Horoscope

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Charles Baudelaire counseled readers to be drunk continually 'on wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish,' " wrote Kate Taylor in The New Yorker. "But he also thought drugs were a perversion of our taste for the infinite and that great minds could furnish their own intoxicants." I'm hoping you're one of those "great minds" the French poet was talking about, Aries. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you need a large helping of the magic that lies outside of ordinary consciousness. But you're far more likely to thrive if you can find a natural way to satisfy your "taste for the infinite."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): To hint at the potentials of the coming week, I'll appropriate the words of avant-garde music composer and author John Cage. In describing his work, he once said, "I have nothing to say/and I am saying it/and that is poetry." Here's an altered version, Taurus, created especially to suit your current astrological needs: You have nothing to do/and you are doing it/and that's your genius.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The gods have authorized me to give you three tough but sweet oracles. Ready? (1) If you hope to be in the right place at the right time to hear the words that will set you free, you'll have to act with both more confidence and more humility. (2) To learn the clue that will heal an old rift, you'll have to really want to know what's going on beneath the official version of the truth. (3) To find the hidden beauty and inspiration in an initially awkward mess, you'll have to respond without anger to a message that feels threatening to your pride.

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CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your actions in the immediate future could have a potent impact on your long-range future. For instance, new connections you forge in the coming weeks—especially if you leave your comfort zone to make them—will be valuable if you decide to leave your current dream home and head to a new dream home next year. Here's another example: If you spend some time this August trying to fix a glitch in the way you communicate, 2005 may bring a dramatic enrichment of your sense of community and a surge of grace in your family dynamics.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In describing his creative process, novelist Jack Kerouac said, "The first thought is the best thought." When Allen Ginsberg was asked "What's the best advice you can give a poet?" he echoed Kerouac. On the other hand, Nobel Prize-winning writer William Butler Yeats constantly revised works he had already published, even fiddling with poems that were many years old. Pierre Bonnard was so committed to editing himself that "he was once caught trying to retouch one of his own paintings hanging on a museum wall," wrote poet Linh Dinh, who concluded, "Last thought is the best thought." While there are valid arguments for both views, Leo, the astrological omens say your best bet for now is to go the way of Kerouac and Ginsberg.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Before you can move on to your next exciting challenge, you'll have to answer a few hard questions about the life you've lived since your last birthday. The object of this test is not to make you feel guilty, but to help you take inventory of your gaffes and indiscretions so you can make atonement, thereby clearing a path to the future. Have you purposely caused anyone pain? Did you tell any big lies? Did you commit any unethical acts? Have you revealed information told to you in confidence? Do you owe money or energy to anyone you have no intention of paying back? Confess everything, Virgo—to the mirror. Then go set things right, or at least as right as possible.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "If the landscape reveals one certainty," wrote Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, "it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down eons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with fresh vigor." In my astrological opinion, Libra, it is your duty to resonate with this particular aspect of the cosmos. For the next few weeks, you have license to overflow with floods of self-expression; you have the right to create like a god who has the pleasure and privilege of creating a new world.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): A Taoist parable tells of a poor farmer who owned a single horse. One night it ran away. The neighbors came to offer condolences. "What bad luck!" they said. "Maybe," the farmer replied. "Maybe not." A week later, the fugitive horse returned, accompanied by six wild horses. The farmer and his son corralled them. "Lucky you!" the neighbors cried. "Maybe," the farmer said. "Maybe not." Soon the son tried taming the new arrivals. A stallion threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. "Terrible luck!" the neighbors wailed. "Maybe," said the farmer. "Maybe not." The next day, soldiers visited the village. Strife had broken out between two warlords, and one had decided to conscript the local young men. Though every other son was taken, the farmer's boy was spared because of his injury. "What fantastic luck!" the neighbors said. I think this story captures the essence of your coming week pretty well, Scorpio.

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