REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I suggest that this Halloween you costume yourself as a phoenix -- you know, the scarlet, heronlike bird that (according to myth) regularly burned itself in a purifying fire and rose reborn from the ashes. This is, after all, the resurrectional phase of your astrological cycle, Aries. You have an intuitive sense of what parts of your life need to die in order for you to be reborn as a smarter, stronger version of yourself. (P.S. If you're a Christian, even a lapsed one, you might prefer to masquerade as your religion's equivalent of the phoenix -- Jesus Christ.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The highest number of kisses ever exchanged in a single film was 127 in Don Juan (1926). John Barrymore was the lucky pecker, dividing his lip locks between Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor. My personal record for a single week occurred during my very temporary group marriage on a Vermont commune back in the '70s. I can't tell you the exact amount of osculations I amassed at that time, but it must have been close to a thousand. I bring this up now, Taurus, because I believe you're ripe to break your personal record. Why not dream up a Halloween costume that'll incite epic opportunities to swap spit?

Gemini (May 21-June 20): You'd be wise to disguise yourself as your worst fear this Halloween. Think of how much fun you'll have as you reclaim the power you've allowed your bugaboo to steal from you. And what exactly should your costume be? Don't pick an easy nightmare like a terrorist with a suitcase nuke or a monster spawned by a toxic waste dump or a puritanical McCarthyite on a sexual witch hunt. Make it intensely personal.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): "The higher a woman's IQ," quoth scholar Lucius Cervantes, "the more she is likely to be masculine in outlook. The higher a man's IQ, the more likely he is to be feminine in outlook." I completely agree with Cervantes. And I believe, my fellow Cancerian, that the coming weeks are a perfect moment to boost your own intelligence with the help of some gender-bending. That's why I'm exhorting you to cross-dress this Halloween. More than that, though, try on a kind of inner costume: See the world as if you had the brain of the opposite sex.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): "Dear Dr. Brezsny: Whenever I have washed my underpants in the past four weeks, every single pair has ended up inside out. Today, just for an experiment, I turned them all inside out before I put them in the washing machine, but when they were done they were all still inside out. Could this have something to do with my astrology? Sincerely, Lopsided Leo." Dear Lopsided: Yes. Lately the stars have been dosing you with excessive amounts of reverse psychology and flippy-floppy teases. Luckily, Halloween offers you a window of opportunity to appease the tricky gods who've been messing with you. Create a costume that'll allow you to wear your unmentionables inside out and on the outside of your clothes.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Our goal this Halloween should be to permanently burn away 20 percent of your inhibitions. That would be a great way to take advantage of the liberating energies the cosmos is now making available. Remember, we don't want you to be deliriously unrestrained for a night or two and then revert to your previous levels of self-censorship. The relaxed expansiveness has got to last. How about wearing a costume that's only twice as wild as you normally are, not 10 times as wild.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Your Halloween assignment, Libra, should you choose to accept it, is to have the funniest sex you've ever enjoyed. To get you in the mood, I'll make a suggestion. Rent Santa Claus and Easter Bunny costumes for you and your partner, and buy a giant bouquet of helium balloons. Back at home, create a luxurious Samhain altar with any sensually sacred objects that jiggle your imagination. While clothed in your costumes and rubbing up against each other in a slow-motion seduction dance, inhale doses of helium from the balloons as you read aloud to each other from John Gray's book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): "I am free of prejudices," W.C. Fields used to say. "I hate everyone equally." God forbid that you should ever make those your words to live by, Scorpio -- with the exception of this Halloween, that is. That's right. I'm urging you to dress up as a misanthrope or villain this masquerade season. My hope is that if you pretend to be a mean and hateful creature, you'll utterly purge any fermenting venom from your system for weeks to come.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Have you communed with your dead friends and relatives lately? They have some catalytic insights about what your life looks like from the other side of the veil. Now that the veil is thin, it's a perfect time to make contact. If I were you, I'd stage a seance this Halloween, or incubate a dream in which you meet with those departed spirits. I don't mean to imply that everything they'll have to say is God's (or science's) truth. But the dreamy stories they'll plant in your imagination should bring you closer to the outrageous truth than the mere facts ever could.

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