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Week of May 14th, 2020

Why Is Everything So Gorgeous?

Dear Readers:

For years, my column "Free Will Astrology" has been published in alternative newsweeklies all over North America.

From City Pages in Minneapolis to The Stranger in Seattle to Creative Loafing in Tampa to Now in Toronto—and more than 100 other newspapers—these vibrant sources of local journalism have paid me actual money to print my horoscopes.

I've been very lucky! Their support of my work has been instrumental in me being able to become the person I want to be.

But I'm sad to report that our Global Healing Crisis has financially devastated the alternative newsweeklies. They've lost much of their ad revenue from restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, and cultural institutions. Some papers have shut down. Others are now publishing online only, no longer in hard copy. Virtually all have furloughed workers.

I decided early in the pandemic that I wanted to help out the newspapers that have helped me thrive. I told them all that they could publish "Free Will Astrology" for free during the months of April and May.

While I'm glad I made that move, it means my income has been drastically reduced. Is this a permanent situation? I don't know. The hope is that I will begin getting paid again by July, but if the newsweeklies' predicament remains intense, I will extend my free offer to them.

It's also possible that the crisis won't abate for months, and that some newspapers will close forever. Even in a best-case scenario, wherein most of them re-open, I'll charge them reduced rates.

Solutions? There are several I can think of. They're listed below. If you have other ideas, please let me know at

1. Visit my Gift Page — and contribute to me now and then via the "Friends and Family" option.

2. Commit to offering me a regular donation through my Patreon page.

3. Send checks or cash to me at P.O. Box 4400, San Rafael, CA 94913.

4. Buy my Expanded Audio Horoscopes and/or Sunbursts, my Daily Text Message Horoscopes


P.S.: No pressure, though! I understand that some of you don't have enough money yourself, and it wouldn't make sense for you to give some to me.

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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. It arrives every Tuesday morning.

Read past issues of the newsletter.

Sign up here for your free subscription.

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OUR GLOBAL HEALING CRISIS could turn out to be revivifying and invigorating in ways we can't even imagine yet. It could motivate us to get very clear about what our life's purpose is, and who our most important allies are, and what are the things and experiences and ideas we need most if we want our lives to be meaningful and fulfilling for the rest of our lives.

My Expanded Audio Horoscopes offer suggestions about how you might thrive by doing that interesting work.

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why is everything
so gorgeous
this bogus dream
this lunacy why?

—Zen monk and poet Ikkyū

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Call me. I have left my number
everywhere. I want to know
how this story turns out

—Eleanor Lerman

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What feeling or experience do you want more than anything else?

What's the best way to serve the mission you came to Earth to carry out?

What are the best gifts you have to offer?

How might you need to change in order to get what you want and carry out your life's mission?

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Your ancestors asked me to tell you the following: "Call on your ingenuity and imagination as you learn to love everyone even more than you ever have before. It's a great tonic for your mental health and your future dreams."

"Your ancestors also mentioned that although the Bible has a lot of irrelevant nonsense in it, there is some good stuff, including this: 'Don't neglect to show kindness to strangers; for, in this way, some, without knowing it, have had angels as their guests.'"

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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 flux wonder.

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According to United States law, a corporation is regarded and treated as a person. There is even a legal term, "corporate personhood," that ensures corporations have the same rights as an individual.

In recent years, indigenous North American tribes have joined the international Rights of Nature movement, whose goal is to protect certain natural features by granting them the "rights of personhood."

The Yurok of Northwestern California hope to reverse the human damage done to the Klamath River, and thereby preserve the health of the salmon that live there. These people have designated the Klamath as having the full rights of personhood.

In Northwestern Minnesota, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe has made a similar move, granting personhood status to *manoomin*, or wild rice.

The tribe's resolution asserts that the wild rice has “inherent rights to restoration, recovery and preservation,” including “the right to pure water and freshwater habitat,” the right to a healthy climate and “a natural environment free from human cause global warming.”

What natural feature would be your first choice for gaining the right of personhood?

More . . .

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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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Rebecca Solnit is writing about our Global Healing Crisis in ways I love.

Jason Hine is another author doing that. He has become one of my favorites.

Here's an excerpt from one of Jason's recent posts (and I recommend reading the entire thing):

It's ok to be afraid: fear is a necessary helpful preparatory emotion when it is titrated and deeply rooted in the body.

Somatically integrate fear, and fear will become an ally of your readiness and responsiveness.

Love is important too, but don't fall for that child like regressive application of the mantra "always choose love over fear" to every circumstance.

Read all of Jason Hine's post

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If you can sit quietly after difficult news; if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm; if you can see others succeed without a twinge of jealousy; if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; if you can fall asleep after an intense day without a drink or a pill; if you can always find contentment just where you are: You are probably a dog.

—Jack Kornfield

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You are worth so much more than your productivity.
—Nicole Em

See the meme

Also see this.

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by James Parker

Dear Lord,

In this our hour of doorknobs and droplets,
when masks have canceled our personalities;

in this our hour of prickling perimeters, sinister surfaces,
defeated bodies, and victorious abstractions,
when some of us are stepping into rooms humid with contagion,
and some of us are standing in the pasta aisle;

in this our hour of vacant parks and boarded-up hoops,
when we miss the sky-high roar of the city
and hear instead the tarp that flaps on the unfinished roof,
the squirrel giving his hingelike cry, and the siren constantly passing,
to You we send up our prayer, as follows:

Let not heebie-jeebies become our religion,
our new ideology, with its own jargon.

Fortify us, Lord. Show us how.
What would your saints be doing now?

Saint Francis, he was a fan of the human.
He’d be rolling naked on Boston Common.
He’d be sharing a bottle. No mask, no gloves,
shielded only by burning love.

But I don’t think we’re in the mood
for feats of antic beatitude.

In New York City, and in Madrid,
the saints maintain the rumbling grid.

Bless the mailman, and equally bless
the bus driver, vector of steadfastness.
Protect the bravest, the best we’ve got.

Protect the rest of us, why not.
And if the virus that took John Prine
comes, as it may, for me and mine,
although we’ve mostly stayed indoors,
well—then, as ever, we’re all Yours.

Until further notice,


—by James Parker

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When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms, don't say to yourself, "It looks like the end of the world."

What you're seeing is love in action. What you're seeing, in that negative space, is how much we do care for each other, for our grandparents, for our immuno-compromised brothers and sisters, for people we will never meet.

People will lose jobs over this. Some will lose their businesses. And some will lose their lives.

All the more reason to take a moment, when you're out on your walk, or on your way to the store, or just watching the news, to look into the emptiness and marvel at all of that love.

Let it fill you and sustain you. It isn't the end of the world. It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.

These words are from a video that was made by the Upper Springfield Covid-19 Community Response Team in Belfast, Northern Ireland:

Here's the video.

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Let's normalize saying, "I don't know enough to have an opinion."

— Cecil Yongo

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Strong, compassionate souls reach
the plateau of the heart’s new capital.
Tears enhance their eyesight through the dark.

They're not afraid to suffer. They learn to give back
heaviness to the churning weight of the Earth,
its mountains and seas

—adaptation of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

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The important thing is to tell yourself a life story in which you, the hero, are primarily a problem solver rather than a helpless victim. This is well within your power, whatever fate might have dealt you.

—Martha Beck

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The criteria for success: you are free, you live in the present moment, you are useful to the people around you, and you feel love for all humanity.

- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Last week I celebrated the anniversary of the luckiest and most monumental turning point in my life. 32 years ago today, I first met the love of my life.

She has been crucial in my quest to become my True Self !

More info—plus photo.

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How do you get yourself into a sacred state that rejuvenates your emotional life and expands your mind beyond its monkey chatter and customary habits and same-old-same-old beliefs?

Some people go to church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. Some wander out into nature. (Very few hop onto Facebook to get into arguments.)

One of my reliable ways to slip into the holy dimension is to sing songs that stir me with righteous passion. (The lyrics must be exalting; can't be trivializing or dumb.)

Another is to feel the joy of my body exerting itself while I walk alone up hills.

The best is to sing righteous songs while walking up hills.

And you?

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Richard Tarnas, one of the best astrological thinkers on the planet, offered his views on this "grave and astonishing moment." Here's the youtube link.

Excerpts: "This is a time in which there are volcanically intense evolutionary pressures for the radical reconfiguration of all life structures."

"We're in the midst of an encounter with a collective mortal emergency that completely focuses our attention."

"Our agency, as humans, plays a role in how these archetypal energies express themselves. The more courage, imagination intelligence, compassion we can bring to bear on these events, the more free and skillful we can be in shaping the expression of the archetypal energies."

Quoting Greek philosopher Plotinus, Tarnas says, "The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together."

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David Talbot offers the following thoughts:

The bad news is that it's end of the world as we know it. The good news is that it's the end of the world as we know it. And we can use our imaginations to dream up a better world.

I've begun jotting down some notes about how civilization can emerge from this catastrophic pandemic in more socially decent and healthy ways.

1. A climate crisis turning point. The skies have never seemed cleaner and brighter. My city has never seemed so quiet and placid. Do we really have to return to a fossil fuel-powered, frantically acquisitive way of life?

2. There is a new appreciation for the daily heroism of health care workers and the fragility of our public health system. Isn't it past time for America to join the rest of the civilized world and move to Medicare for all?

3. There is a new appreciation for labor in America, especially those who are keeping the country running at warehouses, markets, delivery services. Isn't it past time for employers like Amazon -- run by the richest man in the world who's now getting richer by the minute -- to treat these workers fairly, increasing their wages and benefits and allowing them to join unions?

4. Crime is down and people are shooting each other in America with much less frequency. Does our society have to be so weaponized?

5. We have to think twice or more before reflexively making purchases these days as the ranks of the unemployed swell and the economy crashes. Let's convert our society from its enslaving consumerism to cooperative networks and reduce our wasteful dependence on the latest fashions, cars and electronic gadgets.

6. Now that it's dangerous to vote (black Americans can tell us all about that history), we have to reinvent democracy. How about if we we completely convert to a mail ballot system -- which would not only make the election process safer, but also more inclusive?

How else can we imagine a new post-plague world? Your thoughts?

More from David Talbot.

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Make yourself alert for
small miracles,
beguiling surprises,
marvelous tweaks,
inexplicable joys,
and subtle changes
that inspire quiet awe

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Pronoia doesn't promise uninterrupted progress forever. It's not a slick commercial for a perfect summer day that never ends.

Grace emerges in the ebb and flow, not just the flow. The waning reveals a different kind of blessing than the waxing.

But whether it's our time to ferment in the valley of shadows or rise up singing in the sun-splashed meadow, fresh power to transform ourselves is always on the way.

Our suffering won't last, nor will our triumph.

Without fail, life will deliver the creative energy we need
to change into the new thing we must become.

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Act natural. Act like all of nature. Act like the entire cycle of life and death and change and rebirth.

—"Welcome to Night Vale" podcast

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Some of my songs conducive to seeking bright spots in the pandemic:

World Kiss

Shadow Blessings

You Taste Delicious

I Want Everybody

In a Crisis

Many more of my songs here

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This *%&^#@ pandemic is really inspiring our resilience and resourcefulness!

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Hummingbird nest on a peach

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Make a voodoo doll of yourself and then give it a backrub

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