Tuesday, August 23, 2022


on July 30th, 2022, my son and I packed up a moving truck and our car, took our cat, and headed to Montpelier, Vermont.  having lived in Vermont for 12 years, I couldn't wait to return after foolishly leaving the Green Mountains for New York State when my son was 3 years old.  you see, I grew up in New York, and when I left, I swore I'd never go back.  but I took a chance on repairing relationships with my family before all the old people died, and while that went swimmingly at best, my chance to go back to Vermont has finally come.  I mean, it came 15 years later than I originally intended, but my son wanted to graduate high school with his class, so I stayed for him, and we had some good times along the way.  but graduate he did, and not only is he going to go to college, he's going to college in Vermont, and I couldn't be happier!


so proud of my Teen!


well, I could be happier, if we're being honest, because unfortunately, the housing we thought we had ended up falling through.  not to worry, though, because I am in intrepid traveler, and though it's been a challenge to get through this experience with a pissed-off, stressed-out teenager and his rather demanding cat, I am navigating these waters as best I can with the tools I have.  so I thought I'd tell you a bit about how that's been going...

we originally landed at the house of someone I used to know (more on this in the last post), and spent the first few days of August settling in, enjoying the gorgeous late-summer weather, and starting all the processes of establishing residency, such as transferring my car registration/insurance/driver's license, looking for more permanent housing, and going to job interviews.  unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to leave our landing pad much sooner than anticipated, and without having made any advance plans, fell prey to the price gouging at local hotels like the Best Western Plus in Waterbury - Stowe.  now, to be fair, this was a cushy room that came with two gigantic fluffy beds (I prefer a firm mattress), lots of pillows, wifi, tv, lots of parking, a pool and fitness center (much to the Teen's delight), and a delicious buffet breakfast that included most American favorites, and then some.  they claim to be pet friendly, but we were so fried when we got there, we forgot to ask, and just chose to sneak the cat in, and keep the room immaculate so they would never even know she was there.  we ended up staying two days and splitting the bill, which ran us about $300/night each.  though the Teen really liked the accommodations, I didn't like the price.  oh...I forgot to mention the tub!  it was HUGE!  and I filled it all the way up with hot water, and had a good soak.  the tub alone was worth the price, but at those rates, there was no way we could even afford to stay as long as we did.


while my chronic lower back issues didn't appreciate the softness of the bed, our cat Nahiri certainly did!


from there, we still weren't entirely sure where to go or what to do, so we ended up back in my old college town, at a local campsite I knew of, but had only been to once for some reason I can't remember.  the proprietress there is pretty sharp, and figured out that we were homeless, so I just told her the whole story, and while she agreed to let us stay for a few days, she insisted we have a tent, and not sleep in the car.  since my tent and camping gear are buried in the back of the storage space because I didn't think we'd need them (mistake) we ran off to the closest big box store I wouldn't normally shop at (but these weren't normal circumstances) to buy a tent, some blankets, and food that can cook over a fire (burgers).  we spent a perfectly lovely few days by the Winooski River at the Onion River Campground.  now, if I had planned to go camping, this is definitely the kind of place I would choose.  it's clean and quiet, with a rustic bathhouse, trails, blueberries to pick, and plenty of room between campsites.  many of the folks there were set up for long stays, and I admired the effort they put in to making their campsites appear homey, with outdoor furniture, fenced areas for their pets, flowers and plants, twinkly lights, wind chimes, and more.  I want to be one of those people someday!


we were camped on 'the beach', which you can see on the map at the link.

now, our cat has never camped before, or been in a hotel room, or traveled long distances in a car...and she did not like the tent.  in the middle of the night she started pacing around and yowling, then she started scratching to get out, so I got up (I wasn't really sleeping anyway - lower back issues) and took her in the car so she couldn't slip off into the night.  neither of us was happy, and I got no rest.  I think we may have spent another night or two in the car before deciding to spring for another motel room, this time the Marshfield Inn & Motel, and their glorious pet-friendly room #8 for $124/night!  my mom enjoyed staying at the Marshfield Inn a few times back in the day when I lived in the area, so it felt nice to be there again, now that my mom is gone.  we were exhausted from bouncing around, catching random meals here and there, and dealing with the cat's distress, so it was nice to have a respite where we could all sit comfortably in our own space and stretch out, the cat could take her harness and leash off and move around freely, we could shower, connect to wifi, make use of the mini-fridge and microwave, and I could SLEEP on a Firm bed (praise all the deities!).  it was a good few days. 

after that, when we'd been driving around without a place to go for so many hours I needed to get off the road for everyone's safety, we got ripped off at the Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood who said we could have a room for $220/night, but charged my card $320 instead.  when I went back to the front desk to discuss the issue, the receptionist was incredibly rude, though eventually agreed to refund me $100.  she didn't, but she did refund me $50.  when I called to complain about that, they called me a liar and hung up on me.  so who cares about the amenities there, because they suck, and no one should go there, ever.  and their breakfast was bland and tasteless.  ugh.  I hate them so much for taking advantage of me like that, and I'm getting angry all over again!  luckily for us, the Marshfield Inn had another pet-friendly room available, so we jumped at the chance to stay there again.

this room - room #9, still a bargain at $144/night - has a small kitchen that comes with a mini-fridge/freezer, counter &  sink, a hot plate, and pots and pans to cook with.  also some cups, dishes, utensils, and other amenities.  I can't even tell you how happy my son was to be able to cook a few meals!  to be fair, he much prefers the fancier hotels with the pools, fitness centers, and squishy beds, but I'm happier in Marshfield with a fan rather than a/c, the peace and quiet, the hiking trails and swimming holes, the general stores, and the view.  while we were waiting for the room, we took a ride up to Danville where I remembered from my college days the American Society of Dowsers had a little bookstore and a labyrinth.  the bookstore was closed, but it was lovely to walk the path overgrown with mint and clover that smelled so good as my sneakers gently crushed them, soaking through with morning dew.  and once we saw a sign for the Great Vermont Corn Maze, there was no stopping my pursuit of joy within all the chaos!


the labyrinth path is a bit overgrown, but if you know the way, you can find it ~


the corn maze was great fun - there are options to explore the BIG Maze, which "covers 24 acres and is approximately a 3 hour hike complete with 100' of bridges", but we did the Scenic Maze because I figured "a 40 minute hike through the BIG Maze using directions found along the way" would be enough of a challenge for me, and it definitely was!  we also chose the option to collect 4 'journey stones' along the way, but I liked them better than the reward you were supposed to turn them in for, so I kept them, and bought the reward anyway!  the kids' area looked like so much fun, but I was struggling at that point, and didn't have the stamina to play.  the little store at the end of the trail had candy, ice cream and drinks, t-shirts, postcards, and other little ephemera to commemorate your visit, as well as an aerial photo of the mazes through the years (all the way back to 1999!) so you could see the areas you hiked through if you took notes, which we did.  they're also a beef farm, and we would have bought some of their beef if we had known we would have a way to cook it later!  as the kids say, "100% would recommend"!


"mayday!  mayday!  I appear to be piloting this vessel incongruously named 'French Toast' through a large field of corn, please advise!"


after another few days at the Inn, we had another night in the car before stumbling upon the Firefly B&B in Lincoln.  they claimed to be pet-friendly, yet hadn't counted on someone traveling with a cat, though after chatting with her a bit about our situation, the proprietress - Issy - agreed to let us stay as long as our kitty stayed in the room, and generously discounted our room to $90/night (cash or check only - no credit cards).  that was fine with us, as we were getting up early the next morning to head to our storage space to pick up my son's trunks and bins for college, and we needed a safe place to stash the kitty while we drove back and forth all day.  it was hard, but we got it done...well, the Teen got it done, I was mostly useless other than as the driver.  then I cried as I made my way back to the Firefly alone, for my first night as an empty-nester, without even a nest.  good thing I stopped for a creemee on the way back...if you don't know, in Vermont, soft-serve ice cream is called a creemee, and it's pretty serious business in this state.  we all have our favorites, and we swear by them!


this one came from Papa Nick's in Hinesburg - it was Bragg Farm good, but not Dairy Creme or Crossroads good!  😀

so, my son's 'summer of homelessness' ordeal is over, and he has a little bit of time to relax into his new surroundings and collect himself before classes start in a few days.  I've mostly been parking in places like the two local synagogues that I know of, and my old college library parking lot to take naps, but I can't ever really get a full 5 hours of rest in the car, let alone more.  and then I'm falling asleep every five minutes, and shouldn't be on the road.  so, I finagled a deal with the innkeeper at the Marshfield Inn & Motel for one of their pet-friendly rooms for a week, at a greatly discounted rate (just under $400 for 6 days).  they gave me room #9 again so I have the little kitchen, and I think the cat feels safer here because she's already been here a few times.  I can't believe it's been almost a month of this already, and I still don't feel any closer to being settled in terms of having housing, any social services, or a job.  there's no way I could keep a job with all the moving around, and sleep-deprivation!  so I need some help to pay for the room this week, and I've mostly been using my time here so far to figure out where I'm going to stay next, and see how many tarot sessions I can fit in while I'm stable enough to do a few readings.  




I haven't made it up the hill to visit the person who's caring for my houseplants in at least a week, and I do need to visit my plants, I miss them so.  the Teen is being standoffish with me and not answering my texts, and the cat misses her favorite human and is being overly clingy.  I'm hoping to see if I can't find someone to foster her for a bit while I navigate the 'next step', whatever that may be - and I hope it's some form of employment, because I need the cash.  if you can't tell from the above commentary, all these rooms and driving around have blown a hole in my finances, and I still have expenses to cover, including helping the Teen out with any college related needs, and litter/food for his cat.  and let's all keep a prayer in our hearts for my dear car, without which, none of this would be possible.  I hope you enjoyed this 'trip around Vermont', and that you feel compelled to send some funds our way - I'm happy to offer you a tarot reading in return.

this is a link to the gofundme a few of my friends set up

this is a link to my paypal


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

the landslide bringing me down

you know, I'm not much of a Stevie Nicks fan, though I've always liked the song "Landslide"...I kind of hold her responsible for millions of hippie chicks in lacy gowns thinking they can appropriate an ethnic slur against Roma people as a lifestyle and culture...but if she didn't know, she didn't know, I guess.  it's 2022 now, and we should all know better.  apologies are being made.  awareness is being raised.  it's not ok anymore (someone alert Cher, as well, please).



I watched a video this morning of Stevie singing "Landslide" in front of a video memorial for her dad who died in 2005, and of course it made me cry.  lots of things make me cry now.  used to be, I didn't cry at all, and was proud of it.  then I learned to not be such an impenetrable stone all the time and to be proud of the fact that I had enough heart and soul to cry.  then I had a baby and couldn't watch tv any more because the news made me cry...and commercials.  now, as I approach what I consider to be my 'official menopause date', I can and will cry about anything and everything, because my heart is simply broken completely open by the wisdom and humility of life (my personal Kabbalah). 

King Solomon w/birds

I'm dropping my son off at college tomorrow.  that's...huge.  on a number of levels.  first off, I've raised my baby alone from the moment of his conception.  I will not negate his father's contribution of the minimum amount of child support required to be in compliance with the current laws, but to be clear, his involvement truly has been minimal, for which I have apologized to my son profusely.  my son has very little family other than me - he didn't really get to know my Sapta (maternal grandmother) before she died, and has little memory of her, though he does have fond recollections of my Zayde (maternal grandfather).  my dad and his parents were long gone before my son was born, and though he had my mom in his life until she passed last year, we weren't always on good terms with her.  there was a brief minute when my brother allowed his three kids to accept their little cousin as a member of their family, but he cut what loose ties he had with me/us, irreparably damaging those relationships, and they will most likely take more work than most people care to do to repair them, so I don't have much hope that they will be.  my point is, this kid has mostly had to figure out how to be in this world on his own, with his closest non-Mom people being his guitar teacher, his show director, and his wrestling coach, in that order.  so...yeah.  a mostly solo project with some honorably mention-able supporters.



do you know how I got my son into the prestigious and expensive Paul Green Rock Academy?  I emailed Lisa Green and offered to do any number of things for her in exchange for a scholarship - write, edit, proofread, take photos, answer phones, scrub her toilet with my toothbrush.  so she agreed to a meeting with me where she explained that she had people doing all those things for her, except scrubbing her toilets, so she let me clean the building in exchange for my son's lesson and show fees.  and not only did I do everything in my power to go above and beyond for the Green's and their Rock Academy, my kid did, too.  when Paul and Lisa left, and Jason and Acacia took over the school, we didn't know if he would be allowed to continue, but they generously allowed him to stay with the program on a full scholarship until he graduated from high school.  I don't know who pulled what strings behind which closed doors in order for that to happen, but I will forever be grateful to them for that gift.

so here we are, after 18 (19 counting my pregnancy) years of this journey, in the same place we started - homeless in Vermont.  how did we get here again?  well...as a single mom making minimum wage, I can't afford an apartment anywhere in the United States on my paycheck, so I jumped at the chance to apply for a section 8 voucher, which has almost saved us from homelessness over the past decade, though not entirely.  a lot of landlords don't like doing the paperwork that section 8 requires, so refuse to rent to voucher holders, which is illegal, but there are a million ways around it.  one of which is to count on the fact that voucher holders don't have the money/time/knowledge to take them to court, and if they did, and they won, they still wouldn't have a place to live.  it's a lose-lose situation.  I had been living in Vermont for over a decade when my son was born, and when he was 3, I took a chance on moving to NY to be closer to my family...it didn't work out.  we stayed in NY for another decade and more, as we simply moved north near some friends of mine from the 'old days', though after not so long, I found myself regretting leaving Vermont at all.  


just one of many beautiful views in VT

Vermont was a dream I would return to after the boy was grown and didn't need me anymore.  Vermont was where I would go 'next', as with me, there's always a 'next'.  there were plenty of times I would have gone before now, but my son wanted to stay with his class in school until he graduated, so I stayed for him.  I cooled my hot feet and stayed put to the point of breaking, but I made it.  we still had to move fairly frequently as our rentals kept getting yanked out from under us by unscrupulous landlords raising the rent past my affordability, the State taking over the land through eminent domain, or other unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of the pandemic to sell their house/my apartment to an airbnb developer further adding to the issue of local workers not being able to find or afford housing in the communities in which they work and live...  but we managed to stay housed for a good stretch, and I did spend a good amount of time looking for apartments in VT before we pulled up roots in NY and moved, and though I wasn't able to find anything by the time we had to leave, I did have a place to land when we got here.  or so I thought.

what do you do when someone you've known for 20 years and more calls you up one day and says they're doing really well with their recovery?  that they're housed, in school, taking real steps towards getting their life back on track, and seeking employment?  what if they're really excited to hear you're coming back, and want to help support you on the way?  what if they see you not finding housing and offer up their living room as a place to call home for a minute, until you find what you need?  am I a poor judge of character?  do I make the wrong friends?  trust the wrong people?  well, let's look at my son's dad - 98% absent during the child's life, so much so, that when my young man screwed up his courage enough to ask his stranger of a father for a couch to crash on for a week (yes, dude lives here in Vermont), he wasn't overly welcoming, nor did he offer any financial help.  loser?  maybe.  I don't want to make excuses for him; I've been doing it for far too long for no good reasons, including my own pride, and his skill as a guitar player.

so our crash pad crashed and burned when it turned out my friend wasn't as in recovery as she thought she was.  she had a relapse, and used it as an excuse to behave in an abusive manner towards me.  the fact that she chose to take her relapse out on me when all I'd ever done was be a good and loyal friend to her was unnecessary and frankly unconscionable.  she's fooled me more times than it should take for someone with good self-esteem to walk away from.  and I regret letting the dreams in my head let me believe I could trust that someone was as loyal and honest as I am, though I know from years of experience that's rarely true.  I take the giving of my energy in relationship very seriously, and I'm often hurt by folks who enjoy more casual interactions, as I tend to connect pretty deeply, rather quickly.  and I'm finding that as I attempt to reconnect with folks I thought of as 'friends' here in Vermont, that I guess to them I'm more of an acquaintance, and there's been a 'no-show' of those I thought were 'my people' (some real help has come from unexpected places, too, I must confess).  so what does that tell me about moving forward here?


oh, these spiral paths we weave!

nothing I didn't already know, I guess - we're all just hurtling through space on this rock alone.  ever.  always.  and that's fine.  I'd just like to plant a flower garden, watch it grow and die, and come back again.  I want to write poems and prose, and create images.  I want to knit and sew and crochet - craft art with my hands again and be alone with the silence of late night/early morning hours.  I want to walk in nature, and be soothed.  I want to share my creations with others who create.  I want to hear from my son that he's doing well in school - that he's learning how to earn and manage money in a way that will bring him and his hoped-for future family more ease than his upbringing brought him.  "may he do better"...every parents' prayer.


from Isabella Rotman's This Might Hurt Studios


I used to travel when I was younger - just pack up my few belongings and my cat, and live on the road in my car.  it was a lovely lifestyle when planned for.  falling houseless because of broken systems built to keep women like me down is less fun, but again - can be navigated smoothly by people like myself who are wise in the ways of travel.  when I have to drag an unwilling and angry teenager and his fancy cat along?  it can get really tough, but I'm using All the tools in my kit to keep us buoyant in proactive ways, while doing my best to organize these experiences with my overtaxed mind to share with people in a way that encourages them towards helping me out financially.  I need help paying for gas, insurance, storage, cat supplies, and whatever my son may need for college that we didn't already think of, and for pet-friendly hotels/motels/b&b's/accommodations until I can find housing.  I'm really good at writing, editing, proofreading, and reading tarot cards.  please feel free to ask me to perform any of those tasks for you in exchange for any monetary donations.  we can work out a value together.  let me know how I can help you help me.

thanks ~

my paypal:  https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/mysteriamb

my gofundme, organized by some friends:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/miriam-mysteriam-and-teen-need-a-homehttps://gofund.me/835d9ce3https://gofund.me/835d9ce3https://www.gofundme.com/f/miriam-mysteriam-and-teen-need-a-home?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheethttps://www.gofundme.com/f/miriam-mysteriam-and-teen-need-a-home?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-shee

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Memory Jar 2021


8 years of memory jars!  wow...and it's been a year, that's for sure.  the kind of year where I found myself saying to my kid, "I know it's been shitty, but let's sit down and make the effort to think of a few good things to put in our jar so we have something to share on New Year's Eve.  maybe we have enough space from the trauma of it all to appreciate the experiences?"  hopeful as I was, I suppose I was bound to be disappointed, especially since my Teen showed more interest in the process last New Year's than he has in the past, by insisting on designing our yearly star himself.  it was a pretty star, but his enthusiasm for the project didn't carry through.  read on to find out what was good for us in 2021:



new running shoes!

birthday week lunches, gifts, ice cream, cake, dinners, cash, salt bath...

playing Yahtzee w/Grandma (Mom)

Grandma laughing at the movie Slapshot


got a new hat

ok, well...there were significantly less happy moments in our jar than there have been in the past, but as I've said, and I'm sure we can all agree, it's been a pretty rough year all around (unless you're a billionaire that got richer from all the collective suffering, in which case, karma will get you my pretties).  the 'awful' was not just pandemic related in our case - I mean, my mom died, and then we lost our housing and had to move.  it's been utterly terrible, and we've had quite a rough time navigating it all, but I think we're coming through it a bit, one way or another.


for myself, even though I fell off my running game after Mom died, the gift of running shoes was/is a blessing, and definitely made the journey more fun (not to mention easier), and when I'm ready to get back to it (soon, soon), they'll be waiting for me.  and since I spent the year responsibly keeping mostly away from people, it was wonderful to spend time with two of my close friends who made the effort to help me feel loved and cared for around my birthday.  my mom spent two blessed weeks visiting before she died, for which I will forever be grateful, and during those weeks we had a lot of fun together, because she was moving away, and we didn't know when we were going to see each other again.  sigh...it wasn't supposed to be 'never'; she was planning to come to the Teen's high school graduation this summer.  anyway, Slapshot was one of her favorite movies, so I've seen it about 5,678 times and know it by heart - but I wasn't really watching it that night, I was watching my mom laugh harder than she had for a long time, and it made my heart happy.  and she kicked our asses in Yahtzee so bad, the Teen accused her of cheating, lol!

as for the Teen...he had it rough.  more than a year of remote learning, not being able to go anywhere or do anything with his friends...they did stay in touch through online gaming, but...it wasn't ideal by any stretch of the imagination, and I feel all their relationships were hurt by the separation.  he needed to get out so badly he ran away from home for two weeks and sent me spiraling even further into depression as if losing my second parent and my housing wasn't enough.  he was similarly affected, and more.  we worked through it well enough to be on a somewhat even keel now, and honestly, I don't feel like it's my place to talk about him so much on my blog any more, as he's past old enough to have a say in such things, and I know if I asked him, he'd tell me not to write about him, so...I (mostly) won't.  I can speak to the fact that he had some truly wonderful moments this year, but I recognize that there's some real healing he needs to do in order to feel ready to acknowledge them.  I truly hope he does.


some things that didn't make the jar but should have, include (for me):  taking part in the Roma Women's Poetry Project writing workshops sponsored by ERIAC, having one of the pieces I wrote included in Wagtail, the first anthology from Butcher's Dog magazine, and taking part in the online launch event.  spending time with friends, going to my son's gigs, and reconnecting with my tarot practice were also highlights, as well as going on a few dates, even though they didn't pan out into anything worth writing about.  during a time in history when things could be so much worse, I'm exceedingly grateful for the privilege of continuing to have opportunities to create my life in the ways that nurture and sustain me, mind, body, and spirit, and to have the means to offer compassion and understanding to as many others as possible.  I hope absolutely everyone gets to feel similarly blessed this year ~

check out our memory jar posts from years past, below!

2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019 - 2020

Monday, December 27, 2021


since I got a new tarot deck (This Might Hurt) I'm gonna get to know it better by going through each card in each of my decks, to compare and contrast them, in no particular order (ok, maybe in some semblance of order), and in no particular time frame.  how's that?  sound good?  cool.  I totally did not randomly chose to start with The Fool, because where else do you start a journey?  well, some of you might like to plan and pack and save, but I just...jump and hope a net will appear.  so it seems of our Fool, hey? 

here's why I love Isabella Rotman's version:  first and foremost, the ambiguous gender/gender neutrality of the archetype.  in joining a tarot group to find community to be in during the pandemic after having been a mostly solitary practitioner for most of my life, the very first thing that struck me was the lack of diversity in our (the group's) tarot tools, and I wanted a new deck to reflect my new understanding of what a deck could be, immediately.  and this Fool is perfect.  they've got they're bag, they're not looking where they're going, they're smelling a rose while about to step off a cliff even though their little dog is warning them...the patched pants, the bird on their shoulder, the budding tree, the hand...perfect.


for comparison, here's a look at The Fool from Fergus Hall's Tarot of the Witches - my first deck, the one I've been working with since 1984.  this dude is peeking out underneath his blindfold as his vicious little dog rips his pants in imitation of the Coppertone baby's pose, while he tosses eight coins to the wind, and lets the other hand swish in the breeze.  even though he's got both the sun and the moon suggesting the ongoing opportunity for endless experience (and a heart on his cheek, and a cheeky grin), he's still going over that cliff in his adventurously frivolous colors.  I always wondered if he'd manage to grab on to the little tree to save himself... 

in the oh-so-white and fairy cartoon-y Tarot of a Moon Garden deck, we have this...fellow?  entity..?  archetype.  well, they seem to be floating above the Earth, with their little dog seemingly happy about it, possibly just content to chase the bubbles and baubles appearing around the Fool's ballerina-slipper clad feet...all three of them.  dancing between the dawn and dusk?  it seems half of this person is steeped in the light of the full moon at night, while the other half is parading through the noon of a sunny day at the same time.  and so many hands!  four of them, holding a paintbrush, a poppet, a butterfly net, and a pomegranate.  there's also a heart on their one sleeve, a star on the other - bells on the colorful skirt, hat, and shoes; a butterfly with antennae curled into a heart; a crescent moon over the eye on the 'daylight' side of the body, a star over the eye on the 'nighttime' side.  there's a lot going on here to process.

The Lover's Tarot, which I like because it's HUGE, consists of only the major arcana - a fun deck for a fun reading!  I've used it a few times for community readings, but no one's asked me for it for a personal reading, yet.  check this guy out, though - he's like the poster boy for pasty white noble-whatsis and caped colonizers.  is that a little fish purse?  seriously?  I want this guy to fall off the cliff, but it doesn't even look like he's trying...just leaning in with that one knee, and somehow messing up the carefree wave of the right hand with an awkward gesture to match the odd stance.  and his poor, sad-looking dog!  it seems to me like this Fool's belt, cape, and red tights are the only ones excited for the possibility of adventure; that the youth wearing them is too naive to know that the city down there holds any promise for him under that oddly flat, yet inspiringly illuminated sun.

it's taking me some time to feel comfortable working with the HooDoo Tarot, and that's as it's meant to be.  so who is The Free Man?  he comes with New Testament quotes and a plant correspondence, neither of which I'm familiar with, and while the one is basic enough, the other required me to look it up and find out that I know 'Jimsonweed' as 'datura'.  learning already, not bad!  there's no cliff here, or a little dog warning this man of any danger, but we're told that carrying a jar of dirt away from this particular tomb is a daring act of purpose or lunacy.  there's no carefree toss of a hand, here, no budding tree on the edge of a day, just a wise knowing, and the fatigue of that burden.  he seems to show us not how to face up to our fears, but to ascend past them through the fiery belief in our own purpose.


also, I couldn't resist gifting myself this adorable pocket edition of The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans that comes in its own tin - so cute! - so I'm full up on decks at the moment (still want a Thoth deck, though)!  what's fun and unique about this deck is that to my mind, it doesn't follow the 'traditional' art framework at all, and instead, encourages us to find something new in the interpretations of the symbols by relating them to nature and the outdoors.  how to represent The Fool without the regular trappings?  how to communicate that sense of spontaneity and adventure, danger, and heightened awareness without a cliff, a dog, a flourish, a bag of tricks, bright and colorful clothing, a budding tree or flower, mountains or a city in the distance?  draw a baby bird on a tree limb about to take its first leap of faith.  do you feel like you understand The Fool a bit more, now? 



I know I do.  which deck is your favorite?  which would be your first choice for a reading, and which would be your last...or which would you never pick?  why?  if you read tarot, do you have a favorite deck?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

This Might Hurt Tarot, Yay!

hello friends!  

I'm excited because for Hannukah this year, I finally bought myself Isabella Rotman's This Might Hurt tarot deck, which I may have fallen in love with at first sight.  when it got here, I let it sit on my altar for about a week to let it shed any lingering outside energies and soak up some goodness before I used it for the first time.  it's a standard 78 card deck (with holographic edges!) after the RWS fashion, which is exactly the reason I got it, and it came in a lovely box with a guidebook, some small cards, and a sticker!  38 years ago I started out using the Tarot of the Witches deck, which doesn't have minor arcana cards, it has 'pips' that lack the traditional symbolic artwork, so I didn't work with the minors until quite recently.  to have something resembling community during the pandemic, I joined an online tarot group, and as the weekly discussion included all the tarot cards, I ended up mostly using the Tarot of a Moon Garden during our work together, because it was the deck I had which was the closest to the 'traditional' RWS.


box, guidebook, deck, cards & sticker

in that group, it quickly became clear that tarot had remained a blind spot for me in terms of my cultural development over the years.  why did all our decks center whiteness?  why did they all feature European ideals of beauty, magick, wonder, virtues, and goals?  why didn't I see myself reflected in my minor arcana experience?  while the majors can be read as more Universal energies, the minors wanted to tell me a story about myself, or a person sitting in front of me, and the Moon Garden deck wasn't giving me the cues I felt I needed to tell it.  so when my searching for something that better reflected the world I had come to understand in the ensuing decades brought me to This Might Hurt, it's no wonder I got all excited...I mean, I a star-crowned chick in a leather jacket astride two motorcycles for The Chariot?  and The Fool is perfect!  this deck is so utterly inclusive and skillfully drawn, I can't wait to get into working with it for my readings! 


ooh, holographic edges!

fresh out of the box, cards are generally a bit sticky and need a good deal of shuffling to feel in any way natural in my hands, so without putting a lot of thought into any particular questions, I just listened to Craig Prues' 108 Sacred Names, thought about the recent full moon and Solstice, made an effort to move the cards through and through each other, and spread them across my cloth.  picking three at random, here's a general energy reading using the guidebook that came with the cards:


6 of Wands, 3 of Pentacles, King of Swords


6 of Wands - this is the 'public recognition of victory' card - we are enjoying the external validation of our endeavors...we worked for them, we got them, believe in them!  but do we feel we need that acknowledgement?  why?  if our goals are based on wanting/needing outside recognition, we could probably spend some time finding better motivating desires...  and while it's perfectly fine to revel in the laurels, it's perhaps best to avoid resting on them.

3 of Pentacles - "teamwork makes the dream work" (lol)!  this is about how we relate to each other in terms of work/group projects.  when we combine forces, we can achieve synergetic growth - if you work mostly alone, consider asking for feedback on your process or work-in-progress.  find ways to build positive collaborative environments.

King of Swords - leadership through unbiased judgement...this person/card is skilled at cutting to the truth.  stern, ethical, & trustworthy, this fair and just leader may exhibit the emotional detachment necessary to function in service to their community.  it is for them to be serious and logical in order to thrive (the Bernie Sanders card, lol!).

wow, what a great reading!  while we can and should take a few moments to say "yay, we did something worth celebrating, though we don't need to flaunt it, and then we're gonna get right back to making the connections we need to really level up within our respective communities.  and if we manage to be logical, fair and rational, then maybe we can model ethical and honest leadership focused in and on those communities.

I really dig this deck - it's whimsical & fun, but also serious in that all the traditional symbolism is there, it's just more easily accessible.  what a breath of fresh air!  I honestly want to do another reading with them right away...book with me today, and ask for this deck!  you'll be glad you did ~


The Fool

Thursday, November 18, 2021

"To David" - from my mother

my mother died 7 1/2 months ago, and today is her birthday.  she would have been 77.  my brother has been sending me random boxes of her things (well, his wife is probably packing and shipping the boxes), and in the last box, there was a folder of Mom's writing both from her school days, and after.  in particular, there were several poems to and about a man named David, and a letter to her father begging to be allowed to come home.  I wish she were here to tell me about what must have been a difficult time in her life, but she chose to take her secrets to her grave.  I hope she found David in the afterlife - whatever that might have looked like for her - and I wanted to give voice to her longing.  she deserved at least that much.  I mean...there could be a reason these particular poems found me, whether my sister-in-law or my brother picked them purposefully out of a pile of other useless crap, or it happened organically, it feels like I was meant to see them, and as is my way, share.

To David

Do you remember, darling, our love?

I do - always, but especially tonite.

We were having a campfire to celebrate harvests end,

And as we sat - I began to sing and strum the guitar.

The people said I was great -

That I sang with real feeling

For the tears stood in my eyes.

I sang, "We Shall Overcome," and they thought the tears were for the Cause.

But they were not - they were for you.

For as I sang I remembered - 

Our days on the picket line, the nite in jail, 

Our first date and all of those thereafter.

I thought of what might have been - 

The children we might have had.

And then I thought of how you left me

And you said, "You'll forget me, but please, not too fast or easily."

I turned away then to hide my tears

And you went -

I watched until you got your first lift

In a chain of many, which took you away forever

Now, the seas separate us

But darling, I'll always belong to you even when I sleep beneath the Israeli sod - and you beneath the the Louisiana soil.

In death, if not in life, we shall overcome and live again to love.

    - Sue Meistrich, 12/5/63, 6:30pm

13 Feb. 1964

I am 19, an upper middle class, white girl.  The only thing that makes me a non WASP is my jewish religion and culture.  I suppose my normal pattern would have been college, job and marriage to a "nice jewish boy", a family, etc.  I would have lived a secure life, nice and easy with no disruptive influences.

I have, however, already broken with the pattern.  The whole thing began on 19 Sept. when I was arrested for civil rights in Syracuse.  At this time I met a man - David - who I fell subsequently in love with.  Now I am faced with a decision.  I have a choice to make between two lives.  The life I mentioned above, conforming to the "normal" pattern and the life I see ahead as David's wife.  I see a life much closer to the raw elements of life.  The element of drink, pot, sex, etc.  I see pure love, but sorrow, misery and heartbreak because of differences of background.  I see a man who loves me, but can offer me nothing in the material senses, a man who is mad at the world, and who must sometimes take out his frustrations on me, but thru it all I see a man in love who is tortured by this love.  I see a life with no security, only love to hold it together.  Children who grow up angry at the world as my husband is.  I see myself cut off from my people and relatives.  

I can now choose between this life of love and the other, a life of security without as much meaning as the other.  my problem - do I come back penitent, to my accustomed life and try to be a person in the "normal" pattern, or do I break with tradition to follow love wherever it leads me.  I cannot make the choice myself and yet I have no one I can turn to who is not prejudiced for one side or the other.  I wait for an event which will make me decide - in the meantime I am in a hellish limbo.

DREAMS  (8 April 1964)

I see the trains in

the yards going- 

god knows where.

And I long to jump

on one and go with it,

But I go home - to a bed

with sheets.

I hear my man- broke,


Come with me,

I have nothing but- come.

But I go home- where the dog

eats better than him.

I read the poet who tells

me to catch the winds of

destiny wherever they drive

the boat-

But it is too late.

I am a solid citizen- shit!!!

11:30 PM Aug. '70

When does it stop hurting - if ever?

When do longings die - or do they?

Why must I stop seeking

How long will I cry.

If tomorrow I see David

What then will I say

Look out poss - whats to ya

Come lets go away


But, now I have a husband - proper

Now I have a son

And a daughter - also proper

Will I never, ever win.

When I feel youth around me

With their psychedelic colors

Searching, crying, learning, trying

Then my heart cries from within

Come and hear what I have suffered

Hear of battles never won

Know that I will feel forever

Tho the things be dead & gone.

Its a long way till we finish

All the things that we must do

And in the end are only

things so dead & gone


memories will I cherish

in the dark & secret nite

but never will I give up

the long & hurtful fite

in my pillow will I smile

at a face that's long gone by

but mostly I remember

and in the dark I cry.

My Mother

My mother died the other day, and while going through her papers I suddenly found the reason for the far away look in her eyes she had every July, my mother hated July, I learned the reason for the black mark on the calendar in her private date book every July 16th.  

My mother was once beautiful, I know I have seen many pictures of her.  She was a brilliant woman and none of us knew why she had never finished college and become a plain housewife.  Now I know.  I have read her diaries and now I understand her as I never did when she lived.  

She was a free girl beautiful and reflective, able to find the beauty in the everyday things of the world we all take from granted and never really see.  She saw them, she could be transfixed by the trees against the sky, or sit up all night and watch the play of the air and the stars.  She loved storms, wild storms, when the snow and the wind and the trees lash at each other and the forces of nature threaten to overwhelm us.  She loved to watch a hurricane or a tornado and often would not take shelter but watch and revel in the passions of the world.  She found in them an answer to her own passionate nature, unbridled and untamed.

My mother loved then, she loved a man, she loved him with all the force of her nature and she allowed her passion to rage unchecked.  But she always knew that if they were to marry they would destroy each other.  She did destroy him in the end, he followed her to the city and became an addict, I don't know what became of him for she suddenly stops writing of him and yet every once in a while she mused in her diary about meeting him again and she admits to herself that she would once again follow him and leave her family, her husband and her children.  As I said she loved with all her being.

It was after she left this man that she met him.  The other one.  she never loved him. that she knew, but she conceived a child by him.  She was too proud to marry a man she did not love and so she bore the child and the burden of unwed maternity alone.  She left him with her head held high, and he never saw the scars on her soul.  He never knew how her arms longed for the child she could not have, the child she saw only once in her life, the tiny infant daughter we never knew about.  Never once during her life did he say anything about it, but her eyes grew dark every July and she cried.  

She wrote about an Independence Day weekend that she walked the streets of the city, finding no one to speak to, no place to have a meal, her large belly and unringed hand prevented her from going in to a nice restaurant and her pride prevented her from asking assistance.  She wrote how she slept in a downtown fleabag hotel until the time came to bear the child she had suffered for, and how when it was over she prayed for help to live the rest of her life without the child.  She wrote of the long days she spent looking at each baby she came near wondering if it was hers and knowing that she had no right to think of it, no right to wonder about its new parents or its life.  She wrote each July of what her daughter would be doing now, and followed the age of her child faithfully all her life, but she never said a word to me.  

The following year she met and married my father and settled down to an outwardly respectable life.  She had children who she raised with all the love she had left in her but something had died in her and she was no longer the wild girl she had been before.  She was a good mother and a good wife.  She and my father lived together in peace and happiness for many years and never a word to us about the weight on her heart, the burden she bore alone.

My mother died the other day and now I know why she hated July.

*it's a little weird to hear her write in what's supposed to be my voice, and assume my feelings.  I never noticed my mother liking or hating any month over any other, and I never knew the 16th was a hard day for her.  I does happen to be my half-sister's birthday, so I guess that answers that one.  Mom eventually finished college and ended up with two Bachelor's degrees and two Master's degrees, and there's nothing shameful about being a housewife, 'plain' or any other kind, in my opinion (Mom also had a long and lucrative career as a librarian).  she did not strike me as someone who cared much for the weather, past being inside when it didn't agree with her, which was often, though she did enjoy waking up in the early hours of the day when meteor showers tend to happen, and I did appreciate that about her.  while it sounds to me like her friend David came with some serious red flags, I can respect that from 19 through 26 she thought he was the great love of her life.  did she continue to pine for him after all the long years?  or did there come a point in time when the 30 years she spent living, loving, and fighting with my dad eventually overshadow David's memory?  I wish there was more to read, but what I've shared here is the bulk of what I was given, aside from a few other poems and letters.  she did eventually tell me about her other daughter, probably just over 10 years ago when my own baby born out of wedlock was in Kindergarten, and she had found her.  she wanted us to meet, and so we did.  I think she's a cool lady, and I call her my half-sister.  her mom, the woman who raised her, thanked my mom for completing her family.  I think it's sweet, I'm glad it had a happy ending for my mom, and I hope it brought joy to my half-sister and her mom, too.  it's sad to think how much more we could have shared with each other if my mom had managed to parent more from a place of love than a place of fear, but she did what she could with what she had, and she did her best, just like most of the rest of us.  so many lost chances, so many missed opportunities for understanding, healing, and communication.  people - talk your stories.  you never know which ones may make a difference in someone's life.  I wished I'd known more about my mom...I wish she'd felt empowered to tell me more about who she was.  either way, I loved her.  

💙 💜 💙