REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Imagine that I'm waving a fan-shaped splay of hundred-dollar bills in front of your face. I'm teasing and provoking you with jibes. "What would you be willing to do to earn this cash, Aries?" I say. "Would you sleep with that loser down the street? Would you wear nothing but diapers and a pacifier to a party where all your friends are dressed to kill? Would you agree to squelch and distort your genius 40 hours a week, slaving away to make your boss richer and richer?" I'd hope that in doing this, Aries, I'd get you all riled up. I'd hope that you'd become inflamed with the urge to make money by doing what you totally love to do. And maybe then you'd be motivated to draw up a master plan to accomplish just that.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Expect nothing this week, but ask for everything. Gently but gleefully smash one of your personal taboos. Jump for joy in a building that has always felt oppressive. Buck tradition with wit and compassion, not wrath and cynicism. Carry two gifts with you at all times in case you run into any fresh beauties who aren't lost in their own heads. Refuse to occupy the old niches, especially the ones you've trapped yourself in for the sake of peace and harmony. Live without a leader, without a role model, with no other teacher but your dreams.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): It doesn't matter whether you're single, unemployed, and living on a couch in your parents' spare room, or you're a high-powered, jet-setting executive who eats other VIPs for breakfast. You're going to have to slow down this week. If you're in the first category, that might mean lingering with each new TV show far longer than usual before hitting the remote and switching to the next channel. If you're the second type, I advise you to be more leisurely with your prey, never finishing the kill before lunch at the earliest.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I was approached by a company doing product placement for an upcoming movie starring Ashley Judd and Ewan McGregor. "Think of the exposure!" the rep said. For only $120,000, he told me, Judd's character would regularly consult my horoscopes, and I'd get a cameo in the film playing myself. I might be tempted, my fellow Cancerians, if I had a spare pot of gold lying around the house. We Crabs, after all, are ripe to hit the big time, or at least a bigger time. Truthfully, though, we shouldn't have to make any giant sacrifices to do so. In fact, I advise you to take on a breathtaking new assignment only if it allows you to absolutely be yourself.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): If you had to, Leo, I bet you could strangle a 300-pound leopard with your bare hands this week. You're that strong. You're that maniacal. You're that unstoppable. For that matter, you could also probably stare down your mortal enemy or pulverize your most debilitating mental block or win every game of foosball that you play. I can foresee just one potential problem: You may be buzzing with so much power that you'll fritter it away on trivial or merely exhibitionist tasks. If I were you, I'd choose mental block-demolition over foosball conquests every time. And don't throttle any leopards unless you have no other choice.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Home is more than the physical structure where you live. It's not just the community that supports you and the land that feels most familiar. Home is also a state of mind in which you can see with your own eyes. I mention this, Virgo, because it's a ripe astrological moment for you to strengthen your commitment to this version of home. Now study this gem from the 12th-century Virgoan mystic, writer, and abbess Hildegard von Bingen: "We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light."

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): If you're ever going to find a valuable family heirloom or memento that was lost many moons ago, this will be the week. Likewise if you've had hopes of reviving a neglected dream, a squandered opportunity, or a missing link: It's now or never. To what do we owe this sudden opening into the musty past? Let's just say that the planet of expansive pluckiness and the planet of magnetic responsiveness (Jupiter and Venus) are currently doing the wild thing in your House of Resurrection.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Last week I would have been justified in asking you to scrawl this Malay proverb in lipstick on your bathroom mirror: Don't think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm. This week will be a very different story, however, Scorpio. To prepare you for the truly amusing funny business ahead, I have mutated the Malay proverb to convey your new astrological aspects. Please write the following in red ink on an index card and keep it under your pillow for the next 10 days. Don't think there are no golden apples just because the tree looks bare.

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