REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): You've got it all these days -- incandescent allure, effervescent creativity, shimmering exuberance, and a fresh approach to just about every situation you encounter. The only thing you don't have quite enough of is a lucid sense of when enough is about to spill over the top and turn into too much. I'm especially concerned that you'll be enjoying your second childhood so ferociously that you won't heed the sage advice alluded to by Nanci Griffith and Adam Duritz in their song "Going Back to Georgia," namely: Don't get drowned in the fountain of youth.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): If it didn't sound so sterile, I'd compare the renewal you're now going through to the winding up of a reliable old clock. Another apt but slightly dehumanizing metaphor: You're like a drained battery being charged up at a service station.

How about if we leave it at this: You resemble a field that's been left fallow. Though nothing useful's growing, the nutrients in the soil are regenerating, restoring all the exhausted fertility.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): First those durn American entrepreneurs had to go to Paris and erect one of their god-awful Burger Kings on the elegant Champs Elysees. Soon they'd blighted the streets of the French capital with Pizza Huts and TGI Friday's. Now, finally, the nation that perfected the art of faux food and inane architecture has proposed the final insult: a new McDonald's in the building where Picasso and Modigliani once bought their paint supplies. Heroically, a sizable gang of native stalwarts has stood up and declared its undying resistance to the encroachment: Just as you must do, dear Gemini, in the face of an analogous infringement from a source that has already pushed you too far. It's time to draw a line in the sand -- or the carpet.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): My best poetry teacher, Lynn Luria-Sukenick, once suggested that every poet should learn to identify by name at least 40 flowers, 30 trees, and eight clouds. All these years I've felt guilty for not having acted on her wise instruction. This week, in honor of the never-too-late-to-begin energy pouring down on all us Cancerians, I plan to remedy my procrastination. I urge you to do the same. Jump-start the crucial soul-work you've put off forever.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): In the aquatic stadium, I saw the killer whale gently kiss the 9-year-old girl. Later, I fought to adjust to the elephant's corkscrewing spine as I rode the beast around a circular track. In the butterfly sanctuary, I welcomed the swallowtail that landed on my shoulder, even when it deposited a tiny, graceful poop. But of all the creatures at Marine World, one dazzled above all others: a strikingly bewitching, perfectly coiffed, charisma-oozing redhead in a white suit -- obviously a Leo in full, rampaging glory -- striding down the promenade, leaving a wake of gaping onlookers. I was of course too awed and intimidated to approach this gorgeous animal and introduce myself, but if I'd been braver I would have said, "Is it really in your best interest to awe and intimidate everyone?"

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgos are famous for having exotic maladies. You folks wouldn't be caught dead suffering from a mere cold or stomach flu. You insist on contracting things like archaic bacterial infections that no doctor has treated since the 18th century. Likewise, when your mental hygiene goes sour, it generates symptoms that only a magical realist novelist could dream up. Now cut out the message you just read, and burn it. I decree and predict that your reign as a fascinating sickie is over. With the expansive planet Jupiter in your House of Joy Luck for the next four months and the energizing planet Mars gearing up to cruise through your House of Vitality for five of the next 10 months, you have the best chance ever to dissolve your chronic health problems.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The Hindus have a holiday in February called Maha Shivaratree. It's considered to be a time when the moon has the least sway over human affairs; when celebrants can enjoy relative freedom from their instincts and the past. I regard the coming days as a comparable phase for you Libras. In the wake of this week's new moon, you'll have a bellyful of power to create your future out of nothing but your own smartest desires.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Are you one of those people who subscribes to the school of thought captured in the bumper sticker that reads, "The more people I meet, the more I like my dog"? If so, this'll be a gnarly, dog-eat-dog week for you. Schmoozathons are in your future, sweetheart, and you'll be engaged with the theme of networking one way or another -- whether it's by building vibrant new connections with friendly panache or by burning bridges with an arsonist's fervor. For best results, I suggest you teach yourself to like people more than dogs.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It'll be an excellent week to perform psychic surgery on yourself, to revolt against all the ways you've been typecast, and to wander off into the Outback and play didgeridoo for the dingos. On the other hand, It won't be such a good time for you to try curious experiments you've been warned against by three or more people. On the other other hand, if just one or two folks have tried to dissuade you, go right ahead. (P.S. If you haven't stolen time yet for a vacation, or if your wanderlust is still throbbing, escape immediately!)

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