REAL ASTROLOGY for an unreal world

Aries (March 21-April 19): Hey, to be honest, sometimes this astrology stuff works, and sometimes it's a crock. Just like anything, if you believe in it too fiercely, it'll backfire. That said, I'm as sure as I can possibly be that you're due for the vacation of your life this summer. Wherever you choose to escape to, whether it's a Zen monastery across town or a safari in Madagascar, is likely to make you five years younger and 10 years wiser at the same time. Bonus! Wait until after Aug. 2, and your getaway will teach you a secret that's eluded you since you were 5 years old.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): It seems that every time I run into my readers lately, they beg me to tell them about their romantic prospects for the upcoming sun 'n' fun season. "Am I going to be out of my mind with crazy rapture, or what?" is a typical query. Not wanting to build up false hopes, I guess the person's sign before I respond. And I always rejoice if it's Taurus, because then I can honestly proclaim this lusty benediction: "Get ready for a summer of love, baby!"

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Do you gleefully drive in the car-pool lane at rush hour when you're alone in the car? Do you slink away without telling the clerk in the checkout line that he just gave you $10 too much change? Do you leak friends' secrets after swearing you'll keep them private forever?

If you enjoy wimpy sins like this, please try to live without them this week. Not because they'd earn you a spot in hell, but simply because you won't get away with them. Besides, there are bigger, better, more original sins you can get away with.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): You want to be picnicking with a vengeance by July? Then you'd better negotiate with the skeletons in your closet now. Let's hope you don't want to sit through a rerun of last summer, when you refused to come out and play for days at a time, preferring to languish inside and pick at your scabs.

Maybe I can entice you with this money-back guarantee: For every loose end that you tie up in the next four weeks, you'll dissolve one inhibition after your birthday.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Let's see. It says here in the astrology chart I just drew up for you that this summer could be very lucrative, especially if you're willing to work double overtime. On the other hand, my crystal ball tells me that you can best fulfill your destiny in the coming months by grabbing the spotlight and showing off your overflowing creativity.

Hmmmm. Seems my horoscope and crystal ball are contradicting each other. I wonder what my tarot deck says. Eight of Pentacles ... Three of Cups ... Two of Swords. The cards seem to suggest a symbiotic compromise. What would you say about getting a job as a singing waiter/waitress on a cruise ship?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Flush your placebos down the toilet, conqueror. Donate your psychological crutches to charity. I have every reason to expect that the next seven weeks will bring you a great victory over your bad self, not to mention the bad selves of several other people. A wild streak of warrior luck is about to possess you, killing off all your meek visions and bad timing. In fact, I'll make this reckless but true prophecy: Not since 1989 have you had this much power over mean, stupid people and your own inner demons.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Last night I had a dream involving you. I dreamed I heard a knock on my window in the middle of the warm and windy night. Peering out, I saw a feral woman whose bushy hair was laced with branches and whose dress was a weave of moss and violets. Her eyes were crescent moons, and her legs were as furry as a wolf's. I blew her a kiss, and she gave a laughing growl. Then, to my surprise, she began to speak -- in a Brooklyn accent. "Tell all your too-tame Libra readers," she cackled, "that it's time to come away with me to the wild places. I'll be waiting for 'em."

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Think of two people you dislike intensely -- whomever comes into your mind first. During the next week, I'd like you to use every means at your disposal to diminish your rancor. Maybe you could try to understand the childhood traumas that damaged them. Maybe you could meditate on the fact that a hundred years from now, whatever they've done to arouse your ire won't matter in the least.

This is for your sake, by the way, not theirs. Your hatred for them keeps a potentially brilliant part of your psyche all twisted up and useless. It's time to liberate it from its wasteful work. You'll have a pressing need for it in the near future.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): According to my research, here are some good summer projects for you: Learn to curse in 17 different languages (your anger needs to become more articulate); visit the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike and do a spontaneous work of performance art (you've got to meet more people who're not like you); attend a fantasy camp where you learn rodeo tricks (they might come in handy during committee meetings next fall); teach a worthy candidate or two the intricacies of licking your nuzzle spots (it no longer makes sense to expect people to read your mind); scratch an itch that's been bugging you for more than 18 months (unless, of course, you love being bugged).

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