REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

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!"

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