REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Those of you born under the sign of the Ram are, like your totem, renowned for meeting challenges head-on. But sometimes you go too far. Your directness is admirable, but on occasion you devote so much ferocity to pulverizing an obstacle that you have little energy left to invest in the prize waiting on the other side of the obstacle. Please don't let this be one of those times. In fact, why don't you consider the possibility of circumventing the impediment rather than head-butting it into a pile of dust?

Taurus (April 20-May 20): This week much of the world will be agitatedly preoccupied with Froot Loops-vs.-Cheerios types of decisions. It'll be a time for monumentally trivial hubbubs, in other words; for laughably huge buildups about overhyped sensations that'll turn out to have the life span of an autumn butterfly. For you, on the other hand, I expect the next seven days to be subtly earthshaking -- as if you had to learn the Argentine tango in time for a surprise date with a muse who could dance you into the next millennium.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): One of my favorite obsolete words is "Adamitism." Derived from the Adamites, an old Christian sect fond of dressing like Adam and Eve, it means "nakedness for religious reasons." I was moved to revive its use by the fate I see in store for you in the next few weeks. Your spiritual and carnal longings will be peaking at the same time, you see. You'll be both holy and horny. There's never been a better time, I conclude, for a bout of raw, reverent, lusty, prayerful Adamitism.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Maybe you've read John Gray's Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and Barbara Deangelis' How to Make Love All the Time and Doyle Barnett's 20 Communication Tips for Couples. You've gone to a couples counselor, attended self-help workshops designed to turbocharge your intimacy, and listened to audiocassettes about how to keep your bond juicy after the honeymoon's over. And now that you've absorbed all that weighty advice, Cancerian, you're finally ready for my suggestion about what love most needs right now: a whoopee cushion, a squirt-gun ring, the bug-in-the-ice-cube gag, the coiled-snake-hidden-inside-a-fake-can-of-peanuts trick, and good old phony vomit.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): One of the turning points in the Revolutionary War came in a campaign that raged for months across the Carolinas in 1780. The rebel forces under Gen. Nathanael Greene were defeated in every major battle by the numerically superior British army -- and yet ultimately emerged victorious in the psychological war, and won the South for the Americans. Greene, who historians regard as the second best general in the Continental Army (after Washington), was a Leo. I urge you to take inspiration from your forefather during these next couple of weeks. Like him, you'll seem to be losing ground at every turn -- only to sneak into the winner's circle by the time the final results are tallied.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): For much of 1997 you went around acting as if The X-Files' motto -- "Trust no one" -- was your personal wisdom to live by. But here it is just a few days into the new year and already you're wildly tempted to dump that paranoid garbage. With good reason: The whole world seems to have a crush on you. Cute strangers are eying you, VIPs are sidling up to you, and even your nemeses are showing a little respect. While I'm all for you allowing a greater flow of visitors into your inner sanctum, I urge you to be discriminating about whom you give the secret password to. "Trust everyone" is just as dumb as its opposite.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): There's no delicate way to say this, so if you're offended by references to activities that take place in the bathroom, please turn the page now. And for those of you who're earthy enough to read on, remember that I'm merely reporting on what the planetary aspects are telling me. The fact is, Libra, your metaphor to live by during the next two weeks is the enema. It's prime time to undertake a very thorough cleansing and purification. I urge you to purge the effluvia that's backlogged in the sacred temple known as your body, as well as the BS that's stockpiled in the holy vessel known as your psyche.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you're not careful, your famous Scorpio single-mindedness will derail you from this week's scheduled 12-course feast. It would be a shame if you became so enamored of the cheese dip that you spoiled your appetite for the other 11 dishes. Likewise, if you're not charitable, your legendary killer's instinct could accidentally sabotage unexpected adventures. It would be a sin for you to prematurely terminate a problem that could, if you let it ripen, lead you to a hidden garden of earthly delights.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It'll be a great week to go shopping for a magic carpet, a golden goose, the pearl of great price, or the secret of life. It won't be such a favorable time, though, to buy cashmere underwear, lease a Mercedes SLK with a TV and VCR in the back seat, or rent the friendship of a mover and shaker you don't even like. In other words, Sagittarius, channel your consumer urges toward products and experiences that'll fill your heart with wonder, not into status symbols that'll inflame you with a false sense of security.

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