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COLUMN

Free Will Astrology

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Aries (March 21-April 19) Golden orb spiders of Madagascar spin robust webs. Their silk is stronger than steel yet able to bend and expand when struck by insects. Here's an equally amazing facet of their work: Each morning they eat what remains of yesterday's web and spend an hour or so weaving a fresh one. I'm thinking that your task in the coming weeks has some similarities to the orb spider's: creating rugged but flexible structures to gather what you need, and being ready to continually shed what has outlived its usefulness so as to build what your changing circumstances require. (Thanks to the California Academy of Sciences for the info on orb spiders.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20) The year is almost half over. Shall we sum up the first part of 2011 and speculate about the adventures that may lie ahead in the next six months? The way I see it, you've been going through a boisterous process of purification since last January. Some of it has rattled your soul's bones, while some of it has freed you from your mind-forged manacles. In a few short months, you have overseen more climaxes and shed more emotional baggage than you had in the past three years combined. Now you're all clean and clear and fresh, and ready for a less exhausting, more cheerful kind of fun.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Advertisements are often designed to make you feel inadequate about the life you're actually living so you will be motivated to "improve" your lot by buying what they're selling. In this short horoscope, I don't have room to express how much soul sickness this wreaks upon us all. Recently HBO unleashed an especially nefarious attack. Promoting its new streaming service, it informed us that "The story you could be watching is better than the one you're in." Fortunately, you won't be tempted to swallow that vicious propaganda anytime in the coming weeks. Your personal story will be profoundly more interesting and meaningful than the narratives that HBO or any other entertainment source might offer.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) A company that manufactures processed food made a promotional offer: If you purchased 10 of its products, it would give you 500 frequent flyer miles. An American man named David Philips took maximum advantage. He bought 12,150 pudding cups for $3,000, earning himself more than a million frequent flyer miles – enough to fly to Europe and back 31 times. This is the kind of legal trick you're now in a good position to pull off. So brainstorm freely: How could you play the system, outwit the matrix, rage against the machine, or subvert the Man? No need to break any laws; the best gambit will be an ethical one.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) While watching fast-talking politicians talk on TV, my Polish grand-uncle would sometimes mutter, zlotem pisal, a gownem zapieczetowal. I only learned what those words meant when I turned 18 and he decided I was old enough to know the translation: "written in gold and sealed with crap." One of your interesting assignments in the coming weeks will be to identify anything that fits that description in your own life. Once you've done that, you can get started on the next task, which should be rather fun: Expose the discrepancy, and clean up the mess.

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