REAL ASTROLOGY for an unreal world

Aries (March 21-April 19): The longest flight by a chicken, 302 feet, was accomplished in 1967 by a hen born under the sign of Aries. In 1955, an Aries python provided the only known case of a snake devouring a whole pig. As of 1993, an Aries manx owns the honor of the longest swim by a cat. Please note that all these marks, as well as a disproportionate number of the world's records held by Aries creatures, were pulled off between March 21 and April 19. Perhaps it's because that's the launch of the Aries New Year, when your hormones, endorphins and adrenaline are especially rich and itchy. Moral of the story: If you've been dreaming of a peak performance, now's the time to shoot your wad.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Your life this week may have resemblances to the old medieval festival of Saturnalia, in which a donkey was dressed up like the Pope and poor people had license to insult the pillars of society. Then again this week may be like the annual Doo Da Parade in Pasadena: no theme, no grand marshal, no judging, no prizes -- just a bunch of wackos in costumes having a blast playing out-of-tune instruments. In other words, Taurus, it'll be a perfect time to be the character you'd be if you had nothing to lose.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): No extraterrestrials will kiss you while you're sleeping this week. An earthquake will not relocate your kitchen into the next county. Rains of locusts will not pour down on your picnic. You may, however, be swept away by a spring flood of romantic proportions. Whirling hormones may envelop you in a tornado of lust. And if we're to believe Nostradamus' little-known 395th quatrain concerning the events of late March '95 -- "the twins will dance on a volcano of love" -- you're in for a gushing, rapturous, elemental week.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): So here's where you get to prove that Cancerians are good for more than taking care of kids, creating a comfy home and feeling the whole world's pain. Not that there's anything wrong or inferior about those three talents; it's just that you can't afford to be pigeonholed right now as a timid little nurturer. To claim all the rewards you have coming to you, you'll probably have to be a pushy tough guy.

Is it possible for a gentle, sensitive soul to have a commanding presence? Is there a human being alive who can blend sweet sympathy with Nietzschean will power? You're the answer to those riddles.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): I've been down in Florida lately, hoping to catch on as a replacement baseball player. It wasn't so long ago, after all, that I hit .340 as a fleet-footed shortstop in the Carolina League. Only one drawback: I've been so busy that I haven't had all the time I need to write this column. Hope you don't mind that I hired a replacement astrologer to pen your horoscope. He's Jack Garcia, normally a Leo plumber from Miami. I felt he had the best instincts about what you needed to hear this week. Here's his advice: Vacation time, baby! Put a "Back in Five Minutes" sign on your door, and then take the whole week off. Play hooky, that's what I say. Be proud to be out to lunch.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Due to a rare tachyon surge in the planetary dream machine, you've become eligible to lose your virginity again -- possibly in the back seat of a car, but more likely in a well-furnished shrine or holy lap of luxury.

In fact, this re-deflowering may not be exactly sexual at all. It might, instead, involve your initiation into the secrets of how and why to be more like a lover everywhere in your life, not just in the bedroom.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It's not a good week to get your lover's name tattooed on your body. Maybe in May, but not yet. On the other hand, it would be a propitious moment to see if your lovers are willing to get your name tattoed on their bodies. In the same vein, it would be a ripe moment to find out which friends would walk across broken glass for you, which co-workers would betray your ass for a dollar, and which authority figures would rather give you exactly what you want than watch you walk out of their lives. Be sly about how you test 'em all. But test 'em.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): A few years back I fell futilely in love with Madeline, a beautiful and brilliant marketing executive. After months of unrequited lovesickness, I was shocked when she spontaneously invited me on a romantic holiday to Amsterdam. Only problem was, I was totally broke. I decided to raise the cash by selling my most precious childhood heirloom -- my collection of 10,000 baseball cards.

I'm recommending a similar scenario for you right now: Sacrifice a juvenile treasure or infantile fantasy or immature attachment in order to propitiate the love of the future.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): After 11 weeks of meandering backward in the sky, the wild and tender planet Mars straightens up and flies right as of March 24. This should bring instant relief to your spunky spirit, which has no doubt been flummoxed by Mars' aimless puttering. Let's see how many ways you can get (legally) high in the next eight days.

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