REAL ASTROLOGY For an Unreal World

Aries (March 21-April 19): Try to wrap your imagination around the concept of a tropical glacier. There is such a thing. It's in the highlands of Indonesia's Irian Jaya, which is a mere 300 miles from the equator. There's also something resembling a tropical glacier in your aura right now: a very icy spot right in the middle of your torrid zone. While it certainly is interesting to gaze upon for a tourist like me, I don't imagine it's too comfortable for you to live with. And besides, it takes a whole hell of a lot of energy to keep it refrigerated. I say melt it as soon as possible.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Get thee to a nunnery, Taurus, or to a sanctuary, or to a quiet corner of the world where no one can bug you for a while. You've mastered a dizzyingly steep learning curve. You've absorbed as much change as you can. But now you deserve and need and must have a respite. You deserve and need and must find a refuge where superheated ambition is a million light-years away and the maniacal engines of desire are shut down for maintenance checks.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Here's a fun project. First thing you do is define exactly what success means to you. Write out a succinct statement, including as much precise imagery as possible. (“Success means having a lime-green BMW with a built-in espresso maker,” etc.). The second part of the task is to name the people you desperately want to recognize your success. (“My ex-lover who said I was too scattered to ever amount to anything,” etc.). The third step is to burn what you've written, announcing to the universe that you're ready to receive hundreds of new clues about how and why to change your definition of success.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): This week's assignment is to write a fairy tale that allegorizes the life you'd like to lead in the next six weeks. Here are some of the characters I recommend you include: 1) a swashbuckling hermit crab that fights for truth, justice, and bigger bucks; 2) a magic turtle that rules a vast kingdom with wisdom and adaptability, despite the fact that she seems slow and dorky when you first meet her; 3) a male sea horse that stays home and takes care of the babies; 4) a female sea horse that's plotting a revolution that'll mutate the way an age-old network works.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): There is an old saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. It has a romantic ring to it, and I've found it to be true on two occasions in my personal life. But as much as I would love to invoke it right now, my astrological research won't let me. You see, Leo, you are simply not ready for the teacher. On the other hand, the teacher is going to show up anyway. This could be good; it could be bad. It all depends on whether you recognize the teacher, and if you do, whether the teacher has the wizardry it'll take to jolt you into an instantaneous state of readiness.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Many of you Virgos suffer from the nagging feeling that you should be further along your path than you actually are. Sometimes I fear that you'll never be free of this gnawing fantasy, that you'll continue to nurture it forever and ever, as if it were an interesting and helpful companion. But here's the news, sweetheart: IT'S NOT AN INTERESTING AND HELPFUL COMPANION. It's a completely useless parasite. Banish it. Extinguish it. Or better yet, just replace it with this superior fantasy: You are exactly where you need to be — forever and ever, amen. Now relax and enjoy the unfolding of your perfect fate.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I see it so often that I've come to believe it's the rule rather than the exception: people who are smart and together about every facet of their lives except for their intimate relationships. It's almost as if we all save the most undeveloped aspects of our personalities for those special moments when we're trying to create the thing that's most important to us. But I say unto you, Libra, that it doesn't have to be that way for you. The next eight weeks will be prime time to become as savvy about love as you are about everything else.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Dear Dream Doctor: There's no way to put this delicately, so I won't even try. For three nights in a row I had the same nightmare. I dreamed my toilet was overflowing with you-know-what. Last night the nightmare started out the same but took a drastic turn for the worse. The wall to my bathroom crumbled, exposing my predicament to hundreds of passers-by outside. Tell me Doctor, what did I do to deserve this kind of dream abuse? — Scatologically Challenged Scorpio.”

Dear Scatologically Challenged: Thank your dreams. They're advising you to streamline the mechanisms by which you flush away the ideas and feelings and things you no longer need.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): No one loves getting presents more than you Sagittarians. In fact, if you don't receive gifts regularly you become susceptible to sickness, insanity, and stupid love affairs. Which brings me to my point: Lately there haven't been nearly enough goodies flowing your way. And now you're entering an astrological phase when all your normal hankerings will need twice as much satisfaction as usual. Therefore, I beg you to: 1) coax, manipulate, and trick everyone into showering you with boons, bounties, and bonuses; 2) shower yourself with boons, bounties, and bonuses.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It'll be a good week to hold peace talks with your roommates, stage an all-out assault against household mold, and tape little prayers and affirmations on the mirror and closet door. It won't be such a great week, though, to launch a career as a South Seas beach bum, to try your hand at nude karaoke, or to take your first sky diving lesson. In other words, explore the sweet and tender mysteries that are closest to home. Your word of power is cocoon.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): This would be prime time to get one of those new VCRs that fast-forwards through the commercials when you play back a recorded show. I only wish you could also procure some analogous magical device that would let you zip past all the small talk, aimless gossip, bureaucratic nonsense, and hype that will inundate you in the days ahead. In lieu of it, I suggest you develop a habit of interrupting everyone's windy filibusters and evasive propaganda with a curt, “Just cut the crap and tell me what's really going on.”

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Tibetan Buddhists believe you can cancel your karma if you circumambulate Tibet's Mount Kailas three times. The Christian church offers forgiveness of sins through the ritual of baptism. If you happen to find meaning in the atonement traditions of these or any other religious institution, I advise you to seek them out in the next two weeks. Otherwise, just do it yourself. Dunk yourself in a river while blubbering, “I'm sorry! I'll never do it again!” Write letters to everyone you've offended and ask to be absolved. Go work in a homeless kitchen or donate 10 percent of your income to Amnesty International or whip yourself with your daddy's old belt. Just make damn sure you wash away all this past winter's sins and give yourself blank-check permission to be fresh and innocent again.

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