REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Alice faced a weird predicament after she went through the looking glass and met the Red Queen. There she was, jogging as hard as she could but getting nowhere. "Here, you see," the Queen informed her, "it takes all the running you can do just to keep in the same place." I'm afraid, Aries, that you may soon be stuck in a comparable pickle. I'm also afraid that when you realize your predicament, you'll try running even faster -- which will be quite impossible. My advice: Don't even start running. In fact, relax, lie down on the job, and let the world zip past you. Sure, you might fall behind. But with all the energy you'll save, I bet you'll be able to easily make up the loss -- and more -- starting in about three weeks.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Tom Garrows, a Taurus from L.A., e-mailed me a warning: "Stop suggesting that God resembles a big black lesbian single mother! I, in fact, am the only true God, and I am a white heterosexual male with a goatee and excellent posture and no screaming brats to distract me from the business of running the world!" I'm guessing that Tom is suffering from the same inflation that many of you Taureans are feeling right now. It's understandable. Your tribe does currently possess an inventiveness akin to the creative skills of the Supreme Being. Rather than waste energy on fantasies of omnipotence, though, I'd recommend you use this temporary blessing to conjure up great masterpieces of art or love or business.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): If you're ever going to rub elbows with someone who's rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful and famous, it'll most likely be this week. If you've ever wanted to turn the world upside down and be rewarded for it, now's the time to try. And if you've been waiting for the prime moment to fight not quite to the death for justice, this is it. For best results, mix a little badass attitude in with your righteous integrity.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I propose a new beast to represent us Cancerians. The crab's an adequate totem, but is too timid to inspire us during the pioneering adventures we'll be challenged with in 1998. In its place I offer the surprisingly complex rhinoceros. Though it's a fierce, hard-charging dynamo, it's also a vegetarian and avoids violence if at all possible. The rhino's scales are so tough they're swordproof, but they don't hinder its movement. Its main weapon, the horn, is renowned as an aphrodisiac, and its lips are prehensile: a perfect symbol for we Cancerians' skill in the oral arts. Finally, the rhino roams a wide range of habitats, from savannas to sparse thorn scrub -- just as I hope all of us will do in the coming months.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): As long as you live, you'll never actually look upon your own face. You may see your reflection in a mirror, or an image of yourself in a photo or video, but the real thing will forever be visible to everyone except you. This week, however, you'll get as close as you possibly can to glimpsing yourself through eyes that are not your own. Treasure these uncanny revelations. They could be valuable in helping you narrow the gap between the impact you say you want to have on the world and the impact you're actually having.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): It will not be a good week to wash all the curtains in the house, or to spend hours rearranging the kitchen cupboard, or to fill your journal with ideas for improving the behavior of everyone you know. On the other hand, it would be a fabulous week to launch a ballsy search for a new muse, and to dream of being able to breathe underwater, and to be on alert for omens pointing the way toward love and delight.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In his day, Libran Johnny Appleseed was a virtual saint. Wearing simple clothes and carrying few belongings, he wandered abroad on a goodwill mission, planting not only apple orchards but healing herbs like catnip, horehound, and pennyroyal. Unfortunately, he also sowed in abundance a foul-smelling weed called dog fennel. He believed it had medicinal properties, though no one thinks that these days. In fact, it's a prolific pest in the Midwest. Just goes to show that even the good guys can produce unintentionally messy side effects. From my reading of the astrological aspects, Libra, your own personal version of Appleseed's dog fennel is about to spring up.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In a recent issue of The American Poetry Review, Edward Hirsch extolled the passion of Emily Dickenson. She "could never quite understand why the most intense human experiences had to be relegated to the margins of human society," he said. If I ever pen an astrological textbook, Scorpio, that quote will probably be in the first paragraph of my description of your sign's temperament. I should add, though, that your relentless quest for high drama and fascinating passion ensures that sometimes they are not forced to the peripheries. Now is such a time.

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