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Week of November 25th, 2021

Every Act Is an Act of Magick

Butterflies can't see their wings. They can't see how truly beautiful they are, but everyone else can. People are like that as well.

—Naya Rivera

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I've been asking my allies whether they have discovered any of the 13 Useful and Soulful Secrets about the Real Reality — as opposed to the 13 Obvious and Sentimental Secrets about the Fake Reality. Below are among the best so far. I'd love to hear yours.

• Every act is an act of magick.

• You will find beauty in everything when you look for it. Conversely, you can ignore beauty if you really want to. But who wants to?

• In the long run, it's healthiest to side with those who tell the most truth.

• Confucius said, "All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by their right names."

• Don't stop learning just because you know it all.

• Truth is sneaky and mischievous, often hiding in unexpected places.

• Ssshhhh — Communication doesn't solve everything.

• William James said, "I will act as if what I do makes a difference."

• Don't let yourself be trapped into being who you used to be if that's not who you are anymore.

• Question your ego, and you will know when to question others.

• No one is ever able to tell the whole truth. That is a package of facts known only to the Eternal Intelligence formerly known as "God."

• Be kind to yourself. That is not the same as indulging yourself or spoiling yourself. It means to conduct your inner monologue as though you were counseling a friend whom you dearly love.

• Look for an oracle who will ask you the right questions.

• Whatever your problems are, someone has it far worse and someone has it far better

• Applaud creativity, even when it bothers you.

• Pretending you don't feel how you feel doesn't make you feel different.

• Thoughts are inevitable, but believing them is optional.

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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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Mythologist Michael Meade says that the essential nature of every human soul is gifted, noble, and wounded.

I agree. Cynics who exaggerate how messed-up we all are, ignoring our beauty, are just as unrealistic as naive optimists.

But because the cynics have a disproportionately potent influence on the zeitgeist, they make it harder for us to evaluate our problems with a wise and balanced perspective.
Many of us feel cursed by the apparent incurability of our wounds, while others, rebelling against the curse, underestimate how wounded they are.

Meade says: "Those who think they are not wounded in ways that need conscious attention and careful healing are usually the most wounded of all."

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Our trained Prayer Warriors are standing by, ready to study the protests and complaints you desperately want the Goddess to hear. Send your mad, rebellious, poignant, ingenious appeals and benedictions to us now.

Be assured that our Prayer Warriors have not only received extensive training in the language of the Goddess--they have pull with the Supreme Being Herself!

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"One must think with the body and the soul or not think at all," wrote historian Hannah Arendt.

She implied that thinking only with the head can spawn monsters and demons. Mere conceptualization is arid and sterile if not interwoven with the wisdom of the soul and the body's earthy intuitions. Ideas that are untempered by feelings and physical awareness can produce poor maps of reality.

I invite you to incorporate these empowering suggestions into your life strategy. As you seek understanding of what's going on, draw on all your different kinds of intelligence.

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The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the threshold where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep.

— Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks


There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At
night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine. Breathe into
me. Close the language-door and
open the love window. The moon
won’t use the door, only the window.

— Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks


When I see your face, the stones start spinning! Water turns pearly. Fire dies down and doesn't destroy. In your presence I don't want what I thought I wanted.



We are pain and what cures pain, both. We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours. I want to hold you close like a lute, so that we can cry out with loving.
Would you rather throw stones at a mirror? I am your mirror and here are the stones.



Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning/ long enough.
rom now on, I'll be mad.



Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo

You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate. There are wheat fields and mountain passes and orchards in bloom. At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."

You ask the embryo why he or she stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed. Listen to the answer. 'There is no *other world.*



"You've been walking the ocean's edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry," writes Barks in his translation of Rumi.

What he means is that you've been too tentative and inhibited in your relationship with the tidal forces of love; you've been holding back from giving your total devotion to the primal power that fuels the universe.

"You must dive naked under and deeper under," Barks and Rumi continue, "a thousand times deeper!"


You are the sky my spirit circles in, the love inside love, the resurrection-place.



A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.



Our defects are the ways that glory gets manifested. Keep looking at the bandaged place. That's where the light enters you.



Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle.



The 13th-century Sufi mystic poet Rumi is known mostly through the "translations" of poet Coleman Barks. The scholars I know say Barks takes EXTREME liberties with Rumi's texts, to the point that he should considered a collaborator, not a translator. But it's still great stuff, in my opinion.


PS: Shams-i Tabrīzī, Rumi's best buddy and mentor, was sometimes a stand-in for The Friend, aka "God." Rumi wrote 3,000 poems for Shams, expressing his love and devotion for his guide whom he referred to as the bird and the sun who showed him the right path.


In 1977, English professor Coleman Barks had a dream that changed his life. In the dream, he was relaxing on a riverbank near his childhood home in Georgia.

A ball of light floated towards him. It contained a man with his head bowed and eyes closed, sitting cross-legged and wearing a white shawl. The man raised his head, opened his eyes, and said, "I love you," and Barks answered, "I love you, too."

Some time after this dream, he met the same mysterious figure in waking life. It was a Sri Lankan holy man, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, who ultimately set Barks on the path to becoming a translator of the dead mystic poet Rumi.

Today Rumi's books are bestsellers, largely due to Barks.

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My dreams are messages from my soul. Why are they sometimes so incomprehensible? Well, because my soul is trying is communicate from a place that is outside of time, a place where my soul is aware of multiple levels of reality, many of which are not consciously available to the me that is portraying the "Rob Brezsny" personality in this lifetime.

My soul is doing its best to convey the essence of the raw truths I need to know at any particular moment, but they are far more complex and eternal and from-many-different-levels than is possible to convey literally in the material zone.

So my dreams are often odd, disjointed, and alien not because there's a strange, unintegrated part of me that has little to do with the conscious ego in me (as per the book I've been reading); but rather because it's trying to break down impossibly rich messages from eternity; trying to create three dimensions messages that originate in a 26-dimension reality.

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The entire object of prayer is to exalt the mind to an indissoluble unity with God. It must lift the mind on the wings of ardent aspiration — thus the phrase "inflame thyself with prayer" —in an unrestrained flight of love to a sense of kinship and unity with the whole of life.

—Israel Regardie

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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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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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