Monday, June 28, 2010

Not Restraining Order Famous

I’m just like you, right? I read my horoscope. I see if it fits. If it doesn’t, I smirk. But I do go a little deeper and wonder why. One very cool thing I got as my own personal forecast recently was that 2010 is the start of a 15 year cycle of public life, ending my relative anonymity for the last seven years. I’m a little resistant to this. I was actually completely comfortable with anonymity. Not being recognized can get you into places, allow you to pass without notice, blend into the background, ooze normalcy. OK, oozing normalcy is a goal.

I have a goal that conflicts with that too, on occasion. I like to say that all my life I’ve tried to be extraordinary and the best I’ve been able to muster so far is peculiar. But my brand of normalcy and peculiarity still falls within that Big Bell Curve of People Who May Pass Unnoticed. Perhaps I’m on the fringe of that. Still, that’s a comfortable position. I like the fringe.

I’ve become interested in my own chart recently because of the discussions I see about the challenging Grand Square/Grand Cross affecting all of us just now, especially those in the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). Checking out my own chart, I became interested if not precisely alarmed at what looks like a Grand Square/Grand Cross in it. Having been reassured to some degree by experts that I do not have a Grand Square/Grand Cross but only a T-Square in my own chart, I’ve sunk back into my cushion of complacency. My father, although skeptical of everything that wasn’t paying direct attention to him, would have warmed to this idea of a t-square in an astrology chart. It sounds so, so architectural, so engineered. Sun-Uranus-Neptune in cardinal signs are supposed to be the challenges that fire me up and that fits. I’m not only comfortable with the misty and mysterious and out of the blue sudden changes; I’m in my element, so to speak. Combine all that with a very high score in the Mercury department and you can see the answers to so many things. My ADHD goes so fast, I come back to my original topic and people think I’m focused. No reason to alter my mind back in the Yellow Submarine days; I was already there.

For instance, I wasn’t much into dolls as a child. But I was mad for a Chatty Cathy and the Danish troll dolls. Is there something autobiographical about children’s choice of toys? I quickly bored (oh, Mercury) of Chatty Cathy when it became clear that her repertoire of speeches played out from that pull string at the back of her neck was, alas, limited. While the trolls didn’t talk much, they spoke volumes. I had scads of them, dozens, big ones, small ones, a two-headed one that I had gotten in a bunch with two others and named them Winkin, Blinkin and Nod-Nod, two heads, two nods. I made clothes for them out of felt. I taught myself to crochet and made outfits and rugs and table cloths and together with what must now be highly prized antique doll furniture gave my trolls an entire world of things to do, bathing, watching television, listening to the radio, vacuuming, cooking, sleeping and of course, wearing the latest fashions. The heck with Barbie with her vacant eyes, tottering on spike heels, living in her cardboard dream house! My trolls lived in troll-luxury, sleeping under quilts stitched by my loving, if awkward hands.

It wasn’t so much that I was seeking the Utopia of domestic bliss as it was that I was stepping into my own imagination. It’s a useful tool to me even now in my Day Job, one they tell me is rare, especially among the computer-types. I looked at my troll world from their point of view. Clothes for trolls should fit trolls. Beds for trolls should fit trolls. I stepped into the troll world and imagined what it would be like. They rather like cinnamon rolls, for instance, gooey ones.

So how does this translate to a work skill? Easily!

“Just imagine this is the first time you’ve ever seen this software,” I’ll say to people at work. “Would you know what to do without someone training you how to do it? How could you make the right answer seem more obvious?” If I could give people the gifts of empathy and perspective, I would. It might be cause for a little less shouting in the world, a little more understanding. It might make better software.

That ability, whether it’s the over-active Mercury in my chart or the engine-revving Sun-Uranus-Neptune t-square or, heck, why not both? helps me view things from another point of view. It’s something like an “out of self” experience. It helps me prepare my conscious mind for the messages from the subconscious and other sources when I read tarot. And, just in case I've lost you a time or two, it's not perfect like any other human frailty.  But I’m not sure I’m ready to be anything like famous.

My mother’s ideas on fame predated Miss Manners by many years and were more of the Amy Vanderbilt era. A lady, she explained to me patiently, has her name in the paper three times: When she is born, when she marries and when she dies. I don’t think even my mother really thought this was right. She was a journalist and associate editor with a byline before settling into a life of domestic despair, before becoming an antiques dealer by accident. Something about that, not the manners part, but the Mission Impossible, The Saint, the Jason Bourne, even the Mr. Ripley aspect of impact without fanfare was appealing. Say, for instance, my fringe thinking, feeling and intuition were, well, ordinary-looking. One could pass for polite or reasonable or…well, you get the idea.

My husband says my alter-ego is Danae from the comic strip Non Sequitur. While she’s much more pessimistic than I am and has needs that I don’t share, we do have a lot in common. Earlier this year, Danae was in a funk which her long-suffering father sought to probe. He asked her what was wrong. She burst out with an explosive cry of pre-adolescent angst, “I’m not famous!” Her father, always approaching the Wild Thing with caution, gently reminds her that the neighborhood boys would seek to differ with her. With the eye roll innate to her kind, Danae retorts in exasperation, “I mean American Idol-famous! Not restraining order famous!”

So my own chart, like the Knight of Wands, lets me, leads me, shows me how to chase after my passion, not just the passion du jour, for that is a time frame altogether too brief for big mysterious things like Neptune and Uranus, and altogether too, too long for my off-the-chart Mercury score, but the passion of life like the smallest particle that moves so quickly it appears to be solidly standing still. And, hopefully, I won’t be restraining order famous. For we are here but a moment and the moment’s gone.

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Donna Cunningham's SkyWriter Blog

Best wishes!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fantasy Real Estate

Some people are into armchair traveling, but I go a step further. I’m into fantasy real estate. I don’t mean castles in the sky. Those create transportation issues at the very least. I mean real real estate. The fantasy is that I own it.

I come by this particular daydream naturally. My parents were always putting a down payment on a lot on a lake or a stunning house, always to lose their money for one reason or another. Since my brother and I participated in this particular pipe dream, our hopes were dashed each time the proposed marvelous new life did not pan out. But it didn’t keep any of us from the tendency to see a place and envision it as tangibly ours. “Home! Home! Home!” says E.T. looking to the skies. We looked a little closer, but it might as well have been a different planet.

Vacant lots, even on a lake, were not always so easy to imagine. There was a pie-shaped lot with a big tree on a lake in Florida. The ground was flat and the lake was medium sized by my reckoning. Since there was no structure in place, you had to draw quite a picture in your head. I was more interested in the wildlife and wildflowers growing there at the time, but kept a peripheral ear to my parents’ conversation. Dad was an architect and engineer; Mom had done house make-overs in her work as a journalist. They had a vision, a mental picnic.

I connected more closely to the Zachary House in Sanford a few years later. It was well after the pie-shaped lot faded away and my mother had opened her antique shop. The Zachary estate had hired her to organize the estate sale, so we all set about sorting, categorizing and pricing the contents of the enormous white Victorian house. It was full of memories so strong that I could touch them. The dust itself seemed full of life. Even the unused stationery seemed magical, letters yet to be written on airbrush decorated papers and envelopes from 1910-1920. We marveled at the aluminum business cards from the Zachary business, treated personal correspondence with respect and solemnity and delighted in each little find.

The house itself had dazzling wood floors, a central staircase with curving banisters, a “secret” back stairway, a sleeping porch for hot summer nights and at least one of the upstairs bathrooms with square footage enough to play half-court basketball in, perfect for singing at the top of your lungs in the claw-footed tub. The house was a short walk from one of the city parks where squirrels would eat peanuts out of my hand. After spending time getting to know the Zachary family, posthumously of course, we began to love the old house and sought to purchase it. My brother and I excitedly picked out our bedrooms and wondered how long it would be before we could try sliding down the banister. But it was not to be.

After my parents put a down payment on the house, an unbearable accident occurred. The water in a smaller upstairs bathroom sink had been left on, by the realtor, Mom said, and the resulting damage was to shape the living room wooden floor into waves so extreme that it would have to be replaced. And with the charm and price of the house based on the fact that features like the marvelous floors were original, the damage was huge. Unable to come to an agreement as to how to resolve this, my parents lost their down payment and we lost our dream house. My last connection to it is one or two of those aluminum business cards which will surface from time to time, reminding me of how much I loved that place and never got to live there.

The disappointment of loss of what was never to be has not put me off from later fantasy homes. My husband participates. We had a momentary glimmer of buying the old hospital in Montana where he was born. He envisioned a small casino on the first floor. I envisioned room after room for cats and toys. The price was even almost reasonable. But then, the reality of winter arrived, something like 40 below and just the thought of keeping even part of the building warm enough for human, feline and canine habitation was mind-boggling. The repurposed hospital started to seem more and more like Stephen King’s Overlook with me drooling on a dusty floor muttering, “Redrum. Redrum.” Some fantasies exit abruptly and with good reason. Others linger.

Our trip to Ireland a couple of years ago was nothing short of magical. We drove like we knew where we were going. Just hours off the plane from a long flight, we found ourselves in the parlor of the woman who babysat one of John’s old friends, now deceased. We didn’t know our hostess. We had merely taken a sudden right-hand turn when we realized we were right on top of Father Sean’s home town. After striking up casual conversation with a lovely white haired gentleman and his grandson, we found ourselves welcomed as if we were not strangers. With tea and cookies and good company, we received directions and found Sean’s grave with its headstone sent by Californians who loved him.

I fell in love with Ireland. We followed St Patrick’s footsteps up Croagh Patrick, just far enough to realize we hadn’t the stamina to make it to the top but high enough to see Clew Bay. We were transported by the sight of Norman and Gothic structures, now buttressed by falls of blooming, bee-buzzing ivy. We spent a week in the ten foot tall fuchsia hedges in West Cork with a view of Bantry Bay at the summer home of a solicitor whose hobby is horticulture, the house aptly named A Bit of Heaven. And fantasy real estate kicked in.

Never mind the fact that we happened to be in Ireland during the only two weeks of the year when the sun shined and all the flowers were in bloom. The Irish Real Estate Tigers were counting on this luck being the lure for the real pot of gold under their rainbow. In matters of true love, money is no object. In our case, it was lucky our money was objectively hard to reach, for I had found The Property. An old church repurposed as a dance and yoga studio was for sale. “Open floor plan,” I reasoned. Plenty of parking, if you hacked out some of the fuchsia hedge a bit. Solid stone structure and it has a kitchen. And look at those windows! And the kicker? A prehistoric standing stone in the yard. I could live here. Why, I could work from here. After all, my Blackberry worked all over Ireland; I was never cut off from the Day Job workaday world, no matter how remote the lane or field. We let that dream fade into storytelling. But then, last week, My Ireland resurfaced. And I can blame the hubs.

Just last week, I found one and I don’t even know the floorplan. My husband sent me a link to the Irish Times home section and, saints be praised, The New Property appeared! It’s even a house this time, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, modern kitchen, large loft, an outbuilding called a “milking parlour,” a bit of land, room for a pony, it says. Well, room for dogs, cats, flowers and foolishness, at the very least. It’s nearly affordable, now that the Irish Tiger has been caged by the falling Euro (only temporary, we hope). It’s within walking distance to the small West Cork village we visited, with water and mountain views and south facing windows. They want 25% down. The loan doesn’t have to be from an Irish Bank. It’s an easy drive to see cousins from there. It’s the very picture of the 4 of Wands, the home you celebrate with A Hundred Thousand Welcomes.

I’ve begun Fantasy Renovations already. It should be ready for Fantasy Move-In around the end of summer, just in time for the flowers to bloom.

Best wishes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting Together with the Goddesses

“Nothing is more exhausting than cheerful companions,” said Sandra Boynton in her Recycled Paper Products cartoons, fluffy little cats holding paws, dancing in a chorus line, with one of the cats taking a misstep. I love that cartoon. The heck with keeping up with the Joneses! Just keeping up with my small troupe of girlfriends for a weekend is a challenge. There’s enough energy there to be captured and used for other purposes.

B.G., Kaye, Ronda, Julie, Lisa and I started hanging out together about [ed., date removed to protect the innocent] when we all decided that a Big Girls’ Slumber Party sounded like a great idea. We started our get-togethers at Ronda’s house, sleeping in sleeping bags on her living room floor. Over time we’ve gotten more sophisticated in our “Goddess Weekends,” extending our frequency of flings from once a year to twice a year. In order to save any one of us from the trials of being hostess, we moved to a couple of alternative sites, had a bad experience at a local hotel and settled in on a long string of good times in wonderful places, like Stinson Beach and the Russian River. Hard times hit us all, so while we were not interested in giving up the frequency of fun, we went back to home-hosted fun and the occasional “scholarship.”

It’s such a restorative for all of us. Oh, sure, there’s always the usual banter about who snores the loudest. (Hey, I think of it as my own personal White Noise. I even brought earplugs for everyone one time although we never distributed them.) We share our stories of What’s Happening in Our Lives. We’ve been through a divorce, family illnesses, family deaths, personal illnesses, job losses and gains, kids graduating from high school and college, kids going to war, kids coming home from war, kids starting their own businesses, Little Sisters and errant rugby players, saying goodbye to beloved pets and hello to new pets. We’ve included a guest or two from time to time as we think the guest and our core group can stand it. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. We’ve battled dangerous wildlife, like a big fat scorpion on the kitchen ceiling. We’ve compared the various features of automobiles, men, real estate, corporations, musical performers, television. We once watched first in eager anticipation, then with growing dismay and finally with a chorus of screams of derision and flung popcorn as a highly touted Chick Flick turned into a case of emotional dreck and idiocy. We’ve had guest psychics and a massage therapist join us for entertainment. Once, quite by accident, we were entertained completely by a fireman who came to our rescue when one of us sustained a kitchen injury that was a bit more than a band-aid in severity.

We usually do something creative, too. We’ve beaded bracelets, painted flowerpots, been our own manicurists, and even tried and pretty much failed at karaoke. (Kaye, I thought we did pretty well, actually.) We’ve gone on nature hikes, tried a little canoeing and walked beaches. I once got us nearly completely lost looking for a wonderful rose nursery nestled among vineyards; we did find it, eventually. I think I’ve been forgiven for most of that. And I did buy the most luscious and fragrant climbing rose there in just the perfect shade. This year we read to each other, either from our own writings or from fascinating reading we’ve found. One item was a transcript of a deposition from years ago, a clear character study of the deposed coming through.

I usually do a tarot reading for everyone and this year was no exception. Family, jobs, romance, finance and health were prevailing themes. We even read my cards together since I seldom get to read for myself. It said I need to get out more. This is a good thing.

Food is certainly something that we’re constantly improving on. We usually err on the side of caution. After all, what IF we were stranded in the weekend house for, oh, say, a couple of months? You’d need all of what we bring. We’ve had our share of food emergencies, learning what foods are relatives of the nightshade family and what foods are chemically related to poison ivy. We’ve set the smoke alarm off and been unable to clear it in the middle of the night, all due to a simple pizza. We’ve vowed to go out to dinner and then found we just had too much food and too little initiative to leave the house. We had lots of fruit this year and excellent breakfasts, salads and sandwiches for dinners. We even squeezed in visits to wineries and had lunch at the Korbel Cellars deli under the redwoods. The thinner ones have complained that they’ve gained. The less-thin have vowed to walk it off. Soon.

What’s most important is that even if we rant, laugh, squabble, tease and embarrass each other, we share a bond of friendship that has lasted many years. That friendship is like family for us, sometimes better. We had our 3 of Cups times two for a great time with six of us. We celebrated a birthday. We bought hats. We cooked, we cleaned, we performed a miracle of parking. We considered going to the Fireman's BBQ but decided against it when we reasoned they weren't really going to barbecue a fireman.  We tasted the wine. We smelled the flowers. We celebrated life together. And we can’t wait to do it again. Ladies, here’s to looking forward to the fall!

Best wishes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Thanks to the miracle of DVR technology, my husband and I got a rare treat this weekend. We had dinner at home and watched the PBS Special on the Library of Congress Gershwin Award for Popular Song given to Paul Simon. Simon and Garfunkel were icons of my youth, heralds of my awakening into the world of adult “freedom,” the land of altered expectations and persistent search for the place of self, meaning and value.

Of course, we’re a little late viewing this. The prize was awarded to him in May 2007. But we’ve been busy. You know how it is. What memories this music brought back to me!

“Sounds of Silence” was released on Simon and Garfunkel’s first album in 1964. I was just a pup, strictly speaking not yet a teenager, but I had been listening to popular radio for years. One Christmas years before, my Dad had given my brother and me a brother-sister set of RCA transistor radios, “newfangled” in their time. My brother’s was green and mine was off-white. They used huge 9-volt batteries that I was pretty sure could electrocute me but touched my tongue to the posts anyway to see if I would get a shock. For a long time my radio graced the headboard of my bed, fashionably fitting into my pink and brown décor. I tuned to my local popular music station in Orlando and can even remember their call sign jingle, “W-L-O-F, Channel 95!”

I tend to mark my musical life in terms of earth-shattering events, basically pre-Beatles and post-Beatles. Even my mom liked “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. It was so fresh, so upbeat. You have to remember that not all the music of the early 1960’s was upbeat.

In 1960, one of the big hits was “Tell Laura I Love Her,” the dying words of a teenager stuck in a car crash after racing. Presumably, besides the virtue of selling records, this was a message to kids not to race cars or at least for nice girls not to be smitten by boys who drove too fast. Even as a little kid, I realized the haunting quality of this song. Now Laura’s life was always going to be overshadowed by her late almost-fiancée’s undying love, haunted by a car wreck. Something about the ghost of high school past was a little creepy for me, even if it was actually high school future in my particular case. This was one of the times when I preferred to follow my own advice and learn from the mistakes of others. And what about “Big John?” “At the bottom of this mine lies a big, BIG man. Big John.” And don’t forget “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Yippie-eye-ay. Well, when odd things happen to you when you’re a little kid, validation from outside sources is sort of comforting.

Even the Motown 1964 hit, “Dancing in the Street,” could give me the heebie-jeebies, not because of the lyrics but because of coincidence of timing. The Public Library was remodeling and the kids’ section was closed. I was desperate for a read and picked a book that had kids and dogs on the cover, Where the Red Fern Grows.

OK, in these modern times when we are used to visions of violence on everyday television, this book seems pretty tame. But put it in context, in a world where my brother and I speculated on the color of the shirts worn by the cowboys on Bonanza because we had never seen color TV, where there was a test pattern on the TV if you got up too early and where I thought everyone could see the Cape Canaveral/Cape Kennedy rocket launches from their front lawn. Well, Red Fern was a little more like “Nightmare on Elm Street.” So if you haven’t read the book this is something of a spoiler alert, but one of the kids in the book, one of the bratty ones, not one of the heroes, gets hurt quite badly with an axe.

I pause for a moment for a little more personal context. When I was three, I wanted to help my parents in the yard one sunny fall day, picked up a dull but heavy stone axe and missed the piece of bark I was aiming for between my feet and planted it in my right foot. For that nanosecond before the pain message went all the way from my little foot to my little consciousness, I stared fascinated by the suddenly revealed inside of my foot, thinking to myself, “Wow, you’d never think there was so much stuff in there.” The pain message arrived, I howled and was carried off to the doctor, got stitches, two lollipops instead of the usual one because it only took six people to hold me down while they treated my foot and received my favorite badge of, uh, courage (ok, klutziness per my brother’s correction), my very cool scar. Even at age three, swept off my feet by my panicky mother who was yelling over her shoulder at my father, likely the assignment of blame phase of the incident, I remember thinking with concern that I probably was also going to get in trouble with the neighbors too because they didn’t like us to make noise on Saturday afternoons while they had their naps. Suffice it to say, that I’m not a big fan of axes now and prefer to let others take their turn when such a tool is required.

So there I am reading Where the Red Fern Grows and listening to the radio which happens to be playing, “Dancing in the Street,” during the goriest thing I’ve ever read in my life, fascinated, horrified, titillated, shaking, ready to shut the book if I can’t take it anymore, and my cat, Misty, jumps on the end of my bed.

I screamed, the book and cat went flying down the hall together and “Dancing in the Street” imprints on my little brain as the No. 1 Most Frightening Song of All Time, with my profuse apologies to Martha and the Vandellas. Well, the cat forgave me, I finished the book and the radio continued to be my constant companion. And, oddly enough, I was seldom afraid of anything that happened to me, normal or paranormal, after that. I became a fan of science fiction and horror.

At one point I considered doing post-graduate work on H. P. Lovecraft, but abandoned him for a more workaday world. I still revel in the story of H. P.’s wedded “bliss” however: Here’s a guy who lived with his aunts, stayed up all night with the shades drawn and slept all day, wrote some really twisted stuff and, uncharacteristically, he marries the girl of his dreams. All was not roses with the Lovecrafts, apparently, for soon thereafter, they officially and mutually agreed to continue their relationship “by correspondence.” Ya’ gotta love them odd ducks. And I reflect that I may be a duck of some similar persuasion, more likely Daffy than Donald or Daisy.

While I loved the Beatles, the Kinks, the whole British Invasion, I was also mad for Simon and Garfunkel. Popular music had always held both a light and dark side for me, but I held the secret of that darkness within me. If I couldn’t tell my family about my paranormal experiences, a simple discussion of Big John or Laura and her dead boyfriend was just as taboo. I was a little blonde, blue-eyed fluffy girl that my mom wanted to be a fashion model to dress up in pinafores and petticoats and black patent leather Mary Janes. It was really clear that the real me, who saw both darkness and light, was most certainly not OK with the fam.

Paul Simon’s songs embraced the difficulties of balancing dark and light. Hello, Darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again. And somehow, I felt my inner journey, like the Hermit with his Lamp, seeking truth in the darkness, alone, wasn’t so lonely. I was OK with me even if it scared my mom. I persisted in my connection to the Other, wherever, whatever it is and learned not to frighten my parents with the sounds I heard in silence.

They’re delicate creatures, you know.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Under the Oaks with the Big Kahuna

What a HUGE week I had last week! First to Las Vegas as a guest speaker at a convention for the Day Job, then the smallest taste of normal life for two days, and then two very full days at the Himalayan Festival at Live Oak Park in Berkeley, CA.

“Luck, be a lady tonight,” Frank sings over the loudspeakers while slot machines chime major scales in and out of tune with him. Luck was a lady if you remember that ladies are allowed to change their minds. I was just glad that my attention span for gambling is pretty short and that I prefer penny slots to anything more dangerous. Luck relented on my last try at the Fool’s Game and I did come away with more than I had put in. Knowing when to stop is the real art here. I stopped wisely and was pleased I suffered no further damage. Getting to see The Lion King and Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Experience aquarium were actually the highlights of the entertainment for me. I can’t scoff at the wonderful food provided by one of the technology vendors at their dinner either, but as “wild and crazy” as that evening may have seemed, I did not dance on the tables. I did not shoot out the lights.

Happily home, I turned my focus to the Berkeley Himalayan Festival and looked forward to reading tarot in the tarot tent Memorial Day weekend. Our host Herb had organized the tarot tent so that 5 and sometimes 6 of us chipped in to pay the very high booth cost. Herb’s been going to the Himalayan Festival since 1987 and I was pleased that he had asked my friend Kristine and me to join their tent and read tarot. We handled the ‘who is sitting where’ with deference and grace, we took breaks and shopped at the other vendor booths, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over exotic goodies, and were treated to two days of Tibetan and Nepalese music including a long horn. I lunched and snacked on iced chai, veggie samosas and mango lassi. Kristine lost one of her “new” used folding chairs to a combination of the sitter and the angle of the slope we were on, but all in all, it was a plus. When Herb asked if I’d be interested next year, I said, “Sure!”

In between readings, I had some short time to take in the shade and ambience at Live Oak Park and I reflected on the Hierophant.

The Hierophant is often an intimidating card. In the RWS tradition, he is portrayed pretty clearly as the Pope and he does represent spiritual authority and conformity. In contrast to the High Priestess, who studies the mysteries and protects them, the Hierophant or High Priest as he is sometimes called, focuses on the outward signs of faith and devotion that hold a culture together. He’s one of the cards that is most clearly Christian in symbology. But there’s no reason that his card is exclusive to Christianity. He could well be the Buddha or the Big Kahuna (the surfer or the priest). He’s sitting down, meaning that people come to him. His hand is raised in blessing, meaning that he means well, especially when you mean to conform. He’s the guy who shows you how to be spiritual. And he makes just about everyone a little nervous.

For one thing, he gets attributed “Santa Claus” qualities like seeing you when you’re sleeping and knowing when you’re awake. He presides over spiritual rites and rites of passage.  He teaches not just how to be humans, but how to be good humans. He’s got the market on social behavioral “shoulds.” “Shoulds” are scary to us, especially when “should have” is not exactly equal to “did.” Face it, we hate to be corrected. But “shoulds” are needed in our society to give us benchmarks to gauge our lives, to offer us a better way, to show us enlightenment and happiness. He humbles us often at a time when we think we need more, not less self-esteem.

But the character of the Hierophant is in each of us too. He’s strong, perhaps over-strong in those who are working hard to save the world for their religion. But I feel he is strongest in the quiet of the oaks, in the reverential silence of an empty church or other place of worship, in the sounds of bells and other music, in the muted laughter of children playing. When I sat under the tarot tent, under the oaks and other trees, I was transported beyond a colorful marketplace, the little waterfall in the creek, the smell of sandalwood and curry, the texture of vegetable-dyed cottons, wools and silks, to a place inside a little like Utopia. The people were happy and kind. The music was soft and soothing. The air was not so cool as to need a sweater, not so warm as to raise a sweat. He shows us that this life can be wonderful or a trial, but that a spiritual path can bring joy. He gives us his blessing.

My inner Kahuna said, You are one lucky girl. And I answered, Yeah, sure, you betcha! And thanks.

As I worked to help those who wanted a reading, I was glad I was able to be there to serve in some way, to add to the tranquility rather than take it away. And at the end of the fair, just before we took down the tent, I dashed over to the booth across the way and bought that utterly fantastic tiger pattern wool rug. I’m pretty sure the Kahuna didn’t make me do it.

Best wishes.