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Free will astrology

Week of April 16

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): One of the casualties of the recession has been grooming and primping. Many people are devoting less time and money to maintaining their appearance at peak levels. Make-up sales are down, and I've definitely been seeing more unkempt - or should I say raw and unadorned? - people lately. If you've been considering the possibility of cutting back on your own preening, Aries, now would be a good time to experiment. Why? For one thing, your natural attractiveness is especially strong these days. For another, you're entering a phase when you'll need people's approval less than usual. There's also the fact that anything you do to simplify your life will be a tonic for your mental health.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Artist Amy Marx makes gorgeous paintings of tornadoes. She's your role model for the coming weeks, Taurus. I hope that she will inspire you to use your chaos productively... to welcome elemental energy as raw material for your efforts to beautify your world. Are you up to the challenge? I think you are, although you may have to expand your attitude toward certain phenomena that seem disruptive. (See Marx's tornadoes here: tinyurl.com/78xg63.)

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "I'm having a very good crisis," financier George Soros said recently. The global economic turmoil that has brought such stress for so many other people has earned him millions of dollars. That's no accident: A couple of years ago, Soros foresaw the approaching upheaval and made a raft of smart adjustments in anticipation. I predict that you will have your own very good crisis in the next few weeks, Gemini - especially if you set aside some time now to plan all the ways you might be able to capitalize on the upcoming challenges.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): What I'd really like to see you do in the coming weeks is party harder and party smarter than usual. In my astrological opinion, you're most likely to attract life's maximum generosity by shedding some of your social inhibitions and cultivating the pleasures of free-form networking. Believe me, I know how important it is for you to maintain the kind of strict boundaries that protect you from being overly influenced by other people. It's what keeps you in close touch with your intuition. But for the foreseeable future, I think you'll thrive on the unexpected blessings that come from giving yourself to the intelligence of the crowd.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Some celebrities have hired ghostwriters to communicate for them via Twitter. In a recent tweet from rapper 50 Cent, actually sent by his operative Chris Romero, his fans were told that "My ambition leads me through a tunnel that never ends." I hope you won't follow 50 Cent's lead in the coming weeks, Leo - either in the sense of hiring a ghost-Twitterer or in the sense of following your ambition down a tunnel that never ends. In my astrological opinion, you need to work on eliminating middlemen and go-betweens as you pursue your ambition through sunlit fields that lift your spirit.

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