REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Thinking of getting hitched? Of signing on the bottom line? Of marrying your fortunes to those of a new tribe, guide, or accomplice? It's not a totally outlandish notion, though I wish you would let your alliance ripen a little before going all the way. Perhaps you would consider a trial marriage -- a short-duration bond which would give you the chance to simulate foreverness without actually pledging your eternal soul. Promise me that you'll at least whip up the equivalent of a prenuptial agreement, complete with a provision that neither of you will ever blame the other for anything.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Research by neurophysiologists suggests that singing at the top of your lungs helps flush metabolic wastes from your cerebrum. I mention this because the astrological time is ripe for a full-scale attack on dirt, decay, and debris, and there'd be no better way to start than with a good, thorough brain-washing. So please, by all means, belt out all your favorite oldies in the shower or car or karaoke bar. That should prime you to clean the hell out of the rest of your life.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Harvest time may be almost over in much of the Northern Hemisphere. But there are still some blooms that are just now reaching their peak of ripeness and fullness. Pumpkins, apples, and walnuts are, to me, among the most beautiful bounties -- along with the tribe known as Gemini. Juicy, sweet, and pleasing to the eye, you folks are ready to be plucked.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): While you're in the most crablike phase of your cycle, I thought you'd like more crabby lessons. 1) Crabs are skilled at scavenging for food. (You've sometimes got to be creative and adaptable when it comes to nourishing yourself.) 2) Crabs are expert at masking and camouflage. (Be proud of the fact that you're a master of disguise. It's an important facet of your self-protective strategy, and allows you to be as complex as you need to be when oversimplistic people try to practice their gross reductionism.) 3) Crabs are smarter than they appear to the casual observer; some are even considered tool-users. (In some ways it's a drawback that people underestimate your intelligence; but you can also use it to your advantage, especially now.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): You're quite likely to come down with a case of the blithering blathers this week. I don't want to invoke the pejorative phrase "verbal diarrhea," because I don't think your symptoms will ever get that bad; and besides, I don't want to inhibit your fluency one whit. In fact I'd love to see you express yourself to the max and beyond, even if you sloppily surpass your limit now and then. Nothing would be better for your soul than to let slip all the best-kept secrets that have no business being hoarded anymore.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Warning: This week's horoscope contains scatological references that may offend those of you who aren't doing what you're supposed to be doing. Please, if you think you're too refined to do the work fate has assigned you, STOP READING NOW. I apologize in advance for telling the truth. The gross fact of the matter, Virgo, is that the task ahead of you bears a certain resemblance to polishing a turd. I know that seems impossible, but if anyone can do it, you can. Proceed with caution, bemusement, and your usual alacrity.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In honor of the comic yet noble vibes infusing you (and sometimes confusing you) during your birthday season, I'm turning this horoscope over to two of my favorite Librans, Mahatma Gandhi and Groucho Marx -- both born Oct. 3. Take it away, Mahatma. 1) "The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within." 2) "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." 3) "I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers." And now for Groucho. 1) "A child of 5 could understand this. Fetch me a child of 5." 2) "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." 3) "The secret of success is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake those, you've got it made."

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Because of your rather taxing astrological aspects, you've been given Official Permission to hurl a stack of dishes against a wall. In addition, you're granted a poetic license to fling rocks toward heaven, darts at pictures of your nemeses, pies into your own face, and curses at the labyrinth where you've been forced to spend your playtime. None of the above, however, should be construed as giving you the right to cast aspersions at innocent bystanders.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Once upon a time I was politically correct. Now a more apt description of my beliefs might be politically cracked. Not that I've renounced my vividly leftist ideals. Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader are still my heroes. It's just that five years ago I vowed I would try hard not to dehumanize the people I disagree with; that I'd strive to understand why they feel the way they do even if they wouldn't think of returning the favor. I highly recommend this approach to you, by the way. Not simply because it'd be a nice thing to do, but because it would be very pragmatic. Consensus-building will be far more important than being right in the next few weeks. Leading your tribe out of the wilderness will be much more fun than arguing in the swamp.

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