Your Body Is Your Oracle

Your Soul Will Still Be Alive a Million Years from Now

Your body is your oracle.

—Brooke Underwood

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TRY AN EXPERIMENT?

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.

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SHAPESHIFTING PRONOIA THERAPY

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

1. As a boy, renowned Spanish matador Manolete was a sissy. He rarely played outside, preferring to be near his mother as he read books and painted pictures.

Psychologist James Hillman explains this by suggesting that the youthful Manolete had already sensed his destiny, intuiting that one day he would be alone in the ring facing down angry 2,000-pound bulls. His childhood behavior was a way of marshaling his strength and shielding him from the enormity of the challenges he would seek out one day.

Is it possible that what you have considered a weakness or vulnerability has actually been preparing you to express a signature strength?

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2. Six miles from Maui is a Hawaiian island that tourists never visit—Kaho'olawe. The U.S. Navy seized it in 1941 and used it as a target range for decades. After years of protests by native Hawaiians, the Navy finally stopped bombing and began a clean­up campaign. In November 2003, it formally turned control of the island over to the rightful owners.

"You can get a feel on Kaho'olawe of what it was like to live on Hawaii at the time of our ancestors," says Native Hawaiian Davianna McGregor. "We can practice our traditions there without it being a tourist attraction. It's one place we can go to be in communion with our natural life forces."

Each of us has a personal version of Kaho'olawe: a part of our psyche that has been stolen or colonized by hostile forces. To grow bold in exploring pronoia, you'll need to take back yours.

How can you take back yours?

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3. During my years in college, I enjoyed watching the evolution of Richard, a shy geek in my creative writing classes. Long before he penned a single good poem, he was a bohemian art poseur.

On his backpack there was a button with the image of rock poet Patti Smith. He often wore a T-shirt bearing a quote from poetry icon Allen Ginsberg, and he was never without his book of Rimbaud poems.

Everywhere I went I saw him scribbling ostentatiously in his journal as he chain-smoked clove cigarettes.

To my surprise, Richard's work gradually began to match his persona. By sophomore year he'd spawned some evocative poems, and soon after he graduated, he published a fine chapbook. In his development I witnessed a perfect example of the saying, "You become what you pretend to be."

Your assignment: Decide what you want to become, and start pretending to be that thing. Or else: Be careful what you're unconsciously pretending to be, because you just might become it.

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4. In his book Starbucked, Taylor Clark says there's a woman who goes to a Seattle Starbucks every morning and orders a "decaf single grande extra vanilla two-percent extra caramel 185-degrees with whipped cream caramel macchiato."

Maybe her request seems overly fussy and demanding, but it could be a good act for you to mimic.

Try this: For a given time, say 12 days, be equally as exacting in asking for what you want. Assume that you have a poetic license to be extremely specific as you go about your quest for fulfillment.

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5. George III was King of England from 1760 to 1820. During the last years of his reign, he gradually became more and more detached from reality, talking to himself for hours on end and addressing trees as if they were people.

When he first began losing his mind, his servants and assistants made a conscious decision to help him feel more comfortable by acting eccentric themselves.

Their collusion with George's pathology is an extreme example of a situation that all of us are at risk of. Our associates and loved ones may fall into a rhythm of going along with our odd ideas and bad habits, encouraging us to continue doing what we probably shouldn't do.

Are your allies refraining from busting you or calling your bluff, when they probably should? Bust yourself. Call your own bluff.

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6. "Why, I don't even respect myself, I tell ya," said comedian Rodney Dangerfield. "When I make love, I have to fantasize that I am somebody else!"

Experiment with just the second half of that formulation. While you're making love, fantasize that you're somebody else.

But do it because you care deeply about yourself—so deeply that you want to transcend your customary reactions and expand your identity. Do it because you dare to awaken to previously unknown possibilities of who you might be.

7. There was an indignant uproar after revelations in 2006 that James Frey's best-selling "memoir," A Million Little Pieces, contains fabrications. He hadn't actually lived all of the experiences he depicted therein.

Hearing about it prompted me to ruminate on whether there's any such thing as a completely accurate account of any person's life. My conclusion: no.

In every autobiography and biography ever written, the author imaginatively strings together selectively chosen details to conjure up artificially coherent narratives rather than depicting the crazy-quilt ambiguity that actually characterizes everyone's journey.

If you and nine writers set out to tell your life story, you'd produce 10 wildly different tales, each rife with subjective interpretation, misplaced emphasis, unintentional distortions, and exorbitant extrapolations from insufficient data.

As an experiment, choose some day soon to celebrate the malleability of reality. Regale listeners with stories about the time you worked as a pirate in the Indian Ocean, or rode the rails through Kansas as a hobo, or gave a down-on-his-luck CIA agent sage advice in an elevator.

When you call to get pizza delivered and the clerk who takes your order asks your name, say you're Brad Pitt or Paris Hilton.

When someone you're meeting is annoyed because you're late, say you couldn't help it because you were smoking crack in the bus station bathroom with your mom's guru and lost track of time.

If asked how much education you have, say you have three PhDs, one each in astrobiology, Russian literature, and whale songs.

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8. Sometimes the best gift you can give your ego is to tell it you're not going to be its slave anymore.

You say to it, "I'm tired of being whipped around by every one of your ever-shifting little needs, and I'm sick of having to kowtow to your inexhaustible demands. I want to be free of your insatiable craving to be appreciated, recognized, and adored. Go away and leave me alone. I'm just going to be who I am without worrying about you at all."

Delivering this message may stimulate a healing crisis. Your ego could be temporarily rendered numb and irrelevant by its near death experience, and you'll get to go off and do what your soul wants to do. Ironically, this often results in you attracting adventures that make your ego very happy.

Tell your ego you won't be its slave for a period of three days.

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9. 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.

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10. Sometimes we have a strong sense of what our destiny is calling us to do, but we don't feel quite ready or brave enough to answer the call. We need a push, an intervention, a serendipitous stroke—what you might call "fate bait."

It's a person or event that awakens our dormant willpower and draws us inexorably toward our necessary destiny; it's a thunderbolt or siren song or stage whisper that gives us a good excuse to go do what we know we should do.

Do you have any ideas about how to put yourself in the vicinity of your fate bait?

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Sign by Jonathan Herrera Soto at https://tinyurl.com/4h5vs97x 

Shown at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

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Here's my free music: https://soundcloud.com/sacreduproar and https://freewillastrology.com/music

Here are my free horoscopes: https://freewillastrology.com/

Here's my free newsletter: https://Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

Read a lot of my most recent book for free: https://tinyurl.com/PronoiaPreview

Read another one of my books for free: https://freewillastrology.com/books/oracle

Free excerpts of my philosophy: https://www.instagram.com/rob.brezsny._.truthrooster/

More free excerpts of my philosophy: https://twitter.com/FreeWillAstro

Free videos of my performances: https://www.youtube.com/user/SacredParty/videos

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY

"Esoteric astrology teaches that anyone whose future can be predicted by any means is living like a robot. It assumes that some people are more robotic (predictable) than others; and that further implies some of us have more free will than others."

—Carolyn L. Vash, Noetic Sciences Review

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BE READY

You Reading This, Be Ready

by William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?

How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?

What scent of old wood hovers, what softened

sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world

than the breathing respect that you carry

wherever you go right now? Are you waiting

for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this

new glimpse that you found; carry into evening

all that you want from this day. This interval you spent

reading or hearing this, keep it for life––

What can anyone give you greater than now,

starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

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REMEMBERING FORGOTTEN WOMEN

Thanks for Typing: Remembering Forgotten Women in History: This book uncovers the wives, daughters, mothers, companions and female assistants who labored in the shadows of famous men. Revealing the reality of uncredited female contributions throughout history, this book highlights the work of neglected and forgotten women associated with celebrated male writers, scholars, activists and politicians.

There are a million examples of phenomena in this category. Here's one: Tolstoy's wife Sophia acted as copyist of War and Peace, copying and editing the manuscript seven times from beginning to end at home at night by candlelight after the kids had gone to bed, using an inkwell pen and sometimes requiring a magnifying glass to read her husband's notes. (This is lifted from Wikipedia, but I've affirmed its accuracy by checking other sources.)

Read more on this subject: https://tinyurl.com/nv69snny

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GIFTS

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

1. Visit my Gift Page and donate: https://tinyurl.com/DonationsForRob

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 https://RealAstrology.com

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 https://RealAstrology.com . 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 https://Patreon.com/FreeWillAstrology

5. Send checks or cash to me at P.O. Box 4400, San Rafael, CA 94913.

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: Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

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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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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:

Need More Self Compassion? Researcher Suggests These 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Our Negativity Bias. https://tinyurl.com/2a8ckdu5

An Epic Adventure Few have Heard of: ‘The Great Loop’ Circles the Eastern US on Waterways Never Far from Shore. https://tinyurl.com/2ryubhz6

4 Tuna Species Recovered After Decade of Fishing Quotas–With Albacore in Stores Being Truly Sustainable. https://tinyurl.com/5ctxjs2w

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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 Bookshop.org: https://tinyurl.com/548hp8y8

Available at Powells: https://bit.ly/PowellsPronoia

Available at Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/PronoiaBN

Available at Amazon: https://bit.ly/Pronoia

A free preview of the book is available here: https://tinyurl.com/PronoiaPreview

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Please tell me your own nominations for PRONOIA RESOURCES: Truthrooster@gmail.com.

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY

Week beginning October 21

Copyright 2021 by Rob Brezsny

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseus Elytis was speaking like a consummate Scorpio when he said, “What I love is always being born. What I love is beginning always.” Like most Scorpios, he knew an essential secret about how to ensure he could enjoy that intense rhythm: He had to be skilled in the art of metaphorical death. How else could he be born again and again? Every time he rose up anew into the world like a beginner, it was because he had shed old ideas, past obsessions, and worn-out tricks. I trust you've been attending to this transformative work in the past few weeks, Scorpio. Ready to be born again? Ready to begin anew? To achieve maximum renaissance, get rid of a few more things.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): "I haven't had enough sleep for years," author Franz Kafka (1883–1924) confessed to a friend in 1913. I think it showed in his work, which was brilliant but gaunt and haunted. He wrote the kinds of stories that would be written by a person who was not only sleep-deprived but dream-deprived. The anxiety he might have purged from his system through sleep instead spilled out into the writing he did in waking life. Anyway, I'm hoping you will make Kafka your anti-role model as you catch up on all the sleep you've missed out on. The coming weeks will be a fantastic time to fall in love with the odd, unpredictable, regenerative stories that well up from your subconscious depths while you're lying in bed at night.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): "The reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day," writes author Anne Lamott. I will add that on rare occasions, virtually everyone in your tribe is functioning at high levels of competency and confidence and compassion. According to my analysis, now is one of those times. That's why I encourage you to take extraordinary measures to marshal your tribe's creative, constructive efforts. I really believe that together you can collaborate to generate wonders and marvels that aren't normally achievable. Group synergy is potentially at a peak—and will be fully activated if you help lead the way.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I believe your plan for the rest of 2021 should borrow from the mini-manifesto that Aquarian author Virginia Woolf formulated at age 51: "I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one’s self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded." Does that sound like fun, Aquarius? It should be—although it may require you to overcome temptations to retreat into excess comfort and inertia.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): "Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough," writes author and philosopher Alain de Botton. That's too extreme a statement for my taste. But I agree with the gist of his comment. If we are not constantly outgrowing who we are, we are not sufficiently alert and alive. Luckily for you, Pisces, you are now in a phase of rapid ripening. At least you should be. The cosmos is conspiring to help you learn how to become a more vibrant and authentic version of yourself. Please cooperate! Seek all available updates.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Even the wisest among us are susceptible to being fascinated by our emotional pain. Even those of us who do a lot of inner work may be captivated and entranced by frustrations and vexations and irritants. Our knotty problems make us interesting, even attractive! They shape our self-image. No wonder we are sometimes "intensely, even passionately, attached to suffering," in the words of author Fyodor Dostoevsky. That's the bad news. The good news, Aries, is that in the coming weeks, you will have extra power to divest yourself of sadness and distress and anxiety that you no longer need. I recommend you choose a few outmoded sources of unhappiness and enact a ritual to purge them.

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LOVE YOUR LIFE!

How's your fight for freedom going? Are you making progress in liberating yourself from your unconscious obsessions, bad habits, and conditioned responses? Are you turning out to be the hero of your own life?

For assistance and inspiration, tune in to my EXPANDED AUDIO HOROSCOPES.

These forecasts are different in tone and format from the written horoscopes you read here in the newsletter. They're longer and more leisurely in tone.

To listen to your Expanded Audio Horoscope online, go to https://RealAstrology.com

Register and/or log in through the main page.

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

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"The best part about your audio horoscopes is that they pat me on the head and kick me in the butt at the same time."

—Rita Lazarus, San Diego

"Your audio oracles often go beyond helping me find the truth -- they inspire me to find the useful, practical truth."

—Patrick Kinder, Montreal

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TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In Norway, you don't call your romantic partner "boyfriend" or "girlfriend." You say kjaereste, which is gender neutral and is translated as "dearest." In Sweden, you refer to your lover as älskling, meaning "my beloved one." How about Finland? One term the Finns use for the person they love is kulta, which means gold. I hope you'll be inspired by these words to experiment with new nicknames and titles for the allies you care for. It's a favorable time to reinvent the images you project onto each other. I hope you will refine your assumptions about each other and upgrade your hopes for each other. Be playful and have fun as you enhance your empathy.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): The band Creedence Clearwater Revival, led by Gemini musician John Fogerty, achieved tremendous success with their rollicking sound and socially conscious lyrics. They sold 33 million records worldwide. In 1970, they were the best-selling band on the planet, exceeding even the Beatles. And yet, the band endured for just over four years. I foresee the possibility of a comparable phenomenon in your life during the coming months. Something that may not last forever will ultimately generate potent, long-term benefits. What might it be? Meditate on the possibility. Be alert for its coming. Create the conditions necessary for it to thrive.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Cancerian philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, "I am unlike anyone I have ever met. I will even venture to say that I am like no one in the whole world. I may be no better, but at least I am different." I urge you to make that your own affirmation in the coming weeks. It's high time to boldly claim how utterly unique you are—to be full of reasonable pride about the fact that you have special qualities that no one in history has ever had. Bonus: The cosmos is also granting you permission to brag more than usual about your humility and sensitivity, as well as about your other fine qualities.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Nigerian poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo writes, "I will always want myself. Always. Darling, I wrote myself a love poem two nights ago. I am a woman who grows flowers between her teeth. I dance myself out of pain. This wanting of myself gets stronger with age. I host myself to myself. I am whole." I recommend you adopt Umebinyuo's attitude as you upgrade your relationship with yourself during the coming weeks. It's time for you to pledge to give yourself everything you wish a lover would offer you. You're ready to claim more of your birthright as an ingenious, diligent self-nurturer.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): As author David Brooks reminds us, "Exposure to genius has the power to expand your consciousness. If you spend a lot of time with genius, your mind will end up bigger and broader than if you spend your time only with run-of-the-mill stuff." I hope this strategy will be at the top of your priority list during the next four weeks. You will have abundant opportunities to put a lot of "excellent stuff into your brain," as Brooks suggests. Uncoincidentally, you are also likely to be a rich source of inspiration and illumination yourself. I suspect people will recognize—even more than they usually do—that being around you will make them smarter. I suggest you help them realize that fact.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Self-help author James Clear describes a scenario I urge you to keep in mind. He speaks of "a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two." Clear adds that "it was not that last blow that did it—but all that had gone before.” You'll thrive by cultivating that same patience and determination in the coming weeks, Libra. Proceed with dogged certainty that your sustained small efforts will eventually yield potent results.

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Homework: Tell me why you're such a gorgeous creature. https://Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

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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.

Requests for anonymity will be honored. We are not responsible for unsolicited submission of any creative material.

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

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