REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): You'll have a spooky yet benevolent magic working in your behalf any time you pry open locked doors that lead you to colorful, fertile freedom. This same mojo could backfire, however, if you try to use it to blast holes in walls that would allow you to escape into sterile, simplistic freedom. Make sure you know the difference! Seek richness, dear Aries, not absence.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): It's not like you to gobble down your dessert before the main course. Nevertheless, that seems to be a metaphor you'll make liberal use of in the coming week. Does that mean you'll also be doing things like reading the last page of books first, and postponing foreplay until after the climax? Not necessarily. But even you Tauruses like to depart from the script on occasion, and you probably couldn't pick a better moment than now to mess around with the predictable old rhythms.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): My friend Jeff Greenwald wrote a book called Shopping for Buddhas. It's an account of his adventures as he searched the Indian subcontinent for the statue that would best serve as an evocative symbol for his personal brand of spiritual longing. I'm reminded of his quest as I meditate on you this week. I think you need to get earthier in your pursuit of the divine source of life and love. Maybe you could get salacious with a saint. Or use your hard-earned bucks to treat yourself to a workshop that'll feed your soul. Or greedily scour consumer temples for your own holy talisman.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): As I arrived home one recent afternoon, my heart filled with joy at the spectacle unfolding in the middle of the street. My next-door neighbor, a 38-year-old accountant and mother of two, was skateboarding recklessly, dodging potholes and flying over curbs, as she gabbed animatedly on her cell phone about magical realism in Latin American literature. "Hallelujah!" I thought to myself. "This woman is a living celebration! Freewheeling, slap-happy, and carefree despite her daunting responsibilities!" Guess what sign this masterpiece is, dear readers? She's one of us: a Crab. I trust your mood matches hers this week. By all astrological reckoning, it should.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Ask an astronomer about Venus and she'll describe hell: The planet is a scorching desert oppressed by thick clouds of sulfuric acid. Seek an astrologer's views on Venus and she'll tell you it's the planet of love; that it rules deep emotion and passionate attraction. So what gives? How could the two conceptions be so out of phase? Let's turn to the mystical writer Dion Fortune for help: "There is an old proverb, 'Lucky in love, unlucky in cards,' which is but another way of saying that the person who is attractive is in perpetual hot water. Venus is a disturbing influence in worldly affairs. She distracts from the serious business of life." I think you instinctively understand all of this, Leo. Your life lately could probably serve as a case study for it.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Who's in your tribe, Virgo, and what are your common values? It's prime time to take inventory of this part of your life -- and act to bring your tribe closer together. To jump-start your imagination, I'll describe the members of my tribe. My people are spiritual but aren't tied to any traditional religion. They're politically active but regard the normal political process as a sham and therefore work outside of it. They honor science and its triumphs but resist its excesses and arrogance. And they look at people who are different with fascination, not fear.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The horoscope you're reading appears in publications on four continents, including Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia, Caracas in South America, Sydney in Australia, and over 90 cities in Canada and the United States. What accounts for my ability to appeal to such a wide audience? I suspect it has a lot to do with the three planets I have in Libra in my natal chart. Like you, I listen well, have a knack for reading others' moods, can harmonize with many different types of folks, and am able to articulate complex truths in ways that a broad spectrum of people can understand. But enough about me. Are you ready to marshal all these talents we share into a bold new stroke that'll double your clout and triple your personal authority? I think you are.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Let's address the problem of astrology abuse. It occurs whenever an otherwise intelligent person acts as if astrologers are all-knowing experts, as if invisible cosmic forces rule her life, as if she has little power over what happens to her. I must say, though, in fairness to astrologers, that they're less hazardous to your health than more dangerous "experts" like priests, politicians, scientists, and journalists. Many of the latter groups are even more eager than astrologers to convince you that invisible forces control your life and that you have little power over what happens to you. Why am I bringing this up now? Because the cosmic omens say this is the best time in many moons for you to shake off the static cling of all the manipulative authorities in your life.

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