ARIES (March 21-April 19): What empire are you building, Aries? What master plan are you in the midst of carrying out? As you gaze out upon your realm, are you content with the way it's evolving? Judging from the current astrological omens, I'd say it's an excellent time to ponder questions like those. And if your inventory reveals that you're missing some pieces of the big picture's puzzle, I suggest you set out on a quest to locate them.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In a famous psychology experiment, test subjects watched a video of six people passing basketballs to each other. Their assignment was to count how many passes were thrown and caught by the three people wearing white shirts, while ignoring passes between the three wearing black shirts. But there was a trick embedded in the exercise. Midway through the video, a person wearing a gorilla suit ambled into the scene, thumped his chest, and quickly departed. Half of the test subjects did not notice this intrusion. They were too focused on the task of counting the passes made by the players in white. (Watch it here: tinyurl.com/TrickGorilla.) In the coming week, Taurus, I expect that you will experience at least one similar trick. Look for the unexpected.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Astrologer Hunter Reynolds says that when you are at your best, you Geminis specialize in "enlightened impatience." You don't get trapped expressing polite deference in situations that drain your energy. You don't tolerate boring experiences just because they're supposed to be good for you. You'd rather "err on the side of learning-through-too-much-movement" than get bogged down in "principled sluggishness." But while that's how you are when you're at your peak, you can also be susceptible to the dark side of this talent. Sometimes you abort a potential breakthrough by prematurely fleeing a useful but difficult scene. I suspect you may be prone to that kind of behavior right now. My advice: Be skeptical of your escape reflex.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In her poem "Heathen," Lesley Wheeler describes a young boy who puts his ear up against his mother's ear "so that the god in your head can talk / to the god in mine." The coming weeks would be an excellent time for you to try something similar with people you care for. It's a ripe moment to raise the stakes in your intimate life ... to get closer than you've dared to get before ... to retire the familiar stories you and your allies are in the habit of exchanging so that you can tune in to the deeper hum of each other's wilder truths.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): There's a guy on the Internet—calls himself Tian—whose mission is to correct Westerners who misunderstand and misuse Chinese characters. Many of the people who write to him for advice are Americans who have come to suspect that the Chinese characters they got tattooed on their flesh don't really mean what they were led to believe (bit.ly/WrongTat). For example, Tian informed one person that a tattoo whose character supposedly says "to learn as much as possible" actually means "empty, hollow, bare, deserted." I offer this up as a cautionary tale, Leo. In the coming days, make sure you're not under a misapprehension about what you're taking on and taking in. Choose only the very best imprints—and verify that they are what you think they are.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I regard 2011 as an excellent time for you to cultivate your unique talents, some of which may still be latent or undiscovered. With that in mind, consider these thoughts. Ernest Hemingway said a person had to have "the guts of a burglar" to develop his or her talent. Neurologist and author Dr. Alice W. Flaherty believes that the drive to use one's talent is even more important than the amount of raw talent one has. And here's novelist Erica Jong: "Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that 'talent' to the dark place where it leads." P.S. If you do venture into those dark places, you'll eventually uncover 10 suns' worth of illumination.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Back in 1962, an American company named Corning created a product that was so revolutionary, no one could figure out how to exploit it in practical ways. It was "Gorilla glass," a glass that's so strong it's almost impossible to break or even scratch. Only recently has it found a commercial application, first in cell phones and other mobile devices and next in a new generation of ultra-thin TV screens. I foresee a comparable development in your immediate future, Libra: some ahead-of-its-time breakthrough you made a while ago that can finally be used to improve your life.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): When I arrived at my acupuncturist's waiting room, there were just two magazines on the table next to my chair: The celebrity rag People Style Weekly and the spiritually oriented Shambala Sun. The first offered articles on "hot new handbags and shoes under $99" and "easy ways to get gorgeous hair, skin and nails." The second provided a "guide to mindful living," with advice about how to get centered, focused and relaxed. I thought that was metaphorically similar to the choice you will face in the coming week, Scorpio. It's up to you: Which way do you want to go?
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I can almost categorically guarantee that in 2011 you will have no encounters with fire demons, wart-ridden vampires, two-headed dogs, moaning ghosts, wayward werewolves or extraterrestrial robots. Nope. You can pretty much go ahead and make plans based on the assumption that you won't have to account for intrusions like that. But I can also assure you that the lack of crazy encounters with unhinged monsters does not mean your life will suffer from blahs or boredom. On the contrary: I think this could be one of your most interesting years in a decade. To prepare yourself, make sure you don't unconsciously equate adventure with chaos; imagine what it would be like to experience mystery and intrigue that uplift you.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past," said comedian Lily Tomlin. I recommend that you make this a keynote during the next six months. According to my understanding of the astrological omens, you will have the best opportunity you've had in a long time to put some of your unsettling memories to sleep for good. This is your big chance to graduate from old anxieties that can never be resolved. You're finally ready to declare your independence from messy burdens and maddening riddles that have haunted you.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): If you want to be healed, whether from a physical malady or a psychic wound, there's one prerequisite you have to meet: You have to be willing to learn a lesson that your suffering has invited you to study. I would go so far as to say that no one, no matter how skilled a healer, can help cure you until you have taken that first step. So what teaching is it that you would need to explore in order to transform your distress into wisdom?
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Are you ready to get the fun surprise you were promised in your dreams? Are you fully prepared to collect the elegant prize you were guaranteed before you were born? I don't think you are—mostly because you're not thoroughly convinced that you deserve these wonders. From what I can tell, your self-doubts are still more substantial than your self-worth. And as long as that holds true, you will continue to hold your just rewards at bay. So let's make it your project in the next three weeks to elevate your levels of self-worth. It doesn't mean you'll have to completely shed your self-doubts, so don't worry about trying to pull off that impossible project. All you need to do is adjust your self-worth to self-doubt ratio so it's at least 51 percent to 49 percent.
Homework: All of us are trying to wake up from our sleepy delusions about the nature of life. What will be your most potent wake-up technique in 2011? Go to Freewillastrology.com and click "E-mail Rob."