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Free will astrology

Week of August 30

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): "Here's how you can tell if you have a bad psychotherapist or counselor," says my friend Laura. "She or he buys into all your BS, never questions your delusions, and builds your self-esteem even if that makes you into an a**hole." I agree with Laura's assessment, which is why I'm going to spend our short time together today calling you on your BS, prodding you to get introspective about your delusions, and not pumping up the parts of your ego that really should be melted down. Next week maybe we'll get back to gazing adoringly into each other's eyes, but right now you'll benefit from some tough love.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): This will be an excellent time to read five books simultaneously, snack constantly on delicacies while avoiding heavy meals, climb a tree with an adventurous friend and make careful yet wild love right there, refuse to practice any form of meditation that doesn't involve laughing, buy ten cheap alarm clocks and smash them with a hammer out in the middle of a meadow, pretend to be a feral teenager who's allergic to civilization, and throw invisible stones at any god, angel, or genie who won't help you get the love you want.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): American poet William Stafford, winner of the National Book Award in 1963, wrote a poem every morning for 40 years. "I keep following the hidden river of my life," he said. "And I don't have any sense of its coming to a crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along." I'd like to nominate Stafford to be your honorary role model, Gemini. Here's your assignment: Every morning for the next 20 days, carry out a brief ritual (no more than a few minutes long) that feeds your lust for life and engenders a blessing for yourself or someone you care about.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your assignment in the coming week is simple but tricky: Take devalued ideas or trivial objects or demeaning words, and transform them into things that are fun, interesting, or useful. Here are some precedents to inspire you: what the punk movement did when it made safety pins into earrings; what gays did when they mutated the insulting term "queer" into a word of power; what the resourceful TV hero MacGyver did when he put powdered make-up into a confetti cannon and shot it at evil CIA operatives, temporarily blinding them and allowing him to escape.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): It's a perfect time to work more intensely on cultivating a healthy relationship between money and your soul. For inspiration, read this wise counsel, articulated by Margaret Young and quoted in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way . "Many people attempt to live their lives backwards. They try to have more money in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."

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