REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Best days this month for romance and friendship: 11, 12, 19, 20, 24, 25, 27, 28. Best days for home and family: 10, 11, 15, 17, 18. Best days to look for a stash of hundred-dollar bills inside a torn, filthy mattress lying by the side of the road: 8, 13, 14. Best days to try to dream about a talking ham sandwich that can give you psychic advice about your job and career: 6, 7. Best day to escape a brothel in Tijuana if you're a slave laborer there: 8. Best days to save a dog from being hit by a train and thereby receive a big reward from its grateful owner: 9, 15, 17. Best day to score black-market orchids: 7, 12, 13, 29.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I vividly remember the five-minute burst of inspiration more than five years ago when the vision of the book I've been working on ever since first sprouted. At the moment of divine intoxication, I was sitting in the studio of radio station KPFA, waiting to be interviewed by Jane Heaven, sipping Earl Grey tea from a styrofoam cup. I mention this, Taurus, because I believe you're on schedule to be blessed with one of those five-minute eruptions of raging creativity that could change your life. Let's hope you'll have the leisure time and good sense to allow it to have its way with you when it shows up unannounced.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Celebrate the emptiness, Gemini. Make peace with the emptiness, revel in it, invite it to be your surprising teacher. Maybe you're used to seeing cowardly folks run from the kind of Big Bleak Blankness you're facing, and maybe you'll be tempted to imitate them. But I'm telling you that this is a glorious opportunity to learn timeless secrets that are impossible to grasp when you're feeling full and complete. Now please study this gem from D.H. Lawrence. "Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled? Are you willing to be made nothing? Dipped into oblivion? If not, you will never really change."

Cancer (June 21-July 22): My great-great-great-grandfather Edward Dembowski was a Polish count and leader of a revolution to establish democracy in Poland in the 1840s. In other words, he was both a nobleman and a rebel, a member of the privileged classes and a dissident seeking to overthrow a corrupt hierarchy. It is his spirit that I invoke in my advice to you this week, my fellow Cancerian. Be like him: Fight to reform an institution that benefits you and in which you wield considerable authority.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): What comes up for you when I ask you to picture a hunter? You probably see the image of a redneck dude in a red flannel jacket pointing a rifle at a deer. But it would be a shame if you couldn't get beyond that, Leo. The original archetype of the hunter is embodied in the lean and athletic goddess Artemis, the great protectress and companion of the beasts. It's her power that's most alive in you right now. The best way to respond is to track down your heart's wild desire with cunning, courage, and compassion.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I'm sorry to do this to you, Virgo, but you're going to have to get along without my guidance this week: Divorce has made me a blubbering wreck. Megadoses of St. John's wort, the New Age Prozac, haven't helped a bit, even when washed down with Irish whiskey. In fact, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, maybe you could say a prayer for my sorry ass, or send along a healing token. (I'm at PO Box 150247, San Rafael, CA 94915.) Come to think of it, doing good deeds like that would bring you into symbiotic alignment with the cosmic rhythms. The best way to help yourself these days, you see, is to take your attention off yourself and help other people.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "The soul has subtle nuances," wrote G.K. Chesterton, "that are more miraculous and more numerous than the colors of wood in autumn." Strange that this would be so true about your Libran soul as spring explodes with its bright, simple hues. Your psyche resembles a garden in late October, which is to say that it's dying on the surface yet teeming with ferment on the inside. If there was such a thing as a rainbow spawned by the moon instead of the sun, it would be your symbol for the coming week.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Judging from the gritty intimacy foreshadowed by your astrological aspects, Scorpio, I trust you're in the mood for some real love poems. Not the airbrushed fantasies concocted by the Hollywood dream machine; not the enervated mirages of silly perfection you glommed onto as a teen; rather, celebrations of love's knottiest tests and gifts. Here's one to get you started, courtesy of your fellow Scorpio, Ezra Pound. "Be in me as the eternal moods/ Of the bleak wind, and not/ As transient things are --/ Gaiety of flowers./ Have me in the strong loneliness/ Of sunless cliffs/ And of gray waters./ Let the gods speak/ Softly of us/ In days hereafter,/ The shadowy flowers of orcus/ Remember Thee --"

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): It's not blind fate that'll shape the coming week, Sagittarius, but you. So study Script A and B below, and decide which you'll implement with all your might. Script A: I wish I'd said what I was thinking. I wish I didn't have to wait so long, and could just skip to the end. I wish I had changed when I had the chance. I wish I could get inside the mind of that person whose decisions affect me so much. Script B: I swear I'm going to turn this setback into an advantage. I swear I'll figure out a way to make myself bigger than the person I was when I got myself into this mess. I swear I will track down bigger, better, more original sins and wilder, wetter, more interesting problems.

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