May 1825, 2000
I cant say Im an avid fan of Rob Brezsnys Free Will Astrology column, formerly known as Real Astrology and syndicated in 118 newspapers, including this one. Im the type of guy who eats the fortune cookie before I peek at the fortune. What I will say is that I like how Brezsny has taken the staid zodiac and made it modern, reveling in the mysteries of psychology, philosophy, sex, poetry and passion. If anything, Brezsny has made astrology magic again. This magic is something that hes tried to infuse into his own music (his band World Entertainment War, with whom he still tours on occasion) and now, a first novel The Televisionary Oracle (Frog Ltd., p. 483, $16.95). The book follows Brezsny through several Tantric-tucking, spacey, macho-feminist magick-realist alter egos like Rockstar and Rapunzel Blavatsky from the exploits of the Goddess into the headlights of Drivetime. Or something like that. Needless to say, Oracle is hard to swallow in one gulp. But Brezsny, from a San Francisco tour stop, makes it all go down with a spoonful of sugar.
What does your passport say your occupation is?
(Laughs) I dont have a passport anymore. But if I did it would say "dreamer."
What happened with changing the name of your column from Real Astrology to Free Will Astrology?
A lot of reasons, really. But Ive had that name [Real Astrology] since 1982. I periodically like to add shocks to my life in the belief it helps keep me fresh. The new name reflects my increasing commitment to the oxymoronic dao, the American form of the ancient Chinese spirit of the dao.
You started the column in 1978. How have your methods of "predicting the present" changed?
In the beginning I was less skilled as a writer. I was dominated by intellect and anger, less focused in my ideals of compassion and generosity.
What were you so angry about?
Angry about how difficult it is for people to be themselves in our culture. There are so many obstacles for knowing what their "soul code" is, the blueprint they were meant to express.
Televisionary Oracle came out of your live shows. How did it evolve into this first book?
I was not as successful in the rock business as I wanted to be. I created some great music but couldnt get my message that entertainment criminals are unintentionally conspiring to create the genocide of the imagination, that the picture of a future we want to create is awash in dazzling but inane images blast-furnaced into our psyches by multi-million-dollar corporations out. For me to get that message out, I had to get out of the music biz . I had to keep myself from believing the persona of the Rockstar yet still work its black magic .
So is Rockstar your favorite character in the book?
No. Rapunzel Blavatsky is, because shes so juicy and lickable and smart and tricky.
Menstruation. You seem more comfortable with discussing it than most writers male or female. How come?
One is that my muses asked me to go there. And Im pretty faithful to the guidance that my muses have offered me . Many of the old texts in both the Daoist and Hindu Tantric tradition are unambiguous in their assertion that the greatest mojo possible is making love to a woman during menstruation.
Are people coming to this book with the same zeal they do your astrological writings?
I dont know yet. Its a leap of faith to ask people to be interested in a piece of writing thats not about them. But Im pleased with the response.
Do you feel as if youve made in astrological terms more believers out of non-believers or vice versa?
I like to confuse people in the best way. Im proud that people who take astrology too seriously look at me askance, cock their head with a "what-the-fuck" attitude. On the other side, Im proud that I draw in people who could consider the fact that astrology is a valid and valuable system of thought, to use as a filter. I write in such a way so that people who wouldnt care to read astrology columns do. I like to be in the middle.
Rob Brezsny appears at Borders Book Shop, 1727 Walnut St., 215-568-7400. Sat., May 20. From 5:30-7 p.m. hell give free off-the-cuff sun sign readings with cake and coffee, and at 7:30 p.m., hell read from The Televisionary Oracle.