Forget Iben Browning. If you really want to know what's shaking in your city, consult Jack Ball, astrologer for Dell Horoscope magazine.

Ball is the author of "Metro-scope" a monthly feature profiling cities' astrological signs. In the June 1990 edition, he studied the stars for Provo.At the time the city was incorporated, "the sun was in mid-Aquarius, conjunct the moon of the nation's natal chart" and Neptune was rising in Pisces, Ball notes.

So what does it mean when you're a city with Neptune rising in Pisces? "To believers, this gives a strong sense of vision," Ball writes. "Unfortunately, it gives an equally strong sense of illusion, making it difficult to distinguish true inspiration from simple self-deception."

If that weren't bad enough, Provo's got a "sextile to Neptune from Venus in Capricorn," which "helps the city keep a pragmatic outlook" but isn't enough to keep it "from getting carried away with vaporous ideas."

I'm not sure Ball realizes the University of Utah and its cold fusion institute are in Salt Lake City. Anyway.

How to account for Provo's "hard-working and disciplined populace?" Blame it on a moon-Saturn conjunction in Aries. Ball does.

There's more: "Uranus and Pluto also conjoined in Aries lend what might be termed universal energy to the picture." Provo also has "a square to these two outer planets from a Mercury-Mars conjunction in Capricorn, and an opposition from Jupiter in Libra produce a T-square, which can provide extraordinary drive and force."

No wonder Blake Roney decided to locate Nu Skin here.

But - public watchdogs take note - not all is well in Provo. "Jupiter is approaching a stationary retrograde point and the Capricornian conjunction occurs in the hidden twelfth house," according to Ball.

Translation: "Provo's energies are directed into either secret or esoteric activities not witnessed by the public."

And we thought Highland was the only city clothed in darkness.

What does Ball think is going on? "Given the nature of the Mormon religion, this could be a simple matter of energies being diverted into church activities and research." He had to study the stars to figure that out? Or, Ball says the Capricornian conjunction could be "an indication of secret scientific or military research."

It kinda' makes you wonder what's really going on at Brigham Young University, doesn't it? Ball's predictions for the city are, well, uncanny. Remember, this article appeared last June.

" . . . there is a potential for great danger, for a square from Mars to Uranus-Pluto, with Jupiter joining in as well, holds enormous power." (From the sounds of it, if Jupiter were a boy, he'd spend most of his time sitting in a corner facing the wall.) Nuclear accidents, earthquakes and even meteor bombardments would not be out of the question when this planetary square occurs, Ball says.

"On the other hand, other possibilities would be great political battles and religious scandals that shake the city to its foundations."

To date no meteors have slammed into the city, but you've got to admit Bill Orton's upset win over Karl Snow last November shook the city to its core.

Ball predicts there will be significant "behind-the-scenes" changes to the city's business and political power structure over the next few years. This year, there'll be a "truly big shake-up . . . when transiting Jupiter in Cancer turns the chart's T-square into a cardinal cross, especially since Uranus and Neptune will still be in Capricorn at the time." Sounds scary.

Maybe Nancy Reagan was on to something.

(Brooke Adams, Orem, is Utah County bureau chief for the Deseret News.)