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Week of June 6th, 2019

Wrestling and Negotiating with Our Shadows

My birthday is coming up soon. If you feel moved, send me love and blessings!

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By snail mail: 454 Las Gallina Avenue, #255, San Rafael, CA 94913

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The people I trust the most are those who are always tenderly wrestling and negotiating with their own shadows, making preemptive strikes on their personal share of the world's evil, fighting the good fight to keep from spewing their darkness on those around them.

Hear the song.

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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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Astrology is not a science. Nor is depth psychology, mythology, dream interpretation, or poetry. It makes as much sense to criticize astrology for not being scientific as it does to deride a Florence and the Machine song for not upholding the binomial theorem.

The question "Do you believe in astrology?" is like asking someone if they believe in storytelling or art.

Picture a no-nonsense physicist gazing at a Kandinsky painting, with its teeming blobs of mad color and exuberant shapes, and declaring it to be a superstitious eruption of delusion that's not based on a logical understanding of the world.

Like Kandinsky's perspective, astrology at its best roots us in the poetic language of the soul. It has a special capacity to liberate our imaginations and encourage us to think less literally and to visualize our lives as a mythic quest. It helps us loosen and transform our subconscious fixations.

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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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You came into this world as a radiant bundle of exuberant riddles. You slipped into this dimension as a shimmering burst of spiral hallelujahs. You blasted into this realm as a lush explosion of ecstatic gratitude. And it is your birthright to fulfill those promises.

I'm not pandering to your egotism by telling you these things. When I say, "Be yourself," I don't mean you should be the self that wants to win every game and use up every resource and stand alone at the end of time on top of a Mt. Everest-sized pile of pretty garbage.

When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the self that says "Thank you!" to the wild irises and the windy rain and the people who grow your food.

When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the rebel creator who's longing to make the whole universe your home and sanctuary.

When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the dissident bodhisattva who's joyfully struggling to germinate the seeds of divine love that are packed inside every moment.

When I say, "Be yourself," I mean the spiritual freedom fighter who's scrambling and finagling and conspiring to relieve your fellow messiahs from their suffering and shower them with rowdy blessings.

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(written by me, Rob Brezsny)

I pray to the ancestors with their medicine stories
I pray to the descendants with their elixir stories
I pray to the tale-tellers alive now
who subterfuge their way free
of the dead stories that numb and pound and sicken

I pray that they will reforge me
into a magnet
for visions of unbuyable wonder
and dreams of pregnant rapture
and fables from beyond the brain

May they craft me
into a sweet vessel for creation myths
that are alive with mist and smoke and whispers
unknown to the Internet

May they massage me
into a blissful mess of receptivity
so I can always detect
the dramas and comedies and parables
owned by the solar system
and copyrighted by eternity


I pray to the chroniclers
who rebirth killed history
I pray to the narrators
who remember stolen memories

I pray to the journalists
who track down
the taboo conversations
that women and children
have explored
in the middle of the night
for the last four thousand years

I pray to the compassionate liars
who disinter insurrectionary enchantments
and restore their dazzling dark joy

May those agitators
and awakeners
and animators
mark me with signs
that my creature teachers
will recognize
in the propaganda-free future

May they infuse me
with resurrected confusions
that sensitize me
to the prematurely solved mysteries
that I need to crack open again

May they make it easy
for the medicine beasts,
the talking animals,
the earth's real gods,
to welcome me
as one of their own

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"The miracle of the psyche's ways is that even if you are halfhearted, irreverent, didn't mean to, didn't really hope to, don't want to, feel unworthy to, aren't ready for it, you will accidentally stumble upon treasure anyway. Then it is your soul's work to not overlook what has been brought up, to recognize treasure as treasure no matter how unusual its form."

—Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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It's usually not productive to engage in a conversation with people who long ago dismissed astrology because it is "pseudo-science." Their minds are as irrevocably and self-satisfyingly closed as an evangelical Christian who already knows forever that there's no such thing as human-caused climate change.

So I expect that any rational ideas I serve up to those folks will have little impact.

But here's a start: Many who deride astrology with kneejerk derision have done no research on the subject. They don't know that four of history's greatest astronomers were practicing astrologers: Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Tycho Brahe, and Pierre Gassendi.

Most of the deriders haven't read smart astrological philosophers like Dane Rudhyar and Alice O. Howell and Steven Arroyo and Liz Greene. They aren't aware that pioneering psychologist Carl Jung cast horoscopes and believed that "astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity."

The deriders don't know that astronomer Martha Maiden, who was a program executive at NASA for years and achieved such prominence that she now has an award named after her, is an excellent astrologer. (I know because I went to Duke University with her and we studied astrology together.)

The closest approach that fraudulent "skeptics" usually make to the ancient art of astrology is to glance at a random horoscope column in a daily newspaper. To match their carelessness, I might make a drive-by of a strip mall and declare that the profession of architecture is shallow and debased.

That's one reason why these ill-informed "skeptics" spread so many ignorant lies. For instance, they say that astrologers think the stars and planets emit invisible beams that affect people's lives. The truth is, most Western astrologers don't believe any such thing.

Rather, the planets are symbols of the unfolding evolutionary pattern. Just as clocks tell time but don't create it, the heavenly bodies show us the big picture but don't cause it.

Here's some straight-out logic: Astrology doesn't claim to be a science, so it can't be a pseudo-science!

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Do not be daunted by the insurmountability of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work but neither are you free to abandon it.

— The Talmud

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A thousand years from today, everyone you know will be long dead and forgotten. There’ll be nothing left of the life you love, no evidence that you ever walked this planet. That, at least, is what the fundamentalist materialists would have you believe.

But suppose the truth is very different? What if in fact every little thing you do subtly alters the course of history? What if your day-to-day decisions can actually help determine how the human species navigates its way through the epic turning point we’re living through?

And finally, what if you will be alive in a thousand years, reincarnated into a fresh body and in possession of at least some of the memories of the person you were back in this era? Reincarnation is a taboo theory among fundamentalist materialists, but it won't always be so.

These are my hypotheses. These are my prophecies. That’s why I say: Live as if your soul is eternal.


Everyone influences the world in some way. No matter how powerless we may feel, each of us is a creator who continually churns out energy that bends and shapes our world and the people in it.

What is the signature of your effect? How do you change the environments you pass through? What magic, for good or ill, do you perform in the daily rhythm of your life?

I invite you to take inventory—and to fix any discrepancies between the mark you ideally want to make and your actual impact.

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(written by me, Rob Brezsny)

I am busy
today and tomorrow
and next week
and for as long as it takes

struggling to change
the way my eyes work,
learning to peel away
the memories that
make me blind

to the science light of the fairies
and the dark love sparks
firing in our brains
and the luminous dreams
shrouded in my blood and yours.

I want to see all those things!
I want you to see all those things!


Today and always
I am fidgeting

as I kill off
the dull decayed shock
that blocks me
from finding and speaking
the magic words
that got lost
inside my old misunderstanding
of death.

I don't misunderstand any more!
But it's taking me
longer than I thought
to fix the glitch.

Hard work!
Unwavering effort!
I'm fighting,
exultant and relentless,
to dismantle the buffers
that make me half-deaf
to the hum of the planets
and the thrum of the rivers
and the music of your ripe longing.

I am grappling and scrapping
with my self-appointed censors—
so I can hear again
the pre-verbal prayers
chanted to me in the crib
by the helpers
with kaleidoscope lyrics
woven in their wings.

I am yearning and pleading
for the animals to teach me
the mysteries of their ordeals and joys
in their own language,
not mine.


Now and forever
I am frantic
to disgorge the machine stories
that trick my empathy
into falling asleep
with their fake blood and explosions
with their digitally rendered sobs
and pretend suffering.

Because OF COURSE!!!
I want to sear
the real sobs and suffering,
the true blood and explosions,
into my blasphemous quest
for reverent justice

my rowdy, rumbling quest
for sacred justice
not just for myself
but for all seekers
of the gods' everlasting fuck wonder.

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Tsültrim Allione writes: "I was at a lunch with the Dalai Lama and five Buddhist teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. We were sitting in a charming room with white carpets and many windows. The food was a delightful, fragrant, vegetarian Indian meal. There were lovely flower arrangements on the table.

“We were discussing sexual misconduct among Western Buddhist teachers. A woman Buddhist from California brought up someone who was using his students for his own sexual needs. One woman said, ‘We are working with him with compassion, trying to get him to understand his motives for exploiting female students and to help him change his actions.’

“The Dalai Lama slammed his fist on the table, saying loudly, ‘Compassion is fine, but it has to stop! And those doing it should be exposed!’ All the serving plates on the table jumped, the water glasses tipped precariously, and I almost choked on the bite of saffron rice in my mouth.

“Suddenly I saw him as a fierce manifestation of compassion and realized that this clarity did not mean that the Dalai Lama had moved away from compassion. Rather, he was bringing compassion and manifesting it as decisive fierceness. His magnetism was glowing like a fire.

“I will always remember that day, because it was such a good teaching on compassion and precision. Compassion is not a wishy-washy ‘anything goes’ approach. Compassion can say a fierce no!“

- Tsültrim Allione, from her book Wisdom Rising

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"If I had the influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, sterile preoccupations with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength."

—Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

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Sources of GOOD news:

Yes magazine

Good News Network

Celebrate Small Victories

Reddit Uplifting News

Heroic Stories

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(Hear this as a song)

This is a perfect moment.

It's a perfect moment for many reasons, but especially because you and I are waking up from our sleepwalking, thumb-sucking, dumb-clucking collusion with the masters of delusion and destruction.

Thanks to them, from whom the painful blessings flow, we are waking up.

Their wars and tortures,
their crimes against nature,
extinctions of species
their engineered diseases.

Their spying and lying
in the name of the father,
sterilizing seeds and
trademarking water.

Molestations of God,
celebrations of shame,
mangling our dreams and
defiling our names.

Their ruthless commercials
and blood-sucking hustles,
their endless rehearsals
for the end of the world.

Thanks to them, from whom the painful blessings flow, we are waking up.

Their painful blessings are cracking open more and more gashes in the sour and shrunken mass hallucination that is mistakenly called "reality." And through the fractures, ripe eternity is flooding in; news of our souls' true home is pouring in; our allies from the other side of the veil are swarming in, inspiring us to become smarter and wilder and kinder and trickier.

We are waking up.

As heaven and earth come together, as the dreamtime and daytime merge, we register the jolting and exhilarating fact that we are in charge -- you and I are in charge -- of imagining and discovering and animating a brash new world. Not in some distant time or faraway place, but right here and right now.

As we stand on this brink, as we dance on this verge, we cannot let the ruling fools of the dying world consummate their curses. We've got to rise up and fight their deranged logic; defy, resist, and prevent their tragic magic; uncork our sacred rage and supercharge it.

But overthrowing the psychopathic leaders is not enough. Protesting the well-dressed planet-rapers is not enough. We cannot afford to be consumed with our anger; cannot be obsessed and possessed by their danger.

Our mysterious animal bodies crave delight and fertility. Our ancient imaginations demand ever-fresh tastes of infinity.

In the new culture we are hatching, we need lusty compassion and euphoric duty, lyrical logic and insurrectionary beauty. In the new alliance we are mobilizing, we need radical curiosity and reverent pranks, voracious listening and altruistic banks.

In the new covenant that we are midwifing,
We will ridicule the cult of doom and gloom.
We will embrace the cause of zoom and bloom.
We will outfox the banality of evil and hate;
we will summon the chutzpah to praise and create.
No matter how upside-down it all may appear,
we will have no fear
because we know this big secret:

All of creation is conspiring to shower us with
catalytic blessings. Life is crazily in love with us
--brazenly and innocently in love with us.
Our destinies always bring us exactly what we need
to liberate us from our suffering.

The winds and the tides are on our side, forever and ever, amen. The birds and snakes are scheming to make us their sacred soul mates.

The sun and the moon and the stars remember our real names, and our ancestors pray for us while we're dreaming.

We have guardian angels and thousands of teachers
provocateurs with designs to unleash us
helpers and saviors we can't even imagine
brothers and sisters who want us to blossom

Thanks to them, from whom the blissful blessings flow, we are waking up.

The roads they pave us
the places they save us
the tomatoes they grow us
the rivers they flow us

Their mysterious stories
and morning glories
Their loaves and fishes
granting our wishes

The songs they sing us
The gifts they bring us
the secrets they show us
above and below us

Thanks to them, from whom the blissful blessings flow, we are waking up.

(Hear this as a song)

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An entrepreneur approached me with a proposal: "Your work should be getting out to a bigger audience. People are starving for the message you're putting out. That's why you need me. With my marketing machine, your name could become as recognizable as Deepak Chopra's. Let's build an entertainment conglomerate and hawk a hundred Rob Brezsny-style products."

"Nah," I said. "People come to me seeking sanctuary from hype. They know I won't smack them upside the head with relentless sales pitches."

Meanwhile, I regularly get inquiries from marketers who want to pay me money for putting advertisements on my website or advertorials on my social media sites. I always say no. I have turned down tens of thousands of dollars in ad revenue.

I'm going on 24 years of maintaining this attitude. I launched my website in 1995, and have never once had a paid ad on it. I've offered over 1,200 of my weekly Free Will Astrology columns for free on that site. And I've been sending out this free newsletter, which includes the horoscopes and much more, since the year 2000.

I freely give away two hours' worth of my music on Soundcloud. I don't make any money from my Youtube videos. I freely give away large sections of my books "The Televisionary Oracle" and "Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia."

I've never bought an ad on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, although I'm considering doing so when my new books come out.

Have I been naïve? Idiotic? Overly idealistic? Too pure? Self-sabotaging? Woefully unrealistic?

I may need an advisor to help me think more robustly about all these matters.

Here are links to my various social media, where you can get more free stuff.

If you would like to contribute to me and my well-being, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at Paypal. (Use the "Friends and Family" option.)

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Old-fashioned language delivering futuristic ideas, from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

I am to invite people drenched in Time to recover themselves and come out of time, and taste their native immortal air.

I am to fire with what skill I can the artillery of sympathy and emotion.

I am to indicate constantly, though all unworthy, the Ideal and Holy Life, the life within life, the Forgotten Good, the Unknown Cause in which we sprawl and sin.

I am to try the magic of sincerity, that luxury permitted only to kings and poets.

I am to celebrate the spiritual powers in their infinite contrast to the mechanical powers and the mechanical philosophy of this time.

I am to console the brave sufferers under evils whose end they cannot see, by appeals to the great optimism, self-affirmed in all bosoms.

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Humans are leading the planet into the sixth mass extinction, with a million species in danger of disappearing forever. But there are practical actions we can take to call if off. Here are some:

Reverse the expansion of monoculture

Restore and protect coastal marine ecosystems

Protect fish for real

Put Indigenous people in charge of their own territory

Let wild areas remain roadless

Address economic inequality, lower consumption, expand access to education, and support sustainable technology

More details.

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In a wheat field, a rose is a weed—even if that rose is voluptuous and vibrant. Translation: it's your sacred duty to identify the contexts in which you can thrive and then put yourself in those contexts.

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Invitation: Go inward and contact the wisest source you know—call it your higher self, your holy guardian angel, Goddess or God, the genius of nature, or your strongest intelligence. Then pose this inquiry: What do I need to become aware of that I wouldn't even know to ask about?

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CONGRATULATIONS if you've been having any of the following symptoms:

• spontaneous eruptions of gratitude

• a declining fascination with conflict

• seemingly irrational urges that lead to interesting discoveries

• yearnings to peer more deeply into the eyes of people you care about

• a mounting inability to tolerate boring influences that resist transformation

• an increasing knack for recognizing and receiving the love that's available to you

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People who hate astrology assert that consulting a horoscope column or getting a reading from a professional astrologer is not a sound approach to making good decisions abut one's life.

The haters never follow up that assurance with a detailed revelation of what ARE valid ways to gather the data and insights and ideas so as to make good decisions about one's life.

Do they know about some Bureau of Acceptable Life Information that can help us determine what is and what is not worth consulting as we chart the course of our destiny?

I don't mean to be glib. I am honestly puzzled by the apparent certainty that there are unambiguous methods.

Would the astrology haters approve of the guidance and inspiration we have gleaned from our high school teachers? From our parents? From our friends? In my opinion, none of them are entirely reliable narrators; they are not to be trusted to deliver 100% accurate and wise counsel on how best to live our lives.

And how about the music of Florence and the Machine, and the poetry of Charles Baudelaire, and the movies of Akira Kurosawa? Is it a big mistake for us to eagerly take on influences from them, allowing their art to infiltrate our subconscious minds and subtly skew and shift our attitudes? Are we deluded?

Or how about the philosophy of the Upanishads or Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel or Susan Sontag? Or the psychological ideas of Carl Jung or Clarissa Pinkola Estes or Erik Erikson? Or the writing of Joan Didion or Pema Chodron or Kurt Vonnegut? Or the social science of Malcolm Gladwell? Or the economic theories of Paul Krugman? Are they all foolproof, unimpeachable sources of wise guidance that we can unconditionally rely on to steer our personal lives in a righteous direction?

Or should we be ruthlessly careful to draw our guidance and inspiration only from paragons of reason and science? Should our night tables be stacked with books by Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and mathematician Terence Tao? Should we read passages from their teachings every night in the expectation that they will shape us into paragons of reason and science? That they will unfailingly guide us to make good decisions about how to live?

I don't think so. It's fine if those tomes and others like it constitute part of our own personal Bureau of Acceptable Life Information. But we need to draw inspiration and education from a variety of other sources, as well—each of which, like Hawking and Darwin and Kasparov and Tao, is imperfect and incomplete.

It's perfectly reasonable to look to astrology as one of our sources, because astrology is a branch of psychology, as well as an art form—a mode of storytelling. It's designed to stimulate our imaginations as we ruminate on what it means to be a human being. It's an evocative mytho-poetic system that helps us identify and transform our subconscious patterns and have fun speculating about the big picture of our destinies.

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My most recent book is
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's also available here. Here's an excerpt:


Knowing the difference between your fearful fantasies and your authentic, accurate intuitions is one of the greatest spiritual powers you can possible have.

Let's explore what it means: discerning between the frightening, alienating pictures that sometimes pop into your imagination, as opposed the simple, warm, clear direction that is always available from the deepest source within you.

Read or hear the rest.

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When poet Wislawa Szymborska delivered her speech for winning the Nobel Prize, she said that "whatever else we might think of this world—it is astonishing." She added that for a poet, there really is no such thing as the "ordinary world," "ordinary life," and "the ordinary course of events."

In fact, "Nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone's existence in this world."

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(Listen to this as a song)

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.

Just kidding.

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.

Listen to this as a song.

Listen and download (free) lots more of my music and spoken word.

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