Real Astrology

For an Unreal World

Aires (March 21-April 19): I urge you to practice that “I've only got eyes for you” look till you get it right. Use a mirror if necessary. Try to get your most eternal, smoldering feeling to leap out and spiral around the room like a flaming tornado. Pack it full of the most radical, focused intimacy you can muster. Once you've got it down, unleash it on the single most worthy candidate, or at most two — not the whole world.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): I can't remember whether it was Andy Warhol or Mao Tse-tung whose strategies for successful power-tripping included techniques for converting your weaknesses into strengths. If you developed a pimple on the day of a big social occasion, for instance, Andy or Mao might suggest that you repackage it into a glitzy fashion statement, say by drawing a circle around it with a felt-tip pen. Now get out there, Taurus, and apply this sage philosophy in every way you can imagine.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Not to overgeneralize or anything, but one of the pivotal quests of every Gemini is to learn how to avoid mistaking the map for the territory. The challenge is complicated by the fact that many of you are such damn good map-makers and map-readers. How tempting it must be to believe you've conquered a problem the moment you get its contours down on paper! But wait. Don't despair. There's good news. You're about to receive an assignment that will absolutely require you to navigate by dead reckoning alone.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): You may discover termites in the foundation at about the same time a convention of tigers convenes upstairs. To make the metaphor (and your predicament) even more ridiculous, the worm of doubt may be eating into the apple of domestic bliss even as the eagle of victory arrives with laurels to reward your public struggle. Do tigers prey upon termites? Will eagles devour worms? Not usually — but then your dumb luck with symbolic saviors is unusually good right now.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Half the world is now in recession or suffering meager economic growth. The ozone hole over Antarctica has mushroomed to an unprecedented size in recent months. Animal and plant species are dying off at an alarming rate unmatched since the last mass extinction 65 million years ago. Meanwhile, however, you Leos are slipping into one of your slap-happiest moods ever, and may be able to linger in this state of goofy but beatific grace until well after Christmas. To what do we owe your charmed ability to go against the flow? Maybe it has to do with the fact that while everyone else seems obsessed with the half-truth that shit happens, you're focused on the more constructive half-truth that magic happens.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): This week's vocabulary word, class, is “catharsis.” It's derived from the ancient Greek word katharsis, which was a medical term for “purgation” or “purification,” as in a flushing of the bowels. Aristotle turned it into a metaphor that referred to how a tragic drama performed onstage can “clean out” the emotions of audience members. These days, catharsis means anything — from a riveting movie to heart-boggling sex to an intense session of psychotherapy — that mobilizes a spiritual renewal through the buildup and release of tension. I predict that such a strenuous blessing lies just ahead for you.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Everyone's a bit schizo from time to time, so don't get flustered as you watch your psyche divide up into factions. I like to think that it's exactly at moments like these, when the condition is most aggravated, that the cure is most possible. Perhaps the Willful Strategist in you has something to learn from the Adaptable Harmonizer, for instance. Likewise, the Lover of Beauty may not be so at odds with the Sharp Thinker as you imagine, and the Demanding Fantasizer could find an ally, not just a debunker, in the Practical Master of Intimacy.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Be Happy You're Poor — Too Much Money Can Make You Crazy” read the headline in the Weekly World News (a rag whose credibility has surpassed much of the mass media in recent months). I had to agree with the article's assertion that obscene wealth corroded the mental health of Howard Hughes, Henry Ford, Ross Perot, and Leona Helmsley. But I don't think that's a problem you Scorpios have to worry about. The deprivations you've suffered over the years have built up so much character in you that you're incapable of being spoiled by fabulous riches. I bring this up because it's prime time to launch a master plan to earn your first million (or at least your first hundred grand).

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I hope you're up for some homework this week, Sagittarius. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a story. It should be told from the perspective of the person you will be next spring, and it should be about the life you're going to live between now and then. The recommended length of this tale is three to five pages, and I'd like you to finish it by Dec. 3. Now here are a few meditations to get you started. What questions would you like to have answered in the next 19 weeks? What hypotheses would you like to collect experimental data about? What budding plot lines would you like to see fleshed out in ways that thrill your imagination?

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You've only just started your final exam, so it's impossible to say how well you'll do. But preliminary indications are that you have an excellent chance of proving the dictum “If it doesn't crush your spirit, it'll help you win your biggest argument with God.” In fact, I'm betting that we'll ultimately see some miraculous (if melodramatic) transmutations in you. An old wart on your attitude just might dissolve, for instance, and diamond-bright insights may illuminate one of your blindest spots.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Ace TV journalist Katie Couric once said, in describing her approach to dealing with people, “Basically, I try to be as charming and ingratiating as I can without making myself vomit.” I would like to recommend this strategy to you Aquarians during the next few weeks. It will be prime time for making new friends, expanding your network of useful contacts, and getting what you want by being almost appallingly nice.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Buddhist sage Jack Kornfield tells of a woman devastated by the demise of a love affair. She turned to her Zen teacher, a Japanese monk, who soothed and consoled her as she grieved for weeks. Alas, the monk then returned to Japan, leaving the woman to fend for herself. Months later he returned, and the woman picked him up at the airport. As he handed her a gift of prayer beads, she broke into sobs, confessing that her heart had still not mended from the loss of her paramour. Without hesitation, the teacher slapped her across the face. “One year is too long!” he barked. “Get over it!” I bring this up, Pisces, because I have a similar impatience with a dispiritedness you've allowed to linger. Instead of the slap, though, imagine I'm applying a cream pie to your face right now.

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