FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, September 26, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Since you were born in the sign of the adventure-hungry daredevil, you’ve probably had your share of the romances described in Suzanne Lummis’ poem: “The kind/ of love you intend to make to me requires/ a cheap room near an alley where forsaken/ cats scream at garbage cans they can’t/ claw their way into./ Why resist?” As tempting as that version of intimate relationship might be for you to seek over and over again until your senior years, Aries, there are more uplifting varieties that you might find just as fascinating. And this is a perfect moment, astrologically speaking, to go after that higher love.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): What’s the best way to respond when someone throws a pie in your face? Quoted in Time magazine, author Peter Post recommends that you exclaim, “Damn! This is good pie!” In the same article, comedian Carol Burnett advises warmly embracing and nuzzling the pie-thrower. In so doing, you give the message, “Thank you. I understand your point of view, and here is mine: ‘Kiss your enemies.’” Another possibility: Scoop off a gob, histrionically put it in your mouth, and say, “I’d have preferred strawberry mocha, but this is my second favorite.” Or, raise your arms and shout, “Hallelujah! I have seen the light!”

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gourmet bargains? Free rides? Beginner’s luck? Glorious substitutes? To the casual observer, Gemini, you may seem to be cheating karma in the coming week. I won’t be surprised if you’re accused of having an unfair advantage. In fact, though, you’re merely cashing in on the surplus of credit you’ve accumulated in the past — a combination of good deeds that went unheralded and suffering you didn’t deserve. Playful breakthroughs? Sublime accidents? Shortcuts to victory?

CANCER (June 21-July 22): It’s Touchie-Feelie Week. To put yourself in sweet alignment with cosmic trends, dramatically increase the contact between your beautiful body and the rest of the world. Trust your intuition about the best surfaces to rub up against for maximum benefit, but here are a few ideas: Indulge in extravagant hugging, eat with your fingers, wrap yourself in silk or velvet, conspire to be in places where wind and misty rain will caress you, get yourself invited to a body-painting party, attend a New Age workshop, play Twister, and make love as long and slow and often as possible.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “The more accidental, the more true.” So wrote Russian author Boris Pasternak in his poem “February.” Mikhail Epstein expanded on this idea, in a scholarly treatise: “The more accidental the phenomenon, the more divine its nature, for the divine is what has not been envisioned, what cannot be deduced from general rules, nor irreducible to them.” I suggest you make this your keynote in the coming days, Leo. Your sources of inspiration will not be holy books or accepted truths. Instead, they will be serendipitous events that break the daily routine and the trance of ordinary awareness. “The tiny spark,” Epstein writes, “is the precise measure of the holiness of the world.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Do not under any circumstances burp, fart, and sneeze at the same time. For that matter, Virgo, refrain from leaping into the air while blowing up balloons and chewing gum. And never, ever go out to do nitpicky errands as you meditate on the painful events of your childhood and try to dream up a smarter long-range financial strategy. This week, more than ever, you need to cultivate a one-track mind. For now, tunnel vision is the truth and the way.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Seek moderation in all things” is usually a sound principle, but in the coming weeks it won’t be for you Libras. Your cosmic mandate will be “More is always better” or “Only too much is enough.” It’ll be your sacred duty to pursue extravagance that might be self-indulgent at any other time. That’s why I suggest that you tell four different people four different dates for the anniversary of your coming into the world — say Sept. 28, Oct. 4, Oct. 11, and Oct. 18. Then throw yourself a birthday party on each of those days.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Although meditation teacher Wes Nisker is earnest about helping students learn to calm the frenetic chatter of their minds, he also appreciates the importance of not trying too hard. I’d like to call on his influence now, hoping it’ll loosen your high-strung anal sphincter. Consider his promo for a recent workshop. “This day will be of absolutely no use to you. Nothing will be furthered or accomplished by coming. Expect a time of effortlessness, relaxation and poetry, hanging out, maybe a little mindfulness meditation — all for nothing. Some might understand this as a protest against our culture’s speedy, goal-driven nature, but we know it won’t amount to a hill of beans. Good intentions and purposefulness must be checked at the door.”

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I know you have too many things to do already — “insanely busy” inadequately describes your rhythm — but if you can carve out a little time to align yourself with prevailing astrological forces, I have a suggestion: Write letters of thanks to everyone who has played a seminal role in inspiring you to become yourself. Who were your guides along the way — both intense teachers and inadvertent helpers? Who saw you for who you really are? Who nudged you in the direction of your fuller destiny? As you prepare the way for the next phase of your life’s work, it’s a perfect moment to acknowledge those who awakened you to your signature truths.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): This is your conscience speaking: “Proceed with caution. Be careful you don’t get too damn impressed with yourself. Don’t deviate from the good old formulas that have brought you this far. Do what’s expected of you and don’t offend anyone.” This is your genius speaking: “Tell your conscience to shut up. You have a poetic license to be a cute brat, a curious seeker, a sloppy kisser, an extreme talker, a loud laugher, and a me-first-er. This is your big bad chance to imitate God. And I mean ‘bad’ in the best sense of the word.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): If I were your mentor, I’d take you mountain climbing or buy you a three-week intensive class in the foreign tongue of your choice. If I were your president, I’d give you a gold medal for your undercover heroism and make you ambassador to Italy or Monaco. If I were your psychotherapist, I’d send you on a pilgrimage to a sanctuary where everyone means exactly what they say. But I’m merely your five-minutes-a-week buddy, so all I can really do is say, “Wriggle free of comfy traps. Escape dead-end ‘privileges.’ Get out of the loop and into the faraway places that’ll refresh your eyes and heart.”

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It’s a perfect time to lay the groundwork for next spring’s awakening, Pisces. As the natural world withers and goes dormant, you can plant flower bulbs that will bloom well before the cold weather has left. Even if you don’t actually sow any crocuses, or something lesser known, like winter aconite, please apply the same principles to your personal life: Lay groundwork for the future you want to blossom next February and March, and include more than just the easy and obvious hopes.

Homework: Talk about all the things you’d do if you lived for two weeks without consuming any tv, videos, radio, films, newspapers, magazines, or c.d.’s. Write:

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