REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): According to a Department of Labor directory, my job as an astrologer is in the same category as acrobats, jugglers, stuntpersons, and rodeo performers. From this I conclude that the world considers me no more than an entertaining buffoon -- not the sly, articulate oracle I imagine myself to be. And I simply won't stand for such an affront to my self-image. I quit! APRIL FOOL! I don't care what anyone thinks of me; I'm perfectly happy with my gig. But by indulging in my little tantrum, I was hoping to incite you to demand more respect from the people who misperceive you. It's time for you to make sure you're seen for who you really are.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Why did you sell fire at a discount in the vacant lot? What were you thinking when you slipped the plastic spiders into the millennium's soggy breakfast? And can't you please try harder not to step on your head's shadow? APRIL FOOL! I hope you didn't take seriously what you just read, because it was nonsense generated by automatic writing. Or was it? Maybe it was a Zen koan, in which case you'd better push harder to read between the lines. (Notice how I'm messing with your head here, Taurus? Get used to it. The cosmos will be doing the same thing this week.)

Gemini (May 21-June 20): "Say you're shaking hands with Barbra Streisand," advises In Style magazine writer Louise Lague, "and she pulls you in for the kiss. Bob immediately to your left. Press your right cheek against hers, making a small smooching noise. Under no circumstances do the lips touch the cheek, an encounter that might result in a makeup smear." I agree with this approach, Gemini, and exhort you to devote the same exacting attention to proper form in all upcoming social encounters. APRIL FOOL! This ain't no time for kowtowing to every candy-ass rule of decorum! Be outrageous! Schmooze with careless flair! Network like a drunk ventriloquist at a clown convention.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Maori warriors and a Hopi medicine man have blessed the advice contained in this horoscope. The high priestess of a pagan coven has prayed that it will generate only karmically clean effects, and a descendant of Edgar Cayce has had a dream confirming the truth of its revelations. With a pedigree like that, you better do exactly what the oracle says. APRIL FOOL! I was testing to see whether you've learned to question ALL authorities, not just the ones that are so easy to distrust, like politicians and CEOs and journalists. In fact, it's the very experts you love and trust who need your skepticism most. This is especially crucial now that you're on the verge of locating the power spot you've been edging toward for months.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): I fear you will be seized by bizarre urges this week, like the desire to plunge butcher knives into accordions, or to hijack a UFO and abduct some aliens, or even to contribute money to the Christian Coalition. Be very wary of these and other dark inklings bubbling up from your subconscious depths. APRIL FOOL! I'm not worried in the least about encouraging you to unleash your fantasies; I believe they'll lead you to health and happiness. The nasty examples I mentioned would erupt only if you tried to suppress the gorgeous manias that'll be coursing through you.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Reincarnation is a flaky notion drummed up by New Age hucksters who're intent on hawking their lamebrained books to gullible airheads who're desperately seeking consolation in the face of their dread of aging. Don't allow such a cracked notion to affect your philosophy of life, Virgo. APRIL FOOL! In truth, reincarnation is a venerable doctrine in a spiritual tradition that goes back 5,000 years and currently has well over a billion adherents. It would be a worthy addition to your belief system, especially now that the fates are conspiring to give you a glimpse of the ancient origins of your life's patterns.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Your life this week will have much in common with the story of the mute, wheelchair-bound princess who inherited the war-torn crown of Slavonia when her father died during rough sex with her stepmother, the evil queen Katarina, an ambitious former prostitute. APRIL FOOL! In fact, Libra, you'll experience a dramatically unpathological series of boringly healthy events, culminating in a mature synthesis of love and lust.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Your behavior embarrasses me. I can't understand why anyone would give you anything. You have incurable addictive tendencies that will always sabotage everything you do. Don't attempt to change, for it is hopeless. APRIL FOOL! None of the above is even remotely true. By exposing you to such obviously stupid venom, though, I hope to immunize you against the ignorant criticism you may face from other people in the coming weeks.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You need and deserve more erotic delight, Sagittarius, and the best way to do it is to convert to Catholicism. In his book Sex: The Catholic Experience, Andrew Greeley provides ample evidence that Catholics have more and better sex than Jews and Protestants. Sixty-four percent of Catholic women rank high on the "sexual playfulness" scale, for instance, as opposed to 42 percent of Protestant women. So get your rosary today, Sagittarius, and let the new era in lavish loving begin. APRIL FOOL! The stars say you'll experience a radical upturn in your erotic fortunes no matter what your religion. So lie down and let divine nature have its way with you.

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