Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter
March 4, 2020
And let the truth be your delight. Proclaim it—but with a certain congeniality.
—St. Catherine of Siena
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CONNECTED TO THE ANIMAL POWERS
Indigenous and ancestral shamans know that we are all connected to the world of the animal powers, and that by recognizing and nurturing our relation with animal spirits, we find and follow the natural path of our energies.
Yet many of us have lost this primal connection, or know it only as a superficial wannabe symbolic thing that we look up in books and medicine cards without feeding and living every day.
MANY FORMS OF INTELLIGENCE, NOT JUST HUMAN
According to the indigenous people who lived in the Americas before Europeans arrived, the world is populated with spiritual powers that take the shape of animals and plants and natural forces. In other words, there are many forms of intelligence, not just the kind that reside in human brains.
It's possible to communicate with these other intelligences. We can tune in to their alternate modes of knowing and seeing, thereby expanding our narrow understanding of reality. To do that, however, we can't rely on spoken and written language, but must be receptive to their non-verbal codes.
SINGING THE WORLD INTO EXISTENCE
Aboriginal creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path—birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes—and so singing the world into existence. Any species can be a Dreaming. A virus can be a Dreaming. You can have a chickenpox Dreaming, a rain Dreaming, a desert-orange Dreaming, a lice Dreaming.
CONVERSING WITH EVERYTHING
Aborigines openly and unaffectedly converse with everything in their surroundings—trees, tools, animals, rocks—as if all things have an intelligence deserving of respect. —Robert Lawlor
PLAY IS AS CRUCIAL AS SLEEPING
New and exciting studies of the brain, evolution, and animal behavior suggest that play may be as important to life—for us and other animals—as sleeping and dreaming. —Stuart L. Brown
ANIMALS GET HIGH
In his book Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness, ethnobotanist Giorgio Samorini proves that many animals deliberately alter their consciousness. His evidence includes robins that get drunk on holly berries and act "like winged clowns," as well as goats hooked on caffeine and reindeer that seek out hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Samorini concludes that the desire to get high is a natural drive. Intoxication has served as an evolutionary force for some species, breaking down outworn habits in such a way as to improve long-term survival.
MY POEM FOR YOU
You taste delicious
Animals understand you
Your importance is unusual
The funny faces you make are interesting to look at
You fight for power in all the right ways
Ecstatic gratitude is pouring out of you
I see the best in you
Your divine attitude
You have strong feet and a pioneer heart
No one can overflow as well as you can
You are famous with God
You are famous with me
You are famous with the snakes and birds
and roses and pines
and oceans and earth and sky
A lost tribe salutes you from the other side of the veil
You remind me of a star
HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF INTO A GREAT POEM
Love the earth and the sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labors to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency.
The Yanyuwa Aboriginal people live along the coast of Australia's Northern Territory. Their word for "fat" is nalu-ngiliny. It doesn't merely refer to the greasy stuff that grows naturally under the skin of animal bodies. It's also a metaphysical term for vitality.
Anything that's rich in nalu-ngiliny is healthy. A certain landscape may be considered fat, for instance, which means that it's fertile and sacred. When acacia flowers bloom each year, it's a sign that sea turtles and the marine mammals known as dugongs, favorite foods of the Yanyuwa, are "fat" and ready to be hunted.
I have a dream that you will identify the things in your life that are nalu-ngiliny, and give them the honor and gratitude they deserve.
SADNESS IN OUR BONES
Few of us have registered the fact that we're in the midst of the largest mass extinction of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs.
This is the conclusion of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, a professional society of 5,000 scientists.
Think of it: About 40 animal and plant species are dying off every day—a rate unmatched in 65 million years. Shouldn't this be a recurring headline on the front page of every major newspaper?
GIVE EVERYTHING NAMES
If a cow is given a name by her owner, she generates more milk than a cow that's treated as an anonymous member of the herd. That's the conclusion of a study done by researchers at Newcastle University in the UK. "Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name," said Dr. Catherine Douglas, "can significantly increase milk production."
Building on that principle, I suggest that you give everything in your world names, including (but not limited to) houseplants, insects, cars, appliances, and trees. It will help you get more up-close and personal with all of creation, which is an effective way to cultivate pronoia.
SHE UN-NAMES THEM
The Bible says Jehovah gave Adam the job of bestowing names on everything.
In Ursula Le Guin's story "She Unnames Them," Eve decides to reverse her mate's work. She yearns to return to a primordial state when the misunderstandings caused by words no longer stand between her and the rest of creation.
So she unnames all the animals, from the sea otters to the bees. When she's done, she marvels on how they feel "far closer than when their names had stood between myself and them like a clear barrier."
NATURE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU
I find it helpful to remember that a person can establish or reestablish that primal connection with the plants and animal spirits by just spending mindful time with them. In your backyard or on the sidewalk outside your building. You don't have to find a wilderness or a park.
Nature is always with you. You don't even have to go outdoors if that doesn't work for you. Spend some intentional time sitting next to the plant in the window. Give it a name like the man said. No plant? Good idea to get one then.
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It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack of what is found there.
—William Carlos Williams
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Excerpt of a poem by Tony Hoagland:
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;
overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,
dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,
so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
and throwing it away,
and making more.
― Tony Hoagland, "What Narcissism Means to Me"
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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:
New Study Finds Probiotics Dramatically Reducing the Symptoms of Depression.
This Veterinarian Has Spent 9 Years Wandering the California Coast Treating Homeless People’s Pets for Free.
Sisters Successfully Pressure Kellogg’s Food Company into Sustainably Sourcing All of Their Palm Oil to Help Orangutans.
(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 March 5
Copyright 2020 by Rob Brezsny
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20):
In 1637, renowned English poet John Milton wrote "Lycidas," a poetic elegy in honor of a friend. Reading it today, almost four centuries later, we are struck by how archaic and obscure the language is, with phrases like "O ye laurels" and "Ah! who hath reft my dearest pledge?" A famous 20th-century Piscean poet named Robert Lowell was well-educated enough to understand Milton's meaning, but also decided to "translate" all of "Lycidas" into plainspoken modern English. I'd love to see you engage in comparable activities during the coming weeks, Pisces: updating the past; reshaping and reinterpreting your old stories; revising the ways you talk about and think about key memories.
ARIES (March 21-April 19):
Progress rarely unfolds in a glorious, ever-rising upward arc. The more usual pattern is gradual and uneven. Each modest ascent is followed by a phase of retrenchment and integration. In the best-case scenario, the most recent ascent reaches a higher level than the previous ascent. By my estimate, you're in one of those periods of retrenchment and integration right now, Aries. It's understandable if you feel a bit unenthusiastic about it. But I'm here to tell you that it's crucial to your next ascent. Let it work its subtle magic.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20):
You are most likely to be in sweet alignment with cosmic rhythms if you regard the next three weeks as a time of graduation. I encourage you to take inventory of the lessons you've been studying since your birthday in 2019. How have you done in your efforts to foster interesting, synergistic intimacy? Are you more passionately devoted to what you love? Have you responded brightly as life has pushed you to upgrade the vigor and rigor of your commitments? Just for fun, give yourself a grade for those "classes," as well as any others that have been important. Then—again, just for fun—draw up a homemade diploma for yourself to commemorate and honor your work.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20):
Are you ready to seize a more proactive role in shaping what happens in the environments you share with cohorts? Do you have any interest in exerting leadership to enhance the well-being of the groups that are important to you? Now is an excellent time to take brave actions that will raise the spirits and boost the fortunes of allies whose fates are intermingled with yours. I hope you'll be a role model for the art of pleasing oneself while being of service others.
CANCER (June 21-July 22):
Cancerian author Lionel Trilling (1905–1975) was an influential intellectual and literary critic. One of his heroes was another influential intellectual and literary critic, Edmund Wilson. On one occasion, Trilling was using a urinal in a men's room at the New School for Social Research in New York. Imagine how excited he was when Wilson, whom he had never met, arrived to use the urinal right next to his. Now imagine his further buoyancy when Wilson not only spoke to Trilling but also expressed familiarity with his work. I foresee similar luck or serendipity coming your way soon: seemingly unlikely encounters with interesting resources and happy accidents that inspire your self-confidence.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22):
Poet Conee Berdera delivered a poignant message to her most valuable possession: the flesh and blood vehicle that serves as sanctuary for all her yearnings, powers, and actions. "My beloved body," she writes, "I am so sorry I did not love you enough." Near the poem's end she vows "to love and cherish" her body. I wish she would have been even more forceful, saying something like, "From now on, dear body, I promise to always know exactly what you need and give it to you with all my ingenuity and panache." Would you consider making such a vow to your own most valuable possession, Leo? It's a favorable time to do so.
ARE YOU THE HERO OF YOUR OWN LIFE?
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." So begins Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield.
I'd like to inspire you to create a story of your own that begins with similar words. That's why I provide these free horoscopes for you.
If you'd ever enjoy getting even more assistance from me, tune into your EXPANDED AUDIO HOROSCOPE, which I create for you each week. They're four-to-five-minute meditations on the current state of your destiny.
To buy and 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 On the Web. (Discounts are available for bulk purchases.) You can also access them for $1.99 per minute by phone. Each forecast is 4-5 minutes long.
"I don't much believe in astrology. But that doesn't seem to get in the way of me deriving a whole lot of benefits from your expanded audio horoscopes."
- A. Arrosto, Indianapolis
"You have an amazing aptitude for cutting through the lies I tell myself. Thanks for the gentle shocks."
- T. Preneris, Toronto
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22):
Luckily, the turning point you have arrived at doesn't present you with 20 different possible futures. You don't have to choose from among a welter of paths headed in disparate directions. There are only a few viable options to study and think about. Still, I'd like to see you further narrow down the alternatives. I hope you'll use the process of elimination as you get even clearer about what you don't want. Let your fine mind gather a wealth of detailed information and objective evidence, then hand over the final decision to your intuition.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22):
Certain artists are beyond my full comprehension. Maybe I'm not smart enough to understand their creations or I'm not deep enough to fathom why their work is considered important. For example, I don't enjoy or admire the operas of Wagner or the art of Mark Rothko. Same with the music of Drake or the novels of Raymond Carter or the art of Andy Warhol. The problem is with me, not them. I don't try to claim they're overrated or mediocre. Now I urge you to do what I just did, Libra, only on a broader scale. Acknowledge that some of the people and ideas and art and situations you can't appreciate are not necessarily faulty or wrong or inadequate. Their value may simply be impossible for you to recognize. It's a perfect time for you to undertake this humble work. I suspect it will be liberating.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21):
Scorpio-born Ralph Bakshi has made animated films and TV shows for over 60 years. His work has been influential. "I'm the biggest ripped-off cartoonist in the history of the world," he says. Milder versions of his experience are not uncommon for many Scorpios. People are prone to copying you and borrowing from you and even stealing from you. They don't always consciously know they're doing it, and they may not offer you proper appreciation. I'm guessing that something like this phenomenon may be happening for you right now. My advice? First, be pleased about how much clout you're wielding. Second, if anyone is borrowing from you without making the proper acknowledgment, speak up about it.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):
"Vainly I sought nourishment in shadows and errors," wrote author Jorge Luis Borges. We have all been guilty of miscalculations like those. Each of us has sometimes put our faith in people and ideas that weren't worthy of us. None of us is so wise that we always choose influences that provide the healthiest fuel. That's the bad news, Sagittarius. The good news is that you now have excellent instincts about where to find the best long-term nourishment.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19):
Poet Adrienne Rich wrote, "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her." I believe this same assertion is true about people of all genders. I also suspect that right now you are in a particularly pivotal position to be a candid revealer: to enhance and refine everyone's truth-telling by being a paragon of honesty yourself. To achieve the best results, I encourage you to think creatively about what exactly it means for you to tell the deep and entire truth.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18):
Through some odd Aquarian-like quirk, astrologers have come to harbor the apparently paradoxical view that your sign is ruled by both Saturn and Uranus. At first glance, that's crazy! Saturn is the planet of discipline, responsibility, conservatism, diligence, and order. Uranus is the planet of awakening, surprise, rebellion, barrier-breaking, and liberation. How can you Aquarians incorporate the energies of both? Well, that would require a lengthy explanation beyond the scope of this horoscope. But I will tell you this: During the rest of the year 2020, you will have more potential to successfully coordinate your inner Saturn and your inner Uranus than you have had in years. Homework: Meditate on how you will do just that.
Don't tolerate bullying from critical voices in your head or from supposedly "nice" people who are trying to guilt-trip you. FreeWillAstrology.com
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Contents of the Free Will Astrology Newsletter are Copyright 2020 Rob Brezsny