REAL ASTROLOGY for an unreal world

Aries (March 21-April 19): This is sort of a Bessie Smith-Charles Baudelaire-Paul Krassner kind of week for you. Those three bon vivants, all born under the sign of Aries, are your patron saints. Need more info about them? Bessie Smith was the greatest female blues singer ever. One biographer describes her as "hearty, forthright and totally uninhibited in her performance as well as in her life." French poet Baudelaire's philosophy of life is captured well in his line, "Be drunken always -- with wine or poetry ... or even with virtue." Gadfly trickster Paul Krassner, who's still among us, once uttered a thought that's essential to your success this week: "Irreverence is my only sacred cow."

Taurus (April 20-May 20): In his book From Heaven to Earth, Reverend Aaron Zerah expounds on the Hebrew word nabal. It refers to a person so tenaciously focused on practical matters that he becomes impractical. I fear, my dear Taurus, that you're veering dangerously close to this fate. For the sake of the bottom line, I beg you to forget about the bottom line for the next few days. Dream like a teenage poet. Become as whimsical as a rich mystic. Be a sweet, playful fool so you won't turn into a sour, workaholic fool.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): For a few brief moments sometime this week, you will know everything. Did you hear what I said? Your eternal wrestle with maddening ambiguity will be temporarily suspended by a sudden whoosh of supernova certainty. In that mysterious grace period, words will fail you. You'll be a fountain of nonverbal wisdom.

Be alert for it, Gemini. It'll zoom in out of nowhere, then evaporate like a dream. If you can retain even a shadow of an echo of a memory of this visitation, your life will be permanently imprinted with a feeling of security you never imagined possible.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): If you're a typical Cancer, you're all too knowledgeable about how to respond when everything goes wrong. Your brain kicks into high gear the moment you get sick or rejected or burned. If you're true to the Cancerian type, you have less savvy about how to deal with stunning triumphs. You're likely to stutter and stumble in the face of pats on the back and delicious, unexpected kisses and money falling out of the sky.

Everything I just said, though, is not meant to be a curse but a challenge. One of the greatest reasons to study astrology is to be aware of the weaknesses of your sign so you can overcome them. That's why I think you won't be paralyzed with self-doubt as the blessings shower down this week.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Dear Dr. Brezsny: I find myself in the ridiculous position of having to decide between doing the right thing and doing the good thing. It seems that if I press hard for truth and justice, I'll end up looking like a rude boor. And if I opt instead for kindness and sympathy, I'll appear to be an eager-to-please flake with wobbly principles. Why is having integrity such a bitch? -- Lightheaded Leo in Limbo

Dear Lightheaded: I suggest you lose the all-or-nothing shtick. Be willing to be half right and half good. Then integrity might be a bitch, but at least it'll be a sexy bitch.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Maybe there's one truly perfect soulmate for your life. Maybe there isn't. But count on this: If there is, you'll never find him or her by holding fast to a set of fixed expectations and comparing every potential partner to that standard.

Once upon a time, when my soulmate appeared to me, it took me 13 long months to start seducing her. She was so different from the model I'd sculpted internally that I didn't recognize her at first.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Not to be melodramatic or anything, but the last shall soon be first, the top shall be bottom and the gross shall be graceful. And vice versa. Always vice versa. You will consistently make smart moves if you assume that just about every table will be turned, that every flip will be flopped. Would you consider exchanging peach cobbler recipes with an adversary? Would you be willing to atone for your sins before you're forced to? Then you're in the right frame of mind to love this week, not hate it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I've combined my tender affection for New Age riffs with my sneering skepticism about New Age riffs to come up with a revolutionary new approach to channeling. Are you numb to all those platitude-spouting ghosts and tacky 12,000-year-old warriors from the ninth dimension? Then get this: I've become a medium for sharp-tongued celebrities who're very much alive. For the first time in any publication, I proudly present the channeled advice of Whoopi Goldberg, one of your fellow Scorpios:

"In a weird way, this week'll be like a punch in the stomach, Scorpio, except that it'll feel real good. The wind that's knocked out of you will be bad wind."

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In a gardening column appearing in La Gazette, Jane Mio and Del Rey wax eloquent on a subject that's crucial for you to muse on right now. "No seed gets its juices going before its time," they write. "Seeds can lie dormant for years, waiting for better times to start sprouting. A lotus seed recently found in an Egyptian pyramid sprouted after over a thousand years."

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