REAL ASTROLOGY For An Unreal World

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If we were living in medieval France, I'd suggest that you trek to the holy shrine at Chartres — being sure to crawl the last mile on your knees — and drink from the healing water there. If this were India, I'd advise you to make a pilgrimage to the Ganges River — preferably walking barefoot the whole way — and purify yourself in its hallowed currents. But since you're probably a jaded North American — meaning it's unlikely there's anyplace you regard as a sacred sanctuary — I'll just recommend that you stroll on over to the oldest tree you know and pour a bottle of mountain spring water over your head while confessing all your sins.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the early years of Christianity, there were hundreds of books interpreting the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. By 325 A.D., though, a group backed by the political and military power of the Roman Empire had determined which few of the stories about Christ would forever after be considered the canonical New Testament, and which heretical bilge. No better evidence exists for the saying, “History is a tale told by the victors.”

Keep that in mind this week as you strategize your way through your own personal War of the Stories. Your account of events may have more truth in it than everyone else's conflicting tales, but that won't mean squat unless you obtain the power to enforce your version.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I'm strongly tempted to predict that you'll be able to talk to the animals this week, and make it rain or shine using your will power alone, and read the minds of people whose actions are critical to your success. I'm strongly tempted to regale you with tales of your brilliant future as a pied piper who displays mesmerizing leadership skills. Alas, I know sometimes I have more confidence in you than you have in yourself. So to be safe, I'll advise you to take everything I said above and dilute it by half.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Incredible but true! Following his release from prison, 18th-century criminal Eugene Vidocq used his shady talents to become France's greatest detective. In the 1890s, the Cherry sisters became rich and famous on the strength of their atrocious theatrical productions, which attracted huge, incredulous audiences all across America. Completed in 1350, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has become celebrated the world over because of its imperfection. And during the period of March 9-21, 1995, millions of Cancerians will learn new tricks about how to turn their liabilities, flaws and mistakes into assets.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I sensed it was time to peer into your financial future, so I consulted the Sacrificial Money Oracle. First I fluttered a $20 bill through the flames of four green candles. Then I divined the meaning of the burn patterns in the bill.

The oracle has bad news and good news. The bad news is you live on a continent where one-fifth of the population owns more wealth than the other four-fifths. The good news is you're now in the best possible shape to inch your way toward that one-fifth. The oracle is unclear, however, whether the positive outlook is due more to dumb luck or to hard-earned luck that arises from your dawning awareness of how and why to cure your financial ignorance. I suggest you assume it's the latter.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Do you know the fable about the four blind men who encounter an elephant for the first time? The first touches the tail and declares that the thing before them is a rope. The second feels the leg and says no, this is a tree. The third fingers the trunk and calls it a snake. Stroking a tusk, the fourth man says it's a spear.

As I contemplate your life right now, you remind me of that elephant. One person in your life imagines you're a cagey opportunist; another a generous perfectionist. A third fantasizes you as a cowardly lion. A fourth views you as a bold but unsung explorer. Like the four blind men, no one sees the total you. Unlike the elephant, however, you can talk — and fill in the missing information.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): To that jerk who stole my favorite Indonesian shirt from the stage when I was performing at the Cattle Club in Sacramento back in 1991: I forgive you. To Marina, who dumped me to run away with a coke dealer back in 1984: I forgive you. To my mom, who pressured me to be a doctor or lawyer but never nurtured my longings to be a writer: I forgive you. To any Libra readers who hate it when I talk about myself in their horoscope, and wish I would just stick to talking about them: I forgive you, and strongly suggest that you follow my example this week.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You know how some people love to fall in love over and over again? Often it's just an excuse to fall back in love with themselves. Each new beau is a pawn in their strategy for coming home to themselves. What I'd like to ask these people is: Why not just eliminate the middleman?

I'm not necessarily saying this is advice you need right now. But then why did that little voice in my head insist I tell it to you?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): From what I hear, an apprentice violin maker works eight years before being considered ready to practice the craft seriously. Likewise, those adept at aikido tell me it takes a good 30 years to master the moves and spirit of their martial art. I hope this helps put into perspective the skills you're now struggling to perfect. They simply wouldn't be worth learning if you were already a whiz. There's no rush, speedo. Give yourself credit for how far you've already come.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your lessons in communication are nearing a crescendo. The material covered this week will comprise 40 percent of the questions on your final exam, so take impeccable notes. Here are a few hints to help you be the best student you can be. 1) It's often effective to make the other guy think you have more information at your disposal than you really do. 2) But don't deceive yourself into thinking you know more than you do. 3) You'll be amazed at how much more helpful to your cause it'll be to engage in positive gossip rather than the grubby kind. 4) But don't fabricate pretty lies any more than you'd concoct nasty ones.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You're the fray in the fabric, Aquarius — and that's good. You're the monkey wrench in the works, the pothole in the road to ruin, the voice in the wilderness — and that's very, very good. Because if you weren't there to question everyone's motives, the forces of silliness and superficiality would soon triumph. If you weren't gutsy enough to call everyone's bluff and keep everyone honest, sins of omission would quickly make once-noble plans a joke. So don't sit on your objections. Be a big, idealistic pain in the ass.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In explaining his authorization of a government kill-off of Alaska's wolves, Governor Wally Hickle espoused an interesting theory: “You can't allow nature to run wild.” I would beg to differ with him on that one. For evidence, all I have to do is look at your life right now. You're tuning in to the dangers of being overcivilized; you're realizing just how righteous your instincts are. For you, nothing would be better than to let nature run wild.

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