FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, December 5, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Expect the unexpected or you won’t find it.” That’s an epigram formulated by the ancient Greek sage Heraclitus; it’s also the name of a book by creativity expert Roger Von Oech; and now it’s the centerpiece of your horoscope, Aries. As smart as you are, your steel-trap mind sometimes closes prematurely. You can’t afford to let that happen now. Be fresh and innocent, open wide your expectations, and make yourself fully available for the novel fun that’s brewing at your frontiers.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “I have not used my darkness well,” mourns poet Stanley Moss in his book, Asleep in the Garden. He’s right. His forays into the realm of shadows lead to precious little redemption. “One fine day/ I shall fall down ... in a prison of anger,” he moans in one poem. “In this country I planted not one seed,” he announces elsewhere. Other samples: “Vomit is the speech of the soul”; “We die misinformed.” But enough. Suffice it to say that Moss is your anti-role model for the coming week, Taurus. Treat your darkness as a source of disguised treasure, a repository of fuel for future breakthroughs, as a place where you can practice the high art of redemption.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The astrological moment is ripe for a wedding, Gemini. It doesn’t have to be a traditional union of two lovers, though that would be wonderful. Here are other forms your ritual merger might take: You could get “married” to your muse; you and a soul friend might pledge your undying platonic love and mutual support; you could link yourself with a symbol to serve as your guiding light. You may even want to tie the knot with your favorite power tool, animal companion, or sacred place. The point: Engage your imagination as you marry your fortunes to someone or something that lifts you up out of yourself.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Since launching this column years ago, I’ve managed to shed my old favoritism toward certain astrological signs, and become a paragon of objectivity. Still, I admit that I still understand one tribe best: my own sign, Cancer. Evidence shows that the twists and turns of my life story often have parallels to the destinies of my fellow Crabs. That’s why I recommend that you proceed as if you’ll soon be awash in fresh ideas about how to reinvent your work and make adjustments in your long-term job strategies. Over the years I’ve often crystallized new career goals in the weeks before the solstice.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): If I’m reading the astrological omens correctly, Leo, you’re currently as foxy and irresistible as you’ll ever be. What will you do about it? Wait around for adoring subjects to approach bearing gifts? Or will you explore far and wide through your kingdom, aggressively plucking the finest blessings from the most radiant and talented virtuosos? If it were up to me, I’d opt for the latter. I urge you to get out there and hunt down aerobic acts of enjoyment with those who can match your passion.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The choice between seeking mere survival and stalking interesting success will be thrust in your face again and again in 2003, Virgo. I’m sure you’re already getting a taste of the intensity. Here’s my suggestion for how to get yourself in shape for it: Become very clear about your deep inner definition of success, as opposed to the superficial, inappropriate, and deceptive definitions that various people have tried to foist on you over the years. Here’s your future rallying cry: Be your own genie in 2003.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): As a dinner treat this week, which meal would you prefer? 1. A dab of caviar, a smidgen of carrot flan, a toasted fennel cracker, a dollop of wild rice, a half cup of cannelloni bean soup, a few shiitake mushrooms, and a small plate of endive and candied walnut salad. 2. A man’s size sirloin steak smothered in onions and mashed potatoes with gravy. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, Libra, this is a trick question. The first option will put you in maximum alignment with astrological energies. The same goes for other areas of life. Given a choice, always opt for bite-sized portions of a variety of novel tastes instead of a large helping of familiar fillers.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In her poem about sunflowers, Mary Oliver writes that “the long work / of turning their lives / into a celebration / is not easy.” I’d like to extend that description to the Scorpio tribe. No one labors harder than you to uncover the secret thrills in life’s hidden depths. Sometimes, during your meticulous investigations, you almost forget how to laugh. Yet with each passing year, you refine your capacity for mysterious delight, becoming more skilled at transforming your life into a festive masterpiece. I predict a breakthrough soon in that heroic, slow-motion process.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You’re living large these days, Sagittarius. I predict that your life will synchronize with several historical events. For instance, Dec. 6, 1933, was the first day in 13 years Americans could legally drink alcoholic beverages, and Dec. 6, 2002, will bring the end of a noxious prohibition for you. On Dec. 7, 1988, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev eliminated 500,000 troops from his military forces, and any minute now you’ll lower your own defenses. On Dec. 9, 1793, Noah Webster created New York’s first daily newspaper, and you’re about to upgrade your ability to communicate.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I don’t agree, Capricorn, with most of the reasons you’re being so hard on yourself. But since you seem impossible to dissuade, maybe you should just go ahead and flagellate yourself. May I suggest, though, that you try a variety of whips that’ll make you laugh a little even as you cry? A strand of cooked linguini would be an ideal instrument of torture, as would an old necktie, a string of red licorice, or an eagle feather. (Self-mocking humor is an excellent purgative that reduces the need to administer actual pain.)

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Columnist L.M. Boyd once noted that women tend to rebel privately and conform publicly, while men are more inclined to rebel publicly but conform privately. If you fit either description, Aquarius, an adjustment is now in order. The cosmic omens suggest that you will be most successful this week if you rebel both privately and publicly — and sweetly. You should strive to express your dissent with cheerful compassion. Put a smile in your defiance. Be benevolently joyful as you overthrow the status quo.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In your current pump-up-your- personal-power phase, Pisces, you’ll need affirmations, such as, “I possess an inexhaustible supply of creative energy,” and “The universe is generous and gives me everything I need.” These generic statements, however, don’t go far enough for a lyrical maverick like you. I suggest you add these more evocative affirmations: “Every day I learn more about how to steal the peaches of immortality from the King of Dragons.” “I spit on the shoes of manipulative powermongers even as I dance in delighted celebration of my liberated perceptions.” “I know why poet Emily Dickinson wrote ‘Soul at the White Heat,’ not ‘Ego at the White Heat.’”

Homework: What influence do you not want to bring with you into 2003? Start making plans to shed it. Tell all at

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