FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, May 1, 2003

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Are you the kind of Aries who thinks it’s a thrill to open cartons from the end that reads “open other end”? Do you love to drive in the carpool lane when you’re alone in your car? If so, I hope I can convince you to use your rebellious energy more constructively. You’re now in possession of the finest insurrectionary energy I’ve seen in many moons. Your brilliant disobedience could overthrow a status quo that sorely needs it.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): A fresh fad has broken out among university students in China: drinking milk from baby bottles. Psychologists decry this as regressive behavior, claiming it represents a subliminal yearning to return to childhood and avoid adult responsibilities. I suppose that may be true if it becomes habitual. But I’m going to recommend that you take up the practice for just one week, Taurus, as a ritual that helps you reclaim your innocence and see the world with the eyes of an unspoiled kid.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I’m too frustrated to do what it would take to get myself unfrustrated.” Has a thought like that crossed your mind recently? I bet it has. Or how about this: “I’m too confused to figure out what questions I’d need to ask to clarify the issues.” Here’s my solution: Stop the world. Drop out of your trance. Run away to a sanctuary where you can make time stand still for a few days. Empty your mind, relax your ambitions, and steep yourself in primal silence.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): From a psychological and spiritual perspective, Cancerian, it’s harvest time. The moment has come to reap the fruits you’ve sown since last July. Judging from my astrological analysis, I believe your yield will include an abundance of ripe beauties and just a few ripe uglies. And even those uglies could serve you well if used as fertilizer for your next round of planting, which is scheduled for the weeks after your birthday. (P.S. Here’s my guarantee: If you don’t rake in emotional riches very soon, I’ll eat your shoe. In that case, send your shoe to P.O. Box 150628, San Rafael, CA 94915.)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “Sometimes the mountain is hidden from me in veils of cloud,” Denise Levertov wrote in her poem called “Witness.” “Sometimes I am hidden from the mountain in veils of inattention, apathy, fatigue, when I forget or refuse to go down to the shore or a few yards up the road, on a clear day, to reconfirm that witnessing presence.” This week, Leo, you’re more likely to be hidden from the mountain, not through inattention or fatigue but because of your intense attunement to your own magnificence. This is not a bad thing in itself, but it will be if it keeps you from communing with the mountain. Therefore, see if you can do both: Be an alert witness full of self-love.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In New York last January, a talking carp began shouting religious advice in Hebrew to an Hispanic food-preparer who was about to turn it into a meal. The restaurant owner came in to investigate the commotion and became a second witness to the event. The New York Times reported the story, and soon a local Hasidic sect was proclaiming the fish’s message to be a direct communication from God. Though many people laugh with derision when they hear this tale, I retain an open mind. The Divine Trickster has appeared to me in equally unusual forms. By the end of this week, Virgo, you’ll have received a visitation that’s almost as mysterious as a talking fish.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I never dreamed that one day I’d have a pet wasp. But here she is, buzzing tenderly around my head as I compose this horoscope. I call her Scheherazade. She’s been here three weeks. I lost all fear she would sting me after the first day, when she landed on me several times without incident. She seems content with the food and drink I leave out for her, and I swear that now and then she performs aerial tricks for my entertainment. I love having her around, because it leads me to imagine that I have learned to get along with wild forces of nature without having to control or hurt them. I encourage you, Libra, to seek your own version of a wasp companion.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I’ve been referred to as an astrologer, novelist, musician, magician, shaman, and teacher. I don’t mind those attempts to sum me up, but I never refer to myself by those terms. My business card says I’m an “Aspiring Master of Curiosity, Apprentice to Crazy Wisdom, and Macho Feminist.” Why? First, I don’t want to get trapped in the elitist egotism attached to a label like “shaman.” Second, careerism is anathema to me. I want the freedom to keep mutating. Third, I never want my life to be defined by my job. Fourth, I claim the exclusive right to name and title myself. I recommend that you Scorpios experiment with a similar approach in the coming weeks.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): My hometown host a three-day county fair with competitions in many categories, from quilt art to pickled vegetables. This year there’s an unusual new class: Tallest weed. I predict the winner will be a Sagittarius who begins the project this week. The rest of you Centaurs won’t have to wait until July to capitalize on things that are normally thought to lack value. To get in the proper mood of gentle self-mockery, give yourself a blue ribbon for your worst bad-hair day or crabbiest mood.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “If the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way,” says the ancient Chinese book, The Secret of the Golden Flower. Conversely, “When the right man uses the wrong means, the wrong means work in the right way.” These thoughts, Capricorn, are all you need to succeed this week. Feel free to make your own interpretation, but here’s mine: High integrity and a noble purpose sometimes count for more than cleverness or skill.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Literary critic Harold Bloom believes Finnegans Wake was James Joyce’s masterpiece — the closest thing our age has come to the genius of Shakespeare and Dante. Novelist Anthony Burgess called it “a great comic vision that makes us laugh aloud on nearly every page.” Yet when Joyce was writing the book, his wife Nora hated it, calling it “chop suey.” She asked him why he didn’t make “sensible books that people can understand.” Joyce’s patron, Harriet Weaver, also derided the work as a waste of genius. Luckily, like many Aquarians, Joyce was mainly loyal to the little voices in his head, not those outside. Draw inspiration from his example in the coming week.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): To compensate for the fact that the amount of available time is steadily shrinking, I’ve intensified my multitasking. I now meditate while washing dishes. I pay bills and write poems and practice singing while stuck in traffic jams. I read the newspaper, surf the Web, make business calls, eat lunch, and organize my schedule while pedaling my exercise bike. As a happy and unexpected result, my brain is definitely working better; I’ve gotten smarter. This regimen isn’t for everyone, but if you do want to increase your intelligence, Pisces, now is a perfect astrological moment to make it happen.

Homework: I dare you to feel love for someone you have disliked for a long time. Testify at

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