FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, March 6, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “It was the biggest mistake I ever made, and yet it was the best thing that ever happened to me.” That’s how my Aries friend Ron described his recent relationship. He got involved with her for all the wrong reasons, he said, and held on tightly to his delusions about her. But in the painful months since they broke up, he has harvested a wealth of wisdom about himself. It will serve him, he feels, the next time he takes the leap into love. “My time with her was equivalent to a PhD in relationships,” he concluded. You are ready to make a similar conclusion: One of your big booboos was actually a stroke of great fortune.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Once the full impact of Einstein’s theory of relativity became clear, a journalist interviewed him about the process by which he’d arrived at the revolutionary breakthrough. “How did you do it?” the journalist asked. “I ignored an axiom,” Einstein replied. Now let’s analyze that statement for your use, Taurus: Einstein didn’t say he’d ignored an opinion or theory, but rather an idea so well-established that it was regarded as self-evident. He didn’t say he rebelled or fought against the axiom: He simply acted as if it weren’t there. I suggest you follow his example exactly in the coming week.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You’re the zodiac’s most inventive talker, but it doesn’t always work to your advantage. Sometimes you sabotage your brilliant verbal forays by going on for so long that your listeners tune you out. Sometimes you undermine your persuasiveness by sounding too damn smart, intimidating those you’re trying to convince. But I predict this will be no problem for you in the coming days. You’ll have a sixth sense about when to let your mouth slip into creative hyperdrive and when to slow it down. As a result, your ability to win friends and influence people will zoom to the highest levels.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): As I compose this, I’m sitting in my car with the engine off during rush hour, stuck halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge between San Francisco and Marin County. Traffic came to a halt 40 minutes ago due to a big accident. My situation is an analogue of your predicament, Cancerian. Through no fault of your own, you’ve been stopped while crossing a metaphorical bridge. My advice: As you wait for the obstruction to be cleared, don’t grind your teeth and curse. Instead, take advantage of the temporary interruption by doing something useful.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A flower arranger named Stacie told me this story. In the autumn woods, she gathered thistles, gnarled vines, spiny seedpods, and burrs. After assembling the plants, she gave the arrangement a title: “Ode to Prickly Things: My Beautiful Fear.” Without realizing what she was doing, she had created a perfect artistic expression of the subtle dread she carried with her. To see it embodied visibly was like an exorcism, easing her chronic anxiety. Take inspiration from her, Leo. Perform a ritual or make some art that gives you power over the thing you’re most afraid of.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Empty your mind of everything it thinks it knows about where you belong, Virgo. Once you’ve created a wide-open space, launch an inquiry into the nature of your true home. Here are some questions to guide you: What’s the first place you think of when you hear the word “sanctuary”? What environments bring out the best in you? Do you have what you might call power spots, and if so, what do they feel like? What places on the planet captivate your imagination, even if you’ve never been there? Is it possible there may be a future home that’s a more meaningful version of home than the place where tradition comforts you?

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Chanteuse Billie Holiday believed a good singer should never sing a song the same way twice. Tantric sex teachers say an artful lover never makes love the same way twice. The only Zen master I know likes to quote the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus: “You cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.” These ideas are always useful to keep in mind, Libra. But during the next three weeks, they should be your constant meditation.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Writer Michael Tortorello has complained about the “national delight deficit.” My friend Lanny bemoans the public’s shrinking attention span for stories about joyful events. I myself have marveled at the pathological tendency of many educated people to equate cynicism with intelligence. It’s in the context of this stupefying collective addiction to dank moods that I give you your assignment: You, more than any other sign of the zodiac, are now primed to harvest an abundance of pleasure, mirth, and fun. Don’t keep it all to yourself; try to infect everyone you meet.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Ocean floors are not flat and level. In some places, underwater mountains rise to tremendous heights. Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is taller than Mt. Everest, for instance, though only its uppermost part pokes above the sea’s surface. Other submarine peaks are completely hidden beneath the waves. Let these be your metaphors of power in the coming weeks, Sagittarius. You’ll soon discover and explore your own mysterious equivalent of underwater mountains.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If you’re a Capricorn journalist, this is the week you could get a scoop from a drunken slaughterhouse worker about a likely E. coli outbreak. You Capricorn parents might have a lightning bolt of insight into your child’s destiny, changing the way you guide him or her. If you’re a Capricorn songwriter, you could channel a melody or lyric that will become your signature song. And if you’re any other kind of Capricorn, you’ll be the beneficiary of a rich revelation that will be as valuable to you as a huge windfall.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “Id” is a psychoanalytic term. It refers to the part of your mind that harbors your instinctual needs and drives. While your id is the source of tremendous amounts of psychic energy, it’s almost totally unconscious. Think about it: The primal, dynamic core of your life force is mostly invisible and unknown. For most people, this is a good thing. It would be painful and scary to be fully aware of the id. In the coming week, however, you will benefit from conscious contact with this high-voltage potential. Mindful that your id is like a smart but wild animal, invite it to show itself.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Astrology asserts that we are puppets of cosmic forces beyond our power to affect, right? Wrong. In fact, the opposite is the case: Studying the nature of archetypal energies helps us direct them in constructive ways. In her book, Making the Gods Work for You, astrologer Caroline Casey suggests that with enough ingenuity we can get divine powers to be our collaborators. In other words, ask not what your planets are doing to you, but what you can do with your planets. I bring this up because you’ve never been in a better position to persuade the cosmic forces to serve your free will.

Homework: What’s the single most important question you’d like to resolve before you die many years hence? Write:

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