Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You Aries folks often have the vision and drive necessary to launch innovations, but are not as skilled in bringing them to completion. Often it's because you're so fixated on your great ideas that you neglect to work on your people skills. While you may inspire followers in the early going, you don't understand how to lead them over the long haul. But here's some good news: I've got high hopes that you'll remedy this problem in the next four months. With the intimacy-nurturing planet Venus in your sign until June, you're poised to become a decent manager, not just a stirring catalyst.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I'm not fond of the term "luck." To believe in it tends to reinforce superstitious thinking and subvert the power of free will; my approach to astrology is aimed at fighting influences such as that. But I must admit that on occasion I have observed inexplicable outbreaks of good or bad fortune in the lives of people I know. Perhaps these apparent anomalies are just the natural fruits of long-term behavior I haven't been privy to. Or maybe there really is such a thing as luck and I need to adjust my philosophy. Keep this in mind as you savor my surprising prediction for you, Taurus: Something resembling good luck is lurking in your vicinity — an almost obscenely abundant amount of the stuff, actually.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Would you have turned out happier and wiser if you had dropped out of elementary school? Maybe you should have run away to live with the wolves instead of putting your educational fate in the hands of underpaid, overworked mediocrities. Fortunately, Gemini, you're now in a phase when it will be easier to unlearn all the crap that's keeping you from tapping your highest potentials. Consider taking a workshop that'll develop your emotional intelligence and body wisdom. If ritual turns you on, try exorcising the demonic influences of bad schools and pedestrian teachers. Entertain the possibility that their effects on you were akin to getting brainwashed by a cult. Your word of power for the next four weeks is deprogramming.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): When I talk about your shadow, I don't mean the shady shape cast on the ground when your body interrupts the sun's rays. Rather, it's the orphaned part of your personality that you refuse to love. It's the hurt, sad, beaten victim in you that everyone — even you — steps on. Would you believe that this shadow harbors heroic qualities that would be unleashed if you showed how much you care about its redemption?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): How's your messiah complex doing? Had any outbreaks of stigmata or glossolalia (cq) in recent days? Has your halo been glowing a bright neon gold? I won't be surprised if charisma starts surging through you with such radiant intensity that people have to shield their eyes even as they're driven to stare at you. Here's a hint for making best use of this hot spell: Don't offer needy folks what they say they want. Give them the gifts you're most skilled at giving.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It's midwinter where I live in California. The deciduous trees shed their leaves long ago. All but one, that is. Two blocks from my house, in the yard of an old man notorious for yelling at kids who dare to tread on his pristine lawn, is an elm whose branches are still clutching a number of withered brown clusters. What strange magic prevents that lifeless matter from falling away and beginning its natural decay? I can't imagine. But I do hope that by describing this eerie scene I will inspire you to let go of any dead weight you might be clinging to.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Here's a riddle for you: What is the cheapest precious substance on earth? Figure it out and you'll be able to guess what adventures are ahead for you. Want a clue? Then study the following prophecy: It's irrelevant whether you have a good time or a curious time in the next two weeks as long as you cultivate a juicier, smarter relationship with the cheapest precious substance on earth. Be as bold as a hummingbird, as loyal as a serpent, as in between the worlds as a tiger giving birth.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Only after my maternal grandparents died did I discover their true first names. All my life I had known them as "Lillian" and "Raymond," but while going through their papers I realized they had never legally abandoned "Leucadia" and "Roman," the names they'd been given at birth in their native Poland. Similarly, it was only recently that I figured out the planet's highest mountain has much older designations than "Everest." The Nepalese have long called it Sagarmatha; the Chinese, Chomolongma. I hope my tale inspires you Scorpios to question whether you might be under illusions comparable to mine. It is, after all, becoming crucial for you to strip away aliases. Did ever hear about how wizards believe they can gain ultimate power over demons by discovering their true names? Remember the tale of Rumpelstiltskin.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You'll have rhythm and grace if you take quick trips, try cute little risks and make short leaps of faith. You'll be awkward and stumbling if you wander far and wide, toy with macho gambles or try skipping 10 giant steps at a time. Keep it all casual, deft and razor- sharp, Sagittarius. Avoid sprawling, stalling and lollygagging. It'll be a virtue to trust fiery intuitions, but a sin to analyze things so mercilessly that you drain the juice out of them. The color green and the number seven will be on your side. Lazy blue and the number nine will be on the other side. Make friends with crafty lefthanders and deep-feeling optimists, but evade cynical oddballs and sentimental time-stealers.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): How do I come up with your weekly forecasts? I always draw up and meditate on a chart of the current planetary positions. After that, I close my eyes and release my creative mind into the tidal swells of the collective unconscious, asking it to find an image or idea that captures the essence of cosmic zeitgeist. Like right now, as I muse on your future, I'm getting a vision of a city sidewalk in front of the office of a labor union. An eagle and an ostrich are struggling there, beak to beak, as they fight over a $100 bill. I interpret this scene to be a metaphor for the turning point you Capricorns are facing in your job and finances. Depending on which bird wins, you will soon either soar to the heights or bury your head in the dirt.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Have you ever been struck with secret joy by a quiet little miracle? Like say your parents suddenly understand something you've been trying to impress upon them for years. Or you become utterly at peace in a situation where you've always felt off-center. Or you register the hair-raising possibility that you've been guided by a higher power at turning points in your past. I predict that at least three of these fluttery breakthroughs will be on your schedule in the next two weeks. Of course you may devalue and even miss them altogether if you're caught up in a quest for splashier signs of success. My advice: Be as relaxed as a sleepwalker and as alert as a tightrope walker.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Sometimes forgetting is the kindest thing you can do for yourself — especially when the memories in question arose because of misinterpretations or miscommunications. Here's my prescription for a modern variant of nepenthe, the drug of forgetfulness described in Greek myth: Visualize the hurtful scene from the past that you want to banish. Next, picture that scene taking place on a big raft floating near a beach on which you're standing. Let the raft drift out to the high seas. Watch it grow smaller and smaller. When it reaches the horizon, rejoice as it disappears from view. Repeat this exercise three times a day for a week. Homework: What's the one thing you would change about yourself if you could? Why can't you? Write:

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