FREE WILL ASTROLOGY: Wednesday, May 02, 2002

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Half of what you know today will be obsolete in five years. This is a perfect time, astrologically speaking, to figure out which half of the supposedly tried-and-true information has already begun to decay. Next step: Plan future learning adventures. What training will ensure that you’re not out of date and behind the times by May 2007? What educational quests will fill you and thrill you between now and then?

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): What’s your official relationship with snakes, Taurus? Maybe you’re more aligned with the fear-and-loathing camp, believing there’s a good reason the creatures have often been symbols of dangerous or misused power. Or perhaps you became a serpent sympathizer after reading that snakes, because they periodically shed their skin, have been symbols of regeneration, fertility, and healing. Neither attitude is “correct,” of course. The snake represents a primal psychic force that can be expressed for either good or evil. I bring this up, because in the coming weeks you will have abundant access to the good stuff.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): There’s a party in your astrological House of Self-Definition, Gemini. Four planets have converged there for a rare get-together: forceful Mars, ingenious Mercury, intimate Venus, and concretizing Saturn. This is the best time in many moons to get to know yourself better and to nurture relationships that will activate your dormant potential. Choose one dream (not two or three or ten) that will best serve all those purposes, then initiate plans to make it your labor of love for the next two years.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): My acquaintance Patty was awash in a mix of ecstatic uproar and exasperation. “Today I wanted to go up to every person I saw ... and say, ‘Do you know that God is head-over-heels in love with you right now?’ But I stopped myself. I didn’t want to get locked up.” I happen to share Patty’s certainty about the Supreme Being’s feelings. Because you’re in a phase when you’re receptive to generous truths, I’m picking up where Patty left off. The fact is, Cancerian, God is eager to demonstrate that she totally adores you, if you will only allow her to do her magic. It might help if you return her feelings with an equal intensity.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The Gross National Product (GNP) is the standard by which countries gauge their prosperity. In an age when all other values are subservient to material wealth, the GNP, in essence, measures the current worth of the Holy Grail. In recent years the small Buddhist nation of Bhutan has rebelled against this vulgarity, however, proposing a different accounting system: Gross National Happiness. While it takes into consideration economic development, it also includes factors like the preservation of the environment, enrichment of the culture, and quality of governance. I suggest you draw your inspiration from the Bhutanese in the coming week, Leo, and estimate your own Gross Personal Happiness.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Today I narrowly avoided a head-on collision with a butterfly. As I hurtled on my bicycle down a rural road, the fluttering red and gold creature appeared out of nowhere a few yards in front of my face. I slammed on the brakes and ducked. Once stopped, I was relieved to find that it had not smashed against me. It had, however, disappeared. I ran my fingers gingerly through my hair and — hallelujah! — dislodged it from where it had safely come to rest. This story is a metaphor for your life in the coming week, Virgo. I predict you will have a run-in with soulful beauty, thereby unleashing a whimsical act of grace.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I dare you to place an image of a lightning bolt on the wall above your bed. I double dare you to light a red candle and pray to the fire. I triple dare you to temporarily set aside your obsession with harmony, fairness, and objectivity, and I quadruple dare you with honey and jalape˜nos on top to give yourself fully to a brilliant, blazing adventure that belongs to you and you alone.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It’ll be a paradoxical week, Scorpio, as you witness the profound interdependence of apparent opposites — open secrets, genuine imitations, passive aggressions. You’ll encounter clever fools and peaceful warriors. “Anarchy rules!” may be your mantra as you wade through an organized mess in search of something resembling toasted ice. New traditions will be born. Partial pregnancy may be an operative metaphor. Fuzzy logic will be de rigueur.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Usha Lee McFarling reports in the Los Angeles Times that eerie omens are sweeping through the far north. Stretches of sea that are normally capped with thick layers of ice did not freeze last winter. Warm winds from the south, previously rare, have become common. Willows are sprouting up where no trees have ever grown. Seasoned hunters can no longer read the coming weather in the sky. Lately you Sagittarians have experienced your own temporary version of this unsettling strangeness. You may proceed on the assumption that dumb luck will begin ushering you toward a more fun and relaxing brand of craziness by May 14.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Maybe you’ve seen a bumper sticker that says, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” The implications are that, to be victorious in the game of life, you should retain the playful spirit of a kid, while building up your self-worth by accumulating possessions. As you begin a new search for the fountain of youth, Capricorn, let me suggest a far better formula for success, borrowed from Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s poem “1924”: “Whoever remembers his childhood best / is the winner.” What can you do to rouse more of the spontaneous, innocent love of life you had when you were four years old?

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Leaving behind her beloved Europe, Anais Nin arrived in New York full of misgivings. “I hate it,” she wrote about the city in one of her famous diaries. “I find it superficial. [It’s] an ugly prison.” She was willing to have her mind changed, however. “Make me love New York,” she told photographer Alfred Stieglitz, a long-time resident. “Show me what you love.” Accept Nin’s challenge in the coming week, Aquarius. Pretend I have come to visit. Imagine all the places you’d take me and the experiences you’d give me to demonstrate the delights of your home turf. This will put you into alignment with the omens that suggest you shake off the trance of over-familiarity and rekindle your excitement for your everyday life.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I trust you took my advice last week and celebrated the holidays I created for you. Let’s get you started on harvesting the fruits of the hoped-for intense learning experiences. If you observed Ask Crazy-Like-a-Fox “Stupid” Questions Day, you gathered rich information that can help heal an aching rift in your life. If you celebrated Defy All Weak-Heart Conceptions Day, you’ll soon be able to free yourself from the parasitic effects of half-assed commitments. As for the Festival of Sauntering Past the Edge of the Known World: The hard part of the saunter should be over; the really fun stuff will get under way shortly. The complete list is of these fresh feast days is on my web site.

Homework: Make two fresh promises to yourself: one that’s easy to keep and one that pushes at the edge of your capacity.

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