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

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Divination Project: Part 17: Tetrahedron

It is Saturday morning, and Alice awakens at nearly 11 am. She was up until 4:00, riding the high of writing Part 17. She hasn't been to the grocery store yet this week, so she has to scrounge for breakfast. She takes four bacon-wrapped dates out of the container she and Carl made the evening before he left and puts them on a small plate. She knows she needs some protein, but dare not touch dairy, just yet, because of its mucus-luring qualities. She finds two very thin bread heels and smears some almond butter on one, and squirts honey onto the other.

The night before, while writing, she had realized she had some Thai tea in the cabinet, as well as condensed coconut milk in the pantry. Those items had been there a very long time, but clearly they were there for a reason. Sally was delighted to discover her mother's brilliant snackvention. Alice loves dreaming up delicious snacks, especially when she is high. She really likes to make vanilla mug cakes with chocolate chips, but often it's as simple as mixing cereal with dried fruit, or putting nutella on something different. These are all very calorie-dense suggestions, it is true. So, when she's being mindful, and has otherwise eaten enough the rest of the day, she relies on hard candy and bubble gum to keep herself from constantly eating. Both Charlotte and Sally's snack taste tends toward frozen blueberries or cherries, and Alice thinks that is brilliant and tasty.

Anyway, she makes herself another Thai tea for breakfast to go with her bread heel sandwich and bacon-wrapped dates, and starts watching the What is Reality? video her father sent her.

The young female host explains that she wants to tell the viewer about how the future creates the past, which then creates the future. Then, she goes on to talk about crystals, and how a group of physicists in Los Angeles are working on the 8D projection of a crystal. When they bring that 8D crystal back into a 4D quasicrystal, and then bring that crystal into 3D, which, she says, "they believe is the fundamental substructure of all reality."

So.

The building blocks of this 3D crystal that is reality are tetrahedrons.

That is the message she has in her head when she leaves to take the Akashic Records class.

***

At the grocery store after the class, Alice is totally ungrounded. The grocery store is not far from the class, so after being in another dimension, very literally, Alice would like to add, it took her quite a while to get back to Earth. She is actually not sure she is quite back. And that is probably a slight can of worms for reasons she will explain later.

She doesn't normally go to the grocery store on a Saturday, because she detests crowds. But the trip is an absolute necessity as the fridge itself is hungry. She tries to reach Carl in Asia before entering the store, but he doesn't answer. Just a few aisles into the store, her phone rings.

"Oh, my god! I just had the most amazing experience in that class! I want to tell you about it so badly!!" Alice expresses passionately.

"Hey, that's really great! Today I am going to a Secret Island to hike to a waterfall and have an 8-course lunch," he replies.

"Whoa! That sounds amazing!" and for a fleeting moment, she's just a wee bit sad that she is not there with him. Asia is, well, life-changing. Their clients would just love for them to live there. But when Alice went to visit, she was sick the whole week, and had to be near a toilet. A day after returning home, her symptoms mostly resolved, but she was left with a case of GERD that lasted two years. It turned out that the two men she and Carl spent the most time with over there had also developed GERD since her visit, and ended up having to get scoped. Alice was really worrying about that prospect as it had put a major damper on her libido and mood in general, and also her grandmother died of esophageal cancer, and cystic fibrosis dF508 carriers commonly suffer from GERD. Luckily it resolved after she went on blood pressure medication. So, she has a lot of fear around this for her kids, because they were so sensitive when they were younger, and they are doing so well. She does not know their carrier status but has counciled them both that it is something they may want to figure out before having children, although it may be a moot point as more becomes understood about the disease (she is not a genetic determinist, but believes that "genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger).

She realizes he is staying in the hotel they stayed at together, and so she can imagine she is there with him, and as she does this, the grocery store kind of melts away. She pulls her cart over in the bulk section as not not interfere with other customers in the busy store. In her head, she imagines him laying in bed, phone to his head. He's just been awake for 20 minutes.

She tells him the great epiphanies she had about the nature of her existence, right there in the middle of the grocery store. And then she suddenly realizes she is in the grocery store.

"This feels weird talking about this here," she notes. "I think I'll write about it later."

"Have you cracked?" Carl says.

"Yes. We already discussed this. I cracked two weeks ago. You were there. I'll never be the same," she reminds him.

"Yeah," he mutters. "Well, I gotta go take a shower. I love you."

"I love you, too," Alice says, "Have soooooooo much fun, and make sure you take lots of photos."

She hangs up the phone and then proceeds to get groceries as she thinks of them, since she has no list, so with no efficiency whatsoever. On Saturday, in a very busy store. Still mostly in some other dimension. She has never crisscrossed the grocery store so many times in one visit. But she's still nowhere near getting her steps for the day once night falls.

***

When she gets almost all the way to class, she realizes she is extremely anxious. She is anxious because she still has a cough, and although she hasn't had a fever in many days, the instructions explicitly mentioned not to come if you are ill. And Alice has a real thing about people going places and exposing others to illness when they are ill. And she knows that Sarah the instructor does, too, for very justifiable reasons. However, that being said, it is not uncommon for things to settle in Alice's chest and leave her sounding less than well for a few weeks. She takes a toke off her 1:1 vape pen, and it calms her.

Upon arrival at the class, she finds Lou, who has texted her asking if she was there yet just as Alice is leaving the house. And she also finds Sarah, the instructor, chatting with Lou. They are both seated on chairs in a circle.  Alice spaces herself evenly from them, since they have a chair between them. Sarah stands up and hugs Alice, saying it has been a long time since they have seen each other.

Has it been that long? Sarah had done a psychic reading for Alice when Lynne had suggested they both see a psychic or a tarot reader. Maybe that was in 2017. So yeah, that was a while back. So much has happened since then. Anyway, Sarah also happens to be a fellow homeschooling mother who was involved in the homeschooling support group Alice was a member and volunteer for 11 years. Because Alice did the list moderation and new member processing, she was the one who got to know a lot of wonderful families all over Northern Colorado. The group was secular in nature, and as such attracted a lot of children who were pulled out of school because their learning needs were not being accommodated by the school system, or because, sadly in more cases than she would like to admit, the child was so miserable in school that they had seriously contemplated suicide. And the common age when this happened was 10 years old.

Heartbreaking.

Ten is like, what. 4th, 5th grade? Those are the years where the testing and measurement get a little more serious in nature. Play and exploration during school become less and less during this time. Often the child had trouble with handwriting or learning cursive, especially boys, and the increased attention to handwritten assignments chips away at a struggling child's self worth.

It's possible to get tired on a journey, and need a little break before starting again, but breaks are not afforded in institutionalized education. So, if a child is struggling, and they're never feeling caught up, eventually they are going to develop learned helplessness.

Before The Divination Project, what Alice had was Learned Helplessness. What she needed to do was back out of life altogether and just be with herself to figure out, under all the stress and pressure to conform to society, who was really under there? And then, she had to do more of what that person wants to do. And that is self love is practiced.

Kids don't have that option. Except Alice's kids did, and so do many in the homeschooling group. It was always amazing to see those kids who once dreaded being alive coming back to life.

And somewhere along the homeschooling journey, the family joined The Innovation Lab/be you project that was started within one of the local high schools when Hannah, who had taught math for 20 years, noticed how her students were struggling, and asked them if they would like to try to learn it themselves. It was through that experience that Nolan got to meet James Bach, one of the world's most respected software test engineers (and son of Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull). James proclaimed Nolan "The Real Deal" after Nolan, at probably 9 years old, had programmed, using HTML5 or AJAX or something like that, his very own public blogging domain. Nolan had felt like a failure because the project, Blog About Your Dog, where anyone could come leave a comment about their dogs, such as, "My dog Warf is tired of me typing and keeps bumping my elbow. He really loves me," ended up becoming filled with spam advertisement for products for erectile dysfunction.

James and Alice had done some brainstorming about what makes a good mentor, and it felt like they were trying to save the world together. So many of the ideas they expressed - to be detached and meet the mentee where they are, to be patient, to recognize places where one could learn from the mentee, to be kind, respectful and encouraging, to help the mentee see their strengths - were all things that Alice had figured out from the various failures and successes in her long educational history. She never imagined she would meet anyone who would so perfectly embody this ideal. She had this feeling, when she was talking with James, that someone who could embody those qualities would have a tremendous effect on society. That power is worth more than anything in this material realm. That is the ability to heal people.

That, she knows, is why teachers go into the profession. But the layers of educational dogma make it a huge challenge to keep one's head on straight and be strong for students. Teachers need students to perform well on the tests, because their jobs depend on it. But focusing on the tests themselves is focus on an endpoint rather than on the magic in a journey, and that is where misery starts.

Magic, and real growth, is in letting rather than pushing.

Anyway. Alice and Sarah had met through this organization for educational and societal change.

And Alice and Lou had met through their interest in the teachings of Dr. Raymond Peat, who happened to start William Blake College, an unschooling college, in Mexico, many years ago.

For all this familiarity, Alice was still nervous, because she knew her understanding of these women she already had so much in common with was going to expand tremendously.

As people come through the door, which Alice was sitting by, she realizes she can go sit between Sarah and Lou. After a while, the seats in the room are filled by a circle of maybe 11 women. The women go around the room and introduce themselves. One woman is a writer who wrote a book about spiritual journeys and is now working on another book which may be channeled science fiction.

Alice suddenly realizes that this connection to source is extremely powerful for creative work.

Another woman announces that she is having a Dark Night of the Soul, and as she says it, she starts crying.

Sarah gets a box of tissues and puts it in the center of the circle. "Everyone is going to cry at some point today," she says. "It's just part of the experience."

***

When Alice was in High School, she did all the things. She probably wrote about this already, so she doesn't want to spend too much time on it, but if you know her, you know whatever she does, she does 110%. That's the way she did High School, graduating with honors. And she never took notes or did much studying. (No fair calling her a liar here - when she went to college, it was a rude awakening).

Her parents have a circle of friends from church which consists mostly of her own friends' parents, and then another couple whose sons are slightly older, but did attend Alice's High School. This couple are both psychologists. So, their group of friends tends to get together and discuss various topics. Recently they discussed CRISPR, and Alice's father asked her for an opinion. She wrote about that in Part 10, she thinks, which she hasn't completed or published yet. They also talk about enneagrams and Myers-Briggs tests and other psychological whatnot. And when Alice was graduating from high school, one of the psychologists (who might even be reading this blog, because once a few years ago, he wrote to encourage her to write more) wondered aloud to Alice's mother when Alice was going to go "Supernova."

Well, many more times than once has Alice thought she is going "Supernova" since, well, probably January 2017, when she had her hypertensive crisis.

So, well. Thank goodness for the support network of people in her life who the Universe brings so she can see that this is not her going crazy, rather awakening more fully. Because honestly, her rapidly changing perspective scares her.

And there's that feeling - fear.

Alice knows The Veil, the Maya, is made of fear. And that she can choose what she believes to be real. So she is going to believe that this is an awakening, because it is in her power to do that.

***

At the grocery store checkout, the cashier is a man who has helped her before. Standing behind the customer he is helping, she remembers that the previous time, she had been behind a woman who was a little flustered and in a hurry, but also needing special assistance. He was continually talking, explaining himself.  When she left, he had turned to Alice and said, "Can I just have a minute?"

She smiled at him and said, "Of course. Take several. I'm in no hurry."

This is how you wield privilege. You do it in the service of others.

When all her groceries were packed up, he said the funniest thing to her. "Thank you so much for being such a patient person."

So, it happens again today that he is her cashier. Today, she is behind a woman who is having an issue over the price on something from the bulk section - for maybe forty cents. She feels badly for both of them and tries to smile compassionately so they understand she is not upset.

When the woman leaves, Alice, standing in front of the register, is way out in the aether, still, processing what has happened in her class, maybe still in class. Maybe still in Asia with Carl. She is excited about all the possibilities from what she learned from Sarah. Suddenly, she becomes aware that the cashier is speaking, and doesn't comprehend any of what he is saying. Most of her purchases are piling up by the bagging area.

"There's no bagger," he says.

She moves around the end to bag her groceries.

"You don't have to do that," he says.

"Oh, I really don't mind. Sorry, I wasn't here. I was way out there," she says, waving her hand up in the air about 2 o'clock.

He tilts his head and looks at her. "You're a weird lady."

"Yeah, I know. But it's a good kind of weird," she reassures him. "I just took a meditation class, and I'm just not back here yet." Indeed, when she left the class, Sarah had recommended they all ground themselves, and Alice had imagined the color red and energy moving from her root chakra down through her legs into the ground, feeling the warmth as she imagined. But then she stood up and walked out the door with Lou, leaving her purse underneath her chair.

As she came in to retrieve her purse from under the chair next to Sarah, Sarah looked at her, and Alice muttered, "Not grounded."

Sarah laughed. "When this first happened to me, I was way out there a lot of the time." Sarah has such a wonderfully calm, reassuring demeanor.

"So, is it like when you come out of a movie, and you're still feeling the movie," the man muses, putting her food into paper bags with her. She had forgotten her reusable bags in the car, just as she had forgotten her purse at class.

"Yes!" Alice exclaims. "That is exactly what it is like. I am still watching my movie. It is a beautiful movie!"

"Cool," he says, placing the rest of the groceries in the bag. "Come back and see me sometime."

"Of course," she says, smiling.

***

They start with a simple chakra-balancing meditation, but there is a difference to her from what she experienced with solitary Yoga Nidra practice over the last few months. Sitting there in this circle of women, between her healer friends, all open and aware and trusting of their intuition, the energy is like being wrapped in a warm blanket from the inside outward. She can feel it entering through her crown and flowing out her finger tips, as well as down through her trunk and legs and into the ground. It is the first time she has felt the energy this tangibly since she and Carl took photos together, and before that when she met Mr. Touchy Feely, and before that, when she met her new uncle and got to see her aunt, uncle and cousins in New York, and before that, the last time she saw Jeff. And she knows she is in the right place, because that energy is Love.

Sarah then explains that they will receive a symbol which their individual guides will imprint upon them, which is the key to the Akashic records. What are the Akashic records? In the spiral-bound book she gives each woman, she includes the following quote by Edgar Cayce:

"The Akashic Records, or "The Book of Life," can be equated to the universe's supercomputer system. It is this system that acts as the central storehouse of all information for every individual who has ever lived upon the earth. More than just a reservoir of events, the Akashic Records contain every deed, word, feeling, thought, and intent that has ever occured at any time in the history of the world. Much more than simply a memory storehouse, however, these Akashic Records are interactive in that they have tremendous influence upon our everyday lives, our relationships, our feelings and belief systems, and the potential realities we draw toward us."

Alice has a feeling that the Akashic Records are analogous to all the Hero's Journeys, or Karmic Lessons that a person's soul needs to learn to ascend in consciousness, but she isn't sure. So this seems to fit with her theory, anyway.

Everything centers around meditation. All imagination. All play.

After the wave of warm energy she feels (it is possible she just ovulated, because yeah, it's kind of like that), Sarah then guides them into a forest. When they get deep into the forest, she instructs them to visualize a door, and walk through it. Alice sees a white door that looks like a garden gate at the end of the very dense forest. She walks through the door and is in a Hobbit Hole. She has often called her studio The Hobbit Hole, because Carl dislikes the low ceiling. And now that she's cracked, she has entertained the notion of going with a whole Miracle Max theme. But the walls are drywall painted the most perfect white, rather than unprocessed earth, so it's missing something that way. But anyway, in her vision, there is an alcove near a little round window, and in the alcove is a bed made of clear quartz crystal (which is reminiscent of the lamps by her bed which she inherited from her parents). On the bed is a lavender goose down duvet. She lays down on the bed, feeling the duvet rise up around her, and Sarah says to visualize her guides there, ready to imprint the seal upon her heart. She tries, but she cannot see them. They are simply glowing orbs of light, sometimes sending a shoot out of their light bodies like a star in the universe or a neuron in tissue culture under a microscope.

As her guides push the seal into the air and it flows down into her heart, she feels warmth. Then, the women thank their guides and get up out of the beds, walking through the doors, coming back through the forest, back to the room.

They share their experiences. Their doors all look different. Their guides are all different, too. One woman's guide is a Raven. Another has a man in a black cloak with glasses. Lou has a kangaroo.

They then set an intention to meet their guides to ask for entry into the Akashic Records. They pray to open themselves as clear channels for the messages for the highest good. Sarah discusses that everything should be approached with the highest vibration, and Alice remembers months earlier when she realized (AGAIN - she knew this as a teen) that as long as she could remain detached from outcomes, optimism was always the best route. Acting in accordance with abundance, rather than scarcity, brings abundance.

Next, they enter the hall containing their individual records. Alice's looks like a 1950's - era high school library, except it is very brightly lit. There is a long desk and her guides are behind the desk. The central one is a large orb of light, and there is a slightly smaller one to its left, and an even smaller one to the right. Here, they are not sending out tendrils of light. She enters, gratefully, and asks her first question.

It is easy for her to come up with questions now. She learned it from the Tarot.

"What do I need to know to live my highest purpose? What do I need to do next?" she asks.

"You are right where you need to be right now," they say.

Alice smirks and lets a puff of air out her nose. She knows this. She knew it when she felt the energy during the chakra clear. She knows it because she is sure that the Universe led her to this moment, because she was never in any doubt. There are no coincidences.

And there may be no Free Will. Her horoscope has mentioned that this weekend will be one of the best she has had in a long while.

Since she's still there, she asks if she needs to do anything else regarding her relationship with Carl. She has put so much into healing herself and connecting with him to heal their connection over the last two years, she isn't sure if there is still more proactive work to do, or if she can finally have a break and enjoy the fruit of her labor.

"No, he is doing the work now," they assure her.

Then, she asks if she needs to do anything in particular with the kids, and her guides tell her just to spend more time with them and enjoy them. Validation of her plans.

She asked if this is her ego answering.

"No," they say, conclusively.

She is pretty sure it isn't her ego. When she arrived in the room and had to introduce herself, she initially just wanted to say, "I am." Because none of the rest of her story really mattered. If someone wants to read it, it is here now. Or she couldn't do it justice in two minutes, anyway. But she knows she probably shouldn't seem disinterested, and so she gives the whole neurobiologist homeschooling mother who is meditating schpeel, and feels gross about it, because she feels like it makes her seem like she is trying to sound special. And she is special, but everyone is special. So, she notes the gross feeling and forgives herself. It's hard to peghole Alice. She just is. But she also added that she felt like she was at her first day at Hogwarts, putting her fists up in front of her chest in glee, as if giving herself a hug, and shimmying a little, while grinning. This remark got a laugh out of several of the women.

"Now, close your records and come back to the room," Sarah instructs the women.

They take a short break and then come back to discuss what they saw. Everyone's record halls look totally different. Some are in outer space. Some are libraries like Alice's. Some people have free access to their records. For one woman, the records are in a single book. For another, they are in a colorful orb, which she can swipe through, but she can't see anything, and when she asks why, her guides tell her she is trying too hard.

Sarah announces they will go in again, and Alice is surprised, because that was so much more information than she would ordinarily get in a single mediation session. She was a satisfied customer. Now, she almost feels greedy in going back, especially since her guides said she's doing just fine.

But, with the group, she goes back into the brightly lit hall and asks her Record Keeper if there is anything she needs to know to move forward in her understanding, and they reply that she needs to look into the "soul brick" and "syntropy." When this message is conveyed, she gets a very clear image in her head from the "What is Reality?" video her father had sent her the day before.

The Tetrahedron.

On three separate occasions this week, she has gotten the message that the future makes the past which makes the future. One is in the "What is Reality?" video, and then another is in the Quark Science episode on Nothingness. And then another was in a Tarot reading done by her instructor, who explained syntropy in that manner. Alice, the Tarot reader says, is experiencing syntropy.

Alice wonders if she is collecting evidence for paranormal phenomena, or if paranormal phenomena really are just physics. Or, of course, there is the possibility she is really cracked. But she's always thought of calling this blog "I can rationalize anything," and isn't that what Jung, Einstein, Timothy Leary and other great thinkers have done?

***

Alice has always wondered why people can't just get along. Some of the Divination Project, and a lot of her tarot and astrology studies have helped her realize the myriad factors which affect even the smallest interactions between people. Primarily, dogmatic belief systems, shame and false beliefs about the true nature of others (scarcity mentality from past trauma) keeps people from connecting. But there can also just be energetic disconnects due to differences in levels of consciousness, or people being at different places in their journeys.

It took a long time to understand all of this. But she's pretty sure it's in the Akashic records, and/or the collective consciousness (are they the same?), because she has seen memes to this effect on Instagram.

So yeah. In the same context, tetrahedrons being the basic unit of reality, and souls occurring in a brick. "That sounds like soul pods," the other writer offers.

Maybe there is an optimal number for connection and manifestation, Alice thinks.

Neptune in Sagittarius? Does good astrological synastry in a pod create more powerful manifestation?

Maybe these thoughts are just madness.

***

After the next break, the women are instructed how to go ask for information on Past Lives.

Alice has figured out through the first two trips inward that the Akashic Records are exactly what she hoped. A library of Hero's Journeys.

And these orbs - she realizes she has been talking to them for years. But for the first time, now, she knows what they look like. This is exactly what she says to Carl on the phone in the grocery store which prompts him to ask her if she has truly cracked. She wonders if people who "hear voices" aren't just confused by the battle between ego and knowing, and industrialized society, which feeds ego, just labels them as broken rather than woken. That's what Jung says, anyway.

"What?! Why does it matter if it really happened or not? It was the same as just using my imagination, from a place of love. It is definitely not going to hurt anyone, and it may actually help people," this is how Alice is broaching the "cracked" situation.

That her own visions have qualities like the other womens', yet are different, is a phenomenon she is used to from her time in the art world. Ten artists can be painting the same subject and they will have both similar and different qualities, as their perspectives vary.

You can choose the negative interpretation, or you can choose the positive. Everyone sees the same thing through a different lens. Alice has decided to mindfully choose her lens.

***

Sarah doesn't even get past the opening prayer and Alice runs up to the Record Keepers at the desk, almost out of breath in her vision, keen on knowing about her past lives. When she saw the Tarot reader with Juniper, she was told that she had been a sea captain and a queen in past lives.

"Record keepers, what do I need to know about my past lives?" she blurts.

All of a sudden, she is in the Improv theater, which is empty, and there is a comic with a bottle in a paper bag, sitting on the edge of the stage. This is her, in a past life. A washed-up alcoholic comedian in his 30's.

From her time playing with her guides and the tarot, she learned that the Universe has a funny sense of humor. So, she thinks maybe the orbs were razzing her for running in there so irreverently. She backs out and joins the other women in prayer, and walks into her hall with calmer intentions, this time.

"Record keepers, what do I need to know about my past lives? Thank you," she asks. When she reads Tarot, her process is very simple. Although she has written words here which she communicates, she doesn't use English language when she actually does it. She sends a loving intention into the Universe. She trusts they know her well enough to know she does not want to use any knowledge for malicious intent. She wants to know what she wants to know so she can be the highest manifestation of Love as she walks through her life.

All of a sudden she sees a vision of a rose garden and learns that in a past life she is a widowed flower gardener. She needs to spend a lot of time alone, and in the sun, tending to the beautiful life she is cultivating.

"Record keepers, what do I need to bring or what have I brought with me from that past life that I need to be aware of in this life?" Alice asks. This is a question she was taught to ask in Tarot class.

Immediately, she gets a very clear message that whatever she plants should be something she loves. That gardens don't need to have vegetables. It is okay to just have flower gardens. They tell her everything in her garden should bring her joy, and should not be something planted and tended out of perceived obligation. Then, she receives the message that she still plants seeds and cultivates life in this life with other people, and that the same rules apply. The lives that come together in the resulting soul pods arise from the dispersal of her loving and creative seeds. Then, the souls come together in love to manifest growth and release more creative seeds, and it is these seeds that nucleate the crystals of reality.

Later, at home, she realizes that this was the message in the last smoke signal, and that now she understands Jeff's entire body of work. Elegant. And you, sir, are the mentor I envisioned with James Bach. Thank you.

She reads this to the other women, who have had such visions as being unable to see anything in their records, because their Record Keepers say they know enough for now, and one also learning that she and her husband had been homesteaders in Wyoming before, and that this time they are repeating the life to learn to work to live, rather than live to work. (Which is funny because Alice nearly wrote about that in Part 16, in the context of Nolan's Karmic Path last night).

"Um, you said this felt like your FIRST day of Hogwarts," Sarah says to Alice.

Alice probably blushes. "I hang out in the higher dimensions a lot these days. Actually, I just figured out that I have been talking to my guides through the Tarot - I just couldn't see them! And just a week or two ago, I got the message that I need to spend at least some time in the 3D."

All those D's, right Charlotte?

***

The women go back into their Records Halls again. Each trip in is for about 15 minutes, and they do this for three hours. It is intense.

When Alice re-enters her hall, she decides that maybe her guides aren't kidding about the comedian. Maybe they appreciate her enthusiasm, and this is, maybe, the most important message she will receive. She asks them for more information.

She learns that her alcoholism during her life as a comic was what she used to numb her heart to the pain of all her failures, but it ended up pushing everyone in her life away from her. She had a good, truthful message, but a quirky delivery that not everyone could connect with, so that meant a lot of drinking.

"What am I supposed to bring forward from this past life from that life?" Alice asks.

"You have acquired the ability to be ridiculed and persist in trying to bring joy into the lives of others, even if you sometimes fail," the orbs tell her.

"What lesson have I learned in this lifetime to heal that lifetime?" Alice asks.

"You have learned that there are other better ways to protect your energy so that you can go forth in authenticity without concern of judgment to help others feel comfortable with their own imperfections," the orbs inform her.

Wow.

When she realizes this, she cries.

***

Sarah announces they will go in one last time.

When Alice reaches the desk with her guides, they know exactly what she is there to ask.

This is more like what it has always been for her. The guides speak to her through people, through the media, through animals and nature. But in that way, sometimes the information retrieval is not intentional. Usually she asks a question of the Universe, and it speaks to her in synchronicities. It takes a while to connect them and get the message. Searching the Akashic Records is a way into Free Will in this way, she supposes, because as long as one can think of the right questions, or at least let them come rather than trying to force them, the guides will be giving.

Right, like anything else - learn the rules so you can use them to your advantage, rather than just being told what to do all the time. Like Jung said, the path to happiness is learning to make systems work for us, rather than working for systems. This is exactly what she talked about on the phone with her father yesterday. Everything is fractal. Everything is a metaphor.

This time, she finds herself standing in Mary Queen of Scots' chamber in Edinburgh Castle. She is a handmaiden to the Queen. This is why when she visited the Castle as a child, she felt like she had been there before. She has this feeling a lot. Also, Edinburgh felt like home to her. As a handmaiden, she had a child of her own, but she was very devoted to the Queen. She would do anything for her, serving her selflessly. So, when the Queen was beheaded, Alice's heart was broken.

The guides tell her the lesson she was supposed to learn in that lifetime was to practice detachment in her care for people and outcomes, but still work with the same love - compassion. Also, she was to recognize meaningful vs. busy work. The guides also tell her that the hardest work is now behind her and she can focus now on connection to source.

***

When she gets home with the groceries, Nolan has only been up since 3 pm, and Sally had awakened at 1 pm. She has never really liked to force her kids to be on a sleep schedule, but of course school has necessitated this.

The night before, when she went to bed early in the morning, she had another exciting encounter with Nolan. He showed her a Midi text file parser playing the theme song from The Office, which he made on MIT's Scratch platform, which is like computer coding with Legos. In 2012, the family was invited to MIT because they had been interviewed for their collaborative efforts in projects on the platform. And then, the grad student, Karen Brennan, who was in Mitch Resnick's Lifelong Kindergarten Lab over the Scratch program, got to meet Nolan and Sally in person at a coding camp in Denver. Nolan had programmed an operating system in Scratch. The family went to Cambridge, MA and felt that they had found their people. The bookstore by the hotel had books on artificial intelligence and neuroscience. Mitch Resnick's lab was full of Legos. Sally and Alice participate in a Rube Goldberg Machine teambuilding exercise in the Lab, which feels like a cross-between a preschool playroom and the offices at Sparkfun in Boulder. Nolan, 12 years old at the time, asks questions of a graduate level nature in a classroom full of educators from all over the country. After his session, he is greeted by Mariana Ludmila, who works with Nicholas Negroponte who started the One Laptop Per Child program, to give laptops to every child on earth. She wants to give the family a laptop.

Mariana is also an unschooling mother, and appoints Alice administrator of a very large Unschooling forum on Facebook. Their online friendship continues to this day, even on Instagram, Mariana posting insights from Seymour Papert, John Dewey, John Holt, and other big educational thinkers who write about the shortcomings of institutionalized learning.

A professor at Columbia University asks if his teaching students can interview Sally and Nolan about their usage of Scratch, and the kids have a video chat with a class of emerging educators a year later.

While at MIT, Nolan identifies a significant bug in the code of the new platform they are going to release the next day, worldwide, and the appoint him as the first child participant on the alpha testing team.

So the fact that he has made a Midi file parser is not a surprise in terms of his capability, it was a surprise because to this day, her son is so at ease with himself, he does not feel any shame for using his highly evolved skills in utterly playful ways. And that is precisely why his skills have become so evolved. And that is what Alice has learned from her children, both of them.

She is excited to tell them everything she learned in her Akashic records class. She doesn't know how they will receive the information. They are a family who used to watch Through the Wormhole and Cosmos on Sundays, for Science Sunday. She asks them both if they have watched the video her father sent about Reality. She sent it to them in their family Hangouts chat, to which pictures of cute baby animals, unbelievable things, important political developments, pop culture, and psychological and technical advancements are shared daily. They haven't.

She proceeds, anyway, explaining that what she is tapping into is her own creativity, which was less of a problem when she was a child. "It's hard to do this when you're an adult. I know it seems like I am going crazy, but what I realized is I can choose to see it like that, or I can choose to see it as finding a beautiful ability. Does it matter if it is not hurting anyone else? What if it is helping others?"


"True," they both say.

"Hey, did you sign Grandpa's birthday card?" Sally asks, bringing the handmade card over.

Sally makes cards for everyone in the family, just like Alice and her sister used to do as girls. Sally's cards, though, are especially brilliant, and capture the essence of squee. But this card, in Alice's opinion, was Sally's best ever.

It is a brown bear astronaut, floating through space. And this is just part of Sally's brilliance. Sally, the girl who shares a birthday with George Bernard Shaw, Carl Jung and Stanley Kubrick, and who carries aspects of them in her very being.




Alice's guides are spot on. The kids are fine. All she needs to do is enjoy them.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Divination Project: Part 16: Fever Dreams

Is this all pointless? Maybe this is all pointless, Alice wonders.

Earlier today, she was keen on writing, having felt the hand of destiny guiding her toward her computer. But then she got overtaken by an urge to sleep.

She hasn't slept well in about six nights, so... yeah. It's kind of like that.

She also hasn't been eating very well because she has been too sick to go to the grocery store. Yesterday she ran some errands, thinking she was out of the woods, but then the night came, and so did the phlegm.

What's funny is she feels that this was all divinely guided, because most tarot readings she watched for Aquarius for the month of January said something along the lines of, "Enjoy your shit sandwich until mid-month." Thanks, Universe!

So, why, why, why is she writing right now?

Because, in between coconut oil applications to her nostrils, meditation and showers, she did a lot of thinking, and even some learning, and who she was at the beginning of the flu is not who she is now. Again, ever-evolving Alice is here, sitting under a chicken lamp on an old leather recliner with which she has become one, tapping away at her keyboard.

Carl is in Asia. He got there safely, thank you, Universe. The day before he left, China was detaining American businessmen, and the TSA was preparing for a shutdown. And of course, he had been seriously considering quitting. There was that.

Remember, Alice gets sick when she is stressed out.

So imagine how wonderful it is when he calls her from his hotel room at his final destination, capable of video chat. He has been traveling to Asia for almost a decade, now, and the first years he didn't have a phone that would work there. Wifi in the hotels was spotty at best, so not even a laptop worked reliably as a communication device. A few years ago, they got phones which would work over there, but coverage was unreliable. So. Video chat. Video chat! He tells her he has been reading Jung's Undiscovered Self, and she is delighted. He remarks that it is so easy to read and so close to their own philosophy about life.

"I know. I'm so glad you're reading it," she says, "Just wait until you get to the end. It's so profound what he says about depression and anxiety being the result of following the ego rather than the intuition."

It is good to see him. He looks a little worse for the wear after his 44-hour long journey, but he doesn't have the flu. And he seems happy.

***

Sleep during the night has been daunting. The night Carl leaves, the City conveniently has to shut off the water to their house to replace a water main. This means no showers, and showers are one of Alice's major respiratory illness fighting tools. Luckily, the work crew finishes a few hours early, but not early enough to prevent Alice from drying out and turning the corner toward sinus infection territory.

It isn't until the next night that Alice realizes the air purifier in their bedroom is drying out the air. She turns it off, and locates a humidifier which she positions in the adjoining bathroom.

That night, she sleeps for the first time in her bed, rather than in the recliner. But the angle isn't steep enough with pillows and she wakes up with plugged ears, regretting her decision to leave the recliner.

***

She's starting to get a little loopy, being stuck at home for the last week, with both Nolan and Sally avoiding her lest they catch it, too. Sally does, but not too bad. Alice is thankful, because she is barely able to care for herself, lest anyone else. It's so much easier this year. Nolan and Sally can cook for themselves, and sometimes for her. They help load and unload the dishwasher. They do their own laundry and can care for all the animals.

But they can't go grocery shopping. Or can they?

One of the dogs sounds sick one morning before the kids are up. He must have gotten a cracker or something, because his stomach is gurgling. A few years ago, he developed hemorrhagic gastroenteritis every time he saw the groomer, who fed him Milk Bones. There is nothing odd in Milk Bones, really. But somehow the dog seems to have developed a severe reaction to wheat. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is often fatal, and is apparently common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which Harry the Dog is. (Yes, this is a nod to one of Alice's favorite picturebooks from her childhood, Harry the Dirty Dog, and her Harry is often quite dirty and has terrible breath because he loves to eat dog shit). Anyway, when the initial bout of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis happens, they are on their first family vacation in years, to Hawaii. Alice's hairdresser's sister who is in college has to text Alice to tell her the dog is bleeding from the anus. Another bout later, and the vet suggests giving an expensive treatment that she can pick up for $60. She looks it up on the internet and finds that the active ingredient is bentonite clay, and, well, she just happens to have a bunch of bentonite clay hanging around because, well, you never know when you might need some bentonite clay. Or charcoal. Really, these are staples everyone should have because of their ability to bind toxins.

So, Alice mixes up some bentonite clay in almond butter (because she cannot for the life of her find the peanut butter), and gives it to Harry, who is growing tired of being given dirt-nut-butter every time his stomach makes a gurgling sound. Harry is a little particular, not liking the last bit of dog food from the bag because it tastes stale. Luckily, his chum, a larger spaniel named Warf will eat anything in sight and never gets ill. Alice has to carefully give Warf something to distract him so she has time to get Harry to eat his dirt-nut-butter. So, she gets between them and holds the spoon with the almond butter on it toward Warf with her right hand while putting the bowl with the dirt-nut-butter down in front of Harry with her left. Harry sniffs at the bowl, and then looks at her wondering where the good stuff is. She uses her left foot to tap toward the bowl, saying, "C'mon, Harry, treat! Eat it! C'mon!" Warf has nearly gotten all the almond butter off the spoon and is starting to bite it. Eventually Harry realizes that there is no alternative treat, and that if he wants any treat at all, he better eat the dirtnutbutter. Within an hour, Harry is no longer making unsettling noises, and all is well.

She's not in any frame of mind to read anything. She just can't focus that well. So, she decides to see where she left off in her tarot class. She's still in the third month of class recordings, and there are four months of classes. She knows because she hasn't been paying good attention in class that to get better at it, she needs to actually spend time with tarot cards rather than using oracle cards. She's ascribing too much of the accepted meanings to the cards and she is not looking at the imagery closely enough to divine a good story. And that's probably why she is behind. She knows the whole point of the class is to get her to tap into her own intuition - that this represents a deeper stage of ability and connection to source. And that is scary. It represents moving even further away from prescribed knowing. From authority. It means ultimate faith in self.

The class gets about 45 minutes in (they're an hour to an hour and a half long, depending on questions), and the teacher brings up Rahu and Ketu again. That is the Vedic Astrology definition. In Western Astrology, it is called the North Node and South Node of the Moon. These placements represent one's karmic destiny in this lifetime. They represent what we each need to do to achieve bliss. The tarot instructor recommends watching the KRSchannel astrology videos on the Rahu/Ketu dance.

Alice had written previously about Carl being her Rahu. He is not her Rahu. He is, however, her Leo, the one who can put up with all Aquarius Alice's bullshit. Thank you, Leo! It turns out Sally is a double Leo, Scorpio Moon. This explains her unflappable optimism. And Nolan is Taurus Sun, Aquarius Rising, Moon in Pisces. Alice was delighted to find out she wasn't the only Aquarius in the house. But Alice's Rahu person, it turns out, would have Rahu in their 6th House, since hers is in the 12th House, and Ketu in the 12th House, since hers is in the 6th House.

Synastry-wise, this partnership can support each other in finding balance because one is going to the place the other has already perfected.

She watches the videos for the whole family. Sally's North Node is exactly opposite Carl's. This is an interesting dynamic probably worth covering in another Part. Nolan's is in the 5th House, which KRSchannel explains means the person is supposed to express themselves creatively, and not worry about money. The person will get so absorbed in what they do that they will forget to eat, for example. This is Nolan. The person will not care about money, and will amass large wealth, but then not know what to do with it. Also Nolan.

Alice's is frightening to her, even though she knows it is her path. She sends Charlotte the video.

"Does this mean I'm supposed to be mindfully high?" Alice asks Charlotte.

Charlotte has had gum surgery and cannot smoke or vape for four days. She is recovering from the anesthetic the dentist used. She does not answer the question. Rather, she asks if Alice knows of anything to watch on Netflix.

"When was the last time you took a break from smoking?" Alice asks Charlotte.

"Oh, probably the last time I had gum surgery," Charlotte says. "Not in a long time."

"Well, you'll be a cheap date again!" Alice muses. Alice also hasn't used cannabis in quite a few days, because her respiratory symptoms precluded it.

Alice wonders. The KRSchannel guy talks about the 12th House being the House of addiction. Obviously, Alice doesn't want to become an addict. But he also says that you use your Ketu to get to Rahu. So, that's why she is able to use caution in her explorations. Because she has that screaming voice from her past life telling her that addiction is bad for her.

***

Wednesday evening, she stands next to the bed, crossing her legs tightly so she won't urinate, coughing violently. She is having an asthma attack. Carl is half a world away, literally, and the kids are listening to their headphones elsewhere in the house. She ran out of cough suppressant the day after Carl left, and has been limping by on loratadine (an antihistamine), guafenesin, and multitudinous cough drops. She has a little eucalyptus oil nose inhaler thingy that Lolita gave her the day she told her that marriages don't last forever. This was after Lolita had been observing Alice and Jeff's "little talks, or whatever they were," which is how Alice referred to them to Lolita from that day onward. She sees her 1:1 THC:CBD vape pen on the night stand and hopes that it will help her chest open up so she can breathe. She takes a toke.

Before Carl left, he had awakened in the middle of the night when Alice was doing the same, and asked her if she was smoking! Seriously. Smoking? No, she was having an asthma attack. Fist curled in front of her mouth, she shook her head in the dark, unable to respond. When the coughing finally slowed down, it was because Carl had suggested maybe she should blow her nose. It's funny, isn't it, how when a person is so miserable, it becomes difficult to even think what to do to climb out of misery? Even to the point of not thinking to blow one's own nose? She slipped her pajamas and underwear off and walked toward the shower, not just because the humidity would be nice, but because passing two bowling balls out of her vagina a decade and a half ago necessitated it.

Within a minute or two of the toke, her chest opens. Having quelled the snowball of anxiety contributing to the asthma attack, she is now able to think. What do I need to do to help myself? Maybe I need some magnesium. Magnesium is great for anxiety and panic attacks. Usually she gets plenty from drinking lots of coffee and eating fruit, but she's not consuming dairy, so she hasn't had coffee in quite a few days, and they are out of fruit. She often doesn't tolerate oral magnesium, but remembers that she has spray bottles with Magnesium Oil in the kids' bedrooms. Then, she remembers Carl suggesting progesterone and takes some. Oh, and coconut oil in the nostrils, because her membranes are so dry that breathing hurts. The coconut oil, a spontaneous idea, provides instant relief. Finally she is calm and can sleep.

***

When Carl contacts her that day, he can't chat long, but wants her to know he is going to meet with the VP of their client company. He is the same man who had shaken her hand in the hotel bar in Vienna to tell her thank you for supporting Carl. Alice knows what this means. Carl will have a chance to make some requests to improve his working situation. A few days before he left, around the time Alice took ill, Carl, as noted in the previous chapter, had decided to quit.

But Alice and Carl had some time in the intervening days to talk and they decided it was best if Carl just try, once more, to make some reasonable requests. Now, he would be able to communicate his emotions with the plea, rather than trying to rationalize them with whatever bullshit reasons his mind made up. Now, he would be able to say that the isolation he experiences by not getting to work directly with another person is wearing on him. And Alice.

When Carl goes out with the VP, they party hard. Carl is a big guy, lives 4200 feet above sea level, and went to college in New Orleans. So, they play drinking games.

***

In the KRSchannel videos, the narrator introduces Alice to an interesting concept. He says "The Motto of the 12th House is 'Serve or Suffer.'"

This is after describing the Rahu in the 12th House person as:

- connecting to foreign people in foreign lands, other worlds and other dimensions (Hey, Tim!)
- independent, wanting to run away*
- criminal** (Martha Stewart), spiritual, or creative
- working behind the scenes, creating illusion (novelists, film directors, artists, doctors, medicine men, healers)
- protectors (typically in jailhouses)
- import/export business (this has been something she has had to do for their business)
- working in a confined, isolated way (lab scientist is the example he gave)
- wants to know the occult world, gain access to higher power, foresee future

Sadhguru has Rahu in the 12th House, the narrator continues. Alice's interest is piqued. She found the Sadhguru when she was researching the process of sublimation, and ran across his article on the tantra, and figured out that it may be her basic philosophy of life. She really wants to learn the tantra.

*The first time Alice packed a suitcase and ran away from home, she was 3. She packed her mother's overnight bag full of her doll clothes and walked right out the front door, fully intent on leaving. This was, she assumes, when her sister was an infant.

**When she was in middle school, her mother reported her to the police for toilet-papering her crush's house. Also, she can't remember for sure, but she may have had to talk to the police after she punched a girl in the face who was bullying her in the outfield during gym class every day and broke her nose.

***

After discovering that the 1:1 THC:CBD vape pen helps her cough lessen, she also realizes that hey, girl, hey, she hasn't had any action for quite some time because she got sick four days before Carl left. And, she's been in a total funk. And orgasms are great antidepressants.

Since the water supply is on again, she can hop in the shower.

It seems like Project Smoke Signal might be on pause. She's not upset or anything - she was just really, really sick and riding out that general Hermit energy that pervaded the collective earlier in the week, but is otherwise very interested in continuing at whatever level or in whatever fashion once or if the co-creator/muse wants to continue, but the energetic ball is in his park, so to speak. So, as to honor his energetic boundaries, she searches her library of mental imagery for someone else. Carl? No, she has too much anxiety about him since he is not at his Asian destination yet. Gaaaah. She doesn't watch porn by herself. And she hasn't been watching much television, and much of what has been in her head of late were her demons - which aren't particularly libido-enhancing. Hugh Jackman? She can only remember his face as Wolverine, and that's not doing it for her, either, today.

She settles on Todd. Their synastry is funny, sexual attraction coming and going. She thinks about him in the shower with her. Nope. Not doin' it. But then, she imagines that she's hired him to clean the bathroom and he catches her with her shower wand. He's a hard-working Capricorn, so he doesn't even notice she is doing what she is doing, goes about his work, cleaning the other side of the shower door, with a toothbrush. This is a change for her. Usually her fantasies are more masochistic in nature, but this one definitely has a twisted sadistic undertone.

This fantasy is probably what pops into her head because the last time she sees Todd, she and Charlotte have just shared a bowl, and he has just gotten off work. He shows her a picture on his cell phone of a drawing in a bathroom made by Hunter S. Thompson's Illustrator, Ralph Steadman, and she tells him her whole story of how she wants to be the first female Hunter S. Thompson. That's when she still wants to be the first female Hunter S. Thompson.

Now she just wants to be a flu-free, multidimensional-traveling-writer-artist-healer-weirdo, with a greatly satisfying sex life. Inasmuch as that fits around being a Mom, of course.

A little known fact. Many men can and will masturbate thinking about any woman. So, why can't women do that?

And, she's refreshed and breathing well enough after that  to summon up the energy to run a few errands. Plus, in her fantasy, the bathroom gets cleaned, so hey, it's win-win.

Magick, People! Magick.

If it's clean in her mind, it's clean somewhere in space-time.


***

After watching the KRSchannel video, she decides to look up her North Node aspects to other planets. They are:

- North Node sesquiquadrate Sun ?
- North Node square Moon - these people are hesitant, dissatisfied and irritable their whole lives (yes, this may be her default when things get too boring, or her life feels out of her control)
- North Node sesquiquadrate Mercury ?
- North Node inconjunct Venus
- North Node conjunct Pluto - about learning how to wield power, questions of destiny - this page mentions that working on herself helps release collective karma, too

Then, somehow, she finds a page on psychic placements, and finds something really interesting (besides, of course, the possibility that everyone is at least a little psychic, according to this page):

- Neptune in Sagittarius (1970-1985) - prophetic with ability to develop clairvoyance. Gives psychic sensitivity that will foster the ability to pierce through the veils of matter and know truths. Intuitive nature will be highly developed.

Wow, Alice thinks. So, this is everyone who is 34 to 49 years of age. We're potentially all connected. That's a pretty big deal.

She thinks about Jeff's art, about his interest in Jung and the unconscious, and Todd's unflinching reactions to her frequent dissociation (even when she was excited about seeing Timothy Leary!), and all her highly intuitive mother friends. And Carl. Carl is also highly intuitive. He is seeing all the things she is seeing. She's wondering about the power in this generational connection. There is so much to learn!

And so little time.

She'll just have to keep putting feelers out to see if she can connect with others who might understand these things, and she'll have to keep studying.

***

When Alice wakes this morning, she is sleeping in the recliner again. Her throat is not sore, but her nose and sinuses need emptying. She uses the toilet, takes her blood pressure medication, and then lets Harry out of his crate.

Warf slams his body against Harry as they go down the stairs, Harry growling playfully the whole way. But at the bottom, rather than making the turn to go to the back door, Harry sees something and continues straight into the office.

The day Carl left, Alice swore she saw a mouse out of the corner of her eye in the kitchen. In the first few years they lived in the house, they battled mice from the nearby open space. But then Alice figured out they were coming in next to the drain pipe under the kitchen sink, plugged it with steel wool and they went away. This summer they had a handyman replace the surface under the sink, and right after he did, she saw evidence of mice again.

Alice has a morbid fear of mice. Okay, that's not the right way to say it. It's not a morbid fear. She doesn't like them in her house, and it is one of the things that Carl knows he has to take care of, because Alice just can't. She can't because she had to kill them in myriad ways with her bare hands and it is triggering for her. She had to break their necks with her thumb and forefinger. She had to asphyxiate them with carbon dioxide. She had to cut off their heads with pruning shears. She had to open their skulls with surgical scissors. She had to anesthetize the creatures and then cut open their abdomens before sticking needles into the apexes of their hearts to pull out all the blood with a syringe, then pulling out their intestines. So yeah, she doesn't do mice.

When her mother came to visit, she brought her to work one day. This was a day that her coworker and she had earmarked to make a decision about whether to remove a specific outlying animal from the study. Why were they going to remove this animal? It was morbidly obese. Her mother objected loudly, trying to save the animal's life, and even gave him a name - Gus. Alice's mother still likes to talk about Gus.

Alice also doesn't mow. Sometimes she mows, but she doesn't like it because she has a specific allergy to Kentucky Bluegrass. She actually likes mowing. But she likes breathing more.

And now there is definitely at least one mouse in her house, probably more. She told Carl she would put some traps out, but she hasn't, because she doesn't really want to have to touch warm, limp, smelly mice. They have a certain smell when they die, and it's a smell she had to smell while she was pregnant with Nolan. The smell comes right out of the intestine, and that's what she was harvesting while pregnant and working as a laboratory assistant. She and her coworker were both pregnant - her coworker had hyperemesis gravidarum at the time - and they would both gag at the same point during the process, right after all the blood had left the heart when they would start dissecting the mesentery. They went through bags of peppermint candy because of the smell. It's probably not the worst thing a pregnant woman has ever had to do, but it wasn't pleasant.

Don't worry - probably tomorrow she will don some rubber gloves and get the traps set.

***

Somehow, in the midst of all of this, Alice is able to have great discussions with Lou about relationships. Lou has a ton of fire in her chart, and it shows in her relationship style. Lou is constantly advising Alice to do a hypnotic energy recall with respect to Mr. Smoke Signals, and would never ever participate in such a thing herself. But, as Gary Goldschneider says, Alice is fascinated with Mr. Smoke Signals' enigmatic nature, and will always forgive him. Gary Goldschneider also says Lou is Gloria Steinem and Alice is Betty Friedan, and they do things their own ways because they have different mental structures. They are very different, but they have many of the same fundamental values, and even styles. So far, the book has been correct about all of her relationships. She thinks. Some of them remain enigmatic.

They joke like guys from the military, because of Alice's college buddies in ROTC and Lou's time in the Reserves. They talk cheese and braunschweiger, progesterone and thyroid. They talk chakras and Warrior I. They discuss astrology a lot in the context of Lou's relationships, and Alice's life. Alice texts her things she finds that they have both been thinking about. Typically, Lou sends a message early in the morning before Alice is up, and it's around the time Alice gets a notification from the Galaxy Tarot app about the energy for the day. Today's energy is the Page of Wands. Lou has been chatting with a new guy from Tinder and was upset that she didn't hear from him the day before. Alice tells her she thought Lou would probably hear from him today, and later she texts to say she did. Earlier in the week, the energy is the Seven of Cups, which is about choices and illusion, and on that day, Lou is having trouble deciding whether or not to go on a couple of trips. Alice is unfocused, too, on that day. Alice told her once over the holidays that she thought Lou would be hearing from the ex she left several months earlier, and Lou does. It's weird.

On the day with choices, Alice mentions that she might continue working on her tarot, and Lou gets excited, asking her if she would like to do readings or teach in her studio. Alice is extremely flattered, but not confident enough in her abilities yet. Her readings always seemed to be spot on for everyone else, but kind of wimpy energy for her. Like when you're at Hogwarts and you first try to use your wand, and it's a little whispy energy that comes out of it. She likes being around Lou and the other people who have witnessed the magick, because it helps her feel less like she is imagining things, and more like she is bringing imagination to reality through play. Like she is helping raise everyone's consciousness. It feels fun to all of them, even though the matters are always deeply existential.

***

Today, she is feeling much better and talks to her parents on the phone. It is her father's birthday - 1/11. He informs her that he has been continuing to read her blog. In the early days, he would send her an email of encouragement. He tells her that sex is a necessary life function.

"Yes, it is," she replies.

He also tells her that anything can go too far in one direction.

"Yeah, I know," she says. But she also realizes that his two sentences are contradictory. If sex is a necessary life function, she should work to destigmatize it, or it remains a source of shame and fear. She remembers the one time she was slut-shamed in her life, by her mother after she was raped. She forgives her mother, understanding that her mother was just projecting her own insecurities about her sexuality that she got from being shamed by her father onto Alice.

Her father also tells her he is also not sure if there is Free Will. Then he says something that sounds really brilliant and it's too much for her head, so she dissociates and she has to have him repeat it, but she still can't get the gist of it. She will have to ask him again. He's pondered these things before, so when he speaks them, it's like every sentence is mind-blowing, and she can only handle her mind being blown so much at one time. It's always been like this with him.

Her mother begs her to bring her Tarot cards when she comes to visit. She's already trying to decide which ones to bring. Maybe the Santa Muerte deck, which she purchased in October to honor her Mexican ancestry? The illustrations are beautiful, but the integrity of the edges of the cards isn't so great.

She tells both of her parents she is taking a class tomorrow on Akashic Records, and that if it goes well, she may learn Reiki later in the month, too. Her mother reminds her, for the millionth time, that Alice's old art teacher has regular Reiki treatments in Denver.

She is excited about where her consciousness and her life are headed, and delighted that she can share these parts of her journey with her family. Christian, yes, but without the dogma.

She tells her father that she thinks that it is the dogma-related layers of trauma hiding the inherent goodness in people and the world, and he agrees. She does not tell him of Catholic Priest Ivan Illych, who wrote about the patriarchal institutions that keep humanity enslaved: Religion, Education, Medicine. But he will read about it here. Alice believes the dogma of these institutions is the major modern origin of most psychic trauma for humankind. Their authoritarian policies strip us of our inherent uniqueness, requiring, for their existence, strict and predictable patterns of behavior which also have the effect of removing the creative expression of humankind. They require a compliance which hinders ingenuity at a fundamental level, creating a giant plastic population of traumatization. Unless individuals become smart enough to make those systems work for them, they will work for those systems.

Alice's father has even thought about the necessity for large organizations, but how they strip away the identity of the individuals, and also make rules specifically for the justification of the organizations' own existence. And this is what Carl is reading, sitting by the pool on his one day off in Asia as Alice and her father talk on the phone.

And lest the reader be confused about what is happening when, due to cannabis-induced tense changes in writing, Alice and her father also discuss the very flexible properties of time, and she recommends that he watches the Quark Science episode on Nothingness, and he emails her a YouTube video titled "What is Reality?"

***

When she hears from Carl this morning, he is still alive after playing Liar's Dice. His messages come through the app on her phone sporadically. She intuits that he is drunk, still. He tells her the VP thinks he should take his requests to the CEO, and that they will be well received. She certainly hopes so. The company made $80M last year on Carl's knowledge. The year she went to visit, they were listed in the top three companies in the country, where many of our US electronics are now made. A few years ago, Carl got to meet the Prime Minister of the country the company is in, when the company was winning yet another Global Technology Award for the product Carl designs. Surely, surely, they could do something to help him feel less isolated in his work

She is in her studio, and has turned on the sauna. She decides to go into the adjoining guest bedroom/console game playing/craft storage/meditation room and pull some oracle cards. She pulls a card from the Lunar Oracle deck - Stork 17 - and the book tells her that some project she has is about to give birth to something, and also that she should value her current relationship. She wonders if all the talking she and Carl have done are going to lead to something bigger for him. She really hopes so. She had found all his other jobs, and none were as good as the one he manifested for himself. She wants his wand to make a bang, not a whimper! She's still remembering the Page of Wands when she hears her computer and phone ding again.

She pulls a few more cards before messaging back.

The sauna beeps loudly to announce it is at temperature.

She removes her nightgown, grabs her phone and takes it into the sauna - something they had both decided they would not do, because it can cause the screen to delaminate. They send just a few more messages back and forth before he calls her.

"Hi," she tries to say. She can't talk very well. Every mutter loosens the mucus clinging to the back of her throat. She switches on the video capability.

"Oh. You're in the sauna," Carl notices.

"Uh-huh," she responds, voice cracking.

Carl tells her more about the discussions he had during Liar's Dice. Mostly that the other consultants are feeling stifled as well, and kind of at the end. Alice gets the gist of it, and then decides she will show Carl just exactly what is sitting in the sauna, since she can't really talk.

This is new territory for her, entirely. But it is fun. He is excited, and he shows her just how excited he is.

After about 20 minutes, Alice is sweating quite a bit and needs to leave the sauna.

"Hey, these phones are water-resistant, aren't they?" Alice asks.

"Not to sweat and cum," Carl laughs.

"No, I mean, I'm wondering if I can take my phone in the shower," Alice informs him.

"Yeah, I think so..." Carl says.

Alice walks across her studio, pointing the camera at her naked body, dancing just a little bit. She turns on the shower, and tries to put the phone in the shower caddy. The call drops.

Eventually she gets the phone stable after calling him back, and removes the shower wand from its clip. On the big spray, she moves it all over her body. Then, she changes the spray to a more concentrated pattern and moves it around the sensitive parts of her body.

Just after her climax, the call drops. When she tries to call Carl back, he doesn't answer.