REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Pop quiz! How are the four following events related? Sept. 29, 1513: Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean. Sept. 29, 1846: Astronomer Johann Galle finds the planet Neptune. Sept. 29, 1957: President Eisenhower commands Army troops to escort nine black children into a Little Rock school. Sept. 29, 1995: Aries folk stumble upon a divine revelation akin to a gift from the sea, and as a result are able to welcome back a part of themselves they'd exiled or rejected.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): In this year's Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashana fell on Sept. 25. It was the "birthday of the world," or new year, and it began 10 days of repentance. It so happens that in the astrological calendar, this is also time for you Tauruses to take stock and make karmic corrections. I invite you to respond to the following self-examination, designed for Rosh Hashana by two Jewish organizations, Kolaynu and Hadeish Yameinu.

What do you want to leave behind from this past 12 months? What kept you from being your best self? What do you want to carry with you into the new year? Who was a teacher for you this past year? Whom did you teach? How do you define forgiveness? Whom do you need to forgive? How will you do it?

Gemini (May 21-June 20): In The Chemistry of Love, Michael Liebowitz writes about how our earliest ancestors bequeathed to us a tendency for promiscuity: "The power of unfamiliarity to enhance sexual attractiveness was an evolutionary advantage, since people with the strongest lust for novelty were sexually active with more partners, ensuring a greater chance of survival for their genes." I bet this ancient trait is especially itchy in you right now, Gemini -- which is a real nuisance, because your need for a stable relationship has rarely been stronger. What to do? I suggest that you and your steady attempt to simulate promiscuity with each other. Use disguises, pretend to be strangers, imitate each other's secret crushes.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): In Venezuela there's a body of water whose Spanish name is translated "The River That Loses and Finds Itself." In your country there's a whole tribe of people who currently fit that very same description. Name of the tribe? The Crabs. Yes, my fellow Cancerians, I'm afraid we are far away from our spiritual homes -- and yet that's the exact motivation we need to fight our way back home. In other words, we had to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): If someone were filming the story of your life, lots of this week's scenes would end up on the cutting room floor. That's because the acting won't be up to your usual stellar quality. The developing subplots will seem far afield from the main themes. And a series of glitches will spoil even the half-decent takes. Yet I can't help thinking that this part of the story will be acutely interesting for exactly these reasons. Try to imagine it as fodder for a best-selling blooper film.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Over the course of your life, you've demonstrated some pretty odd notions about what constitutes a good time. And this week you'll be adding to that freaky tradition with a tour de force obsession that absolutely no one but a fellow Virgo is likely to fathom. Oh well. Whatever gets ya off, baby. Don't let anyone, including me, shame you or dissuade you from seeking your perplexing, Byzantine thrills.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I've been in the curious position lately of advising people on pregnancy. There was Wanda, a friend who just had a miscarriage. I referred her to an acupuncturist I know who specializes in building up uterine strength. Then there were Carlos and Eva, who've already had three boys and are angling for a girl this time. I told them which phases of the moon are most favorable. And now there's you. Although I'm more interested in helping you become metaphorically pregnant, my advice is almost the same as if the pregnancy were literal, and that is: Have lots of sex -- but not just any kind of sex. Have long, slow, tantric sex during which you and your partner meditate on awakening each other's sleeping genius.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The Red Queen asked Alice to believe six impossible things before breakfast. I'll urge you to swallow only two -- at least tomorrow morning. The next morning it'll increase to three. Gradually we'll stretch your credulity and pump up your faith, and by week's end you'll be ready to fall for seven fantastic new chimeras before your first cup of caffeine. What's the occasion, you ask? Well, the truth just ain't been the same since you fell down the rabbit hole last week. And it's getting curiouser and curiouser by the hour.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The sage and her student were standing by a pool discussing desire and ambition. "What do you want more than anything else?" the sage asked. "To perfect my ability to love," the young woman replied. At that moment, the sage tackled the student and shoved her head beneath the water. One minute went by. Then another. And another. The student began to struggle and kick. Finally the sage released her grip and the student surfaced, fighting for breath. "What did you want more than anything else during these last few minutes?" the sage inquired. "Nothing else was in my mind except the desire for air," offered the student. "Excellent," beamed the sage. "As soon as you're equally single-minded in your desire to perfect your love, you'll reach your goal."

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