REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): So Aries, what are you going to be when you grow up, anyway? The best damn rodeo clown who ever lived? A wisecracking astronaut with odd metaphysical notions that make NASA nervous? An almost overly charismatic leader of workshops on how to thrive in the face of a chronic identity crisis? These next few weeks will be an excellent time to tiptoe up to the brink of the verge of making a decision. Wise-old-elder vibes will be flowing your way in abundance, and may just wash away any inclinations you're harboring to remain a teen-age idol into your 70s.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Many a medieval knight was known to place strands of his lady's pubic hair in a locket and wear it into battle. I highly recommend you take a similar tack in the week ahead. If you find my idea too explicit, please at least bring some other very personal item from your beloved with you as you head into your showdown. The stars say your best chance at victory is to be full of tender devotion and fierce determination at the same time.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): OK, I'll stop re-sisting. If worrying is what you really really want to do, I'll go along with it. I'll encourage you to become a master of worrying, a connoisseur of worrying, a flaming Road Worrier. So please proceed, Gemini. Compose a "worry list" as soon as you finish reading this, and make sure there are at least 25 anxiety-arousing doubts on it. Then set aside two 20-minute periods, one each morning and one each evening, during which you will gleefully immolate yourself in free-form, full-tilt explosions of vexation.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): The French writer Gustave Flaubert once commented that "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost." Then there was Ambrose Bierce's definition of happiness: "an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another." I'm afraid that if you share either of these perspectives, Cancerian, you will not be able to fulfill your astrological destiny in the weeks to come. The planets, you see, are angling for you to get high on a very intelligent, discriminating, unselfish species of joy.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): The good news is you're recovering from your amnesia. The bad news is you're recovering from your amnesia. Any minute now you'll probably feel the stinging yet invigorating jolt of repressed feelings and denied perceptions belching up out of their hiding places. Talk about hurting so good! The quicker you cry, and the more tears you generate, the smarter and clearer you're going to be later.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Don't try to hug a porcupine this week. Don't pound a screwdriver up your nose with a hammer. And don't sling brilliantly scathing criticisms at yourself, even if you're the only one listening. Masochism in any form, my dear Virgo, is strictly verboten. The moment you sense a self-destructive urge erupting, please interrupt the flow, then forcefully substitute memories of the times in your life when you loved yourself best.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Believe it or not, the best way to improve your relationship with money right now does not involve managing your time better, acquiring a new skill, or working harder. No, Libra, the most potent magic you can perform is to fantasize about all the wonderful gifts you would buy for other people if you had lots of extra cash. This exercise in generosity will mysteriously seduce the universe into conspiring to make your bank account swell.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In August, a Scorpio from North Carolina asked me to forward a message to God. "I don't mind being broke," she wrote, "or getting lost on back roads, or meeting fascinating total strangers, or taking an hour to answer the question 'What do you do?' But dear God, I'm starting to mind that you aren't sending me clear signals about how to do your work most effectively and beautifully! If you want me to go to school, dammit, say so. If you want me to hitchhike to California and give foot massages on the beach, say so. I'm open to suggestion, Your Marvelousness! What I'm not open to is this deafening silence regarding my long-term picture." I didn't have the heart to tell this woman back then that the divine answer would not arrive for a while. But now I'm telling her -- and all you Scorpios -- that God is finally gearing up to give you a few pithy signs concerning your master plan.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): For all intents and purposes, Sagittarius, you might as well be approaching a sign that reads, "Next Gas, Food, and Lodging: 300 Miles." It looks like you're about to journey through the middle of nowhere on a lonely road, and your only companions may be mirages of black cats crossing your path and those weird little voices in your head. I highly recommend that before you begin, you stop at the last way station and stock up on fuel, nourishment, and any kind of good loving you can get.

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