REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): It's quite possible that a talking pig will soon appear to you in a dream and grunt, “Greed is good.” When you wake up, this may influence you to expect too much from the people in your life — thereby sabotaging the actual gifts they're ready to give. I'm hoping, though, that you'll be moved by my warning to reject that dream pig's advice.

It's also possible that a chattering weasel will appear to you in a dream and tell you that you'll win the lottery with these numbers: 5, 13, 22, 54, 81. But I'm hoping that instead of wasting your financial opportunities on far-fetched fantasies like that, you'll instead brainstorm about how to translate your sleeping talents into bigger bucks.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): It was Take Our Daughters to Work Day recently. I brought my 5-year-old Taurus sprite, Zoe, to my command center. “Do you want to be like Daddy when you grow up and write stories for people?” I asked as I showed her around my empire of words. “No. Too much sitting around,” she said. “So tell me what you'd like to be,” I pressed on. “A dancer clown doctor who drives bulldozers,” she mused. Now by an amazing coincidence, what she said is pretty much what I was going to tell you in your horoscope this week: Don't sit around like me. Be more like a dancer clown doctor who drives bulldozers.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): I'm the only guy awake on the life raft. You and the rest of the survivors are asleep, curled up in fetal positions trying to escape the hunger and cold. How long have we been drifting? Who knows? In our delirium, we've lost track. To keep my spirits up, I sing softly. “To dream the impossible dream/ To fight the unbeatable foe/ To strive when your arms are too weary/ To go where the brave dare not go.” Then — is it a hallucination? — I spy a dove flying some distance away, and beyond the dove, on the horizon, a line of trees. “Land ho!” I shout.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): You don't wait till your canoe has capsized to learn how to swim, right? You start studying Spanish before you arrive in Mexico for the first time, not after. Catch my drift? Keep these metaphors in mind as you plan your next three weeks. Dig for a new source of water before your well runs dry. Ask for directions before you're totally lost. Be extra sweet now to the people whose help you'll need down the line.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Your voice can calm squalling infants and shatter crystal vases and turn hard hearts to mush. Your gaze can awaken repressed memories and hypnotize harsh judges and rouse goose bumps on innocent bystanders. Your touch? I'm almost afraid to describe the voodoo that's coiled up in your touch. In conclusion, O Most Regal Demigod, it's my duty to inform you that when you're exuding charisma this primordial, you also have enormous responsibilities. Since few of the warmblooded creatures you encounter will realize they're at your mercy, I expect you to police yourself.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): William “Upski” Wimsatt, hip-hop journalist and graffiti artist, says his dream is to have 10,000 role models. That's admirable, and maybe I'll recommend it to you in a few weeks. But let's start with a more modest goal. Do you think you could drum up, say, two role models by the first of June? You Virgos are always in danger of obsessing on your microscopic explorations, and a relationship with an inspirational figure is one of the best ways to cultivate a more telescopic vision.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Pisceans and Cancerians rank ahead of you Librans in their empathic skills, and Scorpios are better than you in capitalizing on their ability to read people's emotions. On the other hand, you cash in on your empathy more than Pisceans and Cancerians do, and you're not as mean and manipulative as Scorpios can be. Of all the signs, you're most likely to do what's best for everyone and get paid for it. Your special talent is to figure out an angle that allows you to get your way while helping others get their way, too. These superpowers I've described are now working for you at peak efficiency.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Yesterday it was raining at the same time the sun was shining, and I thought of you. Today I found myself lusting for a friend I'm mad at, and I thought of you. Tomorrow I'll probably try to eat when I'm not hungry, and stop at all the green lights, and break into depressed sobs when I'm finally given the recognition I've been longing for — and turn my mind to you each time. I wonder if you'll remember me in the week ahead whenever you're tempted to do the right thing at the wrong time or the wrong thing at the right time?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): When the sun is in the wild phase of its cycle, generating lots of sunspots and electromagnetic storms, life on Earth gets crazier. Even the scientists say that. But the sun is not in its wild phase now. In fact, it's as gentle as it ever gets. Likewise, the full moon, which even the police say increases outbreaks of weird phenomena, is two weeks away. So why are you acting like a werewolf during a sunspot flap? Maybe you're not paying enough attention to the earth beneath your feet.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In recent experiments at Rice University, hamsters that had too much sex caused damage to their immune systems. It must be noted, however, that these hamsters had not received training in Ancient Tantric Love Secretsª, a technique I've spent 15 years developing. If they had, their immune systems would have grown stronger the more they indulged their libidos.

Whether you've known it or not, Capricorn, you've been subliminally absorbing all these Ancient Tantric Love Secretsª for as long as you've been reading my column. Therefore — in honor of this ultrasexy astrological time of the year — I feel no compunction about advising you to go forth and build up your immune system to the max.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You Aquarians have a strange talent for being alone in the midst of a crowd; for being lost in your own world even as you schmooze up a storm. Usually there's nothing wrong with that. It's one of the reasons your maverick wizardry thrives even when you're frenetically trying to be all things to all people. But this time you've retreated too far into loopy narcissism. Your peninsula has turned into an island. On behalf of your community, I hereby invite you — no, implore you — to return to us.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Teachers of creative writing say that when you first delve into a topic you should let yourself spout and ramble. Keep the inner critic out of the loop, in other words. Free associate. Write down any old fatuous thought that bubbles up. Often the best stuff, the contradiction-crunching message from your deep self, is buried so thoroughly beneath mounds of mind-chatter that you have to allow the garbage to flow for pages in order to get to it. I advise you to try this technique now. Buy a cheap spiral-bound notebook (not a fancy, hardbound journal), and fill a minimum of 50 pages in the next seven days. In the same vein, I also recommend that you find a friend with whom you don't mind being ridiculous and gab at each other until your inanities turn into profundities.

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