REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): You remind me of a freshly plowed field, Aries. Your furrows are fertile and moist. The stuff that was below the surface has been churned up to the top. An unsettled yet expectant feeling prevails. There's only one element missing from this idyllic scene: The seeds have not yet been sown. So whaddya waiting for? Plant, baby, plant.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Pray to your secret god this week, Taurus. Bypass your familiar old vision of heavenly patronage. Do not seek solace in the consoling thoughts or comforting images that usually pop into your mind when you feel pinched. You need to call on resources you save for special occasions. I don't mean to imply that you're in a more dire predicament than ever before; just that the challenges you face can't be solved with appeals to the powers that usually bail you out.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): It's a great time to enlarge your self-concept with a bigger dose of astrology. You're ripe to benefit from the imagination-expanding maps that the ancient art provides; you're receptive to insights about the long-term cycles of your life. One thing you might do is get a personal horoscope. Another idea is to check out the work of astrological thinkers. My favorite is Caroline Casey's six-cassette series Inner and Outer Space. It ain't cheap: $60 from 1-800-333-9185. (No, I don't get a kickback.) Good books are The Inner Sky, Steven Forrest; Horoscope Symbols, Robert Hand; Astrological Signs, Dane Rudhyar; Astrologik, Antero Alli.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): You Cancerians are not renowned for your cheeky acts of bravado. I know and you know that you sometimes take intriguing risks and show improbable resilience in the face of confusing threats. But even then, your courage has a stealthy quality to it, and may go unnoticed. Everything I've just said, however, is an ironic prologue to my prediction of what you will be up to in the next few weeks. I believe you will flash a heroic audacity akin to Prometheus, the mythic Titan who stole fire from the gods and bestowed it on humanity. What's even more incredible is that unlike Prometheus, who was punished for his good deed, you'll get away with everything and be more conspicuously showered with appreciation than you have been for a long time.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Three weeks ago and three weeks from now, I'd feel good about asking you to treat yourself to a visit to a well-cultivated garden. Bask amid symbols of the womb, I'd say. Surround yourself with fountains and songbirds and statues of Madonnas and love goddesses. But at this particular time, Leo, I believe you need a different ambience. Instead of dense lushness, I recommend spacious emptiness and wide-open vistas. Make a pilgrimage to a mountaintop, perhaps, or to a bluff overlooking the sea, or to a desert with the biggest sky you've ever seen.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): If you're Christian, you may at one time have left out milk and cookies for Santa Claus. If you're Jewish, you might have set a place at your Passover dinner for the prophet Elijah. Whatever your religion, I urge you to make a similar offering to your ancestors soon. Here's a suggestion on how to proceed. Buy your favorite cookies, and set one out on each of 13 plates next to 13 white candles. Write down the names of your grandparents and great-grandparents. Add a few details about their lives, and visualize how they must have looked when they were at the height of their powers. Then, as you nibble your cookie, send a wave of gratitude to each of those people who were so crucial to your very existence.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I'm hoping you'll blush often this week. I'm hoping that on more than a few occasions your blood will suddenly run hot with some delightful discovery, causing you to wobble and swoon and shout, "Wow!" Please prove to me that you're not jaded, Libra. Show me you're not too world-weary to be insanely curious about everything. I beg you to let budding wonders flood all over you. I implore you to give yourself permission to be utterly surprisable. I dare you to not just crack open your wild heart -- burst it open.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Everyone has an inner critic. We all have a caustic, judgmental voice lurking in our minds that chronically disparages our efforts. But no one has a bigger, badder critic than you Scorpios. That naysaying sonuvabitch ridicules every fresh idea you generate and scorns every venture that falls even a little shy of perfection. It can be so relentlessly contemptuous that sometimes it's a miracle you get anything done. That's the bad news, Scorpio. The good news is you now have more power than usual to get that sour bastard to shut up and let you create your life in peace.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Agatha Christie said she came up with her finest ideas while washing dishes. My dancer friend Lauren tells me that her choreographic inspirations flow best while she's on long bus rides. The hours after one of my favorite sports teams goes down to ignominious defeat seem to be one of my most creative times, as do those times when I'm dropping off to sleep. And you, Sagittarius? I don't know what's usually the case, but this week you're most likely to hatch brilliant notions while flying kites, hang gliding, bungee jumping, para-sailing, or making love.

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