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Week of April 8th, 2021

Your Five Best Memories

I invite you to write down brief descriptions of the five most pleasurable moments you've ever experienced in your life. Let your imagination dwell lovingly on these memories for, say, 20 minutes. And keep them close to the surface of your awareness in the next six hours.

If you ever catch yourself slipping into a negative train of thought, interrupt it immediately and compel yourself to fantasize about those Big Five Ecstatic Moments.

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• Purge yourself of an impossible longing for a person you can or should never be intimately connected with.

• Forgive and say goodbye to anyone whose influence on you isn’t healthy for you.

• Write a wild but kind letter that expresses feelings you haven’t yet found a way to reveal in person to an ally.

• Heal the effects that a past trauma or disappointment has had on your capacity to be ingeniously intimate.

• Decide what a “sacred desire” means to you. Then acquire a symbolic object that will arouse and foster sacred desire.

• Make a pact with a dear accomplice that the two of you will meditate on how you could help decipher and activate each other’s soul’s codes.

• While making love, ask a partner to sync up your breathing and join you in visualizing the same sublime image.

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Magick: training your imagination to work in behalf of your highest purposes rather than allowing it to be a reckless conjurer of fear and illusions that leak your psychic energy.


In response to this definition of magick, one reader asked me, "Is this done with retraining of negative thoughts to positive thoughts?"

I replied to this reader: That's complicated! It's important to acknowledge negative thoughts when they come up and see if you can trace them back to their source; see if you can discern whether they're based on objective truth. Once you do that, you might have earned the power to substitute positive thoughts for them.

The reader responded: "That’s much easier said than done. I am flooded with negative thoughts that have a hint of truth to them, but at the same time I am too hard on myself. They are exaggerated. And I can see where the truth lies in them, but I can’t seem to reclaim my power over them. It’s like knowing the truth isn’t enough. I am at odds with myself."

I replied: "Well, the retraining takes practice and diligence and commitment. Can't happen overnight. Write out a vow that you'll work on it steadily for a year and a day.

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Amanda Yates Garcia writes:

In his book, The Spell of the Sensuous, ecological philosopher David Abram talks about how Western anthropologists misunderstood what indigenous oral cultures meant by “spirits.”

In the West, we have this idea that spirit is somehow separate from nature and the material world. Spirit shines in heaven or is tortured in hell, our spirit is something separate from our body.

But in indigenous/oral cultures, spirit is in everything, it is not, and can never be, disembodied.

Stones, mountains, trees and oceans have spirits.

And spirits are people, more-than-human people, and people have will and agency. People can speak and listen and are always in relationship.

This ocean speaks, its voice is the wave, the clicking of the sand and the singing of the whales.

It sees with a thousand eyes, hermit crabs and surfers and sharks. It welcomes, it casts out, it is sanguine and attacks.

We are not alone. We are surrounded by spirits that we are already in relation with, if we can get out of our own heads and show up enough to notice.

Amanda Yates Garcia


Here are my thoughts in response: I am amazed at how many progressive people are adamantly materialist — rigidly and belligerently opposed to spirituality— even in the face of the fact that relationship with spirit has been a key element in virtually all indigenous cultures.

I'm especially puzzled by the narrow materialism of some environmentalists, and their apparent inability to understand that indigenous peoples' love of and relationship with the earth is inherently spiritual.


"There is a Thai saying: Because we were never colonized, we never lost our animism, our sense that everything is alive if we have manners to collaborate. Animism is the antidote to colonialism."

—Caroline Casey, Coyote Network News


Animism is Normative Consciousnes‪s‬. Far from being an abstract "belief system," animism is the default way that human beings experience reality. More about this in a podcast by Josh Schrei.


"Animism is a way of approaching life that emphasizes relationships. Animists see the world as full of persons, both human and other-than-human, and prioritize living in respectful ways with these others. Animism is largely about ethics or core values that get expressed through practices, rituals, and traditions."



"Indigenous and ancestral shamans know that we are all connected to the world of the animal powers, and that by recognizing and nurturing our relation with animal spirits, we find and follow the natural path of our energies.

"Yet many of us have lost this primal connection, or know it only as a superficial wannabe symbolic thing that we look up in books and medicine cards without feeding and living every day."

—Robert Moss


More by Amanda Yates Garcia:

Yesterday, one of my “followers,” mentioned that they’d always wondered what we meant when we called in the spirits during a ceremony.

This past Full Moon for instance, we called in the Spirits of the Air, the Spirits of Spring, and the Spirits of the East - all of which are bound together in an interdependent web. They are subjectivities - beings with awareness and agency.

The Spirit of the Air moves, it thinks and speaks and watches and decides. The Crows are its eyes. The Bees are its hands. All winged creatures are Guardians of the Air; they are part of the air and not separate from it.

Because these Spirits are webs of interconnected subjectivities (just like we are – I am just as much the bacteria in my guts as I am Amanda Yates Garcia) they have agency. If we exploit them, we are harming more-than-human people.

I can imprison a bird, I can poison bees, I can spew toxins into the air, but I am doing that to a person, and that action has a cost FOR BOTH OF US.

In the colonialist West, the cost of “GETTING THINGS” is alienation and aloneness. Taking without reciprocity means a severing of relationship, but because we are all interconnected, it means that we sever ourselves from the very things that give us life.

And the worst part about it is that as we do this, as we sever all these threads of connection, we are no longer able to recognize the subjectivities around us — we can no longer see them or hear them for the people that they are. They become mute objects to us.

For every cord of relationship that we sever, we become more and more alone in the sea of trash that we create for ourselves.

Magic is important to me because it is the process by which we re-enchant the world. We shape-shift into spiders re-spinning the connections between things.

Reciprocity IS life. And I know for myself personally that I need to constantly be practicing this re-enchantment magic or I sink back into the self-serving delusion and aloneness that were made default mode for me by my culture.

Hail and welcome, Spirits of Air! Come let us honor and adore you!

(Calling in the Spirits of Air is an HONOR and a GIFT).

Amanda Yates Garcia

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I love you.

You may be thinking, "You don't even know me. How can you live me?"

But if people can hate for no reason, I can LOVE.

See the meme.

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I pledge allegiance to the birds of the United States of America. And to the skies through which they fly.

See the meme.

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"My daughter and her neighbor friend spend a lot of the day sitting 6 feet away from the sidewalk, shouting compliments out at strangers who walk by. It's the right mood for these times.


Bret Turner

See the meme.

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Your Joy Is My Joy

firgun (n.) the act of sharing in or contributing to someone else's pleasure or fortune, with a purely generous heart and without jealousy; or of sharing credit fairly. (From the Hebrew.)

mudita (n.) sympathetic, vicarious joy; happiness rather than resentment at someone else's well-being or good fortune; the opposite of schadenfreude. (From the Sanskrit.)

unne (adj.) to be happy on someone else’s behalf. (From the Norwegian.)

compersion (n.) an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy. (From the English.)

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Someone paid me the highest compliment. She said, “I want to make sure I tell you how often your process of being you has helped me in my process of being me.”

One essential element of my teachings is that I don't want you to be like me; I want you to be like you—to the fullest, deepest, most glorious and sacred and eccentric extent possible.

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I’m probably going to write my horoscopes for only another 60 years. My tentative plans are to retire in 2081.

Don’t worry about it, though. I’m sure that by then, I will have conspired with cyberhackers to create an ultimate Artificial Intelligence that will generate “Rob Brezsny”-style horoscopes until the sun explodes in about 7.5 billion years.

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The ever-evolving truth is far too complicated and fluid and slippery and scrambled and gorgeously abundant for one human being to master—even for genius bodhisattva avatars (I’ve heard rumors that there have been a few of such characters), let alone me and you and virtually everyone else who has ever lived.

I'm lucky to have gotten my percentage of mastery up to about 3%. On a good day, that’s how much I understand of the Maddening and Delightful Mystery we are embedded in.

That means I don't know 97% about how the Great Mystery actually works. This is despite the fact that my heart and mind have always been greedily curious to learn and experience as much as I can.

Here’s the solution I’ve come up with: I employ an empirical approach to life. I formulate amusing, non-binding hypotheses about what the Great Mystery might be like, and then collect the experimental data that’s generated as I test my hypotheses. I observe and analyze the results to determine how well each hypothesis works the following magic:

1. Does it liberate me from suffering and does it inspire me to help liberate other creatures from their suffering?

2. Does it make me a smarter and kinder and trickier and humbler fool?

3. Does it motivate me to embrace what I call the FLUX MOJO? In other words, does it fuel me to overthrow my own fixations, cooperate enthusiastically with the never-ending change that life asks me to deal with, and continually reinvent my attitudes, perspectives, ideas, and feelings?

4. Does it engender in me a lust for life and a primal urge to respond creatively to the glory of being alive and conscious?

5. Does it fuel my longing to inspire and nurture and play with those who are interested in sharing space with me?

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I write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your phone. They're shorter than the weekly Free Will Astrology 'scopes, but more frequent. They're called SUNBURSTS.

You can get these regular bursts of inspiration for 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription. 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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A famous Sufi teacher named Hazrat Inayat Khan said, “All that produces longing in the heart deprives the heart of freedom.” I am in fervent disagreement with that idea.

In my experience, longing in the heart is the single greatest motivator in my own quest for liberation from delusion and suffering.

The longing of the heart is a treasure, a divine blessing, a joy that inspires me to love the world, myself, and everything in it.

Here's another Sufi teacher, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, whose thoughts match mine: "From a Sufi perspective, the whole universe is a phenomenon of desire. The Divine desire pervades all things and beings, empowering each according to its capacity. For the mystic, the truest education is the education of desire. By means of this education the indwelling Divine desire is liberated from the constraints of the ego and becomes a force for the transfiguration of the world."


Here's an excerpt from a review of one of my favorite books, Daniel Odier's *Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening*:

"The old saw in Buddhism is that desire is the noxious weed that keeps us lurching from one unsatisfactory pleasure to the next, and that uprooting it is the only way to liberation.

"Daniel Odier, a scholar and teacher of tantra, turns this wisdom on its head in Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening, saying that desire is the only true path to liberation.

"Odier objects to any religion that pretends to offer liberation in any form other than simple, personal experience."

More by Daniel Odier.


Some religious traditions teach the doctrine, "Kill off your longings." In their view, attachment to desire is at the root of human suffering.

But the religion of materialism takes the opposite tack, asserting that the meaning of life is to be found in indulging desires. Its creed is, "Feed your cravings like a French foie gras farmer cramming eight pounds of maize down a goose's gullet every day."

At the Beauty and Truth Lab, we walk a middle path. We believe there are both degrading desires that enslave you and sacred desires that liberate you.


Psychologist Carl Jung believed that all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they may seem. Frustration and ignorance may contort them into distorted caricatures, but it is always possible to locate the divine source from which they arose.

In describing one of his addictive patients, Jung said: "His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God."


"The primordial fire that sparked millions of galaxies is the same fire that sparks the human creative impulse."

—Cindy Spring


"The human reproductive drive is a watered-down version of the godsex that spawned our solar system."

—Lieutenant Anfortas, the homeless man in the Safeway parking lot


"Mad! One must become mad with love in order to realize God. When a person attains ecstatic love of God, all the pores of the skin, even the roots of the hair, become like so many sex organs, and in every pore the aspirant enjoys the happiness of communion with the Supreme Universal Self."



Like all of us, you have desires for things that you don't really need and aren't good for you. But you shouldn't disparage yourself for having them, nor should you conclude that every desire is tainted.

Rather, think of your misguided longings as the bumbling, amateur expressions of a faculty that will one day be far more expert.

They're how you practice as you work toward the goal of becoming a master of desire. It may take a while, but eventually you will get the hang of wanting things that are really good for you, and good for everyone else, too.


To become a master of desire, keep talking yourself out of being attached to trivial goals and keep talking yourself into being thrilled about the precious few goals that are really important.

Here's another way to say it: Wean yourself from ego-driven desires and pour your libido into a longing for beauty, truth, goodness, justice, integrity, creativity, love, and an intimate relationship with the Wild Divine.


"God has desires. Since I want to be close to God and to model myself after God, I therefore don't aspire to extinguish my desires, but rather to make my desires more God-like: i.e., imbued with an inexorable ambition to create the greatest and most interesting blessings for everyone and everything."

—Collin Klamper


John Botiller‎ writes: "There are a lot of false beliefs about Buddhism which make it seem unpalatable. I've used it successfully to improve my life when I need to. I don't identify as a Buddhist, but it pleases me to share this misinformation with you if you are interested in reading. I correct 3 big misunderstandings that exist in the American cultural narrative. My source is as close to the original as possible-Theravada Buddhism.

"1) Buddha didn't teach that all life is suffering. He acknowledges the pleasures that exist. What he taught is that suffering does exist and it happens when we try to hold onto things that are subject to change. That's all. We can all agree.

"2) Buddha didn't teach that desire is at the root of suffering. He taught that craving, which means the plans you formulate to make contact with pleasurable sense objects, is the cause of suffering, not desires. He said desires are conditioned by nature. If you want to have sex, you want food, you want companionship, you want to see beauty, hear awesome sounds, feel tactile pleasures, you want to because of nature. You can't undo these things. You might as well hold your breath.

"3) Buddha didn't teach that there is or isn't a self. He taught a strategy called the not-self strategy. He did this because you can get attached to a sense of self that is destined to change and if you cling to it you will suffer. So he has you look at what's happening in the present moment and see that whatever's in front of you has a cause and that cause isn't a self.

"Everything is a series of causes and effects that happen through a body, but there's never a self you discover that's doing it. Everything has a logical basis.

"That doesn't mean that a self does or does not exist. He puts all existential questions of existence/non-existence (is there a god, is there a self, is existence real?) aside as not belonging to what he teaches-- Stress and the cessation of stress."

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I've known conservative white men who place great emphasis on the fact that throughout history the migration of people from one land to another has always been common. Everyone on earth originated somewhere else, they say. From an historical perspective, it's not unusual or problematic that Native Americans were displaced by invading Europeans. After all, Indians had originally wandered to the Americas from original homes on another continent.

Amusingly, the conservative white men who make this argument are usually worshipers of the right to own land. For them the concept of private property is a sacred dispensation. They also neglect to notice the huge distinction between humans migrating into previously uninhabited land and humans invading land already occupied by great numbers of humans.

Their hypocrisy would be hilarious if it weren't so astoundingly ignorant. They sputter and go blank when I remind them that the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what's now the United States at least 15,000 years ago—600 generations. They seem unable to acknowledge the truth that even if their forebears reached the "New World" as early as the 17th century, their people have occupied the land for a mere 16 generations—less than three percent of the indigenous span.

In light of these thoughts, here are three questions for us:

• Let's say you bought the property and home where you now live, or else inherited it from your family. Is that place more thoroughly your personal property than, say, the places inhabited by the Dwamish people, circa 1800, who had been living in what's now the Seattle area for at least 390 generations?

• Imagine this scenario: An invading army of extraterrestrial beings with highly advanced technology arrives on Earth. They seize your land and home, and force you to flee. Do you complain? Do you fight back?

I guess it's possible you might say to yourself, "Oh, well, the migration of people from one land to another has been common throughout history. I'm just another example. Guess it's time for me to move on."

• How well do you know the land and the ecology of the place where you live? Can you name ten local species of trees and plants? Ten species of birds and insects? Do you know the geological history? What are five bodies of water near you? Do you know which indigenous people once dwelled where you do now?

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Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

—Allen Ginsberg

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