REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Two weeks ago you had a certain resemblance to an earthquake during a hailstorm. By the end of June, you reminded me of that place in Iceland where a volcano juts up out of a glacier. Any day now, I predict you'll become a good imitation of an avalanche transpiring beneath a double rainbow. Even though the spectacle is highly entertaining, Aries, it's better admired from afar. If you're getting lonely for intimate human contact, you could try being less of a primordial force of nature. Would you consider impersonating a mist rolling in off a mountain lake at dawn?

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The transmission of bullshit will reach record proportions, and much of it'll be turned up to earsplitting volumes, too. This'll be true both in your personal realm and in the culture at large. If you thought the mass media's massacre of meaningfulness had peaked, wait till you see this week's banal masterpieces of empty-hearted hype. And yet ... I believe there will be gems amid your junk mail, Taurus; pithy revelations buried within the numbing small talk. Be super-discriminating yet extra-sensitive.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Will there ever come a time when you will utter the words "Would you like fries with that, sir?" Is it in your destiny to be shivering in front of a rickety space heater in a cockroach-infested nursing home when you're 68 years old? Or will you eventually have the financial security to address your life's knottiest mysteries with more leisurely intensity than you're able to now? I hesitate to be so melodramatic, Gemini, but actions you take in the coming weeks could go a long way toward answering these questions.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): The year's half over. It's time for your midterm exam. Take some paper and write your responses to the following questions. Mail the results to the Psychic Judge, Box 761, Petaluma, CA 94953. Neatness counts for nothing. Goofily exuberant honesty counts for everything. 1) How have you fared with the resolutions you swore to uphold last Jan. 1? 2) What brave new resolutions are you prepared to launch now? 3) What techniques have you learned for harmonizing your infernal contradictions? 4) What surprising new voice has emerged from your chaotic depths? 5) What steps have you taken to transform your relationships into relationships? 6) Compose your own question and answer it.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): As "maximum leader," Cuban strongman Fidel Castro is president for life. His decisions are final on all matters, and he has no rivals for power. Three guesses what astrological sign he is. (Hint: He was born Aug. 13.) And yet even this almighty authority is capable of admitting a mistake now and then. He did so recently in the Communist Party newspaper Granma, issuing a correction of an error he had made in a previous statement. If a supreme Leo chief could do it, my friend, you can too -- especially now that the cosmos is ready to reward you for all acts of apology and atonement.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Only three more weeks for you to gather all the unpredictable benefits from being a popular troublemaker. Only 21 more karma-free days to be radically faithful to the still, small voice within you, yet still manage somehow to be a good luck charm for your tribe. Only 500 more fun-crammed hours to succeed famously at being the world's oldest rookie of the year. Only 30,000 more dizzying minutes to be the maestro of true and useful illusions. Only 1,800,000 more fearless seconds to be a humble braggart who leads the way by example, not decree. After that, you'll receive new assignments.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Odds are you're not a poet. These days, practitioners of that once-noble occupation are only slightly less rare than makers of bustles for women's dresses. And yet the cosmic omens suggest that you could benefit from acting like a great poet in the coming weeks. To grasp what that might entail, study this passage by James Tate from a recent American Poetry Review: "What we want from poetry is ... to be moved from where we now stand. We don't just want to have our ideas or emotions confirmed. Or if we do, we turn to lesser poems, poems which are happy to tell you killing children is bad, chopping down the rainforest is bad, dying is sad. A good poet would agree with all of those sentiments, but would also strive for an understanding beyond those givens."

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As I meditate on this horoscope, I am wearing a purple balloon sculpture as a crown, fake angel wings attached to my shoulders over a giant red squid outfit, a bulbous green rubber clown nose, and a large orange button pinned to my chest that reads, "The Penis Is Just a Clitoris Suffering From Delusions of Grandeur." Five times now, I have spun in circles till I've fallen down, all the while singing Sid Vicious' version of the Frank Sinatra song "My Way." This is my way of shaking myself out of the overly logical and serious groove I've been in lately. In my considered astrological opinion, you should concoct a similar ritual for yourself.

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