Stay Alert for the Subtle Miracles

Cultivate a Willingness and Eagerness to Be Surprised

How can we outwit and escape the numbing trance that everyday routine seems to foster? What can we do to stay alert to the subtle miracles and intriguing mysteries and numinous beauty that surround us on all sides?

Some possibilities:

1. Make it a daily practice to refresh the ways we perceive the world. Can you imagine what it would be like to change how you use your eyes?

2. Scan for opportunities to play and for creatures that like to play. Test the hypothesis that playing is a prime strategy for liberation.

3. Assume that the entire world is a constantly changing source of oracular revelation that has meaning for us—perhaps a meaning we have never before realized or understood.

4. Experiment with what happens when we use empathy and intuition to imagine how animals and other people experience life.

5. Don't take things too seriously or too personally or too literally.

6. Expose ourselves to provocative myths and intriguing symbols. Seek out stories that bend and twist our beliefs. Be open to exploring events and phenomena that elude rational explanation.

7. Give our unconscious minds the message that we want to feel deeply.

8. Cultivate a willingness, eagerness, and receptivity to being surprised.

9. Others?

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"Having very broad and abstract goals may maintain and exacerbate depression. Goals that are not specific are more ambiguous and, therefore, harder to visualize. If goals are hard to visualize it may result in reduced expectation of realizing them, which in turn results in lower motivation to try and achieve them."

—Researchers at the institute of Health, Psychology, and Society


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I invite you to experiment with the theme "Healthy Obsessions." Not "Melodramatic Compulsions" or "Exhausting Crazes" or "Manias That Make You Seem Interesting to Casual Bystanders," but "Healthy Obsessions."

To do it well, you will have to take really good care of yourself as you concentrate extravagantly on tasks that fill you with zest and zeal. This may require you to rebel against the influences of role models, both in your actual life and in the movies you've seen, who act as if getting sick and imbalanced is an integral part of being true to one's genius.

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Art by Joan Miró

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"Blissipline is the commitment to experiencing a little or a lot of bliss every day; the practice of expanding one's capacity for bliss and being open to receive it in any moment." A "blissiplinarian" is "someone who enforces pleasure and invites opportunities for more pleasure," while a "blissciple" is a person who aspires to master the art of blissipline."

—Rana Satori Stewart

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From the perspective of most modern conspiracy theorists, the conspiracies they imagine to be loose in the world have been dreamed up and are perpetrated by coordinated groups of evil people.

The pronoia conspiracy theory, on the other hand, is rooted in a hypothesis at the core of Western Hermetic Magick, which is what I have studied with love for years:

Here's the hypothesis: that life is divine play—an art project / game / ceremony designed by a loving Creator. This Creator, whose consciousness pervades every cubic centimeter of the universe, provides all necessary help and tools for us to be liberated from our suffering and realize our essential oneness with all beings in the process of developing, over millennia of incarnations, a unique and beautiful personal identity.

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Both are true: Life is a bitch and then you die AND life is a conspiracy to shower you with blessings. Everything is totally fucked up AND everything is perfect just the way it is.

This anti-belief belief system could be considered Taoism 2.0. It's a fresh spiritual tradition that doesn't know it exists yet. It's not just the old Chinese-style Tao, but rather the Oxymoronic Tao -- a mutated, updated, Californicated version of the Tao: Tao with an attitude.

Not the calm, abstract, passive, world-weary, everything-is-everything Tao of the ancient sage Lao-Tse, but the fragrant, shimmering, electrifying Tao of the outrageous now, where each discrete glint of individuated beauty is discernible amidst the mass of confusion, rousing us to revelry and activism.

Not a Tao sitting in cool unflappable contemplation of the ultimate unity of the wound and the cure, but rather a Tao that foments an aggressive affirmative action program for artfully highlighting and rejoicing in the incongruous juxtapositions; a Tao that romances the contradictions with an exuberant experimentalism and whips up slathering throbs of ripe mojo.

The Oxymoronic Tao is a Tao that doesn't pacify and dial down our martial force. Rather, it supercharges us, hooking us up to the elemental power that flows wherever opposites unite.

Here's the bonus. With the Tao as our fuel, our vision opens to the reality that opposites are always uniting everywhere. It makes anything and everything we gaze upon turn into the philosopher's stone, the REAL grail, the pearl of great price, the treasure beyond measure.

The Oxymoronic Tao ushers us into a blissful abyss where we are pummeled and caressed by an erotic crush of screamingly tender contradictions.

Our fixations crack apart. Our egos ache. We swoon with the stark elation that comes from knowing how freaking interesting everything is.

We're shocked and healed, healed and shocked. Every terror is a source of wonder that rips us out of our ignorance. Every miracle blows our minds so mercilessly we can't help but cry out with a bewildered, primordial longing for more.

Here's what I will have to do to live full time in the Oxymoronic Tao: I will master the art of living in The Overt Real World and The Other Real World at the same time. I will love them both.

My state of awareness will be a synergetic blend of dreaming while awake and being awake in my dreams. I will be at home in a ceaseless lucid dream with my eyes wide open, the sun at midnight filling up half the sky and the full moon at noon in the other half.

When I fully inhabit the Oxymoronic Tao it will be because I've become adept at living outside of time, peering down lovingly at our special snatch of history with the liberated compassion that comes from being blended with the eleven-dimensional consciousness of the Gender-Fluid Logos—

even as I exult in the curious sensation of being ground up by the wheels of linear time . . . even as I exercise my skill for joyfully plucking the essential teaching from each perplexing, glorious, shattering, victorious moment . . . even as I thrill to the majestic spectacle of my body constantly transforming into a different version of itself, its atoms regularly exchanged for new ones in the cyclical interplay of apocalypse and rebirth.

That's not happening yet. My wild heart isn't quite mature enough. I have not achieved the knack of being torn apart and woven back together a hundred times a day, every day, by life's wrenching insistence on cramming delight and loss into every single perception. Three times a day, yes, and ten on good days, but not yet a hundred.

I do have an ever-growing tolerance for, even a budding attraction to, being seared by the way extravagant beauty and desolate longing are always arriving entwined.

But I'm not yet strong enough to surrender to being seared and pleasured ceaselessly. And I will need to be able to do that in order to come live and feel at home full time in the Oxymoronic Tao.

I'm more than halfway there, though. I know what it's like to be annihilated by the pouring-out-of-my-skin empathy I feel for you and all the other creatures I live among.

And I know what it's like to reel with rapture as I am rocked by the yelping, visceral thrill of my blood resonating with your blood, of my nerves reliving the memory that they are made of the same star dust yours is.

Someday I will be able to hum, ever-changing and ever-constant, in the grip of both those states simultaneously. Not just in rare fits of agonizing joy, but on an ongoing basis. As a constant meditation. As a daily spiritual practice.

In my lucid dreams, I am already there. I have achieved the triumphant crucifixion. I have procured the gift from the future. I have begun to incarnate the mutant archetype into my flesh and blood.

For now, I'll call the archetype the Oxymoronic Tao, although if I am true to its serpentine laws, I will no doubt have to change its name frequently in the coming years.

That's one of the secrets, I suspect, to making sure it will keep working for me, turning everything and everyone into the philosopher's stone, the grail, the pearl of great price, the treasure beyond measure.

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Art by Paul Klee

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"What people really need and demand from life is not wealth, comfort or esteem but games worth playing."

—Robert de Ropp, The Master Game

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"Creativity is conceived as a reproductive act with a tangible result -- a child, a book, a monument -- that has a physical life going beyond the life of its producer. Creativity, however, can be intangible in the form of a good life, or a beautiful act, or in other virtues of the soul such as freedom and openness, style and tact, humor, kindness."

- James Hillman

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Labib Rahman writes: The words we use to describe individuals with disabilities matters.

According to the World Health Organization, the disability community is the largest minority group in the world: around 10% of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with a disability, making the disability community the largest minority group in the world.

Although there is not a monolithic language style preference shared across all the people who have a disability, it remains important to use respectful and inclusive language when communicating with or talking about people with disabilities.


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If you'd like to donate to my well-being:

1. Visit my Gift Page and donate:

2. You can also contribute by buying the Expanded Audio Horoscopes I create every week. These forecasts are different from the written horoscopes I provide here.

They're my four- to five-minute-long ruminations about the current chapter of your life story. They're available at

3. I also write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your phone. They're shorter than the weekly 'scopes, but more frequent. You can get these regular bursts of inspiration for 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription.

Go to . Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.

4 Commit to offering me a regular donation through my Patreon page at

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6. Finally, I have made it possible for subscribers to my newsletter to pay a subscription fee to me for my newsletter, BUT ONLY IF THEY WANT TO AND CAN AFFORD TO!

I have offered my astrology newsletter free of charge for the past 20 years, and I will continue to do so for the next 20 years at least.

If, however, you are sufficiently prosperous and feel comfortable about donating money to me, I welcome it. Please know, though: I am TOTALLY FINE if you don't donate.

Sign up here:


P.S.: No pressure, though! I understand that some of you don't have enough money yourself, and it wouldn't make sense for you to give some to me.

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Plumber Has Landed Record Deal After Music Mogul Heard Him Singing –While He Fitted His Bathroom.

How Meditation Can Help You Make Fewer Mistakes.

Malawi Inventor Lights Up His Whole Village Basically for Free–Starting With a Bicycle and a River.


For a lot more pronoiac resources and ideas, read my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

Available at

Available at Powells:

Available at Barnes & Noble:

Available at Amazon:

A free preview of the book is available here:


Please tell me your own nominations for PRONOIA RESOURCES:

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Art by Joan Miró

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Week beginning September 30

Copyright 2021 by Rob Brezsny

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In the English language, the words "naked" and "nude" have different connotations. Art critic Kenneth Clark noted that "naked" people depicted in painting and sculpture are "deprived of clothes," and embarrassed as a result. Being "nude," on the other hand, has "no uncomfortable overtone," but indicates "a balanced, prosperous, and confident body." I bring this to your attention because I believe you would benefit from experiencing extra nudity and no nakedness in the days ahead. If you choose to take on this assignment, please use it to upgrade your respect and reverence for your beauty. PS: Now is also a favorable time to express your core truths without inhibition or apology. I urge you to be your pure self in all of your glory.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio poet Anne Sexton wrote, "One has to get their own animal out of their own cage and not look for either an animal keeper or an unlocker." That's always expert advice, but it will be extra vital for you to heed in the coming weeks. The gorgeous semi-wild creature within you needs more room to run, more sights to see, more adventures to seek. For that to happen, it needs to spend more time outside of its cage. And you're the best person to make sure that happens.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) could be a marvelous friend. If someone he cared for was depressed or feeling lost, he would invite them to sit in his presence as he improvised music on the piano. There were no words, no advice—only emotionally stirring melodies. "He said everything to me," one friend said about his gift. "And finally gave me consolation." I invite you to draw inspiration from his example, Sagittarius. You're at the peak of your powers to provide solace, comfort, and healing to allies who need such nurturing. Do it in whatever way is also a blessing for you.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): At age 23, Capricorn-born Jeanne Antoinette Poisson (1721–1764) became French King Louis XV's favorite mistress. She was not born into aristocracy, but she wielded her Capricornian flair with supreme effectiveness. Ultimately, she achieved a noble title as well as high prestige and status in the French court. As is true for evolved Capricorns, her elevated role was well-deserved, not the result of vulgar social-climbing. She was a patron of architecture, porcelain artwork, and France's top intellectuals. She ingratiated herself to the King's wife, the Queen, and served as an honored assistant. I propose we make her your role model for the next four weeks. May she inspire you to seek a boost in your importance and clout that's accomplished with full integrity.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The bad news is that artist Debbie Wagner was diagnosed with two brain tumors in 2002. The good news is that surgery not only enabled her to survive, but enhanced her visual acuity. The great news is that on most days since 2005, she has painted a new image of the sunrise. I invite you to dream up a ritual to celebrate your own victory over adversity, Aquarius. Is there a generous gesture or creative act you could do on a semi-regular basis to thank life for providing you with the help and power you needed?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A self-described "anarchist witch" named Lars writes on his Tumblr blog, "I am a ghost from the 1750s, and my life is currently in the hands of a group of suburban 13-year-olds using a ouija board to ask me if Josh from homeroom has a crush on them." He's implying that a powerful supernatural character like himself is being summoned to do tasks that are not worthy of him. He wishes his divinatory talents were better used. Are there any resemblances between you and him, Pisces? Do you ever feel as if you're not living up to your promise? That your gifts are not being fully employed? If so, I'm pleased to predict that you could fix this problem in the coming weeks and months. You will have extra energy and savvy to activate your full potential.

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An interviewer once asked me if there's any special ritual I do before writing my weekly horoscopes. I told her that I say a prayer in which I affirm my desire to provide you with these three services:

1. that what I create will be of practical use to you;

2. that it will help you cultivate your relationship with your inner teacher;

3. that it will inspire you to tap into and use the substantial freedom you have to create the life you want.

If you ever want more inspiration generated in that same spirit -- beyond the horoscopes you're reading here -- keep in mind that every week I also create 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 To listen to your Expanded Audio Horoscope online, go to

Register and/or log in through the main page.


The cost is $6 per sign online. (Discounts are available for bulk purchases.)


"Your expanded horoscopes get more personal and intimate with me than some of my closest friends. Thanks for the loving reflections."

—Ari Schlectman., Ann Arbor, MI

"When I listen to your audio 'scopes, my free will lights up."

—Alex Denares., Los Angeles

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Art by Joan Miró

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): Blogger AnaSophia was asked, "What do you find attractive in a person?" I'll reproduce her reply because it's a good time to think about what your answer would be. I'm not implying you should be looking for a new lover. I'm interested in inspiring you to ruminate about what alliances you should cultivate during the coming months. Here's what AnaSophia finds attractive: "strong desire but not neediness, passionate sensitivity, effortlessness, authenticity, innocence of perception, sense of humor, vulnerability and honesty, embodying one's subtleties and embracing one's paradoxes, acting unconditionally and from the heart."

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Taurus author Roberto Bolaño confessed, "Sometimes I want greatness, sometimes just its shadow." I appreciate his honesty. I think what he says is true about most of us. Is there anyone who is always ready for the heavy responsibility of pursuing greatness? Doubtful. To be great, we must periodically go through phases when we recharge our energy and take a break from being nobly ambitious. What about you, dear Taurus? If I'm reading the omens correctly, you will benefit from a phase of reinvention and reinvigoration. During the next three weeks, you'll be wise to hang out in the shadows of greatness.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "Have fun, even if it's not the same kind of fun everyone else is having," wrote religious writer C. S. Lewis. That advice is ten times more important right now than it usually is. For the sake of your body's and soul's health, you need to indulge in sprees of playful amusement and blithe delight and tension-relieving merriment. And all that good stuff will work its most potent magic if it stimulates pleasures that are unique to you—and not necessarily in line with others' tastes.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "It is one thing to learn about the past," wrote Cancerian journalist Kenneth Auchincloss. "It is another to wallow in it." That's stellar advice for you to incorporate in the coming weeks. After studying your astrological omens, I'm enthusiastic about you exploring the old days and old ways. I'm hoping that you will discover new clues you've overlooked before and that this further information will inspire you to re-envision your life story. But as you conduct your explorations, it's also crucial to avoid getting bogged down in sludgy emotions like regret or resentment. Be inspired by your history, not demoralized by it.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Would you like to deepen and strengthen your capacity to concentrate? Cosmic rhythms will conspire in your favor if you work on this valuable skill in the coming weeks. You'll be able to make more progress than would normally be possible. Here's pertinent advice from author Harriet Griffey: "Whenever you feel like quitting, just do five more—five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages—which will extend your focus." Here's another tip: Whenever you feel your concentration flagging, remember what it is you love about the task you're doing. Ruminate about its benefits for you and others.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): What's your favorite feeling? Here's Virgo poet Mary Szybist's answer to that question: hunger. She's not speaking about the longing for food, but rather the longing for everything precious, interesting, and meaningful. She adores the mood of "not yet," the experience of moving toward the desired thing. What would be your response to the question, Virgo? I'm guessing you may at times share Szybist's perspective. But given the current astrological omens, your favorite feeling right now may be utter satisfaction—the gratifying sensation of getting what you've hungered for. I say, trust that intuition.

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Homework. Describe the status quo situation you're tired of, and how you're going to change it.

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Submissions sent to Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter or in response to "homework assignments" may be published in a variety of formats at Rob Brezsny's discretion, including but not limited to newsletters, books, the Free Will Astrology column, and Free Will Astrology website. We reserve the right to edit submissions for length, style, and content.

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Contents of the Free Will Astrology Newsletter are Copyright 2021 Rob Brezsny

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