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Week of November 18th, 2021

Are You Alert for Beauty?

In honor of the fact that you're evolving into a higher octave version of yourself, I hereby give you the nickname of "Miracle Player," or else—if you like one of these better—"Sleek Cat" or "Giant Step" or "Fate Whisperer."

You may hereafter also use any of the following titles to refer to yourself: "CEO of My Own Life" or "Self-Teacher of Jubilance and Serenity" or "Fertile Blur of Supple Strength."

Feel free, as well, to anoint your head with organic virgin olive oil, fashion a crown for yourself out of roses, and come up with a wordless sound that is a secret sign you'll give to yourself whenever you need to remember the marvelous creature you are on your way to becoming.

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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.

Read past issues of the newsletter since May 12.

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How to cultivate a vibrant relationship with me:

1. Disagree with me in respectful ways, using articulate language and offering interesting ideas.

2. Agree with me in respectful ways, using articulate language and offering interesting ideas.

3. Expand my perspective, change my mind, and teach me things I don't know.

4. Delight me with your unpredictability, your lyrical reverence for the Great Mystery, and your joie de vivre and lust for life.

5. Reminisce about the fun times we had together in the past.

6. Do not call me an idiot or assassinate my character.

7. Turn me on to books, music, websites, movies, videos, and TV shows that have illuminated your destiny and that you think might fill me with wonder and excitement.

8. Don't tell that I used to be so ___________, but now I've become so _____________, and that's a terrible thing.

9. If you have good reasons to believe that I shouldn't use particular words because they are offensive, tell me about them while at the same time expressing compassion for my ignorance.

10. Tell me some good news you have discovered that you think would be fun for me to know about.

11. Don't tell me that because I am an astrologer, I should stick solely to writing about astrology.

12. Tell me how you celebrate life in general, and how you are celebrating life right now.

13. Don't tell me that because I am a spiritual person with a spiritual philosophy, I should never write about politics.

14. With compassion and patience, suggest to me how I might become a better writer and thinker and feeler. Show me how I might become more of the person I want to be.

15. if you haven't taken in at least a smidgen of my published writings and musical offerings, don't act as if you know all the subjects and issues I have ever discussed in my 40+ years of expressing myself in public.

16. Express praise for people you think are doing good work in the world and who are working in behalf of social justice—seeking to bring relief and healing and abundance to those who are less privileged and not well-endowed financially.

17. Point me in the direction of the beautiful creations you have made or helped to make.

18. Don't tell me I should make an effort to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of white supremacists and other racists, misogynists and toxic patriarchal abusers, nazis, Trumpians, plutocrats, spiritual bypassers, militarists, New Age conspiracy mongers, anti-vaxxers whose words and actions result in people getting sick or dying from covid, bigots who want to oppress LGBTQIA people, and fundamentalists of all stripes, including fundamentalist atheists and fundamentalist practitioners of scientism.

19. Describe to me what you would need to feel like our world is more like a paradise than it is right now.

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

I. In the film *Fight Club*, the character played by Brad Pitt storms into a convenience store with a gun, then herds the clerk out back and threatens to execute him. While the poor man quivers in terror, Pitt asks him questions about himself, extracting the confession that he'd once wanted to be a veterinarian but dropped out of school.

After a few minutes, Pitt frees the clerk without harming him, but says that unless he takes steps to return to veterinary school in the next six weeks, he will hunt him down and kill him.

In my opinion, that's an overly extreme way to motivate someone to do what's good for him. I wish I could come up with a less shocking approach to coax you into resuming the quest for your deferred dreams. Can you think of anything?


2. Lie on your back with your arms outstretched and have a friend measure the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the other.

Do you have a wingspan similar to that of a hawk? Eagle? Osprey? The mythical thunderbird? Pterodactyl? Close your eyes and visualize yourself hovering and swooping above the treetops. What do you see below you?


3. "The important thing," said French critic Charles Du Bos, "is to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

Did he really mean at any moment? Like while we're in a convenience store buying a magazine? While we're lying in bed ready for sleep and reviewing the events of the day?

While we're adrift in apathetic melancholy, watching too much TV and neglecting our friends?

At any moment?! I say yes. At all times and in all places be ready to sacrifice what you are for what you could become.


4. Russian scientists have discovered gold deposits in the dust of decayed tree stumps. The phenomenon occurs in forests growing in ground where there is gold ore. Over the course of centuries, the trees' roots suck in minute quantities of the precious metal, eventually accumulating nuggets.

Describe a metaphorically comparable process you could carry out in your own life over the course of the next 20 years. What invisible part of you is like a tree's roots? What's the gold you'd like to suck up?


5. I'm smarter in some places than in others. In Florence, Amsterdam, and Milwaukee, my IQ is off the charts. In Munich, Madrid, and Washington, D.C., I'm rather dull-witted.

Even in Northern California, where I usually live, some spots are more conducive to my higher brain functioning. I'm an idiot on Market Street in San Francisco, whereas I'm awash in wise insights whenever I set foot on Mt. Tamalpais.

What's this about? The specialized branch of astrology called astrocartography would say that the full potentials of my horoscope are more likely to emerge in certain power spots. What about you? Wander around and test to see where you feel most in tune with your deep brilliance.


6. The force of gravity is omnipresent, even though it can't be seen, heard, or touched, and almost no one can explain it. There wasn't even a word for it until the 17th century, when Isaac Newton discovered it and named it after the Latin term gravitas, meaning "heaviness" or "seriousness."

As you deepen your inquiries into pronoia, you may enjoy a similar breakthrough. Can you imagine what it would feel like to become aware of an omnipresent ocean of wild divine love that has always been a secret to you in the same way that the sea is invisible to a fish?


7. Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium. Chemist John Walker invented the match. Physicist Wilhelm Röentgen was the first person to find out about X-rays.

What do these great minds have in common? They all refused to take out patents in connection with their innovations, believing they shouldn't make any profit on something that should belong to everyone.

Try giving away some of your brilliance for free.

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Visualize a chalice—a ceremonial drinking cup. What's the first image that occurs to you? Is it silver? Ceramic? Plastic? What color? How big? Is it long-­stemmed or squat? Does it have a wide, shallow cup or a tall, narrow one, or what? Close your eyes and spend a moment with this vision before reading on.

So you've pictured a chalice in your mind's eye. Here's an analysis of its possible meaning: What you envisioned represents your capacity to be filled up with goodies. It's a snapshot of your subconscious receptivity to favors and help and inspiration.

For instance, if you imagined a shallow plastic champagne glass, it signifies ­that you may not be well prepared to drink deeply of the elixirs the universe is conspiring to provide you.

On the other hand, a large-­volume, gracefully shaped sterling silver cup suggests that ­you're ready and willing to receive a steady outpouring of wonders.

A long-stemmed chalice may indicate you're inclined to be aggressive about filling your cup. A short, squat stem could mean you're not feeling very deserving of having your cup filled.

Now here's the fun part. If you imagined an inadequate chalice, you can change it. If you pictured a chalice you like, you can add more details to it.

Take some time to picture a vessel that's perfectly worthy of you. Imprint it on your imagination. Then, for the next nine days, conjure it up every morning for five minutes right after you wake up, and every evening for five minutes before you go to sleep. It will reprogram your subconscious mind to be ready and willing to accept all the favors and help and inspiration you need.

That in turn will exert an influence on your surroundings, making it easier for the world to deliver its favors and help and inspiration.

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Mark Seltman is a palm-reader whose approach to his art is different from most fortune-tellers. If he sees a character flaw indicated by a line on your palm, he won't make you feel like it's a curse that you're powerless to resist; instead, he'll tell you what you can do to fix it or overcome it.

An article about Seltman on described how his daughter was born with a hand that suggested she'd suffer from low self-esteem when she grew up. In response, Seltman dedicated himself to building her confidence and competence.

Now, years later, the warning sign in her hand at birth has disappeared; she's brimming with aplomb.

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How powerful are the altruistic, idealistic forces already at work in the world. Most of us would say, if asked, that we live in a capitalist society, but vast amounts of how we live our everyday lives – our interactions with and commitments to family lives, friendships, avocations, membership in social, spiritual and political organisations – are in essence noncapitalist or even anticapitalist, made up of things we do for free, out of love and on principle.

Rebecca Solnit


Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society that you wanted. How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now!

—Paul Goodman

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If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.

—Sharon Salzberg

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In 2005, I published the first edition of my book Pronoia Is the Antidote to Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.

In 2009, I published the revised and expanded edition, which has 55% additional new material beyond the first edition.

I am working on an ebook edition, which should be available in early 2022.

Herea are my meditations:

Is pronoia still a philosophy worth wielding? Can we justify its continued viability in an age when bigoted authoritarianism has hijacked so many imaginations?

Does it make logical or soulful sense to embrace crafty optimism and radical hope now that the climate crisis has degenerated into the climate emergency?

Do we dare celebrate anything at all in the face of the teeming mobs that proudly proclaim their support for the ever-more bloated malfeasance of patriarchy and plutocracy and militarism and science-phobia?

As I have contemplated these questions, my mission has been to embody humble objectivity. In the spirit of curiosity and discernment, which guide my practice of pronoia, I didn't want to automatically assume that my previous ideals should be my future ideals.

I even considered the possibility that maybe I should abandon my ebullient quest to propagate beauty and truth and justice and love—and surrender to the seemingly reasonable mandate of cynicism.

One set of evidence that influenced my ruminations is the cascade of progressive advances that have blossomed alongside the deterioration. The joyous upgrades are too numerous to list in their entirety, but I'll name a few.

• Same-sex marriage is now widely supported. Discrimination against gay people has declined precipitously.

• Breakthrough improvements in welcoming broader definitions of gender identity are far from complete, but they have generated significant shifts.

• Young people are extraordinarily liberal and progressive, to a degree that surpasses all previous generations.

• The traditional family, with its rigid gender roles and retrograde values, is in steep decline.

• More than half of newborn babies in the US are racial or ethnic minorities, as are the majority of K-12 students in public schools. And minorities are progressives’ strongest constituency.

• The #MeToo movement has been highly effective in checking sexual abuse and harassment.

• A robust majority of Americans wants the government to guarantee healthcare, is in favor of making immigration easier, and believes discrimination against Black people is still a big problem. Two-thirds of Americans express some support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

• There are well over a million organizations engaged in a global crusade to improve social justice, economic conditions, human rights, and environmental health. It thrives without centralized leadership, charismatic front people, or a fixed ideology.

• Author and activist Rebecca Solnit, a savvy critic of our era's sickness, nonetheless exults in "the tremendous human rights achievements" that have burgeoned: "not only in gaining rights but in redefining race, gender, sexuality, embodiment, spirituality and the idea of the good life."


For three weeks, I meditated daily on my questions about the ongoing usefulness of pronoia. I shed all my assumptions and theories so I could embody the innocence of beginner's mind.

Here's what I concluded. No matter what the state of the world might be, it's my pragmatic job and my soul task to perpetrate regeneration and awakening and inspiration and liberation.

Borrowing from Charles Dickens, I proclaim it to be irrelevant whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, the season of light or the season of darkness, the spring of hope or the winter of despair. My goals are the same in all cases.

And the truth is, I can't possibly know in any absolute way how terrible or wonderful the collective state of affairs is—not now, not 20 years or a thousand years ago, not ever. I'm not smart enough to accomplish that unachievable understanding. Nor can I ever gather sufficient information to do so.

I'll go further. None of us has the capacity to foretell the fate of the world. Not psychics, not economic forecasters, not doomsayers, not trend analysts, not interdisciplinary futurists, not indigenous shamans. No one!

A strong case can be made that in the next 100 years, everything will collapse into a miserable dystopia. A strong case can also be made that we are evolving, albeit with a bumpy rhythm, in the direction of paradise. And there is not a single genius anywhere on the planet who has the wisdom to formulate an incontrovertible prediction.

“Whether we are on the threshold of a Golden Age or on the brink of a global cataclysm that will extinguish our civilization is not only unknowable, but undecided,” said the founder of the World Future Society.

Anyone who asserts they do know is cherry-picking evidence that rationalizes their emotional bent. The variables are chaotic and abundant and beyond our ken.

In light of the fact that no one knows nuthin', the eminently practical and sensible approach is to do all we can to create a Golden Age—not just for ourselves, since that wouldn't be a real Golden Age— but for every human and every creature on earth.

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Now I'll bring in some helpers in to bolster and refine my thoughts about PRONOIA..

First, here's one of my mentors, progressive historian Howard Zinn: "An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

"What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."


Here's another one of my politically progressive mentors, Noam Chomsky: "Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope."


Here's one of my heroes, whom I cited earlier, Rebecca Solnit: "Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency.

"Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal.

"To hope is to give yourself to the future—and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”


Another one of my heroes, author and activist Naomi Klein, tells a story about the time she traveled to Australia at the request of Aboriginal elders. They wanted her to know about their struggle to prevent white people from dumping radioactive wastes on their land.

Her hosts brought her to their beloved wilderness, where they camped under the stars. They showed her "secret sources of fresh water, plants used for bush medicines, hidden eucalyptus-lined rivers where the kangaroos come to drink."

After three days, Klein grew restless. When were they going to get down to business? "Before you can fight," she was told, "you have to know what you are fighting for."


Poet W. S. Merwin: "On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree."


Author and activist Helen Keller: "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."


Author Rachel Pollack: "We cannot predict the results of healing, either our own or the world around us. We need to act for the sake of a redemption that will be a mystery until it unfolds before us."


Educator David L. Cooperrider: "Almost without exception, everything society has considered a social advance has been prefigured first in some utopian writing."


Sociologist Fred Polak: "The rise and fall of images of the future precede or accompany the rise and fall of cultures. As long as a society's image is positive and flourishing, the flower of culture is in full bloom. Once the image begins to decay and lose its vitality, the culture does not long survive."


Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."


Author and activist Rebecca Solnit again: "Hope locates itself in the premises that we don't know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes—you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others.

"Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.

"It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone."


Author Agatha Christie: "I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

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Kai Cheng Thom wrote all the words in the essay below: "I think the major difference between a social justice and a white/colonial lens on trauma is the assumption that trauma recovery is the reclamation of safety—that safety is a resource that is simply 'out there' for the taking and all we need to do is work hard enough at therapy.

"I was once at a training seminar in Toronto led by a famous & beloved somatic psychologist. She spoke brilliantly. I asked her how healing from trauma was possible for people for whom violence & danger are part of everyday life. She said it was not.

"Colonial psychology & psychiatry reveal their allegiance to the status quo in their approach to trauma: That resourcing must come from within oneself rather than from the collective. That trauma recovery is feeling safe in society, when in fact society is the source of trauma

Colonial somatics & psychotherapies teach that the body must relearn to perceive safety. But the bodies of the oppressed are rightly interpreting danger. Our triggers & explosive rage, our dissociation & perfect submission are in fact skills that have kept us alive


The somatics of social justice cannot (i believe) be a somatics rooted in the colonial frameworks of psychology, psychiatry, or other models linked to the dominance of the nation-state (psychology was not always this way, but has become increasingly so over time)

The somatics of social justice cannot be aimed at restoring the body to a state of homeostasis/neutrality. We must be careful of popular languaging such as the 'regulation' of nervous system & emotion, which implies the control and domination of mind over emotion & sensation.

"Because we are not, in the end, preparing the body to 'return' to the general safety of society (this would be gaslighting). we are preparing the body, essentially for struggle—training for better survival & the ability to experience joy in the midst of great danger.

"In the cauldron of social justice healing praxis, we must aim for relationality that has the potential to generate social change, to generate insurrection. we must be prepared to challenge norms. acknowledge danger. embrace struggle. take risks.

"& above all, we must not overemphasize the importance of individual work (which is important indeed) to the detriment of a somatics that also prepares us, essentially, for war. somatics that allow us to organize together. fight together. live together. love each other.

—Kai Cheng Thom

Here's info about the author I've quoted here at length, Kai Cheng Thom.

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