Oct. 15, 2008 12:00

Free Will Astrology

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Sometimes the fastest way to get there/ is to go slow,” sings Tina Dico in her song “Count to Ten.” “Sometimes if you want to hold on/ you’ve got to let go.” That’s a ripe oracle for you to meditate on, Aries. As you explore the nuances of its meaning, you may discover secrets about how life is always working behind the scenes to balance things out. You might also see that going to any extreme will often attract the opposite extreme into your life; an excess of yang can lead to yin, and vice versa.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I usually don’t have to tell you Bulls how important it is to finish what you’ve started. You are, after all, among the top three signs of the zodiac when it comes to following through.

But just in case you’ve momentarily fallen under the sway of a delusion that would encourage you to escape before the resolution is fully in place, I’m here to remind you: It’s time to make the art of completion your graceful obsession.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Who are the best enemies we have ever had? According to David Brown in the Washington Post, they are the thousands of endogenous retroviruses that attacked our ancestors for millions of years. In response to their evil invasions, we humans have had to build our rough, tough immune system, which is one of the most amazing creations on the planet. Let’s make this your inspirational metaphor for the coming weeks, Gemini. I urge you to welcome the opportunities that your adversaries are going to give you to grow bigger, stronger and more beautiful.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Sometimes it makes sense for you to be conservative and cautious and skeptical of novelty. A periodic immersion in the slow-motion approach helps you maintain a strong center of gravity and allows you to be true to yourself in the face of the pressure you get to be like everyone else. The past few weeks have been such a time for you, Cancerian. Soon, though, you’ll begin to feel urges to take some risks, instigate fresh trends and express yourself with more daring and expansiveness. Are you game?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Futurists predict that in 30 years many of us will have robots as our best friends. But I believe it’s already the case that machines are our boon companions. You may not have a name for your computer or iPhone, but you interact with it as if it were an animate and intimate assistant. Music or TV or talk radio might be turned on in your home around the clock, providing a constant flow of comforting noise. I know people who derive a sense of coziness from the hum of the refrigerator or the rumble blowing through the heating vents. Have you ever talked to your car? Kicked a temperamental appliance? Used a sex toy? This is the best week ever for you to acknowledge your symbiosis with the alien life forms we depend on. Now go kiss your laptop. Caress your toaster.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “If you could ask everyone you met one question, what would it be?” A reader named Ty Sassaman emailed me with that query. As I thought about what my response would be, I considered questions like “What’s the one thing you most want to accomplish before you die many years from now?” or “What could you do to bring more intelligence into the way you love?” But ultimately I decided on “What is your soul’s code?” How about you, Virgo? What would be your prime question? I suggest that in the coming days you ask it of everyone you encounter. You’re in a phase in your astrological cycle when focused curiosity is a kind of superpower.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Describing the poet Kenneth Koch, his colleague John Ashbery said that his work “gives you the impression that you are leading an interesting life; going to parties and meeting interesting people, falling in love, going for rides in the country and to public swimming pools, eating in the best restaurants and going to movies and the theater in the afternoons. By comparison, most other modern poetry makes me feel as if I were living in a small Midwestern university town.” In the coming weeks, Libra, I exhort you to have an impact on people that’s like Koch’s poetry. Here’s the best way to do that: Live the most interesting and imaginative life you can dream up.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you’re a left-winger, you may think right-wingers are stupid or evil or both. If you’re a right-winger, you probably hold the same attitudes about left-wingers. A similar pattern prevails between most other groups that hold opposing views. You’re a rare person if you’ve never looked at a certain group of people and thought to yourself, “They are all sick idiots.” But in the coming week, Scorpio, I’m asking you to find out what it’s like to dispense with judgments like that. In fact, try living without any scapegoats whatsoever. If even for an hour per day, visualize the possibility that those with whom you disagree might be sincere and well-meaning. I’m not suggesting this exercise merely because it’s a nice thing to do. It will also have the magical effect of giving you access to parts of your own intelligence that have been closed off to you.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Be humble for you are made of dung,” says a Serbian proverb. “Be noble for you are made of stars.” I expect that you’ll soon be getting vivid evidence of that truth, Sagittarius.

Your challenge will be to resist the temptation to believe that you’re more dung than stars, or more stars than dung. That might be hard, given the fact that practically everyone around you believes they are one or the other. But I promise you that you have the power to do it. You can exude cheerful equanimity while dwelling right at the crux of the paradox.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Describing a Jupiter transit, Capricorn astrologer Steven Forrest wrote, “Life is a train wreck, except the trains are made of cake and ice cream.” Amen to that, bro. I’d add that a Jupiter transit might also be imagined as being on the verge of too many orgasms, or getting forced to make a painful choice between fantastic wealth and amazing power, or having well-meaning allies overwhelm you with help. Now, as you enter the last 12 weeks of Jupiter’s yearlong journey through your astrological house of beginnings, I’m expecting you to harvest some of the most delightful and enriching “messes” ever.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In a recent horoscope, I urged people to convince everyone around them to take more responsibility and be more accountable. In response, a reader named Rene wrote, “I can’t think of anything more futile! Convincing other people to be anything other than the way they are is a misguided and losing proposition. Unless people have hired you as their therapist, or adopted you as their guru, they are not likely to take your opinions about their behavior seriously.”

Rene did acknowledge that it’s possible to subtly inspire people by being a stirring example of the behavior you’d like to see in them. Since I think her observations are not only wise but also pertinent to your current situation, I’m passing them on to you.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In medieval Europe, more resources and human ingenuity were lavished upon cathedrals and churches than on any other buildings. In the last hundred years, the emphasis has been different, having switched to the towering structures that house institutions dedicated to commerce. By that measure, Money is a far more important God than God. During the next few weeks, Pisces, I invite you to buck the modern trend. As an experiment, see if you can devote at least one more percent of your energy and intelligence to matters of the spirit and soul than to the demands of the material realm. I suspect you’ll find, ironically, that this will lead to an increase of your mastery over the material realm.

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