REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Along with beauty, truth, and justice, you should give special attention to cultivating madness this week. I'm not suggesting that you be an out-of-control narcissist leaving behind a wake of chaos. Rather, I mean you should slip beyond the polite reasonableness that inhibits your imagination. You should experiment with the delirious frontiers and cause the best kinds of trouble. Don't just be yourself, Aries. Be a little more yourself than usual. Tap into the gorgeous weirdness at the core of your unique destiny -- the inspired lunacy that would evolve into genius if you ever learned to make it sing and dance.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I'm having trouble deciding which of your 12 astrological houses is most likely to emerge as your featured "House of the Week" in the coming seven days. I figure it's between two candidates: your House of Justifiable Greed and your House of Share-or-Else. The House of Justifiable Greed has an excellent chance to win out, with its lush feasts for the eye and its spacious, expansive moods. But the House of Share-or-Else has an austere, haunting beauty that makes it a strong candidate, too. I wouldn't play favorites if I were you. If you'll endorse them both, they might just end up in a tie for first place.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): In a recent Parabola magazine devoted to the subject of fear, David Appelbaum makes a distinction between dread that paralyzes and dread that awakens. I believe, Gemini, that you're now tiptoeing along the fine line that separates those two -- but not for long. My reading of the cosmic signs leaves me brimming with wild hope that you'll soon discover a secret which will push you firmly over onto the side that awakens.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): "Darshan" is a word that refers to disciples sitting in the presence of a holy person and soaking up the blessings he or she naturally radiates. I suppose it might also be a useful term to describe the kids at a Hanson concert or bankers at a speech by Alan Greenspan. Even if you can't imagine yourself doing darshan, Cancerian, I bid you to try in the coming weeks. Your mental health will improve if you can summon reverent devotion for an awe-inspiring person or phenomenon. But more than that: Darshan would also have an effect on your intelligence akin to that of an aphrodisiac on your passion.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): In a recent letter to advice columnist Marilyn vos Savant, a reader wrote, "About how fast would a 120-pound person have to run on water to keep from sinking?" I knew right away that question could not have been asked by a member of your tribe. All you Leos know that you don't have to run; merely walking is sufficient to stay afloat as you cross the water. I bring this up, my friend, because you'll probably be asked to demonstrate this skill sometime in the coming week -- perhaps even several times. Luckily, you're at the very peak of your power to pull it off.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You've won enough pride- swallowing contests for one year, if not for one lifetime. I'm proud of your skill in this underappreciated sport, but enough is enough. For the rest of the year, I hereby decree that you should not -- you must not -- swallow your pride even once. Next assignment: Figure out what's the opposite of swallowing your pride, then do it and do it and do it. (Hint: It might have something to do with showing and telling the whole jaded world just how intriguing your gifts are.)

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies jamming with Celine Dion and Snoop Doggy Dogg on a Foo Fighters song, you're giving uproarious new meaning to the terms "hybrid" and "hodgepodge." You're mixing so many metaphors and building so many improbable bridges and taking so many shortcuts that I'm tempted to name you "Most Likely to Splurge on the Urge to Merge." Keep combining things that God "never meant" to see combined, Libra. Maybe you can change her mind with the unexpected beauty of your conglomerations.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Here's your dream glossary, Scorpio. If you have a dream about an architect designing a home this week, it means you're ripe to update your self-image. If you dream of laborers erecting a stadium, you're unconsciously longing to have your self-expression recognized in a larger arena. Dreams of a Jewish carpenter from Palestine may signify a need to ground your spiritual aspirations in a more concrete activity, like helping the underprivileged. And dreams of an artisan fabricating a sturdy treasure chest could indicate you're about to find a way to recapture lost riches. (By the way, all these interpretations apply to you even if you don't actually have the dreams in question.)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It'll be a good week to slide down the banisters of spiral staircases, buy yourself extra birthday presents (I especially recommend forbidden toys), and change your mind about everything. In addition, I recommend that you have several heart-to-heart talks with yourself using a variety of funny voices, and that you sing, whistle, dance, and blow kisses as much as possible. You'll even be permitted one temper tantrum as long as it's done with a clownish touch.

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