Five of Hearts

16 04 2013

Today, as I walked to pick the kids up from school I found a five of hearts on the sidewalk. With all of the latest unfolding of this ever turning path to self, it amused me greatly. The five of hearts, which equates to the five of cups in tarot- is essentially disappointment. But it’s so much more than just disappointment, it’s disappointment due predominately to an unwillingness to expand. It’s the let down we create for ourselves when our rigid expectations about how life is supposed to operate are not met. Typically this brings about the feeling of failure, of loss, of setback. But the real lesson here is how to shift from expectancy to experience. This lesson brought that moment of eureka when I arrived home with the kids. I had created an ideal scenario for my reception home, not a precise ideal, but just a general energy field I was looking to find. Of course, as the energy of three kids who just walked a mile after a day of school tends to go, they burst forth into the house with boundless chaos and my ideal reception was reduced to a disorienting muddle. One of my personal struggles has been the search for perfection and the idealization of how life around me operates. I feel such a great sense of darkness and failure when my vision becomes distorted, and when the expectation is not met. I allude myself into thinking that things will go perfectly, swiftly and precisely. My dearest friend, Ryan, who is my psyche twin posted a similar observation today on facebook:

Optimism has caused me a lot of problems in this life. Through it, I have come to have unreasonable expectations of perfection, both in myself, others, and the human experience as a whole. These disappointments have caused me no end of agony and suffering and anger. I woke up this morning, knowing it. I now know that for myself, the only way I can take even one more moment of this life, is to drop the expectation of perfection, hope for success, adopt new, realistic expectations, and prepare myself for the disappointments that are waiting behind most doors. The Formula of the new Aeon is this. Keep hope alive, expect the worst, and do it anyway. 

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will.

As I am learning to shed my skin and dance the snake dance, I am discovering who I really am, things that I once longed for are slowly becoming irrelevant and belonging to someone else. Deleting the files of my story that were told from the perspective of others and writing one of my own is the only option. Let the shift from third person to first person begin.

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“Five energy represents that element in each of us that seeks out more expression, more unification, and more understanding of who we are amongst the balancing tides of the universe. In essence, Five is the numerical manifestation of our own desire to balance our own internal equations.”

from http://www.tarotteachings.com/meaning-of-five.html

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Clouds and Taxes

16 04 2013

I’ve been in that birdcage place in my mind for the last few days. On a rational level, I could claim that it’s any of the laundry list of influences- hormones, vomiting children, procrastination on spring cleaning and taxes, inability of seeing forests for the dicotyledons… but more than anything I have this enigmatic itch to jump out of my skin, I feel restless, I feel an adventure in the making… but where is the source of this feeling? I laid on the girls bed today while the kids were playing and/or reading… I listened to some classical music while I stared out the window at the clouds. I was giving myself a secret meditation time while the kids were on self sustained mode for the moment. I looked at the conglomerate of clean laundry to fold and walked right past, plopped down on the futon and released all the spent air that had been churning in and out of my spirit during the day that I had stamped as overwhelming even before it unfolded. We live in an old Mason’s lodge built in 1923, and the girls room is a golden cream color with huge cathedral like windows. We are well above the tree line, so lying down on their bed and looking out the window gives you the sensation of floating along with the clouds. The clouds today were real clouds, the sort of clouds I watched the wings of planes crossing oceans slice into… the sort of clouds that entertained me throughout most of my childhood. I was a quiet child, I preferred the freedom of playing by myself over playing with friends most of the time, because it gave me the undisturbed peace of staring at clouds for hours, or lying in the clover watching the world of insects move in their chessboard trajectory. When I was about Sylvia’s age, we started moving. I suppose it threw off some of my familiarity with the world I knew, but I eventually began to lose my bond with the girl who stares at clouds. I never much liked talking, it always seemed like a silly practice. I mean, there were certainly people and circumstances that allowed me to feel safe in talking about anything and everything, but for the most part, I avoided it and learned to speak in the silent language of Nature. Staring at those clouds today gave me this surreal out of body like feeling. Nostalgia, yet experience anew. My senses are tuning into old sights, scents and sounds and something is being reformatted. I used a pink cherry scented highlighter today while filing my taxes, and it smelled just like my Grandfather’s pipe tobacco. Is this sense of urging my higher self steering me into the creative process? Is this new emergence of old data part of growing up, or is it more ancient and sacred? Is this what a soul’s calling feels like? The fragmented song that you only ever catch a part of, that fades before you can hear it’s entirety… the tweaking of rabbit ears to clear the static. Something profound is afoot.

Elfriede Stegemeyer girl in clouds





time has come… today

14 04 2013

Today’s unraveling was a much needed kick into full throttle consciousness. The kids and I got going at 6 am for a three and a half hour track north to Alachua, Florida for Holi Festival. Slowly the scenery shifted from the deep jungles and swamps of southern central Florida to Georgia with spanish moss. This fulfilled some of my homesick for Georgia pines, and as we arrived at the Hare Krishna temple, we were greeted with seemingly familiar smiles. I found out about the event from a flyer at the Indian buffet in town, and decided that it was a perfect prelude to my and Madelyn’s birthdays, especially considering that it was on my Mother’s birthday. We walked onto the temple grounds, which was at the Alachua ISKCON farm, and every person who we crossed passed with welcomed us and blessed our presence. I was there without Todd, as he was doing his final performance for Second Samuel. I felt prepared to dive into a festival without the assistance of another adult, and the kids were beaming with excitement. We got our bags of colored powder and walked around the festival, stopped in the temple and got acclimated. At noon, the first color throw was held. A huge crowd of people, of all ages and cultural backgrounds, gathered and as we awaited the countdown there was dancing, and people walking around powdering each other with colors. It was such a beautiful moment, complete strangers hugging one another and wiping coloring powder onto one another’s cheeks and wishing a
Happy Holi: or blessing with a “Hare Krishna” or “Hari Bol”. We counted down and yelled “Krishna” as we threw our colors into the air, and everyone started dancing or jumping at once. The kids were starting to get attacked by ants, and so we walked to the portapotties and washed our feet off, and wandered over to the food court to get in line for our vegetarian lunch. Perry began to fuss about his stomach, and eventually started crying, so we left the line and on the way back to the portapotties he vomited in technicolor. I concluded that the dust masks I had required the kids to wear (which kept sliding down and eventually were forfeited all together) had not been very effective at keeping the color powder out of the kid’s mouths. Alden began his color vomiting next, and I gave them some water and we went to the van to clean up and regroup. I asked if they felt like they needed to go home, and they both agreed that they felt like going back. We ate a delicious feast, danced some more and headed home for the day. On the way out I had a mini discussion with one of the monks about the era of Kali and picked out a mala and a few other things. On the drive home, as the kids were falling asleep I began focusing on the concept of Kali, of time- of arriving in the present. When we got home and were all showering, I stood before the mirror and saw myself, covered in purple, as Kali. I had emotions surfacing, and I felt the urgency of the shift. I broke my no facebook rule, as I felt compelled to check my facebook and as I did, I was confronted with all of the things that are constantly just below the surface. Two wedding invitations, a new engagement announced. One of my current struggles at the moment… wanting so desperately to feel settled, to feel the sensation of roots spreading into an objective reality. I tend to shy from diving deeper into the conceptualization of “marriage”. I was married once, for nine years, to the man that I was with for thirteen years. We had the four kids together, and things just came apart. It wasn’t really anyone’s fault, we were kids when we established a relationship. But when that marriage ended, I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to get married again. But then I feel in love with a close friend, and began a deep relationship. We had a private handfasting, just the two of us, when we were living in the mountains, but since then the official and further commitment has been something that I both deeply desire and really want to be able to define, personalize and understand. This is a reoccurring presence in my life. I have to face the reality of this particular subject. Then I went back to Kali… Kali, the dark before light in which all creative forces lie in waiting. The conquering of time, the time that comes today. The song got stuck in my head, and as I listen to both the original Chambers Brothers and the Ramones cover I began to bring form from the depths of thought. I define my reality. I can not allow myself to be defined by anyone else’s version of reality. What I create for my life has to be now, and will not await anyone’s approval or acceptance. I can no longer sit in the waiting room, this is the time for action. Time has come today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wanoXM90yHE

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pure….liberty… the Purification and Liberation.

8 04 2013

Last week’s cleanse brought me with a surprising boost of energy, tranquility and a seven pound weight loss. During this time I reflected on the beauty of myself, and the world around me. I allowed myself to break from this during the weekend’s festivities, and all too swiftly the old self, emotions and ego began the writhing dance of obnoxious ridiculousness. I had an interesting conversation with a friend today, who was feeling a bit fearful of the current state of things in the world, and when I logged on to facebook earlier I found that they were not alone. I ciphered through countless posts that had an undercurrent of fear, hopelessness and malice. And thus I have declared, that until my birthday (which is my celebration from my cleanse day) I will fast also from facebook. It is only a small step, but perhaps it will begin a habit for me. I will be blogging, and sharing my blog postings on facebook to keep in contact, but until April 18th, I will not log on. More on this tomorrow, I feel the dreams calling.

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spontaneous, premature solar revolution ritual

30 03 2013

Today, while randomly scrolling through my facebook I noticed that the local tattoo parlor was having a $30 2″ x 2″ black and gray custom tattoo special. I decided this was a good idea, and just as I walked out the door to take the kids to the playground, I called back to Todd that I was thinking of doing this. I thought about it more and more while the kids played. I knew instantly what I was going to choose- the bunny as a bird from the Runaway Bunny, who is resting on a branch from the tree the mother turns into. The mother who will “be a tree that you fly home to”

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I have been pondering this tattoo idea since long before Madelyn, Perry or Alden were born. From the moment I opened that page while reading it to baby Sylvia 10 years ago, I knew it was going to be my tattoo one day. I walked back with the kids to have lunch and get settled, and decided that this was a perfectly rational thing for me to do today, so I told Todd I was going to do it, made sure he was cool with me running out, and headed over. The tattoo shop was interesting, and like most tattoo shops, there were a bunch of guys hanging out watching a movie, watching youtube, listening to music, ordering food and having a smoke break. There were pictures of people making faces while getting tattooed on the walls, which was a minor amusement as I waited for the artist to be ready. This is my sixth tattoo, but my first work in three years (my last was my steampunk menagerie moth for my twenty ninth birthday). As he began the outline I started reading the portion of my anthropology text “Rituals and Beliefs” compiled by David Hicks about the need for ritual. The article in particular that I was reading was debating whether Durkheim was being too narrow in his concept about the construction of ritual, and proposes that rite precedes belief. I closed the book and enjoyed the tattooing, and reflected on how important, as a rite, and how very sacred each one of my tattoo experiences have been. Before I left the house, I was trying to explain the concept of getting tattooed, why it is important to me on a personal and spiritual level, and I decided that I would blog about it. In fact, I think I will continue this, as I could write a great volume about this concept and tonight is the night I have an ice cream and West Side Story date with Sylvia. For tonight, I will conclude with this- there is truly no experience like getting a tattoo. It is a beautiful, pleasurable and yet painful sensation that takes your mind out of your body and transforms your body into something new, it is the alchemy of the flesh- it is the art and magick of creation, concept made into material through ritual, through impermanent cellular sacrifice. More later, here’s the final work (pictures from cell phone, apologies for substandard quality) from my twitter:

and

More, tomorrow…





coffee blues and supermarket voyeurism

25 03 2013

I hate Mondays. I mean, I know we’re programmed to hate Mondays, but when I am doing a coffee cleanse, I really despise the beginning of the work/school week. I have been imagining a fresh, hot cup of freshly ground french press dark roast (with agave nectar and goat milk) all day long. As most of the world, I equate my energy level to the amount of caffeine surging through my veins, and without it I feel exhausted. I’m trying to push through it, make myself drink some water… I look to my juicer for inspiration, only to run in horror at the thought of having to clean it afterwards. Mondays are the days I NEED my coffee. This particular Monday involved a dentist appointment for Madelyn, followed by standing for an hour straight outside the tax booth at the local supermarket waiting for a turn. It was a rather interesting experience, as standing against walls at supermarkets tend to be. I stood in front of an elderly cashier who had to be 90 years old, at the very least. I watched as she carefully scanned all the groceries, and made small talk with the customers. What amazed me the most about this was that she did not stop smiling, not even once! Considering what a fast paced society we’ve come to live in, I expected to see a disgruntled customer come into her line at some point. However, during the hour of this exchange every single person left with a smile as well! It was a wonderful experience, watching this little microcosm happening right before me. I spotted a cashier with a genuine beehive hair style (complete with a silk flower tucked in the back) and made eye contact as well as smiled at nearly every passing person. It was finally time for me to sit with the tax lady, and as I sat another lady who had not been waiting came to the seat. Before I had a chance to say anything, she offered her seat to me, and I sat to be greeted with a cheerful presence by the lady who was working by herself and had just finished up with an hour long tax preparation. I was relieved to be met with grace in a situation that on any other Monday would have been really challenging my zen. I glanced over on the wall to find the quote of the day, from Nietzsche:

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s rather remarkable how many little things await our discovery in this universe. So often we overlook the signs, only to get lost in the general collective mass projected emoticons. So grumpy without coffee or not, we have to breathe, and open our eyes.

Blessing of Monday to all!

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(that’s Mississippi John Hurt, by the way. Coffee Blues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL7jowIpykQ )





this must be the place: a midnight ode to Sebring

25 03 2013

I love the way Florida sounds at night… there’s always some strange unidentifiable alien-like sounds coming from the lake that makes me feel like I’m in the jungles of Haiti. I can’t decipher if it’s cranes, frogs, insects, the highway or an audio-casserole of everything ricocheted off the water. This place has really grown on me, and I am happy to finally have that elusive feeling of having a place to call “home”. It has been quite a journey to get to this point, however. We moved to Sebring after a year long conversation about moving somewhere outside of Georgia. There were a few places we tossed around the idea of, and some of them were in Florida as well, but there was always something very romantic in the description and research about Sebring, and Todd had grown up here, so it became more and more on our radar. We stayed for a weekend in April last year; camped out at Highlands Hammock and stayed in a room at the Kenilworth Lodge (art noveau/ Spanish revival lakeside resort built in the early 20s). I was smitten the moment we got here. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but there was something really special about this place. We moved from Atlanta in mid May, after selling most of our possessions and packing the van up with kids, dog and whatever else could fit. The first few months were the typical new place honeymoon phase, exploring, visiting the beaches (about a 2 hour trek to either coast) and getting acclimated. Then it hit me. Like a freighter. I was homesick like I had never been homesick. I felt like my 21 year old self- crying in the kitchen of the Navy housing, barefoot and pregnant and alone. I missed my friends, I missed my family… I mourned, and dreaded and regretted, and blamed and turned into a real stink of hormones, emotions and ridiculousness. But I didn’t run from it, which is something I tended to do in the past, run to another country, city, whatever to avoid what is in my face. I went in the trenches with myself and I looked in the lens of the microscope. Slowly the community began to grow around me- there was the churches, the theater, the thrift stores… I walk nearly every where and live right in the heart of the town; which brings me to great interactions with amazing people. There is such a rich culture of people who live in this tiny little retirement community. Most people who grew up here or who have only passed through would probably never recognize this. But after living in many different cities, I think Sebring has become my favorite. There is some sort of social gathering, that is most often free or cheap happening nearly every weekend, and there is a great deal of honor and respect paid to eras gone and to the older generation here. There are a great number of artists and performers, and an appreciation as well as thirst for the arts. I can have a beautiful, deeply spiritual conversation that is void of dogma with a stranger in the produce aisle of publix, and I am almost guaranteed to run into at least one person I know daily. Sometimes, I think I made this place up, when I was a little girl. It is so reminiscent of the make-believe life I concocted when I was making my pretend movies in my grandparent’s basement. But above all else, to me, Sebring represents my undying faith in myself, and the strength of my will to not give up. I am growing, like a thistle in the summer sun. This must be the place.

(interesting side note: Highlands County is part of the Lake Wales Ridge- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wales_Ridge  which is the ancient island that Florida once was. So we are living in a pretty ancient, sacred area here. And I’m pretty convinced this is yet another vortex)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMawfL1lE4k