REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): After hunting everywhere for the right metaphor for your fate in 1998, I found it in a tabloid newspaper, the Sun. The editors there recently ran a story on a wart that was removed from Elvis Presley's body in 1958. It seems artist Joni McCabe bought the blemish at an auction five years ago. Now there's a growing cry from fanatical fans to use it to clone the King, and have his duplicate performing again in Las Vegas by 2025. And how is this vignette an allegory for your future? I mean besides the fact that it's oozing with the same humorous intrigue that you'll soon be experiencing? Get this, Aries: In the year to come, a blotch or stain from your past could play an important role in resurrecting one of your seemingly impossible hopes.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): "Can we twist God's arm to guarantee our own good fortune?" asks Catholic priest Sean Olaoire. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Taurus, my reply would be as follows: "Of course not, and anyone who thinks the answer's yes is a greedy, deluded egotist." However, I believe that during the next 12 months, there will be certain times when I'll be willing to reverse my opinion for you. Let me suggest, though, that if you do decide to lobby the Lord in behalf of your selfish desires, then they should be identical to the selfish desires of at least two (and preferably more than four) other people you care for.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): In retrospect, I conclude that your slogan for 1997 must have been something like "We're not Number 1, but we're right up there!" And who am I to tell you that's not good enough? Maybe second or third best is a realistic goal for you. And besides, you're the only one who truly knows how hard to push yourself. Having said all that, however, I must tell you this. If you are quite comfortable with the modest success you've garnered, or if you would be queasy about confronting tougher competition, you should probably boycott my column in 1998. I plan to be exhorting you to heights of accomplishment you've never dared to dream of, let alone ask for before.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I'm secretly harboring a fantasy that sometime in 1998 you'll be able to slip away to a cottage in the Italian countryside for a few weeks and do nothing but read and take long walks and build fires in the fireplace. If you're not nursing the same fantasy, tell me: That way we can get on the same wavelength, which'll be crucial if we're going to combine our forces to translate your dream into reality. Please describe your vision of a relaxing getaway, and send it to "Escape in '98," PO Box 150247, San Rafael, CA 94915. Or e-mail me via the Web at www.realastrology.com/.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): According to research by a condom company, the average North American has sex 148 times a year and does it for 24.8 minutes per session. If that's true, you Leos living in the United States and Canada can expect to boink at least 200 times in 1998. Astrological indicators suggest it'll be one of the most amorous years on record for your tribe. Since your typical frolic is also likely to exceed half an hour, that means you'll probably make love for over a hundred hours in the next 12 months. Kudos!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I've got the perfect epigram to guide you through 1998. It's a quote from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Memorize it. Write it in lipstick on your bathroom mirror. Most importantly, inscribe it in your heart so that it may become a beacon for those gorgeous creatures who're worthy of hearing it cross your lips -- or of whispering it in your ear. Here's your magic formula: "I want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees."

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Being on one's knees is usually considered to be an act of submission. But my 6-year-old daughter Zoe and her friend Katherine have mutated the posture into a boisterous sport. Using their Rollerblade pads as cushions, they gleefully scoot across the floor on their knees, holding their feet up behind them. And what does this have to do with you, Libra? Well, I believe their example could help you meet the challenges that'll face you in 1998. Let it inspire you to take situations that would normally make you feel humble or weak or embarrassed, and turn them into sources of exuberance and power.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): My Scorpio mom visited me recently. Since she's been a respectable conservative all her adult life, I was surprised when she greeted me wearing a sweat shirt bearing the slogan "Create Havoc." I asked if she'd converted to hedonistic anarchy, or was plotting to overthrow the government. "Nope," she replied. "I'm just ready to tinker with some of my own personal taboos." I interpret this to be a synchronicity that confirms my reading of the astrological omens for your tribe in 1998. In February, Jupiter will begin its leisurely yearlong cruise through your House of Liberating Love. During that time, I imagine you won't need to remain anywhere near so fanatically faithful to your tired old traditions. You'll be inspired to create all the best kind of havoc.

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