REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Recipe for Jelly Bean Soup: Wait for a morning when you wake up in an irrationally cheerful mood. Put on the clothes you'd wear if a fairy godmother had given you the power of flight and you were about to launch your maiden voyage. Then head down to the candy store. Pick out six pieces of each color of jelly bean. Stop at a thrift store on the way home and purchase a big ornamental bowl, preferably with a splashy motif that appeals to the wild child in you. Fill the bowl with spring water and the jelly beans. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator. Next morning, slurp to your heart's content as you chant the following prayer: Give me what I want/ Exactly when I want it/ Forever/ Now/ Once upon a time.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Geminis have a reputation as chameleons who can never be defeated because they're so skilled at continuously redefining the meaning of success. Scorpios are famous for their ability to resurrect themselves from the dead. But maybe no other sign exemplifies the cat-with-nine-lives archetype better than you Tauruses. You not only set the standards for perseverance. You persevere with style. While many other folks are survivors, you're a soulful survivor. I predict that in the coming week this talent of yours will attract a richly deserved blessing.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): You just might write the letter that changes everything this week, or come up with a brilliant idea for a punchy collaboration. But if you do it'll probably pop out of you while you're watching TV or riding the bus, not while you're straining your brain in portentous meditations. In the next eight days you may also pull off a smooth move that wins honors for your tribe or forges a new bond between warring factions. Yet it'll no doubt be utterly unplanned -- a testimony to your incomparable skill for creating something out of nothing on the spur of the moment. In short, Gemini, you'll probably be a genius as long as you're not trying to be.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): At the core of my philosophy is the idea that the key to all your success, growth, and happiness is to know what you want. I mean what you really want more than anything else, more than all the hundreds of smaller wishes and transitory longings that eternally flit through your awareness. While it's always useful to meditate on these thoughts, it'll be especially fruitful for you to do so in the weeks to come. The cosmos is now in a very responsive mood to inquiries about the nature of your ultimate desire.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): During Brag Therapy Week a couple of months ago, I challenged you Leos to send me proof that you were the most outrageously truthful boasters in all the zodiac. Your testimonies poured in. This week and next, I'll excerpt some of the best braggadocios I received. "I'm incredibly sexy," Carrie Scott of Elk Grove, Calif., writes. "Sometimes I wish I could be someone else only so I could know what it feels like to make love to me." Mindy Sue Cohen of Pflugerville, Texas, says, "My ability to be humble in the presence of my own greatness is an inspiration to others." Steve Wilcox of Chico, Calif.: "I show unilateral understanding for the negatives I see in others." More next time.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Dear Virgo, please read this week's horoscope for Cancer, then come back for the rest of your oracle. I believe that what I've advised Crabs to do will also be applicable to you about six weeks from now. In other words, the last half of September will be prime time for you to home in on the seed desire that God planted in you before you came to Earth. In the meantime, though, to best prepare for that upcoming revelatory phase of your astrological cycle, I suggest you apply yourself to a different meditation, and that's this: What is your biggest problem? What is the underlying distortion that's at the root of all of your life's disharmonies? What is the ignorance that most obstructs your ability to know and carry out your ultimate desire?

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Even though we don't have a lot in common, you and I get along pretty well. I mean I love to snack on fresh-cooked beets smothered in horseradish, and you don't. I enjoy listening to Kate Bush and Jane Siberry and P.J. Harvey records while hanging upside down from my yoga bar, and you probably wouldn't think of doing anything of the sort. And yet you and I seem to have a symbiotic relationship. Keep this in mind as you survey the possibilities of expanding your network in the next couple of weeks. Maybe you should seek alliances based as much on how you're not alike as on how you're alike.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I don't mean to imply that you're one of the most important people alive. It's just that this is one of those times when your small personal actions will create ripples that spread out across the whole biosphere. In labyrinthine ways impossible to trace logically, for instance, your kindness to strangers could measurably reduce the level of bigotry in your community. Your gutsy refusal to give up after an apparent setback could inspire someone you barely know to literally go on living. Your decision to opt for integrity rather than convenience could save somebody's ass, maybe even his or her job.

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