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COLUMN

Free Will Astrology

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) “Poetry is the kind of thing you have to see from the corner of your eye,” said the poet William Stafford. “If you look straight at it you can’t see it, but if you look a little to one side it is there.” As I contemplate your life in the immediate future, I’m convinced that his definition of poetry will be useful for you to apply to just about everything. In fact, I think it’s an apt description of all the important phenomena you’ll need to know about. Better start practicing your sideways vision.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) A Swedish man named Richard Handl decided to conduct a scientific experiment in his kitchen. Would it be possible to split atoms using a homemade apparatus? He wanted to see if he could generate atomic reactions with the radioactive elements radium, americium, and uranium. But before he got too far into the process, the police intervened and ended his risky fairy-tale. I bring this to your attention as an example of how not to proceed in the coming weeks. It will be a good time for you to experiment around the house – refining your relationship with your roommates, moving the furniture around and in general rearranging the domestic chemistry – but please avoid trying stuff as crazy as Handl’s.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) In 1878, Thomas Edison perfected the phonograph, a machine that could record sounds and play them back. There had been some primitive prototypes before, but his version was a major improvement. And what were the first sounds to be immortalized on Edison’s phonograph? The rush of the wind in the trees? A dramatic reading of the Song of Songs? The cries of a newborn infant? Nope. Edison recited the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” When you make your own breakthrough in communication sometime soon, I hope you deliver a more profound and succulent message.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) I suspect you may soon find yourself in a situation similar to the one that 19th-century American President Abraham Lincoln was in when he said the following: “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” In other words, you may not be picky about what you want, but whatever it is, you’ll prefer it to be authentic, pure and distinctly itself. Adulterations and hodgepodges won’t satisfy you, and they won’t be useful. Hold out for the Real Thing.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Last summer, before the football season started, sportswriter Eric Branch wrote about a rookie running back that San Francisco 49er fans were becoming increasingly excited about. The newbie had made some big plays in exhibition games. Would he continue performing at a high level when the regular season began? Were the growing expectations justified? After a careful analysis, Branch concluded that the signs were promising, but not yet definitive: “It’s OK to go mildly berserk,” he informed the fans. That’s the same message I’m delivering to you right now. The early stages of your new possibility are encouraging. It’s OK to go mildly berserk, but it’s not yet time to go totally bonkers.

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