What do I believe about myself/my life that if I let go of it would free me? 

Fall and the Thin Veil Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Black Mountain. Golden Fire. Those bucks who visited. Coolness. Daniel. Alvin. Greg. Staining the house. Amy at Mile High Hearing. Phonaks. The Roger. Kate, always Kate. Mark Horn. The Tree of Life spread. Tarot. Changing my perception of myself. That steak I thawed. Potatoes. Peas and carrots. Self-care.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mark Horn’s answer to my Tarot spread question

Tarot: Two of Cups

 

This exchange is an email between the man, Mark Horn, teaching the Tree of Life spread class, and myself. I post it here because he somehow (how does the Tarot work, anyhow?) identified a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately.

How can I share the wisdom of the road I have taken with others? Then when the Hermit reversed shows up in Binah, you might ask, In what ways am I hesitant about stepping into my role as Sage?”

Hesitant. Reluctant. Shy. Timid. Maybe not words you’d apply to me. But they are on target in this instance. I’ve been a faithful student all my life, learning as much as I can. I have written novels and short stories. Many sermons. Literally millions of words on this bog. Yet, I’ve done almost nothing to ensure others see my work, hear my voice.

“What do I believe about myself/my life that if I let go of it would free me?” Mark asked. This question tumbles around now like clothes in the washer. Why have I been so timid, so shy, so reluctant, so hesitant to get my work out there?

I don’t know the answer, but it’s a question worth exploring. This tarot stuff. Powerful.

 

I wrote to Mark:

“Though I’m less new to Kabbalah, I’m still in an early learning state with Tarot.

Which makes me feel unable to properly read the cards I got for my supernal triad spread.

Keter: The Devil

Chokamah: The Chariot

Binah: The Hermit reversed

I got stuck on the Devil in the Keter position. Is my shadow the point here? I’m a recovering alcoholic, but I’ve been sober and calm 46 years. Not really addicted to anything.

Anyhow, I then noticed the Chariot has a crown, so it’s stronger up here in the supernal triad. Not sure what ambition is about for me at 74. Not feeling like there are mountains for me to climb. Except of course the mountain on which I live. Ironically, it’s named Shadow Mountain.

Hermit reversed? My wife died in April so I’m a widower, living in our house with our two dogs, Rigel and Kepler. I like being alone, but I see friends, close friends, regularly and attend Congregation Beth Evergreen’s events and see my grandkids and step-son regularly.

Can you point me toward some help?

I enjoyed the class a lot. Looking forward to next week.

 

Mark Horn responded:

Hi Charles,

I’m glad you enjoyed the class. Let me give you some suggestions for these cards.

When the Devil appears in Keter, well, one of the questions that comes up you have already spoken to, which is addiction of some sort—but there’s more to the Devil than that—it’s always good to ask, “is there some lie that i have been told about myself, or taken in unconsciously, that I need to free myself from?”

-What do I believe about myself/my life that if I let go of it would free me?

-Does my experience with addiction give me a role to play in helping others find freedom from substance abuse? (And specifically, if you’re in AA, have you taken on the role of a sponsor or a service position in your local AA? And if not, why not?)

-How can I help others see through their illusions with humor? (The esoteric title of the Devil is The Lord of Mirth, and humor that helps people see the truth is one of the possible ways to interpret the card)

-And yes, shadow is something that comes up here too, so that a question to ask is: what shadow elements do I still need to bring to light and heal?

With the Chariot, some questions in the Chokmah position might be:
How can I better engage the wisdom I have achieved? What new goals would inspire me? How can I share the wisdom of the road I have taken with others?

The Hermit and reversals—I haven’t discussed how to read reversed cards yet, so good to have asked. This is one of those places where I let my intuition take over. By that I mean I don’t always read reversals. My feeling is that the context will help, and every hard has both a positive and negative reading, and which reading to go with becomes clear as we examine and ask questions. But, since a question that came up with the Chariot in Chokmah could be:  How can I share the wisdom of the road I have taken with others? Then when the Hermit reversed shows up in Binah, you might ask, In what ways am I hesitant about stepping into my role as Sage? How can I share my light with others who need it? In what ways can I make my life an example for others who are struggling on their path?

With three Major Arcana cards in the Supernal triad, this is a powerful grouping, and given the context you mentioned, feels very much to the point.

One of the reasons I give “questions to ask” rather than interpretations of the card is that an interpretation is closed, but a question, at least the way I try to phrase it, is open-ended and calls for thought before a response. It may not even call for a response, but be more of a question to live with. The questions are meant to resonate with the querent, and lead them to examine things they may or may not have thought about.

And one thing I often tell people I read for is that the cards almost always tell you something you already know—you just need to hear it again or hear it from another source so that you’re more present to the information.

I hope this is helpful.

Everbest,

Mark”

 

Posted in Art and Culture, Fourth Phase, Kabbalah, Myth and Story, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Tarot, Writing | Leave a comment

My Cauldron

Fall and the waning crescent of the Michaelmas Moon

Monday gratefuls: Greg Lell, starts today staining the house. Susan, who will care for the dogs when I go to Minnesota, comes at 10:30. Marina Harris and her crew coming today to clean. RJ working on how much money I can spend. Coyote HVAC next Monday. Kate, always Kate. Those two Mule Deer Bucks. The beginning after the ending.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The World, #21 of the Major Arcana

Tarot: The World

 

Bubbling and churning. My life a cauldron, happily. Eye of house stain. Leg of house cleaning. Fingernail of dogsitter. Horn of Mule Deer Buck. Feather of mini-splits. Bits of redo and redesign of kitchen. A dash of Orgovyx. One major arcana. A pinch of the ayn sof. A sprinkle of Stars. A slice of Woolly Mammoth Tusk. Two measures of Aloha. Tears of grief. Stir with family and Congregation Beth Evergreen. Simmer for a season or two.

Not sure of much these days. Which suits me just fine. My path has companions worthy of Chaucer. A location worthy of poetry. A destination unknown.

My ancientrail, my life, has begun to reknit itself, reconstruct. The base of this reknitting? The love and life I had with Kate. Her smile, her laugh, her sharp insights, her deep knowledge and compassion. Her kindness. Not gone, here, right here in my soul. Her hand in mine until the end of time.

She found this house. She earned most of the money I receive monthly. She encouraged me to leave the ministry and take up writing. We were brave together. Adventurous. We loved each other and left imprints on each other’s souls.

Now I have to walk this ancientrail without her physical presence. I wish it were not so, but it is. As I put a few touches on the house, learn methods to access the occult, manage my cancer, exercise, spend time with friends, read, write, paint, I’m living forward, not looking backward.

Changing the house a bit will help me say, yes, this is my place, too. It will never be other than our place, but no ghosts allowed. Only good memories.

The whole Tarot, Kabbalah, Astrology, Judaism journey has me on a strange side road from that of the skeptic. Where it leads is to mystery, of that I’m sure. How it will affect my life? Unclear. Maybe a lot. Maybe only some. Tincture of time. (a favorite phrase of Kate’s)

When I came up for closing on this house, October 31, 2014, three Mule Deer Bucks greeted me in the back. We stood with each other for a long time, not moving, seeing each other. After they left, I knew the Mountain Spirits had welcomed Kate and me to their realm. Samain.

Yesterday, two more came.

 

They came on a day when Black Mountain was aflame.

I got up this morning and let Kep out and he chased one of the bucks who had stayed the night. The buck cleared the five foot fence as if it wasn’t there. Kep was pretty damned proud of himself. He never barked.

Back to that pot. Double, toil and trouble, cauldron burn, cauldron bubble.

 

Posted in Astrology, Beyond the Boundaries, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Great Wheel, Health, Jefferson County, Judaism, Kabbalah, Mountains, Myth and Story, Original Relation, Our Land and Home, Plants, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain, Tarot, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment

A Good Oncology Visit

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Mark Horn. The sephirot. The Tree of Life. Zoom. Kabbalah. Astrology. Alan. The Parkside. Breakfast out. Jackie. Oyama. Kristie. Quest labs. Golden Trees. Tall Mountains. Water falling down the Mountainside. The new trail. Evergreen.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Tarot

Tarot:  The Moon, #XVIII of the Major Arcana

 

Guess this is good news. I didn’t remember my visit to my oncologist when I wrote yesterday’s post. Anyhow, I’m remembering it now.

The route I took so often with Kate. To Swedish Hospital. Down the Hill to 285 and go on until morning. Well, at least to the Safeway just past Broadway. Urology Associates has an office at the Swedish campus, one of three.

Saw Kristie. Whom I like. She shows me my reports, prints them out. Explains things. She’s an advocate for her patients. Will listen to whatever question I have and answer it as well as she can. She’s never in a hurry. “I want to be your cheerleader.” From a lot of folks that would make me bristle, but with Kristie, I hand her a pompom.

In less than a month Orgovyx has taken my PSA down from 7.4 to 1.0. “That’s a great result.” Two bits, four bits… The side effects have begun to diminish. The debilitating fatigue is gone. The hotflashes are intense but shorter and less frequent than the Lupron induced ones. It did not raise my blood sugar. Somehow the lipid panel got missed, but I’ll find out next time if it’s pumping up my triglycerides.

I’ve achieved castration level testosterone reduction. Gosh. Isn’t that good! …a dollar. All for vanished testosterone stand up and holler!

My location in the prostate cancer trajectory has changed. I now have advanced prostate cancer. In essence this means it can no longer be cured. But, it can be managed as a chronic disease. Androgen deprivation therapy, ADT, can work, does seem to be working for me right now. However, ADT often finds its utility waning after it has been used for a while. Some kind of resistance builds up.

And so. I had a blood draw at Kristie’s request. Well, Aster tried twice to draw my blood, said “I failed! I’m gonna get Paula.” Aster told me the story of her first for real blood draw. “The guy forgot to tell me he was terrified of needles. He jerked when I poked him and the needle went in, under the skin, and came out further on. I think I was more upset than he was.” I bet that’s a memory that will last. Paula succeeded.

The blood draw is for a genetic test that identifies 32 genetic mutations known to cause prostate cancer. Kristie, “This is not only for research. We now have targeted drugs for some of these mutations. If you have one of them, we may able to give you a specific therapy for your cancer.”

Thinking to that day when ADT no longer works.

A good visit. As good as you can have at your oncologist’s. Cancer losing. More losing expected. Other treatments available.

Told Kristie I realized the other day that I’ve now had prostate cancer for six and a half years. Glass half full Kristie said that means mine is less aggressive because I went for some time with lower PSA’s. True. But. Aggressive enough to keep coming back after the two gold standard treatments: prostate removal and radiation.

Even so. It was good.

Not going into it today, but I started my Tarot and the Tree of Life Spread class. Mark Horn is a good teacher. Organized. Thoughtful. Kind. Responsive.

The Moon. #18 in the major arcana. Again. I keep drawing major arcana. The Lady. The Moon. The Hermit. The Devil. The Chariot. A lot of energy swirling around me, in me. Feels right.

Will just note here that I’m having a push/pull experience with my Kabbalah, Tarot, Astrology learning. The skeptic, a key part of my mental habitus, keeps screwing up his face. C’mon, Charles. Whatcha doin?

Another part says, yeah, I know. But the way these cards have spoken to me, I can feel an inner world value, an introspective assist that helps me. Same with the Kabbalah. Astrology still kicks in the skeptic, but I’m trying to figure out how it fits with the archetypal insights from Kabbalah and Tarot. I’m holding all this in my alembic, believing that the fire of continuous practice will decide how I really feel.

 

 

 

 

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A Picture Show

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Kristie. Paula. That other nurse who couldn’t make the poke. Orgovyx. Swedish. A lot of bad memories. Full workout. Long sleep, again. Jon, struggling. Cool rain. Coming home to the mountains. Gates of Light and the Tree of Life.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Tarot

Tarot: Devil, #15, The Chariot, #7, and the Hermit, #9 of the Major Arcana. This is a homework spread for my Tarot and the Gates of Light class.

 

Left early this morning for breakfast with Alan at the Parkside. The waitress told me she’d look for my breakfast partner. We’re known there. And, Rebecca Martin came in, too. More of that casual connectedness that I described last week. Love it.

And, the Aspen have turned, lighting up the Mountainsides like deciduous Bonfires. Cool days. The glory of a Mountain Autumn. It’s different up here from the Midwest where the Forests are a riot of colors, Some folks find our Fall less attractive, but I’m not one of them. I find its simple abundance of gold wonderful.

After Alan and I had breakfast, I drove back saying, under my breath, so beautiful. I love it here. These Mountains, so beautiful. Talked myself into checking a second Denver Mountain Parks trail that I’d noticed only after a recent round of work by Jeffco creating a small pullout parking lot.

One problem I’ve had with hiking recently is that most trails have altitude gain or loss (which translates to gain on the way back) and my post-polio lungs work too hard. Thought about taking the Inogen with me and I may have to do that some day, but, not yet.

All along this new trail (new to me) I kept saying, again to myself, This is great. This is great. The trail follows a small Mountain Stream through a steeply sided Canyon with rocky, Tree lined walls. And, it’s roughly level. We are at 8000 feet or so, so it’s hardly sea level, but that’s not as much problem for me. It’s the exertion that makes me huff and puff.

Anyhow, I’ll finish with something I haven’t done in a while: a picture show.

The Trail Begins

 

 

Grandfather Tree

 

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Blessed Be

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Friday gratefuls: Mussar. Women friends. CBE. Kep and Rigel, my loft dogs. David and his prostate cancer journey. New schedule. Better. Mike Rogers from Bear Creek Design. His expansive (read: expensive) vision. A fun one. Cardio at 4:30 pm.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: L’chaim!

Tarot:  King of Wands, Druid

 

Sleeping Beauty Henry Meynell Rheam

Not sure about my sleep button, but it sure got pushed this week. 9 hours yesterday. Maybe 10 today. Combination. Orgovyx and very, very low testosterone. Working out harder, longer. A calmness in my soul. Colder nights. Really don’t want to sleep this much, but I feel it’s ok for a bit as I adjust to the new drug and the new (really, old) workout intensity.

Overall energy has improved. Partly due to better sleep, I’m sure. Also, getting used to Orgovyx. Less turmoil in my inner world.

Bear Creek Design came out yesterday. Mike Rogers, who worked on our bathroom, is a design/build guy. He wants to take down walls, extend the footprint of the kitchen, put in a wall with a fireplace in the former sewing room. Make a “cute breakfast area with a pot belly stove” and finish the large part of the old sewing room into a formal dining room. I doubt I’ll do any of it since I’m spending my remodel money on the mini-splits, but what the hell. Maybe I’ll get a windfall somehow.

Talked with David yesterday. At 63 his PSA, after a long stretch in the 2.0’s (perfectly ok for a healthy guy, jumped to 17! Yikes. Then, by the time he saw an urologist, it had hit 43. Double yikes. This was three years ago.

Metastatic disease. From nothing to advanced prostate cancer in weeks. But. Since that point he has had undetectable PSA tests. Wow. And, when I spoke with him yesterday at one of the high tables in the Muddy Buck, he told me his latest scans have shown no mets anywhere.

In his first scans they had seen innumerable hits in his lungs and significant disease in his sacrum. All disappeared. Clear. Not gone, dormant, but no longer spreading. Three years. After way more cancer progression than I’ve ever had. Hopeful.

Realized this last month. I’ve had prostate cancer for over six and a half years. Seems like a long time when I say it like that. And, now, I’m never getting rid of it. However. If I can achieve undetectable over a long span of years, well, ok then. Cancer as a chronic disease. Wow.

Appointment with Kristie, my P.A., today. We’ll look at the numbers from my lab results. Notables are 1.0 PSA (definitely detectable), blood sugar at 98, and high creatinine. This is the future for me. PSA every three months. Blood tests when necessary. Take the meds. Live with cancer. Live. Yes.

King of wands today. “A need to make important decisions, set goals.” Well, yeah.

Signed up for Astrology and Kabbalah at the Kabbalah Experience. Taught by two CBE’rs: Elisa Robyn. My astrologist. (oh. never thought I’d write that) and Luke Colaciello, the new Executive Director at CBE. He co-taught the Tarot and Kabbalah with Rabbi Jamie this summer.

Four years or so of Kabbalah. Getting intense with the Tarot. Coming back around to Astrology. The brain and heart and soul getting a good workout. Splotches of paint on a new canvas. Can getting back to Jenny’s Dead be far behind?

from the Shadow Mountain Hermitage, blessed be

 

 

Posted in Dogs, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Health, Judaism, Mountains, Our Land and Home, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

Dancing with Torah

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Simchat Torah. Rabbi Jamie. Bereshit. Alan. CBE. Dancing with the Torah. A full workout. Kids. Jon and his medical woes. Rigel and the sagging bed. Michaelmas and its promise. 37 degrees this morning. Rain. Greg Lell, now starting on Monday. Coyote HVAC.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dancing with the Torah. Seeing it fully unrolled. (Simchat Torah=Rejoicing in the Torah)

Tarot: Three of Swords, Druid

 

Funicular. Valparaiso, Chile 2011

Started painting again. Abstract, influenced mostly by Rothko, but also Kandinsky. Fun. Realized I’d gotten myself into a productive rut. That is, my time either had to be productive or restful, nothing in the intermediate state of fun. If I wasn’t handling bills and errands, I worked out. Cooked. Pruned. Planned for projects. Trying hard to get life into flow. Except. Life won’t push into flow. It arrives there on its own.

When Elisa and I met on Monday, one message came through bright and mature: have fun. Oh? What do I do for fun? As I considered that, I awoke to my recent needs to be either productive or relaxing.

No surprise, really. Over the caregiving years if I was not relaxing, and often even then, I cooked, made appointments, got errands done, organized. A flaw in my caregiving was not honoring the need to have fun. For Kate and for me. No wonder that state persists.

Pushed myself last evening to get out of the house and over to CBE for Simchat Torah. This is the holiday that ends the sweep of holidays that include the High Holidays and Sukkot. It marks the reading of the last parsha, Torah portion, and beginning again with Bereshit, Genesis.

In the last reading Moses looks out on the Promised Land from Mt. Pisgah, but learns he will not get there. He dies on the Mountain. The Torah ends. And, the Rabbi reads both the Moses passage and the start of the next:

“1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

A never-ending story. If you are Jewish and a regular attender of Shabbat services, you will have heard the complete Torah read through as many times as you are years old. This is the origin story, a historical saga, a religious primer, a law book, but most of all it gives the Jewish people a common mythology, a fairy tale shared among all members of the tribe. Naming it mythology or fairy tale in no way denigrates the Torah. It is the foundation for the dreams, the aspiration, the daily life, the purpose and mission of all observant Jews and most non-observant ones as well.

Knowing this story is, in my outsider opinion, more important than circumcision, the kippah, the chuppah, or ketuba in Jewish identity.

Yet, it manages to retain its centrality without becoming a prison, as too often happens with Christians, especially those who claim to believe in the divine inspiration of scripture.

How? Thanks to the Jewish love of debate, discussion, a willingness to consider the opinions of others. Studying Torah is not like studying the Koran or even the Christian scriptures (which include the Torah). Jews go into the study of Torah, an activity given very high priority for all, not just Rabbis, with an expectation of differing opinions, no solid, definitive interpretations, but a belief that out of such learning will come guidance for daily life.

On Simchat Torah the scrolls themselves are held by members of the congregation who lead congo lines of congregants dancing and saying blessings to the accompaniment of music. Last night a trumpet and a piano.

The atmosphere is upbeat, celebratory. Fun. I like this holiday and its energy, but in years past though I’ve attended I’ve held back. Observing, not dancing.

Last night I danced with the Torah. I let my self-consciousness disappear (mostly), got my feet twisting, shoulders turning as we moved through the sanctuary behind the two carrying the scrolls. I was a bit out of breath, but I wouldn’t have missed it. I needed to get out of productive or relaxing cocoon and let loose.

Who would have thought it would happen during a Jewish holiday? Rabbi Jamie, I imagine. Jews celebrate physically, musically, emotionally, communally.

After the dancing the entire Torah scroll is unrolled and congregants take up prayer shawls, put the shawls around their hands so they won’t get oily hands on the scroll itself and hold it up. It becomes a physical never ending story as a circle is formed and the end comes next to the beginning.

I did not yet join in holding the Torah. Still a bit too shy. Next year in Evergreen!

After all this Rabbi Jamie had Torah study in which we looked at the first chapter of Bereshit. Bereshit is the first word in the Torah and is often translated in the beginning, but that’s not the only translation. This was intellectual dancing with the Torah. I blurted out part way through, “I love this!” And, I do. Studying scripture I find great fun.

So there. I had fun. I danced. I thought. I saw friends. Maybe the curly haired boy from the Rebirth card yesterday came part way out of the dolmen.

 

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Michaelmas

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Coyote HVAC. Starting next Thursday. Greg Lell, starting tomorrow on house staining. Mussar. Tarot. Kabbalah. Astrology. Elisa Robyn. Rabbi Jamie. Alan. David Jordani. Tom Crane and his colleague who recommended the mini-splits. Shirley Waste. Frozen dinners. Cool nights. Rain and snow on the way. Ruth and her first homecoming. Max. Claire and Patrick, his mom and dad. Paul and Sarah, grandpop and grandma. Kate, aunt.

Sparks of joy and awe: Writing. Michaelmas. Tom and Roxann, anniversary.

Tarot:  Rebirth, #20 of the major arcana, Druid

 

And so this day comes round at last. Michaelmas. The feast day of the Archangel Michael, defender of heaven, God’s most fierce warrior. Tom and Roxann celebrate their wedding anniversary on this day, usually on the North Shore, sometimes with a cooked goose. Jen, mother of Ruth and Gabe, celebrates her birthday. And Rudolf Steiner thought of this day as the springtime of the soul.

I feel, different. Better. Almost like having awakened. Not woke in the social justice sense, but in the, oh this is what my soul needs to do next sense. Seems like the Tarot and my chart reading with Elisa on Monday and my own feeling that Michaelmas could be the date for a life transition have synched up, said YES.

Delacroix Eugene: St Michael Defeats the Devil

I’ve got a few things underway: house staining starting tomorrow and the mini-splits install beginning next Thursday. My Tree of Life Spread class starts on Saturday. I meet with Kristie on Friday. PSA at 1.0. Not quite low enough. Perhaps a kidney issue in the bloodwork panel. We’ll see. Started a new painting. Changed my days, I hope permanently. Looking forward to the Woolly Retreat at the end of this month.

The loft’s organization makes sense now. Not cluttered. Some more work to do. Still pruning downstairs. Wanting to get further along before snow. Not quite sure how to manage that. But, I’ll figure it out. Back at my workouts and feeling better physically.

Devil and
Tom Walker

Here’s something I got from Elisa on Monday. “I’m a reconstructionist. Just not a Jewish reconstructionist. I’m an MOT (member of the tribe) of Congregation Beth Evergreen and Jamie is my Rabbi.” “Oh,” Elisa’s face lit up in a big smile, “That’s such an Aquarian thing to do. To be in but not of something. And you may decide later that that’s over for you.” “Yes. When I met Kate, I had known for a year or more that I had to leave the ministry. It was over.”

Since September 23rd, I have drawn the Lady, #3 of the Major Arcana, three times, The Moon, #18, and, today, on Michaelmas, Rebirth, #20. In the last 8 days I’ve drawn 5 Major Arcana. The Lady and the Moon both point toward the anima and the inner world, living into the feminine creative energy, my Yin chi. The rebirth card. Well, that’s another matter and it came on Michaelmas. I consider that more than significant. It’s a clear message.

According to the Druid Craft Book, the message is: “You hear the call and awaken to the new light of day. You have entered the darkness and drunk of the cup of silence. You have chosen life and emerge reborn.”

Meaning: “The Power of the Call. You may have heard the call of the spiritual path you are seeking. Rebirth into a life that is more fully your own. You may have come to a crossroads in your life, and a decision is required that will take you in a new direction.”

Life has given me no choice. Change or retreat. Grief forces the soul to reconsider its location, its direction, its purpose. Yes, even its calling. I count my grief as having begun on September 28th, 2018, three years ago yesterday. That was the day of Kate’s bleed. The acceleration of her decline.

From that day forward my life had as its everyday anchor Kate’s medical and emotional and spiritual needs. Not that I could fulfill them all, no, but her gradual physical diminishment meant no day could pass without considering them.

I took her hand that day, September 28th, and never let go until April 12th of this year. The letting go was so painful, so shocking. Disorienting. Even disfiguring my soul. Nothing abnormal. Mourning. Then, grief and its labyrinth.

It was as Dante said.

                                                               

        IN the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
Gone from the path direct: and e’en to tell
It were no easy task, how savage wild
That forest, how robust and rough its growth,
Which to remember only, my dismay
Renews, in bitterness not far from death.

 

Those caregiving years were not hell. Kate, my love and my soulmate, was still alive; but, they did hold suffering and torture for both of us. When she took that long, last ride, I climbed the mammoth frozen body of the Devil into purgatory. I’m still there, but I can see the sky above me.

Today I identify with the curly haired boy standing at the exit of an elaborate dolmen. A priest, a Druid perhaps, sounds a trumpet of relief. The journey through the Inferno is complete. Purgatory lies almost behind.

I can feel the hesitancy in him. The darkness, the strangeness of purgatory still more familiar. The long, long path from that dark Wood more known than what lies ahead.

Symbols of eternal life, of rebirth, like the Holly and the Mistletoe and the Hare and the triskelion crowd the picture below him.

Will he step out of the door? Embrace the Hare. I know he wants to. The energy and promise, the possibility of life renewed, remade, reimagined, reconstructed only just ahead.

He feels, as I do, an expansion in my chest, a lifting of the head, eyes no longer cast down, or around in a worried scan. That feeling, that alone, can propel him out into the sun.

Let it be so. For him. And, for me.

St. Michael and the Devil, 16th century Book of Hours

 

 

Posted in Aging, Beyond the Boundaries, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Great Wheel, Health, Holidays, Kabbalah, Memories, Myth and Story, Our Land and Home, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

A Good Day

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Lady, Druid Deck, #3

Tuesday gratefuls: Elisa Robyn. My natal chart. Her disquisition. Astrology. Tarot. Kabbalah. periMOT me. Opening myself. Quest labs. Results soon. Flu vaccine. Booster Covid vaccine. Workout in the afternoon. Me caring for me. Second thoughts on the kitchen remodel. We’ll see. Have notified Coyote HVAC that I want to go ahead with the mini-splits. Greg Lell coming Thursday to stain the house.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: My Northern Node.

Tarot: The Lady, #3 in the major arcana

 

Dante’s Inferno, Canto I

A good day yesterday. Down the hill. Lakewood Safeway. Quest Labs. Safeway pharmacy. Lab tests blood draw. Four tubes. Asked the phlebotomist if he was gonna leave enough to drive home on. I could tell by his reaction I wasn’t the first to ask. I’m beginning to get familiar with Quest Labs.

I had to wait for a half an hour for the pharmacist to finish opening the pharmacy. Then, a jab in the left arm and a jab in the right. Vaccinated. Third time for Covid. Manyeth time for the Flu. Might wear a mask out this year. Flu’s no joke either.

Drove back up the hill. Stopped at Wendy’s for breakfast. A treat to me for being a good boy. Love their potato fries. Therefore I rarely stop there.

Back home I ate, finished up some tasks on the computer. Including my third consecutive call to Social Security, Lakewood. It became my third consecutive call to timeout in their system. Maddening. An armed security officer prevents entrance to the Social Security building in Lakewood. I can’t get to them by phone. WTF!

Took a nap, then got up and exercised. Decided I may go back to the afternoon workout time. I worked out at 3:30/4:00 pm the whole time we were in Andover. Makes my day work better. Can’t recall now why I stopped. Probably heat in the unairconditioned loft.

Why I decided to go ahead with the mini-splits. They will make the loft available for afternoon workouts and the house safe for me during allergy season. Not to mention cool. The mini-splits also do some heating. Might solve my upstairs winter heating issues.

But. That raises a money question. Can I afford both the mini-splits and a remodeled kitchen? Don’t even know how to answer the question. But, I’m gonna check with RJ. Maybe.

The Social Security kerfuffle means I may have to go to plan B to pay Greg Lell for the house staining. I’ve counted on the back Social Security payments, from April, but I’m sure having trouble jiggling them loose. They’ll come eventually. Good thing I have a plan B. And, btw, a plan C.

After my workout was my Zoom session with Elisa Robyn, reacquainting me with my natal chart, explaining its significance and showing me how to synch it with a chart for yesterday. More on this later. It was exciting and overwhelming.

Merging Tarot, Kabbalah, and Astrology. Strange ground for me, but here I go.

 

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A Busy Week

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Monday gratefuls: Quest lab. Blood draw. PSA. Testosterone. Metabolic panel. CBC. Safeway pharmacy: flu and third Covid push. Down the hill in Lakewood. Closest. Albuterol. Frozen dinners. HVAC, mini-splits. Going ahead. House staining. Starts Wednesday. Bear Creek Design on Thursday. Painting.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Universe. Ohr.

Tarot:   The Moon, #18 in the major arcana

 

First blood draw on Orgovyx. A month into the prescription. Blood sugar and triglycerides can both go up. Putting the dipstick in the PSA reservoir, too. And, logically, my testosterone level. I have a, let’s get this blood work done early in the day sorta thing. Expresses my willingness to stay on top of the predatory invasion, stay ahead of it. And to know what’s really going on.

A bit nervous though not as much as the first time after I finished radiation. Thought, hoped, for a cure then. Not so now. Surveillance, making sure the cancer doesn’t break out of the starvation prison we’re putting it in.

Gonna hit the Safeway Pharmacy, too. Quest labs has an office in the Lakewood Safeway. There I’ll get, I hope, a flu shot and my third Pfizer push. Doing what I can to stay alive.

Which I appreciate. That I’m doing those kinda things. Means I’m rolling along with a desire to be here. What I want.

Quite the week. A chart reading by Elisa Robyn. My CBE astrologer. May take a class with her from Kabbalah Experience. Astrology and the Tarot. Blue Mountain Kitchens to choose kitchen cabinets, counter top, backsplash. Tuesday. Wednesday house staining begins. Thursday Bear Creek Design come out for a kitchen redesign session. Mussar that day, too, and coffee with David, my fellow advanced prostate cancer guy from CBE. After at the Muddy Buck. Alan for lunch on Friday, then Kristie, my oncologists P.A., at 2:30 that day. But wait! There’s more. On Saturday a memorial service for my personal trainer who died of glioblastoma in June of 2020. The first class of my Gates of Light Tree of Life spread course with Mark Horn. Later in the afternoon, Jackie for a hair cut. Whew.

The next week is calmer.

Picked the Moon, #18 of the major arcana, again. Deep into feminine mysteries. My anima poked once more.

Ta. Off for Quest Labs.

 

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I Think I’m Alone Now

fogwalking: Nicoletta Bruma.

Fall and the Michaelmas Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Hit and Run, Netflix. Sourdough toast. The freezer. Ruth at her first homecoming dance. Jon, Gabe, Sarah, BJ. Zooming. Jon’s antifungal meds. George Will. Whatta mind. Eggs at 8 pm last night. Max. All the babies, the true Replacements. Shelf pruning in the bedroom almost finished.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fall.

Tarot: The Lady, #3 of the Major Arcana. Again.

 

Moments. Decided to cook myself fried eggs last night about 8 pm. As I stood there waiting to turn them over, I had a sudden feeling of lonliness, of aloneness. I could cook myself dinner (breakfast?) late because I live alone. Oh, yeah. So I do. Without. Kate.

Grief seems more insistent. Rigel barks upstairs each evening. I think she wants Kate to come down and go to bed. Sometimes Rigel paces. Into the bedroom, around the coffee table, upstairs, back down into the bedroom.

Thought about equanimity practice. Name the context. Name the feeling(s). Choose whether to experience them.

Realized I’d zoomed with Sarah, BJ, Jon, and Gabe at 4. Oh. Yes. Churning the still soft soil of Kate’s life. So. Aloneness. A twinge of sadness. Real. True to my situation. I lived into it a minute, got out my spatula, turned the eggs over, waited. Plated them and had a late, quirky meal.

Also. wearing out toward the afternoon. One guy said, in essence, “No T, no energy.” Maybe. This feels like more. I’ll have a better idea this week.

Blood draw on Monday. PSA. Testosterone. A blood panel. A metabolic panel. I see Kristie on Friday. Orgovyx can raise blood sugar and triglycerides. In addition to hot flashes and fatigue.

Ordinary life now with the manageable cancer. The good cancer. Though from my perspective? Still cancer.

Once in a while I brush my left hip with my hand. Think of those prostate cancer cells in the lymph nodes. Weird having a predator living inside your body. Not a great feeling.

Oh, dude. Painting with the gloomy brush here, eh? Nah. Life and its permutations. Mine for now.

The news happens outside my awareness right now. Even though I read the Denver Post, the NYT, and the Washington Post each day. Not sticking. Like the Teflon Don, that crucial information slides right off.

A Mountain Path in Spring, Ma Yuan, Song Dynasty

Cancer. Grief. New life aborning. Tend to push attention inward, away from the blooming buzzing confusion. (W. James) Down into the realm of the Tarot, Kabbalah, the Ocean of our collectivity.

Again. OK. Not permanent, nor would I want it to be.

Agency is critical to life. Right now, my agency has an inward, personal bent. Makes sense to me.

 

Tarot: The Lady, # 3 of the major arcana

 

 

 

 

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