REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): In the African savanna, water holes are pivotal and precarious. In times of plenty, each species of animal can claim its own special source for bathing and drinking. But when drought shrinks the number and size of the water holes, the hippo may have to learn to share with the crocodile, the baboon with the impala. What does this have to do with you? The bad news is that the water holes in your world may be dwindling in the months ahead. The good news is that this will bring you brisk opportunities to forge new, unexpected alliances.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The weeks leading up to your birthday are always the best time to call in an exorcist. And as a faithful consumer of Real Astrology, you can of course invoke my expert demon-scouring abilities absolutely free of charge. Shall we begin?

In the name of the goose bumps being channeled into my funny bone by the uproarious spirits of Groucho Marx, Mae West, and Lenny Bruce, I now dissolve all bad spells placed on you, even if they were cast by you on yourself. Furthermore, the belly laughs I am unleashing as I perform this exorcism do hereby expunge any and all dumb ideas, useless feelings, and irrelevant dreams you've grown attached to in the past year.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): In his book Sitting It Out: Notes of an Ambivalent Zen Student, Lawrence Shainberg describes meditations in which he tries to control "the degree to which my mind is always involved in escape, lurching towards the future or clinging to the past, generating concepts that obscure reality, seeking a way out, any time but this, anywhere but now."

I highly recommend this meditation to you now, Gemini, while you're feeling so secure and grounded and at peace. This is your best chance in years to permanently disable your bad habit of bailing out at the wrong time.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Some comedian on NPR (whose name I didn't catch) recently offered the following wry definitions. Science: looking for a black cat in a dark room. Philosophy: looking for a black cat in a dark room where there is no black cat. Psychoanalysis: looking for a black cat in a dark room where there is no black cat -- and finding it.

I'd like to add to this sequence one more definition, which is true for only the next month or so. Folks born under the sign of the Crab: looking for a black cat in a dark room where there is no black cat, finding it, and convincing lots of people that you found it, whereupon the black cat actually appears in the dark room.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): I dare you to fly a pirate flag from your car's antenna, or to write an erotic screenplay featuring characters based on people you know, or to start a food fight with your favorite child or child-at-heart. I double dare you to pay your parking tickets with a wheelbarrow full of pennies, or to make a crank call to Idi Amin in Saudi Arabia (dial your international access code, then 966-2-693-3178), or to eat flowers for dinner tonight. I triple dare you to make love underwater, or to tell everyone you were Jesus' grandmother in one of your past lives, or to dare yourself to top all my dares.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): When I close my eyes and meditate on your future, I get visions of a healthy sapling sprouting from the fallen trunk of a dead tree. I see hearty mushrooms growing out of cow pies. I picture an old geezer on his deathbed handing over a silver box to a smart rookie. What's it all mean? My interpretation is that the past isn't as moribund as you might have thought. Are you ready for a resurrection?

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The behavior of canaries might be useful for you to know about during this, your mating season. The females of the species don't sing, and the males' songs are motivated by their desire to impress -- and seduce -- the females. When a male and female canary are placed in the same cage for any length of time, however, the male gradually loses his interest in chirping, and eventually even his urge to boink. Only when the male and female have separate cages does the male keep up his sexy ways. I think that regardless of your sexual preference, there's a lesson in here for you. As you feel the pull in the weeks ahead to be constantly closer than close with the person you love, it'll be wise to maintain enough solitude and independence to preserve the mystery between you.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If I had the time and you had the guts, I'd gladly visit your home and help you edit your life. You could really use a loving critic like me right about now -- not to mention a demanding teacher, a Jewish mother, and the toughest trainer you've never had. The funny thing is, even without my presence you're probably going to get a rough equivalent of what I just described. My only question is: Will your legendary hair-trigger sensitivity ward off the incendiary but curative feedback headed your way? I'm praying to the god of the crossroads that it won't.

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