REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): In 1998, you had every right to regularly throw your hands up and moan, "Where is everyone when you need them?" This year you no longer have that right. Believe it or not, people will often live up to their hype and fulfill their promises to you with a conscientiousness you haven't witnessed in years. And it all starts in earnest this week, Aries. Co-conspirators are ready to meld their fate with yours. To help them help you, flush away your low expectations so you can ask for exactly what you want.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): It was exactly 248,010 years ago this week that the fallen angels were exiled from paradise. To commemorate the occasion, I suggest you shed a tear for them. When you've finished that, go ahead and cry a crazy river for the part of you that is like a fallen angel exiled from paradise. But once you've gotten all that grief out of your system, I'd like you to meditate on -- and yes, even give thanks for -- all the intriguingly blessed adventures that have come your way because of how imperfect you are. Can you handle one further assignment? I don't recommend it unless you're a kamikaze student of crazy wisdom. Try to imagine the possibility that your not-quite-futile struggle to re-create heaven here on Earth is your gift to God.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): I'm sure that at various times in the past, you've had your heart stolen and your mind blown. But have you ever had your mind stolen and your heart blown? Speaking of amazing sensations, you know the funny-bone feeling that's usually localized in your elbow? This week you'll be visited by a psychic, head-to-toe version of it. There's one other boggling sensation in the works, too, but in order to get the full benefits of it, you'll have to make yourself outrageously receptive. Have you ever taken an out-of-body jaunt while you were still more or less awake, giving you glimpses of gorgeous new temptations that ultimately inspire you to rise above your satanic self-denial?

Cancer (June 21-July 22): My dictionary of symbols says that the "king's highway" is an ancient term that means an undeviating path leading straight to the source. It represents a vigorous and high-minded approach, and in most situations I would recommend it to you. Not now, though. I believe that on your current mission, you would go astray if you took the king's highway. Only a scruffy, winding path will teach you all you need to know to take full advantage of the treasure you'll find at the end of your journey. Let's call this crooked course the "trickster's highway."

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): A bad test: trashing everyone you hold dear to see if they'll still love you the morning after. A good test: asking everyone you hold dear to prove their love by giving them vivid challenges that inspire them to learn surprising new secrets about themselves. Dumb pain: not bothering to find out what your cohorts truly feel about you, but rather hallucinating all sorts of crazy shit generated by your fears. Smart pain: asking your cohorts to tell you compassionately but bluntly what your most difficult qualities are.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Like a famous anchorman who has tragically developed an inexplicable stutter and who now stands drunkenly at the door of a massage parlor where he will meet the ex-nun-turned-Israeli-spy who will save his soul, your life now teeters on imitating a made-for-TV movie. Want my educated advice? GO FOR IT! This is one of those rare times when being interesting is a better spiritual policy than being happy. Your suffering has seldom been more artful than it is now.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Two weeks ago you received the equivalent of a crash course in "Beginning Fun and Games." Last week you had to cram hard to master the more demanding lessons of "Intermediate Exuberance and Escapades." Now, ready or not, your capacities for delightful spontaneity will be tested to the max as you're thrust into an intensive workshop in "Advanced Revelry and Delirium." I hope you won't freeze up in the face of so much meaningful frivolity. To ace your final exam, you'll have to unleash your inner hedonist.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Joseph Campbell said that in fairy tales, protagonists who drop the reins as they ride their horses are symbolically giving in to instinct. And since I dreamed of you doing exactly that last night, I'm quite concerned. While such a surrender might be healthy at times, it isn't now. You urgently need to go against the flow of your natural patterns and ancient habits. In fact, your creative energies will flourish in March only if you sublimate and transcend like mad during the next two weeks. So please try to correct the problem some night soon: Dream of keeping a firm grip on the reins -- or, if you happen to be driving a vehicle, on the steering wheel.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Events this week will make a man out of you -- if you're a woman. And they'll make a woman out of you if you're a man. I'm exaggerating a little, of course. The transsexual crossover I'm talking about will be happening in the deep dark closet of your psyche. Nevertheless, it won't be a mere abstraction. Your body will undergo actual chemical alterations. And woe be to you, by the way, if you think there's something bizarre about activating more of the qualities of the opposite sex. You now have a very sexy opportunity to become a more complete and attractive human being.

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