Week of September 15, 2006

VIRGO (Aug 23-Sep 22): There was one main reason why America’s founding fathers gave Thomas Jefferson, not Benjamin Franklin, the job of composing the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They were afraid that Franklin, a compulsive teaser and trickster, would slip jokes into the document. In my opinion, we Americans would have been better served if Franklin had been chosen and allowed to mess around. After all, even the most profound commitments and weighty situations benefit from the leavening power of humor. Keep that in mind during the oh-so-serious games that are ahead for you, Virgo.
LIBRA (Sep 23-Oct 22): “The time has come to declare the war on terror over,” wrote James Fallows in September’s The Atlantic. “Al-Qaeda’s mistakes, and our successes, have sharply reduced the terrorist network’s ability to harm the United States. Its threat now rests less on what it can do itself than on what it can trick, tempt, or goad us into doing. Its destiny is no longer in its own hands.” In a similar way, Libra, one of your personal enemies has mostly lost the power to hurt you. Its remaining threat resides in what it can trick, tempt, or goad you into doing. To say safe and sane, all you have to do is refuse to get sucked in by your weakened enemy’s ruses.
SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21): In his book Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, historian Thomas Lacquer suggests that the clitoris may have been unknown to male anatomists until 1559. In that year, Renaldus Columbus, a professor at the University of Padua in Italy, announced his discovery of the “seat of woman’s delight,” and declared his right to name it the “sweetness of Venus.” I predict that you will soon ferret out and begin to share in a treasure that, while not quite as momentous as Columbus’, will nonetheless fill you with glee—even if its value has always been known to its original finders.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21): According to visionary astrologer Elias Lonsdale, the age-old war between good and evil is over. His shocking conclusion: Evil lost. It will take a while for its malignant dominance to ebb away, and the transition time may bring apparent setbacks, but already the momentum has shifted. The forces of good are in ascendancy, and will steadily build a new order in the coming decades. Is Lonsdale’s perspective true? I personally don’t have the wisdom to be able to confirm or deny it. But I do know this: The age-old war between good and evil within you is over, and evil lost. From now on, the forces of beauty, truth, love, and justice will grow in power.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19): When playing the card game known as bridge, you’re fortunate if you’re dealt no cards of any particular suit. It allows you to use the trump suit to win tricks. There’s an analogous situation in your life right now, Capricorn. A lack of a certain resource can work to your advantage. It will allow you to be a free agent, an X-factor, a wild card. You’ll be able to capitalize on loopholes that aren’t normally available to you. Luck will come to you through what you’re missing.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18): Last May, workers cleaning up garbage on Britain’s highest mountain made a startling find. There at the top of Mt. Ben Nevis was a piano. How did it get there? Three years earlier, hikers in Indiana’s Yellowwood State Forest stumbled upon an equally inexplicable anomaly: a massive boulder lodged in the topmost branches of an 80-foot-tall chestnut tree. These are your metaphors of the week, Aquarius. I bet that you too will find seemingly out-of-place things in high places. Don’t dismiss them with a flick of your rational mind. Give them a chance to change your thinking about the nature of reality.
PISCES (Feb 19-Mar 20): Millard Fillmore was President of the United States from 1850 to 1853. He was the last holder of that office who was neither a Democrat nor Republican. Let’s make him a symbol of freedom from the rigged con game that is America’s two-party political system, as well as an inspiring image for those of you who aspire to rise above every either-or dichotomy. Fillmore will be your mascot as you declare your independence from the dualistic ways of thinking that threaten to ensnare you. He’ll be an emblem that rouses you to transcend the simplistic arguments spewed by fanatical devotees of the Us Versus Them racket. Escape the vise, Pisces.
ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 19): According to the theory known as Ducharme’s Precept, “Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.” I bet you’ll soon be living proof of that, Aries. An offer or invitation will come your way in a maddeningly inconvenient way. You’ll be tempted to invoke excuses about why you cannot possibly take advantage of it right now. But I hope that instead you leap at the chance with a full and even greedy heart. As annoying as the circumstances might seem, they’re exactly what you need in order to bring out the best in you.
TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20): As I meditated on your horoscope, I was driving a rented Ford Taurus 90 mph south on California’s I-5. “Give me omens about what Tauruses need to hear,” I asked the Fates. Moments later, a red Infiniti car whizzed by me on the right. The aroma of pig manure from a nearby farm pervaded the air. On the CD player, devotional musician Krishna Das launched a hair-raising hymn to the Goddess. Orange brush strokes appeared in the dusky sky over scissor-shaped mountain peaks, making me feel as if nature had painted a gorgeous canvas for my personal enjoyment. Here’s how I interpret this lush symbolic offering: As you’re gliding along, a message from eternity will speed by you from an unexpected direction. Fertility will be abundant in your life even though it may be pungent. You’ll have rousing contact with a boisterous, masculine form of spirituality. Nature will offer you a gift—a beautiful secret just for you.
GEMINI (May 21-Jun 20): Of all the objects in the world that are made of 22-karat gold, a bathtub in Japan is the biggest. Weighing in at over 300 pounds, it’s in the Funabara Hotel a hundred miles south of Tokyo. I suggest you regard it as your personal symbol of power in the coming week, Gemini. It will remind you to stay true to your task, which is to cleanse yourself extravagantly as you purge your heart of all motivations that aren’t pure gold.
CANCER (Jun 21-Jul 22): Those of us born under the sign of Cancer the Crab are sometimes pathologically self-sufficient. We can dole out love in abundance but be conflicted about asking for and accepting the love we need. Keep that warning in mind as you meditate on the following advice: It’s high time to love yourself more and better—to experiment with new strategies for taking care of yourself, nurturing your creativity, and providing yourself with pleasure. Just don’t let this honorable work blind you to the gifts that other people want to bless you with.
LEO (Jul 23-Aug 22): Every year 1.5 million Turkish students take a day-long college entrance exam. It’s a grueling maze of complicated yet often inane questions—an absurd attempt to quantify intelligence with a one-size-fits-all standard of measurement. Three quarters of all students fail, and thus face the prospect of unemployment in a country where only higher education guarantees a decent job. This year a lone rebel rose up in defiance against the oppressive tradition. Sefa Boyar announced he’d strive to give the wrong answer to every question on the multiple-choice test. Naturally, he had to study hard to make sure he wouldn’t accidentally get a few right answers. Be inspired by Boyar, Leo. Resist or subvert the soul-shrinking hocus-pocus of a bunch of humans acting like machines. Unlike Boyar, do it in a way that enhances your chance to achieve success on your own terms.