FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, May 09, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You’ll have to be a perceptive detective as well as a good listener to distinguish rich clues from misleading trivia, Aries. With the help of, I’ve devised a test that will train your mind for the challenge. From the following truths, find only three that can serve as metaphors to help you live a happier, fuller life in the coming days. 1. Toupees for dogs are sold in Japan. 2. The first American flags were made of hemp. 3. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights equal a left. 4. About 0.7 percent of the world’s population is currently drunk. 5. Buzz Aldrin was the first man to wet his pants on the moon. 6. You’re more likely to be attacked by a cow than a shark. 7. The saguaro cactus doesn’t grow branches until it’s over 70 years old.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Life is for most of us one long postponement,” wrote Henry Miller. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” observed John Lennon. “Kids have the good sense to choose one lollipop today over three lollipops tomorrow,” said New Age author Wayne Dyer. I hope these three quotes make you feel itchy and repentant, Taurus. I hope they fire you up to be disloyal to the crippling religion of Dutiful Procrastination. Be here now, baby. Cultivate a voracious appetite for freewheeling spontaneity.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I know the way you can get / When you have not had a drink of Love,” begins a poem by the ecstatic Sufi poet Hafiz (rendered by Daniel Ladinsky). “Your face hardens, / Your sweet muscles cramp. / Children become concerned / About a strange look that appears in your eyes / Which even begins to worry your own mirror. ...” I send this out to you as a tender warning and prod, Gemini. Please go hunt down a drink of Love that will at least begin to quench your longing. Hint: If you’re fixated on finding it a romantic or sexual encounter, it will elude you.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): In the coming weeks, I bet you’ll be tempted to straddle the fine line between charisma and BS, between creativity and fakery, between wildly useful innovations and stuff made up just to get your way. Having received this warning from me, however, maybe you’ll be conscientious about staying on the brighter side. Every time you tell a little fib in order to make room for a great truth, you’ll do so with impeccable integrity. Whenever you pretend to know and be things you haven’t actually perfected yet, you’ll pick up tips that will eventually make you an authentic master.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Many pro baseball players now have theme songs. As home-run king Barry Bonds strides to the plate, loudspeakers reverberate with Dr. Dre’s “Next Episode.” Seattle’s Bret Boone favors “Elevation” by U2, and Atlanta’s Andruw Jones prefers “Last Resort” by Papa Roach. This is an excellent idea for all of us non-ballplayers and especially you Leos, as you head into the heart of your personal High Ambition Season. It’s time to find a fresh anthem that embodies the attitude you want to bring to your new success cycle. A bit of advice: Steer away from tormented rants like Pink’s “Missundaztood,” and head in the direction of declarations of independence like India.Arie’s “Video” or Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Behind your back, your imaginary friend is plotting with your inner child to overthrow your guilty conscience. What’s more, your future self has time-traveled into the past to enlist the spirits of your ancestors in a conspiracy to unlock your sleeping genius. And the superhero you used to fantasize about being when you felt most helpless has been brought to life by the mad scientist in your psyche’s basement. Sounds like fun!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Some of your cohorts have been acting so 20th century lately; they’ve been trying to get away with antiquated ways of thinking that are irrelevant in the face of the future shock we’re all wrestling with. Ask those folks to snap out of their trances immediately. Where you’re going, you can’t afford to collaborate with anyone who ignores wake-up calls. You’ve got innovators to meet and shapeshifters to learn from.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The black water of Rio Negro and the yellowish brown water of Rio Solimoes converge near the Brazilian city of Manaus. For a few miles they refuse to blend, flowing side by side. This two-toned phenomenon happens to be the official beginning of one of the world’s longest and sexiest rivers, the Amazon. I hereby name it your official metaphor of the moment, Scorpio. Will the unmingled flows in your life eventually mix, as the Amazon’s do? Or will they remain separate indefinitely? That depends on what you want.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I have a personal opinion about which side is more at fault in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but so what? To express it would contribute nothing to the only important issue, which is: how to stop the killing and foster a lasting peace. Amazingly, a similar principle is at work in your own sphere: As long as blame dominates the discussion, as long as everyone is attached to the correctness of their analysis, then the smartest solution is impossible to imagine. Serve love, Sagittarius, not vindication.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): This week brings Turn Beauty Inside Out Day. How to celebrate? Ridicule the epidemic compulsion to worship physically attractive people. Boycott magazines that use pretty faces to sell useless information. Spit at airbrushed photos of celebrities who have parlayed extensive cosmetic surgery and a squadron of stylists to create the illusion of outward perfection. Then, Capricorn, enjoy TBIO Day in a more constructive manner. You might start by organizing an Inner Beauty Contest among your cohorts. The funny thing is, you’ll probably win. The astrological omens agree with my magic mirror: Right now, you are the fairest of them all. You’re psychologically gorgeous, spiritually lovely, and ethically ravishing.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I don’t usually encourage acquisitive behavior. The current astrological omens, however, suggest that you deserve a special dispensation — if (and it’s a big if) you’re motivated by your soul’s hunger, not your ego’s greed. Find a way to pull that off, Aquarius, and you’ll have license to gather up a huge cache of goodies. It shouldn’t be too hard to do, since the available treasures have little status value and a lot of appeal to your longing for meaning. Your nickname for the foreseeable future: Honey Collector.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): On an episode of the kids’ tv show Even Stevens, overachieving teenager Ren decides she needs to display more school spirit by joining the pep squad. It’ll look good on her résumé when it comes time to apply for college. Unfortunately, peppiness doesn’t come naturally to Ren. The head cheerleader has to lecture her on improving her attitude, admonishing her to “reach deep down inside and find your Perky Place.” There are far more profound reasons for you to follow this same advice right now, Pisces. You can’t imagine how important it is for you to practice being devoutly cheerful and fiercely optimistic.

Homework: Tell me the worst habit that infects your thinking process, the single most important way you need to retrain your mind. Write:

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