Let's Love Our Egos!
Let's Heal Our Egos!
EXPLORE THE BIG PICTURE OF YOUR LIFE
for the REST of 2023:
This week my Expanded Audio Horoscopes explore themes that I suspect will be important for you during the coming months.
What areas of your life are likely to receive unexpected assistance and divine inspiration?
Where are you likely to find most success?
How can you best cooperate with the cosmic rhythms?
What questions should you be asking?
To listen to my IN-DEPTH, LONG-TERM AUDIO FORECAST for YOUR LIFE during the next six months, go here, then register and/or sign in:
After you log in through the main page, click on the link "Long Term Forecast for Second Half of 2023."
The Expanded Audio Horoscopes cost $7 apiece if you access them on the Web. There are discounts for the purchase of multiple reports.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • •
Dawn Robertson can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/DawnRobertson
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • •
THE SHINING TEMPLE OF THE ANNIHILATED EGO
I dream that I am riding in the back seat of a crowded bus in southern France. The road we're on is L'Autoroute du Soleil—Motorway of the Sun. Our destination is a tourist trap called the Shining Temple of the Annihilated Ego. It's a shrine devoted to "the worship of extinguished selfhood."
What the hell does that mean? I'm not sure. I'm thinking it has something to do with the Sanskrit word "nirvana," whose literal definition is "the blowing out of a flame."
Many of our fellow travelers are religious disciples dressed in robes and sackcloth: Buddhist monks and nuns, Christian monastics, and Hindu mendicants. There are also quite a few famous people from ages past. In my immediate vicinity, I can see Andy Warhol, General Augusto Pinochet, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jackie Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Coco Chanel and Ronald Reagan. Is that Virginia Woolf up in the front?
By temperament I'm more like a religious disciple than an Andy Warhol or Elvis Presley. I've been a dedicated student of Hermetic Qabalah for decades. But here and now I don't look in the least ascetic. I am dressed in red leather pants, a peach-colored silk shirt, a sparkly gold vest studded with opalescent beads, and a black ankle-length cashmere coat. I've also got on a red Stetson hat, size eight and a half, and a ring on each of my ten fingers.
I recognize the person sitting to my right. He's Shunryu Suzuki, the well-known Zen master whose books helped popularize Zen Buddhism in America. I've read every word the man published. In person, he's surprisingly conventional. He's wearing a dull brown suit and striped blue tie that make him look like a businessman from the 1950s.
This is a welcome opportunity for me. For years, I have had a bone to pick with him. In one of his books he told a story about the importance of keeping one's ego under strict control. A student had asked him, "How much ego do you need?" Suzuki's austere reply was, "Just enough so that you don't step in front of a bus."
I felt reverence for that hard-ass attitude years ago when I originally came upon it as a young spiritual punk. But later I came to see it as puritanical and pretentious and retrograde. At this moment, piqued by his presence, I actually feel peeved about it.
I spend some time working up the nerve, but finally initiate a conversation with Mr. Zen.
"Long-time listener, first-time caller," I say to him, copping the approach of a person who has just reached a radio talk show host on the phone. "Loved Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Made it my Bible for a while." That was Suzuki's first book.
"Probably better not to make any book your Bible," he replies, in a tone that is neither friendly nor dismissive.
"Don't worry," I say. "I will always love you, but I will never worship you."
"There's nothing here to worship, anyway," he says. "I don't even exist."
"Good. I will keep that in mind if I feel any pangs of desire to turn you into a holy icon."
"Have you ever tried it?" he asks. "Not existing?"
"Well, that's the thing. As it turns out, I eventually discovered that I preferred existing to not existing. That's when I had to burn your books and take your photo down from my altar."
"I'm sorry to hear that," he says. "I mean the part about you preferring to exist. Burning my books and banishing my image were wise."
"I've always wanted to ask you a question," I say. "Do you mind?"
"I'm not even here to say yes or no. You are free to proceed."
"Remember how you said that no one needs much of an ego; that the best ego size is just big enough to keep one from getting hit by a bus, but no bigger?"
"I do recall that a mirage resembling me once said something like that."
"Well I wonder if you would consider the possibility that maybe your old idea could benefit from some revision. I mean, I acknowledge that the ego is the root of much mischief in the world -- more evil than the craving for wealth and religious fanaticism combined."
"In Christian terms," Suzuki interrupts, "the original sin."
"Yeah. Even for me, most of the stupidest and cruelest things I've ever done could be traced to my infected and inflamed ego."
"Which is why it's much better to live without it," he says.
"I don't agree," I say. "I think the ego has some redemptive uses. And besides, just because it is potentially dangerous doesn't mean that spiritual seekers like us should nuke it."
"Redemptive uses? Like providing you with the fuel to become an all-knowing rich and famous and powerful sex god?"
"No. Like providing me with the fuel to become a compassionate and creative and curious devotee of the Great Mystery."
"The ego appropriates those noble aspirations and turns them into disguised versions of being an all-knowing rich and famous and powerful sex god."
"Well, that's how a fundamentalist thinks," I press. "It would be like me practicing abstinence because I'm afraid of all the chaos I might stir up by risking the gifts that sex might afford me.
Suzuki chuckles derisively, but I am unflustered. I've argued with famous people before. David Bowie didn't take it personally when I questioned his feminism.
"Instead of repressing the ego," I say, "we should sublimate its brute force, use all our best psychological tricks to transform its greed into generosity, and turn it into a beautiful work of art."
"Good luck with that delusional dream," Suzuki says.
"How about this?" I say. "Let's be spiritual artisans who devote ourselves to crafting holy, exquisitely wrought egos. And let's do that with the same rigor and panache as a great actor preparing for a film in which he will play the Buddha. Let's add 'egos' to the list of beautiful things that talented creators want to produce, along with songs, books, films, sculptures, paintings, electronic games, and dances."
"What you propose," he replies, "is like putting lipstick and mascara on a donkey. Or worse yet: on a lipsticked and mascara'd donkey that has explosives strapped to its body like a suicide bomber."
I don't feel defensive in the least. On the contrary, I'm delighted he's fighting back.
"You're on the wrong side of history," I tell him cheerfully. "Like the reactionary traditionalists who think two people of the same gender shouldn't be allowed to marry."
"So what do we have here?" Suzuki snorts. He's getting emotional! "A staunch advocate for the rights of the ego! Good for you, you brazen rebel. The ego has been the victim of so much appalling oppression over the centuries. I am glad someone is finally defending its honor."
"I'm not defending the honor of all the arrogant assholes who have mangled history with their megalomaniacal cruelty," I say, as serene and amused as a meditator in a mountaintop sanctuary. "I'm proposing a crucified and resurrected ego, a gorgeous and lyrical and empathetic ego that's a gift to humanity."
"I'm guessing," Suzuki sneers, "that someone with your views must have a rather deep attachment to the phantasm we Zen Buddhists refer to as 'individuality.' Am I right?"
"I'm more aligned with Gurdjieff's position," I reply. "Which is that while it is possible to create an electric, luminous individuality, most people just don't want to work that hard."
"And am I right to assume you regard that electric, luminous individuality as permanent and immortal? Going to live forever, are you, my young friend?"
"Yes, I am, thank you. And so you are, too."
"No, thanks," he scoffs. "My laughable hallucination of unique selfness has a future appointment with the worm-rich dirt. Good riddance."
"I'll bet you a trillion nirvanas that you and I meet again at the end of time."
"You don't have a trillion nirvanas."
"Are you sure about that?"
Suzuki shouts, "Immortality sucks!", grabs my face with his hands, and smacks his skull into mine, propelling me out of sleep.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • • •
Hear me singing the song “It’s My Ego” with my band Tao Chemical:
BIGGER, STRONGER EGO
Is your ego big enough? I'm serious. Is it possible that you could benefit from being a bit more proud of yourself? Would it perhaps be healthy for you to give yourself more credit for the struggles you have weathered and the skills you have mastered and the messy beauty you have managed to forge out of the chaotic raw materials life has given you?
I've got a good feeling about this. I can imagine you summoning the playful courage you will need to express more confidence. I can even picture you beginning to fantasize about certain adventures you've never thought yourself strong enough to try before now.
A treatise on “Ego Magick,” by Phil Hine
TOTALLY INSIGNIFICANT AND TOTALLY IMPORTANT
On her 90th birthday, my Great-Aunt Zosia told me, "The best gift you can give your ego is to make it see it's both totally insignificant and totally important in the cosmic scheme of things."
EGO + SOUL = ???
What's the current state of the relationship between your ego and your soul? Is there an uneasy truce between the ambitious part of you that craves success and recognition and the lyrical part of you that yearns for rich experiences and deep meaning? Or do those two aspects of you get along pretty well—maybe even love and respect each other?
Now is a favorable time to honor your ego and soul equally—to delight in the activities of both, to give them plenty of room to play and improvise, and to encourage them to collaborate in ways that will further your well-rounded happiness and health.
Homework: Describe the differences between what your ego needs and what your soul needs.
FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
Week beginning June 22
Copyright 2023 by Rob Brezsny
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In the Northern Hemisphere, the astrological month of Cancer begins with the sun in its greatest glory. Our home star is at its highest altitude, shining with maximum brightness. So then why is the sign of the Crab ruled by the moon? Why do the longest days of the year coincide with the ascendancy of the mistress of the night? Ahhh. These are esoteric mysteries beyond the scope of this horoscope. But here's a hint about what they signify for you personally. One of your assets can also be a liability: your innocent openness to the wonders of life. This quality is at the heart of your beauty but can also, on occasion, make you vulnerable to being overwhelmed. That's why it's so important that you master the art of setting boundaries, of honing your focus, of quaffing deeply from a few cups instead of sipping from many cups.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The coming weeks will be a delicate time for your spiritual unfoldment. You are primed to recover lost powers, rediscover key truths you have forgotten, and reunite with parts of your soul you got cut off from. Will these good possibilities come to pass in their fullness? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how brave you are in seeking your healing. You must ask for what’s hard to ask for. You’ve got to find a way to feel deserving of the beauty and blessings that are available. PS: You ARE deserving. I will be cheering you on, dear Leo.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Whether or not you have been enrolled in a learning institution during the past 12 months, I suspect you have been getting a rigorous education. Among the courses you have almost completed are lessons in intimacy, cooperation, collaboration, symbiosis, and togetherness. Have you mastered all the teachings? Probably not. There were too many of them, and they were too voluminous to grasp perfectly and completely. But that's OK. You have done well. Now you're ready to graduate, collect your diploma, and apply what you have learned.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): History has provided contradictory reports about Isabeau of Bavaria, who served as Queen of France from 1385 to 1422. Was she a corrupt, greedy, and indecisive fool who harmed France’s fortunes? Or was she a talented diplomat with great skill in court politics and an effective leader during the many times her husband, King Charles VI, was incapacitated by illness? I bring these facts to your attention, Libra, hoping they will inspire you to refine, adjust, and firm up your own reputation. You can’t totally control how people perceive you, but you do have some power to shape their perceptions—especially these days.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): The next four weeks will be an excellent time to create and celebrate your own holidays. I recommend you dream up at least four new festivals, jubilees, anniversaries, and other excuses to party. Eight or more would be even better. They could be quirky and modest, like Do No Housework Day, Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day, or Write Bad Poetry Day. They could be more profound and impactful, like Forgive Your Parents for Everything Day, Walk on the Wild Side Day, or Stay Home from Work Because You’re Feeling So Good Day. In my astrological opinion, Scorpio, you should regard playful fun as a top priority. For more ideas, go here: tinyurl.com/CreateHolidays . . . tinyurl.com/NouveauHolidays . . . tinyurl.com/InventHolidays
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a god who stole fire from his fellow gods and gave it to humans to help them build civilization. His divine colleagues were not pleased. Why? Maybe they feared that with the power of fire, people would become like gods themselves and have no further need for gods. Anyway, Sagittarius, I hope you’re in a fire-stealing mood. It’s a good time to raise your whole world up to a higher level—to track down and acquire prizes that will lead to major enhancements. And unlike what happened to Prometheus (the other gods punished him), I think you will get away with your gambits.
WHAT'S TO COME?
BRAINSTORM ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE OF YOUR LIFE
What will be the story of your life during the coming months? How can you exert your free will to create the adventures that will bring out the best in you, even as you find graceful ways to cooperate with the tides of destiny?
If you'd like a boost of inspiration to fuel you in your quest for beauty and truth and love and justice and meaning, tune in to my meditations on your long-term outlook.
After you register and/or log in through the main page, click on the link "Long Term Forecast for Second Half of 2023."
The cost is $7 per sign. (Discounts are available for bulk purchases.)
"Your big-picture audio horoscope was somehow both a balm for my soul and a call to action. How did you do that?" - David G., Coral Gables, FL
"Your big-picture horoscopes filled the gaps in my imagination. They woke up the fun plot twists that had been just on the tip of my ability to visualize." - Ani Kraft, Brattleboro, VT
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Let’s discuss magical doorways. Each time you sleep, you slip through magical doorways called dreams. Whether or not you recall those adventures, they offer you interesting mysteries utterly unlike the events of your daily life. Here’s another example: A magical doorway opens when an ally or loved one shares intimate knowledge of their inner realms. Becoming absorbed in books, movies, or songs is also a way to glide through a magical doorway. Another is when you discover an aspect of yourself, a corner of your being, that you didn't know was there. I bring these thoughts to your attention, Capricorn, because I suspect the coming weeks will present an extra inviting array of magical doorways.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Psychiatrist Myron Hofer specializes in the mother-infant relationship. Among his findings: The first emotion that a newborn experiences is anxiety. Struggling to get out of the womb can be taxing, and it’s shocking to be separated from the warm, nourishing realm that has been home for months. The bad news is that most of us still carry the imprint of this original unease. The good news, Aquarius, is that the coming months will be one of the best times ever for you to heal. For optimal results, place a high priority on getting an abundance of love, support, comfort, and physical touch.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Curious blends and intriguing juxtapositions are in the works—or at least they should be. Improbable alliances might be desirable because they’re curative. Formulas with seemingly mismatched ingredients might fix a glitch, even if they never succeeded before and won’t again. I encourage you to synergize work and play. Negotiate serious business in casual settings and make yourself at home in a wild frontier.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): When I was still an up-and-coming horoscope columnist, before I got widely syndicated, I supplemented my income with many other jobs. During one stretch, I wrote fortunes for a line of designer fortune cookies that were covered with gourmet chocolate and sold at the luxury department store Bloomingdale's. The salary I got paid was meager. Part of my compensation came in the form of hundreds of delicious but non-nutritious cookies. If you are offered a comparable deal in the coming weeks and months, Aries, my advice is to do what I didn’t do but should have done: Ask for what’s truly valuable to you instead of accepting a substitute of marginal worth.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): My mentor Ann Davies said that of all the signs of the zodiac, you Tauruses are most likely to develop finely honed intuition. At least potentially, you can tune in to the inner teacher better than the rest of us. The still, small voice rises up out of the silence and speaks to you clearly and crisply. Here's even better news: I believe you are entering a phase when your relationship with this stellar faculty may ripen dramatically. Please take advantage of this subtly fabulous opportunity! Each day for the next 14 days, do a relaxing ritual in which you eagerly invite and welcome the guidance of your deepest inner source.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): New College in Oxford, UK has educated students since 1379. Among its old buildings is a dining hall that features beams made of thick oak trees. Unfortunately, most oak wood eventually attracts beetles that eat it and weaken it. Fortunately, the 14th-century founders of New College foresaw that problem. They planted an oak grove whose trees were specifically meant to be used to replace the oak beams at New College. Which they are to this day. I would love you to derive inspiration from this story, Gemini. What practical long-term plans might you be wise to formulate in the coming months?
Homework: Is there any area of your life where you are not giving your best? How could you improve? Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com
PROUD TO BE HUMBLE
As the world-renowned president of Proud To Be Humble, an illustrious yet understated organization dedicated to wiping out vanity, I have a duty to protest your ego.
Its size has begun to exceed acceptable limits as determined by the Geneva Convention on Self-Esteem. Unfortunately, due to the exceptional beauty and magnanimous charisma bursting from your ego at this time, I am not able, in good conscience, to carry out my duty.
You are therefore free to let it swell up to gargantuan proportions. But please make an effort every now and then to heal some wan or timid soul with your curiously nurturing charisma.
Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.