REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Last week I dreamt that you and your Valentine were exploring material for your collaborative book, How to Make Love With Your Best Friend. Three mornings ago I dreamt the two of you were spending a summer night on a mountaintop, sipping absinthe and hollering love vows into the maw of the starry sky. Last night I dreamt you and your Valentine were reading aloud to each other from Pablo Neruda's The Book of Questions. "And what did the rubies say," you murmured between kisses, "standing before the juice of the pomegranates?" Please, Aries, make sure at least one of my dreams comes true.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I got a frantic e-mail today from a Taurus named Jackie: "Who should I love?" she said. "Rick or Steve or Warren? Or should it be someone altogether different? Answer ASAP, please." Here's my reply not just to Jackie, but to all Tauruses this Valentine season. "Pick the suitor who's willing to be a sidekick in your holy quest to cultivate your own earthy genius. Choose the wooer who loves you for who you really are, not the wooer who loves the hallucinations about you he's generating in his mind's eye. Go for the best listener of the bunch."

Gemini (May 21-June 20): My Gemini friend Art asked me to concoct a love spell for him before he left for a year in Paris. A woman he knows there, Jodie, has (to his chagrin) not yet realized that she's his soul mate. I told Art that though I do indeed work magic, I would never manipulate the will of an unsuspecting person. "The only spell that won't induce a karmic boomerang," I said, "is the kind you cast on yourself." So I made him a mojo bag that'll help him relax and be himself around Jodie. I composed a chant that should boost his ability to empathize with her needs. And I created a talisman that'll nurture his ability to become an imaginative, generous, emotionally available lover. I hope this story helps, Gemini, with your own romantic adventures this Valentine season.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): You're hotter to trot this Valentine season than you've been since your previous incarnation as a temple prostitute. There's a very good chance that you'll break all previous records for how long and slow you make love, and how many new erogenous zones you discover, and how brilliant you are in synchronizing your tender adoration and ravenous lust, and how many secrets come gushing out of your partner in response to your sexy, soulful empathy.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): There's no bigger turn-on than being seen and appreciated for who you really are. And this Valentine season you're in the perfect position to use this truth to your romantic advantage. So get out there, Leo, and show the beautiful creatures you lust for that you understand them better than anyone ever has before. Demonstrate your capacity to name and love the qualities in them that they themselves think are most beautiful and true. I can practically guarantee you that they will, in return, awe you with their blessings.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Time for the midwinter celebration of the urge to merge, known as Valentine's Day by the Hallmark card company and as the Kundalini Karnival by me. No doubt you will soon be enjoying spirited communions with the magical body parts of the gender that turns you on most. Here are some lyrical terms to use as you seek to evoke their most divinely poetic aspects. FEMALE: Silk Furrow ... Fluttering Phoenix ... Pearly Grove ... Blooming Ha-Ha ... Honeyed Gateway ... Ambrosial Thicket ... Bombastic Lotus ... Quetzalcoatl's Gangplank. MALE: Diamond Wand ... Tender Thunderbolt ... Righteous Supplicant ... Justice Root ... Starry Plough ... Grateful Harvester ... Worshipful Pouncer.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I'm praying to the Goddess in behalf of your love life this Valentine season, Libra: "Dear Goddess: I beg you to exorcise any romantic jinx that has clung to my Libra readers, even if they've grown accustomed or addicted to its ugly companionship. Please conjure an aura of protection around them so that they will receive an early warning if they're ever about to act in such a way that would attract another hex or plague into their love lives. And finally, dear Goddess, please provide my Libran readers with a license to bend all laws, rules, and customs that keep them apart from the people they adore."

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "To survive war, you must become war," that old warrior Rambo used to say. To which I like to add, "To survive love, you must become love." Your own personal variation on the theme, Scorpio, would probably be "to survive love, you must become war." But I dearly hope that this Valentine season you rebel against your own tendencies and instead embrace the wisdom of my homemade epigram. I'll conclude today's sermon by invoking my favorite refuter of pop psychology, Blaise Pascal: "When one does not love too much, one does not love enough."

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "The Inuit Eskimo word for making love is translated as 'laughing together in bed,' " says Steve Penny in his chapbook How to Have Great Laughing Sex. Given your uproarious astrological aspects this Valentine season, Sagittarius, I can't think of any better advice to give you. Maybe you could start the amorous festivities with a game of Twister or an armpit kissing contest. Try imitating the voices of characters from The Simpsons as you draw cartoons on each other's butts, or speak in excited French accents as you pretend to be virgins who've just discovered the existence of sex toys. I think you catch my drift.

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