Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I'm hoping that in 2006 you will work your ass off with great ingenuity—not just at your job, but in every area of your life. Do you have it in you to break all your previous records for brilliant diligence? Are you willing to summon fierce discipline and crafty willpower not only to pump up your career ambitions but also to refine your approach to intimacy and increase your command over your own emotions? Are you finally ready to master all the excruciating but crucial details you've always avoided? If so, you could generate years' worth of blessings.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Some religious traditions preach the doctrine that desire is a major obstacle to enlightenment. To escape from the predicament of your suffering, they insist, you must overcome all of your yearning. But Tantric scholar Daniel Odier believes this dogma is a delusion. In his book Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening, he says desire should be at the heart of spiritual practice. Not all longings are equally sacred, of course: Fantasies about winning the lottery or seeing an adversary punished are not on a par with wanting to expand your capacity to bestow blessings and give love. In 2006, Taurus, consider the possibility that Odier is right. Try out the hypothesis that the most spiritual thing you can do is cultivate high-minded yearnings.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "The Simpsons" TV show has made the leap to the Arab world. Broadcast by satellite from Dubai, it reaches a big audience in the Middle East. A few transformations were necessary, however. In accordance with Islamic law, the man of the house doesn't drink beer or eat pork. Instead, he enjoys soda and beef sausages. His name is Omar instead of Homer, and he doesn't frequent squalid bars or befriend scruffy derelicts as he does in the American version of the show. On the other hand, son Bart (now called Badr) is still a brat. Omar is as lazy as Homer, and, like the original, works at a nuclear power facility. I mention this, Gemini, because it's a good analogue for your possible future. In 2006, you will have the power and opportunity to translate something you're good at into a brand new sphere.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): There's no delicate way to say this, so please stop reading and come back next week if you're offended by graphic references to pleasure. According to my analysis of the long-term astrological omens, you're on tap to experience more orgasms in 2006 than you have in any previous year. On average, your climaxes are also likely to be longer and more intense. Other varieties of bliss, rapture, and joy will probably occur at record levels, as well. Think you can handle it?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Recently someone asked me, "What do you look for in an ally, Rob?" Here's what I said: "I favor people who take responsibility for their unripe qualities and don't spew their undigested angst on me when they're feeling low." I think this approach should become a priority for you, Leo. In 2006, you will have striking opportunities to upgrade your relationship to relationships. One of the best ways to do that is to give special preference to connections with emotionally intelligent people who work hard to transmute their own darkness.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In 2006, you will have greatest success if you approach every experience as a student. Your ability to experience happiness will expand if you re-ignite your love of learning and become perpetually ablaze with curiosity. You know that old expression, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"? I suggest you make yourself ready, because a crucial teacher is or will soon be in your vicinity. Here's another key piece of advice, courtesy of J. Bronowski: "It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it."

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In a few weeks, economist Benjamin Bernanke will begin serving as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, becoming the most important person in setting America's monetary policy. Though news reports typically describe him as cautious and scholarly, he has promised to prevent deflation by any means necessary—even by printing lots of extra money and throwing it out of helicopters. If that occurs in the coming months, members of your sign will no doubt be in the right places at the right times to gather up disproportionately large shares of those dollars floating down from above. The astrological omens suggest that 2006 will be a time of financial luck for Librans of every nationality. If you're ever going to benefit from a windfall, it'll be this year.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In my homeland of Northern California, four of the most overused terms are "juicy," "sacred," "radical," and "wild." I haven't made a scientific study, but I'd guess that maybe 30 percent of all workshops and self-help books originating in this part of the world have at least one of those words in their titles. As a connoisseur of language, I naturally try to avoid them myself. Nevertheless, your long-term astrological omens demand that I invoke them to describe your destiny. In fact, I'm duty-bound to predict that 2006 will be the Year of Juicy Sacred Radical Wildness for you Scorpios. Do your best, please, to express the primal potency of these words.

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