By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
ARIES(March 21April 19): Thai coffee salesman Prayoon Thongiorn owns a pet crocodile. So thoroughly has he tamed the creature that he lets it sleep in his bed with him, even resting his head on it as if it were a pillow. I predict that you will make a comparable conquest in 2006, Aries. Some dragonish influence that would be risky for most people to harbor will become your ally. Congratulations in advance on both your courage and the ingenuity you will summon to wrestle that beast into submission.
TAURUS(April 20May 20): "We live in a world with too much music," writes Joe Nickell at missoulian.com. He's bothered by the fact that everywhere he goes, there are tunes pouring from cell phones and MP3 players and TVs and radios and live bands. As far as you're concerned, though, Nickell is utterly off base. In 2006, you should take advantage of the profusion; you should immerse yourself in music more than you ever have before. To do so will be instrumental in helping you accomplish your top assignment in the coming months, which is to feel deep, rich, interesting emotions as often as possible.
GEMINI(May 21June 20): Many Geminis fit the description of a class of people that Wiredmagazine calls "yeppies," or "young experimenting perfection seekers." Overwhelmed by a profusion of conflicting opportunities, they are restless and insatiable. They treat life "as an exercise in comparison shopping, refusing to commit for fear of missing a better offer." While this approach is pretty normal for your tribe, I suspect it won't work as well in 2006 as it has for you in the past. That's why I urge you to try out some very different attitudes: a tolerance for imperfection, a respect for limits, an appreciation for the value of peace of mind, and a willingness to concentrate on just two or three possibilities instead of 17.
CANCER(June 21July 22): The coming months will not be a time for less talk and more action , my fellow Cancerian, but for more talk and more action. Here are other prescriptions to help you get the most out of 2006: Go on wilder adventures and entertain fewer superstitions. Indulge in fewer mood swings and invest in an experience that will serve as the best anchor you've ever had. Explore your secrets more aggressively, but keep fewer secrets. Work harder to know the difference between true intuitions and fearful delusions. Feel less remorse and more forgiveness. Cultivate wetter love and drier humor. Commit yourself to faster promise-keeping and slower fault-finding.
LEO(July 23Aug. 22): I know people who love the feeling of family but who don't have much contact with their parents and siblings and haven't started their own broods. Instead, they quench their longing for an intimate network by hooking up with a spiritual familya tribe of like-minded people who share their values. The coming months will be prime time for you to either find a group like that or, if you already have one, to deepen and expand your web of connections. You don't have to sacrifice your relations with your biological kin to do so. The more family you have, the better your mental health will be.
VIRGO(Aug. 23Sept. 22): In her book Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés talks a lot about fairy tales. As a psychotherapist, she recognizes that the conditions they depict are similar to how the deepest part of the psyche works. A central theme of fairy-tale justice, she says, is that it's always a good idea to be kind to people who don't seem important or beautiful or cool. Characters who honor that principle are invariably rewarded, while those who spurn it are punished. This will be a key idea for you in 2006, Virgo. You can't afford to dismiss those you consider your inferiors, nor should you demonize the less attractive aspects of your own nature. Your success will hinge on the care you take with underdogs.
LIBRA(Sept. 23Oct. 22): I have selected a quote by Irish playwright Brendan Behan to serve as your motto in 2006. I suggest that you write it out on a piece of red paper and place it in a prominent place like your bathroom mirror or computer monitor. "If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible," said Behan. "Don't hoard it. Don't dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke."
SCORPIO(Oct. 23Nov. 21): Widely regarded as a top military historian, Martin van Creveld has written books that have been influential in shaping modern theories of warfare. The U.S. Army makes his work required reading for its officers. That's why it was so remarkable when he described America's invasion of Iraq in 2003 as "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C. sent his legions into Germany and lost them." I urge you to regularly imitate Creveld's example in 2006, Scorpio: Speak out in dramatic fashion against the follies that your expertise gives you the right to critique. Drawing on your special experience and knowledge, make rigorous evaluations of the authorities and institutions whose decisions affect your life.