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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your first assignment is to practice feeling that everywhere you go, you are standing on holy ground. Capitalize that phrase in your imagination—”I am standing on holy ground”—as you move through the world. Your second assignment, which may at first seem unrelated, is to kick your evil twin’s ass. Do it tenderly and compassionately, with full awareness that both you and your evil twin are standing on holy ground. But don’t stop kicking until you convince your evil twin to take greater responsibility for his or her personal share of the world’s darkness.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Which kind of person are you?” asks editor Paul Somerson. “Are you a spineless, lickspittle wage-slave cog toiling away to make someone else wealthy, destined to lead a bleak, anonymous Wal-Mart life of relative poverty? Or are you someone with guts and brains who wants to get out from under the thumb of capricious, unappreciative bosses, create something new, and reap financial rewards?” Personally, I think he’s engaging in a bit of hyperbole: There’s lots of fine territory to stake out in between the extremes he describes. Still, it’s a good idea to push and prod you with his provocative question. You’re in a phase when you have more potential than usual to change your livelihood for the better.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “If love is a drug, I guess we’re all sober,” mourns Nerina Pallot in her song “Everybody’s Gone to War.” Your two-part assignment stems from that formulation. First, you should experiment with the hypothesis that love is in a sense a drug. Meditate on the fact that it literally changes your body chemistry and affects the way your mind functions. Second, make sure you’re not sober. Get yourself high on love in every way you can imagine, whether that means giving generously of yourself, encouraging the best in everyone, expressing your beauty extravagantly, or making it easy for others to adore you.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Move the furniture around. In fact, why not move some of it right through the front door and out of your life? If we’re lucky, this will get you in the mood to launch a purge of everything that no longer belongs under your roof. Maybe you could throw a Simplification Party, complete with an exorcism. Or corral your friends for a haul-it-all-away caravan to the garbage dump. I don’t care how you do it, Cancerian. Just get rid of all knick-knacks, wall hangings, funny mirrors, broken dreams, balls and chains, and formerly cute mementoes that have lost their cuteness. It’s time to liberate your home.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Zam Zam Cola is a popular soft drink in the Middle East, an alternative to Pepsi and Coke in a place where many people have made a political decision not to buy American products. It’s named after the revered Well of Zamzam, which is located near the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. In accordance with your current omens, Leo, I urge you to do the metaphorical equivalent of naming a cola beverage after a spiritual power spot. For example, you might imagine that a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich contains the essence of your favorite god or goddess. As you eat it, fantasize that you’re absorbing that deity’s divine energy. The point is to be casual about something you regard as precious; to be playful with something you take seriously; to have fun with what’s most sacrosanct to you.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If forced to decide between being filthy rich and living with one’s soulmate, 92 percent of the population would choose the big bucks. I hope that’s not your position, Virgo. In fact, I hope you’re not the kind of person who would even agree to entertain a question like that. The fact is, you
won’t have to choose between love and money in the coming weeks, even if that initially seems to be the case. I urge you to hold out for both the $10 million and the romantic bliss. Formulate a clear intention that you won’t sacrifice material security for emotional intimacy, or vice versa.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Here’s a brief mythic history of the birch tree, according to Philip Carr-Gomm’s book
Druid Mysteries. The birch used to be called the pioneer tree because it was often the first tree planted on virgin soil, and so in a sense gave birth to the forest. The word “birch” is derived from a root meaning “bright” or “shining” in Indo-European languages. In Britain, birches were made into maypoles, which celebrants danced around during the fertility feast of Beltane. Siberian shamans, at the climax of their initiation ceremonies, climbed a birch tree, circling its trunk nine times. In the spirit of this rich folklore, Libra, I nominate the birch to be your tree of power as you begin a phase of bright beginnings and exuberant fertility.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You will soon be dealing with a challenge you have faced before: how to synchronize your two major archetypes, the lover and the warrior. As always, it will be a daunting task. You will be asked to cultivate the tender, considerate instincts of the lover within you while simultaneously feeding the fiery discipline of your inner warrior. I know you can do it, Scorpio—even if it seems impossible from where you’re standing right now.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In one of his Letters to Lucilius, the ancient Roman writer Seneca described the daily habits of his ancestors. “Those who have studied the customs of our early history tell us that people washed their arms and legs every day,” he reported, “but washed the whole body only three times a month.” In the coming weeks, Sagittarius, you should avoid this approach not only in the way you bathe, but in everything you do. It will be crucial for you to always go all the way. No partial solutions, please. No half-assed efforts or slapdash treatments.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Washington, D.C.’s most renowned vagrant never begs for money. Instead, he hangs around the streets all day and doles out praise and flattery to passersby. He calls himself Compliment Man. “Those are beautiful shoes you’re wearing,” he may say as you walk by, or “The two of you look great together” if you’re with a friend. In accordance with the astrological omens, Capricorn, your assignment is to be inspired by the Compliment Man in two ways. First, dramatically increase the blessings you bestow and the admiration you express; be a fount of felicitations. Second, expand your capacity for attracting and gracefully accepting compliments. Make yourself fully available, in every way you can imagine, to receive approval and applause. (PS: I think you’ll find that carrying out task no. 1 will make task no. 2 occur quite naturally.)

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It’ll be a good week to watch clouds. In fact, you’re likely to tune in to very useful information while communing with the ever-changing skyscape. You may think catalytic thoughts and overflow with interesting feelings that would never have come to you unless you gazed upward for extended periods. Please also consider exposing yourself to these influences: people who expand your sense of what’s possible; sights and sounds that diminish your fear; experiences that fill you with compassion for your fellow humans; and stories that awaken your longing for adventure.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “You know how it feels when you’re leaning back on a chair,” muses comedian Steven Wright, “and you lean too far back, and you almost fall over backwards, but then you catch yourself at the last second? I feel like that all the time.” If you’re a typical Pisces, you know exactly what he’s talking about. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you’re in a phase when you could figure out how to escape that feeling forever. It may be hard for you to imagine (but luckily I’m here to help you imagine) how much power you have right now to build more security and stability into your life.


HOMEWORK Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.” Comment, please. Go to RealAstrology.com and click on “E-mail Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Metaphorically speaking, I foresee glacier ice melting and molten rock flowing in your immediate future, Aries. I expect that hard solids will become fluid, that permanent fixtures will be in flux. This is a good thing, believe me. Though it may unnerve you at first, you will have the power to change things you never thought could be changed in a hundred years. You will have the freedom to create new vessels for energy that has outgrown its old vessels.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Here’s the problem as I see it: You’re not feeling sufficiently confident to trust your unique insights, and so you haven’t dared to communicate them. But it’s crucial that you do speak up. Even though you may not be as knowledgeable about the big picture as other people are, you possess a missing piece of the puzzle that they’ve got to have. You may even be an outsider or a latecomer with relatively little credibility in the eyes of those in the inner circle, but still: You know something they don’t know and need to know.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I wish I had a holy grail to quest for, even if it was really small,” writes my Gemini reader Marta, who describes herself as a “wannabe Prometheus.” I have good news for her, as well as for all the rest of you wannabe Prometheans who have been pining for a raison d’être, a burning desire, or a not-quite-impossible dream to throw yourself into with 110 percent commitment: Look out of the corners of your eyes to spot the strange attractor (also known as the unauthorized magic) that is bobbing ever so seductively on the far horizon.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): According to a report in The Onion, behavioral scientists in Chicago have proved that many people are in fact not entitled to their opinions. “On topics from evolution to immigration reform, we found that 38 percent of the opinions people expressed were so off-base and ill-informed that they actually hurt society by being voiced,” said one researcher. I’m betting, however, that only a small proportion of these unfounded beliefs and spurious theories will originate from Cancerians in the coming weeks. Your tribe is likely to be more scrupulous in your data-gathering and more rigorous in your reasoning than the rest of the population. In fact, I suggest you regard yourself as a role model whose job it is to demonstrate the beauty of thinking deeply.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Can you feel the moon tugging at the fluids in your body? Usually, you can’t. Are you aware of how large-scale cultural influences affect your day-to-day rhythms? Again, that’s typically beyond your capacity to sense in any immediate way. But this week, you just might be able to do both of those things. You’re more attuned than usual to the subtle currents that are unfolding within you. You’re also more alert to the impact that big cosmic energies and long-term historical trends are making on your unconscious mind. I advise you to take maximum advantage of this extra sensitivity. You could discover important clues about how to position yourself to thrive in the face of upcoming social transformations. (PS: Listen reverently to the secrets your body tells you.)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Writing on Salon.com, Scott Rosenberg recalled how, in his youth, he loved to play the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. “You’d have to choose not one but two ‘alignments’ for your character,” he mused. “Good and evil, of course, but also ‘law’ and ‘chaos.’ And among the people I ran with, ‘chaotic/good’ was the thing to be, because it let you trust other people and still have fun.” Your assignment in the coming week, Virgo, is to adopt the “chaotic/good” approach for the character you will be playing in your actual life.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Plagued by back problems, my friend Eduardo went to a psychic healer in Brazil. He got his treatment while seated on a chair in a room crowded with other patients. The shaman massaged Eduardo’s spine for a few minutes. Suddenly, out of nowhere, streams of black mud appeared all over his back. Was this some sort of stage magic? The healer announced that the mud had been the cause of the pain, and that he had exorcised it from Eduardo’s body. My friend rested there a while, musing on the improbable event that had apparently happened, and enjoying a new feeling of ease in his back. His bewilderment at the mystery of his own cure turned to stupefaction when he saw what the shaman pulled from the next patient’s belly: an old shoe. Now here’s an odd coincidence, Libra: One of the best gifts you can give yourself right now is to visualize a psychic healer (or your guardian angel) removing a load of mud and an old shoe from your body.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The experiment I’m proposing is something you should try only if you’re feeling adventurous. Don’t do it if you’re in a timid or self-pitying mood. Here it is: Empty yourself out completely, and do it gladly. With impish daring, lower your expectations all the way down to zero. Surrender every remnant of hope you might be tempted to cling to. With a jaunty nonchalance, pretend you have nothing to lose. And then open an enormous welcome in your heart for the messy, unpredictable sweetness of life exactly as it is. Say yes to the beauty of ambiguity and paradox. Free yourself to accept every person and every situation on its own terms. If you try what I’ve suggested, I bet you will be united with a potent blessing you didn’t even know you needed.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Right now, you have what it takes to be a liberator. You can free people who are enslaved to their fears. You could also be a bridge-builder who provides wandering souls with the means to escape from the middle of nowhere. If you’re feeling especially heroic, you might even be able to serve as both a liberator and bridge-builder. To do so would almost certainly require you to be more of a leader than you’ve ever been before. But if I’m reading the astrological omens correctly, you have more than enough cosmic juju at your disposal to do just that.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Dear Rob: In your book Pronoia, you say, ‘The universe always gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.’ I have a different view. I often find that I disagree with what the Universe decides is best for me. But that turns out to be a good thing. It’s fun for me to always be arguing with God! I learn a lot and generate a lot of high energy from trying to outmaneuver the divine will. What do you think about that? —Cagey Capricorn.” Dear Cagey: Whatever works! I think your approach may be especially useful for your fellow Capricorns to try now. Thanks for articulating it.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I want to call your attention to the title of a Christian-themed inspiration book by John Ortberg: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. You don’t really need to read it, because simply meditating on the theme will yield all the insight you need. To jump-start your intuition, I’ll add a corollary: If you want to talk to a burning bush, you should initiate the conversation. Don’t wait for the bush to break the ice.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Dear Rob: I love your compassionate contrarianism. Your horoscopes are so spiritual, they’re practical. They’re so earthy, they’re cosmic. They’re anti-hero horoscopes for heroes, or maybe heroic horoscopes for anti-heroes. Here’s my question: Do you have any advice for my psychotherapist? You’re doing a better job than he is, and I’d like to give him some tips from you. —Pisces Gamer.” Dear Gamer: Tell your psychotherapist that what you Pisceans need these days is a dose of reversalism. That means you should experiment freely with seeing the other side of every story and tuning in to the opposite of what you’ve tried before.


HOMEWORK Compose an exciting prayer in which you ask for something you’re not “supposed” to. Go to RealAstrology.com and click on “E-mail Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “The face is the most erotic part of the body,” says fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Try out that perspective for a while, Aries. Your assignment in the coming week is to enjoy getting excited by faces that captivate your imagination. This isn’t just about pure physical beauty, of course. You should also be alert to the titillating wisdom and arousing compassion that are revealed in their features . . . as well as the ripples of inscrutable emotions and the flows of secret knowings.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Lately, it’s as if you’ve been riding a roller coaster on which you’re forbidden to scream. It’s as if you’ve been trying to suppress your laughter as you watch a series of the funniest stand-up comedians on the planet. It’s like you’ve been ordered to sit stiffly in a chair and keep your feet motionless while your favorite band plays the dance music you love best. I hope you won’t put up with this predicament any longer, Taurus. Either scream, laugh, and dance, or find another way to escape any situation that’s keeping you clamped down.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “I do not wish to hear about the moon from someone who has not been there,” wrote 19th-century wit Mark Twain. That’s an extreme statement of how important it is to formulate conclusions based on firsthand knowledge rather than on hearsay and random opinions. In the coming weeks, this principle will be even more crucial to your mental health than it usually is. In my astrological opinion, you need to significantly increase the proportion of information you acquire through your direct perceptions, as well as from people who’ve had intimate contact with the things you’re curious about.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Dear Rob: Do you have any tips on dealing with fear that paralyzes you? Like, say I need to tell a certain someone how I really feel. My heart keeps telling me to do it. My mind keeps telling me to do it. But my fear makes me put it off again and again. And I don’t have much time before the window of opportunity closes. Please help! I don’t want to miss out! – Cowardly Cancerian.” Dear Soon-To-Be-Courageous Cancerian: In accordance with cosmic rhythms, which are conspiring to assist you in summoning hidden reserves of chutzpah, I hereby assign you to actually do the thing you fear at one of these times: Friday, August 10 between 7 and 9 p.m.; Saturday, August 11 between noon and 2; Sunday, August 12 between 3:30 and 6 p.m.; or Monday, August 13 between 6 and 8 p.m.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I predict that you will dream about at least three of the following things in the coming week: a flying carpet, a genie’s lamp, the food of the gods, a wizard’s wand, healing ointment, a silver chalice, and enchanted mud. “So what?” you might be saying. “What do dreams, no matter how fun they might be, have to do with my pursuit of happiness in the cold, cruel world of my waking life?” And I say unto you, Leo, that these dreams will mysteriously transform your psyche in such a way that you’ll be able to accomplish magic that may have seemed impossible before.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Why fight for rights that are already yours, Virgo? Why sacrifice yourself for the benefit of people who wouldn’t fully appreciate your gifts? And why are you even thinking about dividing when you should be multiplying? Any of these acts would be a crime against yourself. So listen up: You just have to hold out a little longer. If you can avoid running up a big karmic debt in the next few days, if you can refrain from hurting yourself in a misguided attempt to fix situations that can’t be fixed, you’ll be home free. Soon the whole cast of monsters, demons, and goons will pack up their inane torture devices and go trundling back to the hells where they came from.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When you see a shoot- ing star, you’re usually looking at a piece of cosmic debris that’s 30 to 60 miles away and no bigger than a grain of rice. As it streaks through the atmosphere, the compression of air in front of it creates a shock wave, generating enough heat to send a bright light to your eyes. Sound like something you want to emulate, Libra? I believe that in the coming weeks, your smallest actions, like those of shooting stars, could produce dramatic, far-reaching effects.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Dear Rob: In the past few weeks, life has been opening me up over and over again, as if I were a rose that couldn’t stop blooming. Every perception hits me with a soothing bolt of clarity. Every conversation is gracefully sculpted, as if composed by a higher power. I’m listening and actually hearing what people really mean. I feel accountable for each word that comes out of my mouth. It’s amazing. Do you have any tips for keeping this state going on forever? I’m afraid I’ll slip back into a duller, more self-absorbed state. – Scorpio On Fire.” Dear Scorpio: Don’t cling. Don’t be grasping or anxious. Instead, do what is potentially every Scorpio’s specialty: Die and be reborn every day. Again and again, kill off the magic that’s working so well and artfully resurrect it in a transformed version.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In Infinite Jest, novelist David Foster Wallace imagines what life will be like in the future. One big change is that the years will no longer be known by numbers. The naming rights will have been sold to corporate sponsors. What might have been 2013 and 2014, for instance, will be the Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland and the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. I thought it might be fun to borrow that idea for your horoscope, especially in light of the fact that imminent events may play a big role in defining the main themes of 2007. Will this turn out to be your Year of Fertility Rites in the Wild Frontier? Or maybe the Year of Your Inner Animal’s Intelligence Upgrade? Or the Year of Your Fantastic Voyage to the Cosmic Lost and Found? We’ll soon find out.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Certain religions, whose names I won’t mention, have given prayer a bad name. It has come to be associated with sentimentality, desperation, delusion, greed, and wishful thinking. But I prefer to define prayer as an intention to align your emotions and thoughts with the highest possible good. Can you give that definition a whirl? I hope so. It’s Big Wild Prayer Week, a time when you will have an extraordinary ability to get in sync with almost unimaginably catalytic currents of cosmic beauty and truth.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “Desire is not an occupation,” croons the lead singer of the industrial rock band KMFDM. But I beg to differ, at least as far as you’re concerned. For the immediate future, it would definitely not be totally crazy for you to play hooky from your job and stop doing all the busy work you usually do so that you could fully devote yourself to exploring the riddles of your deepest longings. I’m not just talking about the yearning for love and sex, but every single one of your bone-aching, abyss-tempting, reality-crunching hungers.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): I’d like to see you permanently lose at least 50 percent of your chronic aggravation. And I have an idea about how you might do that. Choose a day when you’ve got the leisure time to spend one intense half hour cursing about everything that annoys, frustrates, and upsets you. For those 30 minutes, you’ll allow yourself to unleash tremendous ferocity as you commune with visions of your outrage. Giving yourself that permission— so my theory goes—would drain the backlog of vexation you’ve been carrying around. If you do it right, your spirit will be purged of the sour heaviness of background rage for at least eight weeks, probably longer.

Homework
If you knew you were going to live to 100 in good health, what three additional careers would you pursue? Testify at RealAstrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”.

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Among the Yanyuwa Aboriginal people who live along the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, the word for “fat” is
nalu-ngiliny. It doesn’t merely refer to the greasy stuff that grows naturally under the skin of animal bodies. It’s also a metaphysical term for vitality. Anything that’s rich in nalu-ngiliny is healthy. A certain landscape may be considered fat, for instance, which means that it’s fertile and sacred. When acacia flowers bloom each year, it’s a sign that sea turtles and the marine mammals known as dugongs, favorite foods of the Yanyuwa, are “fat” and ready to be hunted. Your assignment in the coming week is to identify the things in your life that are
nalu-ngiliny, and to give them the honor, gratitude, and nurturing they deserve.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “Don’t cross a bridge until you come to it,” advises the old adage. But is that really a good idea? The fact is that the world belongs to people who have crossed bridges in their imaginations long before those bridges existed. Let that be your guiding thought in the coming weeks, Taurus. Start visualizing, contemplating, and building in your mind’s eye a certain bridge you want to make abundant use of in 2008.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The German word selig can mean both “ecstatic” or “blessed.” It implies that profound bliss can be a divine gift, that deep pleasure may generate or come from spiritual inspiration. The English language doesn’t have a term comparable to selig, maybe because our culture regards ecstasy with suspicion. Religious people tend to believe that the blessed are those who are good and kind, certainly not those who are skilled at cultivating ecstatic states. People who worship rationality, on the other hand, like intellectuals and scientists, often think of ecstasy as at best an irrelevant state, and at worst a non-productive or deluded indulgence. Personally, I’m in alignment with the values embodied by the word selig. It happens to be your specialty this week.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): To celebrate your ramble through the most wildly independent phase of your astrological cycle, I’m offering you three inspirational quotes. The first is from poet e.e. cummings: “To be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle that any human being can fight.” Your second shot of motivation is from Clarissa Pinkola Estes: “If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, or rebellious, you’re on the right track. If you have never been called these things, there is yet time.” Lastly, here’s a Hindu proverb: “There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.”

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): What is the meaning of life? Is there such a thing as free will? Why is there something rather than nothing? If God exists, why does he or she seem to be invisible? Dear Leo, questions like those I just asked are completely irrelevant to you right now. To ponder them for even a few minutes would be a waste of time. Here, on the other hand, are the kinds of questions that will lead you in the direction you need to go. What is your greatest fear, and what can you do to diminish it? How could you become smarter about the way you love? What pose would it be a big relief for you to drop? Which of your wounds is primed for a dramatic healing, and what’s the best way to begin the cure?

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): “The things that can destroy us,” said Gandhi, “are politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.” You Virgos are better than most signs at avoiding six of those dangers. The one you’re most prone to get tripped up by is knowledge without character. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to check in with yourself to see if you’re guilty of that flaw, and then, if you find a shortfall, take steps to correct it. Make sure that you’re not only being smart, but also wise.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It’s Welcome Your Challenges with Open Arms Week. To take maximum advantage of this festive occasion, practice being grateful for your interesting difficulties; remind yourself of how much smarter and stronger they can make you. Celebrate the riddles and dilemmas that have helped and will continue to help transform you into such a uniquely gorgeous creature. Now study these words of wisdom from playwright Theodore Rubin: “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I asked my readers to make a prediction about what age they’ll be when they finally know exactly who they are. “I hope I NEVER completely know who I am!” wrote Bridjet. “I love discovering new things about myself, and to change as everything else around me changes. It is one of the most beautifully thrilling things about life.” If you share that perspective, Scorpio, the coming days should be pretty fun. You’re likely to become dramatically more mysterious to yourself. You’ll be evolving, even mutating, in ways that may amaze you, and you’ll be coming face to face with hidden aspects of yourself. Let the confounding, enriching expansion begin!

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): After studying the astrological omens and consulting with an elite panel of 20 village idiots, my team of horoscope experts has determined that at least once in the coming week you would be wise to wander around town with no particular goal, responding with innocent enthusiasm and hungry curiosity to whatever scenarios you happen to stumble upon, pleased to be educated by the random flow of stimuli that come your way. If you don’t have the courage or leisure to pull that off, here’s the second-best strategy: Go someplace you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. Third-best: Spend an entire day being naked.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A misguided swan became infatuated with a pedal boat at a pond in Hamburg, Germany. Apparently mistaking it for his soul mate, the devoted bird guarded the boat jealously and rarely left its side. The human owner of the boat found it amusing at first, but later regarded it as a nuisance, since the enamored swan chased away all potential renters of the vehicle. I propose to make this poignant creature your anti–role model in the coming weeks, Capricorn. May he inspire you to free yourself of all delusions you have entertained over the years about the kind of intimate ally you need in order to be happy.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us,” wrote Franz Kafka in The Blue Octavo Notebooks. “If the book does not shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place?” I suggest you find at least one such book to help you get the most of the current cosmic configurations, Aquarius. More than that, I encourage you to find people and experiences and dreams that have a similar effect. It’s that phase of your cycle when you can thrive on fertile uproar.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his love and his religion,” wrote novelist James Michener. Your assignment in the coming week, Pisces, is to get at least three steps closer to being such a master. Use all your ingenuity and imagination to figure out how to bring the full force of your primal lust for life into every single thing you do, even activities that other people might regard as trivial or difficult or low-status.

Homework Think of the last person you cursed – if only with a hateful thought, if not an actual spell. Now send them a free-hearted blessing. Testify at realastrology.com

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): The bad news: Charlie and Sharon Reed, a couple in Dallas, had their old VW convertible stolen. The good news: By the time police recovered the car three months later, the thieves had given it a new paint job, and had fixed its cracked windshield and dented bumpers. Let’s make this your metaphor of the week, Aries. I predict that you, too, will be reunited with something you lost, and it will be in better shape than it was before you were separated.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the coming week, I doubt you’ll misplace your keys or forget to set your alarm clock or spill soup on your shirt. While shopping, you’ll be intuitive about picking the checkout line that moves fastest. If you take a plane somewhere, your luggage will show up promptly in the baggage claim area. In other words, Taurus, the little things in life will go well for you, reducing your wasted time and inconvenience to near zero. May I suggest that you respond to this grace period not by cramming in more busy-work, but by giving yourself regular opportunities to enjoy the luxury of taking deep breaths and gazing at the big picture?

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You may think that the lights you see in the night sky are single stars, but most of them are not. They are binary systems, with two stars orbiting around a common gravitational center. Our lonely sun, with no companion sun, is a rarity. Unless, that is, we’ve been overlooking clues that our sun does in fact have a twin. Although the jury is still out, circumstantial evidence is mounting that our system is binary, and that somewhere out there way beyond Pluto is a brown dwarf star carrying on a secret relationship with our sun. If it exists, it’s relatively cool and small for a star, and difficult to see, which would explain why we haven’t actually detected it yet. Now I’m suggesting that something similar may be true about your life, Gemini: that you have long had a shadowy link with a counterpart whose destiny is intimately interwoven with yours. If you’re ever destined to forge a more conscious connection with each other, it will be in the second half of 2007. And the initial breakthrough will occur soon.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): A reader named Michael McCarthy wrote to say he plans to start a new religion, the “First Church of the Rude Awakening.” It will be based on the principle that having a pleasant life cannot serve as a motivation to seek enlightenment and salvation. McCarthy believes that no one ever bolts up out of bed one morning and says, “I’m so happy, I think I’ll go meditate and pray and make myself into a better person for as long as it takes, so I can find God and say
thanks.” Even if his theory is true (which I doubt), you Cancerians will be an exception to it in the coming weeks. I bet you’ll have a series of epiphanies precisely because you’re in an excellent mood, leading you to embark on a ground-breaking new phase of spiritual exploration.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): A unique variety of freedom will be yours to enjoy in the coming week. You’ll be free to be aimless and clueless; you’ll be under no pressure to be focused and smart. You’ll be free to be quiet and meek; you won’t have to be brave and articulate. You’ll be free of wanting to be needed and understood; you won’t be plagued by the longing for someone to love you and see you for exactly who you are. You’ll be free to be anarchistic and apathetic; you won’t have to believe in or care about anything. And finally, Leo, you’ll be free to not be yourself. You will have so much freedom that you’ll even be free of freedom!

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): When Adam sampled the apple from the tree of knowledge, he was expelled from Paradise. After Prometheus stole fire from his fellow gods and gave it to humans, he was punished by being chained to a rock and getting his liver chewed on for years by an eagle. You, on the other hand, won’t have to suffer for the nervy coup I hope you’ll pull off in the coming weeks. So don’t look over your shoulder as you do your daring deed. Throw yourself into it with unconditional love and fervor.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): British astronomer Martin Rees was told about a colleague who felt so puny and insignificant in comparison to the stars that he committed suicide. Rees responded with dismay, rejecting the perspective that had led a fellow astronomer to take his own life. “We are more important than the stars,” he said. “I don’t have a despairing attitude because what makes things important is not how big they are, but how complex and intricate they are, and human beings are more complicated and intricate than stars.” While this is always good to keep in mind, Libra, it’s especially apropos now. You’re in a potent and radiant phase of your yearly cyclea time when you have a mandate to show why you’re more important than the stars.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Before I suggest to you what your next assignment should be, read this passage from poet Adrienne Rich. “Whatever is unnamed, undepicted in images, whatever is omitted from biography, censored in collections of letters, whatever is misnamed as something else, made difficult-to-come-by, whatever is buried in the memory by the collapse of meaning under an inadequate or lying language-this will become not merely unspoken, but unspeakable.” What I hope you will do in the coming week, Scorpio, is rescue from obscurity any important thing that is on the verge of becoming unspeakable. Be a retriever of that-which-is-about-to-disappear. Be a rememberer of that-which-is-close-to-being forgotten.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): [Nov. 22-Dec. 21] One of your power spots is in a valley where a melted glacier has made a new river. Another is in a place where a forest fire has cleared room for the opportunistic purple blooms of the fireweed. A third hot spot is a once-dismal school that has been refurbished so that it no longer resembles a prison. I urge you to spend quality time in transformed places like these, Sagittarius. Doing so will put you in the right mood to get the most out of current cosmic rhythms.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It’s Unity Week. You have rich opportunities to negotiate truces, whip up collaborations, and knit together seemingly irreconcilable elements. Maybe it has previously seemed insane for you to try mixing oil and water, apples and oranges, or Israelis and Palestinians, but it makes sense now. You’ll tend to attract good fortune whenever you conspire to turn matches made in hell into heavenly blends. Here’s a motto to inspire your work, from the rebellious unification expert Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Nature artist Andy Golds-worthy is a skilled rock balancer. With infinite patience, he arranges stacks of them in seemingly impossible arrangements. Though he has a highly developed sensitivity to the heft and shape of his raw materials, his work still requires him to persist through frustration. While building one particularly intricate structure, he said, “The moment it collapses is disappointing. But since it has collapsed four times I’m beginning to understand the stones better.” From what I can determine, Aquarius, you’re at a stage in your own labor of love that’s equivalent to Goldsworthy’s third collapse. Keep at it.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Here are a few of the fine developments I expect you will have enjoyed by the end of July: growing pains that feel pretty damn good; the dissolution of wishy-washy wishes that have been keeping you distracted from your burning desires; a vivid vision of what you want to be when you grow up; living proof that you’re not just an armchair adventurer; the friendliest lust ever; a new plaything; and insight into why fanaticism can be very useful in moderation.

Homework Make a prediction about some world event that will happen in the second half of 2007. Testify at realastrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21–April 19): We’re almost halfway through 2007. It’s time to take inventory of how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. So let me ask you, Aries: Have you been making reconnaissance missions into previously forbidden territory? Are you seeking adventures beyond the borders of your known world? I hope so. I hope you’re blowing your own mind on a regular basis, both by exposing it to ideas it has never dared to entertain and by seeking out exotic experiences it has no precedents for.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): We’re almost halfway through 2007. Let’s take inventory of how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. Are you becoming a better judge of character? Have you cultivated your skill at reading people’s energy and understanding what motivates them? I hope so, because 2007 should be the year you generate big benefits for yourself by bringing out the best in your allies and cohorts. Whenever you catalyze their potentials, the universe will in turn conspire to catalyze your potentials.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): We’re almost halfway through 2007. It’s time to take inventory of how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. So let me ask you, Gemini: Are you working hard to heal the indecisiveness that has dissipated your energy in the past? I hope so. You’ve never had a better chance to unify your divided mind than you have now; you will continue to be the beneficiary of unprecedented help from cosmic forces whenever you make concentrated efforts to coordinate your diverse desires. I urge you to invoke all your ingenuity as you seek out the magic that will make you a virtuoso of variety.

CANCER (June 21–July 22): How well are you capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities, Cancerian? Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, let’s take an inventory. I’m hoping that six months from now, you’ll look back and make the following declaration: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this year I realized in many colorful ways that limitations are my friends. The obstructions I faced eventually forced me to become far more resourceful than I’d ever been before. The wastefulness I uncovered showed me how important it is to shed my trivial wishes and focus intensely on my top-priority desires. The confusions I encountered taught me valuable secrets about how to master my emotions and dissolve my superstitious fears.”

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22):] How well are you capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities, Leo? Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, let’s take an inventory. I’m hoping that six months from now, you’ll look back and say the following: “This was the year I learned how to play and have fun on a higher level. I resurrected everything I knew about playing and having fun as a child, and applied it to my life as an adult. I liberated my imagination in the bedroom and in the workplace; I gave myself permission to seek out amusement and delight as if they were the holiest motivations of all. I cavorted and joked and fooled around as if my dreams depended on it.”

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): How well are you capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities, Virgo? Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, let’s take an inventory. I’m hoping that six months from now, you’ll look back and say the following: “This was the year I came all the way home. It was a turning point when I learned to speak with my own voice instead of trying to speak with the voices of everyone who’s ever been important to me. In 2007 I found my power spot, my mother lode, my sacred ground. For the first time, I have a deeply felt certainty that I belong here on this planet; I belong here in my life; I belong here in this community and this mission and this body.”

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): We’re almost halfway through 2007. Let’s take inventory of how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. I hope you’ve realized by now that although you’ve always been a pretty good communicator, there’s room for you to become even better. For instance, you can learn to be much better at saying what you really mean instead of what you think people want to hear, yet without sacrificing your natural tact. You can also become more adept at staying true to yourself while still being sensitive to other people; you can increasingly find that you don’t have to lose touch with what you really feel as you empathetically tune in to what everyone else feels.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, it’s time to assess how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. So let me ask you a few questions. Have you been working hard to increase your value? I don’t just mean economically, although it’s true that this is the best time in over a decade for you to make more money and launch long-term plans for financial growth. But I hope that you’re also adding to your worth in every way you can imagine, like by getting the training and new skills that will make you irresistible to future employers, lovers, and collaborators; and by purifying your motivations and clarifying your ethics and bolstering your integrity.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): [Nov. 22–Dec. 21] Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, it’s time to assess how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. So let me ask you a few pointed questions. Have you been reinventing yourself from the ground up at least once a week? Have you been shedding old shticks and learning new tricks? How relentlessly have you committed yourself to the arts of liberation? There’s still a lot of time to become even more receptive and responsive to the steady stream of wake-up calls that life is sending your way. For the next six months, you’ll have cosmic luck on your side whenever you actively court the fertile blessings of future shock.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): We’re almost halfway through 2007. Let’s take inventory of how well you’re capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities. Are you exorcising the ghosts that have messed with you for so long? Have you been wrapping up all unfinished business and resolving every ambiguous pain-in-the-ass that has sapped your energy? I hope so. By your next birthday, I’m rooting for you to finally graduate from the lessons you’ve been studying for years. Then you’ll be primed and receptive for the fresh teachings that will begin flowing your way in 2008.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20—Feb. 18):] How well are you capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities, Aquarius? Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, let’s take an inventory. I’m hoping that six months from now, you’ll look back and say something like the following: “I’m pleased that this year I’ve met many new people and expanded my network and reached a bigger audience. I’m ecstatic that I have deepened my connections with pragmatic idealists who share my core values. And I’m proud that I have honed my message and product so well that I’m having a more profound influence than ever before.”

PISCES (Feb. 19—March 20): How well are you capitalizing on this year’s unique opportunities, Pisces? Now that we’re almost halfway through 2007, let’s take an inventory. I’m hoping that six months from now, you’ll look back and say something like the following: “To my astonishment, this was the year I beat 70 percent of my fear of success and dissolved 80 percent of my tendency to sabotage my ambitions. Not only that. To my great satisfaction, I shed 70 percent of my martyr complex, lost 75 percent of my fascination for glamorous suffering, and smashed 85 percent of my perverse attraction to the victim archetype. This was one of the Best. Years. Ever.”

Homework To check out my expanded audio forecast of your destiny for the second half of 2007, go to realastrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21–April 19): Don’t take your time, Aries. Move double-fast and strategize from many angles, always thinking 10 steps ahead. Please don’t keep your hands clean, either. Play with the muck, and roll in the mud, and learn from the dirt. And don’t you dare be measured and balanced. Instead, be an intense and relentless initiator of decisive actions. One last thing: Don’t play nice and sweet. Be a holy troublemaker, a noisemaker who breaks the silence and keeps it broken.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): In what areas of your life are you trying too hard? How might you be undoing your good intentions by grasping them so tightly that you’ve squeezed out all the juice? In what ways are you so boxed in by habitual thoughts that you’re not spontaneous anymore? It’s a perfect moment to fix these problems, Taurus. To begin getting yourself in the mood, relax every muscle in your body— especially your achy-breaky desire muscles—and half-sing, half-shout an exuberant “Yo!”

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): Your patron saint of the week is Beatrice Wood (1893–1998), whose association with surrealist artists and her bohemian life as a painter and actress earned her the title “The Mama of Dada.” At the age of 92, she finished her autobiography, which was titled I Shock Myself. Your first assignment, Gemini, is to do three things in the coming week about which you’ll be able to say, “I shock myself.” Your second assignment is to imagine that you’re 92 and looking back with pride at the top 10 smart things you did to shock yourself into a heightened state of awareness in the years between now and then.

CANCER (June 21–July 22): Any strength can turn into a liability if it’s taken too far. Any skill may lead you astray if expressing it becomes a compulsive habit that distracts you from responding authentically to the raw truth of the moment. That’s why every now and then I have to advise you (and me, too, since I’m a Crab) not to nurture the hell out of everyone, even though it comes naturally to you. This is one of those times. Please suppress any urges you might have to take care of everyone except yourself. In the coming week, your duty is to be your own mommy and daddy.

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22): I have extensive experience with writing in the dark. Every night for many years I have awoken in pitch blackness to write down my dreams. I also take notes while watching movies in theaters, scrawl poems on red-eye plane flights while all the other passengers are sleeping, and jot down my meditations as I stroll in the hills after midnight. I recommend that you try this yourself, Leo. It’s prime time to peer inward and think hard . . . to sharpen your perceptions of the invisible world . . . to gather impressions from the edgy frontier where your conscious and unconscious minds overlap.

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Say the following words aloud, please: “Give it to me raw!” How does it make you feel when you allow that demand to come out of your mouth? I hope it fills you with a sense of playful power. If you’re in alignment with cosmic influences, “Give it to me raw!” is a pithy embodiment of your proper relationship with the world. Now try these corollary statements: “I want the full blast of purity! Don’t hold anything back! Serve me up the maximum dose! I want the elixir of life, not the hors d’oeuvres! Bless me with the whole truth and nothing but! I’m in love with the flood, not the trickle!”

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): My archaeologist buddy Frank is, of course, a devotee of the theory of evolution, but he likes to have fun being blasphemous about some of its conclusions. Recently he told me, for instance, that all the ancient bones that have ever been found and used to deduce the course of human evolution, from Homo habilis to Homo sapiens, would fit in the back of a pick-up truck. “Pretty slim evidence for ideas that purport to explain millions of years of history, eh?” he said mischievously. Can you identify a comparable situation in your life, Libra? Is there a fundamental assumption you’re loyal to even though the data that prove it are scanty? This is a good time to gather more information and re-
evaluate your assumptions.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21):
America’s former poet laureate Robert Pinsky addressed an assembly at my daughter’s high school. He read from his translation of Dante’s Inferno and took questions from students. After hearing Dante’s description of the nether regions, one boy asked Pinsky what his personal version of hell was. The poet said that each of us creates our own hell. The fearful and negative interpretations of reality with which we infect our imaginations constitute curses that we cast on ourselves. They terrify and enslave us so thoroughly that most of the difficult outer circumstances we encounter are mild in comparison. Your next assignment, Scorpio, is to work on dissolving the hell you carry around in your own mind.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): There used to be a store outside of Boston called Venus Envy. It sold sexy religious supplies and holy sex toys. I wish there was a place like that near you, because you’re in a phase that’s ideal for learning more about erotic spirituality. In lieu of that, here are other ways you could milk the opportunities. (1) Read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, in which she gives vivid accounts of her ecstatic communion with divine beings. (2) Invoke the wild intelligence that rises up in you when you’re infatuated with a romantic partner, then redirect that feeling toward the entire world. (3) Pray while you’re making love and make love while you pray.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): “Women are much more willing to talk about both their disasters and delights than men,” says poet and workshop leader Robert Bly. I hope that you men refute his assertion in the coming week, because it’ll be a favorable time for Capricorns of all genders to spend quality time testifying and singing and wondering about the most vivid experiences from your past. You’re liable to attract a variety of blessings if you come to new understandings about your disasters and delights. The best way to do that is to revisit them and revision them with fresh language.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20—Feb. 18): Are we being sentimentally unscientific when we refer to the heart as the seat of the soul? Or does that idea contain a truth that surpasses reductive rationalism? In
A Dictionary of Symbols, J.E. Cirlot reports that in the Jewish tradition, meditation involves “speaking to one’s heart.” According to Christian tradition, the Kingdom of God resides in the heart. Hindus say the supreme god Brahma lives there, and in Islam, the heart is referred to as the throne of God. If you can get your modern prejudices out of the way, Aquarius, your next assignment is to have a sustained, intimate, heart-to-heart communion with your heart. Learn more about its secret thoughts. Converse with it as if it were the literal source of your emotional intelligence. Proceed on the hypothesis, as French philosopher Pascal did, that “great thoughts come from the heart.”

PISCES (Feb. 19—March 20): “Dear Rob: I appreciate your help in cueing us in to the mysterious workings of our unconscious minds. I describe what you do not so much as reading the planets to predict our future. Rather, you conspire with us to expose and then overcome what we’re hiding, or repressing, or fearing. It’s often a daunting task, but I love it! -Ever-Braver Pisces.” Dear Ever-Braver: I believe the upcoming weeks will be a golden age in your tribe’s efforts to expose and then overcome what you’re hiding, or repressing, or fearing. I expect that you’ll break up the artificial dam that has been clogging up your imaginative flow, thereby unleashing a flood of creativity.

Homework What do you know or do that no one else in the world has a clue about? Tell all! Go to realastrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21–April 19):“Surreal hope” means having faith in a future opportunity that at first appears in an out-of-context situation. Say, for example, that you have an unsettling initial exposure to a stranger whom you will eventually realize is an important ally. Maybe when you see this person for the first time, he or she is looking dazed and disheveled on a street corner with tear stains on the cheek, having just broken up with a lover. And maybe you feel a strange attraction to this weirdo despite his or her unflattering appearance. Having surreal hope, in this instance, would mean that you’d refrain from being dismissive and judgmental, but would instead entertain the possibility that your fascination might portend an interesting link under more favorable circumstances at a later date.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): “Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem,” wrote English novelist John Galsworthy. In other words, most people find it easier to stick to their noble beliefs and neat theories when they don’t have to deal with the messy details of real life. I trust that you will be a stirring exception to this rule in the coming weeks, Taurus. Judging from the astrological omens, I predict that you’ll be a master of Utopian pragmatism. As you penetrate further and further into the heart of every matter, you’ll come up with workable strategies for bringing out the best in people.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): For millions of years, the great rivers of the world have flowed into seas—or at least they have up until now. Because of their overuse by humans, several ancient rivers are in danger of drying up before they reach their destinations. Among them are China’s Yellow River, the Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East, and America’s Rio Grande. I offer this as a cautionary metaphor to consider as you contemplate your long-term future. There are things you can do in the next six weeks to ensure that the river of your life will always connect to a greater source. I suggest you make that a high priority.

CANCER (June 21–July 22): “Quetzalcoatl instructed the Aztecs to offer hyacinths and copal [a resin] to their idols instead of human flesh,” wrote Edward Dahlberg in his book
The Sorrows of Priapus. Alas, the priests didn’t heed their god’s directive. Their predilection for ripping the hearts out of their sacrificial victims is infamous. Now I’m asking you to attend to a less dramatic but comparable matter, Cancerian. You have a prime opportunity to stop making an extreme sacrifice you’ve been doing for a long time. The gods no longer demand it of you; it serves no holy purpose; and there’s a milder and more useful sacrifice you can make instead.

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22): The geography of your heart is evolving. In places, coastlines are disappearing. Elsewhere, new islands have risen out of the sea. Boundaries are shifting, as some nations dissolve and others are born. Even the climate is changing, with warm winds blowing where once there was year-round chill, and monsoon-like conditions invading desert ecosystems. Roads that formerly led to the center of the action no longer do, and highways that used to be peripheral are now main routes. I suggest you take note of all this by redrawing your map, Leo. Get up to date with your heart’s new landscapes.

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States for eight years after serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. Early in his career, however, he didn’t win many accolades. Referring to his mediocre stint as an undergraduate at the U.S. Military Academy, he said, “If anybody saw signs of greatness in me while at West Point, they kept it to themselves.” Keep his story in mind during the coming weeks, Virgo. You may have to summon an extra measure of self-motivation as you keep pushing toward your goal despite a lack of recognition or applause.

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): In their translation of a poem by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell write, “I’m the chimp of chance, the champ of chance, I’m a chum of chance and a chump of chance.” Judging from your astrological omens, Libra, I suspect it’ll soon make sense for you to speak those words yourself. Dumb luck and blind fate will be swirling around you, whipping up both unexpected pleasures and knotty challenges. What can you do to be more of a champ and a chum of chance, and not so much of a chimp and a chump of chance? Welcome
everything that happens, with no exceptions. Love the easy and the difficult, the playful and the contrived, the lucid and the confusing.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): I suggest we title this chapter of your life story “The Perplexing Joy of Hundreds of Emotions,” or maybe “The Wild Peace of Way Too Many Feelings.” That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s an apt reflection of your immediate future: extreme, expansive, melodramatic, spectacularly educational, and filthy rich with intrigue. You may not break the world’s record for most mood shifts in a good cause, but you could very well smash your own personal record.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Imagine what it feels like to rub your hand over the stubble that’s just beginning to spring from the skin you shaved. Visualize a single small purple flower jutting through the dry brown stalks lining the trail you’re hiking along. Remember a moment, after an argument with an ally, when the first tentative spark of reconciliation flowed between your eyes and his or hers. These are good metaphors for the kinds of experiences you should seek out, cultivate, and concentrate on in the coming week.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): You’ve gotten a little addicted to habits that are rooted in fear and worry. I suggest we resort to exotic measures to pry you out of your rut. After you read the proposed actions below, compose four more of a similar nature, then go out and actually do at least half of them. (1) On an empty milk carton, paste a collage of cutout images and phrases that symbolize your anxieties. Then put it on the floor and stomp it to death as you growl. (2) Slap your own hand briskly 10 times as you bark, “Stop being such a wuss!” (3) Everywhere you go, visualize yourself being accompanied by three great warriors who’re dedicated to your well-being. (4) Gaze at a picture of a person who makes you nervous and yell “I’m not afraid of you, you mysterious slime-sucking bastard.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20—Feb. 18): In 18th-century France, the public was sometimes invited to watch when the women of the king’s family gave birth. Can you imagine the modern-day equivalent? As the actresses and pop stars of Hollywood brought their babies into the world, TV news teams would be there on the scene, their cameras rolling. It’s probably not going to happen anytime soon (though be on the alert if you hear Paris Hilton is pregnant). But I suggest you seek out the nearest metaphorical equivalent in the coming week. You’ll really benefit from being in the presence of a primal, ecstatic, royal hatching.

PISCES (Feb. 19—March 20): In the ancient Gnostic Gospel of Philip, discovered in Egypt last century, the author writes of the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. In one place he says, “Jesus often kissed Mary on the . . . .” Unfortunately, there’s a hole in the original document right where that next word was. Did Jesus kiss her on the cheek? The mouth? The neck? Unless other versions of the old text are found, we’ll never know. On the other hand, I predict that you will soon solve a comparable mystery in your own love life. Some gap that has long mystified you will be filled in. A missing clue will turn up.

Homework Upon waking up for the next seven mornings, sing the song that fills you with feisty hope. Report results to me by going to realastrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21–April 19): Though one of the closest stars to our sun, Teegarden’s star was unknown to as
tronomers until 2003. Located in the constellation of Aries, it’s a red dwarf with relatively modest heat and luminosity, and moves very fast compared to other stars. Let’s make Teegarden’s star your metaphor of the month for June. I predict that you’ll discover and engage with a major presence that has always been close to you but low-key—a quick, understated influence that has never before captivated your attention.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): The editors of Harper’s magazine took a survey of American organizations devoted to bigotry. They counted 151 different neo-Nazi groups, 163 chapters of the KKK, 62 congregations of Christian Identity, 48 skinhead cults, and 29 black separatist movements. But five states harbored none of these groups at all—Iowa, Alaska, Maine, and North and South Dakota. Racism undoubtedly exists there, but not so much that anyone feels a burning drive to formally organize the hatred. Take your cue from these relatively enlightened oases in the coming week, Taurus. Be a master of peace, acceptance, compassion, and optimism—especially when you brush up against people who are exuding derisive, judgmental cynicism. Do it for your own health as much as for your environment’s.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): This week’shoroscope draws on the wisdom of Gemini philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. His soaring perspective is a perfect fit for your current astrological omens. Here’s the first: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Emerson

2: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” Here’s your third Emersonian clue: “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” Let’s finish up with this battle cry, Emerson

4: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

CANCER (June 21–July 22): In her CD Spiritual Madness: The Necessity of Meeting God in Darkness, Caroline Myss tells us that wading through messy darkness is an essential part of our search for meaning. She doesn’t recommend that we avoid chaos at all costs, or even just accept it with resignation. Rather, we should welcome it as a gift that can teach us crucial secrets about how to become ourselves. I agree with Myss. That’s why I advise you not to resent the confusion before you. And don’t just mindlessly clean it up as fast as you can, either. Instead, dive into it. Celebrate it. Allow it to change you into a riper, wiser, more beautiful soul.

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22): “Dear Rob: Thanks for writing your horoscopes. You make me laugh even when life is pelting me with stones. You comfort me, teach me, bring me back from deluded daydreams, give me realistic goals to daydream about, kick my butt into gear when I need it, and tell me when it’s safe to kick others’ butts when they need it. You rock the foundations of my world! —Grateful Leo.” Dear Grateful: What’s amazing is that your allies and loved ones need you to bestow on them the exact blessings you’ve just ascribed to me. It’s prime time for you to be a towering role model, a servant of the greater good, the feisty leader of your tribe.

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): Your relationship with time seems to be one of your biggest problems. There’s never enough of it. You’re always fighting against the limitations it imposes. It frustrates you and even hurts you. But let me ask you this: Can you imagine yourself cultivating a more friendly and cunning relationship with time? Are you able to visualize the prospect of you and time becoming more like allies than adversaries? How would it feel to regard time as a loving taskmaster that compels you to realize you can’t do everything and must therefore focus on only your brightest dreams and truest pleasures? This is a perfect moment, astrologically speaking, for you to attempt this magic.

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): Do you think you could arrange to drive a car equipped with a jet engine through desert salt flats at 200 miles per hour? Given
the current astrological omens, that would be my first recommendation for you. If that’s not possible, would you consider enrolling in circus school and learning how to be safely and elegantly shot out of a cannon? And if neither of those two alternatives are likely, Libra, please somehow stir up a visceral sense of moving speedily toward the future.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): “Dear Rob: Can you give me a rational explanation for why Scorpio is the most hated and feared sign of the zodiac? When I tell someone I’m a member of that tribe, the usual reaction is along the lines of ‘Ooohhh, a Scorpio,’ in the same way someone would say ‘Ooohhh, a horribly disfigured, compulsively evil, sexually deviant sideshow freak.’ —Sick of Being Dissed.” Dear Gorgeous Crafty Rebel Lover: I have some good news for you—2007 is Scorpio Rehabilitation Year, and June is Scorpio Glorification Month. To take advantage of these milestones, all you need to do is vividly express your most beautiful qualities. Leave the rest to the universe.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Here are a few of the fine improvements I expect you to have accomplished by the end of June: tips on how to live well in two worlds; an addition to the reasons why people find you attractive; a crash course that helps you become more fluent in the language of intimacy; richer, more interesting feelings than you’ve experienced in a long time; and practical insights into how to avoid being flustered by paradoxes that have driven you crazy in the past.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): “If you make people think they’re thinking,” said author Don Marquis, “they’ll love you; but if you
really make them think, they’ll hate you.” My objective in this week’s horoscope is to prove him wrong: I want you to love me for making you really think. In the hope of accomplishing this goal, I’m giving you the assignment of revising two of your long-standing opinions or theories about the way the world works. As you aggressively seek out the information that will help you change your mind, try to feel tender compassion for me, the wise guy who’s asking you to undertake such an arduous and potentially rewarding task.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20—Feb. 18): When my friend Keith and I were in college in the early 1980s, we were extravagant ambassadors for poetry. On weekends we’d roam from party to party, reciting Neruda poems to audiences of drunk punks and declaiming Ginsberg verses as we teetered on the tops of cars. On occasion we’d scrawl our own poems on the walls of strange living rooms or improvise surrealistic spoken-word rants in the streets, begging for alms. Years later, I write a syndicated astrology column that might be described as a stealth poetry invasion, and Keith is a producer for a national news broadcast, onto which he sometimes brings noted poets to close the show with a lyrical splash. So now I ask you, Aquarius: What raw passion would you like to turn into a polished gig in the future? Now is a good time to make a deep commitment to it.

PISCES (Feb. 19—March 20): “I usually solve problems by letting them devour me,” wrote Franz Kafka. That’s an interesting approach, I guess, and though it might work for a fire sign or air sign, it’s not a wise policy for you Pisceans. In fact, I urge you to fervently resist any temptation you might have to allow your problems to gobble you up. On the contrary, be like a gargantuan sea monster in the midst of the perfect storm. Rise up as high as the dark sky and growl back at the thunder. Shoot flames from your mouth at the lightning. Become too big and ancient and wild to ever be devoured.

Homework What does this mean to you: “In the same way that you judge others, you will be judged”? Comment by going to realastrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”

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Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21–April 19): Chameleons use their stupendously strong tongues to reach out and capture their prey, which can be up to one-sixth their size. The equivalent for you would be if you could snag a big chicken with the muscular organ in your mouth. I’m not predicting you’ll develop that skill in the coming days. But I do believe you’ll have a powerful tongue in the sense that the words you shape with it will have a prodigious capacity to change your surroundings and influence everyone around you.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): “Inspiration is highly overrated,” says photorealist artist Chuck Close. “If you sit around and wait for the clouds to part, it’s not liable to ever happen.” I share his assessment of the creative process. The books and music and columns I’ve produced owe their existence largely to my hard work, which generates a burst of inspiration every now and then but mostly gets things done without much flash. Keep that in mind, Taurus. Though you may not be inundated with a series of epiphanies in the coming days, you have the potential to spawn a lot of useful and original stuff. Your fertility quotient is high.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): To best take advantage of the fresh and innocent cosmic forces that are offering themselves up to you, try experiments like the following: eat food you’ve never tried; listen to new music; climb a hill that has always been in the distance; have a down-to-earth conversation with a person who up till now hasn’t been quite real to you; try erotic experiences you’ve wondered about; scrawl graffiti on a wall that has never been written upon; and push yourself to feel positive emotions that you may sometimes be too lazy or cynical to seek out, like playful reverence, intense curiosity, voracious gratitude, and surprised delight.

CANCER (June 21–July 22): Near the end of World War II, a soldier named Shoichi Yokoi was serving in the Japanese army on the island of Guam. As American troops invaded, he fled into the dense jungle and hid in an underground cave. There he stayed for the next 28 years. When he finally returned to civilization, his first words were, “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive.” In comparing you to Yokoi, Cancerian, I am of course exaggerating. You have not been concealing yourself so literally or so thoroughly. And yet I feel a similar poignancy about the way you have kept yourself from revealing your full beauty. Please come in from out of the dark and shine the full blast of your iridescent light.

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22): “I will tell you a great secret,” wrote Algerian philosopher Albert Camus. “Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.” Author and activist John W. Gardner spoke of the same issue from a different angle. “To sensible people,” he said, “every day is a day of reckoning.” I offer up those words for your guidance in the coming days, Leo. May they inspire you to be fierce and willful, exuberantly unstoppable and wildly resourceful. May they remind you that even though there might be a world of pressure on you, that pressure is natural, merciful, and exactly what you need.

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22): The coming weeks will be an excellent time for you to become dramatically clearer about the nature of your ambitions. To jumpstart the process, read this insight from career counselor Robin Hirschberg: “People tend to confuse their purpose (‘What do I love to do?’) with their ideals (‘How am I comfortable behaving?’) and their desired results (‘What can I achieve?’).” Now get to work figuring out the truth about those three foundation stones, Virgo. Once you do that, develop a plan for getting them to work together synergistically.

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22): “Who has done more good for the planet, Mother Teresa or Bill Gates?” asked businessman John Mackey. “No contest: Gates has helped far more people.” Whether you agree with that assessment or not, Libra, act as if it’s true in the coming weeks. As you express your generous urges, don’t so much model yourself after Mother Teresa, who felt pious feelings and gave mostly symbolic assistance to a few thousand poor, sick people. Model yourself more after Gates, who spends billions of dollars to provide technological resources to schools in the U.S., and to bolster health care and reduce poverty in the Third World. In other words, don’t just be emotionally and spiritually supportive. Be aggressively helpful in the most practical ways.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21): Militant atheists make the claim that religion has always been a primary cause of war. If humans weren’t under the sway of “the God delusion,” they fume, armed conflicts would be infrequent. But military historian Eric Bergerud says that’s absurd. He notes that while there have been a few religious wars, “most wars in history have been driven by the lust for power and loot.” In other words, the materialist delusion is far more lethal than the God delusion. People who believe there’s nothing of value beyond what the five senses can perceive are often the most dangerous of all. Make this the seed for your meditations, Scorpio. Think about how much less fear and loathing you’d suffer if you knew for a fact that your soul lives forever. Imagine the peace and wonder you’d feel if you knew there are realities and spiritual beings that aren’t visible to the naked eye or to the technology that science has dreamed up thus far.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): Read this passage from the Talmud: “When the fetus comes forth into the air of the world, what is closed opens and what is open closes.” I believe that’s an apt metaphor for what’s going on in your life, Sagittarius. You’re leaving behind a situation that has nurtured you even as it has bound you. Ahead of you lies a scary freedom that will flood into you with a pleasurable shock. Welcome to the brilliant shouting mystery of it all!

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): “To have more, desire less.” I urge you to make that your motto in the coming days, Capricorn. You’re in a phase that’s ideal for expanding your horizons by cutting back on your attachments. Your wealth will grow if you renounce any greed you may be harboring. Your power will intensify if you give up your longing for control over things you can’t control. So be brave. Be nervy. Have fun. As you shed insubstantial wishes and barely-relevant obsessions, you may come to resemble a monarch.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20—Feb. 18): A flower is in one sense a brilliant advertisement. With its alluring aroma, appealing color, and voluptuous shape, it captures the attention of insects and birds, inviting them in for a visit. It’s not false advertising: The pollinators get to imbibe sweet food at the heart of the flower. But the flower also has a hidden agenda. Its male reproductive material, the pollen, gets stuck to the pollinators’ bodies, and they carry it away to the female organs of new flowers, thereby facilitating the plant version of impregnation. Now imagine that you are a flower, and re-read everything I just said, interpreting it as a metaphor for the approach you might want to pursue in the coming days.

PISCES (Feb. 19—March 20): “Dear Rob: I would love to live on the ocean, I mean literally in a floating village, so that I could always sense the pulse of the Mother of Us All. I want the wild revelation of the horizon to be uncluttered before me. I want to smell the tang of salt in the air, to hear the cries of seagulls. No more towers, no more labyrinths of concrete—just breathtaking, incomprehensible expanses of waves. — Piscean Immersion-Junkie.” Dear Immersion-Junkie: Good news! You Pisceans will soon be invited to get tastes of this restless primordial spectacle. It’ll come to you in many ways, including (but not limited to) your dreams, meditations, hot baths, saunas, massages, love- making, music-playing, journal-writing, and sailing.

Homework Comment on Karen Pino’s quote: “The use of intellectual rigor for the purpose of increasing fear, sorrow, or doubt is the greatest cowardice of all.” Go to freewillastrology.com.