REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Compared with all you have going for you right now, your problem is very small. You're like a painter who's pregnant with the vision of a great work of art but who doesn't have all the paints you need to execute it in its glorious detail. So expand your palette already. Get out there and beg, borrow, or buy the extra colors you need. If you meet any resistance, tell everyone that the world's classiest astrologer said they'll be doing a service to humanity right now if they help your genius bloom.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): If you were Pinocchio, you'd have had an encounter with Stromboli the Puppetmaster last week. If you were the biblical Jonah, you'd have just finished an extended sojourn in the belly of the behemoth. But since you're you, you probably experienced a gentler version of those adventures. Unless you're trying to accumulate even more raw material for a future novel, I suggest you avoid further heroic exploits for now. Give yourself the gift of vegetating. Sit tranquilly in a quiet sanctuary and ask your lucky stars to help you master the healing art of doing absolutely nothing.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): My new favorite actress is Kristin Scott Thomas from The English Patient. I suspect she's a Gemini, though she hasn't publicly revealed her birth date. Only a Gemini would do what she did at the Academy Awards show a couple of weeks ago. Appearing onstage as a presenter, she looked smashing. Her hair was exquisite, her gown gorgeous, her charisma radiant. And then, without warning, she began very noticeably to scratch her side. Once, twice, five times. "She's got to be a Gemini!" I howled. "She couldn't just bask regally in the spotlight. Her mischievous, rebellious side had to make an appearance too!" Which is similar to what I expect soon for you, dear Gemini: a moment of triumph during which you pick your nose or give a big yawn as you soak up the glory.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): After seeing the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, the ancient writer Philo of Byzantium wrote, "He who has laid eyes on it will be convinced that the world of the immortal gods has moved from heaven to earth." I beseech you to give yourself at least one equally breathtaking experience this week, Cancerian. You need to have your mind blown not just by any old natural wonder, but by things of beauty created by maestros and visionaries. Why? Because your own imagination is poised to materialize a bolder, more sublime master plan for your own life, and feelings of reverence and awe will give it just the right boost.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke once said, "Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasure." I'd like you to write down this thought on several pieces of paper, then tape it to your mirror, slip it under your pillow, and carry it in your wallet. Of all the weeks this year, this is the week you'll have the power and ingenuity necessary to outwit your deepest fear and seize the treasure it guards.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Find a place in the natural world where you think it's possible no human has stood for many years. Make this spot your own. Hang out there. Meditate. Have lunch. Then create a shrine or place an offering for whatever god or goddess you're most attuned to these days. You might leave a bowl of cookies and flowers, for instance, or a $20 bill and a favorite piece of jewelry. This will be your sacrifice, your affirmation that you're finally ready to risk the possibility that the old saying is true: Sometimes a new door won't open until you firmly close an old one.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Love may try to slip in through the back door this week. Hint No. 1: Keep that entrance unlocked. Hint No. 2: Don't be too sure you know what love will look like. Otherwise you may mistake it for something else, and prevent it from giving you the gifts it wants to bestow. Hint No. 3: To make love feel more welcome, clean the whole damn house, being sure to concentrate on any leftover evidence of romantic dead-ends and desires that were never fulfilled.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Was the Old Testament prophet Moses a Scorpio? We'll never know. But a case can certainly be made for it. The man was dogged, loyal, and strong; he was a skilled mediator who galvanized courage and faith in his tribe. All these qualities characterize you Scorpios at your best. You also tend to be most creative when you're rebuilding, and are likely to have the most electrifying spiritual experiences of any sign in the zodiac -- both of which could be said about Moses. There's one other fact about our hero that's especially apropos to you right now: He overcame daunting adversities in order to accomplish his legendary feats, not the least of which was his speech impediment. This week you'll have to be more like Moses than you've ever been before.

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