REAL ASTROLOGY for an unreal world

Aries (March 21-April 19): You'll have to be sort of like McGyver this week, that resourceful dude on the old TV show who could hot-wire a 747 and use a toothbrush as a weapon and fabricate a primitive radar device out of an old squeegee and baking soda. Then again, you'll have to be like the characters in the old Italian theater, the commedia dell'arte, who had a few lines to memorize and a rough plot as a guide, but improvised wildly within that loose form. In other words, Aries, your brain has never had to be so nimble. Better take your smart drugs.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Thirty years ago, national security experts did a study on the possibility that the Chinese were planning to cause earthquakes in North America. What if, they speculated, all 800 million Chinese people were to jump off a stepladder at the same exact moment? Would the shock administered to the Earth detonate fault lines across the Pacific? To this day, no one knows.

In the spirit of this and other experiments in mass concentration (like the Harmonic Convergence, the Super Bowl and national elections), I'd like to propose a similar event. I summon all 700,000-plus of my Taurus readers to reserve one minute of privacy at exactly 3 p.m. EDT on June 3. During that time, you will meditate intensely on one burning thought, which is: All Tauruses deserve a raise NOW!

Gemini (May 21-June 20): A traditional astrologer might tell you the planets aren't cooperating right now. She'd say that Mars is acting like a combination spoiled brat and fussy perfectionist; that Saturn is a confused slave-driver who can't make up his mind but wants you to obey anyway; that Mercury, ruler of your fine intellect, is doing an imitation of a dog chasing its own tail.

Fortunately for you, I see things differently. Mars, I believe, may be annoying, but in the same way an effective motivational speaker can be. Saturn is helping you realize that you have to rely less on authorities and take matters more into your own hands. And Mercury's ditsy behavior may be dampening your excess mental energy just so you can enjoy a more luxurious relationship with your emotions.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): Hey, you're not living in Rwanda or Bosnia or Bangladesh — how bad could your problems really be? Here's what I think: I think you should funnel your worrywart energy into tasks that'll take your mind off yourself — tasks that'll divert you from the paranoid fantasies you would probably churn out if you had too much time to stew. Call old friends you haven't talked to in eons. Find someone — anyone — who's less fortunate than you, and then offer your help gratis. Or volunteer to be a beautiful person's love slave. Whatever you do, do NOT hide under the covers and replay and replay and replay all those scenes of people not giving you what you deserve.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): According to Harper's Index, 25 percent of North Americans believe their attendance at a sports event influences its outcome. Of course this is a ludicrous notion, right? An atavistic throwback to the magical thinking our barbaric ancestors favored? Usually I would say yes, but not this week, not for you Leos. For a brief time, perhaps as long as nine days, your presence at any group gathering will exert an impact far beyond the power of science or logic to explain.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Heaven and Earth will be having one of their infrequent reunions in your vicinity this week. As a result, your god can kick the ass of just about anyone else's god. Likewise, your lawyer or therapist or sidekick can out-mud wrestle anyone else's. It's important to note, however, that you yourself cannot kick everyone else's god's or lawyer's ass. Therefore, you must respect your own limitations, rely on your allies and delegate authority with relish. Don't dirty your hands as long as eager volunteers are ready to dirty theirs in your behalf.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): If you were a cow, this would be a propitious moment to graze in a new pasture. If you were a person whom someone had just referred to as “bucket butt,” this would be a perfect occasion to buy a sports utility vehicle. If you were polite to a fault, you'd now have a good excuse to piss somebody off on purpose. In other words, Libra, if you were an Iranian ayatollah, this would be prime time to buy some edible panties and fur handcuffs.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you're not part of the hard-earned solution, you're part of the insidiously comfortable problem. If you're not part of the smart fun, you're part of the naive repression. If you're not part of the tough investigative team, you're part of the bland cover-up. Got all that? Here's the kicker.

If you're not mad about how unconstructively you've used your anger in the past, then you won't be motivated to wield it more creatively this week.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Many salmon race upstream, fighting the current for hundreds of miles, in order to spawn. (Those that have survived massive pollution, that is.) In many species, the maniacal quest for the perfect romantic environment begins in late spring and early summer.

You Sagittarian humans have similar habits. When your mating season peaks, which is often in June each year, you instinctively finagle your way, sometimes against all odds, into a position that best shows off your sexual magnetism. So what are you waiting for? Start finagling.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): As I close my eyes and summon psychic visions of your immediate future, I see whoopie cushions, rubber chickens and fake vomit. I see sand in your swimsuit and popcorn shells stuck in your teeth. I see a dog eating your homework and a malfunctioning alarm clock. However, as I psychically probe further into the summer, the picture grows rosier and sweeter. Long about the end of June through mid-July I see you lounging in a soothing yet sizzling sanctuary of sumptuous surprises. And get this: You look all lovesick and kissy-faced.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Do you have the horsepower to bolt from 0 to 80 mph in 10 seconds flat? If not, get it. Do you have the brakes to slow smoothly to 35 mph in another three seconds flat? If not, why not?

Do you have the subtlety to shift from a playful murmur to a no-nonsense roar in order to prove your points to your captive audience? I think you do. Would you consider carrying a sledgehammer and Krazy Glue with you at all times in case you're inspired to assemble a delicate monument in the same place where you make an unscheduled demolition? I hope so.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Thirty-two percent of you will be ridiculously happy for no apparent reason this week. Another 55 percent of you will be deliriously, rabidly happy — and have the documentation to show why. You'll be able to demand and receive an impossible reward, like toasted ice cream or free money or unconditional love.

The other 13 percent of you are in danger of having your well-earned happiness sabotaged by what we Jungians call your shadow: that unintegrated, subterranean part of your personality that's not in sync with your true goals. But it won't be that hard to pacify and defang your shadow. All you have to do is pet it and calm it and show you care about its feelings.

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