Monthly Archives: October 2015

Two of Cups

When you have Ying, you have Yang. When you have dark, you have light. When you have one, then you have two.

The two of cups is about developing emotions. It could be a love, it could be passion for art, or writing. It could be the birth of child. The One of Cups is us.

In the One of Cups we are learning about our emotions. We are discovering an ability to love. We are finding out about new emotions. But in two we are seeing those emotions around us.

The most clear example is love. We have learned about love in a new way. And someone comes along who we choose to love. If we are lucky they will choose to love us too. Or it could be a piece of artwork being finished. We took our passion and made it real.

Two is about balance. There are many balances in life. And emotionally we remain unbalanced without a reflection. A love is not complete until it is shared. A passion is unfulfilled until it is expressed. Two is about coming out of ourselves.

The suit of cups is about emotions. The deepest are love. And the passion for living. A passion for living can be expressed in many ways. There are many different forms of art.

In the Two of Swords we encounter ideas counter to our own. We imagine they are counter, but sometimes they are complimentary. And though different add strength to our own beliefs. In Two of Pentacles we juggle material things. Our seed is growing. It demands more attention. And others may be joining us. We need to balance our own needs, the needs of others and the needs of the project.

The next card on our journey will be the Three of Cards. The three card represents growth. A love between two people, creating a family. A passion between partners creating a business. Every relationship is a world unto itself. A relationship between people. And a relations between a person and their passion.

Two of Cups is the world unto itself. And three is what grows out of this new world. The product of our love. The product of our passion.

In the card we see a man and a woman. They are each holding a cup. Coming into a healthy relationship we each own our emotions. We hold onto them as ours. But like the people in the card, we hold them in front of us. We are open to sharing our emotions with another. Any honest relationship requires honest communication.

It isn’t just procreation. Many things come into existence due to an equal amount of masculine and feminine energies. The masculine being more aggressive, more assertive and a more demanding energy. While the feminine energy is more forgiving, more healing, more accepting and nurturing. Success takes both. A healthy relationship takes both.

And while it is tempting to think the man can bring the masculine energy and the woman the feminine. This doesn’t work. Each party should have a healthy balance within themselves. We don’t bring half-empty cups to the relationship. We can’t expect the other person to fill our cup.

Understanding this balance is the next step in our growth process. And the Three of Cups is an important point in the journey.

The Library

It is a grey day. Not a gloomy day. But the sky is wet.

Outside there is a tree with orange leaves. The air is heavy with mist and rain. This is the weather for which Portland is known.

Across from me an older man is checking his email. He wears a jean jacket and has a graying beard. He asked the librarian for help logging into his account.

The table has a blonde wood finish. And there are spaces created for electrical outlets. But this table does not have any for use. I am alone at the table to the g-mail checker now. He is using one of four computers at one end of the table.

Someone has placed a large backpack on a chair across from me. It is blue and grey. The kind a hiker might take on a day trip.

The librarian is named Carol. She introduced herself to someone on the phone. She is working on stacks of books at the service desk. The service desk sits in front of the table.

A balding man comes and moves his backpack. He sits down and begins to read a magazine. There is an ad for a watch on the back cover. He is wearing a light-gray jacket.

The library is quiet today. There is a hum of conversation. Mostly kids playing in their own corner. But they are not disturbing. The gmail checker is reading emails. His hat has “KB HOMES” on the front. On his left hand is a ring of jade or turquoise.

A man with a beard and brown hair sits at one of the computers. He explained to the librarian he is using his girlfriends account. He has brown hair and beard. The man is wearing a long-sleeved shirt. It has a grid pattern and is a neutral colour.

An older woman has sat next to me. She is on her phone. And now looking at a pamphlet on the table in front of her.

The backpack man is reading the New Yorker.

The library carpet is a dark grey colour. It is a carpet designed for heavy use. The kind which doesn’t show stains. Outside the wind is blowing gently through the leaves of the trees. And rocking the signal lights back and forth.

A older man has joined us at the table. The New Yorker reader has gotten up.

There is a cute woman talking to the librarian. A short black dress which falls just below her knees. Her shoes are black and white. They match the black and white shirt. Her hair is curly. It is cut just above her shoulders. The girl with the dyed red locks walks away.

Now it is just three of us. The woman on her phone. The g-mail checker and I.

There isn’t much foot traffic outside because of the weather.

A woman with an orange shirt and a bead necklace just sat down next to me. She is using the computer. The one next to me is for checking their catalog.

The woman on her phone has a flier. It is offering help on college application essays. There is a light bulb on the flier. And inside the bulb, “get inspired.” The woman in orange has gotten up. She had a stack of books.

Carol is back at her desk. A young girl comes to the desk for help. She is in the fourth grade. She wears black tights, a pink skirt or dress with a neon lime green sweatshirt. She has a pink hair tie. Her hair in a pony tail.

She is practicing a volleyball serve. But she doesn’t have a ball. The front of her sweatshirt has a Nike logo. Her shoes are black, with a pink lining. The soles are white.

Whatever she is looking for is checked out. The librarian told her the books are popular. She suggests putting the books on hold.

There is another girl with a huge instrument. She is reading a book. She stands at the bookcase with brown boots, a denim skirt and blue sweatshirt. Her long brown hair falls down her back.

A blonde with a pink coat just sat down at the computer. It is one for internet use. Her ear rings are large and diamond shaped. She has a piercing in her eye brow. On her legs are black tights with fashionable rips along the side. She is wearing a red mini-skirt.

Outside the weather is the same. Grey and wet. The girl with the instrument walks around looking at books.

The blonde has a big ring on her right hand. It is silver with a yellow glass or stone. The woman on her phone has left with her son.

Large windows sit in front of me, with a view of the street. I can see the wet city. The leaves of the trees, some orange and some green. The sky is a grey white, like a building across the street. There is a slight breeze right now.

A man is at Carols desk. He is trying to help someone on the phone. Based on his facial expressions he is confused.

The girl with the Nike sweatshirt is yelling at her brother. “What’s wrong with you?” They are leaving with their mother.

The blonde woman is still on the computer. On her left hand she has more silver rings. One on her pinkie and one on her ring finger. She has sunglasses pushed up on her head. But today is not a day for sunglasses.

A man sits near the window ledge. One leg he has on the floor, and the other propped on the ledge. He is using a laptop. He is sitting in a chair. From where I sit I can only see his blue jeans and brown shoes. He has gotten up.

The blonde has quit using the computer. It is just me and the older man checking his email. This is more interesting when someone attractive is sitting across from me. The man takes off his glasses, rubs his nose, replaces them. He looks ready to get up. And now I sit alone at the table.

Two men are looking at movies. The young man still sitting next to the window. Across the street is the Armark building. But their sign is using the sloppy but “cool” lack of capital letters theme. I don’t see how it is cool. Maybe it was before it became so overdone.

Carol is walking around the library. The hot librarian I have a crush on isn’t here today.

A woman walking by the window pushes her hair from her face. The library is so quiet.

A woman just came in with two kids. The boy directed Carol to sign him into an iPad.

The cute woman with the red hair is back. From this angle she looks older. She has a lanyard with a library identification badge.

A man has sat down at the computer. He is wearing a short-sleeved green T-shirt. His short graying brown hair matches his beard.

The red-haired librarian is chatting with Carol. I would guess she is late 30s. Her hair tucked behind her ears, she has a cute face. Her eyes are expressive and her lips full.

She is helping a couple with some books. An older man wearing a black coat is looking at the libraries CD collection.

Someone coughs. The couple are waiting for the librarian to come back to the desk. She has black pants and a white top. They are gone now.

And it is just the red-head. She has her glasses on. She is using the computer. She has the mouse in one hand and a coffee mug in the other. She has thin arms. And a round full face. Her mouth is small, with dimples at the corners. She has a little round chin. When she smiles you can see hints of her front teeth.

She is typing and reading. Outside people wander by the windows. We all pass through each other’s lives, but we don’t even see each other. Do we even see the people we think we see? How could we, they are all ourselves. If we think we see someone else, we are seeing nothing.

The librarian looks over her glasses. Then through her glasses. With a finger she pushes them up on her nose. Her black and white blouse has puffy sleeves. Her nails are not manicured. She is a pretty woman, but in a basic beauty. Her hair isn’t red. You can tell it is a dye job because it isn’t a natural colour. But it looks good. It is more of a maroon colour.

The boy is quietly using the iPad, and his sister sits next to him doing her own thing. I don’t know technology is a great tool for kids after all.

Right now it is 5:11. I will write until 5:30 and stop.

The librarian twirls her hair in her fingers. She is looking at something on her desk. Now back to the screen. Right now it is me, the librarian, the two kids and three people looking at movies in this part of the library.

I wonder if the librarian’s hair is curly from her twirling it with her fingers. She takes a swig from her drink and goes back to her work. Typing and using the mouse. The blonde is back and talking the man in the green shirt. It appears they know each other. She also has a small ring in her nose.

Her hair is clearly dyed. But it works. She has a pretty face, and it matches her skin tone. She doesn’t have makeup on. And she doesn’t need it. Her hair is long, past her shoulders and down her back.

The two are talking quietly. But they seem to be talking about apartments. A woman stands next to the table with a stack of books and a copy of the New Yorker. I hope it was her copy, because she just put it in her bag.

The librarian is biting her nails. Leaning on one arm, she fidgets with her glasses case. The blonde is now outside. She is taking a picture with her phone of someone’s bike. She has a backpack on. I can’t see what she is doing now from where I sit.

She puts her phone away in her pocket. She has a bike of her own. She pushes it up the sidewalk.

The librarian reminds me of my ex-girl friend. I wonder if she is also a Taurus.

Aren’t we lucky to have noses to keep our glasses on our faces. The librarian has a cute nose. And the phone rings, but I couldn’t understand her name.

This is not a busy day at the library.

The weather outside is more of a stay at home and nap weather. The librarian is explaining “Lucky Day” books to the caller. The librarian is dressed modestly, the neckline of her outfit is square and doesn’t show cleavage. Her strong shoulders are visible though.

A man with his two kids walks by the window outside. A girl on a skateboard with helmet in hand. More children and a mother walk passed the window. Outside the wind is brushing the trees. Inside there is a still in the air.

I have two minutes. A young boy in unhappy about it being time to leave. “NOOO!”

A woman it looking at the movies. She wears black pants and a black top. A green shirt is visible under the black over-shirt. It has pin stripes of black. Her hair is up in a bun.



There isn’t much of the dream I recall. I was in a classroom. It was more like a lecture hall. And Lisa, the tarot girl was the professor. There was some kind of LED ticker with numbers on it above the stage. And I seemed to be rating her for some reason. The numbers seemed connected to the ratings. And while she couldn’t see them, I knew she would see them later. I worried she would see how I rated her, and she would know how I felt about her. Lisa is an amazing and beautiful woman. She is the kind of woman who scares me a little. Then in the dream I am sitting at a table talking to Lisa. It is just the two of us. I am telling her about the tarot book I was thinking about writing. Then the dream is over.

Two Books

I think this blog is turning into the incubator of two novels. It is turning out to be the best blog I have done so far. In time I might start a third. Of course they are all rough around the edges and future work will involve some deep editing.

The Star

The Star card is about focus. A star stands out in the darkness. A single point of light. Like a mind focused. What do we focus on? What do we need to focus on?

In the last card we experienced The Tower, which removed our illusions.

The star represents both a singularity as well as a duality. There is one star in the sky. Like the star leading the wisemen to Jesus. But the light of the star sets up a duality with the dark sky.

The Star card more than most other cards is calling us to grow. Not is a hurried manner, but in a deliberate way. We need to create a space of stillness within ourselves. And it is within this space we will grow.

The next card in the journey is The Moon card. Under the light of The Moon secrets are shared. We tap into our inner wisdom. And discover a strength the world doesn’t know about, neither do we. As storms have rolled across the surface. Underneath a seed has been sprouting.

The Star is card seventeen. And the seven is a reminder to the sacred truth which cannot be destroyed. This is a truth we already know. And when we take this truth into our heart, we add our one. The number eight is a number of power. By focusing on what is eternal we see where true power lies.

The Star card is preparing us for the changes ahead. Finding a peace and strength inside makes changes easier. Stars are the mothers of everything you see. In the early universe none of the elements of life existed. And they were created in the hot heart of stars. And the stars would give their lives in creating the elements.

Like stars a quiet meditative place can be fertile ground. Like Carl Jung who went through his Dark Night of the Soul. And it enriched his work and his life. In the rich soil of healing and rest, our future selves are being born. Like seeds germinating in the ground.

If our lives are busy. The Star card is suggesting it is time to take a breathe. We can be too busy to see the early sprouts of new life. The new life of richness meant for us. And we don’t water the sprouts. We are so busy looking for the next big thing. We miss the next small thing. And the small thing dies before it can become the biggest thing in our lives.

Like a dream I had of being on a beautiful mountain. Then having worries about work. We can focus on the beautiful world where we were born to live. Or we can focus on the hum-drum small-minded problems of the mundane world. Which isn’t to suggest we need to drop our responsibilities. But hope for a change. Believe in a change. Water the small light in your soul. Give it your love. Give it your hopes. Allow it to slowly grow and mature.

Today chop wood and carry water. Because wood must be chopped and water must be carried. But also encourage your own dreams. And one day your dreams will encourage you.

The Star is asking us to believe we are stars. We have the potential creative energy of a star within ourselves. And the ability to transform our world and give life to our dreams. But not only our own dreams, but everyone’s dreams. When we live our own dreams we make it easier for everyone to live their dreams. While The Star card has a single star, in the night sky there are billions of stars.

When you become a star, you can become a guide for the whole world. And the whole world is dying every day. The whole world is being born everyday. And the whole world needs a star.

College Years

There were a few noteworthy people left out of the last chapter. I will get to them later.

The next step in my life was college in the bay area. Once I left for college, I never truly went home.

It was a conservative school north of Scott’s Valley. It was a Bible college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I felt I would like to help others. And my experience with the church led me to Bethany. Also a lack of clear alternatives. College was costly, and I took out a lot of loans. I still haven’t paid them back.

The school wasn’t new to me exactly. I had been there before for summer camp. And I imagine a part of myself believed college would be like summer camp. Of course it wasn’t, and it was at the same time. During summer camp it was more fun. There weren’t classes or tests. There was just one girl I recall, and I had a huge crush on her.

But college was different. In retrospect my memories of the two years are blended. I don’t recall most of the classes I took. Except for Julessa Bass, who I thought was amazing. She taught English. Funny the only class at the Bible college I remember is an English class.

But I don’t think I ever fit in at the college. I just wasn’t one of them. Even on the grounds of faith. Growing up outside the box of religion I could never be fully happy inside. And it seemed most of the people there were happy to not question the doctrine and dogma.

One of my friends was James. We would go skating almost every weekend. One of the only people in my life who was close enough to be called a friend. Again, my memories are not of the school. But of the skate rink. We got our own skates. I got roller blades. And we were decent skaters. He was much better than I. After skating we would go to Denny’s or Safeway for food.

I met Harmony at the skate rink. She was younger than us. I think she was 16. And I developed a crush on her. We all became friends. And I think we even spoke on the phone a couple times. Until the end, and the darkness.

The exact event which caused the end isn’t the point. The image I had of Harmony shattered and I lost hope. Thinking back my own somewhat childish and naive ideas of people and relationships was at fault. But it led straight to the darkness.

One of the deepest depressions of my life. And no one around me seemed to even notice. All I remember looking back is darkness, sleeping. I was going to the computer lab all night. This is when I first explored the internet and chat rooms. But I slept most of the day. If I went to class I don’t recall or not. Attendance at chapel was an expectation and I blew it off. If I had known how to ask for help I would have. If I had known who to ask for help.

I know there was a part of me which felt like I was drowning. And it felt like everyone was just standing around and watching me sink. But it may be too much to expect people to know how to respond. And it doesn’t mean they didn’t care. I mentioned something about Harmony to James once, and he said, “ahhh, that makes sense.” This was towards the end of my first year. I started taking more walks alone.

During my time at college I never moved home. Over the first summer I lived in the dorm. They charged me a rent and I worked at Subway. I could write a chapter about Subway itself. My friends became the kids of the professors. One of them was Jerrod.

We would make jokes about each other’s mothers. Not real jokes, just juvenile humor in an way not intended to be serious. Once I was in his dad’s office with Jerrod and his sister. His sister blurted out, “he said bad things about mom.”

“But Jerrod did it too,” I said. “I mean about my mother.”

Then we explained it was just our way of joking around. There was a bit of tension for a moment. But his dad just said, “well, good then.”

During the school year me and Jerrod worked at the cafeteria. And we would sometimes break dishes while listening to Alanis Morissette. It was his idea to keep a score. I feared it would be discovered, and it was by one of the cooks. But the people who worked in the kitchen were a fun group.

There were a lot of good people at the school. I wouldn’t mind being in touch with a number of them. But most of them are gone to me now.

My roommate was a good person. And Ben still is, we are friends on Facebook. Ben, James and I had some good adventures. We went into a cave. It was rather deep and tight in some places. There was a rock someone named “the breast of salvation.” It was round and you used it to pull yourself up and a key point. When me and Ben took some of the school girls down there we said it was James who named the rock. But then I went with James and the same girls, and he tried to blame Ben. “They said you named it that!” Which embarrassed us all a little, more for getting caught.

Ben was my roommate for my first year. We used to play risk on the computer. Some others got so addicted to playing the game they couldn’t be kept out. It was a safe campus so we didn’t lock the door. Unless we were sleeping and didn’t want to be bothered. So once Ben was sleeping and a dormmate went to the R.A. and got our key. He let himself in and started to play Risk on the computer. Ben got married to his college sweat-heart. And they have a magical life, the kind many people may dream for themselves. He was also a good friend.

During my second year I had a different roommate. I was on a different floor. The bloom was coming off the rose. It was a slow matter of drifting away from the school throughout the year. Once we went to Sacramento and I bought some glasses with pot leaves on them. Ben and James were on a different floor and seemed further away in many ways. It was no doubt just me. The darkness didn’t lift until I had left the campus, and lived on the streets for a while.

During my second year I felt more out of place than ever. It was becoming clear Bethany was not the right place for me.

Sarah was a nice girl at the college. And I liked her a lot. It was clear she had some issues she was struggling with as a person. And like a pack of antelope people with issues were pushed out. In my case as I spent more time downtown, and I wore those glasses people assumed things about me. I never have, and I doubt I ever will use drugs. But people at the school without ever asking me assumed I was on drugs. People who didn’t know me was one thing, but I think even many of my friends assumed it was true. Maybe even Ben and James. I don’t know.

At some point I started to spend time in downtown Santa Cruz. I felt alone. I felt like my life was in danger. I felt trapped by choices I had made. Trapped by choices I was no longer sure were the right choices. And I wanted a break. If could have chosen my path differently I would still make the same choices. However, I wish others had been more understanding and supportive. When I left Bethany I felt like I was being turned out friendless in the world.

“Don’t worry, you’ll come back to God,” people told me. But I never felt like I was leaving God. If no one else knew my heart, God did.

Then there was the blue hair. I dyed my hair blue and it was a scandal. Yeah, it was a conservative school. People made a big deal about my hair. And when it came time to take finals they tried to prevent me from taking my tests. The last test I needed was Julessa’s and I told her I hadn’t had time. Which sadly was a lie, but I took the test. And I hope she knew it was a lie, and just decided she didn’t care. Because why would anyone cause such a fit about blue hair?



I was at a local place called The Grotto. Well it felt like The Grotto. Which is a Catholic retreat on a butte over North-East Portland. An amazing and beautiful place.

Anyway, I was standing in front of these big glass doors. And I put some large coins in a slot. I am not sure what I expected, but the doors began to open. When they opened a little I slid in, it felt like I was sneaking. Inside I walked down a hallway, and it had art on the walls. I walked out of the hall into an amazing place. It was high on a plateau. I could see a town small at the bottom. There were a lot of people walking around. As I walked around I saw different buildings and people driving carts.

At one point I saw a trail. In my mind I knew it went down to a ledge with a great view. It felt good to be in this place. Then I heard a voice in my head. It said I had worked over my hours. And I got upset. Was I on the clock during the dream? I recall thinking about how I had gone over by 12 minutes. And wanting to do something to fix the error.

What does it mean? I think it clearly means I can be in an amazing place. I can see the beauty, I can see the world. I can feel good. Or I can worry about stupid things at work. Lately it is pretty clear which choice I have been making.

Car Problems

Here I am 16 years later. Sitting alone in a rented room. With a job in customer service which doesn’t pay enough. I am older, but nothing else has changed.

My finances are just as shoddy as they have been for years. I have no real savings to account for my life. No amount of money, no real items of value. Not even any close friendships. What have I done for 16 years, but tread water.

Today my car broke down and it makes me feel so helpless. It means more of a cost on my credit cards. A couple years ago I thought I could start to make progress. But now I am further in debt than ever. I hate having to work to pay debt. There is a part of myself which would love to drop it all and hit the road.

But I know my problems will be waiting for me when I stop. Only they will be worse for not having been tended during my absence. Why can’t I win the lotto and just pay off my debt. Oh yeah, I never play the lotto.

It isn’t the car problems. It is my life problems. As much as I like working at Walmart. I still think about quitting. It wouldn’t be easy. Most of all without another job which could support me. Even if I had to pick up and move. But moving itself is another cost. And I could afford to take the leap if I had confidence of where I would land.

There are many people I could see myself with right now. But most of all I see myself alone. And I am. In a deep way I feel like I am losing my ability to relate to people in a meaningful connection. For too long all my relationships have been perfectly surface images.

It is a down day for me for sure. But I have been feeling restless for a while now. I want this job to take me somewhere, I want to go somewhere. Or I want to go somewhere. Washington and Oregon hasn’t turned out to be the home I imagined it might be when I moved here. Maybe Salida. Maybe Arkansas. Maybe Utopia.

This morning before the car wouldn’t start I read an article about New York City. And it made me want to go back. I miss the subways. I miss Times Square. I miss the city in a way I don’t miss many places. The Turtle Pond. The Castle. The Williamsburg Bridge. And my car not starting could have been a sign. Go back to where you don’t need your car. But how would I live in the city. Where would I work? How would I pay rent? Would I be any better off at the end of the day?

Or would I still be me, with the same problems, in a different show.`

Maybe I should be brave and do something real. But at the same time I know I have many real things holding me down. And one persons act of bravery is another person’s act of stupidity. Take the Darwin Awards. Are they wrecklessly insane? or wrecklessly courageous?

Does it matter in the end if the results are the same? And the results of poor planning are rarely an improvement. At least they have not been so far for myself.

And I pick up and move to Tuscon, Arizona. The sunny desert. Except when it isn’t and it is cold. And I have no friends there, even less than here. And I start from the ground and I think life will be better. But then like moving here from Texas. Like when I moved to Texas from Nebraska. Or from Colorado to Nebraska. Life is the same. The problems are the same.

At least here I have a little more hope I can keep building towards a future where I won’t be so desperate. So broke. So alone. You can’t build anything when you are moving all the time. And I have been moving too much already. I want to rest. I want to sleep. I want to stop. I want to die.

How do you believe the world will end? In fire or ice? Will our universe start to collapse into a new big bang? Or extend itself too far, and all it’s energy be diluted. The universe frozen to death.

And maybe the lotto wouldn’t fix my problems. What would I really choose to do today if I had no debts from yesterday. It is almost too scary to think about, to ask. I would be free. Would I know what to do with so much freedom? Would I remain like an elephant in my chains? Would it make me feel any better about myself and my life. And how much longer until I was in debt again?

Write people tell me. You’re a great writer. I don’t care. I may be a good writer, but I am not Stephen King. I am not J.D. Robb. Not even J.K. Rowling. There is a difference between writing things people like to read and things people will pay money to read. And who pays money for books anymore?

I don’t doubt my skill. I doubt the world cares about my skill enough for them to value me and my life. And it isn’t the world’s job to care about me. It isn’t my friends or family’s job to care for me or about me. We are all doing out best afterall. And I am not the only one with problems. Not the only one broken by this life. Not the only one alone in this world. Not the only one.

Why have I created this world for myself? What could I be hoping to learn? And why have I not learned it yet. It is like the email I keep in my inbox for coding lessons. I want to learn SQL and make a database to create my own computer flash cards. But I also want to learn Spanish, and French. I would like to learn English better too.

Okay, I give up for today. It is time for bed. Maybe tomorrow will feel like a better day.



When I was young fire was how we heated out house. And fire meant wood. In the front of the house was a huge woodpile. And grandpa would go out and cut the wood for the fireplace.

In my own naive childish way I recall wanting to help. I felt like I was so strong. There must a have been at least a few times when I actually cut some wood. When it rained the tarps on the woodpile gathered the water in little lakes.

They say firewood heats you twice. Once while you are chopping it. And then again when burning. There was a smaller wood pile in the house. And a bin for kindling. It was here me and my sister once hid the wooden spoon our great-aunt used as a paddle. And yes it was burned. But no, we didn’t stop getting paddled.

Spare the rod.

Later I recall a small fireplace when I was in the fourth grade. We had a tea kettle on the top to keep the air moist. I recall dumping water on the top of the fireplace. It was mesmerizing to watching it evaporate. With a hiss it would boil into the air. And it would be gone. And I would do it again. And with another hiss and rapid motion it would boil. The water rolling and coming together as it disappeared. I wondered if there was some limit. Not a limit to how much the air could hold. But, I am surprised it didn’t start raining in our house. But I guess a limit to how much heat the stove could lose, and still boil water.

Even later when I was older and visited my aunt. They were still using wood to heat their house. I stayed in the room upstairs. The room was always warm. The stove pipe ran right through the corner.

But at our house we didn’t use a fireplace for heat. But as a teenager I recall playing with fire. I know, don’t do this at home kids. It was innocent enough in some ways. We would light alcohol, or hair spray, or other things we could burn. I think a couple times we started small campfires in the creek. I was aware of fire’s potential danger. Bur fire was still fun. And we never caused any damage.

In college I burned candles in my room. And one day while sitting at my desk I heard the smoke alarm. The candle has melted and caught the plastic under it on fire. It scared me pretty good, but I got it out and there was no damage. This only happened to me one other time. Years later living in Yosemite.

I had a tea light burning on a plastic store drawer. And the heat from the tea light melted the plastic. The candle must have fallen in, or maybe the plastic burned from the heat. From a full sleep I awoke to the beeping alarm. Beeping beeping beeping loudly of the danger. There were clear flames and smoke. It was filling the room. I don’t know what I grabbed, but I put out the fire. And I promised myself to be more careful in the future. And I have been since . My roommate at the time wasn’t upset. But it upset me to think of how I had endangered his life.

Oh yes, my brother once burned my mother’s bed. He was playing with matches or something in her room. Then when she went and found it she started screaming. As she was going down the stairs I was going up. Along with my sister, we got water and put it out. But her bed was ruined. And she had already called the fire department. They came out and threw her bed out the window.

Once at a Rainbow Gathering on the beach I recall building my own little fire. For some reason I didn’t want to join the main fire. What I wanted was a small fire of my own. I put on the small twigs one at a time. I built with tender care. It was a perfect fire. And as it started small I added more wood a little at a time. I fed it slow and gentle like one feeds a baby. And it grew. And I gave it more and bigger pieces of wood. And it grew and grew. Until it wasn’t a small fire at all. And some people from the other fire had come to sit by my fire.

There was a girl. Who was lighting a different fire in me. I wanted to kiss her, but I didn’t because I was afraid. Also it was a rare instance of my actually having a girlfriend. And she probably would have liked it. Later I saw her having sex with another guy on the beach. (It was a Rainbow Gathering). And I thought it could have been me. In some ways I regretted not taking the chance with her on the beach. But, one silly fling in the sand wouldn’t have meant much. And she got pregnant and had a son. Which means, it could have been my son. I have some mixed feeling about how it would have changed my life.

In college though most of the fires were bonfires. We would go out as a group. Put a bunch of wood in a pile on the beach, and burn it. At one of these some of the others were chanting, “earth, air, fire, water, return, return, return.” And it was creating a strange feeling for me. I am open and believe in a lot of spirituality. It didn’t bother me they were chanting. But they were just playing games. They didn’t know what they were doing. And I think it can be dangerous on some level to play games with spirituality. So I asked them to stop.

Most of the campfires were pretty staid. I did meet Jennifer at one. And she as far from staid. In every definition of the word. I lit a fire in her, and she wanted to have sex with me in the back of her car. Not when we first met. It was later. But sex in a small car did not seem like a ton of fun and it didn’t work out.

In the east fire and sexuality are linked. And here in this writing I have linked them at least twice. Another memory is a girl I had a huge crush on. We were not dating, but close. At one bonfire some other guys were starting to hit on her. But one asked if she was with me. She said “yes.” And at the time I didn’t think she meant it, maybe she did. Our whole relationship was strange, and it needs more space to explain. Another time and place.

Fire is sexuality. But it is also home. It reminds me of my childhood and it makes me comfortable. If I had the choice I would prefer a fireplace. Maybe one of those cool fake gas fireplaces. Since chopping wood isn’t my idea of a good time. But even a real fireplace would be nostalgic. If I ever have my own home.


(Room to Write exercise)

The Magician

In the tarot deck the first and last card is the fool. The number one card is the Magician.

In this card we see a person with four symbols around. One for each of the minor arcana. The magician has all the tools needed to perform magic.

The table of the magician has cups, wands, swords and pentacles. And his journey will require an emotional strength and wisdom (cups). A passion and energy (wands) to drive him forward will be crucial. He will need his mind, his creative talents, the ability to focus. He will need ideas on this journey (swords). And not the least of all he will need a strong body, he will need many material resources (pentacles).

But the magician seems disengaged. Standing with arms at the side and eyes unfixed. The card itself if reminding us of the power and the skill we have at our use.

The number one represents the beginning. A seed, and egg. The first number. The alpha. The journey of a thousand miles, which begins with one step.

In the fool card before we were falling into our destiny. We stepped blind off a cliff. Maybe it was a choice of faith. But in the magician we have our eyes open. We see the tools we need to use before us on the table. And we will need them all in this journey.

The magician’s journey is the hero’s journey. The path we all take to become ourselves. We can never lose or find ourselves. But as a part of a single God of love, we create ourselves. The universe, or God, or nature, give us the tools to create our success.

The challenge of self-creation is not one challenge. It is a journey of small journeys. Which is why The Fool is the start and the end of the tarot. When we think we are at the end, we are fools.

This card tells us to be prepared for a new challenge. A new challenge entering our lives. One which will provide us with new tools. One where we will develop new skills and sharped old skills. And the challenge may scare us, but we should have faith. We have the skills, we have the tools, we have what it will take to succeed.

Above our magician is an infinity sign. It speaks to the infinite power the magician has to use. The universe is waiting in the wings for what the magician calls into existence. As it is on earth, so shall it be in heaven.

The next card in the deck is the high priestess. The magician may have the tools. And the magician has the power. But something more is needed on this journey. The magician’s powers are active powers. The High Priestess shares the power of the earth itself. A listening and passive power. It takes an active force to begin the journey. But a strong passive force to continue.