FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, October 24, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I predict that your dreams will soon have potent effects on your waking life, helping transform conditions that had previously been resistant to change. Maybe you’ll dream of being able to ripen green apples just by gazing upon them, for instance, and then find you have power to expedite evolution in the daytime. Or perhaps you’ll dream of leading a slave uprising in ancient Rome, and then later that morning figure out how to liberate yourself from an all- too-real oppression. Who knows what fun will ensue, Aries, after you dream of doing what you were forbidden or too inhibited to in high school?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): My daughter Zoe is modest about her poetry. “I don’t know if I’m really as sensitive and deep as I make myself out to be,” she confessed as she handed me a beautiful poem recently. I understand Zoe’s concern. Am I as enlightened as the noble advice I dispense would suggest? Nope. Yet in the process of conjuring up inspirational messages for you, I find myself striving to live up to their moral power; I become a better person. Is there any gift you can give or service you can provide, Taurus, that will activate your dormant potential? Is there any beauty you can bring to life that will transform you on the inside?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I live in Northern California, with more psychotherapists per capita than any place on earth. Though it’s fun to joke about it, I’m pleased so many of my neighbors place a high value on exploring and transforming their inner landscapes. If I were King of the World, every citizen would have an inalienable right not just to adequate food, housing, education, and medical care, but also to regular counseling with a wise advisor. Alas, our civilization is not sufficiently enlightened for that revolution. Nonetheless, Gemini, now, while you’re at the top of your game, is a perfect astrological moment to initiate, expand, or cultivate your access to such a guide.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The cosmic powers have authorized me to grant you a double-strength, time-release dose of sweet certainty. During the coming grace period, your attraction to doubt will fade. A simple resolve will rise up in your heart every time you need one. Though at first the peace you experience may feel eerie, you could get so used to it that you’ll forever abandon the chronic vacillation you’ve assumed was your lot in life.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, Leo actor Christian Slater bemoaned aspects of his training. “Acting teachers love to promote the idea that, in order to really get into character, you’ve got to put yourself through emotional hell,” he said. Many of you Leos have a similar attitude. You regard your whole life as a work of art that shines brightest when it flirts with pain. In the coming months, though, I suggest you make a change, and take your inspiration from Slater’s new and improved belief: “Now I’d say, ‘Don’t suffer for your art.’ ”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It’ll be a zigzag, flip-flop week, Virgo. Every plot twist will quickly split into more twists, and each apparent trick ending will lead to another. Your natural talents for thinking on your feet and adapting on the fly will be even stronger than usual, though, so you’re poised to thrive in slippery conditions that may befuddle weaker minds. My advice? Act as if there’s no script for the unfolding drama; treat every situation like an improv exercise in an acting class.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The key to Libran happiness, says master astrologer Steven Forrest, is to seek serenity within. He warns that you shouldn’t go overboard trying to manipulate the external world into becoming more tranquil. That’s not possible, and besides, it’s a distraction from the real work, which is best done on yourself. Now here’s the really exciting part of Forrest’s theory: The most reliable way for you to release tension is by putting yourself in the presence of beauty; by seeking out people and environments that elicit deep esthetic enjoyment. At this particular moment, that’s especially useful advice.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It’s your birthright to become a master of desire, Scorpio. Two related skills are involved. First, you have to regularly pare away all inessential desires and enthrone the precious few that are really important. Second, you have to steadily shed outmoded goals to make room for fresh goals that will consistently lead you away from the past and into the future. It’s a tough assignment. Most people never come close to accomplishing such refined potency, and they don’t have half the number of desires you do. Can you pull it off? The coming weeks will be a turning point in your quest to claim this birthright.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): As you enter a more unpredictable phase, your fantasy life may become rather, uh, experimental. This’ll be good — you’re sure to dream up inventive solutions to problems — but you should guard against getting carried away. To curb excesses, repeat the following affirmations, all written at one time or another by Sagittarian cartoon character Bart Simpson on his classroom’s blackboard: “I will not eat things for money. I do not have diplomatic immunity. I will not teach others to fly. Organ transplants are best left to the professionals. Underwear should be worn on the inside. I will not sell miracle cures. I will not spank others. I will not do anything bad ever again.”

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The only miracle you could really make use of right now, Capricorn, requires a shift so simple and subtle you may be in danger of overlooking it. In a related development, the secret you need to know most is hidden in plain sight, not far from where you’re sitting. Don’t make the mistake of searching for the cleansing truth in exotic places. In conclusion, the ordinary events of everyday life will be rich with revelations if you can outwit the sleepy numbness you sometimes feel in the presence of familiar things.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Cancer cells are constantly developing in our bodies. Luckily, our immune systems routinely kill them off. Similarly, the psychic version of your immune system usually protects you from the pockets of crazy-making misconceptions and faulty imprints that your mind harbors. And how can you stay strong in your ability to fight off sickness and madness? You know the drill: Eat healthy food, sleep well, get physical exercise, minimize stress, give and receive love. But here’s one less advertised: Know your life’s purpose and pursue it with all your heart. I encourage you to vigorously practice all these life-enhancing pleasures in the coming days, Aquarius. You’re in a phase when you can add enormous strength to every function of your immune system.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Imagine you’re swinging from the chandelier after midnight at the party of the year. The chandelier breaks, and you’re thrown into the lap of an interesting-looking wallflower who’s been sitting in the corner muttering into a cell phone all evening. The landing pad/wallflower flatters you outrageously, then critiques you insightfully, in ways both embarrassing and helpful, then ladles another dollop of praise, followed by an invitation to fly to Egypt together. While this scenario may not literally occur, Pisces, it’s a close metaphorical approximation of your near future.

Homework: What name would you choose for yourself if you couldn’t have the one you do now? Write

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