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Week of November 4th, 2021

Your Wounds Healed

your wounds healed

your apologies accepted

your generosity expanded

your love educated

your desires clarified

your untold stories heard

your insight heightened

your load lightened

your wildness rejuvenated

your courage stoked

your fears dissolved

your imagination fed

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Here's a link to my free weekly email newsletter, featuring the Free Will Astrology horoscopes, plus a celebratory array of tender rants, lyrical excitements, poetic philosophy, and joyous adventures in consciousness. It arrives every Tuesday morning by 7:30 am.

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Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for the person who has the vision to recognize it.

—Henry Miller


All your life is a fever to be perfected.

—Marina Tsvetaeva


The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

—Joseph Campbell


returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice

– Louise Glück


The treasure we desire most hides where we would never choose to go on our own.

—Michael Meade


The moment you come to trust chaos, you see God clearly. Chaos is divine order, versus human order. Change is divine order, versus human order. When the chaos becomes safety to you, then you know you're seeing God clearly.

—Caroline Myss


The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

—F. Scott Fitzgerald


I find myself still softly searching
For my Delinquent Palaces—

– Emily Dickinson


Every act of genius, Carl Jung said, is an act "contra naturam": against nature. Indeed, every effort to achieve psychological integration and union with the divine requires a knack for working against the grain.

The 18th-century mystic Jacob Boehme recommended the same technique. The great secret to becoming enlightened, he said, is "to walk in all things contrary to the world."

Qabalist teacher Paul Foster Case agreed: "The basis of the spiritual approach to life, the foundation of the everyday practice of a person who lives the life of obedience to esoteric law, is the reversal of the more usual ways of thinking, speaking and doing."

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Experiments and exercises in becoming an aggressively sensitive, thunderously receptive, ethically mischievous Master of Mutant Intimacy

1. In American psychotherapy, the first question many practitioners ask their new clients is essentially, "What did your parents do to you to mess you up so badly?" One of my Japanese friends tells me that in his country, a therapist is more likely to ask, "What did your parents do for you? How did they nurture and support you?"

Without dismissing the possibility that your mom and dad did inflict damage on you, I'll ask you to concentrate on the Japanese-style inquiry for now. What are the best things that happened to you when you were growing up? What did your family and community give you that you've never fully appreciated?


2. Beauty and Truth Lab researcher Beth had a dream that she and her tribe were living peacefully at the foot of a mountain. Without warning, fiery ash and lava erupted. Everyone fled, desperate to escape. But before she had gone far, Beth heard a voice in her head say, "Run toward the volcano; it's your only safety."

Feeling an inexplicable trust in the voice, she turned around and started heading back, whereupon the dream ended and she woke up.

Soon after getting out of bed, she felt moved to face up to a certain dilemma she'd been ignoring in her waking life. When she solved the problem a day later, she felt gratitude for the dream that had spurred her to do the right thing: Run toward the volcano.

What would be the equivalent in your own life?


3. Visualize in detail your dream lover. Your ideal soul mate. The embodiment of everything you find attractive.

Imagine that although this person feels the same way about you, there is a very good reason why the two of you can't make love or be together as a couple for a long time. Feel the sweet torment of your unquenched longing for each other, the impossible ache of fiery tenderness.

Picture all the ways you will work on yourself in the coming years to refine your soul and perfect your love, so that when the two of you can finally be united, you will have made yourself into the gorgeous genius you were born to be—a pure blessing and uncanny gift for your beloved.


4. I hope you can obtain the Avatar Elixir stashed in the golden obelisk in the underground fortress beneath the glass mountain.

It will allow you to produce the "triple-helix" energy that will give you the power to cross freely back and forth through the gateway between universes. Then wild beasts will obey your commands. Rivers will become your allies. Every star in the sky will shine directly on you.

And if for some reason you're not able to get your hands on that Avatar Elixir, you may be able to achieve similar results by drinking a bottle of beer stashed in the lower left rear section of the beverage cooler at a convenience store within five miles of your home.

Magic might be wherever you think it is.


5. After rejecting proposals from many directors, Bob Dylan finally authorized Oscar-nominated Todd Haynes to make a film about his life, I'm Not There.

Five different actors and one actress portrayed Dylan, including Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, and Christian Bale. "I set out to explode the idea that anybody can be depicted in a single self," Haynes told The Sunday Times.

Name the six actors and actresses you would choose to play you in the movie about your life.


6. Lewis Thomas was a physician who wrote elegantly about biology in books like The Lives of a Cell. I want to bring your attention to his meditation on warts. "Nothing in the body has so much the look of toughness and permanence as a wart," he wrote.

And yet "they can be made to go away by something that can only be called thinking ... Warts can be ordered off the skin by hypnotic suggestion"

Thomas regarded this phenomenon as "absolutely astonishing, more of a surprise than cloning or recombinant DNA."

Using your mind power, go ahead and shrink, dissolve, or banish a wart or wart-like vexation.


7. "I am a devout atheist," writes Tom of Ohio, "but I have to explain to my atheist friends that I do pray to the 'GodIdontbelievein.'

"My first direct contact with this Divinity arrived when I was coming out of anesthesia after surgery. I was somehow aware of my existence but totally sensory-deprived. As I emerged from total unconsciousness, a tiny flickering Tinkerbell-like creature in the form of a shimmering globe of light fluttered into my consciousness and hovered irresistibly before my internal eyes. I was in love with it and it loved me.

"In fact it was me, or at least the manifestation of cosmic energy that settles in me and is my being. It gave me a blessing of good will, then went about its business of operating my body. In parting, it gave me the assurance that it would always be there for me and with me, and would join me after it shut the body down for the last time.

"Since that first encounter, I commune with the little sparkling wonder every so often. I thank it for its presence and it thanks me for mine, though we are actually one and the same. I find myself praying to it, though there's really no need to—it knows me better than I do, and guides me toward my goals, though I know not what they are."

Inspired by Tom's report, write a love note or an expression of appreciation for the shimmering globe of wonder that animates your life.


8. Meditation teacher Wes Nisker helps students learn to calm the frenetic chatter of their minds. As earnest as he is in this heroic work, though, he also appreciates the importance of not trying too hard.

As you pursue your pronoia practice, call on his influence now and then. It'll keep you honest and prevent your anal sphincter from getting too high-strung.

Here's a blurb for one of his workshops. "This day will be of absolutely no use to you. Nothing will be furthered or accomplished by coming. Expect a time of effortlessness, relaxation, and poetry, hanging out, maybe a little mindfulness meditation—all for nothing.

"Some might understand this as a protest against our culture's speedy, goal-driven nature, but we know it won't amount to a hill of beans. Good intentions and purposefulness must be checked at the door."


9. "I usually solve problems by letting them devour me," wrote Franz Kafka. That's an interesting approach, I guess, and though it might work for a tiny minority of introverted, melancholy, hypersensitive artists, it's probably not a wise policy for you.

It may be better to fervently resist any temptation you might have to allow your problems to gobble you up.

Instead, why not be like a gargantuan sea monster in the midst of a perfect storm? Rise up as high as the dark sky and growl back at the thunder. Shoot flames from your mouth at the lightning. Become too big and ancient and wild to ever be devoured.


10. At New York's Museum of Modern Art, I brought my face to within a few inches of Vincent van Gogh's painting The Starry Night.

It looked delicious. I wanted to kiss it. I wanted to eat it. Its stars were throbbing and voluptuous. The night sky shimmered with spiral currents. In the foreground, the cypress tree flared like a shadowy flame.

I could also see that the artist had been less than thorough in applying his paint. Especially on the edges, but also in the middle of the painting, slivers of untouched canvas showed through. Fierce, innocent, nourishing, reckless, unfinished, this priceless work drank my attention for a long time, constantly refreshing my eyes with its ceaseless movement.

Can you be at peace with the fact that your masterpiece may always be unfinished?

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Most modern intellectuals scoff at angels, dismissing them as superstitious hallucinations or New Age goofiness.

But not all deep thinkers have shared their scorn. John Milton and William Blake regarded angels as real and as fully worthy of their explorations.

Celestial beings have also received serious treatment by literary heavyweights like Saul Bellow, E. M. Forster, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Leo Tolstoy.

Of course, just because smart people have considered the possibility that angels can have actual effects on the material world doesn't mean they do. Still, it might be interesting to keep an open mind.


For much of his career, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill was renowned for work that was well-grounded, lucidly crafted, and formal in style.

But from 1976 to 1982, while assembling his sprawling mystical epic The Changing Light of Sandover, he used a Ouija board to solicit the input of disembodied beings, including several archangels and the spirits of dead writers W. H. Auden and Gertrude Stein.

It was a brave—some said foolish—career move. He pushed beyond what had worked for him in the past, capitalizing on the risks his success had earned him.

The Changing Light of Sandover won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Some critics compared it to the masterpieces of Dante, Homer, and Blake.

"James Merrill was one of the central American poets of the 20th century," wrote Harold Bloom in a retrospective analysis of his work after his death in 1995.

"He had profound affinities with the great artists in verse: Milton, Pope, Tennyson, and Auden. Like them, he was an absolute master of diction, metrics, and cognitive music."

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Truth is so rare it is delightful to tell it.

—Emily Dickinson

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What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life? It's OK if you can't decide between the three or four most beautiful things. What's important is to keep visions of those amazements dancing in the back of your mind for the next two days.

Play with them in your imagination. Feel the feelings they rouse in you as you muse about the delights they have given you. Regard them as beacons that will attract other ravishing marvels into your sphere.

Now here's your second assignment: Be alert for and go hunting for a new "most beautiful thing."

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Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
—George Bernard Shaw


Sometimes, being true to yourself means changing your mind. Self changes, and you follow.
—Vera Nazarian


The person who never alters their opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
—William Blake


The interesting thing is always to see if you can find a fact that will change your mind about something, to test and see if you can.
—Diane Sawyer


Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.
—W. Somerset Maugham


Almost all of my many passionate interests, and my many changes of mind, came through books.
—Annie Dillard


The snake that can't cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.
—Friedrich Nietzsche


I wanted to be a ballerina. I changed my mind.
—Beverly Cleary


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Only the strongest people have the pluck to change their minds, and say so, if they see they have been wrong in their ideas.
—Enid Blyton


Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.
—Walt Whitman


The willingness to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence is a sign of rationality not weakness.
―Stuart Sutherland


I came from a different mind-set growing up, and my mind has changed.
—Katy Perry


Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
—Hannah Arendt


There is no point in asking me general questions because I am always changing my mind.
—Michel Houellebecq


You have the RIGHT to change your mind
—Oprah Winfrey


A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits.
—Carl Rogers


We are the sum of our efforts to change who we are. Identity is no museum piece sitting stock-still in a display case, but rather the endlessly astonishing synthesis of the contradictions of everyday life.
—Eduardo Galeano

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In my dream two nights ago, I told the mathematician-philosopher Ralph Abraham that what’s wrong with the world is that we are becoming embedded in machine consciousness.

More and more, we’re thinking like machines and expecting reality to be machine-like. This can be frustrating, because life is inherently non-machine-like.

I told Ralph that one cure is to spend more time in nature without a phone.

As a devoted dreamworker/player, I also regard the loving attention I give to my dreams as being essential in cultivating the alternative to machine consciousness.


As David Byrne says, "The world might be more dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe . . . I wouldn't be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn't logical, it's a song."


I have been listening closely to my dreams for decades. There's a lot to say about the subject, of course, and my upcoming book Lucky Storms will address the question in depth.

Simply, I think my dreams have loved me well because I approach them like a curious child more than as an exploitative entrepreneur looking for treasure to harvest and use in the waking realm.

I don't have any fundamental problem with looking in dreams for treasure that's useful in the waking world, and I have found great droves of it. But the attitude that predominates in me is the sense of wonder and innocence that loves to be amazed and surprised and mystified. I think that at least partially explains my modest success at being a dream listener.

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"Having very broad and abstract goals may maintain and exacerbate depression. Goals that are not specific are more ambiguous and, therefore, harder to visualize. If goals are hard to visualize it may result in reduced expectation of realizing them which in turn results in lower motivation to try and achieve them."

—Researchers at the institute of Health, Psychology, and Society


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A common obstruction to a vital intimate relationship is what I call the assumption of clairvoyance.

You imagine, perhaps unconsciously, that your partner or friend is somehow magically psychic when it comes to you—so much so that he or she should unfailingly intuit exactly what you need, even if you don't ask for it.

This fantasy may seem romantic, but it can undermine the most promising alliances.

To counteract any tendencies you might have to indulge in the assumption of clairvoyance, practice stating your desires aloud.

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The mantra "Fuck the world" sums up one of my favorite moods: rebellion against everything everywhere. It's beyond anarchy and nihilism. It's my utopian yearning to subvert and vanquish every facet of humdrum reality and replace it with soulful beauty. Fuck the world!

But wait! "Fuck the world" also sums up my favorite ambition: to revel in full-blast omnidirectional intimacy. Empathy and compassion, yes yes yes, but even more: never-ending ecstatic connection with all of creation. Being in unconditional lusty love with everything everywhere.

Are these two meanings of "fuck the world" contradictory? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't care. I love them bundled together.

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Some of us may have imagined, from time to time, that we are living in the hippest, coolest, most happening place in the world. New York? London? Berlin? Montreal? Shanghai? Barcelona? I can recall having delusions like that myself.

But the truth is, as far as I can tell, that everywhere is the center of the world.

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The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask.

—Alan Watts

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"Accept the possibility that there is a limitless range of awareness for which we now have no words; that awareness can expand beyond range of your ego, your self, your familiar identity, beyond everything you have learned, beyond your notions of space and time, beyond the differences which usually separate people from each other and from the world around them."

—Walter Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of The Dead

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Your body is your oracle.

—Brooke Underwood

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In my dream last night, I told a woman I know, "Your soul will still be alive a million years from now."

In tonight's dream, I will tell you the same thing about your soul.

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Is the world a dangerous, chaotic place with no inherent purpose, running on automatic like a malfunctioning machine and fundamentally inimical to your drive to find meaning?

Or are you surrounded by helpers in a friendly, enchanted universe that gives you challenges in order to make you smarter and wilder and kinder and trickier?

Trick questions! The answers may depend, at least to some degree, on what you believe is true.
Formulate a series of experiments that will allow you to objectively test the hypothesis that the universe is conspiring to help dissolve your ignorance and liberate you from your suffering.

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