REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): One Aries I know hasn't come out of her house in three days. She just sits there poring over old National Geographics. Another Aries friend has retreated full time to her studio, where she endlessly paints pictures of escalators ascending out of swamps. An Aries relative I haven't seen in years called me last night at 2 a.m. and begged me to tell him colorful stories of my exciting life. The evidence is beginning to accumulate, in other words, that you rams are close to blowing it. Rather than trekking out to the frontier and taking the cosmos up on its recent dare, you're being bought off and distracted by simulated adventures. There's still time -- just barely -- to get off your ass and rise to the challenge.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The Grail is an ancient symbol of divine nourishment and blessing. In Christian myth it's the chalice Christ used at the Last Supper. Pagan legends often describe it as a horn of plenty or magical healing cauldron. In the stories of both traditions, the Grail is invariably lost or hidden, and becomes the object of a daunting quest. To have any chance of finding the priceless treasure, questers must rededicate their lives to the noblest purpose they can imagine. I'm bringing this up, Taurus, because you'll soon receive a vivid reminder that the Grail is missing, and will be given a clue about where it might be.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Cougars are now prowling the suburbs of Northern California. Coyotes have been seen on the streets of New York. And you yourself are experiencing an incursion of wolflike energy into the normally civilized realm of your ego. How's it feel? Kinda scary but kinda exciting, too? Or are you doing your best to pretend that it's not there? My advice is to strike a balance between locking the wolf away and letting it tear the place up. A little wild and primitive action would do you a lot of good -- as long as it doesn't result in a big mess your civilized ego has to clean up.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): It'll be a good week to have a pillow fight, but a bad week to hang out at the front lines of a venomous clash. It'll be a fine time to sit quietly in the candlelit living room after dinner and listen to the wild winds scour away all of summer's illusions. But it'll be a terrible time to interrupt the above scene by turning on the TV to Melrose Place. Be gentle and reverent in communing with your dicey, spicy emotions, and the cosmos will be gentle and reverent with you.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Have you heard of the yogis who can levitate, influence the weather, and project their astral bodies to distant locations? A higher percentage of these characters are Leos than any other sign. If by chance you're one of them, your power to pull off wonders and marvels like that is now at a peak. But even if you're just a plain old non-yogi, I'm happy to say that you too may have something like supernatural talents this week. This will especially be true if you believe it is. At the very least, you'll be able to pull off a prodigious feat you've considered impossible.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Whenever I close my eyes and meditate on you these days, I see you spinning in spirals. Not like a cat chasing its own tail or a drunk running away from his own shadow or a broken top whirling erratically. No, the way I imagine you twirling is more like how a ballet dancer does it: simultaneously composed and dazzlingly intense. Her secret -- like yours? -- is focusing her vision on a fixed point once in every turn so as to keep from becoming dizzy.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): From the perspective of your astrological needs, this would be an excellent time to attend the Klingon Language Camp in Red Lake Falls, Minn. (Unfortunately, it's not in session right now.) My point being that you could really use a boost in your efforts to express yourself more forcefully. Learning Klingon, with its aggressive gutturals and vigorous body language, might reprogram your subconscious mind in just the right way. Imagine how persuasive you'd be with a new streak of nervy verve added to your congenial clarity.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Are you aware of how a few woodpeckers poked so many holes in the space shuttle last May that the flight had to be postponed? Have you ever read Jonathan Swift's 18th-century satire Gulliver's Travels, in which a team of 6-inch-tall people manage to lash the hero to the ground with hundreds of tiny ropes? If so, you've got all the metaphors you need to defend yourself against the piddling, trivial, almost-beneath-your-notice enemy this week.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Recently I predicted this fall would be the most Sagittarian time on Earth since 1983, and solicited readers' thoughts on "How to Be a Sagittarius." Here are a few gems: "Know how to have fun even when life sucks." -- Mandy O. via the Internet. "Embrace optimism for both its beauty and its tactical advantages." -- Sam Austin, Staten Island. "Paint a self-portrait with your nipples." -- Marsha Coupe, Carmel, Calif. "Be a pompous ass, then laugh at yourself for being a pompous ass." -- Peter Yates-Hodshon and Mare Hodshon-Yates, Tucson. "Give names like 'Stinky' and 'Cubby' to your fears." -- Joanne Helfrid, Upper Darby, Pa. "The best way to be like me is not try to be like me at all, but to be true to yourself." -- Catherine King, Greenfield, Mass.

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