Like little stars.
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ARIES (March 21-April 19): For some seekers, spiritual enlightenment is the ultimate commodity. They believe that through diligent meditation and self-improvement, there will come a day when they will finally acquire it, free and clear. It will be theirs forever. Their struggles will be over. But here’s what I have to say about that: Arrrgggghh! I believe that even if you’re lucky and wise enough to score a sliver of “enlightenment,” it’s not a static treasure that becomes your permanent possession. Rather, it always remains a mercurial prize that must be continually reearned. Having issued this warning, Aries, I feel fine about informing you that your mind may soon become so open and your vision so vast that you could snag yourself a tasty, concentrated dose of that enlightenment stuff.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): It doesn’t matter if you’ve chanted a million Hail Marys, or made a pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, or done all 12 steps five times over. You will simply not be released from a history that has repeated and repeated and repeated itself — until you completely forgive yourself. Neither does it make a bit of difference if you’ve discharged your debt to society and paid your dues to those who’ve made it possible for you to have gotten as far as you have — unless you also reimburse yourself for all the grief you’ve caused yourself.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): “Dear Dr. Brezsny: Can you tell me why my trivial prayers are often answered (Please don’t let the light turn red, please let there be enough milk for one cup of coffee, etc.), but never my big life-changing prayers (Please send me a soul mate, please help me make money at what I love to do)? Are God’s priorities screwed up, or is it me? — Dumb Luck Collector.”
Dear DLC: You remind me of an old fairy tale in which two old folks are given three wishes by a magic dwarf, then impulsively waste them on the first silly whims that pop into their heads. I’ll tell you what I would have told them: Proceed on the assumption that only a few of your fervent prayers will be granted. Don’t use them up on pleas for convenience when you’re tired, cranky or desperate.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Readers often ask how I come up with my oracles. There’s not enough room to give a full account here. (For further insight, check out the story on my Web site.) I will say that while I rely heavily on an analysis of planetary configurations, I do try other divinatory techniques to supplement my investigations, from reading the cards of my homemade “Baseball Tarot” deck to inducing a trance by inhaling hot ammonia water wafting from my mop bucket. This week, I experimented with a new approach: standing on my head at the bottom of an unheated swimming pool. A few minutes into the ordeal, I had a vision that you were a turtle on its back. Naturally, I immediately followed that up with a vision that I turned you right side up.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): According to ancient myth, the half-feral Greek god Pan used to scare people who were walking in the woods when he darted out suddenly from behind trees. The English word “panic” originated with him. It should be noted, however, that Pan never threatened violence; no one had to fear for his or her physical safety in his presence. He was the god of lusty abandon, of wild dancing, of the orgiastic spirit of growing nature. If passersby were at any risk, it was only because they might contract his contagious erotic obsession. I’m telling you this, Leo, so as to alert you to an imminent encounter with an archetype that is for all intents and purposes Pan.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You’ll have a great opportunity to embarrass your family in the coming weeks, Virgo. I’m being only a little bit facetious. A breakthrough invitation will arrive, and in order to take full advantage of it you’ll have to rebel against all the expectations your relatives have of you — your parents, siblings, grandparents, children and probably even your ancestors! Quite a dicey challenge, my friend. It won’t be the first time you’ve had to choose between sparing your family’s feelings and pushing onto the frontiers of being yourself, but this dare will require the most ingenuity and courage.
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LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): If I had more room, I’d tutor you in a tasty slew of outlaw language lessons. We’d cover forbidden techniques like talking back to big shots, divesting yourself of your five most overused buzzwords, mastering the crafty art of Swahili obscenities and adding authority to your speech by projecting your voice from your diaphragm. Oh, and of course we’d teach you how to pack your utterances full of subliminal messages capable of changing the minds of even the most incorrigible ideologues. In lieu of my crash course, Libra, maybe you could design a do-it-yourself program. The planets are aligned in such a way as to help you boost your persuasive powers.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): So far this year I estimate my advice has saved my 9 million readers more than $2.7 billion in unnecessary expenditures. Scorpio devotees of “Free Will Astrology” have alone been inspired to avoid wasting almost $235 million. But now I’m going to suggest that you exploit some of those extra funds you’ve been able to hold onto. It’s time for you to treat yourself to the kinds of rich, expansive experiences that only money can buy. Whether it’s the professional tool that’ll allow you to leap to the next level of expertise or an educational jaunt to a South Pacific island, spend your way to happiness, please.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The renowned Japanese artist known as Hokusai (1760-1849) was a restless maverick. Throughout his career, he was driven to experiment with ever-new methods and mediums — a habit that early on alienated him from his conservative mentor, Shunsho. So passionate was the man in his commitment to reinvent himself that he celebrated 60 births, each time giving himself a new name. (“Hokusai” was just one of many.) I’d like to recommend his ebullient approach to you in the coming months, Sagittarius. To get started, why not pick a new alias and throw yourself a resurrection party?
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In order to achieve his radical transmutation from a mere wise man and saint into a world teacher, Buddha had to outwit — not engage in pitched battle with — several demons. Like a martial artist trained in anger management, he carried on his fight with poised calm and good humor, not embattled rancor. May this be an inspiration to you as you come face to face with some of the ghosts of your past, Capricorn.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): It’s a richly complicated time, Aquarius. So many threads of your fate are weaving themselves together that I could not possibly tell your story in fewer than 30,000 words. Here’s my attempt to give you a collaged impression of what to expect. Your ruling symbol is the cornucopia. Your motto is: “When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” Your official music is the trumpet call of the archangel; your official vegetable is the hot chili pepper; and your official toy is a cross-dressing Ken doll wearing a bridal gown and wizard’s hat. Finally, the heroic deed from legend that most resembles the feat you’re about to pull off is the capture of a monster without touching it.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Tigers never take baths or brush their teeth, right? With that as his rationale, Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung vowed early in his life that he would become like a tiger by copying its approach to hygiene. Personally, I think there are better ways to infuse oneself with the spirit of the big cat — and that’s exactly what I encourage you to explore in the coming weeks. You could, for instance, sharpen up your listening and looking skills, practice moving your body with sinewy suppleness and hunt for your dreams with raw, relentless precision.
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Time for you to start channeling your inner Nostradamus. Send your earth-shaking do-it-yourself prophecies to Box 150247, San Rafael, CA 94915 or freewillastrology.com.
Rob Brezsny's weekly astrology column appears on Salon as well as on his own Web site and in print publications worldwide. Brezsny's novel, "The Televisionary Oracle," was released earlier this year. He lives near San Francisco.More Rob Brezsny.
Like little stars.
World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.
So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).
My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.
High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.
Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.
New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.
Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.
Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.
Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.
Really does taste like pineapple.