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Week of May 5th, 2022

When We Discover Who We Are, We'll Be Free

When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.

—Ralph Ellison


You’re something between a dream and a miracle.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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My most recent book is finally available as an eBook:
Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

The eBook includes a new foreword and a new piece, “Strange Blessings,” that weren't in the Revised and Expanded edition.

(This eBook, like the Revised and Expanded edition, has 55% additional new material beyond what the first edition had.)

PRONOIA as an ebook at Amazon

PRONOIA as an ebook at Barnes and Noble

If you have the Apple Books app, click on it and search for "Pronoia."


You can also buy the hard-copy edition of PRONOIA at

Available at Powells

Available at Barnes & Noble

Available at Amazon

A free preview of the book is available here

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Shapeshifting Pronoia Therapy

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

1. Jungian analyst Arnold Mindell explores the relationship between mind and body. He thinks you can achieve optimal physical health if you're devoted to shedding outworn self-images.

In his book The Shaman's Body, he says, "You have one central lesson to learn—to continuously drop all your rigid identities. Personal history may be your greatest danger."

Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us, agrees. Raised as a boy, she later became a woman, but ultimately renounced gender altogether. "I love being without an identity," she says. "It gives me a lot of room to play around."

What identities would be healthy, even ecstatic, for you to lose? Describe the fun you'd have if you were free of them.


2. I was never the class clown. I am not a troubled but devilishly handsome wastrel living on a trust fund.

I've never beaten up anyone, have steadfastly not aspired to write like Raymond Carver, and have never played strip Scrabble with a junkie violinist on a leaky waterbed in a Key West penthouse.

There are so many things I am not and will never be, and I'm glad I know about them. It helps me stay focused on exactly who I am.

What about you? Who aren't you? Fantasize about all the paths you will never take. Put it in writing.


3. "Keep exploring what it takes to be the opposite of who you are," suggests psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of the book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. This advice is one of his ideas about how to get into attunement with the Tao, also known as being in the zone.

How would you go about being the opposite of who you are? Try it and see if it drives you into a state of euphoria.


4. Writing on, Scott Rosenberg recalled how in his youth he loved to play the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

"You'd have to choose not one but two 'alignments' for your character," he mused. "Good and evil, of course, but also 'law' and 'chaos.' And among the people I ran with, 'chaotic/good' was the thing to be, because it let you trust other people and still have fun."

Try out the "chaotic/good" approach for the character you play in your actual life.


5. To create a pearl, an oyster needs an aggravating parasite inside its shell. It builds layers of calcium carbonate around the invader, gradually fabricating the treasure.

How long does it take from the initial provocation to the finished product? Five years for a pearl of average size, and as many as 10 years for a big one.

Our question for you: How many years have you been engaged in the process of transforming your irritant into a masterpiece? How many more years do you think you still have to go?


6. Ariel was going through a hard time. She'd been weaning herself from a painkiller she'd taken while recovering from surgery. Her cat ran away, and there was a misunderstanding at work.

One night while at a nightclub with her friend Leila, she spied her ex-boyfriend kissing some woman. Meltdown ensued. Ariel fled the club and ran sobbing into the street, where she hurled her shoes on top of a passing bus.

Leila retrieved her and sat her down on a bench. "Because up until now you've displayed such exemplary grace in the face of chaos," Leila said, "I'm giving you a free Crazy Pass. It gives you a karma-free license to temporarily lose your mind."

This compassionate humor helped Ariel feel more composed. The rest of the night she partied with elegant savagery, achieving major relief and release without hurting ­herself.

Now I'm awarding you, too, a free Crazy Pass. How will you use it?


7. Attention please. This is your ancestors speaking. We've been trying to reach you through your dreams and fantasies, but you haven't responded. That's why we've commandeered this space.

So listen up. We'll make it brief. You're at a crossroads analogous to a dilemma that has baffled your biological line for six generations.

We ask you now to master the turning point that none of us have ever figured out how to negotiate. Heal yourself and you heal all of us. We mean that literally. Start brainstorming, please.


8. When playing the card game known as bridge, you're fortunate if you're dealt no cards of any particular suit. It allows you to use the trump suit to win tricks.

Identify a situation in your own life where a lack of a certain resource can work to your advantage, allowing you to be a free agent, an X-factor, a wild card; freeing you to capitalize on loopholes that aren't normally available; giving you access to luck that comes to you through what you're missing.


9. I give thanks for the dented rusty brown and gray 1967 Chevy 10 pick-up truck that my neighbor parks askew on the shoulder of the road near my house.

Its messy beauty snaps me back to sanity when my own perfectionism threatens to de-soul me, or when all the shiny, sleek, polished things of the world are on the verge of hypnotizing me into believing that only they should be considered attractive.

Are there equivalent triggers in your life?


10. Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress. While serving seven terms, she was an outspoken warrior who fought tirelessly for the rights of women, minorities, and the poor.

"My greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear," she said, "is my mouth, out of which comes all kinds of things one shouldn't always discuss for reasons of political expediency."

One of Chisholm's most famous exploits was her visit to segregationist politician George Wallace in the hospital after he was shot. Her supporters complained that she was consorting with the enemy.

But years later it paid off. Wallace helped her win the votes of southern congressmen when she sponsored legislation to give domestic workers a minimum wage.


11. The "Kumulipo" is an old Hawaiian prayer chant that poetically describes the creation of the world.

The word literally means "beginning-in-deep-darkness." Here darkness doesn't connote gloom and evil.

Rather, it's about the inscrutability of the embryonic state; the obscure chaos that reigns before germination.

Talk about a time you dwelt in kumulipo.

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David Whyte writes: "HIDING is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light.

"Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time.

"Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear.

"Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

"Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named.

"We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others.

"What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

"Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control.

"Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed.

"Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future."

—David Whyte
Excerpted from CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

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I’ve noticed people everywhere just keep getting crabbier and grumpier as the months go by, quicker and stronger in their impulse to complain and deride.

I understand why—stress levels are astronomical—but I have resolved, as much as possible, to be an oasis of non-crabbiness and non-grumpiness.

I am not a perfect oasis, though—as you can see from this message, which expresses sadness about universal grumpiness.


PS: I have personally been very nonstop happy since July 2020 because the creative energy has been flowing through me in such abundance, praise Goddess.


Rebecca Solnit writes: "One thing I often think these days is that tons of people are having a visceral emotional response to the terrible pressures and fears of our time, but they're turning that into an intellectual analysis of why they need to believe this crazy shit or attack that vulnerable target.

"That way they believe they're having a rational response to something external rather than an emotional one to something internal, and this will go on indefinitely as long as the true source of that energy is not clear.

"I'm not sure how else to explain the large numbers of people who seem to have gotten on board with a lot of luridly weird and hostile stuff."

"Confusing emotions with analyses is such a pandemic unto itself."

Rebecca Solnit, who ALWAYS posts interesting stuff, is here.

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My daughter Zoe Brezsny performs two poems, "Timelapse Passionflower" and "Sunken Meadow Park II," on SALUTATIONS, a new album that features an amazing group of contemporary women musicians, writers. and artists.

The album is available digitally, on BandCamp, or on vinyl

A portion of the proceeds will benefit ABO Comix, a collective that amplifies the voices of LGBTQ prisoners through art and correspondence, establishing penpalships and other initiatives between the free and incarcerated.

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You are affection. You are the future.

You are love: miraculous and unforeseen reason

Was there a time when a breakdown mutated into a breakthrough; or a spiritual emergency evolved into a spiritual emergence; or a scary trial led to a sacred trail?


Despite what cynics say, the future is wide open. No one can suppress or deny your power to create your life in ways that reflect your noblest longings.

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

Sign up here for your free subscription.

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"Rebranding God" Pronoia Therapy

Experiments and exercises in becoming a bewilderingly enlightened, ecstatically grateful Master of Fiendishly Benevolent Tricks

1. There is no God. God is dead. God is a drug for people who aren't very smart. God is an illusion sold to dupes by money-hungry religions. God is a right-wing conspiracy. God is an infantile fantasy favored by superstitious cowards who can't face life's existential meaninglessness.

JUST KIDDING! The truth is, anyone who says he knows what God is or isn't, doesn't.

Now read Adolfo Quezada's prayer, then confess what you don't know about God.

"God of the Wild, you are different from what I expected. I cannot predict you. You are too free to be captured for the sake of my understanding. I can't find you in the sentimentalism of religion. You are everywhere I least expect to find you. You are not the force that saves me from the pain of living; you are the force that brings me life even in the midst of pain."


2. The German word selig can mean "ecstatic," "blessed," or "holy." It implies that profound bliss can be a divine gift; that deep pleasure may generate or come from spiritual inspiration.

The English language doesn't have a term comparable to selig, maybe because our culture regards ecstasy with suspicion.

Religious people tend to believe that the blessed are those who are good and kind, certainly not those who are skilled at cultivating rapturous states of union with all of creation.

Many people who worship rationality, on the other hand, think of holy ecstasy as at best an irrelevant state, and at worst a nonproductive or deluded indulgence.

What would you have to do to place yourself in intimate alignment with the values embodied by the word selig?


3. "They say a thing is holy if it makes you hold your tongue," muses a character in John Crowley's fantasy novel Engine Summer, speaking of the difference between his culture and another. "But we say a thing is holy if it makes you laugh."

Is your goofy joy compatible with your yearning for the breakthroughs that make you feel at home in the world? Can your giddiness serve your reverence?

PS: The English word "silly" comes from the German selig.


4. In the film Angels in America, the character named Belize describes his vision of heaven. It's not a spotlessly clean gated community where everyone wears white gowns and nothing ever changes.

Rather, it's a "big city, overgrown with weeds, but flowering weeds. On every corner a wrecking crew, and something new and crooked going up catty-cornered to that. Gusts of gritty wind, and a gray, high sky alive with ravens.

"Piles of trash, but lapidary like rubies and obsidian. Diamond-colored streamers. Voting booths. Dance palaces full of music and lights and racial impurity and gender confusion. All the deities are creole, mulatto, brown as the mouths of rivers."

Inspired by Belize, vamp and riff on your vision of heaven.


5. I love this excerpt from "The Seeker," a poem by Rilke in his Book of Hours (translated by Robert Bly): "I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, / and I have been circling for a thousand years, / and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm, / or a great song."

Here's my own permutation: "I am circling around love, around the throbbing hum, and I have been circling for thousands of days, and I still don't know if I am a wounded saint, or a rainy dawn, or a creation story."

I invite you to compose your own version.


6. Neither God nor the gods are dead, but they seem to be disappearing because so few of us are capable of carrying on authentic relationships with them anymore.

The materialist delusion rules: Millions believe that nothing's real unless it can be perceived by the senses.

Churches and temples are full of ethical people, but many of them have no clue about how to know or feel or converse with the divine intelligences.

What can the deities do, having been banished from our conscious knowing? Jung said they have no recourse but to worm their way into our lives as sickness and pathology. Repressed, they come in the back door.

Which of your maladies or pains might be gods in disguise? How might you get them to take off their masks and begin knocking on the front door?


7. What if the Creator is like the poet Rainer Maria Rilke's God: "like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence"?

What if the Source of All Life inhabits both the dark and the light, heals with strange splendor as much as with sweet insight, is hermaphroditic and omnisexual?

What if the Source loves to give you riddles that push you past the boundaries of your understanding, forcing you to change the ways you think about everything?

What if, as Rusty Morrison speculates in Poetry Flash, "the sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear's boundary, beyond one's previous conceptions of the beautiful"?

Close your eyes and imagine you can sense the presence of this tender, marvelous, difficult, entertaining intelligence.


8. In Judeo-Christian cultures, many people associate the sky with the masculine form of God. According to this bias, the Supreme Father rules us all from on high—up, away, far from here.

But if you were an ancient Egyptian, the sky was the goddess Nuit, her body its very substance. She was a loving mother whose tender touch could be felt with each new breath.

For one day, act as if you and the sky goddess are in constant contact.


9. In some ancient Greek dramas, a god showed up out of nowhere to cause a miraculous twist at a crucial point in the tale.

This divine intrusion was referred to as theos ek mechanes, literally "god from a machine," because the symbolic figure of the god was lowered onto the stage by a crane.

In modern usage, the term is Latin—deus ex machina—and refers to a story in which a sudden event unexpectedly brings about a resolution to a baffling problem.

Write a tale in which you're the beneficiary of such an intervention.


10. A few years ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a shiny red planet-like world orbiting the sun far beyond Pluto.

They called it Sedna, a name they said was derived from the Inuit deity that created the Arctic's sea creatures. But the truth about the myth of Sedna is more complicated.

She is the Dark Goddess, embodiment of the wild female potencies that are feared yet sorely needed by cultures in which the masculine perspective dominates.

Dwelling on the edge of life and death in her home at the bottom of the sea, Sedna is both a source of fertile abundance and a mysterious prodigy.

Shamans from the world above swim down to sing her songs and comb her long black hair. If they win her favor, she gives them the magic necessary to heal their suffering patients.

I suspect the discovery of Sedna is an omen signaling our collective readiness to welcome back the long-repressed influence of the Dark Nurturer. Do you have room for her in your religion?

Here are some further omens, all of which have pronoia embedded in their dark and fertile musings.

1. Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

2. Spiritual Madness: The Necessity of Meeting God in Darkness, an audio CD by Caroline Myss.

3. The Creative Fire, an audio CD by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

4. My book The Televisionary Oracle, which you can buy HERE and read sections of for free here.

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