REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): In a recent episode of the TV science-fiction show Babylon 5, an earthling and an alien were talking about why their mutual friend had a giant poster of a goofy-grinned Daffy Duck over his bed. The alien innocently asked, "Is that one of the deities he prays to?" The earthling replied, "Yeah -- it's the Egyptian god of frustration." I couldn't help but think of you at that poignant yet wacky moment, Aries. Why? Because I believe that if you'll only visualize Daffy Duck every time you meet frustration in 1997, you'll have the attitude necessary to turn that frustration into a rich source of motivation.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): As I contemplate your fate in the year ahead, I keep thinking of an earthy -- OK, crude -- old saying I once heard from a guy who'd competed in the Iditarod, the dog-sled race in Alaska. "Unless you're the lead dog," he said, "the view never changes." I wouldn't have dreamed of mentioning this, Taurus, except for the fact that 1997 will be prime time for you to push your way to the front of the pack, where the views will be stunningly panoramic and in constant flux.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): I'd like to suggest a fresh tradition to start the year: making New Year's anti-resolutions. It'll be a fun exercise in acknowledging the part of you that's bad and lazy. Here are a few questions to guide you. 1) What sins and vices do you vow to do even more and even bigger in 1997? 2) What nagging irritations will you ignore and avoid with even greater ingenuity? 3) What long-term goal or lifelong dream do you vow to delay setting in motion for as long as possible?

(P.S. I believe that coming up with these anti-resolutions will help loosen you up as you devise your resolutions. And that will in turn make it more likely you'll actually stick to those goody-goody promises.)

Cancer (June 21-July 22): According to all the omens, 1996 was supposed to be the year you fell in love with love all over again; the year you stopped sabotaging your romantic ideals; the year you made vast improvements in your relationship skills and evolved from being a pretty good lover to being a master of intimacy. Do you fit any of those descriptions, even a little? If so, I can confidently predict that 1997 will bring a second honeymoon or a first elopement or a symbiotic union that will make your entire romantic history before this seem like puppy love.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Have you found your soul twin? If not, I predict the legendary meeting will unfold in February 1997. And if you and this eternal companion have already made contact before then, I predict the two of you will spend February and March discovering miracles of intimacy and delight that not only blow your mind, but blow your heart, too. How to prepare? First of all, notice that I didn't say you'd meet your dream lover, but rather your soul twin. They could be the same thing, but not necessarily. Second, clear your mind of all expectations about what this relationship should be like. Vow that you will be more committed to unveiling the truth about your connection than to making it conform to your ideals or fantasies.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I'm sad to report that one out of every four adults chronically has to fight off the gloomy suspicion that she (or he) has missed her calling. But I'm happy to report that if you're among this number, there's never been a better time than 1997 to unchoose the questionable career choices you've made. I'm not saying it will be easy. But it could be thrilling, risky, unimaginably demanding, and maybe even successful. And if you happen to be one of the 75 percent who feels pretty cheery about your current vocation, the year ahead will be prime time to pump it up to the next level.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Normally, human fertility is highest when the room temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll be an exception to the rule for most of the coming year, since whether it's 30 below or 100 in the shade your own fertility will be almost continuously raging like a bull in springtime. Of course that means if you're a heterosexual and you'd prefer to make great art or business instead of a baby, you'd better take extra precautions with birth control. It also means you sure as hell better find some constructive, first-class outlets for all your creativity, lest you find yourself belting out moldy oldies at the local karaoke bar every Friday night.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Like the hero of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth, you're on schedule to explore some exciting interior landscapes in 1997. Like Alice, whose trip to Wonderland began with a descent down a rabbit hole, your best adventures will begin by plunging down and in. And like Jacques Cousteau, you'll discover undreamed-of treasures if you can just become acclimated to the exotic conditions that prevail in the depths.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Welcome to the future, Sagittarius! Here are a few actions you could take to guarantee delivery of all the blessings jovial Jupiter would love to unload on you in 1997. 1) Put together an aggressive and precise three-year plan to fill the holes in your education. 2) Dare to make three well-researched gambles that will require you to improve your communication skills by a factor of three. 3) Take yourself three times less seriously than you do now. 4) Dress for excess at least three times a month, and dress for success the rest of the time. 5) Regard the triangle as your lucky symbol.

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