REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I predict that some night this week you'll dream of appearing naked in front of a large crowd. What's worse is that you're also likely to forget the speech you were going to give to the expectant multitudes. That's the bad news, Aries. The good news is that having a dream like this -- or at least being forewarned about it here -- will inspire you to keep anything remotely similar to it from happening in your waking life.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The fecal matter has not yet hit the rotary breeze-blowing device. But it will unless you take immediate preventive measures. First of all, steer clear of anything that remotely resembles a breeze-blowing device, whether it's big-mouthed blowhards or hot-air generators who would rather gossip than eat or make love. Second of all, Taurus, conduct a thorough cleansing of everything you own, starting with a nice, warm brainwashing. Third, try to get ahold of one of those handy contraptions Ernest Hemingway used to call a built-in, shock-resistant bullshit detector.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): What if I told you that just outside your circle of friends, even friendlier friends are awaiting your discovery -- and that they could help boost you much closer to the top of a heap you've been clawing and scratching to ascend? And what if I hinted that it's now a ripe moment to make the acquaintance of these friendlier friends? Would you be willing to expand and loosen up your approach to socializing, Gemini, in order to make yourself available to them? This is one time when it might make sense to accept candy from strangers and to stick your nose in where it supposedly doesn't belong.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): My philosophy professor once told me that all truths pass through three stages. 1) They are ridiculed. 2) They are vehemently opposed. 3) They are accepted as self-evident. Judging from the astrological vibes that are now coalescing in your aura, Cancerian, I would guess that your fresh truths have passed through Stage 1, and are 90 percent of the way through Stage 2. These last few days of crazed contrariness will come close to turning you into an evil clown, but you'll avoid that fate if you stay focused on how good you're going to feel once Stage 3 kicks in.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): You're in possession of dangerous yet potentially curative powers, Leo. If you don't poison everything you touch, you'll revitalize and supercharge it. Your surging sexuality will either overwhelm and obsess you, causing complications for all concerned, or else exalt and spiritualize you, bringing light and life to the world. In other words, my on-the-edge friend, your magic is similar to that of the mythical serpent. Will you use it to provoke a great fall (as the slithering tempter did in Genesis), or to uplift (like the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, whose staff was entwined by a snake)? I think it all depends on the purity of your intentions. Do you truly want what's best for everyone? Or do you harbor a secret desire to get your own selfish way no matter what?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Once every year I choose one sign of the zodiac to be the beneficiary of a very special service I perform. In 1998, Virgo, you're the lucky dog. Here's my offer. Create or obtain a symbol of your most inconsolable pain. Mail it to me. I will then conduct a sacred ritual of purification during which I will burn that symbol to ash as I pray for your relief. While this may not eradicate your anguish entirely, I'm confident it will provide a substantial amelioration which you will be able to feel the benefits of within six weeks. Send a representation of what hurts you the most to me at PO Box 150628, San Rafael, CA 94915.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): My dictionary of symbols seems conflicted about the meaning of mud. Slimy gunk full of stinky, decomposing stuff? Or moist hotbed teeming with new life? The book's editors can't decide, and make no attempt to suggest that the two interpretations might be interrelated. I will propose just that, though, as I urge you to symbolically wallow in the mud this week. Yes, you'll get metaphorically filthy and smelly. But that's exactly what you need to do to glean the secret knowledge that'll lead to a new cycle of creation.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Tradition says that Noah (of ark fame) was a Scorpio. He certainly had some qualities typical of your tribe. He could be devastatingly vengeful, for instance. When his son Ham caught him naked and drunk in his tent, he got so pissed off that he cursed all the kid's descendants. On the other hand, Noah (in typical Scorpio fashion) invented vineyard cultivation and saved the human race. History, as a result, cuts the dude a lot of slack. I hope the people in your life are willing to do the same for you these days, Scorpio. Maybe you could nudge them in that direction by telling stories of famous Jekyll-and-Hyde Scorpios who in the end were more Dr. Jekyll than Mr. Hyde.

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