REAL ASTROLOGY For An Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Some cynical wag whose name I won't dignify by mentioning once said that people always want what they don't have and don't want what they do have. I call on you now, while you're basking in rowdy bliss, to disprove this decadent formulation. If you manage to want exactly what you have and not want what you don't have for the next 10 days, I can practically guarantee that you will get what you don't have by October.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The hottest trend among corporate warriors is power-napping. Seems the Wall Street Journal quoted sleep experts who said a daytime snooze increases efficiency at work, and now scores of Fortune 500 companies are building nap rooms on the job site. May I recommend this exemplary practice to you? Even if you're a seasoned pro at the art of the siesta, you should renew your commitment to it during the slo-mo, kick-back phase you're in now. You've got to have more downtime than usual; more lolling and lounging and goofing off; more hours spent recharging yourself with dreams of floating down lazy rivers.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): I'm not gonna sit here and tell a witty, perky, talkative Gemini like yourself to improve your communication skills, am I? How dare I suggest that you're not perfect at what you were obviously born to do? Sorry, friend, that's exactly what I'm here to say. This is the time and this is the place to take inventory of how you might not have fully developed your inborn talents for exchanging information. And when you're done with that, take steps to sharpen up the way you impart your message to everybody and her brother -- and listen to the messages they send back.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Being the same sign as you, I know you're a connoisseur of fears. Second only to Pisceans in our capacity for paranoia, we Cancers are famous for our intimate relationships with every scary fantasy ever dreamed up by the human race. This week, though, I predict that our millions of nameless dreads will retreat into the background so that one shining panic can thrust itself to the center of our attention: the terror that we will run out of what we need. Yes, my superstitious friend, I'm afraid that you and I are about to be beset by shivering chills and flashing trembles as we obsess on the anxiety that we're not going to have enough love and money and food and inspiration and everything. The only consolation I can offer you is this: All your nightmares about this are totally false.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): This is the time of year I like to boost your confidence with discreet subliminal messages and soothing inspirational talks. (Outrageous compliments usually work better in midspring.)

My research into the gentle art of building self-esteem shows there's one technique that works better than any other. That is for you to repeat the following phrase a thousand times a day: MOMMY AND I ARE ONE. Studies have shown that nothing evokes greater feelings of being at home in the world than restimulating the comfort you knew when your body was enmeshed in your mother's.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Disguised tests, useless help, valuable enemies, perverted purity: What the hell's going on here? Are you supposed to be totally freaked out or utterly fascinated -- or both? All I can say is you'll be fine if you'll study and master these pertinent metaphorical clues: 1) Certain kinds of snake venom are deadly in large quantities but healing in small doses. 2) Many bacteria are harmful, but some are friendly, like the critters that live in your lower intestine and assist in digesting your food. 3) The word "demon" is derived from the Greek term daimon, which referred not to malignant goblins but to tricky but inspiring spirits who served as links between humanity and the gods.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My teachers have advised me to speak to you in the style of the prophecies of old. Why? They say it's because you're about to have a raw and intimate communion with the mysterious multidimensional part of you that lives outside of time. (I think they're referring to your "soul.")

Here it is, then, an authentic simulation of an ancient oracle: The pearls of great price, which have been as scarce as hen's teeth since Pluto crept into the lair of the scorpion, are now awaiting your discovery in a place you've never wanted to look.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): On the one hand, your current condition is well-described by the magazine ad for the BMW 318ti. "Power on command. Precise handling. Smooth maneuvering through traffic and tight spots, with the control and agility of a downhill racer. Eye-catching contours. A brilliant stroke of practical pleasure."

On the other hand, I'm moved to remind you that power and control ain't everything. So please, as you exert your pinpoint force and commanding skill, mull over this quote from Science magazine: "Irregularity and unpredictability are important features of health. ... Healthy systems don't want homeostasis. They want steady doses of chaos."

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I've combined the old concept of the "leap of faith" with the postmodern notion of "quantum leap" to create a bold plan especially suited for your current capacities: the quantum leap of faith. You see, a mere leap of faith would be too wimpy right about now; it would mean skipping just one step on the ladder of success. In fact, you should and you can and you must skip at least three steps. Hence, I suggest that you schedule a soaring, roaring quantum leap of faith.

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