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Week of March 21st, 2019

Benevolent Shock of the New

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.

Read past issues of the newsletter.

Sign up here for your free subscription.

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"When one has not had a good father, one must create one," said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. What does that mean? How might you go about "creating" a good father?

Well, you could develop a relationship with an admirable older man who is an inspiring role model.

You could read books by men whose work stirs you to actualize your own potentials.

If you have a vigorous inner life, you could build a fantasy dad in your imagination.

Here's another possibility: Cultivate in yourself the qualities you think a good father should have.

Your ideas? Tell me at

Even if you actually had a pretty decent father, I'm sure he wasn't perfect. So it still might be interesting to try out some of these ideas.

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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 this poem as a song sung by me

Another version of the song, sung by the inimitable Adrienne Mehri Shamszad

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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. Her website is here.

Ro utilizes a blend of well-trained intuition, emotional warmth, and 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. She integrates psychological insight with astrology's cosmological perspective.

Ro is based in California, but can do phone consultations and otherwise work with you regardless of geographic boundaries.

Check out Ro's website.

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There's not one person on the planet, even my greatest teachers, with whom I agree on every subject. I conclude that perfect accord is impossible, and that's a good thing.

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A Less Boring Evil, Part 1

"Rudolf Steiner believed that evil was comprised of two forces that were opposed to each other in many ways, though with a tendency to form an alliance.

"One force, associated with Lucifer, represents grandiosity, arrogance, and self-indulgence. The other, associated with Ahriman, is manipulative, acquisitive, and ultimately sterile. We owe art to Lucifer and technology to Ahriman.

"They have both played a necessary and constructive role at different stages of the evolution of consciousness, enabling human beings to find a path of development towards love, wisdom, and freedom.

"Thus, for Steiner, 'the task of evil is to promote the ascent of humans.' Because there are two forces of evil, not just one, good is not seen as being opposed to evil. The forces of good, associated with Christ/Magdalen, balance, redeem, and heal the two evil forces."
—Fraser N. Watts, "The Spiritual Psychology of Rudolf Steiner," an essay in "Beyond Therapy: The Impact of Eastern Religions on Psychological Theory and Practice"


A Less Boring Evil, Part 2

"Rudolf Steiner saw Christ as the human mediation between the demonic Ahriman and the satanic Lucifer. Ahriman is the unit crushed into the uniform, the destruction of individuality in sameness. He is the spirit behind Stalin, or Orwell's nightmares of Big Brother.

"Lucifer is the opposite, the individual raised to a cosmic egotism where there can be no other one, not even God. The Ahrimanic evil is the state that crushes all diversity. The Luciferic evil is the overweening pride of the scientist who believes he can control evolution.

"The Christ is neither the unit and the uniform, nor the alone, but expresses the crossing of the unique and the universal."

—William Irwin Thompson, "Imaginary Landscape: Making Worlds of Myth and Science"

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You break all spells that keep you asleep to your own magic.

~ Chani Nicholas

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For more about the good news stories below, plus links to the articles that provide full evidence, GO HERE.

1. India increased its already massive 2022 clean energy target by 28%. It plans to add 150 GW of wind and solar in the next four years.

2. Ireland became the world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament.

3. Spain committed to shutting down most of its coalmines by the end of the year, after the government agreed to early retirement for miners, re-skilling, and environmental restoration.

4. The Journal of Peace Research said that global deaths from state-based conflicts have declined for the third year in a row, and are now 32% lower than their peak in 2014.

5. After a decade long effort, Herat, Afghanistan’s deadliest province for landmines, was declared free of explosive devices. Nearly 80% of the country is now mine free.

6. Following the collapse of ISIS, civilian deaths in Iraq decreased dramatically. 80% fewer Iraqis were killed in the first five months of 2018 compared to last year.

7. Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace treaty, signaling the end of a 20-year war, and reuniting thousands of families.

8. Malaysia abolished the death penalty for all crimes and halted all pending executions, a move hailed by human rights groups in Asia as a major victory.

9. Honduras had the highest homicide rate in the world in 2012. Murders have decreased by half since then, more than any other nation.

10. Crime and murder rates declined in the United States’ 30 largest cities, with the murder rate for 2018 was 7.6% lower than 2017.

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Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane.
—Anne Lamott

Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible
—Rebecca Solnit

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Excellence does not require perfection.
—Henry James

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Has there ever been a time in the history of civilization when masses of people were actively cultivating a capacity for transcendental empathy? Have there ever been so many of us attuned to and concerned for the suffering of those we've never met?

In his book *Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming*, Paul Hawken argues that organized political action devoted to advancing the rights of others is a relatively new phenomenon. The drive to abolish slavery was where it began. In recent decades it has grown exponentially, becoming a global crusade to improve social justice, economic conditions, human rights, and environmental health.

By Hawken's estimates, there are well over a million organizations engaged in the effort, which thrives without centralized leadership, charismatic front men, or a fixed ideology. Because of its grass-roots ubiquity, it is largely invisible to the mass media and underestimated by politicians.

Some day, maybe 500 years from now, our descendants will have installed the art and science of universal compassion as the first law of civilization. And I bet they will give honor to us, the people alive on the planet today, as the heroes who gave critical mass to their prime directive.

Read more.

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My understanding is that you get to choose which of your thoughts to go with.
—Anne Lamott

In other words, you can decide which of the thoughts and images that bubble up from your unconscious will be the ones you act on and identify as belonging to your intentions.


You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.
—Elizabeth Gilbert

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The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates: considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artists; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”

- Ursula K. Le Guin


See the video of my performance piece, "Evil Is Boring"

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Take a day to heal from the lies you've told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.
—poet and activist Maya Angelou

Take fifty-five days to heal from the lies you've told yourself and the ones that have been told to you. Or two hundred days. Or four hundred thirty-nine days. No more than a thousand, though.
—Mash-up of me and Maya Angelou

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On Tuesday, March 19 at 7 pm, my daughter Zoe Brezsny is curating a poetry reading by Kim Rosenfield and Michael Dickman. The event is at Hauser & Wirth Gallery, 548 West 22nd Street in New York City. It's free.

When asked to describe her aesthetic inclinations, Kim Rosenfield has said, "Every day I wake up with a brand-new attitude. I always want to experiment." Critics who have reviewed her five published books agree that she has succeeded at making a high art of that task.

Rosenfield's book RE-EVOLUTION has been described as "part text-book, part poem, part song-of-science, part feminist guide-to-living."

In her GOOD MORNING--MIDNIGHT, she artfully and humorously juxtaposes the language of science, money, and fashion so as to critique how they define and limit women.

Rosenfield's wise and witty experiments are fueled by the mastery she has achieved in her other job as a psychotherapist.


One critic says that Michael Dickman's poems "bring us back to the wonder and violence of childhood, and the desire to connect with a power greater than ourselves." Another critic writes that his poems are "lithe and seemingly effortless," and have a piercing emotional power.

A third critic lauds Dickman for offering "an uncompromising vision of joy and devastating loss through a strict economy of language and an exuberant surrealism."

More infoo.

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For more about the good news stories below, plus links to the articles that provide full evidence, go here.

1. The world passed 1,000 GW of cumulative installed wind and solar power this year. 10 years ago, there was less than 8 GW of solar.

2. Solar and wind continued their precipitous cost declines. In the second half of 2018 alone, the levelized cost for solar fell by 14% and the wind benchmark by 6%. In many parts of the world it’s now cheaper to build new clean energy than it is to keep dirty energy running.

3. Allianz, the world’s biggest insurance company by assets, said it would cease insuring coal-fired power plants and coal mines, and Maersk, the world’s largest maritime shipping company, said it would begin ditching fossil fuels, and will eliminate all carbon emissions by the year 2050.

4. Repsol became the first major fossil fuels producer to say it would no longer be seeking new growth for oil and gas.

5. California unveiled the most ambitious climate target of all time, with a commitment to making the world’s fifth biggest economy carbon neutral by 2045.

6. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, revised its renewable energy target upwards, committing to 35% clean energy by 2030.

7. Chile said it had managed to quadruple its clean energy sources since 2013, resulting in a 75% drop in the average cost of electricity.

8. The United States set a new record for coal plant closures in 2018, with 22 plants in 14 states totaling 15.4GW of dirty energy going dark.

9. 11 European nations either closed their coal fleets or announced they will close them by a specific date, including France by 2023, Italy and the UK by 2025, and Denmark and the Netherlands by 2030.

10. Some of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, representing more than $3 trillion in assets, and Black Rock, the world’s biggest fund manager, with assets worth $5.1 trillion, said they would only invest in companies that factor climate risks into their strategies.

11. The Indian government by reduces the price of 390 cancer drugs up to 87%.

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Free your body. Don't ruminate and agonize about it. Do it simply and easily. LOVE YOUR BODY!

Be brave and forceful, gentle and graceful. Free your sublimely imperfect, riotously intelligent body. Allow it to be itself in all of its mysterious glory. Love your body exactly as it is.

Praise your body. Thank your body. Tell it you adore its uncanny majesty . . . you yearn to learn more of its secrets . . . you promise to treat it as your beloved ally.

Be in love with your body—no shame, no apology. Be in awe of your body's unfathomable power to endlessly carry out the millions of chemical reactions that keep you alive and thriving.

How can you not be overwhelmed with reverence for your hungry, curious, resourceful, unpredictable body?

Study your body's magic. Exult in the blessings it bestows on you. Celebrate and beautify its fierce animal elegance.

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Homework: Talk about the time a breakdown mutated into a breakthrough; or a spiritual emergency evolved into a spiritual emergence; or a scary trial led to a sacred trail.

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Please let me know if you are deserving of any of the following titles. (I will alert the proper accreditation committee.)
• Empathy Master with Extraordinary Compassion
• Perfect Embodiment of Feisty Wisdom and Cute Boldness
• Eternal Reservoir of Smart Eros
• World’s Most Practical Idealist with Flexible Strategies
• Humankind’s Greatest Genius of Intimacy
• Jaunty Healer with Encyclopedic Knowledge of the Soul's Ways
• Greatest Lyrical Therapist Who Humanizes Machines and Machine Consciousness
• Hero or Heroine from the Triumphant Future
• Power Incarnate with Endless Creativity to Foster Social Justice
• Greatest Humble Person Who Ever Lived
• Ecstatic Saint Who Expresses Absurd Amounts of Magnanimity and Generosity
• Most Humorous Leader Who Makes Everyone Laugh for Righteous and Healing Reasons
• World’s Greatest Struggler and Happiest Sufferer
• Tricky Joy-Summoner
• Lyrical Perceiver Who Sees Impossible But True Sights
• Master of Conversing with Stones, Wind, and ”Inanimate” “Objects”
• Lode-Star Inspiratrix of the Quest to Preserve Medicinal Nonsense
• Blithe, Breezy Power Incarnate
• Trickster Feminist Spell-Caster of Total Life Enjoyment

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For more of my views on the difference between fearful fantasies and accurate intuitions, GO HERE.

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We come from dust. To dust we will return. That's why I don't dust my shelves. It could be someone I know. MORE.

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For many years, while plying my trades as a writer and musician, I also pursued a third calling as Daddy Witch -- which involved me helping to care for my daughter Zoe and her best friend Max.

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For more about the good news stories below, plus links to the articles that provide full evidence, GO HERE.

1. Global suicide rates have dropped by 38% since 1994, saving four million lives, four times the number killed in combat during the same time.

2. According to the UNDP, 271 million people in India moved out of poverty since 2015, and the country’s poverty rate has been cut nearly in half.

3. India also continued the largest sanitation building spree of all time. More than 80 million toilets are estimated to have been built since 2014.

4. The International Energy Agency said that in the last year, 120 million people gained access to electricity. That means that for the first time since electrical service was started (1882), less than a billion of the world’s population are left in darkness.

5. A new report showed that the global fertility rate (average number of children a woman gives birth to) has halved since 1950. Half the world’s countries are now below replacement levels.

6. Bangladesh revealed that it had reduced its child mortality rate by 78% since 1990, the largest reduction by any country in the world.

7. Remember how the global media worked itself into a frenzy over Cape Town’s water shortages and Day Zero in 2017? Strangely, nobody reported in 2018 how Cape Town successfully averted the crisis.

8. Respiratory disease death rates in China have fallen by 70% since 1990, thanks to rising incomes, cleaner cooking fuels, and better healthcare.

9. The share of black men in poverty in the United States fell from 41% in 1960 to 18% today, and their share in the middle class rose from 38% to 57% in the same time.

10. A new global youth survey showed that young people in all countries are more optimistic than adults. Nine in 10 teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China, Nigeria, and India reported feeling positive about their future.

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The quirky and elegant Conduit magazine did a ten-page interview with me. Here's a brief excerpt:

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?"

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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.

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For more of my description about how I got started writing my column "Free Will Astrology," GO HERE.

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A stranger who had read my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia came up to me at a party and sneered, "You haven't suffered enough to have earned the right to be an optimist. It's easy to have a rosy outlook, like you have, when your life has been so easy and peachy."

I didn't respond, because it's my policy not to take trolls seriously. But in case anyone out there is wondering whether I've experienced sufficient pain to have earned credibility as an optimist: the answer is yes, I have.

I'll be glad to provide a résumé of my suffering to the Credentials Committee, upon request.

And by the way, how are you doing with your suffering?

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