FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, July 18, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I dreamed I was with the Dalai Lama and three of my Aries friends. We were walking in the middle of the night through a big-city neighborhood of boarded-up buildings and burned-out cars. We passed a group of white skinheads in the midst of a drug deal. Finally the Dalai Lama squatted down on the sidewalk near a pile of garbage. “This is the perfect place to meditate,” he announced. “If we can feel tranquility and compassion here, we will be able to do it anywhere.” I hope this inspires you, Aries, to do what is best for yourself in the coming week.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Are there useful generalizations you can make about people simply by knowing how old they are? Maybe a few. But in the coming week, any sweeping assumptions you make based on age will be damn lies that lead you astray. Cultivate the company, therefore, of old fogies at least several years your senior and whippersnappers at least several years younger. Wear clothes, listen to music, and seek adventures supposedly inappropriate for your generation. Fantasize about who you were at 10 and who you’ll be at 80.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The learning season begins for you, Geminis. The gods will accelerate your education — both the bookish variety and the street-smarts kind. I urge you to take matters into your own hands by offering yourself a host of do-it-yourself classes. Some suggested course titles: 1. “Using Slapstick Comedy for Conflict Resolution and Mediation.” 2. “Negotiating with a Pain in the Ass in order to Banish a Pain in the Heart.” 3. Applying the Principles of Naked Sky-Diving to the Art of Running a Successful Relationship.”

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I have no doubt that precognition and ESP exist. They occur regularly in the lives of everyone I know. Just last night, I had a vivid dream of a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years, and then today he sent me an e-mail, having tracked down my address on the Google search engine. Most of this fun, spooky stuff, sadly, is pretty useless. Was there any value in receiving a psychic preview of my old buddy’s effort to get back in touch? Nah. Luckily for you, though, Cancerian, in the coming weeks your telepathy will not only be operating at a high level, it’ll also be unusually practical.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I hope you say more goodbyes in the next week than you have in the previous 11 months combined. It’s past time, sweet prince or princess, to bid adieu to all the things that no longer serve you — and even to some things that do serve you but demand too high a price in return. So please say au revoir to your obsolete game plans and outmoded assumptions. Bark sayonara at your rickety psychological. Whisper, “Begone, nuisance,” to all illusions that divide you against yourself.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon was once asked why 90 percent of the books in his chosen field were so bad. “Ninety percent of everything is crap,” he replied (or, by some accounts, “Ninety percent of everything is crud.”). My own estimate puts the crud factor in the 75 percent range, but I agree that most fields of endeavor are dominated by mediocrity. The good news is that the rare pockets of excellence are now far more visible, available, and usable to you than is normal. And so I say unto you: Pluck and enjoy all the non-crappy treasures.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): After analyzing your astrological omens, I see it’s an ideal time for you to develop a more intimate relationship with pronoia. The opposite of paranoia, pronoia is a theory that says life is constantly conspiring to shower you with blessings. It may sound preposterous, but confirming evidence is now mounting in your vicinity. To get yourself in sync with the cosmos, I suggest you make a list of “Things That Don’t Suck.” A San Jose newspaper called The Wave recently offered its version, including “Buying someone a great gift and keeping it for yourself” and “Losing your virginity to someone completely out of your league.” Now get out there and make your own list, Libra. I’m sure you can do better.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): For you Scorpios, 2002 is shaping up as the Year of Colonizing the Frontiers. I could also say that it’s the Year of Bringing the Outside Inside. To pursue this line of legend-making further, I’ll add that this summer (or winter if you’re on the bottom of the world) will be the Season of Turning Gold into Lead and Back into an Even More Pure Gold; July will be the Month of Losing Your Place in Order to Find a Missing Link; and the next seven days will be the Week of Running Through a Sprinkler Dressed in Formal Wear.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Did you ever notice how much better you look in some mirrors than others? The mirror in your bathroom may give an image of yourself you don’t wholly approve of, while the restroom mirror at a local restaurant may prompt you to exclaim, “I had forgotten how attractive I am.” Just as some mirrors bring out the best in you while others reflect the worst, the same is true about people and situations: Some seem to magically accentuate the finest sides of your personality, while others exaggerate less sterling qualities. I bring this up because it’s now crucial to surround yourself with the very best mirrors.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It’s time once again for the Beauty and Truth Game Show. To win a heart-to-heart session with a really good listener, plus a sweet insight that will make you as sexy as the Dalai Lama, please expound on the meaning of the following epigram: Friendship is the best training for love. Special bonus offer: If you put this principle into action within the next 20 days, you’ll also receive a chance to become smarter about the mysteries of intimacy.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I laughed till I cried as I watched you keep playing the game of love after the rules had changed. I gasped till I hyperventilated as you stirred up a fresh problem to avoid solving an overripe one. I rolled my eyes until I saw stars as you studied the difference between oppressive self-control and liberating self-control. I shook my head until I got a crick in my neck as you tried to get a stand-in to feel your feelings for you. But now all that’s behind us, isn’t it, Aquarius? Today I’m ready to cheer until I’m hoarse as you trade in a dried-out, banged-up old obsession in favor of a fresh, juicy one.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In an interview with Suzy Hanson on, science writer Michael Shermer described how he asked a researcher on creativity, “What does it take to be a creative genius and reach the top of your field?” The first rule, said the expert, is to spend 10,000 hours mastering your chosen set of skills. This is an excellent time, Pisces, to begin your 10,000 hours in service to a vocation that’s calling to you. The expansive, luck-inducing planet Jupiter will soon enter your astrological House of Diligence, to remain until August 2003.

Homework: Come play at my freshly redesigned web site, at While you’re there, send me an e-mail about the best news you’ve heard all year.

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