Free Will Astrology: April 1 through 7

ARIES [March 21–April 19] There's plain old everyday lightning, which travels about five miles, and then there are superbolts—lightning that is 100 times stronger than a normal flash and can travel over 100 miles. Your power levels could be more like these superbolts; 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," a wilderness survival course designed to make a man out of me. For 24 winter days, my team and I traveled through New Hampshire's White Mountains. Near the end of the ordeal, we were each required to do a three-day "solo" experience, during which we were left alone with a sleeping bag, a canvas tarp, and a box of minced meat. The latter was a concentrated slab of food made of raisins, dried apples, lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and dried beef. As I shivered and battled my own wild thoughts during those challenging 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, Taurus, I suggest you procure the metaphorical equivalent of minced meat.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] 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. Jamu did not protest. I invite you to attempt the metaphorical equivalent of this. You have the power to play with fire—and I mean "play" in every sense of the word.

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CANCER [June 21–July 22] In 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. You now have the ability to express a more temperate version of this capacity. You could be highly entertained and resoundingly moved by the dilemmas that come into your vicinity, but without going overboard into obsession. Embrace the challenges in appreciation for the way they compel you to get smarter, but without clutching them desperately.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Philosopher Bertrand Russell wasn't so much interested in the "will to believe"—instead, he preferred "the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." Regard this as an experiment you'll have fun with. For a few days, refuse to jump to any conclusions. Be skeptical of all theories about why things are the way they are. Burst 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 [August 23–September 22] There will be other times when I'll encourage you to upgrade your relationships with your inner child and your inner serpent. Right now, I hope you will 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 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, Virgo: 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 [September 23–October 22] The sirens are enticing and wooing and tempting you again. This time, they say have a really fabulous deal, even better than before. They're sorry, by the way, about the somewhat deceptive advertising they used on the last occasion 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? 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 [October 23–November 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); and 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 [November 22–December 21] Some Japanese employees receive three days of "heartache leave" per year from the companies they work for, so 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," when they could cultivate blessed breakthroughs or celebrate great happiness. If there were such a system in place already, Sagittarius, I bet you'd use some of those heart-soaring days in the coming weeks.

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