REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): You'll probably have to carry twice as much responsibility in '96 as you did in '95 -- and three times as much power and charisma. I'll even go so far as to predict that in the next 12 months you'll shoulder far more than your share of the workload -- and get a crack at way more than your share of the pie in the sky. There is, you see, a curious formula at work here. To the degree that you take on the role of a beast of burden, you'll become the star of the show.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I sense that you need a Zen koan to guide you in 1996. Do you even know what a Zen koan is? It's a seemingly nonsensical riddle which, if you meditate on it devoutly, will provoke a flash of illumination about the hidden nature of reality. The most famous example is, of course, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" But I have an even better one for you: "If you have ice cream, I will give it to you. If you have no ice cream, I will take it from you." Rishi Suzuki calls this the ice cream koan.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Most years, the planet Venus whizzes through your sign in less than 30 days. On rare occasions, with about the same frequency as the birth of a white buffalo or the death of a pope, Venus mingles its sexy mojo with the Gemini vibe for four long, titillating months. The last time that happened was 1980. Guess when the next love-in is due? You guessed it: 1996. April 4 through Aug. 7 to be exact.

To make matters even more seductive, you'll have the expansive planet Jupiter cruising through your house of togetherness all year. From all this I conclude that if you're not mated yet, you will be by next December. And if you have already taken vows, I bet you'll take them much deeper.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): In retrospect, one pretty apt title for 1995 might be "The Year of the Pebble in Your Shoe." Amazing, isn't it, how one tiny annoyance can prey on your vitality so subversively? I won't even ask why the hell you never got around to taking off that metaphorical shoe and chucking the offending pebble. I will most definitely nag you, however, to finally get around to it this year. Just to start 1996 off on a new foot, how about doing it this week?

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Some people say they've been miraculously healed by praying to a giant portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Some people believe that Comet Hale-Bopp, due to put on a spectacular sky show in the spring of 1997, is actually a spaceship full of angels that'll prevent a global wave of massive earthquakes. And get this: Some people actually believe that professional wrestling and TV news shows are based on reality. But the fantasies of all the above kooks pale in extravagance compared to the hopeful dreams you Leos are harboring about the love that erupted for you in 1995. Yet strangely enough, only your visions have the slightest connection to the truth.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I predict that 1996 is going to suck. But wait! Before you jump to conclusions, let me add that it's going to suck in all the right ways. I mean it's going to suck in the same way that you use a straw to force a thick, delicious milkshake to disobey gravity and squirt into your eager mouth. I mean it's going to suck in the same way a vacuum cleaner inhales a big, fat mess. I mean it's going to suck in the same way a certain oral approach to sex can stimulate all the very finest dizzy feelings.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I predict that you'll become an organic broccoli farmer in 1996, or possibly a harvester of salt, or a builder of fine furniture. Then again, maybe you'll decide to run away to a small town and become a plain-speaking clerk in a hardware store, or a pickle-maker, or a weaver of practical cotton work clothes. To tell you the truth, I'm getting so many visions about what will become of you this year that I'm not sure you should trust any of them. What they all have in common, though -- and what you should pay most attention to -- is a very earthy, sturdy, robust quality.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Are you getting enough? Of course not. You Scorpios never get enough -- of anything. You are the insatiable cravers of the zodiac, the impossible demanders, the unapologetic obsessers. Whether it's on-the-edge-of-forever sex or the most secret and forbidden information, you're always yearning for much, much more. Fact is, you've grown so accustomed to that feeling of unappeasable greed that you would probably feel lost without it. But that's not a problem you'll have to face anytime soon -- at least until the cornucopia arrives in 1997. In the meantime, this year, try to develop a more playful and ironic relationship with that cute little ravenous monster in your id.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): A recent Mother Jones magazine article lists numerous cases of CEOs firing lots of workers while boosting their own salaries. The head honcho of Eastman Kodak, for instance, relieved 14,000 employees of their livelihoods and then doubled his own earnings. Meanwhile, banking stocks skyrocketed 36 percent at the same time that 450,000 jobs disappeared in the banking industry. I won't bore you with all the other examples of reverse Robin Hood-ism. I will warn you, however, that this trend's likely to rampage on in 1996. Fortunately for you Sagittarians, you're in the best position of all signs to keep your jobs and add to your incomes. That's because astrological factors will influence you to work harder and smarter than ever.

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