Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter
November 14, 2018
NEW ROSES AS AN ANTIDOTE TO NEUROSIS
The phrase "new roses" can serve as an antidote to neurosis -- as a kind of magical spell. You might invoke it when you're in danger of getting undermined by either your own neurosis or someone else's.
If you notice, for instance, that your subconscious mind is spiraling down into a sour fantasy stirred up by one of your habitual fears, you could mutter a cheerful round of "new roses, new roses, new roses."
If your allies slip into the same compulsive behavior that they tend to get stuck in whenever stress overflows, you could chant "new roses, new roses, new roses" in a tuneful, affectionate tone.
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IF THE ANGEL DECIDES TO COME . . .
"If the Angel decides to come it will be because you have convinced her, not by tears, but by your humble resolve to be always beginning; to be a beginner."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
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BE SCARIER THAN YOUR FEARS
EXPERIMENT: Be scarier than your fears. If an anxious thought pops into your mind, bare your teeth and growl, "Get out of here or I will rip you to shreds!" If a demon visits you in a nightly dream, chase after it with a torch and sword, screaming "Begone, foul spirit, or I will burn your mangy ass!"
Don't tolerate bullying in any form, whether it comes from a critical little voice in your head or from supposedly nice people who are trying to guilt-trip you. "I am a brave conqueror who cannot be intimidated!" is what you could say, or "I am a monster of love and goodness who will defeat all threats to my integrity!"
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DEVOTIONAL PRONOIA THERAPY
Devotional Pronoia Therapy. Experiments and exercises in becoming a gracefully probing, erotically funny, shockingly friendly Master of Orgasmic Empathy
1. What causes happiness? Brainstorm about it. Map out the foundations of your personal science of joy. Get serious about defining what makes you feel good.
To get you started, I'll name some experiences that might rouse your gratification: engaging in sensual pleasure; seeking the truth; being kind and moral; contemplating the meaning of life; escaping your routine; purging pent-up emotions. Do any of these work for you? Name at least ten more.
2. Are other people luckier than you? If so, psychologist Richard Wiseman says you can do something about it. His book The Luck Factor presents research that proves you can learn to be lucky. It's not a mystical force you're born with, he says, but a habit you can develop.
How? For starters, be open to new experiences, trust your gut wisdom, expect good fortune, see the bright side of challenging events, and master the art of maximizing serendipitous opportunities.
Name three specific actions you'll try in order to improve your luck.
3. Dumb suffering is the kind of suffering you're compulsively drawn back to over and over again out of habit. It's familiar, and thus perversely comfortable. Smart suffering is the kind of pain that surprises you with valuable teachings and inspires you to see the world with new eyes.
While stupid suffering is often born of fear, wise suffering is typically stirred up by love. The dumb, unproductive stuff comes from allowing yourself to be controlled by your early conditioning and from doing things that are out of harmony with your essence. The smart, useful variety arises out of an intention to approach life as an interesting work of art and uncanny game that's worthy of your curiosity.
Come up with two more definitions about the difference between dumb suffering and smart suffering.
4. Write the following on a piece of red paper and keep it under your pillow. "I, [put your name here], do solemnly swear on this day, [put date here], that I will devote myself for a period of seven days to learning my most important desire. No other thought will be more uppermost in my mind. No other concern will divert me from tracking down every clue that might assist me in my drive to ascertain the one experience in this world that deserves my brilliant passion above all others."
5. The primary meaning of the word "healing" is "to cure what's diseased or broken." Medical practitioners focus on sick people. Philanthropists donate their money and social workers contribute their time to helping the underprivileged. Psychotherapists wrestle with their clients' traumas and neuroses. I'm in awe of them all. The level of one's spiritual wisdom, I believe, is more accurately measured by helping people in need than by meditation skills, shamanic shapeshifting, supernatural powers, or esoteric knowledge.
But I also believe in a second kind of healing that is largely unrecognized: to supercharge what is already healthy; to lift up what's merely sufficient to a sublime state. Using this definition, describe two acts of healing: one you would enjoy performing on yourself and another you'd like to provide for someone you love.
6. 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.
7. Those who explore pronoia often find they have a growing capacity to help people laugh at themselves. While few arbiters of morality recognize this skill as a mark of high character, I put it near the top of my list. In my view, inducing people to take themselves less seriously is a supreme virtue.
Do you have any interest in cultivating it? How might you go about it?
8. Computer programmer Garry Hamilton articulated the following "Game Rules." Give examples of how they have worked in your life.
1. If the game is rigged so you can't win, find another game or invent your own. 2. If you're not winning because you don't know the rules, learn the rules. 3. If you know the rules but aren't willing to follow them, there's either something wrong with the game or you need to change something in yourself. 4. Don't play the game in a half-baked way. Either get all the way in or all the way out. 5. It shouldn't be necessary for others to lose in order for you to win. If others have to lose, re-evaluate the game's goals.
9. "There are two ways for a person to look for adventure," said the Lone Ranger, an old TV character. "By tearing everything down, or building everything up." Give an example of each from your own life.
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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:
111 women were elected to the U.S. House and Senate. There have also been eight female governors elected. Among the women elected to office, 40 are women of color.
Colorado Democrat Jared Polis won: the first openly gay man to be a Governor of a state.
New Mexico is sending a Native American woman to Congress. She's Debra Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo. A second Native American women is also going to Congress, Sharice Davids in Kansas. She's a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. These are the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress.
Democrat Laura Kelly beat Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the most notorious voter suppression crusaders in the country, to flip the governorship in deep-red Kansas to the Democrats.
Michigan's Democratic candidate Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota's Ilhan Omar will be the first-ever Muslim women in Congress. Omar is a Somali-American.
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer won the governor's race in Michigan.
One of the NRA’s top-funded Republicans went down hard in Virginia. Democrat Jennifer Wexton has unseated Rep. Barbara Comstock. Rep. Wexton promoted more serious gun safety, while Barbara Comstock continued to be one of the top ten NRA-funded House officials.
Ayanna Pressley is now the first-ever black woman to represent Massachusetts in the House.
Florida voters smashed a legacy of Jim Crow and restored voting rights to more than 1 million citizens.
Donna Shalala picked up Ileana Ros Lehtinen’s Miami House seat for the Democrats.
Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Dana Rohrabacher, Putin’s favorite Congressman, lost his seat to Democrat Harley Rouda
Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia are the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas.
Democrat Janet Mills is the first woman elected governor of Maine.
New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham is the first Democratic Latina elected governor in the U.S.
Democrat Abby Finkenauer and Democrat Cindy Axne became Iowa’s first two women elected to the House.
Democrat Tony Evers became governor of Wisconsin, ousting Scott Walker.
Gavin Newsom was elected the new governor of California, placing the risk-taking liberal at the center of the resistance to Trump.
Sadly, Beto O'Rourke lost in Texas, but Democratic House candidates flipped 11 red seats in the state.
Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts will become the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Neal just announced that his first order of business will be to demand the IRS hand over Donald Trump’s tax returns.
Seven scientists were elected to Congress, which is a hopeful sign in the wake of the Republicans' anti-science propaganda
(Note: I endorse these because I like them. They aren’t advertisements, and I get no kickbacks.)
Please tell me your own nominations for PRONOIA RESOURCES: Truthrooster@gmail.com.
FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
Week beginning November 15
Copyright 2018 by Rob Brezsny
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
The U.S. is the world’s top exporter of food. In second place is the Netherlands, which has 0.4 percent as much land as the U.S. How do Dutch farmers accomplish this miraculous feat? In part because of their massive greenhouses, which occupy vast areas of non-urbanized space. Another key factor is their unprecedented productivity, which dovetails with a commitment to maximum sustainability. For instance, they produce 20 tons of potatoes per acre, compared with the global average of nine. And they do it using less water and pesticides. In my long-term outlook for you Scorpios, I see you as having a metaphorical similarity to Dutch farmers. During the next 12 months, you have the potential to make huge impacts with your focused and efficient efforts.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
"The world is like a dropped pie most of the time," writes author Elizabeth Gilbert. "Don't kill yourself trying to put it back together. Just grab a fork and eat some of it off the floor. Then carry on." From what I can tell about the state of your life, Sagittarius, the metaphorical pie has indeed fallen onto the metaphorical floor. But it hasn't been there so long that it has spoiled. And the floor is fairly clean, so the pie won't make you sick if you eat it. My advice is to sit down on the floor and eat as much as you want. Then carry on.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
Novelist Anita Desai writes, "Isn't it strange how life won't flow, like a river, but moves in jumps, as if it were held back by locks that are opened now and then to let it jump forward in a kind of flood?" I bring this to your attention, Capricorn, because I suspect that the locks she refers to will soon open for you. Events may not exactly flow like a flood, but I'm guessing they will at least surge and billow and gush. That could turn out to be nerve-racking and strenuous, or else fun and interesting. Which way it goes will depend on your receptivity to transformation.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
"Miracles come to those who risk defeat in seeking them," writes author Mark Helprin. "They come to those who have exhausted themselves completely in a struggle to accomplish the impossible." Those descriptions could fit you well in the coming weeks, but with one caveat. You'll have no need to take on the melodramatic, almost desperate mood Helprin seems to imply is essential. Just the opposite, in fact. Yes, risk defeat and be willing to exhaust yourself in the struggle to accomplish the impossible; but do so in a spirit of exuberance, motivated by the urge to play.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
"Never invoke the gods unless you really want them to appear," warned author G. K. Chesterton. "It annoys them very much." My teachers have offered me related advice. Don't ask the gods to intervene, they say, until you have done all you can through your own efforts. Furthermore, don't ask the gods for help unless you are prepared to accept their help if it's different from what you thought it should be. I bring these considerations to your attention, Pisces, because you currently meet all these requirements. So I say go right ahead and seek the gods' input and assistance.
ARIES (March 21-April 19):
Interior designer Dorothy Draper said she wished there were a single word that meant "exciting, frightfully important, irreplaceable, deeply satisfying, basic, and thrilling, all at once." I wonder if such a word exists in the Chamicuro language spoken by a few Peruvians or the Sarsi tongue spoken by the Tsuu T'ina tribe in Alberta, Canada. In any case, I'm pleased to report that for the next few weeks, many of you Aries people will embody and express that rich blend of qualities. I have coined a new word to capture it: tremblissimo.
I LOVE YOU!
It has been a while since I told you that I love you. So I'm doing it now. I LOVE YOU.
And that's why I continue to offer these weekly horoscopes to you free of charge, with no strings attached. That's why I am so tenacious in my efforts to serve you as a feminist father figure and a kindly devil's advocate and a sacred cheerleader.
Again, I don't expect anything in return from you. But if you would like to express your appreciation, you could do so by offering a similar type of well-crafted care to people in your own sphere.
There is also something you could do to support me -- and help yourself at the same time! -- and that is to buy my EXPANDED AUDIO HOROSCOPES for you. They're four-to-five-minute meditations on the current state of your destiny.
To listen to your Expanded Audio Horoscope online, go to freewillastrology.sparkns.com
Register and/or log in through the main page.
You can also listen over the phone by calling 1-877-873-4888.
The cost is $6 per sign on the Web (discounts available for bulk purchases), or $1.99 per minute by phone.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
According to my astrological intuition, you're entering a phase when you will derive special benefit from these five observations by poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. 1. "There are truths that you can only say after having won the right to say them." 2. "True realism consists in revealing the surprising things that habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing." 3. "What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you." 4. "You should always talk well about yourself! The word spreads around, and in the end, no one remembers where it started." 5. "We shelter an angel within us. We must be the guardians of that angel."
GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
Adolescence used to be defined as a phase that lasted from ages 13 to 19. But scientists writing in the journal The Lancet say that in modern culture, the current span is from ages 10 to 24. Puberty comes earlier now, in part because of shifts in eating habits and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. At the same time, people hold onto their youth longer because they wait a while before diving into events associated with the initiation into adulthood, like getting married, finishing education, and having children. Even if you're well past 24, Gemini, I suggest you revisit and reignite your juvenile stage in the coming weeks. You need to reconnect with your wild innocence. You'll benefit from immersing yourself in memories of coming of age. Be 17 or 18 again, but this time armed with all you have learned since.
CANCER (June 21-July 22):
Cancerian baseball pitcher Satchel Paige had a colorful career characterized by creative showmanship. On some occasions, he commanded his infielders to sit down and loll on the grass behind him, whereupon he struck out three batters in a row—ensuring no balls were hit to the spots vacated by his teammates. Paige's success came in part because of his wide variety of tricky pitches, described by author Buck O'Neil as "the bat-dodger, the two-hump blooper, the four-day creeper, the dipsy-do, the Little Tom, the Long Tom, the bee ball, the wobbly ball, the hurry-up ball and the nothin' ball." I bring this to your attention, Cancerian, because now is an excellent time for you to amp up your charisma and use all your tricky pitches.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
"Everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head," writes fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss. "Always. All the time. We build ourselves out of that story." So what's your story, Leo? The imminent future will be an excellent time to get clear about the dramatic narrative you weave. Be especially alert for demoralizing elements in your tale that may not in fact be true, and that therefore you should purge. I think you'll be able to draw on extra willpower and creative flair if you make an effort to reframe the story you tell yourself so that it's more accurate and uplifting.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
In describing a man she fell in love with, author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote that he was both "catnip and kryptonite to me." If you've spent time around cats, you understand that catnip can be irresistible to them. As for kryptonite: it's the one substance that weakens the fictional superhero Superman. Is there anything in your life that resembles Gilbert's paramour? A place or situation or activity or person that's both catnip and kryptonite? I suspect you now have more ability than usual to neutralize its obsessive and debilitating effects on you. That could empower you to make a good decision about the relationship you'll have with it in the future.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
"I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others' limited imaginations," testifies Libran astronaut Mae Jemison. She adds, "I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my own limited imagination." Are those projects on your radar, Libra? I hope so. You now have extra power to resist being shrunk or hobbled by others' images of you. You also have extra power to help your friends and loved ones grow and thrive as you expand your images of them.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Testify at FreewillAstrology.com.
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Contents of the Free Will Astrology Newsletter are Copyright 2018 Rob Brezsny