“Cali, there’s like a poster in the bathroom about a class you mom is starting next week.” Skinny decaf soy latte in hand in a new metal traveling mug, Mariposa joined the group of sustainability interns and local young people lolling on the outside terrace at Angel’s on a balmy fall day. It was midweek so some had the day off. The brightly painted tables and chairs set off the many hues of their clothing. Battered backpacks and bikes were perched around them. And one baby asleep in her papa’s front pack.
“Yeah, she says it’s time to pass on what she and the Medicine Circles have been playing with. Rhea’s going.”
“I’m thinking of signing up,” ventured Janna.
“Seriously? Is there is anything to all that fuckin’ woo woo shit?” asked Gabe, still boggled by his recent talk with Molly.
“I grew up with it,” said Cali. “Mom says the questions us kids asked helped her grok the Earth as something to worship, though she never uses that word. Am I hardcore about organic cuz it’s right for the soil and my body or b’cuz I’ve learned to sense the living being named Gaia? I guess that makes me pagan.”
“The Earth Goddess is Pachamama in South American,” said Robin. “She’s very real to me ever since my exchange student stint in Peru.”
“Dad claims the ocean is his church,” added Cali.
“I like thinking of it as a mystery,” said Carlos.
“It was kinda scary when my folks first got into all that,” said Robin Logan, thinking of her teenage embarrassment at Owen’s first appearances as the Green Man in the 4th of July Parade. “I thought we’d be called weirdos.”
“Seemed like a natural progression to me,” said Arlo. “They already made fun of us. Called us hippies. Granola eaters.”
“Birkenstockers,” added Carlos.
“We were hardly the only ones smoking weed,” Arlo reminded them miming that action.
“I get the connection with Earth, but like Tarot cards and ritual? Magic? Seems like wishful thinking,” blurted Mariposa.
“Mom says she chooses to live as if it’s true – you know, reincarnation, psychic connections and dreams.
“Ursula claims she doesn’t have the direct 3-D connection some do,” said Carlos. “She takes it pretty much on faith. Says it makes her happy. Now June…. She’s a counselor and healer. Doesn’t go to many group things. Ever talk to her? She’s pretty hard-core…. In a very gentle way.”
“Some of the massage therapists are dreamers and seers and channelers – generally kind of out there,” agreed Robin.
“But Ursula actually calls herself a fuckin’ witch,” persisted Gabe.
“Yeah, she declared herself one years ago. Had a bunch of people over one time when we weren’t home and they ceremoniously cleansed her and painted her body. I’ve seen the pictures. She wanted to reclaim that word – do her part to take the bad juju out of it. Not many others in the Medicine Groups use the term ‘witch.’ None of them are Wiccan. That’s more organized like a religion. She says “shaman” feels way above her, but “witch” just means a wisewoman in the woods.”
“Right on,” said Janna.
“June and Celeste are part of a Crone Circle,” said Carlos. “They want to reclaim the “crone” and “hag” words too.”
“Medicine Groups?” asked Zydeco who had just walked up.
“Men and women together, alternating with men and women separately, get together on Friday evenings. Sometimes the gatherings are closed to outsiders to develop intimacy and trust,” said Cali, reaching over to unstrap Menolly who was beginning to stir. “Sometimes, like now, they are open to whoever wants to come. There is a core – most of whom you can guess, who hold the space and come up with the activities.”
“And they do what?”
“Don’t really know, man,” said Carlos watching fondly as Cali pulled down her sundress top to put Menolly to her breast. “Practice healing and visioning? General woo woo? Plan the more public rituals.”
“Oh, you’ve been to a few,” teased his partner. “And so have most of us.”
“Is it possible for Tarot, like, actually predict the future?” asked Mariposa.
“It’s more about focusing in on the present. I don’t see the future as written in stone – as inevitable in any way. There’s always free will. Divination is more about considering what comes up in the cards, coins or yarrow sticks or whatever to see the threads and what might come to pass if current patterns play themselves out. They show me the challenges I’m dancing with and where I can make adjustments if I don’t like what’s taking shape.”
“But what decides what cards get drawn?”
“‘Magic. Spirit. Your Higher Self. Your guides. If you don’t have a concept of The Greater Mystery then you have to apply ‘willing suspension of disbelief.’ You have to say, ‘I’m going to trust that the cards I pull have some meaning in my life. I’m going to notice them at least and think about what comes up.’ The images are powerful archetypes that work at a subtle level.”
“Maybe you should be teaching the class, Cali. You sound like you know a lot.”
“Maybe more than I think I do, eh?”