REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Welcome to Real Astrology, the Official Horoscope Column of the 1996 Summer Olympics. I'm proud to say that some of the world's greatest athletes have been seeking me out to help maximize their performances in Atlanta. My advice has been simple for those jocks born under the sign of the Ram: You're ragin'! Don't change a thing! From feats of endurance to physical agility, from peak performances to erotic breakthroughs, this is a supremely favorable time for the Aries body. I predict that an uncannily high number of Rams will win medals this summer.

(As for non-Aries athletes, I'm suggesting this: 1) Ask Aries folks to share the secrets of why they have so much energy; 2) have lots of sex with Aries lovers; 3) heed the counsel given to Aries people in horoscope columns.)

Taurus (April 20-May 20): All around you, the waters are troubled; the air is heavy; the beasts are restless. And yet in the midst of this blurry uncertainty and itchy doubt, an eerie peace is coming to dwell in your heart. To what do we owe this improbable, incorruptible stability? I think it has to do with the fact that the astrological powers-that-be are conspiring to make you feel more at home in the world than ever before. I sense you're on the verge of discovering your inner dream house.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Contagion will work both for you and against you this week. Just as your blazing passions are likely to fan out and ignite the enthusiasm of everyone around you, so too will you be more susceptible than usual to the noxious vibes of sick puppies and silly gooses. Now that you know this vital secret, I hope you'll maximize the positive and avoid the negative effects. Keep your shields raised as much as possible, letting them down only to emit your laser bursts of pure inspiration.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): It would not be a good week to get all worked up about stuff like wax carnations, silicon implants, and inflated resumes. Nor would it be a favorable moment to act like those Founding Fathers who owned slaves even though they believed slavery was morally indefensible. But it will, on the other hand, be prime time to find God while watering a melon patch, or to seek financial stability by buying yourself a tool or asset that'll make you utterly undownsizable. And while it won't be an auspicious moment to stage imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi, it'll be a perfect week to fantasize dialogues with J.P. Morgan, Croesus, and Bill Gates.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): As the old gospel tune says, it's time for you to go tell it on the mountain. That's my advice to you, Leo. Climb the highest peak your physical fitness will allow — even if it's just a mound of dirt at a nearby construction site — and sing out the gnomic, bristly truths that have been fermenting inside you for weeks. An audience would be nice but is not absolutely mandatory to achieve the desired release. If necessary, rant and rave for no one else but the field mice.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): I can't decide this week whether you need a tender nudge at the elbow or a rousing kick in the derriere. Maybe I should take on the dragon face of hard-nosed basketball coach Pat Riley and howl, “Quit yer whinin', you wuss!” Or perhaps I should imitate the bodhisattva compassion of New Age motivational genius Jean Houston and whisper, “The very practical love of the Goddess is now filling you with a tireless will to overcome your adversities.” One thing's for certain: You can't keep getting away with what you've been getting away with for too much longer.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Consider the lathe. It's a machine that grips a piece of unworked wood or metal and rotates it against an instrument that shapes it into a tool. What's it got to do with you? Lots. I see you as being in the clutches of a lathe right now, metaphorically speaking. I picture you being sculpted by a deus ex machina, which is chiseling away your rough edges and excess scrap. It probably hurts sometimes, but the payoff is that by the end of this year you'll be a far more useful tool.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Dear Dr. Brezsny: Three nights ago I dreamed of a 900-pound gorilla that refused to get out of my way as I was driving my car. In last night's dream, the damn thing was back, only this time it was trying to hand me a silver platter on which stood a small pyramid made out of glued-together credit cards. What the hell am I supposed to make of this? — A Scorpio Who's Tired of Gorilla Theater

Dear Scorpio: I believe the 900-pound gorilla symbolizes what you have the potential to become. If it visits again, accept its gifts and advice. It may be trying to help you turn into such a huge and imposing presence that no one in your life will dare make a move without you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Under this July's full moon, I predict there's only a 15 percent chance you'll cover your naked body with Elmer's glue, attach pigeon feathers, and run downtown. I further prophesy that the odds are more than 50-1 that you'll deluge your favorite celebrity with marriage proposals, and 100-1 that you'll buy a mammoth bouquet of helium-filled balloons and attempt to imitate a flying dream while wide awake. However, there is a much-better-than-average possibility that you'll stay up all night scheming how to get more beauty into your life, and a 60 percent chance you'll beat your fears by exactly doing what you fear.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It won't be enough to read between the lines this week. You'll have to cross your eyes, hold the lines up to a mirror, and then read between them. Same deal with the fine print. In order to study it, you're going to have to find it first. Be ready to call on anyone who might help in this quest: an expert who can translate encrypted jargon, a magician who's skilled at bringing to light messages written in invisible ink, or a Scorpio-type wise guy who's a master at smoking out hidden agendas.

Now meditate on the following words of wisdom: “Don't listen to what people are saying; tune in to what they're not saying.” — The best waiter at my favorite restaurant. “Don't play what's there, play what's not there.” — Miles Davis.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I see yer lookin' fer a handle, babe. Searchin' fer a way in. Tryin' to locate the barest hint of an invitation, a crack in the facade, a sign that it's finally yer time to slip into the giddy groove. Yer hungry … antsy … schemin' and dreamin' that just this once ya won't have to manufacture yer own lucky breaks with sweat and spit. I'd say the omens look good fer ya, wanderer — 'specially if ya keep a lookout fer the divine crowbar lyin' by the side of the yellow brick road.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: to refuse to be a numb and unappreciated beast of burden. Do not, I say unto you, let yourself even get close to a position where you'll be full of soggy resentment as you lug around abominably heavy baggage for people who don't mind taking advantage of you. On the other hand, I encourage you to eagerly pick up and carry the kinds of loads that make you feel lighter … and which win you useful recognition from people who'll enjoy helping you in return … and which sweeten the chances that a good cause will succeed.

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