REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Come the holiday season, everyone becomes more receptive to the possibility that miracles can happen. Even the nihilistic party-poopers who dominate the media seem willing to tone down their cynical debunkery of all things numinous. Yet who could have guessed that you tough-minded Aries folk would suddenly become more susceptible to wondrous anomalies than all the other signs combined? Here they come, baby: freaky overnight cures, loopy angelic visitations, stupefying prodigies too beautifully strange to put into words, and who knows what else.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): As I contemplate your week ahead, I'm reminded of the book by Swami Beyondananda called When You See a Sacred Cow ... Milk It for All It's Worth. Why? Because it's my astrological opinion, Taurus, that you should not fall to your knees before anyone or anything that resembles a sacrosanct beast -- unless it agrees to serve your needs, too. If you want to praise how sonorous its bellowing moos sound, and how gracefully it chews its cud, and how fragrant its farts are -- fine, do all that; but only if it returns the favor twofold.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): The Earth Week column reports that wolves and dogs are getting it on in record numbers in Russia's northern forests, leading to a population explosion of wogs, or dolves, or whatever you want to call the hybrid offspring. I immediately thought of you when I heard that, Gemini, because the wild aspect of your own nature has been flirting heavily with the domesticated part. It wouldn't surprise me to see something akin to a climactic mating ritual in the next few weeks -- followed in time by the birth of a fresh new wog- or dolflike facet of your psyche.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Near the end of November every year, many of us Cancerians surrender to the inner worrywart. It's as if we're possessed. Suddenly we're generating images of fear and doubt with the same prodigious effort that at other times we devote to nurturing the people we love. I say we make this week the turning point when we break the vicious cycle once and for all. Here's a key point to understand if we're to win the battle: Just because a scary fantasy is vivid doesn't qualify it as an authentic psychic intuition. Learn to discriminate between high-anxiety hallucinations from your guilty conscience and true-blue messages from your deep soul.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): In the next few weeks I'd like you to consider the possibility of becoming better acquainted with Tasty Tickles Body Powder, Hitachi Magic Wands, and tantric workshops. My hunch (based on the squirmy astrological aspects) is that this holiday season could go down as one of the most boisterous in the annals of your psychosexual history. This might sound crazy, but a little voice in my head also told me that beer and chocolate, when imbibed together, might be one hell of a sublime aphrodisiac for you and yours.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Imagine that as you awake from a pearly dream one morning, you have a vision of a cackling goddess over your bed. She instructs you to cook a big cabbage, beet, turnip, and onion stew for dinner. "You're crazy," you hear yourself spitting back at her. A couple of hours later, as you gaze up at the sky and daydream, a voice pops into your head and murmurs, "You need to take a nice, long walk." "Says who?" you bark out loud, silencing the voice. Still later, on your way home, you're surprised to find yourself giving in to an overpowering urge to buy new shoes. Can you guess how these three events might be related, Virgo? They're all trying to deliver the same message: Come way way down to earth.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Lately it almost seems as if a wacko sorcerer has split you into two different creatures who never appear in the same place at the same time. What makes the mystery even more maddening is that the two versions of you are toiling at cross-purposes, and each seems to have amnesia about the other. What shall we do? I say we try to trick the two of them into showing up at the same party. Maybe when they spy each other, they'll feel such a shock of longing to be together again that they'll reunite on the spot. Got any ideas about how we can arrange this?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Ever hear the Aesopian fable "The Ants and the Grasshopper"? All summer long the grasshopper plays while the ants bust their butts treasuring up food for the winter. At the first cold snap, the grasshopper comes begging for a handout. No way, the ants say. The story ends here, with the grasshopper's fate in doubt. I bring this up, Scorpio, because you remind me of the ants. Your resourceful habits have put you in a position of strength. In every conceivable way, you're well- stocked. Thus it's a law of nature that folks like Aesop's grasshopper will soon start hustling you for your goodies. My advice? Don't be as stingy as the ants, but be very discriminating about which grasshoppers you indulge.

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