FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, August 15, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There is an infinity of possible answers to the question “What is the meaning of life?” Last week, that meaning was embodied for me by a drunken Zen master who, in my dream, drawled, “Think with your heart and feel with your head.” This week brought a new answer: In a San Francisco café I found a bar napkin on which someone had drawn a three-panel cartoon depicting a butterfly crawling into a cocoon and being transformed into a caterpillar. For you this week, Aries, the answer came to me as an image as I meditated on your astrological omens: On a dry lake bed, a dozen long-stemmed red roses rise out of an ancient Greek vase as a thunderbolt cracks through the sky and a downpour begins.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Tune in, please, to all the nagging itches that fester at the back of your mind and the bottom of your heart. For now, do not attempt to scratch them; do not judge them. Instead, Taurus, regard those itches with reverence and curiosity. Allow them to speak their truths. Surrender to the fullness of the emotions they stir. It may take an hour or a few days, but if you persist, the nagging itches will become your brilliant guides. They will instruct you as to what questions you most need to ask and the direction to move in to find the blessed answers.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Is there anything about you that has remained unripe for too long? Have you clung to your innocence or amateur status past the time when you should have graduated to the next highest level? Are you still a casual dilettante in a field where you have the potential to become a flaming master? If you answered yes to any of those questions, now is a perfect moment to kick yourself in the butt. Waiting for fate to do the kicking would be a first-class goof-up.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): You Cancerians need tantalizing enigmas in order to feel fully alive. You thrive in the auras of smoldering mysteries and you love to explore hidden treasure in private. Though at times your fascination with the adult version of peek-a-boo is a way to preserve delusions, just as often it’s a healthy expression of your playful nature and a wise recognition of how elusive and ever-shifting the “objective truth” can be. I’ve described this in detail, my dears, because you are dangerously low on secrets right now. It’s time to get filled up.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): My acquaintance Renata is a sculptor who creates animals from marble and limestone. She likes to say that her art consists of liberating the figures that are buried inside the stone. She doesn’t build a statue, then, as much as she carves away the stuff that’s obscuring it. I recommend that you borrow Renata’s approach, Leo. The thing you love and need and deserve already exists, complete. All you have to do is eliminate the inessential elements that are keeping it from you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Many smart, educated people think astrology is bunk perpetrated by quacks. For any stargazer with an ego, this can be depressing. On the other hand, I’ve found that being in a field that gets so little respect has for the most part been liberating. I’ve learned to practice astrology primarily for the joy it brings me, not as a means of seeking recognition. In a backhanded way, then, a seemingly demoralizing curse has become an invigorating boon. I predict that you, Virgo, will soon harvest an analogous mutation.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The Real Thing has arrived. Maybe not the Ultimate, Climactic, Last-You-All-Your-Life Real Thing, but who knows? Even if it is just a temporary Real Thing, it still has rich transformations to give you. So, why have you not let it fully into your life? Is it because it has a superficial resemblance to a counterfeit “Real Thing” from your past? Or, in a world teeming with spin doctors and crafty sales pitches, are you finding it hard to recognize a truly genuine article? Pinch yourself, Libra.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You Scorpios are the most strategic sign of the zodiac. Like chess masters, you’re often thinking ten moves ahead. At the same time, your ability to concentrate on what’s right in front of you resembles a magnifying glass focusing the sun’s rays on a bug on the sidewalk. This combination may make you difficult to read and impossible to outmaneuver: You can be intensely zeroed in on the present, yet furiously scanning the past and future for clues on how to best proceed. Everything I just described is currently at a peak of expression. May you use it to create abundant good works for all concerned.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarius comedienne Margaret Cho is my hero. Her film, Notorious C.H.O., is the bravest work of art I’ve seen in years. She bares her soul ruthlessly, making admissions that would permanently embarrass most people. Yet there’s also an unselfconscious grace in her spectacle. She’s authentic, not “bad.” She’s telling the truth, not manipulating us into worshiping her outrageous ego. Best of all, the movie is orgasmically funny — I laughed so vehemently that my belly got tired halfway through it. You now have a similar ability to tap into the power she has harnessed with such mastery.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your imminent future may contain unexpected quests and over-the-top exploits that alarm control freaks and big babies. You could have extravagant encounters with poignantly liberating sexuality and novel emotions that alter your brain chemistry forever. The controversial mysteries you naturally attract will prick some people on the raw edge between their desires and their fears. I suggest you provide clear warnings to anyone who may be offended by moist little miracles and huge flaming magic.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): My mind melted and my chakras steam-cleaned by the pounding grooves, I take a break from dancing in a Sweaty Prayer-style rave outside a San Francisco warehouse. Up walk three manic creatures I know, Aquarians all, their eyes popping and jaws flapping. They’re buzzed not on any drug but on the natural high-octane frenzy of their nervous systems. I swear I can see the vapor trails. I ask if they’ll help research the state of the Aquarian psyche. The next half hour passes in a dazzle as these virtuoso talkers regale me with convulsive stories of reconciliation. One has just reunited with her lost love, another with a lost part of his own mind, the third with a lost cause that’s now found. What’s your reconciliation, O Seeker of Unity?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): My first suggestion is that you gently remove your head from the sand. Next, get your hand unstuck from the cookie jar. Then figure out why your shoes are tied together, and do something about it. Finally, Pisces, I’d like you to reach around to your back and rip off the sign that reads “KICK ME,” which has been taped there for a while. Before you know it, your strength and courage will return, and you’ll be primed to fix the less-obvious glitches in your fate. For instance, you could dismantle the trap you set for yourself last February, then move on to dissolving a pocket of unjustified self-hatred.

Homework: If you could make money from doing exactly and totally what you loved to do, what would it be? Testify at

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