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REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World 

Wednesday, Apr 23 1997
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Aries (March 21-April 19): I dreamt that money suddenly sprouted on a tree outside your home. Large-denomination leaves were swaying there in the breeze, ripe and ready to pick. Only trouble was, you were nowhere in the vicinity. You'd gone to the liquor store to buy 20 lottery tickets. After that you stopped in at a bingo game for a while, then entered a sweepstakes at the record store, and finally headed over to the racetrack to waste some cash betting on the horses. Meanwhile, a crowd had gathered at your money tree and plucked it clean. Dream interpretation: Don't be waiting at the bus station when your ship comes in.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Taurus Shirley Temple received 135,000 presents for her 8th birthday in 1936. You emphatically deserve a comparable cornucopia when your big day rolls around this year. To aid your cause, I suggest you cut out this horoscope and show it to anyone who might be even vaguely amenable to forking over a goody. Underline this next sentence: The current configuration of the planets practically guarantees that anyone who's generous to a Taurus between now and May 20 will have their blessings return twofold. And by the way, my birthday gift for you is a prediction that 1997 will be the best year ever for your career.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): A wise teacher once told me about the crisis she suffered when she first entered the mystical path 22 years ago. Within a month of beginning yogic breathing exercises and meditation, she had what we now call a "spiritual emergency," though back then it was a "nervous breakdown." As she lay in the hospital staring at the red elves that were crawling on the ceiling, a healer arrived, sent by a concerned friend. Taking her feet in his hands, the healer proceeded to massage just that part of her body for the next half-hour. Amazingly, she was cured, and checked out of the hospital the next day. The moral of the story, Gemini: To turn your upcoming spiritual emergency into a spiritual emergence, be very good to the part of you that anchors you to the earth.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Once upon a time, long ago, Pepsi was not even in the same league as Coke. In fact, the company actually went bankrupt, and the executives at Coke were offered the chance to buy it out for a piddling sum. "No thanks," they said, "we've already got a monopoly." If they'd had more foresight, Coke would today be to the cola industry what Microsoft is to computer operating systems. What's all this got to do with you? I believe you're now at a point comparable to where Coke was when it had the chance to gobble up its future competitor.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): I'm not so unrealistic as to expect you to be totally at peace with yourself. I'm fully aware that many of you don't fully like the way you look, or suffer from the feeling that you lack essential luxuries, or fear that your peers are speeding toward their dreams faster than you are. And yet every now and then there comes a grace period when you're so thoroughly united with your destiny that it makes perfect sense for you to stand on a rooftop and shout, "I envy no one," for all the world to hear. I believe that the next few weeks will be such a time.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): A few days into the media's crazed feast on the Heaven's Gate corpses, this headline appeared in my daily paper: "SEARCH FOR MEANING LEADS TO CULT MEMBERSHIP." By that idiotic logic, you Virgos would be prime candidates for recruitment by some wacko right about now. You are, after all, on the verge of outgrowing the belief systems that've sustained you for so long. And you're getting itchy for more provocative, less predictable theories about why the world is the way it is. But the odds of you getting sucked into some elitist sect that's out to wash and shrink your brain are as great as Time magazine printing an article that points out the similarities between icky cults and organized religions. Your quest for meaning is headed into expansive, liberated territory.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): If you're fantasizing about a nice pleasure cruise on a love boat, you'll be disappointed. If you'd accept an intelligence-gathering mission on a love submarine, though, you're in luck. Sure, the claustrophobia might be thick. But that would be a small price to pay for the exotic strains of intimacy you'd get to reconnoiter. Besides, if you're far beneath the waves, you won't have to worry about negotiating the waters between the rock and the hard place.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): At any other time I would ridicule the simplistic advice I'm about to give you, but at this particular twist in your astrological destiny it makes perfect sense. As you take inventory of which influences you want to keep in your life and which you don't, I suggest you borrow my 6-year-old daughter Zoe's rating system. To those things you like, squeal, "YUM!" To those that feel irrelevant, ambiguous, or just plain gross, snarl, "YUCK!"

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You're the zodiac's resident expert in taking the bird's-eye view of the world. Flights of the imagination are your specialty, your birthright. But the time is overdue for you to try on a perspective you don't have a natural affinity for: the worm's-eye view. Any success you achieve in the next few weeks will come because you've managed to get excited about seeing things up close from the ground level. Maybe next fall you'll find an ingenious new form of self-expression by liberating your imagination -- but it'll only happen if you lay the detailed groundwork now.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In my first college course in painting, our teacher had each of us students choose an old master to plagiarize. For the first half of the semester, I concentrated on reproducing as exactly as I could some of my favorite works by Breughel. It imprinted me with the artist's genius, and taught me more about painting than 20 lectures in technique. I'd like to suggest you take on an analogous assignment right now. Choose a person who has excelled at doing some work you'd like to do better, and imitate that person with as much detail as you can for, say, six weeks.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is by no means the only Aquarian who's found the courage to lay bare the whole truth and nothing but the truth about herself. Last weekend my Aquarian cousin Ruth, who has often given us the impression that she's aligned with the principles of feminism, confessed that she's actually a Republican! And yesterday my Aquarian acquaintance Ronnie, who until now has always acted as if she has pagan sympathies, shocked us by admitting she's a closet Catholic! More power to all of them, I say. I hope they're just a few of millions of Aquarians who'll drop all pretenses and experiment with what it feels like to be an undivided self. The astrological aspects are wildly favorable for such a mass unveiling.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Your lucky number this week is one-half. Your power spot is in-between. Your sacred color is plaid and your special emotion is skeptical faith and your magic talisman is a partially ripe apple. Your word of power is toward. It signifies that you're on a path, you're a work in progress, you're in a state of becoming -- and proud of it. For the foreseeable future, toward is a much more beautiful and useful word than perfection.

About The Author

Rob Brezsny

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Slideshows

  • 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
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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