REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Imagine this scenario: The CEOs of 10 major corporations, including two defense contractors, hold a press conference to announce they've decided to turn down the massive hand-outs they've been sucking up from the government all these years. Or picture this: The pope issues an encyclic affirming that since Jesus never had a bad thing to say about homosexuals, the church is hereby withdrawing its opposition to gay rights. Now envision a flip-flop in your personal life that would be as improbable as the first two scenarios. I predict that unlike them, yours will actually happen.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I'll show up in your dreams this week if you want me to. But I'd rather not have the assignment of killing the rhinoceros that's been chasing you. (Or is it a carnivorous unicorn?) It's not that I'm afraid of the beast. It's just that I don't think we should kill it. The Senoi people of Malaysia, who some say are dream experts, teach us not to destroy the frightful creatures in our nightmares. Rather we should confront them, converse with them if possible, and even demand a gift from them. In conclusion, Taurus, if you do want me to visit you in the dream time, please allow me to help you wrest a blessing from the monster.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Of all history's tragedies, one of the saddest is the uncanny disparity between love and romance. Real love, after all, is hard work. It's unconditional, unselfish, and driven by compassionate sympathy. Romance, on the other hand, is a slave to the tingling intoxication of warm, gushy feelings. It's selfish and conditional and often more obsessed with getting than with giving. Do you think you could do something about this, Gemini? Like maybe see if you can improvise more convergence between these strange bedfellows?

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Cancer (June 21-July 22): I hate to sound like a crabby fuddy-duddy bitching about how life was better in the old days. But I've been suffering from that delusion lately. The word-processing software I bought back in 1990 outperforms the supposedly new, improved version. I've had similar experiences recently with cars, radios, shampoos, and breakfast cereals. However, I'm praying with all my heart that I don't generalize from this and fixate on the conclusion that everything old is better. That can't be the case. It can't, it can't, it can't. I know I'll be OK if I can just make it through these next two weeks -- when we Crabs will face our strongest temptation ever to overglorify the past.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): What do you have in common with a virgin accountant nibbling potato chips while reading the phone book in the desert? Not much, except this: Neither of you is wet enough. If it sounds like I'm exaggerating for effect, I am -- but just barely. I can't risk you getting any more emotionally dehydrated than you already are. The stars are begging me to beg you to imitate a tsunami. So go soak yourself, O unsaturated one. Immerse yourself in long, hot baths and slippery massages. Drink deep from the cup that never empties. Unleash a flood of sublime tears.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Shall we count all the ways you can deny the Big Red Throbbing Problem? (1) You can trump up a Little Pink Piddling Problem to distract everyone's attention from it. (2) You can cram your schedule with so many exhausting tasks that you won't have any energy left over to think about it. (3) You can pounce on the screw-ups of a convenient scapegoat, unleashing such a consuming flame of blame that there's no fuel left over to light a fire under your own butt. (4) You can intone over and over again, like a mantra, "I am NOT denying the problem."

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It would be a good week to arrange a marathon swimming session in a sweaty bed with a kooky plaything. If that's not possible, could you please at least try take a beer shower, preferably with a Pollyanna-ish conspiracy theorist who'd also join you for a make-out session at the movies? And in case you haven't caught my drift yet, my friend, I'm trying to subliminally seduce you into accepting the following title for this week's drama: "Limbering Up Libra's Libido."

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In mock honor of all the dogmas and certainties you're being forced to hurl out the window, we're proud to present eight full-bodied cliches for your use this week -- the most ever crammed into a single Real Astrology horoscope. Enjoy! 1) The barriers are falling. 2) The tide is turning. 3) The boundaries are blurring. 4) The floodgates are opening. 5) The fat lady's singing. 6) Your mother was wrong. 7) Your forbears are rolling over in their graves. 8) Your mojo and your karma have a blind date in a labyrinth where entropy and relativity are engaged in a fight to the finish.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you ever blown the family fortune playing the slot machines? Or tipped over the poker table and fled out the door in order to cut your losses? If so, you probably don't have enough self-control to capitalize on the wild cards the cosmos is offering you this week. If on the other hand, you're one of those Sagittarians whose fondness for gambling has never turned into a compulsion, you now have license to take a big, feisty chance. Even you disciplined types, however, should not bet your soul on a 1000-to-1 shot.

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