REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): When my rock band created a CD a few years ago, its scheduled release on May 8 coincided with the expected date of my daughter Zoe's birth. I regarded it as a sweet synchronicity until our band's tough, pushy manager, Kevin, announced he'd booked us on a tour starting May 8. No way, I told him. I wanted to be around to welcome my first child into the world. Kevin never forgave me, and we dissolved our partnership months later. But I've always been pleased I made the choice I did. I sense a comparable clash looming in your life. If I were you, I'd favor the personal over the professional, fresh innocence over high-powered hype, the Zoe-esque over the Kevin-esque.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Here's a foolproof way to avoid being hassled if you're a woman walking by a crew of construction workers: Pick your nose. Experiments have proven this is a strong deterrent. Speaking of holding evil at bay, my teacher always counsels me that the best way to neutralize the devil is to laugh at him. Satan's most effective recruiting technique, after all, is to get people to take themselves too damn seriously. I hope these bits of advice help you, Taurus, as you negotiate that last little stretch on your way out of the dank labyrinth.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): When you're not lounging on satin pillows at garden parties in your leopard-skin pajamas and exchanging scintillating witticisms with celebrities' ex-bodyguards, I hope you'll find time to commune with dandelions and frogs and clouds. While it will certainly be smart to cash in on all the schmoozadelic rewards the cosmos is making available, you should keep in mind that you have an appointment to take a big spiritual test in the near future. And a great way to cram for that rite of passage will be to do an intensive workshop at the University of Mother Nature.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Let's see what goads we can dream up to get you to stop stalling in the middle of the crossroads. How about this: When you were still an embryo about the size of the dot at the end of this sentence, you already had a date with destiny scheduled for April 1999. Or how about this: If you don't get off your procrastinating ass by April 25, I swear I will advise you to sell all your possessions, skulk off into the wilderness, and build a stone tower by hand.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Thanks for contacting Dream Doctors, the service that offers out-of-body house calls by trained psychic physicians. If you're in a spiritual emergency and would like one of our staff to make an astral projection directly into your bedroom, contact us telepathically before you go to sleep any night. In your transmission, describe the nature of your unfathomable yearning and the type of help you desperately need. Before morning, one of our Dream Doctors will appear in your dreams, prepared to midwife the divine intervention that's just right for you. There is no fee for this treatment, but we ask that as soon as you are cured you give a blessing to the first starving soul you see.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Commenting on his own painting, Wheatfield With a Reaper, van Gogh said, "I see in this reaper ... the image of death, in the sense that humanity might be the wheat he is reaping. ... But there's nothing sad in this death, it goes its way in broad daylight with the sun flooding everything with a light of pure gold." Van Gogh's description inspired me to make a wish for you, Virgo. I hope you will seek out a rite of passage that is both a metaphorical death and a rich harvest. In my mind's eye, I see you cutting down and gathering in a beautiful "crop" that you yourself planted and have been cultivating for some time.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): It'll be good week to use your third eye to watch TV, to cry for the pain of someone who can't do anything nice for you, and to pile up photos of old flames in a vacant lot and drive a monster truck over them. On the other hand, it won't be such a great time to dissect your teddy bear, mistake a garden hose for a poisonous snake, or worry yourself to death about an invitation that's not quite ripe. Is that enough advice, Libra, or can you handle more? Read on if you dare. Don't wait for fate to throw you off balance at some inopportune moment; instead, throw yourself off balance, as soon as possible, and do it in the direction of an extreme that'll interest and educate you.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): This week will mess with your mind, Scorpio. If you ask me, though, that's cause for celebration. You need to have your mind messed with, and I say that with no rancor or superiority. Yes, you will howl, but not out of anguish. You will be thrown off course, but not by a bad influence. You will be rewarded, but not in the medium you thought you wanted. By the time we meet again next week, I predict you will be lost in just the right place.

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