REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): I can wash a window, cook an omelet, change a tire, plant a tree, and interpret a dream faster than anyone alive. I can change a diaper while doing wheelies on a skateboard, write a great pop song as I stuff envelopes to save the rain forest, and whittle a giraffe out of a wine cork while simulating a mating dance with a flamingo. Yet as fleet and agile as I am, and despite the fact that I consider myself the world's champion at being able to be five places at one time, I fear there's a distinct possibility you could snag my title away from me. That's how versatile a virtuoso you'll be in the coming weeks, Aries.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): At the risk of losing their karmic credit, my Prayer Warriors are now imploring God to help you win a lottery or contest or bingo game. Now, the Divine One frowns upon people who beg for money, and has been known to wreak revenge on such greedheads by boycotting all their further prayers. So I hope you appreciate the chance the Prayer Warriors are taking for you. Just kidding, Taurus! The only God who would act with such petty motives is the fake one the atheists rightfully deny. My God gazes sympathetically at every request, and will certainly consider the Prayer Warriors' petitions to make you richer.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Any minute now, Gemini, I bet you'll lose the two tons of emotional baggage you've been dragging along; you'll shift from lead-footed plodding to giddy sauntering. To what do you owe this turnaround? Most likely it's just plain boredom. I believe your subpersonality No. 13, the Nasty Little Self-Sabotaging Pest, has grown weary of torturing your other subpersonalities, and will go off and veg out for a bit. With that jerk out of the way, it's quite possible your subpersonality No. 5, the Buoyant Self-Reinventing Genius, will rise to the top to run the show for a while.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): The Cult of Science bears a relation to modern culture that resembles the Catholic Church's stranglehold on the medieval imagination. Fortunately, those of us in the business of debunking fanatical materialists can often find rich fodder for our arguments in the paranormal lives of you Cancerians. This week, for instance, you'll have almost daily appointments with telepathic jiggles, fresh hot omens, and lightning from the other side of the veil. Wise snakes will sneak up on you in reveries and dreams, and ghosts from both the past and future may seek to negotiate new contracts. All in all, my fellow Crabs, you'll be hair-raising proof that the invisible realms have very concrete effects on this world.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): It almost doesn't matter how good you are or how hard you've worked to refine your talent or product. Everything comes down to who has the best packaging, the glitziest gimmick. It's a shame. In an ideal world, you'd already have the position and rank that match your skills. But the exasperating truth is that you've got to devote as much intelligence to selling yourself as you did to perfecting your work in the first place. Fortunately, the cosmos has finally decided to conspire mightily in your behalf to accomplish just that.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): founder Jeff Bezos told Wired magazine that while looking for a wife, he put a high premium on resourcefulness. “I wanted a woman who could get me out of a Third World prison,” he said. Maybe you've never imagined you fit that description, Virgo, but I have. Lately you've begun to show an aptitude for digging up unexpected magic in the nick of time, and I believe this skill will continue to grow. Getting high school students to read books by Noam Chomsky, or coaxing Calvin Klein to use 300-pound beauties in his underwear ads, or getting a friend to hear a truth she's been utterly closed to before? These are just a few of the amazing feats you're capable of.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): When you plan your two important conversations this week, remember how crucial the setting is. A burger, fries, and a shake in a cramped booth at McDonald's won't yield the same rich heart-to-heart exchanges as will a clean table in a sanctuary with a spacious view. Likewise, Libra, when you plan your two new investments this week, devote the same thorough research to your spiritual venture as you do to the transaction that will affect your pocketbook.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): It's been 12 years since I made peace with my evil twin, by which I mean the shadowy side of my own psyche. Up until then, ours had been a tempestuous relationship. I'd relentlessly tried to suppress all his negative feelings, and in turn he'd ensnared me in a series of affairs with women who were no damn good for me. Finally, I initiated a truce. I promised him I'd at least listen to his bitches and moans, and he agreed to stop maneuvering me into messy, boring complications. Ever since then, his “evil” has steadily evolved into an acidic but amusing acumen I've come to value. What does this have to do with you, Scorpio? I believe it's prime time for you to learn to collaborate better with your own evil twin.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I bet you'll make a new connection because of this column, Sagittarius. Maybe a stranger is sneaking a peek over your shoulder as you read this right now. (Why don't you introduce yourself?) Or maybe a Very Intriguing Person will be eavesdropping as you and a comrade discuss the meaning of my oracles. I also suspect one of your relationships will have a near meltdown that could, with the help of “Real Astrology,” dissolve the fears that have prevented greater intimacy. Use me as a matchmaker, a mediator, a secret friend.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Close-out time! Dirt cheap bargains on amour! Final week of the special introductory offer on all fun and games! Last call for drinks from the fountain of youth! Don't delay! This is the last time this spring you'll find discounts like this on Love Tricks, Sex Tips, and Kamikaze Romance! Sale prices limited to stock on hand. Free “Use It or Lose It” bumper sticker with every purchase. Sorry, no dealers. No rain checks. Offer may vary at some locations.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Just because it's not in the “natural” scheme of things doesn't mean it's unfriendly, perverted, or unbankable. On the contrary. Was it “natural” for the Wright brothers to attempt what many scientists said was impossible? Was it “natural” for Walt Disney to turn a talking mouse into an international role model? Is it “natural” for me to try to impart wisdom through the medium of the astrology column, a genre ridiculed by many smart people? Psychologist C.G. Jung implied that every act of genius must work against the grain. I dare you to prove him right.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Sometimes, Pisces, you seem like an unimaginably old soul who has outlived all her contemporaries. Your hard-earned wisdom, as rich as it is, is like a living fossil in our use-it-once-and-throw-it-away culture. What good is it being as deep as you are if no one else has the courage or patience to gaze more than a few inches below the surface? Having said all those discouraging words, though, I want to let you know that conditions will soon be shifting. During the upcoming grace period, almost every one of your gifts will be appreciated, and much of your beauty perceived.

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