FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, August 13, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you’re single, this is an excellent time to try creating a harem for yourself. You’re even more attractive than usual, and the cosmos says that what might have been greedy in the past is just right now. If you’re in an interesting monogamous relationship, on the other hand, don’t mess it up with fantasies of polyamory. Instead, brainstorm with your partner about how you could provide more variety for each other. Try funny accents, invented names, new costumes, fantasies of living in another historical period. How would your love dance change if you were French resistance fighters in World War II or escaped American slaves circa 1863?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): If you’re typical, your memory is not very efficient; by tomorrow at this time you will have forgotten much of what you learned today. But you cannot afford that during the next 10 days, Taurus. It’s crucial to the success of your long-term dreams that you remember far more than usual. I don’t care how you do it — try memory-strengthening exercises or doses of ginkgo biloba. Become as aggressively receptive and absorptive as you have ever dared to be.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Can you be a dissatisfied rebel and exuberant lover of life simultaneously? Can you identify all that is wrong without losing your bemused tolerance? I think you can, especially this week. You’ll have no role models to follow, though, so trust your intuition and this advice: Be a happy bitch! A playful protester! A sweet-tempered complainer! Goodies will come to you if you overthrow the status quo with inventiveness and compassion.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): I’m sure you’ve had the experience of a song popping into your head and refusing to leave, as if it had taken one of your brain circuits hostage. Usually it’s a catchy tune you’ve heard recently on the radio, but now and then it’s an old song you haven’t thought of in a long time. The former is a nuisance, but the latter may be an oracular message from your unconscious mind — a helpful clue to an unfolding truth. I predict you’ll receive at least two such oracles in the coming week.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): This week you have the cosmos’ permission to adopt F. Scott Fitzgerald’s belief that “If you’re strong enough, there are no precedents.” You’ll be perfectly justified, Leo, in expecting the fire in your belly to strengthen. Given the exceptional amounts of willpower you’ll be able to channel in the coming days, it may even make sense for you to wear a ring with a symbolic thunderbolt and refer to yourself by the royal “we.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Pablo Picasso had a difficult birth. When he finally popped out after a long labor, he wasn’t breathing. The midwife decided his face was so blue he’d be impossible to revive. She declared him dead and left. But Picasso’s uncle, who was in attendance, got up close to the infant and puffed cigar smoke up his nose — and the shock brought him to life. I expect that a metaphorically analogous wake-up call will resurrect you from your soul numbness in the coming week, Virgo.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Give yourself a treat you’ve been denying yourself far too long. Get a friend to give you a ride in a wheelbarrow. Use one of your so-called flaws strategically. Take shopping lessons from an expert. Inscribe a sacred poem or symbol on a new pair of underpants — and expect intriguing things to happen whenever you wear them. Whisper a taboo secret while moving very fast, preferably on a roller coaster. Say a rowdy prayer each time you lick a Tootsie Roll Pop, and don’t stop until you reach the center. Find someone — pay the person if necessary — to be your yes-man or yes-woman for 24 hours.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I knew I couldn’t glean your oracle this week until I was on holy ground. At Spirit Rock Meditation Center, a Buddhist sanctuary near my home, I sought out the outdoor prayer wheel, a brightly painted wooden cylinder inscribed with noble phrases like “wise speech” and “wise intention.” Buddhists believe that when this ritual device is spun on its axis, spiritual blessings are cast in all directions. As I reached out to give it a whirl, I spied an awesome sight: Four salamanders had arrayed themselves on the section of the wheel that read “wise livelihood.” That’s my message for you this week, Scorpio: Come as close as possible to earning money by serving your highest ideals.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In 1977, English professor Coleman Barks had this dream, which changed his life: Relaxing on a riverbank, he saw a ball of light floating toward him. Within was a man, head bowed, eyes closed, sitting cross-legged, and wearing a white shawl. The man raised his head, opened his eyes, and said, “I love you,” and Barks answered, “I love you, too.” Later he met the same mysterious figure in waking life. It was Sri Lankan holy man Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, who ultimately set Barks on the path to becoming a translator of the dead mystic poet Rumi. Today Rumi’s books are bestsellers, largely due to Barks. I predict you will soon have a dream with equally potent possibilities, Sagittarius. I hope to God you remember it and write it down.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The “problem” you now face is unprecedented: You are seeing too clearly, thinking too crisply, and speaking too forthrightly. Normally I would celebrate this state of affairs, but right now it’s preventing you from even discovering, let alone taking advantage of the subtle opportunities that life is offering you. These opportunities will only make themselves known if you relax your piercing gaze and invoke what we might call fuzzy logic, like using your peripheral vision at night.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I’ve rarely seen astrological aspects so favorable for sublimating your libido in the quest for sublime truth. Cosmic law will support you if you try to do what a few mystics have claimed to accomplish: fall in love with the Divine Wow. Please note that the right kind of human partner can facilitate this erotic breakthrough; the wrong kind will distract you from it. Now read what the Indian saint Ramakrishna had to say: “One must become mad with love to realize God.” When that happens, he said, your pores, even the roots of the hair, take part in the ecstasy of “communion with the supreme universal self.”

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You remind me of that rare hybrid known as the puwo, a cross between a poodle and a wolf. When your inner poodle is dominant, you’re nervous, elegant, and fragilely beautiful. When the wolf aspect is in control, you’re wild ferocious, and restless, in a style that’s enigmatic and potentially dangerous. Sometimes, when the two facets are equally balanced, you’re an unpredictable X factor: elegant and restless, fragile and ferocious. When will this drama end? By Aug. 20, I hope, since after that you won’t be able to get away with it.

Homework: What are the five conditions you’d need in your world in order to feel you were living in utopia? Testify at

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