FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, July 11, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I’m not sure what to make of the strange and wonderful abilities you’ll be expressing in the coming week. You might summon a hauntingly beautiful meditation on grace while cleaning a toilet, or make a dizzy plea that actually changes an intractable problem. Most tantalizing of all, Aries, you could prove my improvement on Rambo’s old adage (“To survive war, you must become war”), which is: “To survive love, you must become love.”

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): There’s been more teasing than pleasing going on in your vicinity, Taurus; more bluffing and waffling than getting to the point. I know you’d prefer to put an end to this nonsense with a simple, direct intervention, but consider this: A bit of counter-subterfuge may be the only approach that will defuse the subterfuge. Here are some tips: Learn more about the power of unpredictability by studying five-year-olds and Scorpios. Be politely skeptical of anyone who is acting nice as a way to avoid being real. Never take “maybe” for an answer.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Shun coloring books and microwave popcorn this week, Gemini. Avoid one-size-fits-all overalls and cliché-spouting demagogues. Don’t even think about squeezing yourself into pigeonholes, cubicles, or itchy niches. If you can, refuse to answer multiple-choice questions on your brand-new life skills. Why? Your future self is depending on you to be wild and free as you explore the untapped riches of your idiosyncrasies.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Born and raised in a small town in Poland, my great-grandmother Elizabeth birthed a child out of wedlock at age 16. The father was a sea captain who died soon thereafter. Two years later, Elizabeth, still a single mother, took her daughter and emigrated to America. Settling in Detroit, she became a social powerhouse in the Polish-American community while living with a man she never married. I remember her as a feisty, plainspoken crone with a will of steel. This week I celebrate her life, honoring her pioneering spirit and the maverick genes she bequeathed me. To be in tune with astrological forces, fellow Cancerian, you should follow my example. It’s a perfect moment for us Crabs to deepen our relationships with the ancestors who helped make us who we are.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Joshua trees, native to the Mojave Desert, are both hardy and delicate. While they may live as long as ten centuries, their flowers blossom infrequently and can only be pollinated by the yucca moth. At this moment, Leo, you remind me of a Joshua tree. Very soon, there will be a brief window of opportunity for you to be psychically fertilized, and you will need a specific agent to do the job. If all conditions are right, a blessed awakening will occur. Even if the beauty that sprouts is visible for just a short time, its effects will last for years.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Every now and then, a week comes along that shakes you to your foundations with revelations of the divine purpose behind all your life’s adventures. This is probably not one of those weeks, but it may be foreplay for one. As many sweaty geniuses have discovered, adroit breakthroughs frequently follow long, tedious attention to detail. And as many God-drunk converts have found, a brave confrontation with one’s guilty conscience can often trigger a cathartic religious experience.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Mantras are spiritually potent phrases that are supposed to purify and uplift those who chant them. The magic is said to work even if the devotee doesn’t understand the words. So, for example, it’s not necessary to know that the Sanskrit “Om Namaha Shivaya” is sometimes translated as “I honor the Divine within.” I propose that we expand the concept by creating mantras in our native tongues. Here’s one that’s a perfect fit for your current astrological needs, Libra: “It’s finally my turn, dammit.” I urge you to use these words of power this week, preferably in conjunction with “Om Namaha Shivaya,” to build up your confidence: It’s high time for you to claim your fair share.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The best science fiction show on tv is Farscape. John Crichton stars as an astronaut from Earth who has been accidentally flung to the far reaches of the galaxy during a chance encounter with a wormhole. His predicament has a resemblance to yours, Scorpio, wouldn’t you say? Like him, fortunately, you’re making the most of your wayward adventure. There’s another parallel. “I’m the reverse King Arthur,” Crichton brags at one point, oozing self-deprecating humor. “I can put the sword back into the stone.” I advise you Scorpios to do something similar: Return the magical you-know-what to where it came from. A few weeks from now, when you’re primed to take full advantage of its power, you can retrieve it.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It’s a good time to brainstorm about fund-raising strategies with a cute venture capitalist in Tahiti, or to slink around web-based matchmaking services looking for an emotionally intelligent millionaire to accompany you on a vision quest to a sacred sanctuary. In other words, Sagittarius, your luck will be electric any time you blend travel with love, or love with money, or money with travel. If you can combine travel and love and money in the same adventure, your luck may be downright supernatural.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Welcome to “What’s My Deepest Longing?” I’m your host, Rob Brezsny, and I’m pleased that you’ve decided to play our game. To begin, place yourself in a comfortable position and let all the tension drain out of your beautiful body. Then allow your mind’s eye to fill up with images of the experiences that move you to tears and laughter. I am not talking about your wishy-washy wishes or half-assed distractions. Rather, I mean the primal dreams that shimmer and hum at the roots of your soul. Name them and nourish them. Give them license to unleash their raw and secret truths.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Novelist Mario Vargas Llosa has written a how-to book called Letters to a Young Novelist. In it, he takes on the role of a mentor speaking to a novice, revealing the storytelling techniques he has worked long and hard to master. At the end of his dissertation he pulls a little prank. “[Now] forget everything you’ve read in my letters,” he says, and “just sit down and write.” I’d like you to apply Vargas Llosa’s method to a certain skill you’re beginning to master, Aquarius. Study everything that has been written by experts. Then empty yourself of their load of wisdom and tackle your joyful discipline with a fresh, innocent mind.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I recently went to a party that celebrated the 35th anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love. The invitation suggested that we wear “discerning exotica.” There were, therefore, no hippie love beads, tie-dyed bell-bottoms or rainbow fright wigs. Instead, elegant outrageousness prevailed. I saw an ankle-length gold and black robe fit for an African chieftain and a tunic of crimson feathers that called to mind a Peruvian shaman. I offer this vignette to you, Pisces, because the astrological omens suggest that “discerning exotica” is the perfect keynote for you in the coming week. Be mysteriously outlandish as you exude understated poise.

Homework: Make a guess about the most important bit of self-knowledge you’re still ignorant about. Testify at

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