week of March 22, 2018
How Is Your Fight for Freedom Going?Here's a link to my free weekly email newsletter, featuring the Free Will Astrology horoscopes, plus a bunch of other stuff, including good news, lucky advice, and tender rants. It arrives every Tuesday morning.
Sign up here for your free subscription.
How's your fight for freedom going? Are you making progress in liberating yourself from your unconscious obsessions, bad habits, and conditioned responses?
Do you find that you're getting more skillful at minimizing your suffering? Are you turning out to be the hero of your own life?
TELLING STORIES INSTEAD OF SPOUTING OPINIONS
Ken Burns says one of the things that alarms him most at this moment in culture is that so many people are eager to express their opinions and so few are interested in telling stories.
So tell me a story! We'll talk about opinions later.
Here's one of my stories.
Send yours to me at [email protected]
Ondinnonk is a Haudenosaunee word with two related meanings: 1. a secret wish of the soul, especially as revealed in dreams; 2. the spiritual part of our nature that longs to do good deeds.
How's your ondinnonk doing?
YOU TASTE DELICIOUS
You taste delicious
Animals understand you
Your importance is unusual
The funny faces you make are interesting to look at
You fight for power in all the right ways
Ecstatic gratitude is pouring out of you
I see the best in you
Your divine attitude
You have strong feet and a pioneer heart
No one can overflow as well as you can
You are famous with God
You are famous with me
You are famous with the snakes and birds
and roses and pines
and oceans and earth and sky
A lost tribe salutes you from the other side of the veil
You remind me of a star
Hear the song.
Question: What are the lifestyle choices that enhance your awareness and intelligence?
I invite you to send your answers to me.
Go to http://RealAstrology.com
and click on "Email Rob" at the bottom of the page.
Below are some of my answers.
I take good care of my body, emotional life, soul, spirit, and imagination.
Cultivate love as my primary orientation. Treat people well.
Listen to other kinds of intelligence besides humans'.
Listen listen listen. Be influence-able. Be willing to transform.
Relish and wrestle with and honor my nightly dreams.
Practice reverence for all of creation.
Understand the universe as divine play.
Consult Goddess on every decision.
Identify the best gifts I have to give and give them on a regular basis.
Figure out practical ways to express my compassion and lust for social justice.
Feel gratitude for all I'm given.
Celebrate being alive even when I'm fearful or hurt.
Of the many things that have gone right for you during your time on Earth, the most crucial was your birth. As you crossed over the threshold, trading the warm dark sanctuary for the bright noisy enigma, you didn't die!
It was a difficult act of high magic that involved many people who worked very hard in your behalf. The skills they provided in helping you navigate your rite of passage were in turn made possible by previous generations of threshold-tenders who bequeathed their expertise.
Months before that initiation, a more secret miracle bloomed: Your life began as a single cell, spawned by the explosive fusion of two highly specialized bundles of chromosomes. How could that tiny package of raw material have possibly grown a brain and liver and heart and stomach over a period of a few months? What inscrutable genius guided and oversaw the emergence of your fully formed infant body, that virtuoso creation, from the slimmest of clues?
P.S. You have continued to grow since your birth, with millions of new cells continually blooming to replace the old ones that are always dying. At this moment, you're host to about 50 trillion cells, and each of them is really a sentient being in its own right. They all act together as a community, implementing the monumental collaboration you call your body.
"May a good vision catch me
May a benevolent vision take hold of me, and move me
May a deep and full vision come over me, and burst open around me
May a luminous vision inform me, enfold me.
May I awaken into the story that surrounds,
May I awaken into the beautiful story.
May the wondrous story find me;
May the wildness that makes beauty arise between two lovers
arise beautifully between my body and the body of this land,
between my flesh and the flesh of this earth,
here and now,
on this day,
May I taste something sacred."
The preceding blips are excerpts from my book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.
In years past I've done numerous live shows and public appearances, but these days I'm hermetically sealed into my Cancerian sanctuary, working cheerfully and doggedly on new books.
I reckon I'll have a coming out party in the latter part of 2018 or the first part of 2019, with maybe a tour of North America and a run of my pagan revival show, "Sacred Uproar."
For now, here's a video of my show at Symbiosis.
Here's a video of an interview with me by an Italian journalist.
WHAT YOU MAY NEED
What you may need is a more curious and mysterious sweetness. A wilder, stronger sweetness. A sweetness that pulverizes illusions.
"Something unknown is doing we don't know what," said astrophysicist Arthur Eddington about the universe. And we are the beneficiaries.
MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:
The New York Times has finally buckled under my relentless pronoiac pressure, and is now offering a weekly GOOD NEWS section. Check it out.
Here are some headlines from recent stories:
A new national park system in Chile will be three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone combined.
Shade-grown coffee beans are good for birds.
Mr. Rogers will be immortalized on a postage stamp.
Two drugs could delay the spread of prostate cancer for years.
Some animals can count better than you.
India wants to give half a billion people free health care.
Tens of thousands of ancient Maya structures were revealed by lasers.
A special police force in the Netherlands helps animals in trouble.
American teenagers are smoking fewer cigarettes.
I invite you to nurture a goal that stretches your possibilities and opens your mind . . . a wild hope whose pursuit makes you smarter and stronger even if you never fully accomplish it.
I invite you to have an improbable quest playing at the edge of your imagination: a heroic task that provokes deep thoughts and noble passions even if it incites smoldering torment . . . an extravagant dream that's a bit farfetched but not entirely insane.
YOUR MONKEY MIND'S FAKE NEWS
Using our fears and superstitions and delusions as fuel, our monkey minds are churning out fake news about ourselves all the time.
One possible remedy: Treat our monkey mind's fake news with the same healthy, exuberant skepticism we do toward politicians' and media's fake news.
NEITHER ROSE-COLORED NOR CRAP-COLORED GLASSES
"I've found a nice balance," writes EarthMover, "between living like someone who has overdosed on delusional optimism and someone who thinks everything and everyone sucks. I can see things as they really are instead of through either rose-colored glasses or crap-colored glasses.
"That means I can cultivate true objectivity, not the fake cynical kind. I free myself from negative emotional biases that used to cloud my ability to see the partially hidden beauty all around me.
"At the same time, I'm not addicted to the idea that I should be eternally happy and blithe and sweet. When the dark moods descend on me, I trust them. I know they are openings into equally sacred perceptions and insights."
WELCOME TO THE BEAUTY AND TRUTH LAB
Welcome to the Beauty and Truth Lab. We're coming to you live from your repressed memories of paradise, reminding you that you can have anything you need if you will just ask for it in an unselfish way.
Welcome to the end of your nightmares, beauty and truth fans!
The world is young, your soul is free, and a naked celebrity is dying to talk to you about your most intimate secrets right now.
In fact, the world is young, your soul is free, and at any moment you will feel a flood of ecstatic compassion for salamanders, oak trees, clouds, toasters, convenience store clerks, and even the ocean itself.
I'm your host. My name is the Sacred Janitor at the Edge of Time, and I'm proud to announce that this is a perfect moment.
It's a perfect moment for many reasons, but especially because you are on the verge of finally figuring out exactly what it is you really want more than anything else.
Bravo! Viva! Whoopee! Oooo Eureka! Hallelujah! Abracadabra!
Bravo! Viva! Whoopee! Oooo Eureka! Hallelujah! Abracadabra!
The Beauty and Truth Lab's experiments are brought to you by the pine trees whose seeds are so tightly compacted within their protective covering that only the intense heat of a forest fire can free them and allow them to sprout.
Hear this welcome message as a song
THE CRUX OF THE FLUX
"Dear Rob: I sure don't like so much God stuff mixed into my horoscopes. Can you cut it out, please? I understand it's common for the desperate masses to believe in an Ultra Being, but you? Pul-lease. You're smarter than that. I just can't abide all the 'Divine Wow' and 'Cackling Goddess' nonsense that you dispense; it doesn't jibe with the practical, sensible, unsuperstitious, non-mushy world that I hold dear -- and that I see represented mostly accurately in your horoscopes. -Sally Skeptic."
Dear Sally: I can't accommodate you. You will have to keep dealing with the cognitive dissonance that arises from reading the oracles of a "smart" person who also has an intimate relationship with the Amazing Everything.
Just so you're clear about how I perceive the Living Intelligent Consciousness That Pervades Every Cubic Inch of the Universe: It is the interplay of the Supernal Hermaphrodites: the Divine Wow mistakenly called "God" and the Blooming HaHa mistakenly called "Goddess."
More precisely, it is the Torrential and Torturous Ecstasy spawned anew every nanosecond by the glide of the Divine Wow's virile eternity against the Blooming HaHa's voluptuous infinity. It is the Cosmic F*** that recreates the universe again and again in every nanosecond.
Here's my place in that mystery: I aspire to locate myself in the crux of the flux of the Cosmic F***.
WANT TO GET YOUR ASTROLOGICAL CHART READ?
If you want your personal chart done, I recommend a colleague whose approach to reading astrology charts closely matches my own. She's my wife, RO LOUGHRAN. We've been enjoying regular conversations about astrology since 1989!
Her website's here.
Ro utilizes a blend of well-trained intuition, emotional warmth, and a high degree of technical proficiency in horoscope interpretation. She is skilled at exploring the mysteries of your life's purpose and nurturing your connection with your own inner wisdom.
In addition to over 30 years of astrological experience, Ro has been a licensed psychotherapist for 17 years. This enables her to integrate psychological insight with the cosmological perspective that astrology offers.
Ro is based in California, but can do phone consultations and otherwise work with you regardless of geographic boundaries.
Check out Ro's website.
The quirky and elegant Conduit did a ten-page interview with me in its recent issue. Here are excerpts:
CONDUIT MAGAZINE: Rob, can you guide us in ways we might get more in touch with our creativity via some of your approach to the world?
ROB BREZSNY: The most important thing that I can do as someone who aspires to be a creative person is to listen and to be receptive. And that entails cultivating the skill to tune in to all the different kinds of intelligence there are around us, not just the human intelligence, although thatís crucial, but also all the non-human intelligences: the animals, the plants, the elemental intelligences. The wind, the rain, the sun. The critters that live within us. The cells, the bacteria.
I regard the entire world as crammed with all these kinds of intelligences. As a creator, my job is to be eternally curious, to be alert, to tune into what all these intelligences are telling me. Itís overwhelming if you take this practice seriously, so thereís certainly some aspect of being a creator that involves discernment and the formulation of intention: "What is it that I need to learn now?"
For instance, Iím working on a book about how the collapse of the ecosystem is impacting us personally Ė on a psychological level, on a psycho-spiritual level, not just how itís causing changes in weather and shifts in climate. As I do the research and writing for this book, there are lots of different questions that come up, and I formulate those questions and I present them to the creatures of the world, and I ask, "What do you have to say?" Itís this blend of formulating intuition and being a good listener thatís at the heart of my creative practice.
CONDUIT: Can you give an example or two of our psychological reactions to climate change?
BREZSNY: The one that I will say impacts me most directly is the fact that weíre in the middle of the sixth mass extinction, that we are losing species at a rate thatís unprecedented since the dinosaurs disappeared. It means weíre losing all of the intelligences they have and their power to inform us about the truth of reality.
And, of course, it also means weíre losing biodiversity. The biologist E. O. Wilson says that this is the most damaging thing thatís occurring, the loss of biodiversity, because the loss of any particular species in any particular ecosphere sends ripples across the entire ecosphere and shrinks the way that the entire ecosphere works. So for me there is a constant awareness of the death of long-term life-forms on this planet that is devastating to me.
Thereís a kind of constant funeral Ė I donít mean to say that Iím depressed and demoralized all the time Ė but I do tune into this on a regular basis, and the parade of death thatís going on in the natural world is very sad to me.
I think people donít realize that theyíre experiencing the same thing that I am. They donít understand that the sadness in their life has to do with these extinctions. They think itís something more personal. It helps to know that thereís this collective grief that weíre not fully tuned into thatís interfering with our ability to enjoy life.
BREZSNY: To return to the issue of mass extinction: Iím interested in a hypothesis articulated by Jonathan Zap and Daniel Pinchbeck.
They propose that being on the verge of an ecocidal catastrophe may be a disguised opportunity for the human race to expedite the evolution of consciousness in ways that would not otherwise happen. With the possibility of doom hanging over us, we must get smarter faster in order to ensure our collective survival.
Zap and Pinchbeck invoke the ancient Roman legend of the Sword of Damocles, which they interpret to mean that when we are in great danger, and therefore our motivation to solve our predicament is heightened, as is our power to outgrow the habits that got us into this pickle.
CONDUIT: Can you talk about your relationship with intuition?
ROB BREZSNY: One reliable source of intuition is formulating good questions and having an intention behind the questions: "What is it that I need to learn today?", "What is it that I need to learn today?", "What is it that I need to learn to live my life better?", "What is it that I need next to write my book?"
My sense is that intuition often reveals what you need to do next, although not necessarily the big picture. And if we're content with not pressuring intuition to always give us a mountaintop perspective, but rather just to answer for us, "What happens next? What do I need to do next?", I think that's a better relationship with intuition.
Four more things I'll mention about intuition: Working with dreams is fraught with the possibility of descending into chaos, but with practice and the development of skills, it can become a crucial source of intuition. I really value my ability to do one of the primary Jungian practices, which is shadow work -- dealing with those aspects of me that are unripe and dumb. Dreams have been crucial in helping me unlock the magic of dealing with my shadow and transforming my shadow.
Another good practice for intuition is to ask the question, "What does my death say?" On one's deathbed, what does one want to look back at and say, "That was important. That was important. That was important. No, that wasn't so important." So one's death can be a tonic informant that helps intuition really focus and come into maximum usefulness.
The other thing is that intuition is aided immeasurably by moving, by walking. I don't know if that's true for everybody. Walks and nature are important for me being able to tune into intuition that turns out to be useful and enduring. So often I'll take a notebook with me, or a recorder with me, to capture those intuitions that come to me while I'm walking.
There's one other thing. The practice of intuition takes place best when you have gone as far as you can with your intellect. In other words, I can't skip the stage of the process of research, of thinking hard, of using my logic, of being reasonable. That's crucial for generating intuition that's accurate and useful.
And once I've done the research, once I've tried to think my way to being as objective as possible -- and that involves using the scientific method -- then I hand it over to intuition and say, "Well, what more can you tell me, given that I've come this far with all this analysis? What can you add to it?"
Here's more of the interview that Conduit magazine did with me.
CONDUIT: Can you say what you mean by "Free Will Astrology"? It sounds like an oxymoron.
ROB BREZSNY: My approach to astrology is quite different from a lot of mainstream astrologers. I'm not alone in that. There are a few colleagues who share what I might call an allergy to how traditional astrology is practiced. I already had that allergy when I was young, when I first began writing the column many years ago.
Back then, I didn't like astrology columns, and I didn't like a lot of the ways astrology was practiced. Then as now, astrology in the hands of many practitioners tends to make people afraid of the future, fills them with ideas about there being some sort of fixed destiny that they're being pulled toward and that they're helpless to resist. That kind of thinking was and still is repulsive to me.
I didn't like astrology columns, because they were watered-down versions of the complex art of astrology, which was practiced, after all, by seminal psychologist Carl Jung.
So when I first got the opportunity to write an astrology column -- I was dirt poor and didn't have a job -- I decided if somebody's going to do it, it might as well be me, someone who's trained in poetry, loves language, and respects the free will of the people who might be my audience.
The bedrock of my practice has always been the idea that the planets may impel, but they don't compel. A study of the configurations of planets shows us the archetypal forces that are coalescing, dissolving, and becoming active in our lives. That can instruct us on how to use our free will to best activate the best versions of those archetypal forces as they coalesce and dissolve.
So for me, "free will astrology" conveys the notion that we have far more power than we might imagine over the way that we express the bigger forces that are at work in our lives.
My aspiration is not to condemn my readers to a particular fate that they can't avoid, but rather to show them the options that are available: the higher level, the mid-level, and the low-level ways in which they might express the archetypal forces, and to nudge them in the direction of finding where the highest-level expression of those forces might be.
For more of my description on how I got started writing my column "Free Will Astrology," go here.
For more of my views on the difference between fearful fantasies and accurate intuitions, go here.
MUTUAL AID SOCIETY
If you would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at Paypal.
You can also contribute to my well-being by buying the Expanded Audio Horoscopes I create every week. These forecasts are different in tone and content from the written horoscopes I provide here. They're my four- to five-minute-long ruminations about the current chapter of your life story. They're available here.
Here's a testimony from one of my readers: "Dear Rob - I appreciate that you have never sold out to advertisers. I've been reading you since 1996. I don't know how you manage to make a living from doing Free Will Astrology! - Grateful Reader"
If you don't use Paypal, and would like to contribute to my cause, you can mail a check to me at 454 Las Gallinas Avenue, #255, San Rafael, CA 94903.
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia is available at Amazon and Powells.
Below are excerpts.
You don't have to be anything you donít want to be.
You don't have to live up to anyoneís expectations.
There's no need to strive for a kind of perfection that's not very interesting to you.
You don't have to believe in ideas that make you sad or tormented, and you don't have to feel emotions that others try to manipulate you into feeling.
Alert, relaxed listening is the radical act at the heart of our pronoiac practice.
Curiosity is our primal state of awareness.
Wise innocence is a trick we aspire to master.
Open-hearted skepticism is the light in our eyes.
© 1995-2013 -- Rob Brezsny. All rights reserved