Celeste and June in November

“It’s Scorpio time,” said Celeste who as her name suggested paid some attention to the stars and their progress through the wheel of the year. “What is going to happen this year? Something always does….”

“Several somethings, no doubt,” said June dryly. “I always feel a little braced in November.”

“Is it time to conjure a few more wise ones? Wizards and witches, shamans and fools? It’s that season.”

“I think Owen is getting close to his Chironic wounded healer power and Thea is diving deep with her painting. Really everyone is taking some major leaps right now. The dream world has been hopping. And the birds are pretty excited. Almost spring-like in some ways or mid-summer when the raucous young ravens fledge.”

Celeste yawned and stretched thinking how tired she was and that tomorrow was a school day. A fire twinkled merrily in the grate, welcome sustenance on this chilly night. She licked her forefinger and pressed it to glean the remaining chocolate chip cookie crumbs from the plate Ariel had presented them earlier. “Maybe I should take your advice about retiring soon. Rhea is coming along nicely as a teacher and I can imagine leaving the Illahee School in her competent hands. I have my eye on Ariel too.”

“That would be a huge step for you,” responded June, not daring to hope her partner would act on the suggestion any time soon, yet knowing that the time was inevitably approaching. “It would be lovely to have you present here in a different way. I wonder what that would look like.”

“More sewing and clothes design for one thing. I could get serious about my astrology and astronomy studies for another, I still have such a strong feeling that you and I are here from the stars. I’d like to explore my connection with the Pleiades.”

“And I with Sirius. We are spirits learning to be human.”

“Oh no. I just thought. What if our true homes are different worlds. I don’t know if I could bear to be separate from you, dear heart.”

“Perhaps we’ll just need to come back here again…. so we can be together…..” Each fingered the single diamond in her own left ear, a pair split one holiday season to remind them of their origins in the stars. Each then reached across to finger the twin sparkling in the other’s ear, looking into each other’s eyes. It was a ritual that never failed to delight them. A quick hug sealed with a kiss and they sat back again in their corners of the blue chintz love seat drawn in front of the fire.

“I know that Pluto and Neptune are dancing in tandem. Shadow selves being fished out of the deep by the watery king, while Jupiter makes it all loom large. Is there something we should be doing to help things along?” asked Celeste, pouring herself a little more from the delightful Goddessy Damiana liquour bottle between them.

June added another log to the fire – wood Arlo had split – and then decided to warm up her cooling cup of Cindy’s lavender and tulsi tea nestled in the duck down cozy that Caliente had made for them. So lovely having evidence of younger friends all around them. The fire happily kindled more brightly and the stars twinkled outside the window.

“It feels like there is some heat bubbling in various quarters…. sexually I mean. It could stir things up to have some company in that realm.”

“Other female couples?”

“I don’t know about that. Sure, it would be nice to have more witchy lesbians around, but I have a feeling that’s not so important as raising the general heat level around here. Ours too, of course.”

Their hands reached across the small distance between them to clasp warmly and then following suit, their heads bent forward as well. Lips connected and softened, opening to allow tongues to do their dance. Each put a hand on the other’s cheek. And drank deeply. “You smell good,” said one to the other. Breath came faster for a moment then stilled again. They drew apart, their eyes open deeply to each other, content to let the stirring in their cunts simmer for a bit.

“Do you ever wish we were younger, Celeste?”

“You mean like I would have grabbed you hard in the old days and we’d be rolling on the floor by now with or without our shirts?”

“Nice memories, aren’t they?”

“I keep having the feeling that if there were more juice around us, we’d have more juice between us. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking….”

“When you wish upon a star…. “ Celeste sang. “Venus is rising again in the east aka Inanna returning from the Underworld to greet her lover.”

“Remember back when I was whining about how there was no one else to play with magically?”

“I wasn’t very willing to take part in those days, was I?”

“You were busy putting energy into the school. You still are.”

“I know,” Celeste said ruefully. “It’s all-consuming.”

“And worth it. You’ve helped a lot of young folks come into their own. Look at the marvelous crop abroad now, both those here and those out a’wandering about the globe.” June thought longingly of Marina Goodwin-Brown, a favorite of hers.

“Still…..”

“I remember I had to take myself firmly in hand and do the psi stuff on my own. Let my sand tray work be shamanic, even if my clients didn’t always realize it. I learned how to move myself in that space of magic and mystery, letting even ordinary, everyday actions have meaning and import. Model the world I want to be living in. It’s a challenging discipline.”

“You do it so well.”

“Not all the time, of course, but I had such marvelous training from my earliest years. I thank my mother and aunts daily. Plus I keep my life quiet enough that I can usually open my heart center to operate from. All my chakras really. As you know, it doesn’t work if I’m out in groups too much. No dancing or drumming for me much less city council meetings or board memberships, no matter how worthy the cause. I just can’t stay centered when I am pulled every which way by people’s energies and dramas and fears. I get seduced into caring too much about the details then. I can manage it one on one with clients if I’m very careful and cleanse after every session. Put their worry cares into my little cauldron to work themselves out on their own…. Of course, sometimes a particular group thing calls me….”

“Seems like there have been more than usual this fall. You got us to the Equinox Labyrinth, the Demeter and Persephone women’s ritual, and even Day of the Dead. I’ve been amazed.”

“I’m tracking that about myself obviously. Seems like things are heating up somehow and my Inner Guidance keeps saying I’m needed to be present – to nudge things a bit more than in years past. Maybe it’s all finally coming together….”

“Have you noticed Gabriel and Jasmine Terranova’s energy? It’s very intriguing.”

“Kind of sparking…. They haven’t opened up yet about all they know…. Getting their bearings I assume. And who on earth are Ken and Marsha? They’re taking Ursula’s class. I come across him wandering around in the dream time but he’s pretty unconscious….”

“I’ll bet one or both of them show up in your sand tray studio soon.”

“We’ve been waiting an awfully long time. Is it finally long enough? We always knew people would show up and grow into their power.”

“You helped heal a bunch of them.”

“As you helped raise a bunch.” June raised her teacup to salute Celeste. “We both are available when the big energies need us.”

“I’ve always thought it amazing that we can live here in a group house….”

“Luckily we have our little suite.”

“And Owen is such a steady soul.”

June raised an eyebrow. “You’re forgetting….”

“I suppose I am. But at least we weren’t all living together during his pot and alcohol PTSD years. Nor during his sadness while Susan died and then when Robin fledged from the nest. But that led him to invite us into the house. What a blessing that has been. We’ve helped him anchor, I think.”

“Not to mention the stray urchins who pass through here. We always seem to know which ones will work for us, and us for them.”

“Usually. I think Ariel is a keeper, though I don’t suppose she’ll be content in this house forever. She will stay in the area now.” June spoke as if saying it made it so which it did. “She’s home, you know.”

“Probably she’ll partner up. I have a feeling it might be with a woman, speaking of that.”

“Speaking of that.” Their hands reached out massaging knees and sliding up thighs to their matched pair of v-shaped crotches…. The flames kindled a bit more this time. “I do believe there is a little juice flowing, Sweetie. Shall we adjourn to the bed? As inviting as the fire is, this floor is awfully challenging to my hips nowadays.”

“Not just yet,” said June. “I’d like to dedicate our rising flame to the collective fire – juice and muscle, sinew and bone. Semen and fallopian tubes – even ours that aren’t doing much any more. Our memories will suffice and can flow forward from the past into the future.” She turned her eyes towards the winged Isis statue that knelt on the mantle piece surrounded by lavender sprigs, calendula and feather bouquets, several cowrie shells and a large piece of obsidian. “May the Goddess bless all our unions and the gods rise to the charms and calls of Venus, Inanna and Isis. It is time. Help me up, Celestina mia, my knees are a bit creaky tonight.”

 

 

Ursula Struggles

Ursula walked north up the beach. The sky was heavy and foreboding. Like her heart. The Mountain was shrouded in mist. Like her brain. She kicked the sand with her toes as she walked. Fiercely one moment. In discouragement the next, anger and frustration competing for attention.

The worst thing was that she couldn’t even figure out what was feeling so very off. She dragged along oblivious to the sand dollars on the beach and the lovely rills the outgoing tide had left.

Sex was better these days since she had put a little pressure on herself and Charley to take time together to really connect. They still had a ways to go to recapture their youthful passion. No, that wasn’t the right way to put it. They would never regain that level of hormonal drive or innocence. They were parents of grown children, grandparents even. The imperatives were different. They had busier lives than ever…. Were full schedules still the problem? It was so sweet when they did connect…. Yet, there was this feeling they could be going deeper….

The teaching was going well. The group seemed to like what she had to say and they were having lively conversations. The mix of personalities was good. Sometimes she wished she were structuring the class a little more openly. More people coming in to speak…. She had thought that Owen would chime in more but he was still staying in the back seat. Like he had her back, but…. Maybe this is what happens when one comes forward formally as a teacher. Was this what she was meant to be learning as much as the putting together of the content? For it was easier – a luxury actually – to be in charge rather than cope with the challenges of always co-creating with her pals…. It was a good experiment and was helping her hone her thoughts…. Maybe the lessons would translate into words at some point. A book.

HUSH! No planning ahead just now!” The words came like an imperative from deep inside her…. Usually she brushed the injunctions aside with thoughts along the order of “I know I shouldn’t do this right now but….” It was hard to resist the joy and juice of a creative rush of ideas….

Okay. Deep breath.

Ritual work was going well too. She’d enjoyed the powerful surge during the Demeter-Persephone ritual and telling the Durga story on Samhain had felt so right. What was her part of the Durga rebirth? What else did she or should she have a hand in?

Not a good question right now. Irrelevant,” came again from her inner self. “You’ll know.”

Another deep breath. “Where am I? What is this NOW? Cold sand in my toes. Shoes waiting patiently by the path.” A lovely wet rock that wanted to be in her pocket. Her neck wanted her scarf to be wound a little more snugly…..

Everyone thought she had it so together. That she wasn’t afraid of anything. And she wasn’t – except when she was terrified. Was that what she was modeling? That it was possible to be looked up to and still be scared? Ugh. “Gag me with a spoon.” She kicked the sand again.

Giving herself to her community. Buya! Bloody Bully for her! What about the times when she did things she didn’t really want to do? Go through Molly and Charley’s proposal, for instance…. She’d done it cause she knew she had a bunch to say if she could wrap her brain around it. Her experience was valuable – not to be thrown away. And she had been soooo glad they were doing it and not her, but it had felt important to contribute in some way. Especially since it was happening under her nose, in her own house. In her own bed with the dreamer that was Charley right next to her….

Plus she kept having the feeling that she should connect with the Terranovas to further the ReTreat idea a bit. She really liked their energy…. She had a feeling they had something to teach her. She wondered if Pia would follow up on that. Does Pia feel guilty for not going forward with it? Again, no need to think right now about where that was all going….

Manifesting what she needed. She’d gotten gracefully out of the active organizational work…. Taking on the teaching had been a big step – she touched for a minute back into the working out of that role earlier in the fall. That it was okay to do it and declare herself such…. It was hard to have people look up to her when there were so many other competent people around. And she was glad she had straightened out that thing about being a shaman. She so wasn’t one. Uri, now…. He had a lot to teach them on that score.

She knew there was something big in the way…. something that was smothering her today. Welling up strongly. Not making her sick, except at heart….

Doing readings for everyone else…. Not giving advice exactly and certainly not predicting the future…. But still being someone that folks with troubles could turn to. It wasn’t a bad thing certainly. As an elder…. How would being a crone help her? Was it time to declare herself such? She’d rather been avoiding it, not really comfortable being an OLD WOMAN. She knew she would still be beautiful and sexy even…. And she did like her wrinkles and increasing gray hairs…. What was in her way?

Was it HOW she was doing it? All this planning and manifesting and visioning…. It needed to be done…. Or did it?…. It was fun…. Was it taking a toll? Was there something wrong with the spirit with which she was doing it? Something that was draining her energy? Yet it was hard, VERY hard to imagine being any other way…. Does it have to do more with play? What would that look like??

A cluster of ravens and crows were picking at a seal carcass – maybe she needed to let them pick at her. That would be a shamanic experience…. Maybe she needed to have a session with June…..

Slowly her senses came back. She noticed that the fall wave surges had covered the large rock outcropping that was a seasonal friend to them all. She always wondered where the starfish – “I mean sea stars” – went when the sands washed in…. What was buried in her and wanting to come out?

No time like the present. If she turned right instead of left when she came out at the road, she would be at June’s door in a jiffy. If June was busy or not there, she could leave a note. If she was there….

 

 

“Help!” Ursula wailed to the white haired wizened little beauty who came to the green doorway with its arching trellis still showing a few tiny late roses. “I need guidance. No! I need my body to be taken apart.”

“You‘ve come to the right place, Girl!” grinned June. “I’m so glad you’re here. I just had a cancellation so your timing is perfect. Of course.”

“I need to be doing this for myself.”

“Of course you do. Chiron is in an interesting dance with Uranus these days – so Wounded Healer and wacky Heyoka Revolutionary are messing with us. About time you reached out beyond your own resources and came out of your woods for help. Haven’t seen you in here for a quite a while. I’m so happy I can be of service.”

In her urgency, Ursula brushed past June into the beautiful space. She plunked herself down in front of the biggest tray built into the floor in front of the wood stove and deposited her rock from the beach into the center of the fine black sand from some foreign shore. June stood watching with her arms akimbo, knowing better than to say a word to this seasoned supplicant as Ursula breathed deeply and looked around her at the thousands of figures waiting patiently on the shelves for someone to need them.

Her eyes first lit on a little ceramic candelabra with its three blue birthday candles. It was Mexican with bright flowers and three teeny birds on it. Next she picked out a black mother goddess figure – full boobed and solid – and set it in the center between the beach rock and the candles, placing several plastic children and needy looking folks around her. It was telling that the choosing of these figures made Ursula tired again. It was the worst of her sense of her role – the giving of herself for others.

A shaman priestess went into the tray for the part of her that could go deep. Either solo or in a group. Then a Native American medicine man crowned in eagle feathers, his hands held aloft in supplication, smaller plumes along his sleeves. There should be spirits and guides around them…. Polar bear and brown bear because she couldn’t decide between them. Heck LOTS of bears – a Zuni Bear. A…. She hesitated as she was choosing yet another bear. This was known territory. She didn’t need every bear on the shelf. Or Jaguar or Raven or….. But a crystal – a blue sparkly crystal egg…. And fairy maybe…. She turned toward the shelf loaded with them and chose an enticing blue fae pointing the way. But she was so young and pretty – ageless. Fairies were ageless weren’t they? Immortal in all the stories. Or morphing back and forth.

Maybe she needed the stooped and hooded crone in the scene. The older version of the fairy perhaps…. in the direction that the fairy was pointing. She sat back on her heels, simply being with the scene until she felt a call to put a gateway of some kind between the two. An arch and some Greek pillars would serve. Perhaps a chair next to the crone. A chair for herself…. A throne??

June watched silently, seated now in her well-worn armchair, while Ursula created the scene. She would have voiced more encouragement with most clients and maybe asked a few questions, but Ursula was an old hand at this.

Next Ursula selected an ordinary looking persona – a woman with a businesslike orange jacket and slacks. She had a briefcase in one hand and the other hand on her hip. No stopwatch like the Alice in Wonderland “I’m late. I’m late” rabbit, but she might as well have. Ursula had already decided against that rabbit – she’d banished him a couple of years ago and was damned if he’d come back in her tray this time! She glared at him before she moved on.

It was cool that this business-like figure had articulated legs like the dolls her daughters played with so she could be made to walk, visiting each of the groupings in the tray…. Leaving footprints like the astronauts on the moon…. And maybe even sit in the chair. She took the figure firmly in hand and placed her in front of and just outside the tray. Then grabbed a lei and placed it around her neck to lighten her up a bit.  She’d have put a goofy hat on her if she could have found one….

“OK, June, I’m ready to talk now.” June nodded with a grin and silently handed the younger woman a box of matches. With a bow of thanks, Ursula sat down on the floor and after a moment’s prayer, lit the candles. She could almost hear the birds on it start singing as she did so.

Taking up the orange jacketed woman again she began to speak, “This is ME – Me in my most busy guise even though I’ve never carried a briefcase in my life,” she assured June. She walked the figure over to the circle with shamans and spirit guides. “’Take me apart,’ she says. ‘Scatter my bones…. I know they’ll come back together when you’re through.’” Ursula prostrated the figure in front of the circle. “I surrender all that I know. All that I think I know.”

Next she turned the plastic woman towards goddess figure. “Here is where I have my roots – my foundation. Where I come from. Who I most honor and represent. Gaia. Mother Earth with all her solidity and her beauty – even in her present travail. Even in my present travail. She’s so THERE. Waiting always for me to tune in. But today all these everyday people are in the way of my connection with her…..“

“Do they need to be?” asked June.

“Noooo, I guess they don’t. They’ve been my job. Maybe for lifetimes! But I’m reaching for something else right now…. Hey!“ she said as she knocked them over with her hand. “I’m going to stick all these people into the sand. They’re part of my bones – my very structure. They are exactly what I must let come apart. It’s not that they’re not there. But they aren’t the point at the moment, are they? They are outside of ME.” Ursula turned them upside down. “Now they’re a bunch of figures with their heads in the sand…. That’s not quite the right metaphor. They’re not like ostriches but they weren’t my responsibility…. Maybe they really need to be buried all the way….. “

“Bravo,” said June. “You’re making my job very easy today.“

“They don’t need a voice or a teacher or anything right now. Whatever they need they can find for themselves from ALL of us. Including whatever new energy is wanting to come in that can’t if I’m in a controlling place…. Or cause I can’t imagine it…. That gives me confirmation shivers….”

Ursula reached out and put the “me” figure in front of the fairy. “I’ve always loved her. She’s light and sweet yet has such power. Not heavy or ominous. Fairy queens don’t age do they? We do. But they don’t….” Suddenly she broke down. ”Is there a way to have both??” she wailed.

June handed her the Kleenex box as tears rolled down her cheeks and her nose began to run. “Charley and I are just beginning to heat up the sex again. I really don’t want to get old and lose that.”

“Being old does not mean losing sex, believe me!” said June.

“….. Maybe I am ready for my croning. June….”

“Are you now? We would be honored to have you in our Crone’s Circle. It’s a big step, you know. A process. Literally a ‘crowning.’”

“I know. It’s my 60th birthday next summer. I have a feeling that declaring myself a Crone would solidify something for me – help me make a gateway like that one there….” She pointed to the sand tray in front of her.

“We can talk about the process later.”

“I suspect the details will emerge.… She’s all of these personas isn’t she?” Ursula picked up the woman’s figure she’d been moving around and set her in the chair.

“I’d say so.”

Suddenly Ursula leapt up and grabbled a lioness that caught her eye across the room. It gave her a warm feeling in her midriff – like it was meant to be. Her solar plexus glowed – the place of the Lion. Lioness. She put it down next to the little chair. “It’s like the tarot Strength card, isn’t it, June.”

“Yes, and like your Leo Rising, my dear.”

“Oh. My. God…. Goddess….” she amended. “It is. I. Just. Have. To. Show. Up. That’s what Leo does. How could I have forgotten? Or been so afraid?”

They both sat quietly for a several breaths. The ticking of the clock made itself known. Ursula’s stomach growled and she giggled.

“I still need the village though, June.”

“Do you?” The therapist spoke non-committally.

“Yup,” the younger woman said firmly, reaching out to uncover the figures she’d buried a just a bit ago. “Sorry, guys. It’s not that I don’t love you and our connections. And I do want to teach and heal. It’s just that I needed you out of the way for a bit. So I could see straight. You are my beloved tribe. Staying linked to you is an imperative for the future. But I need to shift my perspective just a bit. Put on a new pair of glasses. Not dark glasses to hide behind yet not rose colored ones either. Kind of seeing-through-the veil-glasses…. so I can access the new guides that await me. As a crone. You’ll all show up too, right?”

 

“Hey where were you this afternoon?” hollered Charley down the stairs when she opened their front door. “The Terranovas came by!”

“Oh. My. Gosh.” Ursula stood there with her mouth open and then began to laugh. “That is sooooo hysterical. And so perfect.” She told him about her day. “I obviously wasn’t meant to meet with them. What did they have to say?”

“It’s pretty damned exciting, actually. They are definitely interested in setting up the ReTreat business. And….” Charley paused for dramatic effect, making Ursula really listen up. “They seem to have plenty of money. They might even be interested in buying into my retreat place idea here on the circle. The land above and the house down the hill we just noticed is for sale.”

“Oh Charley. Really? And we wouldn’t have to do it?”

“I’m not sure how much I would need to be involved. Or if it would be profit or non-profit or how it would be structured or or or. But we could use our Aerie as a sleeping place rental and….”

“And the Womb…. “

“And you could teach as much as you want.”

“And others can be brought in.”

“And people will get hired and….”

“Will I have a place to be peaceful?” Ursula asked a little plaintively as she saw her craving for increasingly less active involvement crumbling….

“We can protect ourselves – you especially – in all sorts of ways. These seem like very capable people.  And it looks like they have enough money from to start it off right… and….”

“Abundance,” she breathed.

Abundance,” he agreed.

Thea’s Green Egg Painting

Ova

“Tell me about this one,” Ursula said, pointing to a painting in Thea’s cozy living room where they’d been having tea. Thea rotated her paintings often and this was one she’d never seen before..

“Ummm. That one is still something of a mystery,” said Thea, hands on her hips. She stared at it for a few breaths. “It was a breakthrough painting.”

“Is it new?” asked Ursula.

“No. I did it in a fit last year when it was pointed out to me that I was busy telling myself the story of each painting like I already knew what everything symbolized. Or thought I did,” she added ruefully. “What was the point of all this exploratory painting if I had a pat answer for all my own questions, even if they only turned up as I painted.”

“What made you take the leap in the first place away from your accustomed style?”

“That was an earlier stage. I often tell people it was because I was bored, but I’m realizing that’s not quite right. I knew there was something more I craved than that standard kind of beauty. Beauty was part of it, sure. But I wanted to know more about myself, rather than the outward landscape of the world. I needed to jump off the proverbial cliff. Be The Fool. The tarot deck I had just bought made me realize that there was a whole level of my psyche I hadn’t been able…. willing?…. to explore.”

“I know how that feels,” said Ursula. “That realization was what made me leave my church. Charley and I took up meditation with a teacher for a while, but then I felt like even meditating in an organized way was keeping me in too much of a box. Charley still gets a lot out of it. I started doing ritual when Stella came to town and wanted to start a women’s spirituality group. Everything evolved from there. But how did you make the leap?”

“I think for some people it’s important to switch creative realms entirely. Garden instead of paint. Write. Sculpt. Learn bodywork. For me it seemed to be enough to switch mediums. Using acrylics and oils loosened me up, made me forget all the rules I’d internalized…. most of the time.” She smiled, remembering the occasions she had been called out on that one. “I took a Process Painting class where the instructor would say, ‘Why not use a startling color that makes you uncomfortable?’ or ‘Which is more important? A piece of paper or your life?’ That one really got me cause I realized that what the end product looked like actually had become all-important. That, and…. What. People. Thought. Of. Me.”  She emphasized each word realizing as she spoke how very important that had been to her. Still was, if she was honest with herself.

“In another class we painted with a question for three hours and then spent three hours discussing the work. Not as capital ‘A’ Art. I had plenty of that in school and it doesn’t interest me any more. Rather we talked about the paintings from the point of view of the psyche. The teacher was sort of a Jungian with art therapy training. She also was pretty darn psychic. This painting came out of a question she fired at me one day…. a challenge really. She told me to do a painting I didn’t understand. Boy, did I squirm with that one.”

“And this is the painting?”

“Yep. I did it with my left hand to try letting go of my thinking self. Sometimes it seems like I need to just cut off my head. There’s a painting of that too.”

“Is that a woman’s torso?” asked Ursula.

“I’ve always thought so. See how her legs sort of sprawl there? I think that’s a paintbrush dangling near where her knees would be. I’ve done a lot of figures since that have a paintbrush.”

Bear & I Birthing Each Other“Yes, like the Bear one upstairs,” Ursula always noticed things with her beloved Bear on them. “Looks like you at least left out the head in this painting. I certainly don’t see one.” They both laughed at Ursula’s observation.

“Yes, like the Bear one in your studio upstairs.” Ursula always noticed anything involving her beloved Bear. “Looks like you at least left out the head in this painting. I certainly don’t see one.” They both laughed at Ursula’s observation.

“After it was done I cried and cried whenever I looked at it so I knew it was important.”

“Does it still make you cry?”

“Not really. Now I feel frustrated cause I still don’t get what that swirl is.” Thea hoped she didn’t sound like she was whining. This was an on-going question for her and the reason she had put the painting back up.

“Isn’t it on her belly?”

“Sort of. But it could also be her boobs or her…. cunt.” She spoke the forbidden word hesitantly. “I don’t get what it’s telling me. I’m still waiting for one of those ‘brief glimpses of the blindingly obvious.’”

“Shall we draw a tarot card about it?” asked Ursula.

“What a great idea.” Thea reached towards the shelf behind the couch for the brown decorated bag that held the round MotherPeace cards. She handed them to Ursula who sat down on the floor and spread them out to mix them up. “My old friends.”

The golden swirls on the floor were beautiful and enticing. Thea’s hand hovered above them and then dove for a card. She hooted as she laid it face up in front of them.

“Daughter of Discs. I consider this the vision quest card. Duh – tell me something I don’t know.”

“Good call – it’s exactly the situation you are in. Discovering yourself, pulling yourself away from your normal world. In this card it’s a desert scene but our coastal temperate rainforest is every bit as challenging for you. Like in the card, you’ve drawn a proverbial circle of stones around yourself for your questing and you’re holding up your staff to the light. Perhaps even attracting celestial help of some sort….”

“My pipe in hand. You know I smoke pot sometimes to be in ceremony and to deepen the paintings.”

“I’m doing that more these days than I used to. Take another card.”

This time Thea drew the Priestess of Wands. A strong looking naked black woman, dreads flying, had her hand on a lioness whose head nestled into her lap. A rainbow arced between the sun and a pot of gold tucked in the rocks.

“Bravo, she’s got all her tools and allies,” said Ursula.

“I don’t know what that odd instrument is in her hand but I’m declaring it a paint brush,” said Thea. “Is that a lizard next to her or a salamander?”

“Hard to say, but if we’re talking about our ecosystem it’s more likely to be the bog-loving salamander or a newt. I’d keep an eye out for them and a feline ally. Maybe it’s Gato here or maybe something bigger. The flowering plant is witch hazel. Take one more. It would be cool to get a definitive answer.”

“Ha! It’s the pregnant belly one.

“Joke’s on us. Should have known we’d get a card describing the situation rather than a foretelling.”

“One can always hope.”

“This 7 of Discs tells us again that something is ‘aborning.’ Again like the Bear painting upstairs. You are on a quest, you’ve got your tools, but it’s still gestating. Like those fat juicy melons around her. You know, all these women are naked. Like your paintings. Brown too. I’m getting from this and from your paintings that your body is your teacher – perhaps there is something inside there. Can you go on a cosmic treasure hunt to find out what is being birthed?”

“That’s exactly what my painting journey is. A cosmic treasure hunt. The gestating of a seed…. I just wish I knew what that seed was.”

“Maybe that’s what your painting up there is about…. See that green in the roundness of the belly?”

“A seed! You’re right. A green seed…. or an egg which is a kind of seed….” Thea felt that lovely buzz of a revelation resonating deep in her core.

“There are folks here who could help you with the search for details. Owen does Soul Retrievals. That’s a shamanic process where he ‘journeys’” Ursula raised her fingers to indicate quotes, “to find parts of yourself that were lost in your childhood. He doesn’t do sessions often but I think he’s really good and should be doing more. Could do more. I don’t want to ‘should’ all over him.” Ursula smiled. “Also June‘s sand tray counseling process. Her office has a delightful room full of miniature figures – everything from trees to monsters to princesses to crystals. You use them to make scenes in a small sandbox and then talk about what is showing up there – not unlike your painting process. You can interact with it as part of the quest – bury the wicked stepmother, select an animal to befriend you, light a candle for a prayer. The possibilities are endless. I never tire of it and always learn something new, whether on my own, with Charley as marriage counseling, or even in a group.”

“I’ve heard of both of these processes. Sounds like good next steps since I don’t have a painting group. Though sometimes I think maybe I should start one…. or teach a class….”

“There’s work to be done in company and work to be done alone. That Priestess of Wands card tells me you’ll know. Have fun.”