Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19) There's plain old everyday lightning, which travels about five miles, and then there are superbolts — strokes of lightning that are a hundred times stronger than a normal flash and that can travel over 100 miles. In the coming weeks, your power levels could be more like these superbolts than your usual output. I suggest you take advantage. Just assume that you'll be able to shed more light and attract more attention than usual.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) When I was 19, I did Outward Bound. For 24 winter days, my team and I camped and traveled through mountains. Near the end of the ordeal, we were each required to do a three-day "solo," during which we were left alone with only three things: a sleeping bag, a canvas tarp and mincemeat: a concentrated slab of food made of raisins, dried apples, lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and dried beef. As I shivered and worried and sang loud songs and battled my own wild thoughts during those challenging but enlightening 72 hours, I grew to savor my odd-tasting delicacy. It kept me sane and grounded. As you prepare for your own rite of passage, I suggest you procure the metaphorical equivalent of mincemeat.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) As reported in UK's Mirror, South African game warden Alex Larenty made a dramatic display of the trust he engenders among the animals under his care. Sidling up from behind to a full-grown male lion named Jamu, Larenty lightly grasped the beast's balls and held on for a while. Jamu did not protest. I invite you to attempt the metaphorical equivalent of this brave encounter. You have the power to play with fire — and I mean "play" in every sense of the word.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) In his book When the Impossible Happens, Stanislav Grof describes a man named Kurt who was "very unhappy if there were no problems in his life and adversaries against whom to fight." Kurt didn't just thrive on crises; he felt uncomfortable if he didn't have any. In my vision of how your destiny is unfolding, you now have the ability to express a more temperate version of this capacity. What I mean is that you could be highly entertained and resoundingly moved by the dilemmas that come into your vicinity, but without going overboard into obsession. You could embrace the challenges in appreciation for the way they compel you to get smarter, but without clutching them desperately.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) Philosopher Bertrand Russell wasn't so much interested in the "will to believe." Rather, he preferred "the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." Your assignment is to try his approach. Regard it as an experiment that you'll have fun with. For a few days, refuse to jump to any conclusions whatsoever. Be skeptical of all theories about why things are the way they are. See if you can thrive without clinging to any ideology. Instead, be bursting with the intention to discover the raw truth, no matter where that leads you and even if it seems to contradict your rules to live by.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Right now I hope you will take some quality time to commune with your inner elder. You especially need the influence of this sage old part of you. He or she doesn't care overly much about social status, romantic drama or the obsession of the moment, but is more interested in what provides deep meaning, generates love and offers the big-picture perspective. So try this: Leap ahead many years in your imagination and tune in to the guidance of the ripe and vibrant wise guy or wise woman you will ultimately become.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) The sirens are tempting you again. This time they say have a really fabulous deal, even better than before. They're sorry, by the way, about the deceptive advertising they used last time you came their way. They want to assure you that they'll never again pull the bait-and-switch routine. So are you ready to give them another chance? Don't look to me for advice. I'm simply here to report the situation. Besides, you need a good stiff test of your powers of discernment. Oh, one other thing: To demonstrate their sincerity, the sirens are offering you their first song and dance absolutely free.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) The three tasks I think you should work on in the coming week are among the hardest any human being can attempt. Luckily, you now have an unusually strong aptitude for them and are likely to receive unexpected assistance if you're brave enough to plunge ahead. Here they are. 1) Interrupt and overthrow negative trains of thought right in the middle of their flow through your brain. 2) Negotiate partial solutions to complex problems. In other words, do the half-right thing when it's impossible to do the totally right thing. 3) Understand that in order to graduate from a certain batch of weird karma that has persisted, you must completely accept the situation as it is, acknowledge your role in precipitating and prolonging it, and feel gratitude for all that it has taught you.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Some Japanese employees receive three days of "heartache leave" per year. During those times they can recover from sad experiences or romantic reversals. If it were up to me, every company in every country in the world would provide workers with the opposite kind of holiday: 10 days of "heart-soaring leave." These would be times devoted to cultivating breakthroughs or celebrating happiness. If there were such a system in place already, I bet you'd use some of those heart-soaring days in the coming weeks.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Your symbol for the week is the Mariana Trench, which is the lowest place on the earth's surface. Located underwater in the Pacific Ocean, it's almost seven miles down — farther below sea level than Mount Everest is above sea level. I chose this natural feature for you to play with in your imagination because I'm hoping it will inspire you to explore the extreme depths and get better acquainted with the stuff that's at the very bottom of your world.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Your IQ has crept up beyond its usual level. I suspect you're poised to erupt with a host of sharp insights, brilliant analyses and strokes of genius. Why? How? It may have to do with the way the planets are massaging your brain chemistry. Or perhaps it's because you smell freedom and it's boosting your intelligence with the enhancements that only the onset of exhilaration can provide. Milk this gift for all it's worth. Don't waste time on trivial conquests like crossword puzzles or online personality tests. Try to solve the mystery of the ages, or at least your two knottiest problems.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) "So I sing to my seeds," says gardener Leslie Gaydos. "What about it?" Although she sounds a bit defensive about treating her unsprouted kernels like sentient beings, I hope you won't be in the least apologetic as you carry out your assignment: Serenade your seeds. Bathe them in your tender concern. Infuse them with your intelligent love. Whether your seeds are literal plants or more metaphorical in nature, make it your priority to sweet-talk them and guide them into the next phase of their growth.