FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, January 16, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s show and tell time, Aries. Are you ready to reveal the semi-beautiful truths you’ve been holding back? Your palms may sweat up until the moment you hit the spotlight. But I bet a magical calm will settle over you then, and suddenly you’ll be flowing freely, showing off as you haven’t since maybe the school play in third grade. Unless of course you’re not sincere about what you’re trying to do, in which case you’ll faint and embarrass your descendants for five generations.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You and I are equals. Though I may sometimes provide you with guidance and amusement, you have skills that are beyond my ability, and you know mysteries I can’t fathom. Let this thought be the hub for more extensive meditations in coming days, Taurus. It’s time for you to democratize every aspect of your world. Regard everyone — me, your boss, the homeless guy downtown, J. Lo — as no better or worse than you. Each of us is potentially your teacher and your student, a seeker in a mysterious world whose mix of wonders and terrors is impossible to master.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): My old friend John liked to joke that he lived “in tent city.” It was his way of bragging about living at a level of intensity that would make most people’s eyes bug out. I bring up “tent city,” Gemini, because I suspect you’ll be staying there for a few days. Since you’ll be there only temporarily, your visit should be more exciting than exhausting. Here are tips for getting the most out of your trip: 1. Do what you fear at least twice. 2. Launch plans to seize back any rights that have been stolen from you. 3. Resuscitate an ailing dream as if your life depended on it. (It doesn’t, but the experiment will supercharge your courage at just the right time.)

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Have you ever had a precognition that was dramatic but also utterly trivial? For instance, on the same night a few years ago my brother and I both had a dream of Frank Sinatra eating onion soup in a snake pit. Interesting, but so what? You, however, are about to experience a more interesting version of this phenomenon. Your latent psychic powers will become available for you to use in practical ways. For instance, you’ll be able to read the minds of important people and gather crucial previews of the future. One condition: For best results, you must use any information you gather only for good works that benefit everyone.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In the history of your relationship with togetherness, you’ve maybe never experienced a stretch as demanding as the one that’s about to begin. The stakes will be high and the challenges daunting; and yet if you bravely venture to question everything you thought was true about love, you will break through into a level of intimacy that is deep and playful beyond anything you’ve imagined.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the video for her song, “I’m Gonna Getcha Good,” Virgo singer Shania Twain portrays a flying robot chased by the devil. MTV honchos were so impressed that they awarded it “Most Demented Video by a Country Artist” for 2002. I hope that in the coming weeks you other Virgos will unleash your imagination with similar fervor. Abandon humdrum traditions: Your best chance at being happy and fulfilled between now and Feb. 15 is if you think way, way outside the box.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I predict that some night this week you will dream of a secret garden, spying it from a distance as you walk alone in a hilly wilderness. As you approach, you’ll be dazzled, thinking “Wow! This is the secret garden I’d create if I ever had the chance! It’s got everything I love!” At the garden gate, you’ll find a sign bearing your name, and when you slip a hand in your pocket you’ll find a golden key that opens the lock. As you stride in, you’ll realize this is in fact your very own secret garden: You created it long ago, but forgot about it until now.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): All roads would lead to you if you’d only sit still long enough. Gifts would come pouring in if your potential benefactors weren’t in the dark about where you’re at. Keep up this faithless lurching around, Scorpio, and fate will conspire to trip you up and pin you down wherever you happen to fall. Don’t let that happen! Drop everything that’s contributing to your agitated distraction so that you can tune in to your poor, neglected homing signal. You will find instant relaxation the moment you surrender to the obvious.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Visualize Robin Williams doing an improv skit in which he portrays a slightly tipsy Santa Claus who insists on giving you a few too many nice presents. That’s one way to understand the effect of the planet Jupiter on your life. Now imagine that for the first part of 2003, this influence will hang out in your astrological ninth house, also known as the House of Exploration, Experimentation, and Expansion. To give you some hints about what that will mean, I’ll tell you some other names for the ninth house: House of Wild Frontiers; House of Goose Bumps and Shivery Possibilities; House of Lucky Accidents; House of Very Big Ideas.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Due to an impressive array of beneficent cosmic omens gathered in your honor, I’m finally able to give you an assignment I’ve been aching to deliver for months, one that should prove that the “no pain, no gain” approach is not the only way to acquire wisdom. During the coming days, Capricorn, act as if life is crazily in love with you, as if every force of nature longs to be of service to you, as if animals and children and well-adjusted adults are eager to see the best in you. Visualize the possibility that the entire universe is endlessly conspiring to bring you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Ruth Lilly, 87-year-old heiress of a pharmaceutical fortune, recently donated $100 million to a cause usually ignored by philanthropists: poetry. Her endowment to the modest but well-respected Poetry magazine was even more miraculous in light of this irony: Over the years she submitted many of her own poems to the magazine, but the editors rejected every one. Let Ruth Lilly be your model of unconditional generosity in the coming week, Aquarius. Extend your blessings beyond those who like you, to also reach those who have rebuffed and underestimated you. The rewards will be greater than you can imagine.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I suspect that you’re the object of more than a few greedy fantasies these days. Even people who are normally quite prudent may crave an extra piece of you. Beware, therefore, of being manipulated and exploited. Try to monitor, as well, your own unconscious responses to all this grabby action. I’m afraid you may be secretly pleased that everyone seems to want you so badly, and as a result agree to be depleted. How about this compromise, Pisces: Allow three worthy and noble people — no more — to claim a larger dose of you than usual.

Homework: Send reports of UFOs, paranormal events, precognitive dreams, and good investigative journalism to

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