The televisionary oracle

by Rob Brezsny

Paper Book, 2000



Call number

PS3552 .R445T45 2000


Berkeley, Calif. : Frog, Ltd. : distributed by North Atlantic Books, c2000.


Millions of people already live their lives in accordance with Rob Brezsny's "Real Astrology" prophecies. But the time has come for a deeper dose of Brezsny's brain. The Televisionary Oracle is an archetypal roller-coaster that would make Rumi dizzy and leave Carl Jung gasping for breath.

Media reviews

Jay Kinney
"Like a mutant love-child of Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin, Rob Brezsny writes with devilish humor, spiritual audacity, and erotic intensity. 'The Televisionary Oracle' is a kick-ass gnostic tale. Prepare to be astonished." - Jay Kinney, author, "Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions"
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"If there is any one thing that stands out in this book above all else, it is Brezsny’s use of imagery. Not only does he bring his characters and settings to life with a lucid dreaming vividness, but he creates Technicolor imaginaries out of insane word collages."

"Brezsny holds his own place next
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to other cultural shamans such as Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Reverend Ivan Stang, William S. Burroughs, and Ken Kesey."
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User reviews

LibraryThing member princemuchao
The full text of The Televisionary Oracle has been released online by the author and is available at This review is based on the trade paperback released in 2000.

It seems that Jesus and Mary Magdalen (a reincarnation of Persephone) were partners – not only in the sexual
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sense, but in the spiritual and philosophical sense as well. They were collaborators set on destroying the myth of the solo hero. However, the Church purged the holy writings of Mary and she appears only in a bit part as the hooker with a heart of gold.

The Pomegranate Grail (aka the Menstrual Temple of the Funky Grail) believes that Rapunzel Blavatsky is the latest reincarnation of Persephone, fulfilling the ancient oracle that forcasted her return and woman-kind's deliverance from the evil patriarchy – she has come to kill the apocalypse that has been made inevitable by the patriarchy's mis-steps.

The text has multiple sequential narrators: The Televisionary Oracle itself constitutes every odd-numbered chapter and the rest are split equally between Rapunzel and a "sacred entertainer" named Rockstar.

If I had read this book when I was younger and less critical, like back when I first read Illuminatus!, I think I would have really enjoyed it. Now that I am thirty and have some serious reading behind me, I had trouble finishing it. The mind-numbing New-Agisms spouted by the Televisionary Oracle are so sappy that you wonder at times whether this is satire, but the tone is honest and it is difficult to find any hint of mocking even though it is at times playful. Luckily, all of these chapters are fairly short. The best Oracle chapter was Chapter 19.

Brezsny says on his website that his goal was to write Rockstar as a "Macho Feminist". Instead, he has written an apologetic wuss, who is calculating and dishonest in his feminism. In his attempt to steer clear of what Rockstar calls "a whiny form of humble vulnerability… enforced by shame and guilt" he instead writes a character whose internal dialogue is often at odds with itself, and at the same time (somehow) too rigorous.

In fact, Rapunzel tells Rockstar in Chapter 34 that his words are masturbatory and takes him to task for being a poseur. In most works this would be the catalyst for the character takes stock of himself and work for change, but Rockstar really never does anything concrete that convinces you that he has gotten past this. As a character, Rockstar does not grow very much, though by the end, Brezsny tries to convince us that he has.

Rapunzel is a much more likable and realistic character and if the whole book was narrated by her, I would have enjoyed it much more than I did. She tends to be dismissive of over-reaching arguments and the Us vs. Them approach to feminism, instead recognizing that a consensus must be reached between the sexes.

The introduction of Madame Blavatsky inexplicably brought with it a more practical feel to the story when she appears to try and help foster a "divine dementia", but the concrete character of that chapter quickly fades into a vague supporting role. Jumble's appearance again promises an interesting and unique supporting character, but Brezsny ultimately fails to flesh out Jumble properly and Jumble's relationship with Rapunzel degenerates to a clunky tenderness.

This is not to say that the book was a waste of time. Breszny can turn a fine phrase, and I lifted several quotes from the book for later use. Also, as I said above, the early Rapunzel chapters (multiples of 4) tell a very good coming-of-age story about finding yourself in the midst of a rabble of people telling you who they think you are/should be. And it must be said that Abraham Lincoln does not give Mother Teresa a hickey in just any old book.

When I was younger I would have agreed that if the world was run by women it would be a better place, but as I have grown older I have engendered much more doubt that we would be any better off than we are now. Male aggression would be replaced by female aggression and we would be in a situation similar to what we are in now. If they brought only emotional rainbows to a bar fight, they would be quickly crushed. In my experience, the number of stupid males and stupid females are fairly equal.

Exceptional members of both sexes are what is needed to "kill the apocalypse" and such people are of course hard to come by. Until the bar is raised and today's exceptional becomes tomorrow's ordinary, you can continue the apocalyptic countdown; in the meantime, no amount of New-Age Word Capitalization Techniques Will Save Us.
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Original publication date


Physical description

483 p.; 23 cm


1583940006 / 9781583940006


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