REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Once upon a time, a spunky Aries set out on a journey across the wasteland, hoping to reach heaven on Earth. For eons she trod the badlands, navigating through the tests of confused dragons and insane butterflies. Depending on nothing more than her ingenuity, she felt dangerously alive … ferociously strong … drunkenly attuned to her wild heart. Finally, at the height of her exhilaration, she crossed over to the suburbs of paradise. Without warning, a fog of disappointment descended, filling her with eerie listlessness. Having fought for and won her dream, she longed only to be fighting for her dream once again. Moral of the story: The struggle may be sweeter than the prize.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I believe it's time for you to risk uprooting an old standby; to dig up a growth that goes down very deep. Why? Perhaps it's a once-lovely thing that's turned ugly and demanding. Or maybe it's a languishing beauty that can't thrive again unless you transplant it. Only you have the power to know the real reason — and that may not become apparent until after the deed is done. So be ginger as you rip out the thing by its roots.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Ready for a barrage of no-nonsense exhortations? I hope so, because it's my best hope for awakening your dormant communication skills. Here goes.

Fling out feelers! Sling out invitations! Broach touchy subjects! Conspire to get yourself noticed! Make yourself so damn attractive no one will dare turn you down! Pose questions you've been afraid to ask! Risk looking stupid if it'll serve your lust to become smarter! Plunk yourself down in crossroads, thresholds, and other places where the traffic's heavy! Send out telepathic beams that say, “I'm ready, Lord! I'm ready, everyone! Come 'n' get me!”

Cancer (June 21-July 22): I promise I won't abandon you if you spend the next seven days patting yourself on the back for all the dreams you've hatched in the last few weeks. But I must admit I would be miserably disappointed. The astrological indicators say this is prime time for you to bust your butt turning those dreams into dollars, and I can't imagine that you'd prefer lounging around communing with the past (even if it is the recent past) to marching out and whipping up the future.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Good. It looks like you're getting bored with mincing around like a thoroughbred wearing a blindfold. Whatever reasons you had for handicapping yourself have served their lame purpose. The only question left is, who are you going to get to remove that confounded blindfold? (I wouldn't recommend trying to paw it off yourself.) Oh, and I'd also like to suggest that you be very discriminating in choosing which race will be the first you enter after your vision's restored. It'll soon be imprinting season.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Over the years, a prim Virgo scholar I know has fallen in love with three different madwomen, each of whom has ended up howling on his doorstep at dawn. Another Virgo friend, a very proper accountant, is a magnet for Sagittarian globe-trotters, alcoholic poets, and professional party animals. These two examples are not atypical. I can cite many other members of your sign who, though extremely civilized themselves, have more than their fair share of contact with riotous, messy creatures. I sometimes wonder if the universe is trying to tell you folks to loosen up and indulge in some wild shenanigans of your own — so that you don't need so many surrogates to do it for you. How about if you devote this week to rising above the merely vicarious part of your thrill-seeking?

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): The cosmic powers-that-be are giving you more permission than you've had in 13 moons. Permission to do what? Everything! In fact, don't even waste time trying to figure out where you should take advantage of this special dispensation; just assume you have a mandate to expand in every single facet of your life. (P.S. A little voice just whispered in my ear, “A few rungs have fallen off Libra's ladder of success, which means it's a fabulous time for climbing higher faster.”)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): As I peer into my crystal ball, I see you zipping around on a magic flying carpet. Some sourpuss on the ground barks out at you, “Get the hell down out of the sky right this minute!” In response you do a double flip and zoom around upside down.

Another person appears, face full of worried concern, and begs you, “Honey, please be careful.” You immediately hurl yourself into a steep dive. Right before you hit the ground, you pull up and soar back toward the heavens.

Now I see myself in the crystal ball. I holler out, “Scorpio, sweetheart, that carpet would look great lying in your new power spot.” And you eagerly come down to Earth right away.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): What the hell is “soul work,” anyway? It's like when you courageously identify your least attractive qualities and then wangle and scheme to turn them into assets. It's like when you create a beautiful object or situation without being motivated by the desire to make people adore you. It's like when you go into a crowded, smoky bar to put your meditation techniques to the acid test. It's like when you learn not just to tolerate raging ambiguity, but to love it and thrive on it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A chalice is your symbol for the week. Picture one in your mind's eye. Is it silver? Ceramic? Plastic? How big is it? Long-stemmed or squat? Close your eyes and spend a few minutes with this vision before reading on.

The chalice you envisioned represents the current state of your willingness to be filled up with new goodies, from love to gifts to offers. A cheap, shallow cup indicates you're too full of yourself to receive many fresh delights. A deep, well-made one suggests you're about to receive an outpouring of wonders. If you don't like what you imagined the first time, take this opportunity to conjure up a more gracious vessel.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): For a chance to win a trip to Bali, a brand-new BMW, and a dream date with a sweet-talking stud or siren, answer this bonus question: How is it that you've come so far and worked so hard only to be content now to wait around for the call that may or may not ever come?

For a crack at scoring a trip to Rwanda, a beat-up old one- speed bike, and a lucky skunk key chain, simply refuse to answer the bonus question and instead place your glowing faith in a cute little superstition.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Reincarnation researchers have accumulated evidence suggesting that a disproportionately high percentage of Pisceans living today were burned at the stake in previous lifetimes. I believe this startling revelation may help explain a curious facet of the modern Piscean personality. You fishy folks are among the greatest dissidents and mavericks of the zodiac, yet you're often very circumspect about letting it show. This week I'd like you to meditate on the possibility that your hesitancy to blurt out exactly what you mean has its roots in past traumas. Once you've convinced yourself that the need for your reticence is obsolete, maybe you'll finally be able to enjoy that orgy of self-expression you have coming to you.

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