It's warm and raining for probably the fourth time today, and I'm thinking again, "Wouldn't it be fun to get naked and be drenched by the overflowing heavens?" I'm pretty sure that's a sign that astrology wizard Rob Brezsny is getting to me.
I'm talking to the author of Free Will Astrology, which runs in this and 122 other publications worldwide (see page 91), from his home in San Anselmo, California. Despite the fact that many set their soul clocks by his wild prescriptions, he sounds serious and low-key.
Monster child But I know I'm communing with a monster-child of self-expression. The last time we met was almost a decade ago at a convention in L.A. First we talked dreams. Then he handed me a copy of his then-new CD -- loud, intrusive, the too-muchness you might expect from a band called World Entertainment War. And I've been reading Brezsny's weekly overdose of psychic medicine ever since.
Now we're on the phone as he tours with his new novel, Televisionary Oracle. (He's coming to the Rivoli Wednesday, July 5). And sure, his art is imitating life.
When I'm confronted with the book's over-stepping self-indulgence, its masculine overdrive and omnivorous metaphor, I understand why Brezsny needs the goddess.
He has conjured the deity to wrestle the demons of his own abundance not just of words and visions, but of impulses and needs.
What's impressive about the supernatural tale he spins in Oracle is the way Brezsny reveals himself to be one woman-lover who really tries to come clean about the testosterone-driven lust he shares with just about all guys.
He's at home, getting ready to pick his nine-year-old up from school, and all I want to do is talk on the phone about sex and the celestial -- because they're the themes of his book, of course.
But first I have to satisfy my curiosity about how he keeps planetary tabs on himself.
And here Brezsny surprises me, because he's far from effusive about actual astrology. "For me, astrology has become a practice that's overly intellectual, and people who practise astrology are overly conceptual. What I give primacy to is my intuition, because that's the ultimate sign."
For 23 years, Brezsny's been writing down his dreams and meditating on them. He always keeps track of the planets, and consults the tarot and the I Ching now and then -- though he used to do that every day.
And for the last five years, he really credits his therapist with helping him understand the way intuition arises through the signals of the body.
Besides, he is an actual high priest of a magical order, the Builders of the Adytum (see his Web site). The bridge between mind and body is the crucial energy foundation for his spiritual mission.
"It was a very important breakthrough for me when I realized my drive to perform service needed to also include pleasure for myself. For me, service and hedonism belong together."
So here we are back to how sexy the world is when you tune into the fact that we are all living in the auric field of the orgasm of creation. "We live in the midst of the lovemaking of the god and the goddess, and so it's everywhere," he says.
Brezsny's a high priest with a new kind of fuck-the-world attitude. He tells me that while he's been touring, he's been fielding questions from hopeful young men on his self-described role as "fuckmaster."
"I tell them, 'You have to learn how to listen to women on the very deepest level. And that requires a reverence for feminism that can't be faked."
Now, as a woman, I'm going, "Yeah, right." I think we girls know where this goes. So I ask him about where the male principle fits in.
Deep reverence "The masculine force without a willingness to be tinctured and transformed by a deep reverence for the feminine," he says, "is just that dry, abstract, cosmic demonic berserk penis that has come to the brink of destroying the world."
It's a position reinforced by his personal cosmic teachers, who demanded that his work deal with his own forceful masculine urges. "It wasn't until 1994 that inner guidance in the form of a group of women I call 'the muses' began to speak to me in a pretty direct way," says Brezsny. "They told me that I should write from my shame. 'And what you're most ashamed about is that you've been cultivating yourself as a feminist all these years and yet have this unregenerate heterosexual lust that seems to have grown up side by side.'
"Does my inner voice working in my conscience have something to say about my compulsive sexualizing of every situation? That was the entrée into the book."
The actual story unfolds around the destinies of two spiritual path-makers colliding among a chorus of oracles. One of them, Rapunzel Blavatsky, becomes leader of the Menstrual Temple of the Funky Grail -- which is a whole other subject. The desire for inclusion as the first male member of this women's mystery lodge becomes the driving motivation of the hero, Rockstar.
To be worthy, Rockstar must come to grips with the sexual values that guide his substantial desire. Can he be stirred by all women or only those who possess the qualities deemed attractive in our phallocentric world? He is redeemed when he extends his fantasies beyond looks-based, sexist boundaries.
Same source "It felt like I'd become a success when I felt that lust and compassion flowed from the same source," he says, "and when at the height of sexual pleasure (I could) issue prayers not only to the people I love but also to those I didn't really like."
But just so you know, Brezsny's current practice is a monogamous one. "For one thing," he says from experience, "it's hard to carry on multiple relationships and get any work done in the world. "And," he goes on, "I've confronted my tendency to run away from relationships in the fascination stage.
"Ultimately, any relationship worth struggling for is going to bring up the deepest wounds of each person and offer the chance of spiritual healing. I don't think I can get the commitment necessary to stand there in front of that person and deal with each other's wounds unless I'm in a sealed container."
Brezsny is braver than most in admitting to his tightrope walk between the ridiculous and the sublime.
Here's my advice: look at Televisionary Oracle as inspired teachings disguised as a bad novel. Then you won't miss the contact high from all that divine belovedness.
Since I read it, I keep wanting to smell the roses. Their scent seems like a sign that love is in the air.