FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, November 28, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Lately, Aries, you remind me of an oak thatís growing sideways out of a hill. Youíre healthy and strong, yet at odds with the more vertical route the other oaks are taking. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. But then Iíve made a career out of going against the grain. If you do want to continue evolving in your current direction, you should probably thicken your bark . . . I mean, skin. The Guardians of the Way Things Have Always Been Done will be around soon to ask you loaded questions.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): ďUse your enemyís hand to catch a snake,Ē advises a Persian proverb. That bit of wisdom, Taurus, may come in handy between now and the solstice, which should constitute one of the most interesting adversarial seasons in years. Hereís another counsel to guide you during this serpentine time: ďLove your enemies. Itíll drive them crazy.Ē Perhaps the most useful epigram comes from Havelock Ellis: ďOur friends may be the undoing of us; in the end it is our enemies who save us.Ē

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Why itís always doubly great to be a Gemini, but especially now: You get to enjoy the odd pleasures of both being your own evil twin and forgiving your evil twin. Youíre able to have two opinions at the same time, sometimes completely contradictory, thereby imitating Godís expansive perspective. The ease with which you can put yourself into and out of everybodyís shoes keeps you from getting bored with yourself and helps you avoid other peopleís hells. (Thanks to Dominique in Toronto for the inspiration.)

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The Sun is cruising through your astrological House of the Blues, while the planet Venus is slinking through your astrological House of Song. As a result, you have a knack for singing the blues with special poignancy. Itís a great time to act as if the whole world were your shower stall. Youíll be amazed at how healing it is to swim to the bottom of every last feeling, all the while making beautiful groaning noises.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Unusual fantasies may soon tempt you, Leo, like taking a ride in a 100-foot-long limousine with a king-size waterbed. You may imagine it would be fun to stick your head inside a lionís jaws while reciting poetry, or wonder what itís like to become a romantic pen pal with a prisoner on death row. Though I approve of feeding the adventurous spirit rising within you, Iíd prefer that you express it in more constructive ways. How about daring yourself to love wilder and wiser than you ever have before?

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Tropical rain forests provide one- fifth of the earthís oxygen, half of all plant and animal species, and ingredients for one-fourth of our pharmaceuticals. So why is this treasure being destroyed? Hereís one cause: Indigenous tribes often believe they can make a better living by chopping down the forests and using the land for farming. Why should they care about the global perspective, they argue, when theyíre struggling to survive? Recently, however, evidence has emerged that suggests locals can actually make more money from wild-harvesting sustainable resources like medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, and oils than from subsistence crops. Letís apply this vignette as a metaphor to your current life situation, Virgo: By clinging to a source of meager value, youíre depriving yourself (and the world) of a richer alternative.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Being good can become sterile, Libra, if youíre never good and rowdy. Acting relentlessly sincere can damage your credibility unless you indulge in playful unpredictability now and then. Iím not suggesting that you sneak hot sauce into your roommateís fruit juice or tack up an alleged photocopy of your bossís butt on the office bulletin board. More like this: Casually tell a friend you dreamed about getting a sex change, or say you had a psychic vision of her winning a vacation to the Amazon wilds; crack a mocking joke about your hero. In the midst of a serious moment, break into a raucous limerick or describe a fantasy of getting yourself cloned.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Youíre a gorgeous mystery teeming with noble aspirations. But like all of us, you also carry around a mess of delusions and bad programming. Psychologist Carl Jung called this mess the shadow, but I prefer astrologer Steven Forrestís name for it: stuff. ďWork on your stuff,Ē he says, ďor your stuff will work on you.Ē In other words, itíll sabotage you if youíre not proactive about transforming it. According to Forrest, your tribe has more stuff than the other signs, but also more tools to deal with it. Youíre now in a period when you could get away with not having to work as hard as usual on your stuff. On the other hand, why not use this time to build up a surplus of karmic credit?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Philosopher William James said preaching the value of peace would never be enough to shed our cultureís deeply ingrained habit of war. Weíd have to create a moral equivalent of war, he said, finding other ways to channel our aggressive instincts, and to stimulate political unity and civic virtue. Astrology provides a complementary perspective. Each of us has the warrior energy of the planet Mars in our psychological make-up. We canít afford to simply repress it, but must find a positive way to express it. I bring this up, Sagittarius, because itís prime time for you to find your own moral equivalent of war.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The partyís over. The wine stains have dried, the cheese dip is rancid. Youíd go to bed, but the pleasurable hum in your head has turned into a nasty buzz. But wait. Whatís this? Under the toothpaste tube you see a piece of folded paper ó a mysterious invitation. ďI didnít have a chance to get you alone at the party,Ē it reads, ďbut I have important questions to ask you about mutually beneficial matters. Call me soon.Ē A phone number follows. The scenario Iíve described may not literally occur this week, Capricorn, but itís an apt metaphor.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Most modern intellectuals dismiss angels as superstitious hallucinations or New Age goofiness. But not all deep thinkers have shared their scorn. Towering authors of old like Milton and Blake regarded angels as worthy of their explorations. Celestial beings have also received serious treatment by authors like Saul Bellow, E.M. Forster, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Leo Tolstoy. If youíre willing to open your mind on this subject, the coming weeks will present you with fascinating evidence.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Your homework is simple: Track down five fresh experiences that delight and amaze you. Iím not talking about well-worn standbys you always turn to when youíre feeling blah, or the trivial distractions that help numb you to the daily pain. Your mandate is to be inexhaustibly resourceful as you search for revolutionary sources of pleasure. Itís a quixotic quest, I admit. Youíll have to fight off knee-jerk skepticism, evade habits of mind that attract swampy feelings, and remain undaunted when cynics laugh. But if you can pull it off, Pisces, itíll give you a tough new advantage over the uncontrollable moods that sometimes knock you all over the place.

Homework: Forget everything you think you know about gratitude. Act as if itís a brand new emotion youíre tuning into for the first time. Then let it rip.

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