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Week of October 22nd, 2020

Hope Is a Discipline

1. Expect nothing, but ask for everything.

2. Gently but gleefully smash an unnecessary personal taboo.

3. End your association with a situation or place that feels oppressive.

4. Buck tradition with wit and compassion rather than with wrath and cynicism.

5. Escape an old niche where you got trapped for the sake of peace and harmony.

6. Carry a gift with you at all times in case you run into a fresh beauty who makes you feel doubly alive.

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One of my main reasons for being on planet Earth is to help minimize and alleviate the world's suffering -- among my fellow humans as well as among the animals and plants and spiritual beings with whom we share this realm.

My day-to-day actions are motivated not just by my yearning to feel fulfilled and authentic, but also by my passion for influences that generate practical compassion.

To that end, I support Joe Biden for President. Either he or Donald Trump will win the election, and in my estimation Biden is far more likely than Trump is to reduce the world's suffering and generate practical compassion.

In fact, Trump, if re-elected, is likely to do as he has done for the last four years: dramatically increase the suffering in the world.

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I understand that some of you readers will be offended by my support of Biden and criticism of Trump.

But there's no reason for you to be surprised about my positions. I have publicly endorsed the Democratic candidate for President of the United States every four years since 1980. I launched this newsletter in 2000, and it has always featured my endorsements.

I have also endorsed candidates running in the Democratic primaries. In 2016, I supported Bernie Sanders. In 2020, I supported Elizabeth Warren.

Furthermore, I've frequently expressed my very progressive political positions in these newsletters and in my column. For me, my spiritual perspectives and political perspectives are in close alignment.

But if you are one of those readers who does unsubscribe from this newsletter in response to my recent endorsement, I wish you the best.

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People say with pride, "I’m not interested in politics." They may as well say, 'I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, job, rights, freedoms, future.' If we mean to keep control over our world and lives, we must be interested in politics.

—Martha Gellhorn


We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

—Elie Wiesel


If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

―Desmond Tutu


Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

—Paulo Freire


Intellectual neutrality is not possible in a historical world of exploitation and oppression.

—Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

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The most powerful starting point for any endeavor is not the question 'What do I want?', but "What does Life (God, Consciousness) want from me? How do I serve the whole?"

—Eckhart Tolle

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You're a star -- and so am I. I'm a genius -- and so are you. Your success encourages my brilliance, and my charisma enhances your power. Your victory doesn't require my defeat, and vice versa.

Those are the rules in the New World -- quite unlike the rules in the Old World, where zero-sum games are the norm, and only one of us can win each time we play.

In the New World, you don't have to tone down or apologize for your prowess, because you love it when other people shine. You exult in your own excellence without regarding it as a sign of inherent superiority. As you ripen more and more of your latent aptitude, you inspire the rest of us to claim our own idiosyncratic magnificence.


Tibetan Buddhist teacher Geshe Chekawa (1220–1295) specialized in bodhicitta, seeking enlightenment not for personal gain but as a way to serve others. On his deathbed, he prayed to be sent to hell so that he might alleviate the suffering of the lost souls there.

As you explore pronoia, you will discover that like Chekawa, you have a huge capacity to help people. Unlike him, you'll find that expressing your benevolence doesn't require you to go to hell. It may even be unnecessary for you to sacrifice your own joy or to practice self-denial. Just the opposite: Being in service to humanity and celebrating your unique power will be synergistic. They will need each other to thrive.


The Golden Rule is a decent ethical principle, but it could be even better. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" presumes that others enjoy what you enjoy. But that's wrong. There are many things you'd like to have done unto you that others would either despise or be bored by. Here's a new, improved formulation, which we call the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would like to have you do unto them.

Using this improved formula is not just a virtuous way to live, but is also the best way to ensure the success of your selfish goals. The rituals and spells of various occult orders purport to be supercharged techniques for imposing your personal will on the chaotic flow of events, but I say that practicing the Platinum Rule outstrips all of them as an exercise to enhance your potency and happiness.



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We create ourselves by what we choose to notice.

Once this work of self-authorship has begun, we inhabit the world we've created. We self-seal. We don't notice anything except those things that confirm what we already think about who we already are.

Meditative traditions refer to the observer self. When we succeed in moving outside our normal processes of self-reference and can look upon ourselves with self-awareness, then we have a chance at changing. We break the seal. We notice something new.

—Margaret Wheatley

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Do you change people first or do you change society? I believe this is a false dichotomy. You have to change both simultaneously. If you're changing only yourself and have no concern for changing the society, something goes awry. If you're changing only society but not changing yourself, something goes awry.

Now, 'simultaneously' may be an overstatement, because I think there are periods when one has to concentrate on one or the other. And there are periods in a society, in a culture, when the emphasis is appropriate only on one or the other. What I'm trying to say is, never lose sight of either the internal world or the external world, the peace within and the peace based on justice outside.

—David Dellinger

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We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger."

—T. S. Eliot, "The Cocktail Party"

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Think globally,
but act locally.

Plan for the future,
but act in the present.

Dream of all the masterpieces
you'd be thrilled to create,
but work on just one at a time.

Lust for every enticing soul you see,
but only make love
to the imperfect beauty you're actually with.

Allow yourself to be flooded
with every last feeling
that bubbles up from your subconscious,
but understand that only a very few of these feelings
need to be forcefully expressed.

Be passionately attuned
to all the injustices and hypocrisies
you see around you,
but be selective
when choosing which of those
you will actually fight.

—Excerpted from my book The Televisionary Oracle

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Some people don't know that I write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your cell or smart phone.

They're shorter than the weekly 'scopes, but on the other hand they're more frequent -- every day of the week.

My weekly horoscopes are free, but the dailies cost about 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription.

If you think you might enjoy getting regular bursts of inspiration from me to illuminate your adventures, check them out.

Go to Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.

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Healing mantra for the day: May I feel all I need to feel in order to heal; may I heal all I need to heal in order to feel.

—Marguerite Rigoglioso

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MERCURY IS RETROGRADE from late on October 13 through November 3. One of my favorite astrologers, William Sebrans, gives ten reasons why we can appreciate the glitchy tweaks that this astrological configuration allegedly spawns:

1. Misunderstandings are now attributable to impersonal forces or gods in vacation mode. That is, we are for the time being in the clear and temporarily off the hook.

2. We expect things to not work, so when they do, we are happier than before, when we expected them to.

3. We can spend hours tossing out crap, purging mail sludge, organizing our micro-universes, and are entitled to call it all productive work. No need to rush forward, when it is salutary to shuffle backward for a spell.

4. We are forgiven in advance for impatience and frustration, but as well we are given extra permission to blow off the pressure and be calmly accepting of what we are usually supposed to get upset with. Think: customer service.

5. For a few weeks, we get to hear less New Age murmurings about the Divine Flow, the power of creative visualization, and the power of surrender to Shakti -- and are allowed to focus on getting the job done any damned way we can figure it out.

6. If we are believers, we can find proof of the retrograde effect; if we are non-believers, we can find proof of the non-retrograde effect. Either way, we are vindicated.

7. We can watch more Merchant Ivory-period films and feel good about ourselves.

8. We can hand-write letters and craft arty post cards, while justifying the less efficient retro-fit communication as coming by Divine Decree.

9. We can slow down.

10. We can slow down and repeat ourselves

~William Sebrans

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It's a dark and chaotic moment in our culture, but my discerning hope for the future is abundant.


"It is not in the least superstitious, it is even a counsel of realism, to look for the unforeseeable and unpredictable, to be prepared for and to expect 'miracles' in the political realm."

—Hannah Arendt


See an image of hope

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Now here's some additional commentary from me about Mercury Retrograde:

Mercury retrogrades are always heading our way -- an average of three per year. Also heading our way -- always, always -- are numerous astrological configurations that traditional astrologers interpret as malefic, miserable, and menacing.

As just one of many examples, some regard moon void-of-course with the same fear and loathing that they do Mercury retrograde, and the moon void-of-course is a regular and frequent occurrence.

For my sanity, I can't afford to be super extra careful around these aspects. There are simply too damn many of them. I don't want to constantly be in a state of red-alert alarm.

And as for the Mercury Retrograde itself:

Traditional astrologers regard each Mercury retrograde phenomenon to consist of eight phases:

Pre-Shadow phase

Pre-Shadow phase intensified

Mercury Retrograde Station

Mercury Retrograde Phase intensified

Mercury Retrograde Phase

Mercury Direct Station

Post-Shadow phase intensified

Post-Shadow phase

Every complete Mercury retrograde cycle lasts an average of 55 days. Since there is an average of three Mercury retrogrades per year, we are in some part of the Mercury retrograde phenomenon for at least 165 days per year -- about 45% of the time.

That's a lot of time to be on guard.


I am aware that my views are not shared by many astrologers, but they reflect my observation and experiences. Here's a brief version:

Mercury retrograde does not mean communication snafus are inevitable. Rather, it tells you this is a propitious time to refine the ways you exchange information . . . and to concentrate harder on saying what you mean and meaning what you say . . . and to meditate on how to improve the ways you connect yourself to the people and resources you need and like.

Some people say that when Mercury is retrograde, it's a bad time to begin anything new. During one such period a few ago, an acquaintance of mine decided to delay accepting a dream job offer as editor of a magazine. By the time Mercury returned to "normal," the magazine had hired another applicant. I wish I'd have known, because I would have told her what I'll tell you: Some of America's biggest, most enduring Fortune 500 companies began when Mercury was retrograde, including Disney, Goodyear, and Boeing.

My deep skepticism about big corporations notwithstanding, the fact that their founders had great success in launching them during Mercury retrograde is a telling statement about Mercury retrograde.

In my understanding of astrology, there's no such thing as a bad astrological aspect. It's true that some may be more challenging than others, but every one of them presents an opportunity.

Having said that, I don't regard Mercury retrograde as being dauntingly challenging. If you fear and expect it to be, you may tend to be slightly more attractive to disruptive events. But then that's true about how every superstition works.

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Here is a new spiritual practice: Don't take your thoughts too seriously.

—Eckhart Tolle


Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.

—Eckhart Tolle

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"Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else's puzzle." So wrote Lawrence Kushner in his book, *Honey from the Rock*.

In other words, you have in your possession certain clues to your loved ones' destinies -- secrets they haven't discovered themselves.

Wouldn't you love to hand over those clues -- to make a gift of the puzzle pieces that are most needed by the people you care about?

Search your depths for insights you've never communicated. Tell truths you haven't found a way to express before now. More than you know, you have the power to mobilize your companions' dreams.

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"In mythos and fairy tales, deities and other great spirits test the hearts of humans by showing up in various forms that disguise their divinity. They show up in robes, rags, silver sashes, or with muddy feet. They show up with skin like old wood, or in scales made of rose petal, as a frail child, as a lime-yellow old woman, as a man who cannot speak, or as an animal who can.

"The great powers are testing to see if humans have yet learned to recognize the greatness of soul in all its varying forms."

—Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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Freedom is in the unknown. If you believe there is an unknown everywhere, in your own body, in your relationships with other people, in political institutions, in the universe, then you have maximum freedom.

—philosopher John C. Lilly

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