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REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World 

Wednesday, Oct 30 1996
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.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You can't help but love a country that schedules its national election within a week of Halloween. Do you think this could be a subconscious factor motivating hundreds of American politicians to spend the entire campaign season masquerading? Of course if I were a spin doctor, I'd be advising all those office-seekers to avoid disguises that resemble unevolved Scorpios, and instead stick to Capricorn imitations. This is the season, after all, when the popularity of your tribe peaks, and when you wield the most clout -- all without having to sacrifice an ounce of integrity. Halloween costume suggestion: an honest politician.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): This is the most raucous Halloween season for Aquarians in decades. It seems to be teasing a primordial ooze out of your aura. You're on the verge of channeling the most constructive mischief I've ever seen. That's why I'm giving you license to cut back sharply on your encounters with small-talking me-firsters and hard-hearted narrow-minds. You need to keep your schedule free so you have plenty of time to start food fights with exiled poets, play nude Monopoly after midnight with fire-eaters and defrocked nuns, and dance bacchanalian seductions by the light of the television with disheveled pilgrims and deep thinkers who own their own flying saucers.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): If you heeded my advice last week, you have by now custom-designed your own religion, inscribed its commandments on stone tablets, and been wearing your new sacerdotal vestments around the house in rehearsal for Halloween. This weekend I want you to get started on the next phase of your work, which is to create new schools of thought in philosophy, psychology, economics, and education -- all tailored to your own changing needs and inclinations. If necessary, climb to the top of a mountain for inspiration, or sail to the ends of the Earth. It's high time to see the big picture and think huge thoughts.

About The Author

Rob Brezsny


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
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