REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I'm conservative about ingesting mind-altering substances. Still, my vote for the Millennium's Smartest Prophet goes to Terence McKenna, who believes that psilocybin could rival the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel as a driving force in human evolution. And that's just one of his many deliciously subversive ideas. Now that you're in the most experimental and exploratory phase of your cycle, Aries, I suggest you commune with McKenna's writing in books like The Archaic Revival, True Hallucinations, or Food of the Gods. Or check out other visionaries like Jean Houston, Robert Anton Wilson, Susie Bright, and William Blake.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): This is your nocturnal time of the year, Taurus. One way or another your nights will be abundantly blessed (and maybe a little cursed) with bottomless ideas and deep, dark adventures. If you're the supercourageous type who likes to face everything dead on, invite the heaviest people you know into your bedroom for bull sessions till dawn. If you're more of a chicken, go to bed early each evening and let your dreams process all the simmering, swirling intrigue.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): All your adult life, the universe has played tricks on you. Some have been so convoluted that you didn't even get the joke. But lately the universe's pranks have become more comprehensible, and have even seemed to display a touch of kindness. What's going on? Have you finally paid off your ancient karmic debt? Has your sense of humor expanded so much that you can now laugh at what once made you cringe? Maybe you're simply beginning to cash in on the strength and smarts you've been forced to cultivate over the years in order to deal with all of God's mischief.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): The moment I had a psychic meltdown, my therapist was summoned for sequestered jury duty. Meanwhile, my shamanic adviser was on a trek in Nepal; my astrologer was on a vision quest; and my mom was consumed with my cousin's difficult pregnancy. My first reaction: "Woe is me!" But after hours of meditating in the fetal position, I had a vision. God appeared above me as a shimmering liquid diamond with a beautiful woman's face and murmured, "I've been conspiring to bring you closer to me. The only way to do it was to cut out the middlemen." May your own story be as sweet as mine, fellow Cancerian. (I think it will be.)

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): This December your approach to work is primed to be both efficient and inspired, Leo. There's little doubt in my mind, then, that you'll be employee of the month. (Unless of course your boss is a petty-minded paranoid who fears your superb efforts will show him up.) On the other hand, you have so much sexy savoir-faire these days that I'm also tempted to name you lover of the month. Think you can manage to be both? I don't see why not. You seem ready and able to work hard at love and to love hard at work.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Pattiann Rogers' book Firekeeper contains a number of sublime poems; my favorite is "The Hummingbird: A Seduction." In it, the poet speaks with the voice of the female bird as she entices the male: "And I would take you and take you and take you/ Deep into any kind of nest you ever wanted." It's my prayer for you, Virgo, that you will soon either hear or utter something like those words in the company of an intimate ally. It is the nesting season for you, after all, and I'd love this deeply relaxing homecoming to be imbued with a full measure of sacred sensuality.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): As manager of a softball team this summer, I came to prize the contributions of the Libran players. Their understanding of the subtleties of the game was so instinctive that they routinely made smart split-second decisions. They seemed to have a sixth sense about how to capitalize on opposing teams' weaknesses, and adjusted brilliantly to the mindfucks their adversaries tried in order to get an edge. In short, the members of your sign were masters of gamesmanship. I assume you share this capacity with them, Libra. If you do, please kick it into high gear this week. It'll be ever so helpful as you have to navigate through an unprecedented welter of ego trips.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio Elson Hughes has made his living by being shot out of cannons for the last 27 years. Because of the exacting precautions he's taken, he's never suffered a major injury. Meanwhile, Scorpio Maryanne Black has practiced psychotherapy for almost two decades. After weathering some deep depressions in her first year on the job, she learned to empathize with her patients' suffering without being infected by it. I offer up these role models, Scorpio, because I believe it's a perfect time for you to emulate the relationships Mr. Hughes and Ms. Black have had with their risks. In other words, don't stop taking the chances that bring you so much meaningful fun. Just redouble your safeguards.

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