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, Aries: 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, Taurus. Shall we sum up the first part of 2011 and speculate about the adventures that may lie ahead of you 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, Gemini, 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 $3000, 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, Cancerian. So brainstorm freely, please: 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, Leo, 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.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Years ago I did a book tour that brought me to Eugene, Ore., where my sister and her husband and their daughter live. They came to my reading at a bookstore. My Virgo niece Jasper was seven years old at the time. I was surprised and delighted when she heckled me several times during my talk, always with funny and good-natured comments that added to the conviviality of the moment and entertained everyone in attendance. Who said Virgos are well behaved to a fault? Your assignment this week is to be inspired by my niece: With wit and compassion, disrupt the orderly flow of any events that could use some smart agitation.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on,” wrote author Samuel Butler. Ain’t that the truth! You may be practicing as diligently as you can, gradually trying to master your complex instrument, but in the meantime your lack of expertise is plainly visible to anyone who’s paying close attention. Luckily, not too many people pay really close attention, which gives you a significant amount of slack. Now and then, too, you have growth spurts — phases when your skills suddenly leap to a higher octave. The coming weeks should be one of these times for you, Libra.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In August and September, millions of seabirds known as sooty shearwaters leave their homes in New Zealand and travel thousands of miles to the Gulf of the Farallones, just off the coast of San Francisco. Why do they do it? The feeding is first class; the tasty fish and squid they like are available in abundance. I suggest you consider a sooty-shearwater-type quest in the coming weeks, Scorpio. The very best samples of the goodies you crave are located at a distance, either in a literal or metaphorical sense.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I really thought I’d understand sex better by now. After all these years of doing it and studying it and thinking about it and talking about it, I still can’t regard myself as a master of the subject. The kundalini’s uncanny behavior continues to surprise me, perplex me and thrill me with ever-new revelations. Just when I imagine I’ve figured out how it all works, I’m delivered to some fresh mystery. How about you, Sagittarius? Judging by the current astrological omens, I’m guessing you’re due for a round of novel revelations about the nature of eros. As long as you keep an open mind, open heart and open libido, it should all be pretty interesting.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A few years ago, Eve Ensler took her famous play The Vagina Monologues to Pakistan. She and a group of local Muslim actresses wowed a crowd in Islamabad with discourses on vibrators, menstruation and “triple orgasms.” I invite and encourage you to try something equally brave in the coming weeks, Capricorn. Give your spiel to a new audience; take your shtick to a wild frontier; show who you really are to important people who don’t know the truth yet.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): When my “macho feminist” memoir The Televisionary Oracle was published in 2000, I suffered from comical delusions about its chances for mainstream acceptance. For example, I tried to get a review in the New York Times. As I know now, that had as much likelihood of happening as me traveling to the moon in a rainbow canoe carried by magical flying mermaids. But in lieu of that kind of recognition, others arrived. One of my favorites: My book went along for the ride with a group of goddess-worshipers on a spiritual tour to the ancient matriarchal city of Catal Huyuk in Turkey. They read my writing aloud to each other, amused and entertained. I suspect you will soon have a similar experience, Aquarius: having to “settle for” a soulful acknowledgment that’s different from what your ego thought it wanted. Take it from me: That’s actually better.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): My favorite plant food for my African violets is a natural fertilizer called Big Bloom. One of its key ingredients — the stuff that makes it so effective — is bat guano. I’d like to suggest that you’re about due to embark on the Big Blooming phase of your own cycle, Pisces. And it’s more likely to reach its deserved pinnacle of fertility if you’re willing to summon just a hint of bat-shit craziness from the depths of your subconscious mind. But remember: just a dollop, not a giant heap.