REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Are you just another ordinary sinner? Or are you a gifted innovator who should have license to stretch the rules now and then? Are you simply another one of us survivors grubbing for a little more money, security, and love? Or are you a zealous seeker whose thirst for wisdom is so righteous that it deserves special dispensations? HA! TRICK QUESTIONS! Did you fall for my ruse? In fact, Aries, you are, at one time or another, all of the above. It's true, however, that you're currently in a phase when your predominant roles should be the gifted innovator and the zealous seeker.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): If you'd like one of the nuns of St. John Bosco to say a little prayer for you every day this year, you have to donate $100 to their group, the Salesian Sisters. If, on the other hand, you want my team of Prayer Warriors to argue with God in your behalf, we'll do it for you absolutely free. This is, I remind you, the prime time of the year for you Taureans to issue your demands to the Divine Source -- as well as to humbly beg for assistance and intervention. Mail your requests to Prayer Warriors, PO Box 150247, San Rafael, CA 94915.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): It would be a good week to try doing handstands on barstools and to challenge nemeses to arm-wrestling matches and to come to work with hickeys on your neck and shoulder. It wouldn't be such a great time to give old-lady-style hugs to charismatic new acquaintances or to speak with a forked tongue simply to save yourself a little time or to crawl into foggy swamps with people who'd like you to share their misery. Be gutsy, feisty, and tasty, Gemini, not timid, niggling, and sniveling.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Harper's magazine recently reproduced a warning given to junior high school students in Tallahassee before a school dance. I take the liberty of publishing it in your horoscope this week because I'm very certain you should do the exact opposite of everything it says. Here it is. "No spoon dancing, no hip grinding against another student, no kissing, no hands below the waist, no riding on another's back, no conga dancing, no throwing someone in the air, no being passed around bodily by a group, no slam dancing, and no jumping around on top of others."

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): "Separation anxiety" is a term used by psychologists to refer to the distress a baby feels when its mommy or main caretaker is gone too long. We all experienced that primordial worry. For most of us, it became an archetypal source of trauma that is touched, even when we're adults, by any event that vaguely stimulates the fear of being abandoned. By my astrological reckoning, Leo, you've been having to deal with separation anxiety to an uncomfortable degree lately. But I believe you're about to find a cure.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): On more than one occasion in the last few years, you've reminded me of the ancient Roman holy man St. Simeon Stylites. Famous for his stupendous mortifications, the dude spent 36 years wearing an iron collar as he lived full time on a 3-foot-in-diameter platform at the top of a tall pillar. While you've never quite approached his heights, your renunciations and immolations have nonetheless earned you the right to be considered for sainthood. Having said all that, though, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you now to lay aside your sacrificial shtick. Your astrological aspects are just too good to justify you doing the iron-collar thing any longer.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Studies show that a substantial percentage of childhood traumas occur during recess at school. There on the playground, where adult supervision is lax and pent-up energy is explosively released, is when peer pressure often exacts its cruelest torments. Think back now to any events in your own life when other children inflicted deep wounds on your tender psyche; bring that pain all the way up to the conscious level. There's an abundance of healing in the air this week, and I predict it will show you exactly what to do in order to repair the ancient damage.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You can stay out all night partying and playing chicken with your fears, but I wouldn't recommend it. You can jump into battle mode at the slightest sign of agitation and have fun messing with every gossipy distraction that tickles a nerve, but I beg you not to. If I had my way, Scorpio, you'd retreat into your sanctuary for a good long talk with yourself. You'd stroke yourself with feathers and fantasize about what you'll be doing in 10 years. You'd post signs on your door that read "By invitation only" and "Trespassers will be eaten," and make sure no one enters unless they agree to all of your rules.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It's a tiptoe-past-the- cranky-people kind of week, Sagittarius. A-don't-sneak-up-from-behind-and-yell-boo kind of week. Keep a very light touch and put a heavy emphasis on subtlety. Cock your ear and sleep with one eye open, if possible. Cover your ass at least two different ways, and hide important secrets in the equivalent of a Chinese box within a Chinese box within a Chinese box. Got all that? At the same time, however, I urge you to remain blithe and lighthearted and casual. That'll be the perfect disguise for all your cagey strategy.

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