Astrology: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Everything absolute belongs to pathology. Joyous distrust is a sign of health.” So proclaimed Friedrich Nietzsche. Note that he used the adjective “joyous” to describe distrust, not “cynical” or “grumbling” or “sour.” The key to remaining vital and strong while questioning every so-called absolute is to cultivate a cheerful, buoyant mood as you do it. That’s one of your top assignments in the coming weeks, Aries: Practice joyous distrust.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Here are the best and most enjoyable ways to capitalize on your current astrological omens: Transform one of your so-called liabilities into at least a temporary asset, lose any attachment you have to pleasures and rewards that won’t mean much to you a year from now, allow and even invite people to show you how you can get smarter, compassionately identify the limits of the people you care about, squeeze every last lesson out of what you’re leaving behind.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In Big Russ and Me, journalist Tim Russert writes about what he learned from his father. Here’s one story: Whenever a family member accidentally broke some glass, his dad took precautions wrapping the shards in a sealed box before depositing them in the trash can. He wanted to be sure the garbagemen wouldn’t cut their hands. I urge you to be that conscientious in the coming week. Imagine in detail the impact your actions might have on all the people, known and unknown, whose lives you touch. The gods will reward you for doing so.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Are your cohorts looking at you quizzically, wondering why you seem so energized from exploring shadowy, off-limits places? You could explain that until you’ve risked going too far, you may not know when to stop. Tell them you suspect that healthy desires are buried at the roots of your dark feelings, and you’re hoping to free them. Then explain that you’re not picking at your scabs to prolong your hurt, but to better understand the hurt. If all that’s too much, cackle softly and say that you just need to be a little bad in order to give your goodness more soul.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A lightning bolt is hot, fast, and potent. It can travel at 100,000 mph, reach temperature of 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and generate enough energy to illuminate a light bulb for two months. And yet it’s usually no more than an inch in diameter. This is an apt metaphor for the kind of highly concentrated power you will have available in the coming days, Leo: deceptively petite in proportion to its enormous wallop. Please use it wisely.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Turning things upside-down and inside-out every now and then keeps one’s mental hygiene sparkling. This week, to incite a purifying ruckus, here’s a challenge from psychologist James Hillman. Please suck the following thoughts into the deepest recesses of your understanding and enjoy the brainstorms they detonate: “By accepting the idea that you are the effect of a subtle buffeting between hereditary and societal forces, you reduce yourself to a result. The more your life is accounted for by what already occurred in your chromosomes, by what your parents did or didn’t do, and by your early years now long past, the more your biography is the story of a victim.” Virgo, it’s a fine time to rebel against your genetic heritage, your upbringing, and your conditioning. Imagine a life for yourself in which you don’t believe that those factors control what you’re capable of.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It’s the Season of Returns and Recoveries. You will generate good fortune if you look for what you lost. Some suggestions on how to proceed: Recall important memories you’ve almost forgotten, retrieve any valuable things you rashly threw away, and bushwhack your way back to a promising path you strayed from. For best results, forgive yourself of any mistakes you think you made that led to the loss.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): For reasons involving romance, I once spent six months making thrice-weekly roundtrips from Chapel Hill, N.C., to Columbia, S.C. The back roads were sparsely traveled, so I passed the time reading. I became quite skilled at darting my eyes back and forth between the road and the open book resting on my steering wheel. In this way I got through Ulysses, Anna Karenina, and Magic Mountain. I don’t advise you to try something so dangerous, but I do believe it’s a perfect moment for you to master the art of slipping back and forth between two starkly different realities.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): A group of us decided to throw a party. The Sagittarian among us, Rosa, insisted on being in charge of the desserts. She feared that if anyone else handled this task, there wouldn’t be enough, and they wouldn’t be sweet enough or decadent enough. To make sure the delectable treats were available in rapturous abundance, she felt she could only trust herself. In this spirit, I appoint you to be the sweet, rich, decadent provider of desserts — both literal and metaphorical — for the entire world in the coming weeks.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Among modern Baghdad’s most prominent architectural features are its blast walls. These concrete barriers shield buildings from truck bombs and random gunfire. They were nothing but oppressive eyesores until a team of 40 artists began covering them with bright murals that depict idyllic landscapes and glorious scenes from Iraqi history. Your next assignment is to try an equivalent conversion. Add beauty to something ugly; bring a light touch and a creative spirit to a troublesome situation; dress up your defense mechanisms in silk and gold.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Let’s meditate on events that have an impact at a great distance from their origins. For instance, African dust reaches Florida, raising pollution levels, just as particulate matter from China floats over to sully California skies. Another example: The CIA played a major role in overthrowing the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953, and this is still wreaking chaos on the current relationship between the U.S. and Iran. In the coming week, I predict your life will provide another example of this theme, although in your case the long-range influence is likely to be far more benign than these cases — possibly even downright benevolent.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Open your minds, sweethearts,” begins the soothing rant of enlightenment advisor Dvorah Adler ( “Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. It’s time for you to hear the big secret of the ages, the radical truth of truths that only the wisest gurus and avatars and grandmothers are brave enough to reveal. Are you ready? Here it is: Shut up and be happy!’ “ Dvorah’s ancient truth is just what you need to hear right now. So please, darlings: Shout, whisper, or sing “Shut up!” to all the voices in your head that are so addicted to saying “What am I doing wrong?”, “When will I finally be happy?”, and “Why can’t everything be perfect forever?” You are exactly where you need to be, and everything is proceeding with mysterious grace.

Homework: Forget what Time magazine thinks. Who is your “Person of the Year?” Tell me at; click on “Email Rob.”

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