REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Dangling rubber skeletons, thick, crusty spider webs, pretend witches' cauldrons filled with pretend lizard eyes and bat wings and snake bile: I can't believe that any of the usual Halloween props really throw a scare into you. If you'd really like to scare yourself, I mean in a good way, here's a suggestion. Contemplate the fact that there will come a time many years from now when you will die. Imagine yourself as the person you will be on that day. Look back on your life and think about all the things you wish you would have done that you didn't do. Then come back in time to the person you are today, and vow that you're going to get started on accomplishing those things sometime in the next three months.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Don't get me wrong. I'm neither a cross-dresser with rainbow-colored hair nor a fan of basketball. But I'm a big admirer of Taurus Dennis Rodman, star rebounder for the Chicago Bulls. As the sole gay rights advocate in all the grotesquely macho world of pro sports, the man strikes me as at least as courageous as any fullback playing through a hamstring injury or second baseman battling back from an off year. To top it off, he does it all with a playfulness and childlike exuberance that is virtually taboo among his cohorts. As you enter a time of year when you're liable to meet with lots of curious resistance and unexpected reactions, I urge you to emulate the man's good-humored integrity. Perhaps you would even consider being Dennis Rodman for Halloween.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Guess what time it is, boys and girls (and all you other genders, too). It's wound-cleansing time -- the perfect moment to reopen and repair the gashes in your psyche that have never healed; you know, the traumas you didn't treat with enough care or the right medicine when they first befell you, and which as a result have remained chronically infected. Halloween costume suggestion: Disguise yourself as your wound.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): The Season of the Witch is here. You know what that means. It's time for all you timid, slightly depressed goofballs to turn into voracious, sweet-toothed tigers; time to make sure all you recent graduates from puppethood transform into moondancers who're pulling your own strings; time to goad all you earnest seekers for Mr. or Ms. Right into exuberant experimenters who just might be ready to fool around with Mr. or Ms. Left.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Biologists in Massachusetts were given the task of helping a captive polar bear that was compulsively pacing in circles around its cage. They discovered a surprising cure: Prozac. I'm tempted to prescribe similar treatment for you, since you've resembled that manic beast lately. But let's first try a more natural remedy: psychodrama. Halloween is here, providing you with a perfect chance to portray and thereby exorcise your demons. Get out there and act like a caged polar bear, at first without Prozac and later while high on a full dose.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): OK, all you delicate wallflowers and demure sublimators: No more excuses. Jupiter, the god of opportunity, is energizing the wild heart of your House of Love. Meanwhile, Mars, the planet that rules world conquest and orgiastic stamina, has deigned to pay an extended visit to your House of Willpower. Given these festive facts, I deem it virtually impossible for you not to develop a more robust approach to courtship and seduction. Halloween costume suggestions: Casanova, Mae West, Henry Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Sappho, Oscar Wilde.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Studies show that more Librans are of the right-wing persuasion than any other sign. How could that be? "Equilibrium" is supposed to be your middle name, right? Shouldn't most of you be fence-sitting independents? The answer penetrates to the heart of one of astrology's big secrets. Being a Libra does not mean you're automatically an expert at balancing. In fact, it means that you have a greater need to master the art of balancing than everyone else. Halloween is a perfect time to work on this task. Why not dress up as the person who's most unlike you in the world?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You remind me of one of those embryos on ice at a fertilization clinic right now. Why? Because your life was recently blessed by the germination of an exciting new idea, relationship, or project -- which has now been consigned to a state of suspended animation. What to do? Maybe you could take advantage of the cathartic possibilities that Halloween offers. Consider costuming yourself as a frozen embryo. That might help dramatize -- in your graphic Scorpionic style -- just how pressing it is for you to resume the gestation.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): These days you remind me of a line from a Bruce Cockburn song: "Your hands are full of thorns, but you can't stop grasping for the rose." To the romantic fool in you, I suppose, this is a poetic predicament; your pain is so lyrical it's almost glamorous. But it's my duty to ask: Didn't you outgrow torturous, crazy-making scenes like this long ago? Haven't you learned all you can from being pierced with the rose's pricks? Halloween costume suggestion: acupuncture patient, porcupine, messiah wearing a crown of thorns.

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