REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): It would be a perfect time to have fat cells from your butt implanted in your forehead to smooth out the wrinkles there caused by the twisty adventures of the past couple of months. It'll also be a good week to call in mop-up experts or chaos-tamers or people skilled in wrestling genies back into their bottles. Please do your damndest to avoid all of the following scenarios, however: taking joy rides in a stolen Mercedes; waking up drunk on a pool table with strange symbols painted on your body; and playing soccer in bunny slippers at dawn in a supermarket parking lot with a gang of sadomasochistic stockbrokers who've promised to teach you the Balinese monkey chant.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): For your birthday, I'm giving you way too much. (You deserve it.) First of all, you have my permission to blame everything on me until May 22. I'm also arranging for you to receive several lovely dispensations, including a broken trance, more breathing room, cheaper thrills, a new freedom song, and a wilder heart. (It may take up to 13 weeks for delivery to be completed.) Finally, I promise you the chance to experience global warming in your pants sometime in the next three weeks.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): I've never quite gotten over the trauma of being fired from my job as a janitor a few years back. Something about that failure is always there in the back of my heart, quietly eating away at my confidence. And yet I have to admit I'm glad it's there. It keeps me honest. It serves as a reality check whenever I'm tempted to believe I'm better than other people, whenever I fantasize that I deserve to have my own private set of rules. I bring up this story from my own life to point out that one of your memories of defeat could be of great value to you now.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Have you ever wondered where the hell everyone is when you need them, anyway? Surprise -- they're all here now, ready to serve you in ways they've never quite been able to manage before. Some of these gift-givers will require your active encouragement to proceed. This is especially true of penitents who'd like to atone for their past lack of sensitivity. In conclusion, Cancerian, do yourself and everyone else a favor: Summon the courage to ask for what you need with lucid, graceful candor.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): You know you can walk on water, and I know you can walk on water. But I'm afraid it's been too long since your last splashy performance. Your skills have atrophied a little; your ballsy gall isn't up to the levels necessary for you to pull off the miracle. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you brush up on the fine points of water-walking in private before meeting your appointment with the spotlight.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): So have you got your plane ticket for Bali yet? Or did you decide to opt for Rio de Janeiro or Marrakesh instead? Say what? You have no plans at all to escape to one of the world's most festive playgrounds?! I'm aghast. I'm amazed. Most of all, I'm worried. You simply must put a pleasurable pilgrimage way up near the top of your priority list, Virgo. If nothing else, at least promise me that you'll buy a bunch of old National Geographics at a yard sale and use them to infect yourself with a travel bug.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): This would be a great time to return vast tracts of North American land to the people from whom it was stolen. Even a few good-faith gestures would prove to be a healing boon to our collective karma -- say the Black Hills of South Dakota back to the Lakota, Maine to the Passamaquoddy Penobscot, and the St. Lawrence to the Mohawk. Coincidentally, it would also be a perfect astrological moment for you Libras to pay homage to anyone who helped put you where you are today. See if you can dream up some very concrete blessings that will express your gratitude for the past's gifts. Compose a prayer that acknowledges the vast web of resources that has conspired to shape the glorious creation which is you.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Last February, I advised you Scorpios to uncork and release your hermetically sealed pain. In response, Scorpio reader Danae Nirano complained. "I do not like to 'release,' " she said. "I always feel like crap after I do. My pain is easier to bear and control if I keep it buried deep inside, out of reach, and don't give it any energy." I sympathize with Danae's approach. But it's my duty to inform her (and you) that though it may work in the short run, it wreaks hell over the long haul. Repressed suffering will always rise up and bite you in the ass sooner or later. I'm bringing up this sore subject again, Scorpio, because another big window of opportunity has arrived. You can and should stick your head into it and unleash your angst-ridden testimonials.

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