REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I just read Robert Bly's poem "Conversation With a Holy Woman Not Seen for Many Years." "I could not come earlier," he mourns. "My shabby mouth, with its cavernous thirst, ate the seeds of longing that should have been planted." As I lie here and free-associate, Aries, I'm struck by how right it would be for you to speak those very words. Like Bly, you're ready to acknowledge that once upon a time you didn't let your yearning ripen; you threw it rashly at a source that could never fulfill it. Now you're ready to atone, but are still suffering the consequences of your earlier immaturity. Or are you? I predict that you'll finally outgrow that bad karma in the weeks ahead.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Lately you remind me of one of those wonders of the desert -- a plant that doesn't just survive, but thrives on very little water. Somehow you've managed to keep your emotions from drying out in spite of the unavailability of folks who usually help keep you moist and delectable. While I'd like to express my admiration and offer my congratulations, I also want to suggest that you not get too used to this adaptation. You wouldn't want your roots to feel drowned when the juicy flow resumes in a few days.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): At the risk of being rude, Gemini, I'd like to ask you how many of your "friendships" are really nothing more than good connections? What portion of your alliances, in other words, exists to serve your drive for status and influence, and what portion has arisen purely out of mutual affection? I'm not saying you're a bad person if ambition motivates some of your urges to reach out. I'd suggest, though, that you try to have at least a few cohorts who can't do a damn thing to promote your eternal glory. (And by the way, would any of your connections ripen into true friendships if you didn't think about them in such a utilitarian way?)

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I forbid you to be a prisoner of love, a slave of happiness, or a victim of pleasure. Wait. Cancel that. No I don't. How can I forbid you to do anything? It's your life. I'm not your daddy. So let me rephrase that. Cancerian, I beg you not to be a prisoner of love, a slave of happiness, or a victim of pleasure. None of the fine things in life, let alone the fabulous things, will give you what you need if you make yourself sick running after them, or if you become a martyr in the course of enjoying them. That's the bad news. The good news is that you now have a perfect chance to arrange for freedom and bliss to happen in the same place.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Certain Orthodox Jews express their reverence for the Sabbath by abstaining from all work. "Work" includes not only digging ditches and balancing the books, but also flicking light switches and buttoning buttons. While their devout commitment to stillness may seem implausible to you, and might be impractical to observe on a regular basis, I heartily recommend it now, when your proclivity for gratuitous frenzy is at a peak. What activities do you include in your definition of work? Would you be willing to live without them for a whole day at a time? See if you can squeeze in at least two Sabbaths a week for the next couple of weeks.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Don't be like the White Peking ducks that are scudding in front of me here on Lake Lagunitas. They're surface-feeding creatures, content to scam what limited nourishment they can from the calm waters they float on. No, Virgo, be more like the orange-legged frogs that dive to scout for morsels at greater depths. This is one time when the quest for greater variety can lead you away from the curse of superficiality.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Whenever I turn my attention your way, I smell smoke. You know what that means, don't you? Your new fire isn't burning with maximum efficiency. What's the problem? Insufficient kindling? Green wood? Damp ground? Find out now. It's high time to whip the smoldering haze into a vehement blaze. Do whatever it takes to get a hotter, cleaner, more complete combustion.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Many biologists now reject the notion that Earth's species have evolved slowly and gradually over unimaginable periods of time. Instead, they favor the theory of "punctuated equilibrium." It proposes that species change very little during long, stable periods, but then mutate like crazy in the wake of pole shifts, ice ages, visitations from comets, and the like. I believe this model can explain a lot about your life -- especially now. You seem to be in the midst of one of those "punctuated" phases, when an unprecedented upsurge of novelty launches countless new evolutionary trends.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Even if a president's policies don't impact your pocketbook, his face still floats through your subconscious mind, embodying the archetype of the king -- oblivious to the opinions of your conscious ego. So let me ask you a question that is nowhere near as irrelevant to your personal life as it might first appear. Which version of the king would you prefer to preside over your dreams for the next four years: the mummified patriarch who's fixated by the past, or the wobbly warrior whose motto seems to be "whatever works"? (P.S. The weeks ahead will reveal, if you're paying attention even a little, just how potent an influence your night dreams have on your waking life.)

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