FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday July 23, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): For last year’s Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, David Best constructed the Temple of Joy. Made from pieces of dinosaur puzzles, this magnificent pagoda-like sanctuary took weeks to perfect. Pilgrims were encouraged to write blessings and prayers on the walls as they meditated. Afterward, Best burned his masterpiece to the ground. You should model your own process after his in the coming weeks. In other words, create sacred and beautiful magic out of whimsical stuff, use it for a while to achieve a sweet catharsis, then leave it behind.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I don’t see physical danger in your immediate future, Taurus, but you may be exposed to high levels of psychic toxins. Therefore, I suggest you erect a protective barrier to shield yourself. Visualize a force field of violet light surrounding you everywhere you go. To add a touch of humor — which will dramatically bolster your defenses, by the way — imagine that the force field is augmented by rainbow-colored barbed wire, boomerang-wielding Amazon warriors, and a gang of wisecracking dragons.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I have a miracle to report. A large HMO in northern California is offering homeopathic treatment at one of its clinics. Most American doctors still regard this system of medicine as a New Age craze, but here it has officially become a mainstream treatment. Who pulled off this feat? A Gemini. For years he has worked as an M.D. for the HMO while maintaining a private homeopathic practice. But recently he lobbied the HMO’s administrators to let him practice both skills, and they agreed. Make him your role model. You, too, are primed to create a role that’ll blend talents you’ve always kept separated. Perhaps you, too, will change the course of history.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The recently released “World Wealth Report” came to a sad conclusion: The global supply of millionaires was up only 2.1 percent in 2002, the slowest increase in seven years. On a happier note — at least as far as we Cancers are concerned — my sources say that a disproportionate number of the new moneybags were born under the sign of the Crab. The trend of increasing wealth among our tribe has continued in 2003 but will soon peak. During these last few weeks of abundant financial luck, I suggest you intensify your efforts to cash in.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Begone blame! Atonement and absolution must reign! Yes, Leo, this is the best time in many moons to declare amnesty. Forgive everyone who has ever hurt you. Purge yourself of simmering resentments and remorse. Swear off revenge forever, both vindictive acts and nasty thoughts. It’s especially important that you let go of guilt about your own failures. Remember when you were “it” playing hide-and-seek as a child? Remember yelling out “ollie ollie oxen free”? Let that be your mantra this week. It means, “all who are out can come in free.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Two weeks ago I said the hawk would be your animal ally for the foreseeable future. This week I sought contact with an actual hawk, hoping for an omen about your evolving destiny. I hiked into the wilds and meditated, asking, “Is there a hawk out there with an oracle for Virgo?” After an hour a red-tailed hawk began circling. I uttered mysterious sounds, and the bird drew near. I became alert to every nuance of its behavior, receptive for a sign. Then it swooped down so close I could look it in the eyes. At that moment, it pooped. The oracle had been delivered: You have entered a phase when your power will come from purifying yourself of waste.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Tibetan Buddhist teacher Geshe Chekawa (1220-1295) specialized in bodhicitta, seeking enlightenment as a way to serve others. On his deathbed, he prayed to be sent to hell so he might alleviate the suffering of the lost souls there. I’d like to contrast his life’s work with your next assignment. Like Chekawa, you’ll have an enormous capacity to help and inspire people. But the best way to fulfill this potential is not self-denial. Just the opposite, in fact: Be as radiant, expressive, and full of delight as you dare.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Sometimes an orgasm is better than being onstage,” says Mick Jagger. “Sometimes being onstage is better than an orgasm.” I’m betting there’ll be no need to choose between these two forms of satisfaction in the coming weeks. They should both be readily available and supremely pleasurable. Your version of “onstage” won’t be like Jagger’s, but it should afford you an equally fine chance to show off your animal magnetism and imprint receptive minds with your bright ideas.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility,” wrote James Thurber. If he’s right, your immediate future should be full of humor. You have finally wriggled out of the holy mess that was numbing your laugh reflex. You have mastered the tumultuous lessons that nearly scrambled your brains. Let the festival of peace and quiet begin! May you enjoy great convulsions of amusement as you joke about your close calls.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Nike will pay high school basketball sensation LeBron James $90 million to endorse its shoes for the next seven years. The company is betting that the young phenom will live up to his hype when he joins the pros in a few months. It’s not unheard-of for a Capricorn to ripen into his full potential early on, but usually it’s a long, slow build. Look at you: You’re still working to reach maturity in your chosen field. The good news is that once you do come of age, you’ll stay in bloom long after others of your generation begin to wither. More good news: You’re in a phase when you can ripen a lot in a short time.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Mark Seltman is a palm-reader who approaches his art much as I do astrology. If he sees a line indicating a character flaw, he won’t say it’s a curse you can’t resist; instead, he’ll tell you what you can do to fix it or overcome it. His daughter was born with a hand that suggested she’d suffer from low self-esteem. In response, Seltman dedicated himself to building her confidence and competence. Now, years later, the warning sign in her hand has disappeared; she’s brimming with aplomb. Let this inspire you. Tune in to your own weakness or foible and develop a long-term plan to triumph over it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): My friend Johann gave us a preview of the laser light show he plans to unveil at the Burning Man festival in August. As dazzling emerald beams danced above our heads, someone said, “None of that would be visible if it weren’t for the dust and particles in the air.” Johann agreed. “You can’t see lasers in a vacuum,” he said. “They need something to reflect off. Flakes of our dead skin are essential to revealing the beauty.” This will be your metaphor of power in the coming week, Pisces. I hope it will help you find meaning and blessings in the residues of things that have passed away.

Homework: Tell what you love or appreciate that no one else does. Testify at:

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