FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, April 18, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you’ve ever been to a poetry slam, you know that sensitive lyrics in praise of beauty and love are rare. Far more common are vehement diatribes cursing injustice and hypocrisy. I’ve been known to unload some dark rants myself, but that’s not the kind of self-expression I encourage in you Rams this week. Pragmatic idealism is your keynote, and so I’d love to see you spout streams of visionary consciousness — fountains of gorgeous truth — tidal waves of feisty hope. Therefore, I propose that instead of a poetry slam, you stage an “I Have a Dream” Slam. Get a copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s original speech, and let it inspire you to whip up your own description of paradise.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “I am an invisible man,” says the African-American hero of Ralph Ellison’s 50-year-old book Invisible Man. “When [people] approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination — indeed, everything and anything except me.” Sound familiar, Taurus? My reading of the astrological omens suggests you’ve had a similar experience lately — not as intense as that of a black man in America before the civil rights movement, but still, you shouldn’t put up with it any longer. Do whatever it takes to make yourself more visible.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Us magazine reported that Gemini funnyman Drew Carey recently had a showdown with small-minded censors at ABC who demanded that he alter an upcoming script of The Drew Carey Show in which airport security guards were portrayed as fools. The needs of homeland security, it seems, make certain targets off-limit to humorists. Carey complained, but in the end he buckled. He’s got a great gig, after all, and didn’t want to blow it. This is the exact blend I advise you to adopt in the coming weeks, Gemini. Trumpet your values, but not so loud that you become deaf to compromises that’ll preserve your long-term happiness.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your assignment this week is to concentrate on solving problems that have simple, definitive solutions. You need a break from fuzzy truths and ambiguous experiences. To get the hang of what this feels like, I suggest you buy a fourth-grade math workbook and do some of the exercises every day. Accustom yourself to the joy of knowing that sometimes there really is just one right answer.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In the movie Dogma, pop singer Alanis Morissette played God. Anthony Quinn was Zeus in the tv show Hercules, and comedian George Burns played the role of God in three movies, always “without makeup,” as he bragged. Your assignment, Leo, is to choose the person you’d like to portray God or Goddess in the movie of your life. Try to imagine the Divine Intelligence not so much in the Judeo-Christian tradition — as the remote, aloof CEO of heaven — but rather as imagined by the mystic poet Rumi — the tender Friend who is always as close as your own breath.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the comic strip “Baby Blues,” the toddler Zoë tells her mother, “My favorite childhood memory is the time you gave me a pony, and I spent the summer galloping through meadows of wildflowers.” The mom pauses a moment, then reminds Zoë, “We didn’t give you a pony, and you haven’t ever galloped through wildflowers in your life.” The wise child replies, “Well, it’s never too late to make memories happen.” It’s a perfect astrological moment, Virgo, to make up for time to the unlived life. I suggest you fabricate memories of fun and interesting events. Then actually go and experience them.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): What’s your relationship with immortality, Libra? You won’t die for many years, but this is prime time to think about whether there is any sense in which you might live forever. If you’re a typical Westerner, reincarnation is a hopeful but cartoony theory that you can’t really believe in. You’re more likely to imagine that your individuality will survive through your children or a noteworthy personal accomplishment. But now I’m going to ask you to set aside your beliefs and approach the subject with what the Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind.” More next week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): One rainy night last January I went to bed early. My house was messy, I was coming down with a cold, and three credit card bills from holiday shopping sprees had just arrived. I slept soundly until a bad dream awakened me. It was pitch black. The power had gone out. The drizzle had grown to a downpour. Strong winds slammed tree branches against the house. Then, amazingly, a bird began singing a cheerful tune. Unfazed by the gale and deluge, it calmly unleashed a sinuous, buoyant stream of riffs. I predict that this week, Scorpio, you will experience an equivalent miracle.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Some years ago, urban shaman Donna Henes conjured up a three-week ceremony called “Dressing Our Wounds in Warm Clothes.” Equal parts performance art and healing ritual, it was staged at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center on Ward’s Island, a scrap of land that also hosts a sewage disposal plant. In its ambition, the event rivaled Mother Teresa’s well-publicized toilet cleaning at a leper colony. You should draw inspiration from Henes’ noble act of creativity, Sagittarius. It’s time to salve your worst booboos with artful ingenuity.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): One of the most poignant heroes of children’s literature is the Hungry Tiger from Oz. In a sequel to the famous Wizard of Oz, the beast explains his dilemma to Dorothy. On one hand, he is always longing to devour little creatures. On the other hand, he has made a moral decision not to. Whenever he comes upon a plump chicken or baby, he must steel his will to follow his conscience. Though he gets plenty of other food — potatoes and ice cream are his favorites — he eternally feels deprived. This is a perfect description, Capricorn, of what many of you have been experiencing. Here’s the good news: An extra-delicious feast of potatoes and ice cream is on the way.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I work hard at my job. A single oracle can require hours of research and meditation. I also take my responsibility to you very seriously. It’s amazing, then, when I get mail like the following from James in L.A.: “I really believe you lie awake at night full of too much coffee, thinking up meandering, Neanderthal musings while in a state of abstract brain burps.” Luckily, I’m not hurt by such comments. I may not be perfectly wise, but I know how much heart and soul I consistently offer. Please cultivate a similar attitude, Aquarius. People may not fully appreciate you in the coming days, and your faith in your own integrity may have to sustain you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In Asian myth, snakes and birds are often portrayed as adversaries. My dictionary of symbolism says their eternal war represents humanity’s difficulty in coordinating the concerns of heaven and earth. Morality is often at odds with desire; good intentions oppose unconscious motivations. What are we to think, then, Pisces, about the dreams and visions you’ll have in coming weeks wherein snakes and birds cooperate in adventures? I’d say you’re on schedule for some sweet unifications.

Homework: If you became ruler of the world, what three decrees would you issue immediately to begin the mass healing?


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