You're Smarter and Wiser Than You Realize

Find Your Hidden Genius

THREE INVITATIONS

First invitation: Weed out the wishy-washy wishes and lukewarm longings that keep you distracted from your burning desires.

Second invitation: Refuse to think that anyone else knows better than you what dreams will keep your life energy humming with maximum efficiency and grace.

Third invitation: Say this out loud to see how it feels: "I know exactly what I want. I know exactly what I don't want. I know exactly what I kind of want but I won't waste my time on it because it sidetracks me from working on what I really want."

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THE HEROES' JOURNEY TOGETHER

In the old-fashioned patriarchal vision of myth, the hero is typically a solitary male who renounces intimate companionship to pursue his glorious, arduous quest. Along the way, sporadic help may arrive from an ineffable muse or deity.

But there are alternative scenarios for the hero's journey. In the tantric tradition, for instance, a seeker's connection with a beloved human companion is essential to his or her spiritual inquiry.

Some early Christians described Jesus and Mary Magdalene as equal collaborators. Sufi mystic poet Rumi may not have actually made love with his teacher Shams (then again, he might have), but it's clear the two men sought divine communion together, not through lonely solo work

Some modern teachers have also broken from the narrow perspective. The quest for illumination, they say, can thrive on the challenges of loving and living with an actual person. In John Welwood's Love and Awakening, the author re­imagines relationship as an "alliance of warriors" devoted to awakening each other's "holy longing."

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DEAR READERS:  If you would like to contribute to me and my ongoing well-being, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at Paypal: https://paypal.me/FreeWillAstrology — Donate via the "Friends and Family" option.

* You can also contribute to 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

* 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.

* Commit to offering me a regular donation through my Patreon page at https://Patreon.com/FreeWillAstrology

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* 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.

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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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WHERE DOES HELP COME FROM?

I get many requests from people who are going through challenging times in their lives and would like my personal advice. I wish I could respond to these inquiries, because they are often profound and well-thought-out, demonstrating an ability to define the problems at hand with lucid insight.

Unfortunately, I can't respond. My various lines of work are too demanding to add any other tasks to my life, no matter how interesting they might be. But I've developed a general response to those people who seek my personal input. I'm offering it below.

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I'm honored that you regard me as someone who might be able to provide answers or solace, but I don't think it would be responsible for me to fling advice your way without knowing more about the complexities of your problem. And I'm afraid I can't give the time necessary to explore those complexities.

The only thing I'll suggest, as you seek to clarify your situation, is for you to arrange to go on a retreat. During that time of withdrawal from the world's everyday madness, I urge you to avoid all media and to be as silent and relaxed as it's possible for you to be.

During the first part of your retreat, spend hours visualizing in your mind's eye the entire story of your life, from the earliest memory to the present moment.

During the second phase of your retreat, begin your meditations by establishing contact with the highest source of wisdom and love within you. You can call this source God or Goddess or your Guardian Angel or Higher Self. Spend luxurious time in dialogue with this source, making sure to ask these questions:

1. "What is it I want more than anything else?"

2. "What is the best way to serve the mission I came to Earth to carry out? What are the very best gifts I have to offer other humans?"

3. "What path will allow me to ultimately learn the most about wise love?"

4. "How do I need to change in order to get what I want, carry out my life's mission, and learn about wise love? What influences and attitudes do I need to eliminate?"

During the third phase of the process, write out a mission statement: what you want to accomplish by the time you die many years hence. Then create a master plan of the actions you will take in order to make that mission statement come true. Include three actions you will take in the next month to get more serious about accomplishing your mission.

During the fourth phase, visualize the following scenarios in lush detail: that God/Goddess loves you, that the entire universe is conspiring to give you the lessons and blessings and kicks in the ass and liberations you need exactly when you need them, and that you are ready to welcome that love and guidance with all your heart.

P.S. I'm a big believer in trusting your intuition. Even if it doesn't lead you to what your ego thinks is a successful outcome, your intuition will always guide you to the experiences that your soul needs.

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Art by Simon Kenny

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I AM YOU AND YOU ARE ME AND WE ARE ALL TOGETHER

"Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves.

"The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath.

"Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred."

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

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HOW TO BECOME MORE OPTIMISTIC

Kate Rockwood writes: Try to think of three new things you’re happy about while brushing your teeth at night. The word "new" is important. If you let yourself repeat items, you might default to some variation of 'family, friends, and health' every day.

But if you have to come up with three novel, specific reasons to be happy or grateful, your brain will naturally start making mental notes of things you can include in your list throughout the day.

More: https://tinyurl.com/y846n3t6

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I LOVE ASTROLOGY

People who hate astrology assert that consulting a horoscope column or getting a reading from a professional astrologer is not a sound approach to making good decisions abut one's life.

The haters never follow up that assurance with a detailed revelation of what ARE valid ways to gather the data and insights and ideas so as to make good decisions about one's life.

Do they know about some Bureau of Acceptable Life Information that can help us determine what is and what is not worth consulting as we chart the course of our destiny?

I don't mean to be glib. I am honestly puzzled by the apparent certainty that there are unambiguous methods.

Would the astrology haters approve of the guidance and inspiration we have gleaned from our high school teachers? From our parents? From our friends? In my opinion, none of them are entirely reliable narrators; they are not to be trusted to deliver 100% accurate and wise counsel on how best to live our lives.

And how about the music of Florence and the Machine, and the poetry of Charles Baudelaire, and the movies of Akira Kurosawa? Is it a big mistake for us to eagerly take on influences from them, allowing their art to infiltrate our subconscious minds and subtly skew and shift our attitudes? Are we deluded?

Or how about the philosophy of the Upanishads or Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel or Susan Sontag? Or the psychological ideas of Carl Jung or Clarissa Pinkola Estes or Erik Erikson? Or the writing of Joan Didion or Pema Chodron or Kurt Vonnegut? Or the social science of Malcolm Gladwell? Or the economic theories of Paul Krugman?

Are they all foolproof, unimpeachable sources of wise guidance that we can unconditionally rely on to steer our personal lives in a righteous direction?

Or should we be ruthlessly careful to draw our guidance and inspiration only from paragons of reason and science?

Should our night tables be stacked with books by Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and mathematician Terence Tao?

Should we read passages from their teachings every night in the expectation that they will shape us into paragons of reason and science? That they will unfailingly guide us to make good decisions about how to live?

I don't think so. It's fine if those tomes and others like it constitute part of our own personal Bureau of Acceptable Life Information. But we need to draw inspiration and education from a variety of other sources, as well—each of which, like Hawking and Darwin and Kasparov and Tao, is imperfect and incomplete.

It's perfectly reasonable to look to astrology as one of our sources, because astrology is a branch of psychology, as well as an art form—a mode of storytelling.

It's designed to stimulate our imaginations as we ruminate on what it means to be a human being.

It's an evocative mytho-poetic system that helps us identify and transform our subconscious patterns and have fun speculating about the big picture of our destinies.

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P.S. Self-anointed "debunkers" rail against astrologers' predictions, acting as if speculating about the future is a crime against rational thought.

Meanwhile, economists, meteorologists, sportscasters, trend analysts, and political pundits are out there regularly making bad prognostications based on dubious data.

In my view, they spread more delusion and cost people more money than those of us who divine cosmic omens. In the case of errant weather forecasts, they can even be responsible for people in the paths of extreme events losing their lives.

Cliff Mass, a meteorologist and professor of atmospheric sciences, analyzed how badly the National Hurricane Center botched its forecasts for Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Patricia in 2015. Mass presented his critiques as evidence of a systemic pattern of incompetence by official sources.

As for predicting financial futures, public finance journalist Liza Farmer wrote an article with a headline that sums up a general consensus: "Why Economists' Predictions Are Usually Wrong."

Writing in The Guardian, journalist Adam Shaw added another nuance, discussing the fine points of "Why Economic Forecasting Has Always Been a Flawed Science."

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MEDITATION IN THE MIDST OF %$@#@

Some spiritual teachers say you're most likely to succeed at meditation if you sit quietly in a sanctuary. They believe you need to retreat from the world in order to develop compassionate objectivity about life.

The 18th-century Zen Buddhist teacher Hakuin Ekaku had a different view. "Meditation in the midst of activity is a billion times superior to meditation in stillness" was his motto.

PS: My opinion is that there's a high probability that both approaches will work!

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Words by Charles Du Bos. Art by gerrygoal2008

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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:

Wood Alternative Made From Sustainable Kombucha Waste Wins 2021 Dyson Award. https://tinyurl.com/yczk2y4r

Teen Rescues Bumblebee And Now it Won’t Leave Her Side –Even Sleeping in a Jar by Her Bed. https://tinyurl.com/3wevyju9

A Fisherman’s Underwater Sculptures Have Stopped Illegal Trawling – Bringing Art and Biodiversity Back to Italian Bay. https://tinyurl.com/byckbc7y

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For 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 September 16

Copyright 2021 by Rob Brezsny

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "There's nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over," writes Virgo author Gail Carson Levine. Adding to that encouragement, I offer you the following authorizations: There's nothing wrong with seeking a pleasure you love over and over; or doing a necessary task you love over and over; or performing an energizing ritual you love over and over; or expressing key truths you love over and over. And these permissions will be especially crucial for you to exult in during the coming weeks, dear Virgo: because it's a time when mindful repetition will be one of your strengths and a key to stimulating the deepening experiences you need.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "If I'm a bitch and a fake. Is there nobody who will love a bitch and a fake?" Libra author Graham Greene wrote that in his novel The End of the Affair. Here's my extrapolation: I believe that every one of us, including me, is a bitch and a fake now and then. We all go through periods when we are not at our best, when we fail to live up to our own high standards. Is it possible that you have recently flirted with such a phase? If so, the cosmos has authorized me to absolve you. You are free to reclaim your full exquisite beauty. And if you haven't been a bitch and a fake, congratulations. It means you have weathered a gnarly storm.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Poet Yves Olade writes, "I've started thinking of people as wounds that don't heal." To me, that idea is idiotically cynical. Moreover, I think it's wrong for most of us. The truth is, humans have a natural instinct for healing. They are predisposed to attract experiences that might aid their recovery from difficulties—that might teach them the healing lessons they need. I believe this will be especially true for you in the coming weeks. (PS: Dr. Andrew Weil writes, "Any level of biological organization that we examine, from DNA up to the most complex body systems, shows the capacity for self-diagnosis, for removal of damaged structure, and for regeneration of new structure.")

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Research suggests that most people think everyone else has more fun than they do. But I'm guessing that only a small percentage of Sagittarians feel that way. You tend to be extra alert for fun, and you have intuitive skill at tracking down fun. In addition, you often take the initiative to precipitate fun. You understand you have a responsibility to generate fun, and you have a talent for generating it. All these capacities will serve you well in the coming weeks. I recommend you raise your mastery of the art and science of having fun to a new level. Be the Champion of Fun and Games for your entire circle.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I'm not engaging in empty flattery when I say that you are unlike anyone else who has ever lived in the history of the world. Your absolute uniqueness is a fundamental fact. Maybe you don't reflect on this truth very often. Perhaps you feel that it's not helpful to think about or that it's irrelevant to your daily decision-making. But I propose that in the next three weeks, you give it a central place in your understanding of your destiny. Allow it to influence everything you do. Make it a major factor in your decision-making.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Welcome back from the underworld, Aquarius. I hope your time wandering through the maze-like twilight brought you as many fascinating mysteries as confusing questions. I trust you took advantage of the smoky riddles and arresting dilemmas to fortify your soul's wisdom. I suspect that although your travels may have at times seemed hard to fathom, they have provided you with a superb education that will serve you well in the immediate future.

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MAYBE JOY AND BLISS CAN BE

CATALYTIC SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES

Assume that pleasure and happiness don't interfere with your spiritual growth, but may in fact stimulate it.

Proceed on the hypothesis that cultivating delight and wonder might make you a more ethical and compassionate person.

Imagine that feeling good has something important to teach you every day.

For inspiration in practicing this approach, tune in to your EXPANDED AUDIO HOROSCOPES. They're four-to-five-minute meditations on the current state of your destiny.

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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PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, the lead character says to a friend, "You filled me with a wild desire to know everything about life." Is there a person who might inspire you like that, Pisces? Maybe a person from your past with whom you've fallen out of touch? Or is there a person hovering on the outskirts of your life who could stimulate you to have such feelings? Now is a favorable time to seek these influences. I advise you to be bold in your quest to associate with allies who will stimulate your lust for life and teach you crucial lessons. (PS: For extra credit, make abundant use of another theme from Wilde's book: "The search for beauty is the real secret of life.")

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Books are mirrors: You only see in them what you already have inside you," wrote author Carlos Zafòn Ruiz. Let's take that a step further: "Other people are mirrors: You only see in them what you already have inside you." And even further. "The whole world is a mirror: You only see in it what you already have inside you." Have fun playing with these meditations, Aries. The coming weeks will be a fertile time to explore how thoroughly your experiences reflect the activity transpiring in your own brain.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Some spiritual teachers say things like "I am not my body" or "This body is not me." I don't understand that. It's an insult and disparagement. It's dismissive of our bodies' sublime beauty and our bodies' inspired role in educating our souls. I agree that we are not ONLY our bodies. I agree that a part of us is eternal, not confined to flesh and blood. But hell yes, I am my body. You are your body. It's a glorious aspect of who we are. It's a miraculous creation that has taken millions of years to evolve into the masterpiece it is. So yes, you are your body, and yes, this body is you. I hope you love your body. Are in awe of it. Are pleased to be inside it. If anything is lacking in this department, now is an excellent time to make corrections.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): "I know someone who kisses the way a flower opens," wrote poet Mary Oliver. I'd love for you Geminis to have that experience. The astrological omens suggest it's more likely than usual to occur sometime soon. Other experiences with a better-than-average chance of unfolding in the coming days: allies who speak of intimate subjects in ways that resemble a flower opening; partners who co-create with you in ways that resemble a flower opening; spiritual helpers who offer guidance and help in ways that resemble a flower opening.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): "I lie to myself all the time, but I never believe me," writes Cancerian author S. E. Hinton. Ha! As a Cancerian myself, I confess to the same crime. But I am looking forward to a shift in the coming weeks. I suspect we Crabs will be inspired to cut way back on the fibs we try to get away with. You know what that means, right? We'll be more inclined to trust ourselves, since we'll be more likely to tell ourselves the truth. Our decisions will be shrewd, and our self-care will be rigorous. Hallelujah!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): My object in this horoscope is to stimulate your imagination in ways nobody else in your life will. You need an influence like me, from outside your inner circle, to administer friendly, playful shocks to jolt you out of habitual ways of thinking. Here we go. 1. If you were to stow seven parts of your soul in seven objects, what objects would they be? 2. If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be? 3. If you were a character in a fairy tale or a movie, who would you be? 4. If you could travel to a place that would teach you what you most need to know, where would it be? 5. If you had a magical animal as your special ally, what animal would it be? 6. If you could sing a song with uncanny healing power for someone you care about, what song would it be? 7. If you could improve your relationship with some part of your body, what would it be?

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Homework. Tell me why you HAD to do the thing that some people question or misunderstand. https://Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

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NEED TO CHANGE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS?

To join or leave the email list for this newsletter, or to change the address where you receive it, go to:

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P.S. I totally respect your privacy. I'll never sell or give away your address to anyone.

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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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