REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Is the cosmos a great soulless machine? Is it a product of blind forces that just happen, through a prodigious number of stupendous accidents, to have conjured up the infinite web of miracles that surrounds us for billions of light-years in every direction? Or is it more likely that the cosmos is the soulful "body" of a vast intelligence that lovingly micromanages every intricate detail of its unfoldment -- an intelligence too colossal for our tiny brains to perceive, let alone conceive? I'm sure you can guess my answer to that question. But I'd prefer to let you come up with your own. And there's no better time to do that than now. You're scheduled to catch a glimpse of the biggest picture you've ever been privileged to behold.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): For your entire adult life, Taurus, you've had a resemblance to that behemoth of a cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth II. Just as it requires five miles of open sea in order to make a turn, you too cannot be easily or quickly derailed from your inexorable course. I've observed, however, that the events of 1997 have made you more maneuverable than ever before. It's as if the Queen Elizabeth had mysteriously acquired the ability to hang a sharp left within a mere three miles. Congratulations, Taurus. Now get out there and show off your new resiliency.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Do you you really want to experience the punch-in-the-stomach kind of love right now? I don't think so. True, it would generate some riveting journal entries, and provide lots of amusing stories with which you could entertain your friends. But all in all I'd bet you'd prefer the feathery-strokes-behind-your-knee love, or the hair-rising-on-the-back-of-your-neck love, or the boost-your-IQ love. If I'm right about this, Gemini, you should make a small adjustment in your romantic attitude within 48 hours of reading this. That'll prevent you from becoming a magnet for the punch-in-the-stomach stuff.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I know a 70-year-old Cancerian man named Benjamin who grows hundreds of tomatoes in his garden every summer even though he himself is allergic to them. Why? Because he loves to give them away to everyone in the neighborhood. You may wonder why he doesn't choose to raise a vegetable that he could donate to others and enjoy himself. That's a good question. In the weeks and months ahead, I hope you'll make a similar inquiry into your own approach to gift-giving. All too often, in my opinion, it resembles Benjamin's. And I devoutly wish you would eliminate the sacrificial deprivation that taints your generosity.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Conditions had to be just right for Goethe's creative juices to flow. The German author was able to write only if there were no dogs barking nearby and only if he had an apple rotting in his desk drawer. I've got a similar problem. I simply must do all my work while sitting in a giant bed, and I lose my concentration if I don't glance periodically at the unicorn pinata hanging from the ceiling. You, on the other hand, Leo, need no preconditions at all in order to be creative these days. Even if you were surrounded by singing plastic snowmen in a schlocky shopping mall, you could conjure up highly original notions about anything you set your mind to. So just think what acts of sublime genius you'll be capable of if you manage to root yourself in your power spot now and then.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your life is a sacred journey, Virgo. Let me say that again, louder this time. YOUR LIFE IS A SACRED JOURNEY. I don't care how bogged down in senseless trivia you might feel, or how entranced you seem to be by the ordeal of mere survival. The truth is, every day you're given glimmers of the glory that is your birthright; every day God communicates to you with intimate and unmistakable signs. Are you brave and innocent enough to recognize them? "There are only two ways to live your life," Albert Einstein said. "One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In Jerusalem not too long ago, the parents of a deceased Jewish boy gave his heart to be transplanted into the chest of a sick Arab girl. As symbolic unions go, you can't get more concrete than that. I believe, Libra, that you now have the potential to pull off an equally dramatic act of conciliation -- and without having to be motivated by the extremity of the Jewish boy and Arab girl.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As I trust you've surmised by now, 1997 has not been a good year for getting away with half-truths, reckless stunts, and rascally tricks. You've no doubt been caught any time you've stolen things you could have had free for the asking. Punishment has probably followed swiftly whenever you've tried to lie to yourself or work at cross-purposes to your highest good. That's the bad news, Scorpio. The good news is that you'll have far more slack in the coming 12 months. Your first glimpse of that promise will arrive this week. Could 1998 really be the year of the Karma Chameleon?

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