REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Let's compare your life right now to an unassembled jigsaw puzzle. Let's say, for argument's sake, that this puzzle has 300 pieces, but you're in possession of only 290 of them. My advice would be not to go hunting for the missing pieces just yet. Instead, I suggest that you first put together as much of the puzzle as you can. My psychic powers tell me that within a week of the time you do this, the 10 lost pieces will show up. Hot tip: Start with the cluster of purples.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): The San Francisco Chronicle's Leah Garchik once wrote a profile of Dr. Andy Lesko, a chiropractor who plays the guitar. She asked him if it was hard to feel people's spines through the calluses on his guitar-player's hands. “I feel through the calluses,” he replied. “It's kind of like life.” I present this as your thought for the week, Taurus. The cosmos is ready to help you become more sensitive in the places where you've grown tough, and more receptive to nuances you shut yourself down to some time ago.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): According to the tenets of my spiritual tradition, the most righteously fun way to greet a fellow human being is to place one's hands in a gesture of prayer, bow deeply, and say, “I greet the God within you.” We also have a special salutation for people who've recently had or will soon have a birthday. We throw ourselves on the ground, kiss their feet profusely, and cry out, “I greet the dazzling, enthralling, volcanically creative God within you.” This is the blessing I'm conferring on you this week, Gemini. It's amazing how many people report that within a few days after they've received this salaam, they experience a dazzling, enthralling, volcanic breakthrough. I'm almost positive you, too, will reap this benefit.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I'm sure you've heard how lots of weed species become hardy and ineradicable by developing resistances to pesticides. And you're familiar with how an oyster reacts to a parasite or grain of sand that slips into its shell: It attacks the irritant with layers of nacre, thereby creating a pearl. What else do you need to know in order to deal with the burr in your fur or the salt in your wound or whatever it is that's nettling you these days? But before you decide this is just another reminder that “If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger,” check my second metaphor again. The pearl is not a symbol of strength, but of beauty.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Your assignment this week is to create Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZs) wherever you can. As formulated by writer Hakim Bey, a TAZ is any place that hosts a festive event which liberates the imaginations of everyone present, thereby making it possible for life to be penetrated by the marvelous. Authority and dignity and routine have no place at a TAZ; an uninhibited quest for conviviality must be the only guideline. With the right group of people, and with your inspired rabble-rousing, a dinner party could become a TAZ, as might a dance or camp-out or day at the beach. So get out there, Leo, and conjure up what the cosmos has made you an expert at: “life spending itself in living rather than merely surviving.”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I'm sure you wouldn't believe me if I told you all the healings that can materialize for you in the coming weeks, so I'll just list a modest few. Believe it or not, Virgo, you could: 1) catch hold of a gift you've been afraid to want; 2) fall out of love with the wrong obsession; 3) remember a boisterous truth that's been wreaking a mess ever since it was forgotten; 4) get a play date with your inner child's pet dragon; 5) master the art of making a perfect pie crust; 6) realize you have an undiagnosed learning disability and figure out what you have to do to compensate for it; 7) annul the black magic you practiced on yourself last winter.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In the game of bridge, it's considered lucky if you're dealt a hand in which there are no cards of one particular suit. This allows you to capture tricks with the trump suit right from the start. I'd like you to regard this as a metaphor for your own life this week, Libra. An absence of a certain resource will give you an arresting advantage over other people, especially when you're engaged in fun or playful activities that have serious consequences.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Taurus, Cancer, Libra, and Scorpio are traveling through Kansas. A tornado whisks them away to Oz. Once they figure out where they are, Taurus announces, “I'll ask the wizard for a brain.” “Courage for me,” peeps Cancer. Libra says, “I'll request a heart.” “Ha!” snorts Scorpio derisively. “What I want are kick-ass talents for seeing everyone's hidden agendas, feeling rare and extreme feelings no one in the history of the world has ever experienced, and finding God through fucking.” “But you've already mastered all those skills,” protests Libra. “True,” says Scorpio, “but I don't have any weaknesses that need fixing, and besides, I want to see what happens when I'm twice as much myself as I've ever been before.”

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): When I went to my high school reunion, I found that one of our class' chief troublemakers had become a father of two. “It's my wife's job,” he told me, “to instill morality and good sense and compassion in our kids. But it's my job to make sure they understand the value of madness.” I knew exactly what he was talking about. I often think of myself as both a mommy and daddy to my readers. As a mommy, I try to help you to act nice and play fair and be successful in the game of life. As a daddy, I sometimes want to inspire you to rise above life's insanity with rebellious glee and mischievous unpredictability. Like now.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): What scares you most now could be what fuels you best by midsummer. Notice I said “could.” In the type of astrology I practice, there are no predestinations or ultimatums. You can, if you prefer, continue to keep your monstrous feelings locked away in your special hiding place; you're under no obligation to stare them down. If, however, you're interested in tapping into an unimaginably rich vein of inspiration, you'll begin negotiating in earnest with your least glamorous fear this week.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The bumper sticker I'd choose for
people born under the sign of Cancer would be “I brake for yard sales and open houses.” Virgos would get “I brake to check and see if my brakes are working,” while Scorpios' slogan would be “I'll brake when I'm damn good and ready, so leave me the hell alone.” Your bumper sticker, dear Aquarius, would be “I brake rules.” And this week, I hope you live up to that motto a thousand percent.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): A brass unicorn and a suitcase crammed with a ventriloquist's dummies may play a prominent role in your fate in the coming week. Or it could be that a graffiti-defaced Garth Brooks poster will be nearby when you decipher the central riddle of the game of life. My advice to you, Pisces? Don't wait around for these or any other mystical signs. Instead, create your own omens. Decide, for instance, that whenever you picture in your mind's eye a red rubber ball balancing on top of a geyser, you will snare another clue about what exactly it is you want to have, be, and accomplish before you die years from now.

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