Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Divination Project: Part 10: The Spotify Effect

The realizations come faster than she can process them.


She is now the runner. Alice now has stability. She has security on all fronts. She has bliss, regardless. And this might all be in her head, but the fact it is happening there at all means it has an existence in some place in space time. And in her heart.


...which is exhausted from so many hard karmic lessons over this Leo/Aquarius eclipse season, which began upon their meeting in January 2017. On every single Leo/Aquarius eclipse cycle, something major has happened in Alice and Carl's lives, which changed their direction. Does it affect them more greatly because they are each others' Rahu and Ketu?

What are these words?! These are things Alice has never thought before. She sounds like she is speaking a foreign language! Even to herself!! Is this speaking in tongues?! If she is, it's AMAZING. I highly recommend it.


Alice is seriously questioning Free Will. Her life has been so full of magic, from the very beginning, she wonders if it is all God's Will.


She began reading her horoscope daily exactly one year ago, and almost every single day, it came true. Her Natal Chart is spot on.


Maybe she is just an AI.


More than once, she has had the idea to write about how she thinks we are on the brink of the singularity.


And the singularity is when computers learn to love.


Or maybe she is a computer, and the final step is learning to love herself, which she has done.


Does it matter which wolf we've fed?


If it was the dark wolf, narcissism, do the machines win?


If it was the light wolf, love, does humanity win?


What if computers are trying to teach us to love?


What if the computers are programmed by the stars? Or what if humans are?


A few weeks ago, Anabel Gat, astrologer for Vice, posted on Instagram, a meme that said, "That moment when you are not sure if it is synchronicity, or Google's AI."


Yes. Yes. Yes. This, too.


*****


It went on for the entire time. Their conversations, sometimes three hours a week - Google would feed Alice the Sapiosexual articles related to whatever they discussed. It fed her articles about marriage problems, and divorce, and in-laws! She became compulsive about reading her Google News from her Android phone and checking her astrological chart.

This makes total sense for Alice, the weirdo Aquarius, who has just taken another toke while thinking about how she had just been dancing all over studio to Fleetwood Mac, while thinking she should take a video of her messed up studio. But there's that word "should!" Quite the red flag, you see.

Damn, it feels good to be free.

Crankin' my music in my studio, mind swinging between the feeling of my feet on the floor, to my 1029th incarnation. Alone and All One at the same time.

Oh yeah, I was ready to play, and I always am. I just forgot how.


*****


WHAT THE FUCKETY FUCK?!

Sally just came in and snapped Alice out of her Even Flow trance. Alice was dancing in her office chair, and screamed when Sally sudden clapped behind her.

"Um, can you turn that down? I can hear it all the way up in my room and the kitchen floor is vibrating."

"Oh. Yeah. Sorry," Alice says, sheepishly, realizing what a whackjob she is being.

Is this a mania? Once her sister had attributed some of her artistic and volunteer pursuits as "manic."

But now that she reads her horoscope and is studying Astrology and the Tarot, she realizes that normal human emotions come in wide ranges! And the trouble comes in feeling guilt for having them. And various mental illnesses might just be normal manifestations of human existence, just deviating from the prescribed notion of what "normal" psychology is.

Pearl Jam's Better Man comes on, and Alice's mind goes to Carl and how amazing he is. Just how much he had to grow in such a little time with "Unbreakable Aquarius." Yes, Alice knows this ride was not for the faint of heart. But damn, ain't it great to be alive?! To know that yes, indeed, love does exist?

Is love what guides us, if we're willing to listen?

Alice, at the end of a major karmic cycle, is kind of afraid of what is on the horizon, because the lessons just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Times Like These by the Foo Fighters.

Spotify was also controlling her mind or responding to her somewhere. Or she was in tune with something.

Synchronicities are everywhere, now that her eyes are open. She used to think she had to leave the house to see them. But her environment is so rich, so ripe, with growth opportunity and chaos that she has a wide open channel to The Universe.

A few days ago, three friends in a row either had a dachshund or mentioned dachshund, and she recounted one of her favorite childhood movies, The Ugly Dachshund, and how the pregnant wife was raising dachshunds, and the husband keeps complaining that he wants a manly dog. So when the couples' dachshund bitch has puppies, the husband sneaks a Great Dane puppy into the litter, and so of course, after not very long, the jig is totally up. So yeah, she told this story to three different people, and then at JAX while Christmas Shopping, they see a Great Dane in the store! She has only ever seen one other Great Dane, and that was when she and Shayla took the kids to the Dog Show at the National Western Stock Show Complex when Sally was probably 7 or 8. Sally and Shayla's daughters wanted to be dogs when they grew up. Yep. Shayla's daughter sewed herself a dog costume and wore it until she was 12. It was Fucking. Epic. Shayla's daughter is also an Aquarius II, and Alice thinks she is THE SHIT.

Dang, all the Aquarians Alice knows are just freakin' weird and awesome. Like in the best ways!

No Rain by Blind Melon

I mean, being open-minded is the best!

Wait, wait, wait. Now Alice is thinking about this "Astrological Maturity" thing, and wonders if that means that she has to evolve into a Pisces -- AWWW! That is the Queen of Cups card.

But wait, then there's this whole thing about having moved out of the Age of Pisces and into the Age of Aquarius. I have so much to learn!!!!

This year is going to be so fun!

Okay, okay, okay. So Alice watched a tarot reading a few days ago when she was sick talking about how she is resisting some karmic relationships, because she's exhausted, and yeah, that is so damn true! There was a meme about December having 2 more rock bottoms, 5 karmic relationships or something like that, and Alice's thought was along the lines of, "Please no. Please. Just. No."

So, anyway, that's how the Leo/Aquarius eclipse season has kind of gone. And she knows a grip of people (to quote some bizarro 90's vernacular) who will be affected by the Capricorn/Cancer season coming up for the next two years, and then it'll be Sagittarius/Gemini and it will be her shitshow again.

So, like, she should totally be pulling some tarot for the upcoming year, and journaling about it.

SHOULD. Stfu.

But she totally bought a planner. WTF is up with that? I think it was July or something like that, she became aware of the Many Moons book by Modern Women, and it was like this AMAZING "Farmer's Almanac" for the collective unconscious.

So, she totally sees the whole "As Above, So Below" thing at work.

That's why, duh, she knows she can't resist these freakin' karmic relationships. She tried to do that before, and The Universe found a way to get its way, bigtime. And that was actually the point at which she got into the worst mom narcissist friendship and had to end it. Funny, now Madonna's Material Girl is on, and this woman was definitely all about the money. Damn. The. Shit. I. Could. Dish. From someone thoroughly emotionally unavailable, at least when she isn't tripping balls from eating a 300mg THC all by herself in her mansion in Western Colorado.

So, when Alice writes, the Google News, music and Instagram all seem to be in synchronicity with whatever she's channeling.

So, like, she's a Hedge Witch or something like that. And she thinks this makes life pretty freakin' exciting. "All you need is your own imagination," Madonna's lilting voice in Vogue seduces Alice into grooving to the music.

OH. DAMN. This is going to be Alice's 2019 Theme Song! She's going to dance whenever she has a chance.

2018's top songs for Alice were actually Firework by Katy Perry and In Women We Trust by Tanerelle. Spotify really changed her taste. At the beginning of 2015, she was going through her hard drive trying to sort out music, and was listening to it before she went to sculpture class on her walk.


Seriously Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now just came on. Fucking weird Universe.

She has totally had the thought that she is being thought-controlled. Like someone tried to manifest these feelings, because my ego knows this feeling should be suppressed. Oh, and I could totally do that by skipping this song!!!!

WTF. No Doubt Don't Speak. God damn! She can't make this shit up!!

OK! So Alice switched to Spotify sometime in that period, and when her crush was really bad, her horoscope said that sometimes when you want to let someone you like know how you feel, you can say it with a song.

And Google News told her about the new Selena Gomez song, Back to You, like on her next phone action. And she seriously thought of sending it, but was like, “Damn, that's the stupidest fucking thing you've ever thought of doing in your life!”

Pretty stupid to write about it now, that's for sure.

And she thinks about the time he told her, "Not everything you think to do when you're high is a good idea."

And she thinks about how she thinks he's extremely intelligent - but that's because she measures intelligence through a person's ability to access their intuition. That's why she was honest with her kids about what was going on, the whole time. Because being lied to screws people up. Plus, her kids are going to fall in love someday and she wants them to be able to accept the normal range of human emotions that come with having life challenges. There is no such thing as perfect, and Alice is not a good pretender. She just is. She always does what feels right, and what feels right is always the truth.

Eventually it bubbles up out of her.

Bubbles up. GAH. Yes, things bubble up, Jeff.

See, this is kind of like a mind virus. Which represents a certain challenge to someone who considers herself to be a Freethinker.

Damn, she needs to look at an astrology report right now to see if this is how she would be feeling. She wishes she could understand the Cosmic Insights Vedic Astrology one. Oh, wait, she has that other one - Planetary Times.

"Worst time for compulsory work and cooperation; Moon calls us to just be ourselves," the app announces.

Okay. Well, I'm always myself, but I guess I tend to go to extremes.

And that’s kinda fun, I think.

Firework by Katy Perry

Once Ruth had said that people don't believe Alice exists in real life until they meet her in person, and Alice didn't know who in the hell that person was. But now Alice sees!

(more chair dancing)

Yeah, so this is like the amazing screenplay in her mind. I mean, it seems amazing to her.

Like, what usually happens after she writes is then she checks the tarot and things have changed.

So she's also wondering if she's manifesting things - you know, just like the Magician tarot card - As Above, So Below?

Born of Frustration by James

So, what is it, am I the controlled, or the controller? Damn, Aquarians HATE control of all forms, but maybe going with the flow IS a form of control?

Oh, I wonder if this has to do with black magick. This artist lady got all freaked out when I said the word "Tarot" because she goes to one of the larger fundamentalist churches in the area, and then she was concerned that I know which voices are good, and which ones were bad, and I answered with no hesitation:

"Easy. The 'evil' ones are the judgmental ones - the Divine is a loving presence."

And I heard somewhere that black magic is what you practice when you are trying to bring wealth to yourself or make someone fall in love with you without regard for the negative effects on others.

In the Blood by John Mayer

But if you fall in love with someone while either you or they were just trying to be good people, that seems like acceptable collateral damage. The thing is, how do you know the difference?

That feeling. That's how you know. It's the only feeling like it. Fucking electric.

Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode

Damn, she's been manifesting her whole life. People would say it was bad that she got Carl every job opportunity he's had, but she really is the woman behind the man who keeps electronics manufacturing, on a global scale, up to quality standards. Carl loses sight

Overkill by Men at Work

Yeah, um... WTF. I get it. TMI. Point taken, Universe.

And damn, this is a really, really fun divination process - like, almost orgasmic!

Is this the muse relationship? Does the muse help man feel?

(chair dancing... trying to resist the urge to crank it again and stand up and dance... takes another toke, instead)

So, like, if someone could tap into my Spotify, could they tell what I was thinking?

Oh, this is a curse, this moving away from proof to intuition... because I swear I studied psychology and neuroscience, and I know these things have been shown to be plausible.

Lithium by Nirvana

And wow, I haven't even written about how I never took Cognitive Psychology properly. That story is so whack. So appropriate of a student of B.F. Fucking Skinner. Fucking Skinner is like what is wrong with the goddamn world. And then I ended up using his torture chamber on animals to learn about estrogen and memory, but what I was learning about was estrogen and PTSD!

And I discovered the importance of progesterone in healing PTSD, and THC has the same chemical formula as progesterone (but totally different molecular structure). So, holy shit, they would have the same energetic signature!!!!

Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac

FUCK! This is huge!! And LOVE is a big part of the picture, too, because it heals trauma.

And almost every single psychological or scientific experiment that has been done was on animals in isolation. Which is psychological torture! It changes EVERYTHING, from a cellular level, to a soul level.

Video by India Arie

Animals in enriched environments are less likely to become substance abusers. Substance abuse is a product of trauma, and the type of substance contributes greatly to whether the substance is used in a destructive or productive way, much of that determined by its inherent habit-forming properties. Cannabis is not habit-forming, but I have wondered if maybe it becomes the state that becomes addictive. Because I can walk around in the world just fine without being high, but life is so much richer WITH IT. See abundance, get abundance. Like, it's a real thing.

No Excuses by Meghan Trainor

So, uh, yeah, Jeff, I know you were high in class quite a bit. ;) But you're right, I don't know much about you. No more than I know about some other random guy I talked to for 1-5 to 3 hours a week for like 30 weeks.

But you know, because of how I see people, what I learned from you is that it is possible to be a kick ass art teacher while one is high, and the amazing utility of cannabis in promoting goodwill.

Save it for Later by The English Beat

"2000 other reasons why we should suffer for this... come to a decision on this... you runaway runaawaway let me down"

Gold records - I forgot that Nolan's new kindle case has the Voyager with the gold record on it

Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson

"miss never let a man help her off her throne"

FUCK. I did not pick this song. Not for what I just heard in it.

"what is this feeling taking my heart"

I wonder what Google is going to say about this?

She wants to post a picture of herself on Instagram flipping everybody off.

Damn her period is in like 4 days. Awwwwww, shit.

Heart and Soul by T'Pau

And I am this song. THIS IS THE FUCKING SONG (except that weird bridge in the middle).

Or am I just a product of my environment? Like Cerny's Metalmorphosis. He is the shit. I wanna be a freakin' American Cerny. I mean, doesn't that just give you a boner? It gives ME a boner.

Campbell and I had some amazing talks. Talked about how magic happens in play, that people work too hard. And yeah, I'd fuck him. In a heartbeat.

Straight Line by Project 432

Wow, man, that was intense. Did I mean any of that? WTF.

Planetary Times - "Saturn - worst time for communication, socializing and human relations."

Well yeah, this is some jiggedy energy, for sure.

"I can't talk, but I can sing just fine..."

Holy shit I am tripping. I wonder if people do this very much, or all the time, or? I mean trip and just pour their brains out into the internet. Well, yeah, they do it all the time in internet forums.

HOLY SHIT, I loved some internet forums. And meeting men on the internet.Thank you, Lou, for reminding me of this! Fuck, 2019 is going to be insane.

My Prerogative by Britney Spears

I sent Carl an explanation of Aquarius being the way we are from here:

http://astrologyclub.org/aquarius-woman/

AND...

Secrets by Mary Lambert

I don't think I was cut out to be a mother. I just didn't know this, because I was so traumatized from my childhood, I went straight into marriage with someone else who had the same trauma. And our relationship was great when our extended families weren't meddling. But now I understand that these were all karmic relationships, to teach me big lessons about myself.

And those lessons are that I was the lousiest fucking mother that ever walked the earth by traditional standards, and it was fucking magic.

Damn - I'm Not Over by Carolina Liar

I cannot even remember what the hell I was thinking about before this song came on. Seriously always makes me think of you.

Crap! To forget you, I'm going to have to like, stop listening to music.

This is like the fucking Bell Jar.

Like, will this make sense to anyone else?

Will Charlotte understand it? Will Jeff? Will Carl? Will Alice, later?

Will it trigger her?

Obscurity Knocks by Trashcan Sinatras - wow, really feeling this one - picturing the day I sat at the table by the coffee cart and you said you regretted not having a family, and I tried to tell you had better than a family...

Self Esteem by the Offspring

I'm sorry. I didn't know I was using you. Fuck.

OH SHIT. I need to take some B12!!! Like, crap - is this a delusion?

See, this is the part I can't figure out - what is the difference between optimism and delusion? Is it looked at through the lens of people without self-esteem?

OH. When you have no self-esteem, you can't say, "No." Damn.

"No" is the mark of self-esteem. And no, the more you suffer doesn't show you care more! But they meant it in a facetious way!

Who Says by Selena Gomez

Damn, it's a wild ride in here. Poor men. Unless men are like this, too.

I think they are!!! It's actually quite beautiful to see a man feel. Damn, that is a battle worth fighting, for sure.

And, goddammit, Back to You by Selena Gomez.

Wait, where was the voice that wanted to embrace her inner slut? Come back! Come back!!!

!%@#$#@

Can't Hold Us Down by Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim

THIS! I can write about this stuff. Whatever crazy shit comes into my head. Men do it all the time - I wanted to be the first female Hunter S. Thompson, remember? I know it seems sooooooo random, but it really all is me. This is me.

This is so much easier than writing with a third person overlay.

Voices Carry by 'Til Tuesday

Used to listen to this while I walked around campus before seeing you. That's what Venus is Pisces is like. I'm in love with every moment. I was in love the whole time. I like totally couldn't help myself. I KNEW there were things I was doing to condition my mind and I consciously acknowledged the subconscious desire and went through with it, even though my ego was telling me the whole time that I was being a slut or that I was an unloving mother or wife. That is false fucking dichotomy.

Informer by Snow

I am full of goddamn contradictions. I can love two people at the same time. Because I've loved a LOT of people at once. Yes, time is a consideration. However, I need a ton of time to myself. Like, a TON. Or I feel like I am suffocating. So when I spend time with people, I want it to be quality - not full of mundane shit. I want the best soul connection which leaves me feeling excited about the relationship and myself afterward and not drained. That is pretty hard to come by, I've learned over 17 years.

In Repair by John Mayer

Yeah, so I'm not perfect. I never claimed to be, I hope. I think I did have a pretty insane self-critic. I'm still working on things, too. But man, being with you was pure bliss. That time we talked on the phone and you said I could have the job (that was some fuckin' weird karmic lesson - still need to write about all that shit), I sat at the bar at Biaggi's and cried. Maybe you just weren't as excited about that opportunity as I was, but I just really, really wanted to work with you, because I dreamed of making something big with you.

The Future is Female by Madame Gandhi

But I am more than fine by myself. I just want to be the best I can be while I am here. And I want the relationships that will help me do that. And your reluctance to validate my insanity needs to not matter to me anymore. Unless me being in this state and someone gets something out of it helps someone. Because I betcha now that I am aware the extent to which the subconscious associations are with this person, the easier it will be for me to end them.

This is art, right?

Like that new book about Marina Abromavic.

High by Sir Sly

Imagine being able to conceive of every perspective, accept it, and let it go.

So people usually love smoking with me because the conversations are so weird. I wonder if this is weirder, me running open loop. I think I am ordinarily this vulnerable in person - if the thoughts come to me, I say them. But then I can switch perspectives in an instant.

Pretty sweet being an Aquarius, if I do say so.

And having a great vibrator! Carl hid my box of vibrators from the kids a couple of years ago, and then one day when I was vacuuming, after starting my whole daily masturbation thing

WTF. True Disaster by Tove Lo

"C'mon - zero fucks about it, I know I'm gonna get hurt"

"Can you feel that? You feel me?"

Keep Your Head by David O'Dowda

Tuesday nights. Missing the time "alone" with you.

I need to part with this, it is too painful.

I can't be like my mother. Or hers. Pining after a man who can't love.

That was heavy.

King of Anything by Sara Bareilles

OK. Now the mood of the song definitely seems to impact my thinking, for sure. Yeah, I need to let this go so I can have that part of my soul back, because I'm not truly free while I let you keep it like I am a fangirl or something. Or a crazy person. And Alice, how you could let yourself get so connected to someone who would ignore you so much.

One More Night by Maroon 5

Yeah, fuck. This. Because I am addicted to the relationship drama. Fuck that. "Try to tell you no, but my body keeps telling you yes." This. Mostly this. That was some powerful juju. I am like not even sure that would still be there if I saw you again, honestly.

OH WOW. Since I just typed that, it's like this layer of anxiety lifted. Whoa. Like, seriously, I don't know if it was all mutated energy from my problems with Carl, which are largely resolved. I mean I always have doubts not because of him, but because I enabled the trauma on some level by not speaking up for myself and believing all the negative things people have told me over the years which weren't true.

Forever Young by Alphaville

Yeah, but I also felt really young and at ease with you. When I was upset, all I had to do was look in your eyes, and I knew everything was going to be ok. That's what I still don't have with Carl, because so many times he made me question whether or not we were on the same team. I didn't think he loved me for years. I wasn't depressed. I was unloved. To receive the kind of love I give was so profound.

I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At the Disco

Yeah, it was a lot of this for most of my life. You were different.

Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots

And this shit. Like holy moly, I thought I didn't care what people thought, but it's been interesting to push the limits of that and see what happens, exposing a little more of myself bit by bit. It's scary, but so powerful.

I remember the first times I did this was in English class in high school after my rape. It felt so good to be vulnerable with my teacher. I think she got me some counseling. When I told my mom about it a year or two later, she called me a whore. But that's because that's what her father would have done.

Now I have a good friend whose sister was disowned by their Mormon parents because she was raped and left for dead in the desert in California.

Stigma over trauma is sick.

Royals by Lorde

Focus on status is so fucked up. What's important is connection, and freedom.

No Roots by Alice Merton

So, should I be listening to sappy love songs, or empowering songs? Both? Apparently I can make myself believe whatever I feel predominantly.

Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara

“she wants to be sculpted by the sculptor”

So trite, right? Pearl fell in love with a sculptor, once.

I think subconsciously I need this karmic cycle to end before the New Year. I need a fresh start. I tore up the contract several times and offered a renegotiation. What'll it be this time? Do you need to know any more about the level of my love?

Your Seasons by David O'Dowda

Yeah, like all this stuff would be better in a journal. This is the level of passion I usually write with. I have years of joy and pain inked into those pages, and you're in two years of it.

So yeah. That's how much I don't know about love. You made very minute feel important.

How Do I Know by Here We Go Magic

Fucking A. Seriously? Yeah, what this guy says. How do I know if I love you? How do I know if I know you? What is the Universe guiding me to? Listening to my freakin' heart! You know what I have told myself, a million times? If we are destined to be in some significant friendship or relationship, the Universe will give me clear signs. And you were the one who made my horoscope "come true." I have like pages and pages and pages of screenshots of our horoscopes so that if I ever write the story I can remember what happened when I put it together with my journal. But all this other magic was happening around me because of it, so I just kept following the signs. And journaling about that stuff, too. It was like as I imagined what was possible for our friendship, my other friendships got better. And theirs got better. It was amazing. Like, I was working on a book the whole time because the whole thing was so unbelievable. So, I guess, kinda what I'm saying is regardless of what you want, I'm gonna have to write this story.

But dang, what man ever apologized for that shit to a female muse?

She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult

Hey, you got to be a muse. So, how was it?

It's almost midnight. New horoscope rolls out in four minutes. Every night for a year, with very few exceptions, I've looked at Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius. And I've watched the earth signs and air signs dynamics on almost all the tarot channels.

And now one of my favorite channels is starting to post a "true stories of the tarot" series, but, like I have been writing that book for the last six months or something. Your behavior was predictable. Do you know that? I mean, not energy-level predictable, because obviously what you offered was waaaaaaaay subtler than what I was hoping for. But all I had to do was look at you with the lens of my father the Cap who has never once said he loves me, and that man set me up to be a real damn good concubine. That's all I gotta say on that matter. Crumbs? Seriously? I'll be happy with crumbs?

The Way it Goes by Kyle Hollingsworth

"That's the way that it goes, everyone knows."

Ghost by Lianne La Haves

Got caught up in the feels. Went to your IG account. Now terrified that I accidentally liked something. OH SHIT

Wait, what am I afraid of? Finding out it was all in my head?

"Round and round we go."

Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

Thanks, Universe. Nice. This is the Universe totally thumbing its nose at me. "Oh, you think you're going to be able to fly so close to the sun and not get burned?"

Ok. In full disclosure, Carl did say that he enjoys what I tell him, after the fact, that he didn't know it was capable of falling in love so deeply.

I am totally not perfect. It's ok. It's ok.

Fight or Flight Club by Madge

Yeah, seriously. Why am I your punching bag, Universe? Holy crap, just scrolled through your IG again, and I didn't accidentally like something. Totally felt like a television show there for a minute. Is that because I watched so much TV when I was a kid?

Pictures of Matchstick Men by Camper Van Beethoven

Shit, I feel crazy. Thank God I didn't like anything. But I see now we have more than one friend in common... and the world is small. And artists can be so mean…

But fuck that. They're just mean when they feel inferior. But maybe, if it is a race to see who is the craziest, then I have won and you all are inferior. Bow down to my crazy.

Yeah, so do I publish this, or send it to Charlotte so someone can see the nuts?

Flaws by Bastille

OH SHIT. I know! I need to know that the other person I am connecting with also believes there is something really out there! I still kind of doubt that Carl really believes. Like maybe he's just along for the ride because he has a type T personality. Like, he's way more intuitive and feeling than many men I have known, including most of his friends. He has definitely encouraged me to think for myself. I just had my own messed up beliefs getting in the way of my self-esteem.

Gasoline by Halsey

Feeling this, for sure. Much rather live it and write it than read about it, though. I like exploring the edge of self. The edge of reality. It's not for the faint of heart, for sure.

Rut by The Killers

Yeah, so is this what you meant by "Artistic Temperament?" Carl and I have talked about this a lot. It's a quality he appreciates in me. So, that's pretty special, I think. But I think he has one, too. I think we are both sensitive to the energies of the planets. And we'd both like to talk with other people who are curious about these things.

Wow, is there going to be an obvious end to this, or am I just going to fall asleep with my head on the keyboard?

Shit.

“I'm handing you a memory

I hope you understand

That steadily reminds you of who I really am”

Whoa. It's about Complex PTSD. Which is what I have. Yep.

Respect by Aretha Franklin

Yes, folks, this is what it is like to have a head with C-PTSD. As long as I can keep my thoughts positive, it's pretty amazing. I have an entire lifestyle built around managing my triggers. And one of them is being told I am crazy. Because C-PTSD is strait-up crazy, if you're living with it in your head. Doesn't matter who I forgive, the trigger remains. I have to be vigilant about avoiding them.

Younger Now by Miley Cyrus

It takes a lot of effort to hide my mental illness. I'm finding that following my heart helps a lot.

Stagnancy is toxic for me. Not getting enough time to myself is another huge trigger. I'm way more likely to participate in self-sabotaging behavior after I've been triggered.

I sorta wish I had put this in my journal, with the new pen Carl got me. Will it be more meaningful if I share it with the world? Do I apologize for my mental illness in my journal ever? I don't think I do. Ultimately I work through the layers and get to an "I AM" place.

Okay, so that's what I have to do here.

Born This Way by Lady Gaga

Well, I was not expecting that. The answer is just that I was born this way. I am the possession of my natal chart. I am exactly the weird paranoid slut who got married too early my natal chart says I am. I love the occult, I love deeply, I am a diligent worker, I'm really creative, broad thinking, and I want to help society. I was totally born to be an artist, as the temperament was built right in. Dang, astrology and tarot are so helpful. Seriously. I will draw tarot to figure out what to do with this writing, and I will feel fine about it. Might have to smoke a little and ride it out, but the world will go on, and I will have gotten it out of my system, and maybe it will help someone. I'm on the right track, baby. I was born to be brave.

My eyes are open, Universe. What are you telling me?

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2

Did I tell you I figured out that reading and watching hero journeys and listening to music helps me go through karmic cycling faster?

Actually, I did. I'm just looking for people to have fun with now. I can't tell if you're still that person.

Goodbye Echosmith

Because seriously, I have like no idea what is going on with you anymore. And that's an important part of a friendship or relationship to me, and it was my favorite part of our friendship was seeing you and knowing that you

I don't know.

Exist?

That you know how to have fun without controlling people. But do you, though?

Or is it that I don't know how to not let myself be controlled? How do I learn this?! This is what I need to learn - maybe that is what I am supposed to look for in the subconscious?

So I am basically channeling right now, I think. My high has kind of worn off. I know I went through some pretty significant vulnerability back there. Dang I was always so worried you would read my journal when we were at school. There was one time where I was writing about how Carl figured out he likes it when other men give me attention and you totally caught me off guard and probably all the color drained out of my face. We had so much fun traveling in Europe. I totally want to go back. I'd love to go live in the Mediterranean for a couple of months. The art galleries were so amazing. I felt so inspired.

And I've always wanted to see your posters. Just like the Dada song from the album in the 1990's.

But maybe I just want that experience with someone.

How do I know if I want to have that experience with you, if you won't even share yourself with me?

Run the World by Beyonce

I'm sure this companion can find someone to go to Europe with.

<Couple more tokes>

Wouldn't mind feeling you.

How's the ride?

Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Don't you like to share?

Bob Marley and I share a birthday, yeah.

Yeah, nobody knows who Jeff is or even if he is real. Every man out there is hoping he's Jeff.

Hoping a woman would spend two years lusting after him. That's some serious dedication. I certainly had bigger things to accomplish while feeding that wolf. Was it all just for sex?

And I may never get to know what that's like. Except in all those times in my fantasies. You were good. Way better than my friends said you'd be.

Oh shit, this is what we talked about. To write or not to write. 3:1 artists say yes, but two of them say it will make it worse rather than help me let go.

But I'm writing it in my head all the time, so why not in my book. Why not.

Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon

Heck yeah. The supply closet. Or sometimes just on those work tables. Ever wonder if anyone did it there?

OMG. The goldfish. You know it was like the world melted away when you reached around me, and it was just the two of us sliding our fingers through the wet plaster together. I can still feel it.

And when I saw you opened the plaster cast of my hand, first.

And when you talked about the curves in my alabaster sculpture.

And when you talked about how making art is like falling in love.

And I fell in love over and over and over again over two years.

So yeah. Not talking to you is like you died, and I'm grieving.

Which is a confusing feeling.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears

Yeah, I'm feeling some major heartache. It's been like sooooooooooo Three of Swords over here.

I don't know if you read tarot, but shit. It's heavy over here.

Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani

Ok. I pulled some tarot for this shit, like I always do. I get the feeling you don't care about me mucking around in your energy, because I think you would find a way to communicate that to me.

Hit That by The Offspring

This is a badass spread. I'll take a picture. If you send me a fucking email, I'll send you the picture of the spread. Past, Present, Future, you and me.

Company by Tinashe

Were you really flattered? Because this is an energy I'm totally still feeling. You're the only guy I've been willing to consider having just a sexual relationship with, because you're just easy to be with in any way, so I'm guessing you're the same way sexually, which is, well, really hot. You could say you had it all. No strings. But you gotta be able to communicate.

Dang, what else haven't I said already?

Hurricane by MSMR

God, every damn song. Serioiusly. Like every one. I could stab out my ear drums to forget, but the songs play on a loop in my head. So yeah, this is like some seriously heavy love I have, and I still don't know why. Because I really, really do like myself quite a bit.

Is it because I read that relationship page for us in Goldschneider's book and it said I would be like this? Can I just not be like this? I mean Carl is being less possessive and controlling.

Salute by Little Mix

Maybe I can decide not to be interested in you? I mean, the last smoke signal was pretty freakin' adorable. The last two, okay? You know how I love the rabbit. The synchronicity there!! Low poly animals, 3D printing, I mean, fuck! We'd make such an awesome team. I have so many ideas, but am so limited in spreading them because I'm an outsider in the art community. I'm willing to do ANYTHING. That should be pretty clear.

Spirits by The Strumbella

I have the ghosts of all these dreams in my head. And then when I let you go, when I realized it was just feelings I had with you that I wanted to feel, the Universe brought me Campbell. And he was willing to offer everything I wanted and more. But things weren't okay with Carl then.

You know in this psychic book it says that Carl Sagan believed that human thought can influence random number generators? My Spotify is on shuffle.

Olly by Cape Francis

I just had this thought before this song started. How long were you with this other person you told me "it wasn't going anywhere" with? What does that even mean? Friends with benefits? I can do that. I can do more. Where do we go from here?

I can't make this shit up.

How many times, my friends could tell you, mouths agape, that I cannot make this shit up.

What have I done?

Too Far Gone by Sir Sly

Yeah, you saw me writing these lyrics in my journal. Back then it was depression I was writing about. But I'm feeling this.

This would have been better as a smoke sesh.

For me, anyway.

Maybe not for the world.

Maybe this is what I have to offer. The chance to feel? Holy crap, for years I didn't even FEEL. I am not even kidding. THAT'S when I was crazy. Now I'm totally sane. Living dead inside is the worst. Thank you for waking me up. I feel deeply. I feel constantly. I feel passionately. Why would I want to be the other way again? The “Artistic Temperament” is an amazing gift.

Growing Pains by David O'Dowda

I need to be with someone who really gets this, if I am going to be happy. Or I need to be on my own.

Tainted Love by Soft Cell

Yeah, but this. Is this ego? It's so negative.

Woman by Kesha

"Aquarius Chattylove - Astrolis App - Saturday December 29 - As much as you'd like to keep the peace and not rock any emotional boats at this time, you may have to confront some intense feelings. Be willing to focus on what feels right for you now because your heart needs to have its agenda clear before you can focus on someone else's needs. (Damn, this is exactly what I told Campbell and how I missed out on that opportunity, and he told me to forget about you, and I should have listened). Open your heart and summon gratitude for what you have to be grateful for now, because doing so is the first step to feeling alive and loved."

"Capricorn Chattylove - Astrolis App - Whether it's your emotions that are going into overdrive or those of someone close, plenty of vulnerability and sensitivity seem to be permeating your emotional world now. Fortunately, you can blend logic and compassion to come up with the right words of wisdom and help sooth your inner tension or make a loved one feel loved and supported. Indulging in a bit more self-care can help you be the best you can possibly be - regarding summoning inner strength where you need it and being there for someone close who needs you."

"This week: Ending Friday, January 4"

"When you do allow others to experience your clever wit and lighthearted side, you can make them laugh from deep within. That's a skill you're encouraged to make better use of this week. It's by adopting a more jovial attitude that can bring a restorative vibe to affairs of the heart. What is it they say about laughter being a powerful aphrodisiac? If you haven't tested that theory, then you could have a chance to do so shortly."

"Capricorn Daily - Saturday, December 29 - A sense of restriction could be intensifying and affect more than one area of your world at this time. You appear keen to get something underway but are presented with a long list of reasons why you can't throw yourself into your plan with the level o..."

Changing by John Mayer

:)

"I'm still changing, and I can't change my ways."

"I see the sky changing, and it reminds me of my changing."

Why do I keep doing this? I feel like there must be a really important reason. I'm supposed to learn something, and I don't know what that is.

Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey

Ok. I don't wish I was dead. And, I really don't know if nobody compares to you. LOL And that makes all the stuff about true love a little corny.

OK. My Saggie horoscope said I need to streamline this in a major way. So maybe I just pick one song.

Or some tarot cards. Maybe I just post the spread on Instagram.

OMG. What about one of those "I like you. Would you like to share any of these experiences with me? Kind of notes, with check boxes. That would be so funny. I could put like, "Sex, The Tantra, Meditation. Cannabis. Other Drugs. Art. Writing. Music. Modeling. Other playtime. I may be a mother, but I fought hard for my freedom, and so I want to use it in the way that aligns best with my life purpose, which is those things. If you're willing to have a vasectomy and you don't have an STD, you get extra points and playtime."

Oh yeah, word.

Long Way Down by Robert DeLong

Love this song. Best song. You wanna feel this together?

BTW, your blurry selfie is adorable. And I love you in that sweater. I just want to wrap myself around you like a blanket.

And, this is the end because it's 2:15 AM and Bad Liar by Selena Gomez is on, and that's still the fucking song. It's still the fucking song.

I have been writing and thinking about you forever.

Teeny bopper music. God dammit. You're like a fucking mind virus. Fucking Venus in Pisces. I promise I won't get attached. Can I promise this? I think I'm worried I can't. I mean, yeah, I think I have a fear of becoming attached and then getting hurt. Like having my soul sucked out. Because that happened a lot!

Yeah, that's totally my fear.

But I really don't need another person to be worrying about. I just need to worry about myself.

Odd One by Sick Puppies

I hope I'll be able to laugh about it one day. I mean, I thought I was able to laugh about it around Thanksgiving. Then I don't know what happened. WTF happened? How did I get attached again?

Because I let myself write myself back into it. I'm feeding this wolf, totally. I could have written without music, which I usually do.

Maybe this will be a good process of letting go? The ball is definitely in his court. No need for me to do anything else.

Except

Is This All There Is by Starflyer 69

Yeah, this is the question you asked me. Is this all there is? And I thought, with you around, who needs anything else? We do need others. Life is about more than being alone.

Look at me, getting insane, listening to all the voices in my head. Being with friends always helps quiet this voice. Because I realize that it's all about time with my GOOD friends. And I considered you one.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Divination Project: Part 18: Ten of Cups

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. -1 Corinthians 13:4

Sunday, Alice finally gets to see her family! It is so wonderful, and totally worth waiting for. They goof around and laugh much of the time. They all agree that in the future they will wait until a week or so after the holidays to get together, because since both Alice and her sister married into larger families, and Alice's family in Denver does a lot of activities around the Advent season, they appreciate the time together and the energy a lot more if it is not in the middle of the other holiday chaos.

That works out pretty well, because it offers them a chance to kick off "Birthday Season" (this is not a new term - they have been using it for years). Alice's father is a Capricorn (and so they celebrated his birthday a few days late), and Alice and her sister are both Aquarians, and her mom is a Pisces/Aries cusper.

Because Alice publishes Part 17 right before going to Denver, her family does't have a chance to read it before she sees them. So, she gets to tell them her experience with the Akashic Records, which of course is interesting because the non-meditating, non-physics-studying members of her family have a hard time wrapping their minds around it. But, they've known Alice her whole life, so they all know not to be surprised when she starts something new out of left field.

Apparently Alice still isn't quite grounded, because on the way home, she misses the exit for her town and drives all the way to the Wyoming border while talking with the kids. The time passes quickly, but they don't make it home until close to 1:30 in the morning.

So. Yeah. Apparently Alice needs to look more into how to ground herself.

Note to concerned parties - she finally set a bunch of mousetraps today with Nolan's help, and is taking care of Pentacle-y things. He is so very helpful.

***

Before Carl leaves for Asia, Alice draws an Osho Zen Tarot Card, The King of Rainbows (part of the Mastery of the Physical), which contains this message:

"In the East people have condemned the body, condemned matter, called matter 'illusory,' maya - it does not really exist, it only appears to exist; it is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. They denied the world, and that is the reason for the East remaining poor, sick, in starvation. Half of humanity has been accepting the inner world but denying the outer world. The other half of humanity has been accepting the material world and denying the inner world. Both are half, and no man who is half can be contented."

So yeah, go ground yourself, Alice. :)

***

On the way down to Denver, Alice stops at a drive-thru to get the kids and herself some food. While there she has a moment to look at her Instagram and sees another "message." She's decided to stop calling it a smoke signal, because that's not really appropriate. It's potentially a lot more significant than a smoke signal, and she's simultaneously delighted and confused when she sees it. With these messages more recently, her typical course of action has been to let it sit with her for a while, and see if the Universe gives her any messages to help her process it. Ultimately, what ends up happening is she learns a whole bunch of wonderful things that she feels compelled to share with others because they help her grow in the intervening time, because the Universe throws synchronicities at her. So, that is going to be her course of action this week, in large part because school is restarting a week earlier than she thought it would, and she's still processing all the happenings from the weekend.

Plus, the supermoon full lunar eclipse in Leo is coming up, and she's feeling some Hermit/Hanged Man energy. Oh, also Lilith in Aquarius. That seems potentially, um, possible of bringing up some impulsive feelings, and because of everything that has h... crap. Right as she is typing this, the message is, "Yes, you are going to have some feelings, but you can't stop living your life!"

When do you know to "ride it out?" Alice wonders.

She has learned that this process is called "condensation" - where one sits with everything and waits for information to combine and see what truths settle out. She has always felt like acting in a hurried manner has the tendency to generate actions based on an attitude of scarcity. Anything truly meaningful should be contemplated carefully.

This has actually been the process she has used with both astrology and the Tarot. She thinks this from early on, actually, when she notices that her horoscope "always comes true," that when she reads it, it plants seeds in her subconscious for how she might react in certain situations. We're often processing things even when we're not actively processing them. Sometimes we just need some time for another piece of awareness to fall into place to know what action to take.

The best example she can think of is when she participated in a student/teacher art show last Spring and became ill before the opening. As she's mentioned before, she tries to stay home when she is ill, sometimes way longer than necessary. But this particular time, she had to drive Nolan and Sally to campus for class, anyway. That day, her horoscope recommended that she wear the color red and behave like a cat at an event that she was reticent to attend. She thought all day about how she would possibly behave like a cat, since she was having trouble with coughing, and she felt more like a moose. But it so happened that she wasn't able to keep it together very well (meaning, she had a difficult time stifling her cough), so she quietly snuck off to the lounge area to nap. In her memory, she was pleasantly surprised that someone special specifically sought her out to chat afterward. That was very sweet. And she realized, after the fact, that she had totally behaved like a cat, quietly slinking off to a corner to be alone.

***

On Monday, she is triggered. A person in her family with whom she recently tried, for a millionth time, to establish boundaries, and to whom she had shown unconditional love over and over again, texts her for information in a very entitled manner, and when she offers what little information she knows on the subject, is not even thanked for her effort. It's so confusing with this person. Alice knows the person wants to be a good person. Alice understands that until souls experience unconditional love intimately, either through spirituality or healthy relationship, they often don't know how to act in a loving way toward themselves, because they are split psychologically into two, the dark and the light, and those sides do not commune with each other. It is love that helps integration. Alice believes that learning to love is the challenge of being human, so not one of us is perfect.

Alice feels badly even making this observation, because it sounds like Alice knows more about love than this other person. And she has no way of knowing if that is the case or not, because she will never really know this person's soul. And it's not her job to know it. Her job is to trust that the all loving Universe will help that other person reach their highest potential. That the person will someday awaken to all the ways the Universe has shown love for their soul - a validation of their inherent goodness. Then the work can be done to save one's own soul, through forgiveness of self and other.

This process takes time, but is critical for the ability to love. Without the time to tend and mend our fragile hearts, we default to the impatient, harsh, jealous, bragging, prideful versions of ourselves. So what does this mean, in a society where children are dragged out of bed at ridiculous hours to sit still in front of a chalkboard, measured and tested for the majority of the day, and then return to caregivers who have been serving the master of money with their souls and have little left to share?

Without sufficient time to reflect - to come to terms with our hidden demons, we cannot be the best version of ourselves.

So, what is love, then, besides patient and kind? It trusts and it is humble.

Alice knows that she has played some role in the toxicity of this relationship, and that because it is a family relationship, mindful avoidance has its pitfalls, but because being triggered by boundary violations is a threat to her mental health, she needs as much personal space as possible. In the early years, she just tried to come and go as her energy needs dictated, but the relationship slipped well into the realm of codependency, and affected her relationship with Carl in the most painful way.

It has been a painful lesson in holding on to uneven relationships, and she is letting it go for good. Carl understands. He does not like to see Alice hurting. They are on the same team again, finally, dreaming together to change the world. Their family members are certainly intelligent enough to figure out their own problems by now.

***

A sculpture. Is it new? It is called "Desire." Is it an offer of sex? I don't understand. Alice thinks. Her mind is swimming, swimming with all the possible meanings. When she took Art History with Jeff's friend Frida, Frida had lent Alice her copy of Ways of Seeing by John Berger, which is about how the viewer perceives meaning in art.

When she was in high school, she often didn't understand the meanings behind the novels others loved so much. She just couldn't see.

The last two years have been something of an awakening in Alice's consciousness, in her understanding of the nature of existence. Much of it, she understands now, happened around her ability to see meaning in works of art, writing and film. Which one caused the other, or whether they happened in concert with something else is unknown to her at this time.

She is confused, still. But she knows that her Muse understands that unconditional love is about supporting your beloved in their quest to be the best version of her/himself. And that means giving your beloved the time and space to do that, and trusting that's what's happening.

It's the foundation of her parenting approach. Trust. She knows how to do this. How to let her loved ones grow in their own time, without getting overly enmeshed. She has only slipped up a handful of times with her kids.

***

What is the point of life, anyway? She and Jeff had talked about this a lot.

"Is it all about sex and babies?" he asked her one day by Lolita's coffee cart.

Alice remembers vividly, twice, once after reading The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo (her sister and Lolita's favorite author), standing by the vending machines at school, desperately trying to tell him that we are here to love each other.

"But you almost never receive love back," he said.

She wrote about how painful it was to hear he felt that way. How could he not love himself? He is the embodiment of love. She doesn't know which moment it happened for sure, when she fell in love, but this is at least a very significant one.

He goes through life planting seeds of love, just by being who he is, with no expectation for return on investment. Understanding that every act of love opens a door for learning.

It's true - reciprocated, requited love is an elusive thing, probably because the current generation did not learn it from our parents. They were too busy chasing a dream where "Who dies with the most toys wins," the ego-soothing mechanism for souls still healing from the generational trauma of the Second World War. If not consciously present, that cancer is almost always present in the subconscious.

And people keep themselves conveniently too busy chasing external validation as to recognize the demons keeping them repeating endless loveless soulless choices.

Ignorance really is a choice.

So is enlightenment.

***

On Monday morning, she and Nolan are standing in the kitchen, discussing the presence of mice. Nolan is explaining how he is not sure if he really saw one or not. Alice had felt the same way - and says that they almost seem like apparitions. They remind her of the dust bunnies in Miyazaki's classic animated film, Totoro. In her discussions with Carl, he had stated a concern that "It was like a horror movie." This is, truthfully, why Alice sets the traps. It's the thing that pushes her over the edge, ready to confront her fear of the material nature of dead rodents. If she catches them in a trap, then they really exist. Of course, the mouse droppings are another clue.

The next day, she drives him to school in the next town. He has to be there most of the day, and so she decides initially that for the semester she will drive out and back twice so she can have time with Sally and to herself. She will split the driving with Carl, they decide. But the night before, she reads her horoscope or Oracle cards or something (how she gets the messages is starting to get muddy, as she's relying less on trying to prove anything) and it says to go out and interact with the world, looking for signs and synchronicities. After she drops Nolan off on the north side of campus, she drives to the south side by the computer science and art building, looking for a parking lot. It's the second class period of the day, and the cars are swarming. She should have just parked on the northernmost side of campus and walked. She could use the steps anyway. She's thinking about turning around when suddenly she notices the tail lights on the car in the closest spot to the entry way to the sculpture and jewelry studio opens up.

Is this a sign? Alice wonders.

She heads into the building toward Lolita's coffee cart, which has a line of three or four people. At the microwave, Edward the math teacher, with whom Alice spent the last semester, is heating up a cup of tea. She greets him happily, and asks him if he was given any course sections to teach. He says he has two, but that one of them is at a campus far south of where they are in a farming community. Edward is in his 70's and expresses concern about driving in the dead of winter at night to the other campus. Plus, there are not enough students enrolled for him to make full pay, so they will only pay him 67% of his normal earnings for the class.

Alice thinks of Jeff and the time she went to get some limestone from him, and he had lost his appeal for fuel reimbursement for driving to the same campus. And that of course makes her think of the articles she read about the plight of instructors in higher education. She had read about graduate students at Stanford University, who were working as Teaching Associates, and living on the street. She read an article talking about how one adjunct faculty member at three community colleges in the South was kept in dire poverty. These are the people who largely bear the burden of raising the consciousness of the country, and they are so undervalued by society.

Eventually Lolita's line dies down and Lolita can go on a smoke break. Alice follows her outside and Lolita doesn't seem to be doing very well. Alice is so excited to share with her all her new understanding, and does so, and Lolita is delighted. They talk about how like souls are supposed to come together, because it creates healing power.

And that's why they are connected. In every social situation, there is a person who repeatedly shows up as "the glue." One of Alice's very successful plein air artist friends once told her that she was the "glue" that kept their long figure study going after the death of two of the founding members. Alice always ended up being the glue.

They go back in and someone new to Alice is putting handprints with quotes in a basket by the syrup. Lolita had give Alice two last semester, and they said "Be who you needed when you were younger," and "Are you doing what you love? Or just what's expected of you? - Anthony Peters." The new woman turns to Alice and says, "Want one?"

"Of course!" Alice says, smiling.

"No one is sent by accident to anyone."

Wow. This is it. This is the reply, she thinks. Or maybe it is just one part of the message the Universe wants her to send. This is true. She has always known this. She has learned something about herself from every person she has ever known. Sometimes the lessons are very difficult - particularly the ones where she chose head over heart over and over again. Now she knows the right thing to do is have the head bow to the heart. That is the pathway of bliss, according to Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell.

It is said that to know what your heart wants, flip a coin in the air and whatever you're hoping the answer will be when it is at the top of its journey is what the heart wants. When she sees the message and knows its truth, that we are sent people as lessons in love for ourselves and others, she knows she did not meet Jeff by accident. Transformation this profound, transformation of the variety that is healing the people around Alice, is a clue to what the Universe wants.

Another young woman comes along, and Lolita remarks that "She is one of us, too," and Alice knows what Lolita means. She means people whose heads bow to their hearts. This woman is a curvy model and actress, working mostly locally, but recently did a modeling shoot in Los Angeles. She is interested in genetic genealogy and is studying art. Alice gives her her card.

The young woman and Lolita talk about their experiences with seeing ghosts and apparitions. Alice has heard Lolita talk this way before, and sometimes feels the presence of bad things, but can usually center herself and steel herself from the fear. She can do this because when she was little, her bedroom was in the partially-finished basement. Just beyond the laundry room door were piles and piles of dirt, the smell of Earth and continual spider webs a comforting thing. Alice has been in Lolita's basement - in a farmhouse built before 1920 in Eastern Colorado, much like the 1920's bungalow Alice's family lived in in Denver. Alice has never been afraid of spiders. When Lolita showed her where a particular spirit lived in her basement, Alice thought that did look like the creepiest place in the basement, but mentally steeled herself against the negative entity. "He's not here right now," Lolita had said.

"Oh... I get it," says Alice. "You guys are stuck in the Bardot Space. Do you know how to ground yourselves?"

They both shake their heads, No.

She realizes most people are stuck in the Bardot Space, and so she Googles it, but finds nothing. Was it a figment of her own imagination?

***

Lolita takes her to the information table and introduces her to her friend Gwen. Gwen also used to be a barista at the school but now works in the administrative offices. As they are introducing themselves, a man comes up, causing Lolita and Gwen to light up. This man is Johann. He is studying in the music department and works on the campus, and has been there for a long time. Somehow Alice gets pulled off talking with Johann and she navigates the discussions of classical music with ease. He says he came from a musical family, and she doesn't want to overwhelm him, but her father plays tuba, she learned the entire repertoire for the French Conservatory of Music in Flute, and played piano for a decade, even doing some accompaniment. She also had extensive choral instruction, and was debating learning to sing jazz. She learned how to play a few other woodwind instruments and the trumpet, too, but not very well. Like intermediate level.

He gets it.

She took music theory and has even done some composition in Midi.

She can, she realizes suddenly - not a new awareness, but a deeper one - talk to anyone about anything.

"Wow. That was amazing. We should pay you to be in here," Gwen remarks.

Frida had introduced her as "a fixture around here" last semester, and Alice struggled trying not to read anything into the comment, because she didn't know how much Frida and Jeff talked, but suspected it was quite a lot, Frida being the person who recommended Jeff for employment at the college.

Nolan's computer science teacher, Ginny, walks by.

"Oooooh! I am so sorry I didn't get to see you over the break!" Alice starts.

"Yes," she replies. "Me too! I had the flu the whole time!"

"Me too!" Alice responds, thinking that is a strange coincidence. Every few days, she would think of how they had figured out they both love crystals and are interested in astrology, and how Ginny organizes a group of white hat hackers who are interested in the app Alice wants to make to connect people with like interests. This is an important part of her Meow Wolf submission, and her mission to help humanity.

It turns out Ginny is organizing some upcoming meetings for the hacker group, so Alice agrees that the family will come. Alice was one class away from a minor in computer science, so she can understand a lot of the broader topics. Also, she has a lot of ideas for applications to help promote societal wellness. Sometimes the people with the talent just need some good ideas to implement.

***

The first time she consulted the Tarot for advice on how to respond to the sculpture, she was mostly concerned that her intentions weren't pure. She had a lot of selfish reasons for pursuing a relationship with Jeff outside her marriage. She had an agreement with Carl that it was okay, and that had pretty much been in place for a year or so, but Alice and Carl's relationship still wasn't healthy enough at that point to stand polyamory. And polyamory, while totally supported by Siggy, was something Alice was worried would be something that would hurt her children.

She has a significant worry about this because there is a history of its practices in whatever forms in her family, in a manner that perpetuated generational trauma, and she's not even Mormon.

It turns out that polyamorous couples tend to be highly educated. So, what's four Master's degrees, one of them actually falling just short of a PhD between three people? It means, potentially, the ability to have important discussions like rational adults.

When polyamory comes up on Charlotte's radar, her therapist says that she sees couples for whom it works quite well, but there is a ton of transparency involved. This means excellent communication.

And, as Alice learned through twenty-two and a half years of marriage, good communication can save relationships. She and Carl have always communicated well, about everything they were aware of. There's the rub. So much of our hurt is stored subconsciously. So without being willing to take the time to visit the subconscious through rest, meditation, or altered states of consciousness, toxic behavior patterns can persist. Alice wonders how many people understand the importance of the subconscious in wellness and wholeness.

***

The first time Alice consults the Tarot on how to respond to Jeff, she pulls an Osho Zen Tarot card, asking for general advice. She is really worried about what the right response is. She wants to do what is right. She wants to do what is best for the greater good, in everything she does. Ultimately, over the course of her love lessons, she learns that the relationships which make us want to be the best versions of ourselves because they do not pose a challenge to our love for self are in the interest of the Greater Good. And that is how she would define her relationship with Jeff.

Her only misgivings are how much time she spends worrying about the relationship because she is learning to trust herself. This is no fault of his. He has been patient, reliable and persistent. And for that, she is grateful.

"Ten of Rainbows: We Are the World (and yes, the song pops into her head)

"This card card represents a time of communication, of sharing the riches that each of us brings to the whole. There is no clinging here, no grasping. It is a circle without fear of feelings of inferiority and superiority. When we recognize the common source of our humanity, the common origins of our dreams and longings, our hopes and fears, we are able to see that we are all joined together in the great miracle of existence. When we can combine our tremendous inner wealth to create a treasure of love and wisdom that is available to all, we are linked together in the exquisite pattern of eternal creation."

Well, um, that seems like the Greater Good to Alice.

***

Carl asks if Alice had finished answering the family member's question.

"No," Alice says. "I am going to disengage from that situation. I helped a decade ago, way too much, and there's not a day that goes by that I regret it, because of the pain it has brought me, and the way it has put a wedge between Sally and you and I." Or is it the way she let it put a wedge between them? But she tried. She tried to communicate and was constantly shut down or blamed for her own feelings. She was blamed for her own depression over and over.

This is precisely why Siggy advised Alice to leave Carl. She was in a self-destructive soul-sucking pattern of depression and self-hatred from having been marginalized in her own family.

So when Carl stood up for the family member over Alice, yet again, Alice lost it.

It added another layer onto the whole issue of how to respond to Jeff. She had to consider that responding positively to him was due to selfish motivation in feeling so alone, because that is the feeling she constantly lived with due to this family member.

Lou happens to text her about her sorrow regarding her aging dog. Alice had an English Bulldog who lived to be 11 years old, and whose ending resembles Lou's dog's ending. The dog is incapable of controlling his bowels, and cannot go up and down stairs anymore. When this happened to Alice's dog, Alice was incredibly sorrowful. The last night of her dog's life, her dog was in too much pain to be carried, so they all slept outside under the stars together. Carl, the dog, and her. In the morning, she called the veterinary euthanasia service, which was busy but could be there by 11 am. In the hours of waiting, Alice read a pocket version of the Tao de Ching to her first child, her dog. She cried and cried, and when the vet came, she quickly determined that the dog had a very low chance of improvement and that prolonging her suffering was unnecessary.

The amount of compassion with which the veterinarian handled the situation was tremendous. Yes, Alice misses this dog greatly. But also, because she knows the dog had the most peaceful end of life, surrounded in love, that the dog at least got to experience heaven on earth, and Alice's guilt regarding the quality of the dog's existence is minimal.

These are things she wants to tell Lou, but instead, she sends her a virtual hug with the Bitmoji app.

She tells her she is having a hard time, too, that her mind is going to lots of really sad places. She communicates to Lou her actual fears.

"You're still ungrounded," Lou tells her.

"Oh, you're right!" Alice says. "How do you ground yourself, usually?"

"I learned with Sarah many years ago. So it's just the way we did it in class this weekend," Lou informs Alice.

Lou and Alice had talked about meditation when Jeff had brought it up, and Lou explained she wasn't a fan. So now, Lou explains that it makes her too ungrounded for the field she is working in - fitness. Alice is so ungrounded she can't imagine having to deal with people all the time, or move her body through the 3D. But if grounding is the key...

She imagines a red light in her abdomen, and then the energy from the red light travels down her legs through her feet and into the ground. All of a sudden she feels the energy move from the earth back up into her body, and the ache drains right out of her heart.

"Whoa. That is weird. I did the grounding exercise and the ache drained right out of my heart!" she texts Lou.

"Cool!" says Lou, and another message comes through that Lou has liked her comment.

***

At the coffee cart on Tuesday, Alice's friends from Sculpture and Art History who know Frida very well, have gathered. The last time they all saw each other in the end of the Fall semester, they discovered they all enjoy astrology and the tarot. Artemis, who was in Jeff's class with Alice, is a Gemini. Her girlfriend is quiet and is an Aquarius. Tommy is her friend from Art History who also did figure modeling, and it turns out he is a Libra. "Go, Air signs!" Alice says. "Do you guys dissociate a lot?"

"Oh yeah," Tommy offers. They all laugh.

They belong to a club, LGBTQ+, on campus, and Artemis talks of the newspaper coverage they got for a recent event, because the white nationalists and fundamentalists came to protest.

She's still figuring herself out, but she is an ally, at the very least. She feels that sexuality is a spectrum (a message she first heard at her aunt and uncle's house, right after writing about the subject herself). She also knows that she is capable of loving unconditionally more than one person. How does she know this? She is a mother. She doesn't love one child more than another. She doesn't love one of her parents more than the other. She loves them uniquely. Differently. Because they are different individuals.

She doesn't tell this to her lesbian, bisexual, gay, or trans friends (of whom there are plenty). She just makes a little joke about how she's trying to decide whether to go to a freakshow or a Bob Marley tribute concert for her birthday.

"Duh. Bob Marley," Lolita says.

Later, Stan comes by. Stan is a guy who couldn't look her in the eye for a whole semester. Alice didn't understand what this was about until after Part 1, when she realized it was because she was putting out a sexual energy. After that point, she made a point to be really kind to him and look him in the eye, and compliment him a lot. She saw his confidence shift quite a bit in this time.

Stan is a filmmaker, and he has a dream. He wants to go to Los Angeles with his film, but he is stuck at 91% completion because people who promised to help him are busy. He has made connections through an industry conference, which the college paid for him to attend.

Alice opens up about her flexible marriage, because she is trying to show him how healing openness is. He tells her that he once had a female friend who he was honest about his attraction to - and that although the friendship didn't move into that territory, a much deeper emotional connection manifested through the vulnerability.

Alice nods. She understands this because of the vulnerability she, Carl and Charlotte have shared. She explains that she wrote about it in this book, and gives him her business card, encouraging him to read it.

Stan raises an eyebrow. "But, ultimately I came to the conclusion that I am not sure I have time for unnecessary drama in my life. I have important things to do."

He remarks at how heavy the conversation has gotten. They talk about body image and attachment problems, atheism and astrology.

"I talk like this with everyone. I mean, this conversation IS special, for sure. But the point is, what you're feeling, I get it with lots of people. I am thinking of having a YouTube channel or something like that," she explains, and his face changes, almost imperceptibly.

"There are tarot readers on YouTube who have only had their channels for a year and are making $7,000 a month," she says. She explains her interest in having a channel talking about healing and altered states of consciousness, using real life stories.

He appears transfixed.

"Okay, but here's the thing. This seems important. But I am not sure if it is a distraction from what I am supposed to be doing, or if it is what I am supposed to be doing," he says.

"Me either," she says. "I figure if it is supposed to happen, the Universe will send us lots of messages." She knows several people who are in the film industry, has been in a PBS documentary, "Is School Enough?" on self-directed education, and was asked to be in a documentary about groundbreaking thinking on health and metabolism, which she declined, because she could not handle the attention on top of the stress of her marriage at the time. She figures if he's not interested, someone else may come along if it is supposed to happen. She wants him to be certain. She does not want to be a distraction from his purpose, either.

"Yeah," he says.

***

After Alice grounds herself, she's feeling net neutral, energy-wise. She is amazed by earth energy's ability to heal. Maybe this is why she always felt so calm around Jeff. But she wants to feel terrific again. So, she decides to go read some oracle cards. First, she pulls the "Protection" card, which talks about going into The Bardot Space, to look for fears and self-limiting beliefs. This is where they live. "Wow, this is what I JUST DID," she realizes.

It explains that one should be mindful of how long one spends in the Bardot Space, that the Universe would protect her in her exploration of it, and that upon exit, the chakras will have to be rebalanced. It then said to put the card on the chakra that needed balancing and to read a quick healing message.

What chakra needs balancing? How am I supposed to know? she wonders to herself. Then, she instantly gets a message to mindfully work through them and see which one feels weak compared to the others. She can move the energy around her body when she is in a state of wholeness. When she was with Jeff, this was her default state. She was worried she would never feel it again, but she knows how to find it. She has to work at it, though, whereas it was automatic when she was with Jeff. Lolita had noted that when she observed Alice and Jeff, the part of the Lounge they were in filled up with a white light. Upon running through her chakras now, she realizes nearly instantly that she is not connected to source. She places the card on her head, feeling a little silly, and then deciding that precisely because she feels silly it will work. Because it feels like loving playfulness. Her crown opens up and instantly, she is reconnected to the Collective.

"Be patient. I am putting together my response for your birthday. I love you," she says to herself. 

Jeff's birthday is the seventeenth. Alice would really like to get her reply together in the perfect way so she can surprise him. She thinks it's possible, maybe, that he might be feeling a little disappointed that she hasn't responded yet, but he is super patient, and hopefully by now he knows she is giving herself time to rid herself of all sources of self doubt in relation to her response.

If he is patient, he is the one. She believes he is patient.

***

On Instagram, there is a new challenge to post a picture of yourself ten years ago, and also today. Alice thinks back to 2009, another year of tremendous change, also the end of an eclipse cycle in her and Carls' signs. She looks back at the photos on her computer to a year when she had lost a tremendous amount of weight and as her thinnest since high school. Again, she has done this. It was not done sustainably, before, though, because she did not handle the underlying problem - her self-doubt. Her inability to know for herself what she needed - to be her own authority.

She finds a photo of herself on her birthday in early February, on the eve of her 34th birthday. This is one of her favorite pictures of herself - joyful. Carl, at this time, is negotiating an opportunity with a company in Asia, and it has the possibility of changing their lives significantly.

It does. It makes them a whole family, mostly. They know each other. They don't have to catch up daily on the mundane. Their relationships with each other are so deep that they are all empowered to grow. They don't learn to live, they live to learn, and share their journeys with each other.

Alice focuses as much as possible on helping the children feel loved unconditionally, but is human and has some slip ups, usually when she hasn't taken care of herself.

In the last two years, Alice has experienced the most change, she decides.

She remembers giving her copy of Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey to Jeff. She gave it to him because she felt like it more clearly described what Coehlo did in The Alchemist. It drew a clearer picture. But for Alice, who doesn't get caught up in literal meanings, who believes everything is a metaphor, both books have exactly the same message: "We are here to love each other."

"Yes!!!!!" she writes in the margin. "Yes, yes, yes!" and right after she writes this, she realizes it sounds like she is having an orgasm like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, and realizes that every sexual encounter is a little of a Hero's Journey, too, so oh well. She gives the book to him anyway, with a note about wanting to talk sometime. He thanks her. At this point, her subconscious mind is still at the wheel, ego dragging behind along a bumpy path.

***

Capricorn, it turns out, is looking for the Ten of Cups. That's what one psychic says on YouTube.

She sends Charlotte a picture of the sculpture, Desire. A broken cup extending upward toward the heavens along a shaky arm emerging from a well. Plenty of area below to catch any water that might fall from the heavens and fill the cup. "I think it is a trick to see if I can see," she says. "Don't you think this looks like the Ace of Cups?"

Charlotte doesn't know what the Ace of Cups looks like. Alice sends her a photo, and Charlotte agrees. Galaxy Tarot app has the following description:

"Ace of Cups: new feelings, new love, awakening intuition, flowing emotions, imagination. When this card appears look for new opportunities for love, friendship, or spiritual growth. This is an opportunity for intimacy and pleasure. It could be an invitation to a social gathering, a romantic getaway, a marriage, a letter from a dear friend, or a chance to indulge yourself with that which makes you feel truly happy. You may receive a heart-felt gift. This is a chance to make a fresh start emotionally. It may indicate a need to let your feelings flow freely, whether this is expressing your love for another or letting your tears out. The Ace of Cups can indicate conception, a pregnancy, or a birth."

Alice remembers the symbology Joseph Campbell used when describing the Call to Adventure, and the descriptions she and her sculptor friend Campbell had used to describe the creative process. This is the business of musing, Alice had thought, because that's what had been going on for her whenever she was with or around Jeff. It was like she was on fire with inspiration. Like her cup was full and overflowing. She wondered if she inspired him, too. Was he burning as brightly as she was? Was he overflowing as she was? It seemed like he was. Like he was coming out of his shell and baring his beautiful soul to the world.

"The Ace of Cups also indicates an opening of intuition - a chance to tune into your higher self. When this card appears pay attention to your dreams and be receptive to the subtle signs around you."

How do I respond to the Ace of Cups? she wonders. What could possibly be an equal or better offer? She wants to let him know she loves him, too, even though she feels like this should be fairly fucking obvious by now.

Literally, she's retrieved her soul several times, changed her shampoo, smoked tons of pot and debated a lobotomy to get him out of her head. But this is all ego telling her that her feelings are wrong. There is no harm in continuing to love him and let him approach as his trust in her love builds. She is not aware of a limit she would have with him yet. How do you convey that with imagery?

How does he make me feel? She thinks.

He makes her feel like a damn magician. She hopes he feels the same way, because this is what she thinks he is. Love should make both people feel like magicians, she realizes.

Should she just pick the Ten of Cups, take a picture, and text it to him? Baby steps. Not too much. If she goes too fast, he balks. Clearly, he has been hurt a lot. Funny, she called him her White Rabbit, and he behaves in love with Alice just like a white rabbit. Always in a hurry. Always running off. When she tells Siggy this last Spring, Siggy giggles in agreement.

Is she supposed to choose something willfully? Or is she supposed to let the Universe do it for her? Is there even such thing as Free Will?

In bed, she sits down with the Alice in Wonderland Tarot deck and asks the cards, "What message should I send to Jeff?"

These cards are very slippery and jumpy. The first card that jumps out is the Page of Cups.

"What?! I can't make this stuff up. You're funny, Universe!" Alice smirks, orients the card nicely and lovingly upright, cocks her head a little, and then continues shuffling. Six cards come out, including the Five and Seven of Wands.

In her January Monthly read in the Many Moons book, she had done a spread asking what she needed to give up, what she needed to embody for the highest good, and what she would gain by embodying the middle card. The Five of Wands was what needed to be given up. Fighting. Self defense. Then, she drew the Ten of Cups. So, she was supposed to embody unconditional love. The result if she is successful? The Magician.

What a lesson, and she sees it manifesting right before her on the bedspread. In the spooge of jumped cards with the Five and Seven of Wands are the Six and Ten of Cups. Those are the other two cards, she decides. The Universe encouraged her to make the choice of her own Free Will, and it is obvious to her heart, which has now thoroughly convinced her stubborn ego. They were the cards she hoped would come up, and there they were, right in front of her saying "Pick me! Pick me!!!!"



She lines them up in order, Page, Six, Ten of Cups. Numerologically totalling seventeen, the day of Jeff's birthday. In the Barbara Moore Tarot in Wonderland deck, the Page of Cups is depicted by Alice holding a goblet, arms outstretched, with a carp inside. The Six of Cups shows Alice and the Rabbit having what looks like lattes, with a flying elephant in the background. The stuff of dreams. The Ten of Cups depicts a celebration of the White King and the White Queen from Carroll's book. Our Alice opens the book that came with the cards to look further into the reading, but to her, it looks like the story of the evolution of her relationship with Jeff.

"Page of Cups: Through the Looking Glass
"Given Alice's Intense curiosity, logical mind, and practical nature, she could easily be any and even all of the pages. This image draws from the scene in Wonderland when Alice (along with many other creatures) swims in the pool of tears she cried when she was nine feet tall. Although Alice is scared, she draws on her past experience to make sense of her current experience and imagines she is at the English seaside. When she realizes that this place is very different, she reaches out to the other creatures, trying to establish connections and form relationships. The little fish in the cup is holding a scroll, which we imagine is an invitation to adventure.
"Down the Rabbit Hole
"In a reading, the Page of Cups could be someone who is young or they could be someone who is emotionally immature or simply inexperienced in relationships. Inexperience doesn't stop them, though, from diving into the deep end. If someone offers them the opportunity to connect, the page is all in. They have soft hearts and might be overly sensitive, needy, or clingy, but they are also loving and sweet. Treat them with kindness and gently nurture their dreams and they will be a true and loyal friend."

This certainly describes Alice in her love relationships most of her life, until the last two years.

"Six of Cups: Through the Looking Glass

"Alice and the White Rabbit share a private moment. Well, except for that flying elephant. They don't notice the elephant because they are lost in a moment of kindness, generosity, and transitory delights. Normally anxious and in a hurry, the White Rabbit is calm, happy to be right where he is. Alice, often defensive and judgy (albeit often with good reason), is open and accepting, willing to receive the gift without criticism. In this colorful, sweet bubble of time, normal behaviors melt away.

"Just as memories change every time we bring them to consciousness, when we dwell in memory or live in the past, we are changed. We react and respond to things that might not be real and may lead us to behave in ways that we normally wouldn't. A couple who has split up for good and healthy reasons may find themselves in bed together when all they really meant to do was return each others' books. An adult child returns 'home' and falls into old, destructive functions. Memories were activated and the people in these examples reacted with old behaviors, even though they knew better.

"While Alice and the White Rabbit make themselves giddy by indulging in all those cupcakes [okay, not lattes], when they wake from their sugar comas they may have a whole swarm of flying elephants to contend with. Or perhaps they used discretion and only partook of a reasonable amount of sweets. Everyone's life is made brighter with a touch of sweetness.

"Down the Rabbit Hole

"In a reading, this card invites us to look for romantic or nostalgic memories that are influencing our behavior. We may not be seeing things as they really are but rather are blinded by an illusion, a hope, a wish, a dream. Or worse, we could be using past connections to manipulate someone or allowing others to manipulate us. On the other hand, we could be acting out of gratitude for past kindnesses. When in doubt, do something honest, authentic, and kind."

Wow, this is what Alice felt and had tried to do when everything felt like it went wrong. Now she is beginning to think the sequence is describing her relationship with Jeff.

"Ten of Cups: Through the Looking Glass

"The White King and Queen have a rather sweet relationship. When Alice first goes through the mirror and into the Looking Glass world, she sees the chess pieces moving around. The King and Queen sat together until the Queen heard her pawn, Lily, crying. The Queen rushes to reach her child, knocking the King over. Since the Queen was far from Lily, Alice (always trying to be helpful) picks the Queen up and moves her next to Lily.

"'The Queen gasped, and sat down: the rapid journey through the air had quite taken away her breath, and for a minute or two she could do nothing but hug the little Lily in silence. As soon as she had recovered her breath a little, she called out to the White King, who was sitting sulkily among the ashes, "Mind the volcano!"'

"The volcano is Alice, who is invisible and inaudible to the beings in the room. Alice  picked up the King and moved him next to his wife, frightening him half to death. He says that he will never forget the horror of the moment. His wife says, 'You will, though, if you don't make a memorandum of it.' Later in the story, he admits that he cannot help his wife when an enemy is chasing her because she moves so fast, but he says that he will make a memorandum about her because "she's a dear good creature." These little homely moments, more than large gestures or planned events, are the heart and blood of intimate relationships. Like the King and Queen, families know each other's worst and best qualities. True love and deep affection smooth away rough edges and polish us to become our best selves, just like water on stone.

"Down the Rabbit Hole

"In a reading, this card is very like 'and they lived happily ever after.' Of course, we know there isn't really a static, unchanging 'ever after' and that most of the time the 'ever after' is really just the beginning of a new chapter or story. You are at the point in a relationship where stability and shared vision prevail. The relationship is not necessarily personal or romantic, although that is certainly likely. Regardless of the details, as far as the big picture, you are both sharing the same dream and are very happy to do so. Joy, optimism, and sweetness prevail as you face the future with confidence and determined goodwill."

And now, she realizes that the Ten of Cups not only represents the evolution of her relationship with Jeff, and her understanding of True Love, but also both the end of this story and the beginning of the next. Jeff, it's your turn to take the wheel of the airplane. I will follow. I am honored to accept your beautiful Cup.

With all my LOVE,

Alice