REAL ASTROLOGY for an unreal world

Aries (March 21-April 19): Ever seen that bumper sticker, usually on the back of a Winnebago, that says, "Time fishing cannot be deducted from a person's life"? Implied in that statement is the notion that there's a Supreme Judge keeping a strict ledger of the exact number of days we have allotted to us in our lifetimes. Hours spent fishing, by this argument, are off the books; the Supreme Judge doesn't count them against you.

Pretend for a moment that there's some merit in this whimsy. Imagine that every once in a while you might be able to live outside the calendar, in a time that is no time. Now fantasize that this week is such a timeless time, when you have divine license to do absolutely nothing in a thousand different ways.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): DON'Ts: Don't scratch an itch until it bleeds. Don't greet VIPs in big floppy bunny slippers. Don't try to take away a 900-pound gorilla's rubber ducky. Don't pound nails into the floor with your forehead.

DOs: Do ask the so-called "stupid" questions that've been eating at you for weeks. Do acquire a tool that'll upgrade your ability to communicate. Do remember that a broken clock is right twice a day. Do go see the circus if it comes to town, but don't run away and join it.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Usually you're the zodiac's master at finding shortcuts. No one is better than you at blowing off boring details. And you could give lessons in how to weasel out of hard labor without looking like a weasel. But I'm afraid this is one of those rare weeks when you just can't get away with skipping steps. First you have to wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, scrub the floors, wash the windows, do the laundry, make the beds, do the grocery shopping, return overdue library books, and sort your socks. Then, and only then, can you go out and party till you almost puke.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder? Be proud! Show it off! Employ it to your advantage! And if you don't have it, think about getting it!

That, at least, is the advice I'd give if the theory of author Thom Hartman is correct. In his new book, Hartman speculates about the usefulness a short attention span might have had for our ancestors. "If you are walking in the night and see a little flash," he says, "distractibility would be a tremendous asset. Snap decision-making, which we call impulsiveness, is a survival skill if you are a hunter." And it just so happens, Cancer, that you are a hunter this week. Or at least you should be. Not for wild animals, of course, but for wild clues, wild assistance, and wild treats.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Years ago, I lived as a hermit in rural North Carolina, miles from town. Too poor to own a car or bike, I took many long walks down back roads where unfriendly dogs and bored rednecks roamed free. That's when I first discovered the practical value of psychic protection. In the beginning, I simply envisioned a gold force field surrounding me. Eventually, I added an invisible pet hawk and two blue tigers. They made me brave and kept me safe, or so I imagined, and they've been with me ever since. I'd like to lend them to you this week, or better yet, have you summon your own imaginary allies. It's not that I think you're in actual physical danger, just that you should guard yourself against other people's hellish moods, manipulative gambits, and desperate ploys.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I have too much respect for your skepticism to casually toss around words like "miracles" or "marvels." Still, I'd like to make it clear that events resembling miracles and marvels will occur this week in direct proportion to your faith in their possibility. Your second-most ancient fear could lose its grip on your imagination. A place where you've always been off-kilter and out of rhythm could suddenly become the site of a stirring synchronicity. And you might find yourself able to stake a claim for a privilege that's always been out of reach.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You may buy yourself a birthday present if you like. I know it's a few months early, but you need it now. It's essential that you bring some of the starting-fresh spirit you'll feel at that time into the ripe and complicated projects you're currently working on. Your mood could become overly serious and stifling unless you explode it with the spunk of an excited kid. Gift suggestions: flying lessons, a psychic reading, a video game that lets you rule the world, 5 pounds of candy, a wolf mask, a new CD that clarifies your most obscure emotions.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): While high on a 7-Eleven Slurpee, double espresso, Mad Dog wine, secondhand Camel smoke, antibiotic-laced steak, Reese's peanut butter cups, and the Hard Copy TV show, my teacher, Guru Tiffany, had a psychedelic vision. This vision revealed to her the startling difference between addictions that are bad for you and addictions that are good for you. And she saw clearly that if you Scorpios hope to coax your cute little demons into busting their asses for you this summer, you'd better try to duplicate her psychedelic vision as soon as possible.

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