REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I just got an unsolicited e-mail ad from a company that bragged, "We offer many products you never knew existed, and things you can't possibly live without." Among these impossible-to-resist items is a "Go Box." This is "a handheld remote-controlled device that enables the user to turn red lights into green lights from your vehicle without detection." I considered giving you the phone number for ordering this silly toy, but decided against it. You've got bigger fish to fry, Aries, more important obstacles to subvert. Any day now, I believe you'll summon the power to turn every metaphorical stoplight on your path from red to green with a flick of your attitude.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I don't care if you're a macho stock-car racer, one of the rare female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, or a millionaire drag queen: You've reached the point in your astrological cycle when you simply must act more like a good mother. This doesn't necessarily mean you should go out and adopt a North Korean orphan. You could carry out your cosmic imperative by humming Mozart to your houseplants or encouraging a languishing teen. If you're already a literal mom, you could fix your kids their favorite food or read aloud to them from C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. The point is to be warm and tender toward some innocent, growing thing -- even if it's just your own inner child.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): The male silkworm can detect mating signals from a female located at a distance of more than six miles. You, on the other hand, will soon be extra sensitive to subliminal seductions (and other provocative gestures) coming from just a few feet away. This is very good news. You've been missing the obvious clues lately, and have been a sucker for exotic invitations from strange attractors. But all the fun and important stuff this week will happen up close and in your face -- if only you can recognize it for what it is.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): If you know anything about quantum physics, you'll understand why the treasure you've been longing for has already been changed by your pursuit of it. It's no longer the thing it was when you felt your first pangs of desire. Now, in order to make this precious thing yours, you're going to have to modify your ideas about what it is. Fortunately, you're in the right mood at the right time to appreciate this jolt of truth, and to act on it with a brave burst of unpredictable imagination.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Writer Sarah Vowell recently fantasized about a fictional rock band called Marilyn Hanson, a hybrid of Marilyn Manson and Hanson. For the MTV-impaired, Marilyn Manson is a self-proclaimed "Antichrist" whose idea of political activism is razor-blading his own arm in front of horrified kiddies at Disneyland. Hanson is a group of three teeny-bopper brothers whose sweet melodies and mindless lyrics, and pretty blond personas, have made them obscenely lovable. Why am I prattling on about this? Because lately you've reminded me of Marilyn Hanson, Leo. (Your personal version of Jekyll and Hyde?) Alas, you've gotten all the mileage you can out of this act. It's time for a new one. May I suggest Jesus Bond, a mix of Jesus Christ and James Bond?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Every two years, cultural warriors from Angola to Kenya to Senegal stage a film festival featuring the work of directors dedicated to preserving and revitalizing African culture. Their motto: "No people should be hungry for their own image." I'd like to adapt this thought for your personal use in the next 30 days: "No Virgo should be hungry for her own image." With that as your rallying cry, you can divest yourself of the views of anyone who's ever tried to tell you who you are or who you're supposed to be. Then gaze into the mirror using nobody else's eyes but your own.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage," according to Anais Nin. If that's true, your sphere of influence is about to mushroom to record levels. You've got balls, Libra. You've got a lot of gall and barely a pinch of fear. As the planetary energies pump you up, your ego will probably balloon to its most grandiose size since your previous incarnation as a Turkish sultan. And your cosmic leeway -- which I prefer to call primal slack -- will no doubt allow you to pull off a tour de force that's been impossible till now.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In the comic-book version of my philosophy of life, everyone has a true fate and a false fate. Sadly, many people find that following their false fate is easy, almost natural. But of course it's only by embracing your true fate that you can unleash your most relentless willpower and activate your highest-octane energy. Speaking of which: If you've been under the sway of your false fate, you'll get sick soon. This will actually be a blessing, however, since in some mysterious way it will force you to get back in touch with your true fate. And if you are riding the majestic groove of your true fate, Scorpio, this week will bring a monumental graduation.

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