REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Was there ever a book you were attracted to exactly because you didn't understand it? Because you had a hunch it might one day become like a bible, but at first you could not penetrate its meaning? Or how about this: Was there ever a song you loved but had no idea why? A song that soothed a wound so deep you didn't even know you had the wound until you heard the song? This week, Aries, I'll ask you to gravitate toward people you can barely grok, toward situations that provoke your sense of wonder, toward ideas that confuse but tantalize you. You can't imagine how much you need the influence of stuff you can barely imagine.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): A Taurus painter I know loves to wear frilly finery, but that doesn't stop her from livening up parties by crawling on her belly like a reptile. I also include among my friends an ad exec born May 1 who is the very embodiment of fiscal responsibility by day and the king of splurge after hours. What I mean to imply with these examples is that you Bulls are not always the play-it-safe wallflowers many astrology textbooks say you are. These days especially. You may be doing the traditional, staid old Taurus imitation about 75 percent of your waking hours, but be careening toward Sagittarian-style excess the rest of the time. I wouldn't be surprised to see you broiling sacred cow burgers this weekend.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Be alert for triple-entendres. Capitalize swiftly on slips of the tongue and accidental revelations. Garbled communications could, strangely enough, blaze trails to desirable detours. Chance meetings could launch conversations that last for many moons. If I were you, Big Talker, I'd follow up all leads that feel itchy or witchy or buggy. Be ready at a moment's notice to slip in through doors that are open just a crack. Assume that you'll find pieces to the master puzzle lying in a pile of dust on the floor next to a crumpled soda can.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): You don't really need six padlocks on the gate that leads to the sanctuary where you keep your treasure. Two will suffice. Nor is it necessary to install four separate deadbolts on the iron door of the sanctuary. One will do just fine. I'd also like to suggest that you give a set of the sacred keys to at least one trustworthy confidant; ideally, to two. If there are no such persons, this is prime time to track them down and invite them in for a tour of the temple.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): In his book The Physics of Immortality, physicist Frank J. Tipler offers scientific proof that every human being who has ever lived will be resurrected from the dead at the end of time. I've been saying the same thing for years but didn't have the data to support it. The reason I bring this up, Leo, is that this is a propitious time for you to act as if Tipler's assertion is true. That is to say, live your life with the relaxed intensity and poised conscientiousness you'd naturally feel if you knew beyond a doubt that your soul is eternal.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): The first and the last. The beginning and the end. The alpha and the omega. Ain't it strange how, when the mythic shifts hit the fan, these apparent opposites sometimes turn inside out and trade places? Actually, it's not so strange at all, though it may seem that way early on. In hindsight, the epic flip-flop you're about to negotiate will seem as natural as being born, and just as interesting. To put you in the loosey-goosey mood that'll help you ace this heroic test, I'll ask you to hold in your mind's eye the image of a lesbian African-American welfare mother wearing a gold crown as she presides in the Oval Office of the White House.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): There's rarely been a better time for you to make a wish upon a falling star. Why? One reason is that your astrological aspects are now ideal for bringing heavenly dreams down to earth. Another big plus is the fact that this week the night sky will showcase the Perseids, the most prolific meteor shower of the year. The fireworks will be best on Sunday night, when you'll have as many as 80 chances an hour to link your dreams to a scintillating omen. Look northeast after dark and farther north later in the evening.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you've been a victim of bias, it's time to rebel. If you've been manipulated by people who love you -- even if supposedly for your own good -- you have license to refuse further machinations. If you've been afraid of being discovered, I urge you to rise up against your own defensiveness and baldly reveal the secret you're so worried about; either that, or immediately cease and desist from the covert behavior in question. And if you've been wavering in your allegiance to your ancient oaths, by all means swear them again now, double-strong this time.

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