Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Read these lines by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, translated by Chana Block and Stephen Mitchell: "A flock of sheep near the airport or a high voltage generator beside the orchard: these combinations open up my life like a wound, but they also heal it. That's why my feelings always come in twos." Draw inspiration from this passage. Rather than experiencing the riddles and contradictions of your life merely as painful schisms, think of them also as mysterious unifications.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): During the lead up to Pennsylvania's election of a U.S. Senator in 2006, the leftist Green Party in Pennsylvania tried hard to get its candidate on the ballot. Facing almost insurmountable odds to raise the necessary funds, it turned to an unlikely source: conservative Republicans, who gladly and fiendishly contributed money in the hope that the Green Party's nominee would siphon votes away from their far more viable competitor, the Democratic candidate. I expect you may be able to pull off a similar coup in the coming weeks, Taurus: getting an adversary or opponent to aid and abet your cause.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Do you have a pet pig? If so, it'll be a good week to imitate what Homer Simpson did in The Simpsons Movie: Hold your animal friend upside-down and help it simulate the act of creeping along the ceiling, all the while singing a "Spiderpig" version of the Spiderman theme song. And if none of that seems meaningful or relevant to you, please at least try to induce a lucid dream of yourself crawling along the inside of the vault in the Sistine Chapel, or hauling your luggage across the underside of a cloud, or gliding as slowly as a sloth out to the end of a big limb on an oak tree. You need action that's simultaneously high up and reversed, Gemini. You've got to be grounded yet rebellious as you soar. Or you need to defy gravity as you take baby steps. Or something like that.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Though Wales is at the same latitude as Siberia, it's free of frigid tundra. Still, its climate isn't exactly balmy. Cool, cloudy, damp days are common. That's why Welsh horticulturalists cheered with shocked exultation last summer, when three outdoor banana plants produced fruit at the National Botanical Garden. It was an unprecedented miracle. I predict a comparable development for you, Cancerian. A source that has never been more than lukewarm will get downright tropical. An influence that has been inhospitable to your passion will become fertile and welcoming. As a result, you will bloom in a way you never have before.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "A British study revealed that the average man spends a full six months of his life staring at women in a slack-jawed trance of frustrated desire," reported The Week magazine. That's the bad news. The good news? The omens suggest you have an extraordinary capacity right now to break any slack-jawed trance of frustrated desire you've been oppressed by. That's true whether you're a hetero man or any other kind of Leo. So identify the sad, unrequited longing that evokes your most poignant disappointment, and rise up to overthrow it. You've got the power to declare your independence.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, who was the supreme commander of U.S. troops in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004, thinks his government has made tragic mistakes. Citing "a catastrophically flawed war plan," he said, "There has been a glaring display of incompetent strategic leadership from our national leaders." Sanchez is your role model for the coming week, Virgo. I hope he inspires you to do one of three things: (1) raise a critique of a group or institution you've been an instrumental part of; (2) rebel against the faulty execution of an idea you support; (3) put your service to moral truth above blind loyalty.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It will be a good week to build your spiritual prowess by dancing on burning embers without getting scorched, by smashing bricks with your forehead without getting a headache, or by parachuting out of a plane without scaring yourself to death. But there are other, less physical ways to jolt yourself into a higher state of awareness; you don't need to risk injury in order to boost your ability to see the big picture. For example, you could push through the terror you feel about asking for what you really want. You could overcome your fear of being honest with people you care about. You could stride into a place where you once experienced a defeat, and take the forceful action necessary to render that loss irrelevant.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I believe that doing the challenging assignments I'm about to describe will put you in alignment with cosmic rhythms, and make it more likely that you will attract grace and synchronicity into your life. You are, of course, under no obligation to carry them out. That's because you have free will, and are always at liberty to choose a path that leads you away from grace and synchronicity. With that as a caveat, here are the roles I believe you should play in the coming week if you'd like to thrive: a catalytic X-factor; a tender wild card; a friendly shocker; a nonviolent bombshell; an agent provocateur who loves all you survey.

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