Free Will Astrology: June 20-26. 2012

ARIES [March 21–April 19] Swans, geese, and ducks molt all their flight feathers at once, which means they might be unable to fly for several weeks afterward. We humans don't do anything like that in a literal way, but we have a psychological analog: times when we shed outworn self-images. I suspect you're coming up on such a transition, Aries. While you're going through it, you might want to lie low. Anything resembling flight should probably be postponed until the metamorphosis is complete and your feathers grow back.

TAURUS [April 20–May 20] In 2011, car traffic began flowing across Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, a newly completed span that joins the city of Qingdao with the Huangdao District in China. This prodigious feat of engineering is 26.4 miles long. I nominate it to serve as your prime metaphor in the coming weeks. Picture it whenever you need a boost as you work to connect previously unlinked elements in your life. It might help inspire you to master the gritty details that will lead to your own monumental accomplishment.

GEMINI [May 21–June 20] An apple starts growing on its tree in the spring. By early summer, it may be full size and as red as it will ever be. To the naked eye, it appears ready to eat. But it's not. If you pluck it and bite into it, the taste probably won't appeal to you. If you pluck it and hope it will be more delicious in a few weeks, you'll be disappointed. So here's the moral of the story, Gemini: For an apple to achieve its potential, it has to stay on the tree until nature has finished ripening it. Keep that lesson in mind as you deal with the urge to harvest something before it has reached its prime.

CANCER [June 21–July 22] "Dear Rob: In one of your recent horoscopes, you implied that I should consider the possibility of asking for more than I've ever asked for before. You didn't actually use those words, but I'm pretty sure that's what you meant. Anyway, I want to thank you! It helped me start working up the courage to burst out of my protective and imprisoning little shell. Today, I gave myself permission to learn the unknowable, figure out the inscrutable, and dream the inconceivable. — Crazy Crab." Dear Crazy: You're leading the way for your fellow Cancerians. The process you just described is exactly what I advise them to try in the coming weeks.

LEO [July 23–August 22] Picture yourself moving toward a building you haven't seen before. Trust the initial image that leaps into your imagination. What type of path are you on? Concrete or dirt or brick? Is it a long, winding way or short and direct? Once you arrive at the front door, locate the key. Is it under a mat or in your pocket? Next, open the door and go inside to explore. Where have you arrived? See everything in detail. This is a test that has no right or wrong answers, Leo—similar to what your life is actually bringing you right now. The building you've envisioned represents the next phase of your destiny. The path symbolizes how you get here. The key is the capacity or knowledge you will need.

VIRGO [August 23–September 22] My first poetry teacher suggested that it was my job as a poet to learn the names of things in the natural world. She said I should be able to identify at least 25 species of trees, 25 flowers, 25 herbs, 25 birds, and eight clouds. I have unfortunately fallen short in living up to that modest goal, and I've always felt guilty about it. But it's never too late to begin, right? In the coming weeks, I vow to correct for my dereliction of duty. I urge you to follow my lead, Virgo. Is there any part of your life's mission that you have skipped over? Now would be an excellent time to catch up.

LIBRA [September 23–October 22] Here's my nomination for one of the 10 Biggest Problems in the World: our refusal to control the pictures and thoughts that pop into our minds. For example, I can personally testify that when a fearful image worms its way into the space behind my eyes, I sometimes let it stimulate a surge of negative emotions rather than just banish it or question whether it's true. I'm calling this is to your attention, Libra, because in the weeks ahead you'll have more power than usual to modulate your stream of consciousness. Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, "Don't believe everything you think"? Make that your mantra.

SCORPIO [October 23–November 21] In the hands of a skilled practitioner, astrology can help you determine the most favorable days to start a new project, heat up your romantic possibilities, or get a tattoo of a ninja mermaid. Success is of course still quite feasible at other times, but you might find most grace and ease if you align yourself with the cosmic flow. Let's consider, for example, the issue of you taking a vacation. According to my understanding, if you do it between now and July 23, the experiences you have will free your ass, and your mind will then gratefully follow. If you schedule your getaway for another time, you could still free your ass but may have to toil more intensely to get your mind to join the fun.

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