REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Who says Aries are simple, transparent folk with one-track minds? Film star Steven Seagal is an Aries, and he's as complex as they come. In 1990 he settled out of court on a sexual harassment charge; in 1994 a scriptwriter accused him of making death threats; and yet this year he was formally declared a high holy person by a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. I mention this, Aries, because many of your tribe are now going through a Seagal-like phase. Are you? Or have you figured out how to be a generous inspiration to many of the people you meet without having to balance it by being a jerk the rest of the time?

Taurus (April 20-May 20): It'll be a good week to invoke Einstein's dictum "Imagination is more important than knowledge" while making love. It'll also be prime time to engage in heavy petting in an exotic locale or to seek out an orgasm in your dreams. On the other hand, it won't be such a great time to compare your current lover to your old flames, or ruminate obsessively on the broken hearts you have suffered in the past, or rely on tried and true techniques for creating sexual satisfaction. Your main assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to prevent romantic history from repeating itself.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Here's Technique No. 1 for relieving the stress you're under: Place your hands on your hips and stand six inches away from a wall. Move your head forward rapidly until it encounters the wall. Repeat until all tension is gone. Technique No. 2: Lie down naked on a massage table. Have a compassionate healer knead you every which way for one hour. Repeat as necessary. Technique No. 3: Redefine the situations that are causing you stress so that they feel more like fascinating challenges than burdensome problems.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): "I need someone to read me stories," sings Patty Larkin in a tune on her album Perishable Fruit. I've been thinking of you every time I hear that line, Cancerian. You need more stories any way you can get them. Correct that: You need more good stories. Not airbrushed, empty-hearted Disney fantasies. Not the noir fetishizing that passes for storytelling in many TV shows and movies. Not the banal collages that infect most rock songs or the alienating narratives called the "news." No, you need nourishing tales of love and glory such as our ancestors told around the dinner table. You need ambiguous but redemptive myths that feed your soul with mystery. You need parables and sagas that connect you to your past and excite you about your future.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Almost exactly eight years ago, the citizens of East and West Berlin began to commingle freely for the first time in 28 years. Soon after the reunion, self- appointed demolition teams began hacking the Berlin Wall to pieces. I'd like for all you Leos to draw inspiration from that magnificent dismantling. The time has finally come for you to perform a similar rite of creative destruction on the stony barriers that are partitioning your world into unnatural fragments.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): New teachers and new friends: They're in the works for you this week. Unless of course you're too busy studying old teachers and killing time with old friends, in which case the fresh deliveries will pass you by. It's a similar situation with connections and helpers: If you spend too much energy fussing with the familiar ones, you'll probably never even notice the spanking new candidates offering themselves up for your use.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Marketing experts say the average consumer needs to hear of a new product nine times before it finally registers. Keep that in mind as you prepare to drum up support for your recent brainstorms. Like it or not, repetition has got to be at the heart of your self-promotional magic. Not just any old boring kind of repetition, either. You've got to be as sincere and scintillating and original about presenting yourself the ninth time as you were the first.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio Ted Turner recently donated a billion dollars to the financially strapped U.N. Scorpio Bill Gates has pledged $500 million to a large collection of charities. I don't know the astrological persuasion of George Saros, but judging from the millions he's doled out to Scorpionic causes such as providing sterile needles for drug addicts, I'd guess he's a member of your tribe, too. Few traditional astrologers ever mention this surprising generous streak in the Scorpio nature. Maybe after this week, though, in the wake of your own orgy of gift-giving, the world will have a better sense of the largess you're capable of.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I promise that your miniordeal won't last much longer. It's scheduled to hang on for a mere nine more days, and there are steps you can take to bring it to a close even sooner. Like what? To answer that, I'll give you two quotes that perfectly capture the strategies you'll have to master. "If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do." -- Hermann Hesse. "The messiah will come when we don't need him anymore." -- Franz Kafka.

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