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Week of May 2nd, 2019

Your Brilliant, Healing Desires

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Some religious traditions preach the value of banishing or renouncing your desires. I do not subscribe to those traditions, so I will never urge you to banish or renounce your desires.

I prefer to encourage you to cultivate excellent desires. Here are a few I highly recommend:

• a desire for interesting riddles and fascinating challenges that excite both your mind and your heart;

• a desire for comrades who enjoy your specific idiosyncrasies and eccentricities;

• a desire to attract ongoing encounters with nonstandard beauty so as to always ensure a part of you remains untamed;

• a desire to help create a world in which everyone gets the food, housing, and health care they need;

• a desire for good surprises and unpredictable fun;

• a desire for group collaborations that enhance the intelligence of everyone in the group;

• a desire to keep outgrowing what worked for you in the past and a desire to ceaselessly explore and invent new approaches to being yourself;

• a desire to be playful and creative with your libidinous energy;

• a desire to help cultivate the health and beauty of the natural world;

• a desire for revelations and experiences that steer you away from thinking and acting like the machines you interact with so much;

• a desire to keep reinventing and reinvigorating your relationships with those you love;

• a desire to keep refining and expanding your ability to learn from non-human intelligences;

• a desire to keep refreshing your quest for freedom and deepening your capacity to be free;

• a desire to move your body in ways that delight your soul;

• a desire to help eliminate bigotry, misogyny, plutocracy, racism, and militarism.

Any others you'd like to add?

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No optimism is authentic without visiting the depths of despair. No despair is authentic unless it has fully let in the joy.

—Charles Eisenstein

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The fundamentalist takes everything way too seriously and way too personally and way too literally. He divides the world into two camps, those who agree with him and those who don't. There is only one right way to interpret the world, and a million wrong ways. Correct belief is the only virtue.

To the fundamentalist, the liberated imagination is a sinful taboo. He not only enslaves his own imagination to his ideology, but wants to enslave our imaginations, too.

And who are the fundamentalists? Let's not remain under the delusion that they are only the usual suspects—the religious fanatics of Islam and Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism.

There are many other kinds of fundamentalists, and some of them have gotten away with practicing their tragic magic in a stealth mode. Among the most successful are those who believe in what Robert Anton Wilson calls fundamentalist materialism. This is the faith-based dogma that swears physical matter is the only reality and that nothing exists unless it can be detected by our five senses or by technologies that humans have made.

Life has no transcendent meaning or purpose, the fundamentalist materialists proclaim. There is no such thing as a divine intelligence. The universe is a dumb accidental machine that grinds on endlessly out of blind necessity.

I see spread out before me in every direction a staggeringly sublime miracle lovingly crafted by a supernal consciousness that oversees the evolution of 500 billion galaxies, yet is also available as an intimate companion and daily advisor to every one of us. But to the fundamentalist materialists, my perceptions are indisputably wrong and idiotic.

Many other varieties of fundamentalism thrive and propagate. Every ideology, even some of the ones I like, has its share of true believers—fanatics who judge all other ideologies as inferior, flawed, and foolish.

I know astrologers who insist there's only one way to do astrology right. I know Buddhists who adamantly decree that the inherent nature of life on Earth is suffering.

I know progressive activists who sincerely believe that every single Republican is either stupid or evil or both.

I know college administrators who would excommunicate any psychology professor who dared to discuss the teachings of Carl Jung, who was in my opinion one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.

I know pagans who refuse to consider any other version of Jesus Christ beyond the sick parody the Christian right has fabricated.

None of the true believers like to hear that there are at least three sides to every story. They don't want to consider the hypothesis that everyone has a piece of the truth.

And here's the really bad news: We all have our own share of the fundamentalist virus. Each of us is fanatical, rigid, and intolerant about products of the imagination that we don't like. We wish that certain people would not imagine the things they do, and we allow ourselves to beam hateful, war-like thoughts in their direction.

We even wage war against our own imaginations, commanding ourselves, sometimes half-consciously, to ignore possibilities that don't fit into our neatly ­constructed theories. Each of us sets aside certain precious beliefs and symbols that we give ourselves permission to take very seriously and personally and literally.

Our fundamentalism, yours and mine, may not be as dangerous to the collective welfare as, say, the fundamentalism of Islamic terrorists and right-wing Christian politicians. It may not be as destructive as that of the CEOs who worship financial profit as the supreme measure of value, and the scientists who ignore and deny every mystery that can't be measured, and the journalists, filmmakers, novelists, musicians, and pundits who relentlessly generate rotten visions of the human condition.

But still: We are all infected, you and I. We are fueling the war against the imagination. What's your version of the virus?

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Someday I'll have an epiphany and tap adeptly into the raw, supercharged fuel of my anger. I'll stop going numb with blind rage when I think about misogyny and racism and militarism and plutocracy and homophobia and the rape of the earth.

On that day, my fury will become so beautiful and strong that I'll sit down and write "The Book of Good Anger" in one sustained three-week frenzy of creative indignation. It'll be filled with stories that inspire everyone who reads it to express their sacred wrath in the most constructive ways possible.

In the meantime, I'll be here urging you to seize those times when getting mad naturally gives you the lucid clarity to help correct the injustices you perceive—and encourages you to not wallow in rage for rage's sake.

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One of my readers, Jay O'Dell, told me this story: "After my cancer surgery, a nurse said to me, 'You may as well try magical thinking. Regular thinking hasn't helped.' I said to the nurse, 'Well, why the hell not?' That was seven years ago."

In bringing O'Dell's testimony to your attention, I don't mean to suggest you will have any health problems that warrant a strong dose of magical thinking. Not at all. But now and then in the coming years, you may get wrapped up in a psychological twist or a spiritual riddle that could benefit from magical thinking.

And what exactly is magical thinking? Here's one definition: The stories that unfold in your imagination may have important effects on what actually happens to you.

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ARGUMENTS WITH GOD is the only organization on the planet that specializes in the art of debating with the Creator. Our trained Prayer Warriors are standing by, ready to deliver the protests and complaints that you want to convey.

Send your mad, rebellious, poignant appeals to, and we will relay them directly to the Cosmic Trickster with persuasive eloquence. Write your first draft here.

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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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Homework: Diminish any predilection you have for shuffling, drooping, mumbling, wallowing, pigeonholing, and pussyfooting.

Practice your gliding, flowing, leaping, skipping, twirling, undulating, reverberating, galloping, and rub-a-dub-dubbing.

Become an expert at rumbling, romping, rollicking, cavorting, and zip-a-dap-doodling.

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Your soul's code is your sacred calling; the blueprint of your destiny; the mission you came to earth to fulfill.

Now and then life pushes you away from influences that might be interfering with your ability to discern and express your soul’s code.

Higher powers and mysterious forces purge obstacles that have been preventing you from achieving a more complete embodiment of who you were born to be.

When that happens, it's time to celebrate.

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A good course of study: how to find and attract the challenges and difficulties that best serve your quest for liberation and build your compassionate intelligence.

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We are dissident bodhisattvas rebelling against all those forces that feed fear and ignore love.

We are spiritual freedom fighters rising up to protect nature and foment peace and demand justice.

We are subversive mystics stoking the cool blue fires of poetry and lobbying for the liberated imagination.

We are militant ecstatics invoking the transformative powers of pleasure to sanctify and beautify our one and only Earth.

We are mutinous purveyors of grace who redistribute the wealth so that all creatures may have the means to thrive.

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Authors of new books periodically ask me to write blurbs endorsing their work. Since my own schedule is so busy, I rarely have time to oblige. But I made an exception for Jeff Brown and his new book Grounded Spirituality. Here’s what I wrote:

Jeff Brown is an iconoclastic visionary about intimate matters. There aren't many of those around, since most modern geniuses seem devoted to seemingly more glamorous and critical matters like artificial intelligence, 3-D printers, and smart chips implanted in our brains.

But the truth is—at least in my view—revolutionizing the ways we do our inner work and craft our intimate relationships are among the most important actions we can take to transform the world. And Jeff provides potent ideas to help us do just that.

His rigorous imagination is in service to creating a more emotionally intelligent culture. When I read his words, I get riled up in all the best ways. He disrupts my habitual thought grooves, which inevitably leads to unexpected healings and inspirations.

These days the word "soul" gets carelessly bandied around by many lazy and sloppy thinkers, but Jeff is not one of them. He is reverent and impeccable, an astute connoisseur of the soul and its needs.

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"Hey, didja hear about those scientifically illiterate Americans? People so dumb, they think the sun revolves around the Earth? People who are getting dumber and whose lack of knowledge leads them to have misguided opinions about science policy?"

Not true, according to three sets of data — Pew’s, Miller’s and the National Science Foundation — that suggest our national grasp of scientific fact isn’t too shabby. In reality, Americans have pretty decent scientific literacy.

Read the article.

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In his book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall muses on the crucial role that imagination plays in our lives.

"The average daydream is about fourteen seconds long and we have about two thousand of them per day," he says. "In other words, we spend about half of our waking hours—one-third of our lives on earth—spinning fantasies."

I have a theory that to the extent that we are aware of these facts, and to the degree that we formulate intentions in response to them, we can harness our daydreams to enhance our creativity, productivity, and usefulness.

Maybe you could become aware of some of those times when you are semi-consciously spinning out tales and scenarios, and redirect all that colorful energy into visualizing a successful outcome for a project you're working on; or into visualizing the resources you would like to attract to help you accomplish a treasured goal.

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What has been going right in the world:

For the first time ever in 2018, developing countries added more clean power capacity than fossil fuel. Out of the 186 gigawatts of new power capacity that was built in developing nations, over half of it was wind and solar power.

Mexico is selling its $218.7 million presidential plane to use funds for poor communities

South Korea closed its largest dog meat slaughterhouse

Ireland voted and repealed its abortion ban

Scotland became the first country to back teaching LGBTI issues in schools

A growing number of Americans now believe climate change is happening

A record number of minority and openly gay athletes competed in the Olympics

Research suggested that migrants are integrating well in Germany.
Germany released figures showing that more than 300,000 refugees have now found jobs, and the share of MPs with migrant backgrounds has risen from 3 per cent to 9 per cent in the last two elections.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a grand jury report that, after an 18-month investigation, revealed more than 300 Catholic priests who had abused children over seven decades. The revelations prompted resignations, sparked other states to undertake their own inquiries and raised hopes that the Catholic Church might finally face its history and reform.

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INTERVIEWER: You confuse me in the way that you praise rational thought and the scientific method, yet reserve the right to believe in astrology, angels, miracles, and other woo-woo.

Rob Brezsny: Thousands of amazing, inexplicable, and even supernatural events occur every day. And yet most are unreported by the media. The few that are cited are ridiculed.

Why? Here's one possible reason: The people most likely to believe in wonders and marvels may be superstitious, uneducated, or prone to having a blind, literalist faith in their religions' myths.

Those who are least likely to believe in wonders and marvels are skilled at analytical thought, well-educated, and yet prone to having a blind, literalist faith in the ideology of materialism, which dogmatically asserts that the universe consists entirely of things that can be perceived by the five human senses or detected by instruments that scientists have thus far invented.

The media is largely composed of people from the second group. It's virtually impossible for them to admit to the possibility of events that elude the rational mind's explanations, let alone experience them.

If anyone from this group manages to escape peer pressure and cultivate a receptivity to the miraculous, it's because they have successfully fought against being demoralized by the unsophisticated way wonders and marvels are framed by the first group.

I try to be immune to the double-barreled ignorance. When I behold astonishing synchronicities and numinous breakthroughs that seem to violate natural law, I'm willing to consider the possibility that my understanding of natural law is too narrow.

And yet I also refrain from lapsing into irrational gullibility; I actively seek mundane explanations for apparent miracles.

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My social media accounts are not free-for-alls where anyone can disgorge whatever abuse and sneers and insults and rancor they have an urge to.

My Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts are my sanctuaries where I welcome people I trust. They're salons where people I'm interested in gather to discuss subjects of mutual interest.

It’s fine if some of those people I trust disagree with me, but when they do, they must do so with kindness and respect.

If you don’t meet those standards, I at least delete your comments and may block you from making further comments.

You can call that “censorship,” as some do. But that's a misuse of the word. If you write a nasty letter to the editor of a newspaper and magazine or website, and they don’t publish it, does that constitute censorship? No, it does not.

If I invite you into my home, and you hurl bad vibes in my direction, my asking you to leave doesn't constitute censorship.

If I'm hosting a public ritual or doing a public performance and you heckle me, I'll have my bouncer usher you out. I am not "censoring" you.


P.S. People disagree with me ALL the time.

I have a total of 147,000+ readers on my American FB pages and 329,000+ readers on my Italian FB page. If even just 1% of those people find problems with any of the two posts I average every day (and I've been on FB nine years), that's a lot of disagreements I am asked to deal with.

The majority of those disagreements are fine, offered in a spirit of respectfully seeking to correct my errors and looking for common ground in collegial collaboration.

But for that small percentage of disagreements that are jarring, distasteful, contemptuous, and accusing, I don't abide them. To be a social justice warrior for the long haul, I must take good care of myself.


To access my various SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, GO HERE.

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In her book Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés suggests that we all need to periodically go cheerfully and enthusiastically out of our minds. Make sure, she says, that at least one part of you always remains untamed, uncategorizable, and unsubjugated by routine. Be adamant in your determination to stay intimately connected to all that's inexplicable and mysterious about your life.

At the same time, though, Estés believes you need to keep your unusual urges clear and ordered. Discipline your wildness, in other words, and don't let it degenerate into careless disorder.

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Since 1995, I've been offering my written horoscopes on the Internet for free. I love doing that. It's relaxing to be able to offer you my oracles without asking for anything in return. It's healthy for my soul and yours.

But I also don't mind earning money from doing what I love to do. That's why I make it possible for you to bless me with donations. If you would like to contribute to me and my well-being, please visit my Gift Page

Give your gift via the "Friends and Family" option.


In addition to the free written horoscopes I provide in this newsletter, I also offer two other sources of astrological information that cost money: my Expanded Audio Horoscopes and Daily Text Message Horoscopes.

I love you just as much if you don't buy my extra stuff as if you do! No pressure! But if you would like the extra stuff, here's how to get it:

Go to my Expanded Audio Horoscopes page. Register or log in. On the new page, you have two choices: Expanded Audio Horoscopes or Daily Text Message Horoscopes.

If you have any questions about how to access them, write to my tech support team at

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Choctaw historian Judy Allen writes: The Choctaw people have a history of helping others. Only 16 years after they began their long, sad march along the Trail of Tears, the Choctaws learned of people starving to death in Ireland.

With great empathy, in 1847 Choctaw individuals made donations totaling $170, the equivalent of several thousand dollars today, to assist the Irish people during the famine.

It was an amazing gesture. Though they had meager resources, they gave on behalf of others in greater need.

More about the story.

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Current elected female heads of state or government

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca: Malta — President

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović: Croatia — President

Saara Kuugongelwa: Namibia — Prime Minister

Tsai Ing-wen: Taiwan — President

Doris Bures: Austria — Co-Acting President

Kersti Kaljulaid: President of the Republic of Estonia

Ana Brnabić: Serbia — Prime Minister

Halimah Yacob: Singapore — President

Erna Solberg:Norway—Prime Minister

Angela Merkel: Germany—Chancellor

Jacinda Ardern: New Zealand — Prime Minister

Evelyn Wever-Croes: Aruba — Prime Minister

Katrín Jakobsdóttir: Iceland — Prime Minister

Leona Marlin-Rome: Sint Maarten — Prime Minister

Viorica Dăncilă: Romania — Prime Minister

Paula-Mae Weekes: Trinidad and Tobago — President

Mia Mottley: Barbados — Prime Minister

Sahle-Work Zewde: Ethiopia — President

Salome Zurabishvili: Georgia — President

Karin Keller-Sutter: Switzerland — Member of the Swiss Federal Council (the collective head of state and government)

Viola Amherd: Switzerland — Member of the Swiss Federal Council (the collective head of state and government)

Zuzana Čaputová: Slovakia — President

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How’s your fight for freedom going? Are you making progress in liberating yourself from your unconscious obsessions, bad habits, conditioned responses, and oppressive memories?

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Guidelines to celebrate "Loving the Luxurious Hole at the Heart of Luminous Nothingness," a six-hour jubilee to be performed once every season for as long as you live.

• Empty yourself out completely, and do it gladly.

• With impish daring, lower your expectations all the way down to zero.

• Surrender every remnant of hope you might be tempted to cling to.

• With a jaunty nonchalance, pretend you have nothing to lose.

• Open an enormous welcome in your heart for the messy, unpredictable sweetness of life exactly as it is.

• Say yes to the hilarious beauty of ambiguity and paradox.

• Free yourself to accept every person and every situation on their own terms.

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"The more accidental, the more true," wrote Boris Pasternak. Scholar Mikhail Epstein expanded this observation: "The more accidental the phenomenon, the more divine its nature, for the divine is what has not been envisioned, what cannot be deduced from general rules, nor irreducible to them."

If we pursue this line of thought to its logical conclusion, we may decide that the most useful sources of illumination are not always holy books, revered dogma, and great truths that everyone has heard. They might also be serendipitous anomalies that erupt into the daily routine and break the trance of ordinary awareness.

"The tiny spark," Epstein writes, "is the precise measure of the holiness of the world."

(Source: Mikhail Epstein, "Judaic Spiritual Traditions in the Poetry of Pasternak and Mandel'shtam." Translated from Russian by Ruth Rischin.)

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Some people imagine I'm an unruly drug-user with a deranged view of reality. They don't seem cognizant of the fact that parts of reality are deranged, not me.

I assume that maybe they also can't tell the difference between the impact of taking drugs and the influence of doing dreamwork. The latter has been instrumental in shaping my unusual perspectives. I've remembered and recorded and learned from my dreams virtually every single night since I was 19 years old. They've been creative disruptors and rigorous educators.

I'm certainly not a perfect master of transmuting the unripe and less beautiful aspects of my psyche, but I have developed some skill—and working with my dreams has been crucial in that quest.

I am eternally perplexed by how few people draw on the challenging wisdom of their own dreams. More and more of us seem to have come to appreciate the value of meditation and mindfulness, but a comparable embrace of dreamwork hasn’t happened.

(Meditation is a wonderful tool for clearing away the monkey mind's chatter and tuning in to interesting modes of consciousness beyond our default everyday awareness. Dreamwork, on the other hand, helps us work with and transform what's painful and unripe in our own make-up.)

This cultural blindspot, the neglect of our dreams, seems like an unrecognized form of insanity to me. I'm convinced that if dreamwork were a more regular practice—if people were constantly working on wrestling with their shadows and redeeming the toxins in their souls—some of our massive collective problems would dramatically diminish.

Here's my hypothesis: To the degree that we stop projecting evil onto others and face it and deal with it in ourselves, we are far more likely to act with moral equanimity toward everyone else.

So yes, I recommend dreamwork as a foundation for effective activism. Our effort to wrangle compassionately with the shadow within us is an effective ground-level way to purify and strengthen our efforts to help and redeem the outer world.


"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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A Charm Against the Language of Politics
by Veronica Patterson

Say over and over the names of things,
the clean nouns: weeping birch, bloodstone, tanager,
Banshee damask rose. Read field guides, atlases,

At the store, bless each apple by kind:
McIntosh, Winesap, Delicious, Jonathan.
Enunciate the vegetables and herbs: okra, calendula.

Go deeper into the terms of some small landscape:
spiders, for example. Then, after a speech on
compromising the environment for technology,
recite the tough, silky structure of webs:

tropical stick, ladder web, mesh web, filmy dome, funnel,
trap door. When you have compared the candidates’ slippery
platforms, chant the spiders: comb footed, round headed,
garden cross, feather legged, ogre faced, black widow.

Remember that most short verbs are ethical: hatch, grow,
spin, trap, eat. Dig deep, pronounce clearly, pull the words
in over your head. Hole up
for the duration.

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"I call the high and light aspects of my being spirit," says Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, "and the dark and heavy aspects soul."

To his formula I would add my notion that the spirit is about rising above and seeking what's most noble, while the soul is about diving in and wrestling with exactly what is.

Neither realm is better or more important than the other.


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