REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): My first boss, manager of the doughnut palace where I washed dishes, used to say, "Ain't nobody that ain't selling something." I thought he was right then, and I still do. Whether it's a self-image you want everyone to believe in or a used car you want to unload or a benevolent dogma you think could save the world, you and everyone else in the world are constantly hustling your specialties to potential buyers.

All of which is preface for my excruciatingly pragmatic advice: This is an astrologically favorable time to boost your sales by any ethical means necessary.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I am as certain as I can be that some part of you perished in April. Maybe you had to bury a sweet dream, or bid adieu to a resonant relationship, or brave the failure of a once-promising adventure. Perhaps you had to watch with bewilderment as a vivid passion went numb, or agonize as a dear old obsession lost half its meaning. I hope that whatever loss you suffered, you've grieved it with all your heart. As soon as you have, you'll be ready for the new gift that your old gift germinated with its passing. Now please meditate on these words from Michael Meade: "Real change only occurs when something dies."

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Many of you Geminis have a terminal case of Attention Deficit Disorder. You're hogs for variety. You love to dabble and sample but not to commit, and are as a result susceptible to being dilettantes. There's an attractive flip side to these flaws, though -- playful curiosity, dazzling flexibility, lovable innocence, passion for learning. And I'm always afraid you'll damage those winsome traits if you throw yourself too fiercely into building up your depth and responsibility. This is an especially pressing dilemma now, since certain fossils from your fusty musty past are overdue for disposal. I'm inclined to say that for the moment, just forget about cultivating more stick-to-it-iveness. You need to be able to express your bratty, sprightly, quick-change qualities without inhibition.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): If you were a relief pitcher for a baseball team, you'd be primed to save 50 games this year. If you were an administrator in charge of raising funds for abused women's shelters, you'd be in a position to double last year's totals. If you were the medicine woman of a tribe in Siberia, you'd be reaching new levels of intimacy in your communion with the nature spirits, ensuring record crops in the current growing season. What I'm trying to say, Cancerian, is that your ability to shine in service to a group goal is now at a peak.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): I swear your actual physical eyesight will improve this week. I could try to explain the reasons why, but you probably wouldn't believe most of them. The only theory you might swallow is that astrological forces are now awakening an extra-perceptive corner of your brain that's been dormant for longer than I care to say. This corner isn't afraid of seeing things exactly as they are. It passionately enjoys the sensation of glimpsing deeper, clearer, more expansive truths. Of course, the rest of you might be shocked when you start noticing a whole slew of details that would have been invisible to you before today. But you can handle it. I think.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you're interested in this sort of thing, it would be a good week to begin a quest to become an astronaut, mountain climber, or saintly hermit living in a treehouse. If you're not interested in that sort of thing, I suggest you find some other way to channel your current mandate to ascend. What height of achievement have you always felt was beyond your abilities? What soaring adventure have you forever denied yourself for no good reason? You have no idea how colossally lofty you can get right now.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "God bless the wall that brings the two of you together." That's your first oracle. I acquired it from the scarecrow in my dream last night. It's mysterious, isn't it? Usually we think of walls as being responsible for keeping people apart, as in walls of silence or walls of defensiveness. But if I'm interpreting the oracle correctly, this week's wall will have the exact opposite effect for you.

Your second oracle I obtained from the quetzal bird sitting on the scarecrow's shoulder. This is how it goes: "The love you choose to withhold will be in direct proportion to the pain you'll have to carry." I guess that implies you shouldn't be stingy with your love -- unless of course you're a masochist.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I happen to think this would be the perfect astrological moment for you to be of assistance to those who desperately need to be loosened up -- especially if, in loosening up, they'll spill the secrets you desperately need. After extensive consultation with my inner guides, I've determined that the best way to do this would be to fill your bathtub with 20 pounds of very ripe mangoes and induce the person in question to slosh around in there with you. If this is too expensive (mangoes ain't cheap), my guides have indicated it would be permissible to substitute Jell-O.

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