REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Your lucky colors of the week: pomegranate and beet. Favorable numbers: 15, 51, 115, 151, 155, 511, 515, 551. Best source for personal omens: other people's dreams about you. Auspicious hair-care product: mud from an unpolluted river. Fairy tale you should read: "The Little Engine That Could." Home decorating tip: Remove from your wall any picture that evokes a feeling you're sick and tired of. Black magic you should avoid like the plague: commercials for cold and flu medicine. How often you should make love: twice as much as usual.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I know a performance artist who has built his recent shows around a confrontation with his own unconscious racism. His creative artistry seems to thrive as he strips away the shame he feels about it all. In working on my book, I've also found it exciting and wildly productive to delve into everything about which I feel ashamed, embarrassed, and guilty. In fact, I highly recommend this project to you, whether or not you're an artist. You're entering an astrological phase when uncovering hidden agendas and deep, dark secrets will yield the psychological equivalent of rocket fuel.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Congratulations on your smashing victory over the make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach to life. It's driven you stark raving sane and earned you the right to skip several nauseating lessons in the art of chaos.

So what are you gonna do for an encore? May I suggest a second stunning triumph over the make-it-up-as-you-go-along style? Only this time, don't do it to impress anyone. Act as if the only person you have to prove anything to is yourself.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Did I ever tell you about the time I was shot in the butt by a shotgun-wielding assailant on the campus of Duke University? I was walking to the Greyhound station to catch a bus to Philadelphia at the time. By some stroke of prescience, I had spent the hours before I left my dorm writing a 22-page poem called "Beauty Is My Drug." I'd folded the sheaf into four and put the resulting wad in my back pocket. Ten minutes later this wad became a buffer for a spray of buckshot. At the hospital, the doctor said, "Lucky you had all that paper in there -- it absorbed some of the impact." And that's how poetry helped save my ass, ladies and gentlemen. Why am I bringing this up? Sometimes the quest for beauty has a very practical value -- especially for you right now.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): For Halloween I was Daddy Witch. Every time someone asked me who I was supposed to be, I offered to shower them with five minutes of tender loving pagan fathering. I couldn't believe all the people who confessed how weak their relationships with their real fathers were and how big a hole they had in their souls because of it. It made me think I should explore the possibility of becoming a full-time father figure. In general, you Leos are no more deprived than any other sign, but right now happens to be a time when your lack of powerful daddy energy could be particularly debilitating. I urge you to do all you can this week to make up for it. Call your pop or the best substitute NOW.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The next few days would be a wonderful time to indulge in regular milk-and-cookies breaks and see how long you can go without getting out of your pajamas. It would not be such a good time, though, to sulk and mope and feel sorry for yourself. Your purpose in vegging out around the old homestead should be to recharge your battery, not drain it. So you have my blessing if you want to waste time and look dumpy and act boring -- as long as you do it with gusto and pride.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The astrological truth of the matter? You should now be homing in on a key to making bigger bucks by doing more of what you love to do. The ugly fact of the matter? You live in a culture whose prevailing myths say that's an absurdly unrealistic goal. What to do? A good way to purge your deep psyche of that evil programming is to fight economic injustice, even if just symbolically. For instance, you could write a letter to the editor in which you point out the following: On the same day the U.S. Senate slashed billions from welfare programs for the poor, it voted to fully fund welfare programs for giant corporations.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Of all the emotions in the human repertoire, there's one I'm most prejudiced against: the desire for revenge. I've always regarded it as unconditionally and unforgivably idiotic. Yet a Scorpio friend recently explained to me how he once created a masterpiece -- a fine and successful book -- that was motivated by his urge to seek revenge against a confounding shock he'd experienced at the hands of a vicious bureaucracy. And because of his story -- as well as the astrological forces now coming to bear on you -- I am suspending my bias. I hereby authorize you to wreak glorious revenge against an event that alienated you from your own life. But make sure the results of that revenge are useful, gorgeous, and uplifting.

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