wheeled version of Captain Hook’s schooner as it sways with scores of sweaty dancers dressed like characters from your dreams. Burning Man won’t come around again until Aug. 23, 2004, but you need to have your mind blown now. Find a worthy substitute.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Every act of genius, said psychologist Carl Jung, is an act contra naturam — against nature. Likewise, achieving psychological integration requires breaking out of the trance of normal daily life. Eighteenth-century mystic Jacob Boehme said the great secret of divine magic is “to walk in all things contrary to the world.” My teacher, Paul Foster Case, believed that living an ethical and enlightened life required one to reverse the usual ways of thinking, speaking, and doing. What’s your position on this, Pisces? It’s prime time for you to redefine your relationship with what I call sacred rebellion.

To learn why novelist Tom Robbins said, “I’ve seen the future of American literature and its name is Rob Brezsny,” check my website at

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