REAL ASTROLOGY for an unreal world

Aries (March 21-April 19): In one version of the story of Pinocchio, woodpeckers whittled his nose back to its original shape after it had sprouted to monstrous proportions from his inveterate lying. From a certain loosely metaphorical perspective, something similar will transpire in your life this week. An intervention comparable to the woodpeckers will cut an overgrown, top-heavy part of your attitude down to size.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): They'll be celebrating the Fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, this week. That means hordes of bulls will be running wild in the streets right behind crowds of macho fools who're trying to avoid being trampled and gored. It just so happens that this festive holiday coincides with astrological aspects that practically mandate all you human bulls to run wild in the streets, as well. It's time for you, in other words, to become the ultimate party animal. (P.S.: As you romp and stomp, do your best to keep from squashing any macho fools.)

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Feeling lucky in your money chakra? You should be. The Triple Witching Hour is imminent. During this eerily harmonious time, all your financial biorhythms will converge in one gorgeous weave. Most likely, a cosmic stroke will then deliver unto you an unprecedented economic opportunity -- not exactly for striking it rich, but at least for striking it richer.

I hear the bell tolling already. Quick, utter a prayer to the muses of prosperity and chant the following mantra: O MONNEE GIMMEE SUMM.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Imagine that you're approaching a building you've never seen before -- the first structure that pops into your mind. Look down. What kind of path are you on? Dirt or brick? Long and winding or short and straight? Now you've got to find the key to the door. Where is it: in your pocket or under a mat or lying in mud in the yard? What's the key like? Open the door and go inside to explore. Imagine you find a cup. Where is it? Describe it.

This has been a test with no right or wrong answers (exactly like what you're facing in real life right now). The house you envisioned is a symbolic picture of the new phase of your life you're about to enter. The path represents the way you arrived here. The key is the knowledge you'll soon need. The cup is love.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Take a cue this week from Robert Shepard, the resourceful Leo who managed to escape an imprisonment much more severe than the one you're experiencing right now. While incarcerated in a West Virginia slammer, Shepard painstakingly collected dental floss and wove it into an escape rope. He used it to scale an 18-foot wall and bolt to freedom. Your "jail" may not be as literal as his, which means you'll have to be even more ingenious about finding a way out.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I suspect that sometimes you'll be sleeping while standing up this week, and other times you'll be working while lying down. Your body chemistry will likely react as if it's undergoing experiments at the hands of a mad but happy scientist. In fact, I bet that even if you're completely drug-free, your own brain will spontaneously produce compounds that are identical to those found in certain illegal psychotropic drugs. This just might lead you to act like the person your mother warned you about.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Every year or two there comes a brief time when I have an almost supernatural power to see you and bless you for who you really are. I tune in to all the things you do that no one else knows about or appreciates. I glimpse your best possible future. My dreams about you are filled with sweet revelations, secret gifts, and crafty breakthroughs.

This magic moment is now upon us, and it's no coincidence that you match my energy in every way. In other words, my power to consecrate you is merely a reflection of your own electrifying beauty.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): There'll be lots of clear-cut choices this week. I'm not saying they're easy, just that the different alternatives are sharply delineated. To get started, select one of each of the following pairs: 1) thunderclaps or lightning bolts; 2) grazing like a sheep or rambling like a mountain goat; 3) finishing your homework or facing your expanded horizons unprepared; 4) pitiless logic or generous fantasies; 5) dreaming of a soul-cleansing getaway or actually making that getaway.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you been studying Machiavelli or Forbes magazine or something? Or hanging out with diabolically clever Scorpios? You seem to have appropriated for your own use the notorious skills of those Great Manipulators. Not that I'm criticizing or complaining. As long as you promise to mix a generous amount of your usual Sagittarian integrity into your tricky strategies, I guess there's no harm in convincing people that they want what you want them to want.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In Old England, a holiday called Flitch Day was celebrated around this time of year. A panel of unmarried adults would assemble to hear testimony from couples who claimed to have been happy together during the previous 12 months. Any twosome that could prove they'd practiced an exemplary brand of mutual respect and care were awarded a flitch, or side, of ham. "Very few took home the bacon," says my source, James Koehnline.

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