TAURUS (April 20-May 20): When poet Wislawa Szymborska delivered her speech for winning the Nobel Prize, she said that "whatever else we might think of this world — it is astonishing." She added that, for a poet, there really is no such thing as the "ordinary world," "ordinary life" and "the ordinary course of events." In fact, "Nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone's existence in this world." I offer you her thoughts, Taurus, because I believe that in the next two weeks you will have an extraordinary potential to feel and act on these truths. You are hereby granted license to be astonished on a regular basis.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Would you consider enrolling in my Self-Pity Seminar? If so, you would learn that obsessing on self-pity is a means to an end, not a morass to get lost in. You would feel sorry for yourself for brief, intense periods so that you could feel proud and brave the rest of the time. For a given period — let's say three days — you would indulge and indulge and indulge in self-pity until you entirely exhausted that emotion. Then you'd be free to engage in an orgy of self-healing, self-nurturing and self-celebration. Ready to get started? Ruminate about the ways that people don't fully appreciate you.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In a typical conversation, most of us utter too many "uhs," "likes," "I means" and "you knows." I mean, I'm sure that ... uh ... you'll agree that, like, what's the purpose of, you know, all that pointless noise? But I have some good news to deliver about your personal use of language in the coming weeks, Cancerian. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you'll have the potential to dramatically lower your reliance on needless filler. But wait, there's more: Clear thinking and precise speech just might be your superpowers. As a result, your powers of persuasion should intensify. Your ability to advocate for your favorite causes may zoom.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): In 1668, England named John Dryden its first poet laureate. His literary influence was so monumental that the era in which he published was known as the Age of Dryden. Twentieth-century poetry great T.S. Eliot said he was "the ancestor of nearly all that is best in the poetry of the eighteenth century." Curiously, Dryden had a low opinion of Shakespeare. "Scarcely intelligible," he called the Bard, adding, "His whole style is so pestered with figurative expressions that it is as affected as it is coarse." I foresee a comparable clash of titans in your sphere, Leo. Two major influences may fight it out for supremacy. One embodiment of beauty may be in competition with another. One powerful and persuasive force could oppose another. What will your role be? Mediator? Judge? Neutral observer? Whatever it is, be cagey.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Just this once, and for a limited time only, you have cosmic clearance to load up on sugary treats, leave an empty beer can in the woods, watch stupid TV shows and act uncool in front of the Beautiful People. Why? Because being totally well-behaved and perfectly composed and strictly pure would compromise your mental health more than being naughty. Besides, if you want to figure out what you are on the road to becoming, you will need to know more about what you’re not.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In addition to fashion tips, advice for the broken-hearted, midlife-crisis support and career counseling, I sometimes provide you with more mystical help. Like now. So if you need nuts-and-bolts guidance, I hope you'll have the sense to read a more down-to-earth horoscope. What I want to tell you is that the metaphor of resurrection is your featured theme. You should assume that it's somehow the answer to every question. Rejoice in the knowledge that although a part of you has died, it will be reborn in a fresh guise.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "Are you ready for the genie's favors? Don't rub the magic lamp unless you are." That's the message I saw on an Instagram meme. I immediately thought of you. The truth is that, up until recently, you have not been fully prepared for the useful but demanding gifts the genie could offer you. You haven't had the self-mastery necessary to use the gifts as they're meant to be used, and, therefore, they were a bit dangerous to you. But that situation has changed. Although you may still not be fully primed, you're as ready as you can be. That's why I say: RUB THE MAGIC LAMP!
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You may have heard the exhortation "Follow your bliss!" that was popularized by mythologist Joseph Campbell. After studying the archetypal stories of many cultures throughout history, he concluded that it was the most important principle driving the success of most heroes. Here's another way to say it: Identify the job or activity that deeply excites you and find a way to make it the center of your life. In his later years, Campbell worried that too many people had misinterpreted "Follow your bliss" to mean "Do what comes easily." That's all wrong, he said. Anything worth doing takes work and struggle. "Maybe I should have said, 'Follow your blisters,'" he laughed. I bring this up, Sagittarius, because you are now in an intense "Follow your blisters" phase of following your bliss.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The versatile artist Melvin Van Peebles has enjoyed working as a filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, composer and novelist. One of his more recent efforts was a collaboration with the experimental band the Heliocentrics. Together they created a science-fiction-themed, spoken-word poetry album titled The Last Transmission. Peebles told NPR, "I haven't had so much fun with clothes on in years." If I'm reading the planetary omens correctly Capricorn, you're either experiencing that level of fun or will soon be doing so.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In what ways do you most resemble your mother? Now is a good time to take inventory. Once you identify any mom-like qualities that tend to limit your freedom or lead you away from your dreams, devise a plan to transform them. You may never be able to defuse them entirely, but there's a lot you can do to minimize the mischief they cause. Be calm but calculating in setting your intention, Aquarius! PS: In the course of your inventory, you may also find there are ways in which you are like your mother that are of great value to you. Is there anything you could do to more fully develop their potential?
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "We are what we imagine," writes Piscean author N. Scott Momaday. "Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves. Our best destiny is to imagine who and what we are. The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined." Let's make this passage your inspirational keynote for the coming weeks. It's a perfect time to realize how much power you have to create yourself through the intelligent and purposeful use of your vivid imagination. (PS: Here's a further tip, this time from Cher: "All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.")
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Beware of feeling sorry for sharks that yell for help. Beware of trusting coyotes that act like sheep and sheep that act like coyotes. Beware of nibbling food from jars whose contents are different from what their labels suggest. But wait! "Beware" is not my only message for you. I have these additional announcements: Welcome interlopers if they're humble and look you in the eye. Learn all you can from predators and pretenders without imitating them. Take advantage of any change that's set in motion by agitators who shake up the status quo, even if you don't like them.
Correction: The original Free Will Astrology readings printed here were intended for next week, but this page now shows this week's correct readings. The May 11 to 17 readings can be found here. Apologies for any cosmic missteps.