The Mind Reader, Pearl, and other stories

The Mind Reader

 

My mission in life is to read your mind and help grant your wishes. Mind you, I don’t have the power to grant them myself  –  I’m not a genie. I just help you. I take a wish you’re desperate about and hand it to Mercury. Mercury in turn hands it to his dad, the powerful Sun. The Sun gets all the info he needs about you from Merc and then looks at your wish. He looks at you, your reality and your wish, and then it’s KAZAAM! You get your wish modified to match, suit and fit you. You may not recognize your wish right away, but you will later on, in hindsight.

My name’s Otis, by the way. I’m a pigeon and I’m Mercury’s sacred bird.

My mom and dad built their nest in an elevator shaft under construction. They built it way up high, thinking that the work being carried out would not reach their level until after their eggs had hatched. They were wrong. One morning, work began all around them and they were forced to abandon their nest. It just so happened that I hatched out of my egg that very same morning. A lift mechanic saw me and took pity on me. He kept me safe and took me home with him later that day.

“What are you going to call your pigeon?” the other mechanics asked him.

“Otis,”  he said, and everyone agreed it was the most appropriate name. Otis was the company they worked for.

The lift mechanic who saved me became my human dad. He read up on pigeons and raised me, and I ended up looking like him or him like me. We were both bald and shimmery.  I could hear his thoughts as if he were speaking them out loud. He was happiest when his work took him above ground where he could enjoy the scenery, but this happened rarely. He mostly had to work at ground or below ground level which he hated; it made him feel claustrophobic. When I was able to fly, I could hear him wish that he could fly with me. He wished he could get a bird’s eye view of the city.

There was something I wanted and something I was sure of. I wanted my human dad to be happy and I was sure that the sun was the most powerful force on the planet, so I began to take my dad’s wish to the sun. I would fly every morning towards the sun, cooing my dad’s wish to him.

“Merc! Go find out what that pigeon is cooing about,” the Sun called.

“But dad-“

“Go!  Honestly, Merc, why do I always have to repeat myself twice!”

“Sorry dad!” said Merc, putting his mega phone away and heading the pigeon’s way.

When Merc met Otis, he knew he was a special pigeon. He wasn’t a homing pigeon carrying someone’s written message home; he wasn’t flying on instinct.  He was a pigeon cooing his own message to the sun, a pigeon with self-direction.

“My human dad’s wish is to have a bird’s eye view of the city,” Otis told Merc. “I entrust you with his wish. Please give it to your dad.”

“I will,” said Merc, and he turned back and gave the wish to his dad.

“Find out all there is to know about the pigeon’s dad – his strengths, weaknesses and his style,” the Sun told Merc. “Then I’ll see what to do about the wish.”

Sometime later, an old friend dropped by to visit the pigeon’s dad at the Otis construction site.

“Hey, old pal,” said the pigeon’s dad. “Long time no see.”

“Hey, bud, you interested in operating a tractor snow plough? The city’s hiring.”

“Sure,” said the pigeon’s dad on impulse. “I’ll give it a try.”

When the pigeon’s dad climbed inside the snow plough, he marvelled at the city view. He fell in love with the vehicle and the job. He enjoyed the altitude and the solitude. This was where he wanted to be and this was what he wanted to do. He had found happiness at last.

I was glad to see my dad so happy, but he was now working all night and sleeping all day and I was left to fend for myself. I wasn’t doing a very good job at it and was beginning to feel hungry, cold and miserable, when Mercury came to my rescue. Merc plucked me off the roof of the snow plough and said, “Listen, pigeon, my phone doesn’t always have  good reception and I often mishear people’s wishes. How about we work together? You tell me what people are wishing for and I’ll go tell my dad.”

“Sure,” I replied.

“Perfect,” said Merc. “You’re coming with me.”

That’s how I became Mercury’s sacred bird, and that’s how I got my mission in life. I read your mind and help grant your wishes. Not the futile ones. Just the ones you desperately need to uplift you.

 

“Wait a second, Otis,”  Red interrupted him. “What about us?”

“Wait a second. What do you mean, what about us?”

“That whole section about our planets crossing paths, and people making tangible plans to make a wish come true.”

“That’s people using free will. The wishes I’m talking about here are by the grace of the Sun.”

“Ahhh… You should tell them my story, Otis.”

“Okay, but you fill in the parts I don’t know.”

“Honk,” said Red.

He was a goose among geese, and all he ever wanted was a proper name to distinguish himself from the rest of his flock. He got what he wanted, but it came with a price. He woke up one morning and found a –

“Actually, two kids were playing dare. Next thing I know, one kid is running towards me and I end up with a red pair of glasses hanging from a croakie around my neck.”

When the red metallic glass frames glinted in the sun, the whole flock turned to look at him. “What’s that, goose?’ they inquired, walking around him, looking at the glasses.

“What’s that metal thing you got there, goose?”

“Where did it come from, goose?”

“Does it hurt, goose?”

“Hey Red, want us to pull it off?”

“Why don’t you roll around a bit, Red. Maybe it’ll come off on its own.”

They started calling him Red and it made him feel majestic. Even when they made fun of him, they called him Red. He had a name at last! No matter how uncomfortable he felt with the glasses around his neck, there was no way he was getting rid of them. If he took them off, he’d be back to being a simple goose among geese. No way!

The flock wanted to know if he could fly with them. He was the strongest bird in the flock and often led the V-formation through thick and thin. Would he be able to lead them the same way with those glasses?

The truth is –

“I couldn’t. The glasses disrupted the smooth flow of air on my body. The croakie tickled my neck and the glasses dangled and distracted my vision. I had to become physically stronger to overcome the air disruption and mentally stronger to tune out the new sensations.”

So he started a rigorous training program on his own. At first, fear slowed him down – the fear of losing his glasses while flying. Say, Red, how did you overcome that?

“I don’t think I ever did; I just managed it.”

When he was ready, he led his flock like he never had before. He was stronger in every way; he had better concentration, and he was more confident. But then the sun challenged him –

“Not me. My mates…”

The glint from the metal frames struck their eyes, blinding them. They lost their bearings and began to fall. Red knew what he had to do. He dove and twirled until the croakie slid down his neck, over his head, and the glasses dropped. Free of them, he helped his mates make an emergency landing.

The moment Red touched ground, he sensed danger. His mates were busy flapping their wings and ridding themselves of loose feathers, when Red sounded a honk of alarm. Only then did his mates sense the danger they were in. “We’re flying on the count of three!” Red cried. “Honk! Honk! Honk!” The flock went up in the air, seconds before a pack of coyotes pounced on a gaggle of geese that was no longer there.

Red led the flock to a safe destination. He had lost his glasses and his proper name, but not the qualities he had acquired during his training. He did not allow background noise to interfere with his instincts, and he did not show signs of fatigue after a long journey. The flock came to rely on him for protection and guidance. He wasn’t just that goose; he was that goose, the one with the majestic presence.

One day, Red was dozing off in a field with the rest of his flock when he heard kids playing. He opened his eyes and became alert when he saw two kids playing dare. Next thing he knew, one of the kids ran up to a female goose and put a necklace around her neck. Red wondered if she had been yearning for a proper name like he had not too long ago.

When the necklace glowed in the sun, the whole flock turned to look at her. “What’s that, goose?” they inquired, walking around her, looking at the necklace.

“What’s that you got around your neck, goose?”

“Where did it come from, goose?”

“Does it hurt, goose?”

“Hey Pearl, want us to pull it off?”

“Why don’t you roll around a bit, Pearl. Maybe it’ll come off on its own.”

They had named her Pearl, and Red remembered how he had felt when they had first named him Red. Nostalgia washed over him and threatened to engulf him when Jupiter came to the rescue.

The great Jupiter gently picked Red up and said, “The Sun told me that you integrated an experience and used it for the good of your flock. You’re just the bird I’ve been looking for, goose. You’re coming with me.”

That’s how Red became Jupiter’s sacred bird.

“Thanks, Otis. You told it better than I could.”

 

Pearl

 

The thought of having a proper name had never crossed her mind. She had never questioned being a goose among geese. On the contrary: her awkward gait, high-pitched honk and short wingspan made her rely on her flock to make up for her deficiencies.

Her favourite moments were when she stood still in a field with all the other geese around her, resting and looking exactly like her. She felt part of a whole. But it was in a moment like this, in a moment of stillness, that she ended up with a strand of pearls around her neck. When her flock called her Pearl, she knew that the magic of anonymity had been broken.

A goose suggested that she roll around a bit to see if the pearls would come off, and she rolled around but nothing happened. The strand of pearls sat snug where her neck met the rest of her body and did not budge. Other geese offered to pull it off, but decided not to when they saw how close it was to her skin; their serrated beaks would have hurt her.

She began to cry, and the female geese shooed the male geese away and surrounded her.

“What’s the matter, Pearl?”

“What’s wrong?”

“Don’t cry.”

With a sob, Pearl said, “My feet are funny; my voice is funny; my wings are too short. How am I going to live up to these pearls?”

“My feet are funny too, Pearl.”

“My voice is funny too, Pearl.”

“My wings are also short.”

“You don’t have to live up to those pearls. Just… enjoy them.”

Pearl cried a little harder and covered her face and neck with her wings.

“Listen, Pearl, why don’t you join the avian Pilates class at sunrise? It’ll help you stand taller, walk straighter and strengthen your wings.”

“We’ll all help you.”

“After class, we can hang out together and practise honking deeper.”

“Honk!”

All the excited honking around her made Pearl feel better. She uncovered her face and neck, and held herself together with the encouragement of the other geese.

Over time, avian Pilates helped her. It did not fix her gait entirely, and it did not lengthen the span of her wings, but Pearl grew comfortable with the way she was. Honking deeper gave her headaches, so she stopped trying to change her voice and just accepted it.

Her favourite moments were when she stood still in a field at night, with all the other geese around her looking at the pearls, admiring their iridescence in the moonlight.

It was on a night like this that she saw the silhouettes of a mother and child grow bigger as they approached her flock. Her instincts told her that the mother was coming to claim the pearls her child had given away.

“Look, mom!’ the child pointed with delight. “There’s the goose I gave your pearls to! Doesn’t she look nice?”

“Yes, she does,” the mother whispered, scared to see so many geese in the field. “Let’s keep it down, sweetie. We don’t want to disturb them.”

The presence of the mother and child stirred the geese and they began to honk at Pearl.

“Are you going to return the necklace, Pearl?”

“Don’t give it back!”

“It now belongs to us!”

Pearl didn’t listen. She waddled up to the mother, and extended her neck until her beak reached the mother’s hand..

The mother stroked Pearl’s head, caressed her long neck and touched her pearls. She was about to take them back, when a rustling sound made her look up. The entire flock was moving towards her.

She let go of the pearls. “You keep them,” she whispered to Pearl. She stood up as calmly as she could, took her child’s hand and started walking back.

“Mom! Does she get to keep them?”

“Yes, she does.”

Excited chatter of a child and excited honks

The Fortune Teller

 

When people meet me for the first time, they always think they’ve seen me before.

“Aren’t you the guy who gives out parking tickets at the college?”

“Didn’t I see you at the skating rink on Friday?”

I don’t know why people find me familiar when my hair is so unusual. Describing it won’t give you a sense of the real thing. You’d have to come and see it for yourself. It’s black and thick and wavy and bouncy, and it grows at an extraordinary rate. My mother used to think that if I cut it, I’d lose my special powers; kind of like Samson losing his strength when Delilah cut his hair.

It all started when I got an origami book and made a paper fortune teller. I put the colours and the numbers, but I left the fortunes blank. I was just a kid, so I don’t remember why I left the fortunes blank; maybe I couldn’t write so well yet. When my mom came home that day, she was distraught. She had bought a pair of shoes and she had lost one of them somewhere between the shoe store and home. She asked me to come and kneel down with her; she wanted us to pray to St. Anthony to recover her lost shoe. I joined her and brought my paper fortune teller with me.

“Choose a colour, mom.”

“Red.”

“Choose a number.”

“Four.”

I lifted the flap, and as I told you, it was blank, but I pretended to read.

“Your shoe is where you parked your car.”

She immediately got up, grabbed me, took us to the parking lot, and there was her shoe.

“Ay santísima Virgen y bendito sea Dios que me han dado un niño con poderes mágicos!” she exclaimed.

I know this sounds like the garbled talk of the Oracle of Embrun, but in essence, my mom was delighted to have a boy with magical powers.

“It must be because of his hair,” she told my dad. “It’s unusual, and nobody in my family and nobody in your family has hair like that. I’m not going to cut it anymore.”

She told everyone she knew about the shoe incident, and soon enough, people started coming to our house every day and at any time to ask me questions.

When I turned twelve, I fell in love with a girl who would not let me kiss her because my hair was too long; it almost reached my calves. I took a pair of scissors and told my mom that if she didn’t cut it, I’d cut it myself, and she got hysterical. My dad intervened and told my mom to line up the neighbours with questions – to test me.

“Cut an inch and have a neighbour ask a question. If the boy gets it right, cut another inch and have another neighbour ask a question, and so on.”

I made a new paper fortune teller with blank fortunes for the occasion, and I got all the neighbours’ questions right.

“Choose a colour.”

“Blue.”

“Choose a number.”

“Three.”

“Ask your question.”

“Where’s my Hawaiian shirt?”

(lifting the flap)  “At the dry cleaner’s.”

“He’s right!”

mom cuts an inch off

“Next!”

I got my haircut and I kissed a girl for the first time when I was twelve, and I had a more normal life after that. My dad made it a rule that nobody could ask me questions except on Thursdays. Thursdays were reserved for mom and her friends. I’d finish my homework and sit down with my paper fortune teller to answer all their questions, and we’d have a potluck supper after that.

This tradition continues to this day. I come home after work on Thursdays, shower, and head over to my parents’. My wife does not interfere. After my mom told her about my exceptional ability, and showed her a box filled with my paper fortune tellers, my wife said that the fortune-telling side of me belonged to my mother and not to her. In the years we’ve been together, she’s never told anyone that I can do what I do, and only once has she asked me to answer questions for her – once when she lost her pearls.

She had put our daughter to bed and had gone to her dressing table to remove her makeup, when she noticed her pearls were missing. She looked around and they were not there. She came to me, scared. Had someone broken into our home? We looked around and everything seemed to be in order. She asked me if I could make a paper fortune teller and answer a question. I made one and asked her, “What colour do you want?”

“White.”

“What number?”

“Seven.”

“What’s your question?”

“Who took my pearls?”

I lifted the flap and had a vision. I saw my wife taking our daughter and her little friend to the field across from our house. My wife sat on a picnic blanket to read a book while the girls played around her. I saw my daughter tell her friend a secret, and I saw her show her friend the pearl necklace she was wearing. The girls chased each other. My daughter’s friend pointed to a goose in the field, and my daughter ran to it, put the necklace around its neck, and ran back. The girls shrieked with laughter.

I told my wife what I had seen. She covered her face with her hands and said, “Oh my god. I’ll go to the field tomorrow… Can I ask you one more question?”

“What colour do you want?”

“Yellow.”

“What number?”

“Five.”

“What’s your question?”

“Will I find them?”

I lifted the flap and saw what was going to happen, but I didn’t tell her all of it. I just said, “Yes, you will.”

She hugged me with relief and I hugged her back. I’d make sure she’d have a new strand of pearls when she came back from the field.

 

I married her because she smelled right. I think people fall in love with people who smell the same. You can go out with a person who shares your background and interests, but if the person doesn’t smell familiar, things don’t work out.

My wife and I have nothing in common. She’s black and I’m white; I love John Lennon and she doesn’t; she’s bookish and I’m not. But when we met, we recognized each other’s smell. We must have the same body chemistry.

I gave her the pearl necklace on our first wedding anniversary. When I helped her put it on, she held her breath and then breathed out with a whistling sound. I had never heard her do that and she said she had never done that before; it was involuntary. She was different when she wore the pearls; her movements were fluid and calm.

We went out for dinner to celebrate, but she hardly spoke. She sat close to me, pearls glistening on her beautiful dark skin, with a faraway look.

“There’s something I’m trying to remember about pearls,” she told me, “but the memory eludes me.”

When she fell asleep that night, I made a paper fortune teller.

Colour? Black.

Number? Eight.

Question? The memory about pearls that eludes my wife.

I lifted the flap, but instead of the words that would usually appear, I had my first vision.

In another life, my wife had been a pearl diver in Japan. They called her ama, woman of the sea.  I saw her hold her breath and dive into the ocean to gather oysters.

The following morning, my wife woke up and told me her dream: She was holding her breath, diving for pearl oysters, gathering them in a basket. Her skin was white. When she resurfaced, she slowly exhaled with a whistle, a sea whistle called isobue.

“You remembered,” I said.

“Yes, I remembered.”

We must have the same body chemistry.

On my way to the jeweller’s to replace the lost necklace, I had a flashback of a childhood conversation between my mom and older sister. My mom was telling her that pearls absorbed people’s thoughts and memories. If you wore someone else’s pearls, their thoughts and memories became yours.

If that was true, I understood why the flock of geese in the field wanted to keep my wife’s pearls. Not only did they come from water, they also held the memories of a woman of the sea.

 

Photograph by Yoshiyuki Iwase (1904-2001)

OP in Love

 

The King of OP was lovesick. He had been lying in bed, unshaven and moaning away, ever since he returned from the Valley of Why.

When the Valley of Y announced that it would officially become the Valley of Why in honour of its great philosophers, the King of OP had rolled his eyes and said, “Boring, boring.” Never did he expect to meet the woman he knew was the one at the name-changing ceremony.

He was drawn to her even though there was nothing striking about her; you could even call her plain. He was drawn to her because she smelled right. He waved to her and beckoned her to come to him, but she ignored him; she turned around, walked away, and took his heart with her.

Now the twin Royal and Loyal scribes could not coax their king out of bed.

“He looks dreadfully unkingly,” Loyal whispered to Royal.

“Better have one of the palace guards fetch El Cristo Negro,” Royal whispered back.

When El Cristo arrived to the palace, he entered the King’s bedchamber and drew the curtains to let the sunlight in. “Rise and shine, Your Highness,” he said.

His Highness responded by hiding under the bed covers.

“I know of a god who can cure a broken heart,” said El Cristo.

His Highness stayed where he was.

“The same god can help bring two people together,” El Cristo continued.

His Highness peeked from under the bed covers.

“Please tell us more about this god, El Cristo,” said Royal, relieved to see the king show interest.

“He’s the wise Op-Yoda, god of philosophy. He is said to have counseled the god of gods to separate the Op-Trinity. The three gods, Op-Pollo, Op-Shiva and Op-Maul, were created by the god of gods as one entity. Their bodies were joined together and they could not act independent of each other. All three had to attend to each and every prayer for help; it was such a terrible waste of god power. The situation reached crisis point when they fell in love. Op-Pollo fell in love with a woman in yellow, Op-Shiva with a woman in blue, and Op-Maul with a woman in red. They tugged and pulled at each other trying to reach the woman they loved. Finally, Op-Yoda intervened and the god of gods separated them.”

 

Dance with me by Devidas Agase

When El Cristo finished his story, the King of OP was sitting up in bed, eager for his life to begin anew.

“Where is the Temple of Op-Yoda?” he asked.

“In the Valley of Why,” El Cristo replied.

“That’s where I met her!” cried the king. “But I don’t know anything about her. I don’t even know her name!”

“I’m sure the Oracle of Why at the Temple of Op-Yoda will help you find her,” said El Cristo.

“My Royal and Loyal scribes! You will go see the Oracle at once!” ordered the king, feeling himself again.

“Yes, Your Majesty!”

“Right away, Sire!”

The twin scribes set off to the Valley of Why immediately. Along the way, they met people who only asked them Why questions.

“Why are you walking in this direction?”

“We’re going to the Temple of Op-Yoda.”

“Why are going there?”

“I’m sorry but the reason is confidential.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“Well, we’re not really sorry…”

“Then why did you say you were?”

They were mentally exhausted by the time they reached the temple doors, but there was no time to waste. They went in as soon as the temple attendant received them.

The Oracle of Why turned out to be a young and articulate student of philosophy.  In fact, he told the scribes that all the students of philosophy took turns being the Oracle. It was a part-time job paid by the university. He sat on a chair with his arms extended, palms up, and asked the scribes to tell them why they sought the counsel of the wise Op-Yoda, god of philosophy.

Royal and Loyal took turns telling the Oracle that their king had fallen in love with a woman he knew nothing about except that she was from the Valley of Why. The king saw her at the name-changing ceremony and knew by her smell that she was the one.  But the woman had walked away from him leaving him lovesick. The king hoped that the god Op-Yoda could help him find her and bring them together.

When the scribes finished talking, they saw a blue clipboard appear in each of the Oracle’s hands.

“Magic!” they cried.

The Oracle gave them the clipboards and said, “You will take a census of the Valley of Why. When you’re at the house where the woman resides, the clipboards will change colour. Collect her information and take it to your king. Op-Yoda has spoken.” He said this and fell asleep.

The temple attendant told the scribes that when the Oracle woke up, he would not remember what had just transpired. The scribes thanked him and left.

They began knocking on doors and conducting the census. The sun was setting when they arrived at the last and final door. They were about to knock when they saw the clipboards change colour. They held their breath and looked at each other wide-eyed.

“We’re here,” whispered Royal.

“Here we are,” Loyal whispered back.

“Ready?”

“I’m nervous. Maybe you should do the talking.”

“Okay. Leave it to me.”

They knocked and a woman answered the door.

 

The scribes understood what the king had seen in her. She wasn’t a beauty, but there was a comfortable softness about her. She had chestnut brown hair and warm eyes, and she smelled like pumpkin pie.

“Madame, we are conducting a census.”

“It’s mademoiselle.”

“Sorry, my dear.”

“Carry on.”

“Your name?”

“Maria.”

“Please indicate your age group: zero to twelve, thirteen to twenty, twenty-one to forty, forty-one to fifty-five – “

“That one.”

“Thank you. How long have you resided in this house?”

“Two years.”

“Previous to that?”

“In the Kingdom of OP. I am originally from OP.”

“Oh! Why did you – (stopping himself and clearing his throat)  Sorry, mademoiselle, that’s none of my business. Your occupation?”

“Philosopher.”

“Thank you. That will be all.”

When she closed her door, the twin scribes sprinted back to OP. They barged into the royal study where the king was having supper with El Cristo.

“We found her, Your Majesty!” they declared.

They recounted the day’s events, and  handed the king the information they had collected on Mademoiselle Maria. The king savoured her name, “Maria, Maria, Maria…” He then realized that he needed a plan.

“How will I –  What will I –  Where will I –  Who will I – ” he said, trying to say something.

The scribes were relieved that their king did not say, “Why will I – ” They were glad that he was not a philosopher king, glad that he stumbled and mumbled, and that he was the way he was.

“How should I proceed?”  asked the king, finding his words at last.

“Publicly, Your Highness,” said El Cristo.

“Have you gone mad, my friend? If she were to reject me, I would be publicly humiliated!”

“But, Sire,” said Loyal, “the only way to procure a woman’s heart is by showing vulnerability.”

“Exactly,” said El Cristo. “You will ride to the Valley of Why and speak to Mademoiselle Maria from the heart.”

“What if I don’t find the right words? You know I have the tongue of a woodpecker,” moaned the king. “Waving and beckoning is so much easier!”

“You could pray to the god Op-Yoda to assist you,” suggested Royal. “He has helped you find her, and I am sure he will help you woo her.”

That settled the matter and preparations were made to ride to the Valley of Why.

The following day, trumpets announced the King of OP’s arrival to the Valley of Why. The king expressed his wish to speak to the gentle Maria, and Maria stepped out of her house.

“Maria, I saw you at the name-changing ceremony, and you turned away from me,” said the king.

“Your Highness, you always turned away from me in the training fields before the Battle of Op-Maul.”

“I’m sorry- What! You were there?” asked the king.

“Yes, from the very beginning.”

“How could I have missed you!”

“You always chose the yoga types, Your Highness.”

The king faltered and silently prayed to the wise Op-Yoda to help him. The prayer worked. He was suddenly inspired to say, “Maria, I am glad that I didn’t choose you back then. Back then, I wasn’t ready to settle down.”

“You choose me now when you’re greying.”

“I was already greying when you saw me in the training fields. I used to colour my hair,” the king explained.

Maria then turned philosophical. “Why me?” she wanted to know.

Op-Yoda prevented the king from saying something like, because you smell of pumpkin pie. The king’s frankness could wait till later. Instead, he temporarily turned the king into a philosophical king.

“Why not you?” the king replied.

“Why not anyone else?” she asked him, raising an eyebrow.

Uh-oh, thought Op-Yoda, philosophy wasn’t going to work. He gave the king the go-ahead.

“Because you smell right to me.”

Maria laughed, “You smell right to me too; your smell reminds me of homemade pumpkin pie.”

The king blushed.

“But I’m not settling down with you; I’m not leaving the Valley of Why,” Maria continued. “I like it here and I’m head of the Oracle training program at the university.”

“But I can’t possibly leave my kingdom!”

“We could spend weekends together…”

“Yes, I suppose,” said the king. “Weekend relationships seem to be the trend. I’ll have a carriage pick you up on Fridays.”

Every Friday afternoon, the past Attendant to the Temple of Op-Pollo, now a gardener at the palace, adorned a carriage with fresh-cut flowers from the royal gardens. The carriage then headed out to the Valley of Why to pick Maria up, but she did not always get inside. If she had too much work, she would send her regrets.

At first, whenever the carriage returned empty of his beloved, the love-sickness would come back and the king would mope around the palace the entire weekend. Worried about the king’s mental state, Loyal and Royal held a private meeting with El Cristo Negro who turned things around in an ingenious way.

El Cristo arrived at the palace on one of those blue and mopey weekends, carrying a wig, a fake beard and moustache, and tennis rackets. He asked His Highness to wear the disguise, and off they went to play tennis at a local tennis club. Then they visited the local pubs and listened to people’s conversations.

These were the same pubs the king had frequented with his ministers back in the days when power had gone to his head. Back then, the king was living it up and not paying much attention to people’s worries and woes. But everything had changed after the Battle of Op-Maul; he had become a more diligent king, and his ministers followed his example. What the people of his kingdom had to say was of interest to him now. What was more, with the disguise he was wearing – the wig and the fake beard and moustache, nobody recognized him and everybody spoke freely.

Listening to his people cured him of his love-sickness. The people of OP wanted more of this and less of that and some of the other, and the king got busy making plans to improve his kingdom.

From then on, every time the carriage returned empty from the Valley of Why, the king went whistling to his growing collection of wigs and fake facial hair, and he whistled some more as he chose his disguise and put it on. He then walked around his kingdom, accompanied by one of his most trusted palace guards – also in disguise. The king’s skin may no longer have been as soft as a baby’s bottom, but he still needed protection; he was the king, after all.

He had come back from such an outing one evening, and was getting ready for bed, when Maria showed up.

“You’re here,” said the king, taking her in his arms.

“Yes,” she said. “I missed you.”

“What about your work?”

“It will have to wait.”

He was about to kiss her when she stopped him. “You look different,” she said, touching his hair. “Are you wearing a wig?”

The king held his breath. He had taken off the fake beard and moustache, but had forgotten to take off the wig.

She pulled it off and ran her fingers through his real hair. “I like you natural,” she told him.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he told her.

They kissed.

 

The Kiss or Silence by Constantin Brancusi, 1907-08

The Apples of his Eye

 

All Op-Pollo had to do was look at a woman, and a full-grown child would spring out of his head with battle cries.

“Op-Pollo just birthed another child,” said Op-Shiva, hearing the din.

“He birthed one early this morning as well,” said Op-Maul, rubbing his sleepy eyes.

Op-Pollo enjoyed looking at women, so you can imagine how many children he had. Literally, thousands. They came quickly, one after the other, and he couldn’t keep up with them, couldn’t tell them apart. But he loved them all and he could count on them to do as they were told.

His children did as they were told because they wanted their dad’s attention; they wanted to be singled out like their brother Fent-Op. Fent-Op was naturally gifted and didn’t have to make an effort to get Op-Pollo’s attention. When he was born, he sprung out of his dad’s head in silence and scored a point. A silent birth! How Op-Pollo wished that all his children could be so discreet!

On that auspicious day, Op-Pollo and his brothers Op-Shiva and Op-Maul, came together to observe the new and silent child. Op-Pollo noticed that he had a fine slit on his forehead.

“It’s called a fent. It will open up in a few hours to reveal his third eye,” said Shiv.

“Cool.” said Op-Maul. “You could call him Op-Fent.”

“Sounds like a cough,” said Shiv.

“How about Fent-Op,” Op-Maul suggested.

“I like that, ” said Op-Pollo. He looked at his child and said, “Your name is Fent-Op.”

As if to show his approval, the child’s third eye opened up completely and travelled in a circle around his head and back to its original place.

“Look at that,” said Op-Maul, “an eye on tracks.”

“I better keep my eye on this kid,” said Op-Pollo. “He has the gift of invisibility like all my other children, but he’s the only one with a- with a-“

“With an all-seeing eye,” said Shiv. “He could be one of those indigo kids they’re talking about.”

In the heavens, Fent-Op’s third eye shone so bright that his brothers and sisters couldn’t sleep at night. Op-Pollo tried to get him to close his eye, with no success. The eye did not have an eyelid. After many sleepless nights, Op-Pollo decided to take Fent-Op down to earth.

On earth, Fent-Op was the size of a tower and he could see far and wide. He’d stand invisible wherever Op-Pollo put him; his third eye travelling around his head like a merry go round. The eye did not shine bright on earth like it did in the heavens. Instead, it would stop in its tracks from time to time and twinkle as if it were detecting something.

“What’s it detecting?” Shiv asked.

“No idea,” said Op-Pollo.

When Fent-Op’s eye stopped right above his left ear and twinkled insistently, Op-Pollo sent his crows in that direction to find out what was going on.

The crows came back cawing, “The Good City! The Good City!”

“Oh-boy-oh-boy!” Op-Maul jumped up and down with excitement. “Something’s wrong in the Good City! Send me there! Send me there!”

“Let me study this first,” said Op-Pollo with authority.

People living in the Good City always did the right thing when no one was watching. They abided by the rules of their family, education, profession, government; you get my point. They were good people, but they were all beginning to feel the weight of being so unnaturally good. In fact, many were ready to break out of the framework that confined them.

“Fent-Op detected an imbalance, and the crows told us where it is,” concluded Op-Pollo.

“What kind of imbalance?” asked Shiv.

“Too much living by the rules, and not enough self-expression.”

“Must be stifling,” said Op-Maul.

“It is,” confirmed Op-Pollo. “The Good people are desperate for change.”

“We can help them,” said Op-Maul, itching for an adventure. “We can help them loosen up the framework, and we can teach them how to play.”

“If we don’t intervene,” reasoned Shiv, “they may end up breaking down the framework and be left with nothing.”

Op-Pollo sat quietly, thinking.

Sensing reluctance, Op-Maul encouraged his brother, “Come on Op-Pollo! Let’s do this!”

“Wait a second,” Op-Pollo replied. “What does this say about the heavens? Fent-Op’s eye shines there like a beacon light,” he pointed out. “There must be an imbalance among my own children.”

Shiv and Op-Maul froze. How could they have not seen this!

“I need to talk to them,” Op-Pollo told them.

“All of them?” Op-Maul asked.

“All of them.”

“Visible?” Shiv asked.

“Invisible,” said Op-Pollo. “Tell them to meet me in the Good City.”

His children gathered in the Good City’s greenbelt, hugging trees and waiting for their dad to speak.

Flanked by his brothers, Op-Pollo addressed them. “Children,” he said, “I know I have a hard time remembering your names, but you’re all precious to me.”

His children cheered.

“People living in the Good City need our help,” Op-Pollo continued. “They need to learn how to loosen up and play, and you’re going to teach them how to do that.”

His children were ecstatic.

Shiv and Op-Maul pulled Op-Pollo aside and asked him what in the heavens was going on. Op-Pollo explained that they were going to fix two imbalances at the same time. If his kids and the Good people needed to learn how to loosen up and play, they would learn together.

“Wouldn’t that be like the blind leading the blind?” asked Shiv.

“Of course not,” said Op-Pollo. “We’ll be leading the way. I’m beginning to feel a bit stifled myself by my role of god in charge. Time to step out of the mold and have some fun.”

“Hear hear!” cried Op-Maul hugging his brothers.

Op-Pollo addressed his children again, “You will teach the Good people, and your uncles and I will guide you.”

“Like the Greek gods!” said one of his children.

“They’re not Greek!” said another.

“What kind of gods are you, anyway?” asked a third.

“We’re Yin Yang gods. We bring balance to the people in a Yin Yang sort of way,” Op-Pollo explained.

“Ahhh,” said his children.

“I discovered that Fent-Op’s eye detects imbalances, and he has shown me the people in most desperate need of a more balanced life.”

“Is Fent-Op the apple of your eye?” his children wanted to know.

“I acknowledge that I think he’s special, but I wouldn’t put him above you. You are all the apples of my eye,” said Op-Pollo with emotion.

His children cheered.

“Hey, dad!” called one of the children. “Exactly how are we going to help these Good people?”

“By adding colour to their lives. You’ll be their Yin Yang Angels.”

 

Red snow plow with colourful handprints, City of Noblesville

Yin Yang Angels 

 

Yin Yang Angels and Scorpio

Maria of why was a Scorpio and Scorpios know when you’re lying or keeping a secret. They stand in front of you, but their soul leaves their body and takes a dip into your heart – that’s how they know. The tactful ones don’t call you out on it; they wait for you to confess.

When the King of OP waved to Maria at the name-changing ceremony, she walked away feeling hurt. She had worked so hard in the training fields for him to notice her, but whenever he would glance over at her, she could hear him think, she’s not my type. He noticed her now when he was growing old. Well, she thought as she walked home, he wasn’t the only one growing old; so was she. She was growing old and she had become used to being alone. She didn’t know whether she could summon up the confidence to be in a relationship, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a beau.

The day the king came to tell her in his tongue-tied sort of way that he wanted to be with her, she was suspicious of him until he told her the truth: that she smelled right to him. The moment he spoke those words, she saw a bunch of farmers running after an enormous pumpkin rolling down a hill in the distance. They were there and they were gone in a blink of an eye, but it made her laugh and lower her defences. That’s when she blurted out to the king that his smell reminded her of pumpkin pie, and he blushed. It was the blush that gave her the confidence she needed to change her life and step into a relationship.

Now she had caught him wearing a wig. She had walked into his bedchamber when he was not expecting her, and he was getting into bed with a wig on. She knew he was hiding something from her, but she would wait for him to tell her. Whatever it was, she wanted in.

 

Yin Yang Angels and Aquarius

The King of OP was an Aquarius and Aquas know who they are and live accordingly – even if you don’t like it. They will be part of a group as long as the group does not swallow their individuality. They will share their time and attention and ideas with you – but stay away from their secrets.

The king knew that Maria sensed a story behind the wig. When they kissed, he could feel her trying to suck the story out of him, but he did not give in to her wordless game. He would wait until she asked him directly.

In all honesty, he had been annoyed when she showed up in his bedchamber unexpectedly and unannounced. He corrected his palace guards when she returned to the Valley the Why. He wanted to hear trumpets when she came to the palace.

He owed his good friend El Cristo the cure for his love-sickness. His new pastime had helped his desperate desire to merge with another subside. When he came back into himself, he thanked the gods that Maria had chosen not to settle down with him. Until she came into his life, he did not know how much he loved his own space and his own rules. He didn’t mind making compromises on weekends, but he wasn’t ready to make them forever, at least, not yet.

He remembered standing outside her house, trying to convince her to come into his life. When pretending to be a philosopher wasn’t working, he had gazed into the distance and seen a bunch of farmers struggling to carry an enormous pumpkin up a hill. The labour of it had inspired him to drop philosophy and get real.

 

One Yin Yang Angel to another

“I can’t believe we went through all that training just to carry and chase after a pumpkin.”

“You know, sometimes the small things make all the difference.”

 

Yin Yang Angels and Leo

El Cristo Negro was a Leo and Leos rescue people. Whether you cry in distress or you cry wolf, Leos hear your cry and surge to assist you. They believe you. The Sun is their engine, and if you trick a Leo, you trick the Sun; trick the Sun, and chances are he’ll take his sunglasses off and moon you.

When the gods chose El Cristo to assist the King of OP, El Cristo got down on his knees, kissed the ground and thanked the gods for their trust. It would be an honour to serve them, he said. The gods gave him strict instructions on how to proceed, and advised him to ride to the Kingdom of OP in a snowstorm. The snow would fill all the pot holes along the way and prevent his horse from getting injured.

El Cristo’s first impression of the king was that he was a capricious man. He almost burst out laughing when the king had a tantrum and threw himself on the ground – but a vision stifled his laughter. Some kind of mean-looking demon-angel with greying wings appeared and gave him an even meaner look. It was brief, but it sobered him up. He told the king he’d be back at dawn and left the palace as quickly as he could.

He got to know the king and to care for him in the training fields. He loved seeing him grow stronger and feel good about himself. When the people of OP joined their king in the training fields, he knew he was doing something important there and it made him work harder. His biggest reward was hearing the king and his people tell him that he made a difference. They always invited him to spend the night in the fields with them, but he never did; he knew the gods were watching.

 

Yin Yang Angels and Taurus

The twin Loyal and Royal scribes were Taureans and Taureans know when to turn the page. If they have solved a problem, they turn the page. If they cannot find a solution to the problem, they turn the page. They know that the best things in life happen before they open the book.

Like when his wife’s alarm clock went off and Royal asked her to stay in bed with him a little longer, and she did.

And when Loyal went home to have lunch with his wife, and they discussed what they would grow in their garden come spring.

They know that the best things in life are the simple things, and that you need to be practical and put two and two together.

When the twin brothers were charging against Op-Maul, they saw a blue carriage and a red carriage parked close together but with the horses facing in opposite directions. The coachman in the blue carriage and the coach-woman in the red carriage were in such a passionate embrace, they fell off their carriages into the space in between.

“Look at that,” said Loyal, huffing and puffing, and pointing at the lovers now rolling on the ground.

“Look at that,” said Royal, huffing and puffing, and pointing at Op-Maul. “We don’t stand a chance.”

That’s when they knew what to do. They took ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ out of their money bags, and the  moment they joined the two silver tear-drops together to form a perfect circle, Op-Maul disappeared into a sinkhole.

 

One Yin Yang Angel to another

“I kind of like it better now,” she said, standing up and dusting off her skirt.

“Yeah, me too.”

 

Yin Yang Angels and Pisces

Have you ever been to a place and felt danger? Not because you saw or heard or smelled something – nothing you could really reason with; you just felt it. It’s that feeling you cannot explain; call it a hunch. It’s visceral and primitive.

If you ever go to a place and feel danger, a Pisces will tell you to trust your intuition and leave. There is wisdom in retreating from rather than confronting danger.

All the Oracles of Embrun have been a Pisces, because Pisces is not afraid to admit that there is another dimension to life. Anyone else hearing the words of Op-Pollo would think, what kind of garbled talk is that! But not a Pisces; a Pisces will make sense of the incomprehensible.

The old Oracle knew when Op-Pollo wanted him to retire. The day the Loyal and Royal scribes came to the Temple on behalf of their king, Op-Pollo’s message was purposefully more cryptic than ever before. He knew then that the god was setting him up for retirement. When the old Temple Attendant told him it was time to cast the runes and find a new Oracle with better hearing, he did not protest. No use battling with a god.

The runes told the old Oracle to follow the blue rider, and he did. The blue rider led him to the Valley of Eye, and stood briefly next to a woman draped in red before disappearing. The woman was dipping her feet in the footprint’s holy water, and the old Oracle approached her.

“You’re here,” she said, as if she had been expecting him.

“Yes. Will you take my place as Oracle in the Temple of Op-Pollo?”

“Yes, I will,” she said. “No use battling with a god.”

 

Blue Horse by Franz Marc, 1911

Yin Yang Angels and Sagittarius

Remember Xavier running away from Jupiter? He was a Sagittarius, and it took a planet to pin him down. Sagis will not be tamed by common laws that change like opinions. They will only be tamed by laws higher than themselves, laws that withstand the passage of time: the law of love, the law of friendship, the law of being helpful.

The tourist who was the retired police officer recognized the shadow chasing Xavier. That same shadow had chased him down when he was young and wandering around, wondering about life.  He too had collapsed out of breath on the ground, and when he dared turn around, the shadow was gone and he saw two cops looking at him.

“Kid, you okay?”

“Not scared of a shadow, are you?”

“Don’t tell anyone, but that shadow chooses you to become one of us.”

“Yeah, if it could talk, it’d say something like, that kid will know how to put random details aside and get to the heart of the matter.”

“Do you need a drink of water?”

“Can we give you a ride home?”

“Come check out our new Ford!”

When he got into their car, he felt the light of Jupiter shining on him.

The retired police officer didn’t talk to Xavier about Jupiter’s shadow in front of all the other tourists. He waited until the kid called him first thing Monday morning.

 

One Yin Yang Angel to another

“Did you know that it’s a very serious offense to impersonate a police officer?”

“Yeah, but we’re angels; we’re above the common law.”

 

Yin Yang Angels and Gemini

What if the Detective in the play Yin Yang Eyes was a Gemini? He would fit the profile: He had a quicksilver mind; he was good at gathering information; he spoke convincingly; he brought people together; he enjoyed driving all kinds of vehicles; he was good with electronic devices; and there was a duality about him. He was a detective gone astray in a funny sort of way.

Geminis build a bridge between opposing pairs and explore both sides – they are curious by nature. Yin matters and Yang matters. Both perspectives need to be explored, and this exploration transfers to how their mind works: they will say one thing and then the opposite, and they will mean both.

Geminis make good Yin Yang Angels.

 

Yin Yang Angels and Virgo

The police officer who took care of Barnett Newman was a Virgo.

The first time the young officer went to look for Barnett Newman at the park, Newman asked him to lie on the grass and tell him what he saw up there. The officer said he saw the moon and the stars, but his answer was not good enough for the artist. The artist wanted to know, “What else?”

The young officer was about to ask Newman about his mental health, when he actually saw something that made him sit up. There was a police cruiser up in the sky with all the windows rolled down. The cruiser was crowded with people in uniform waving at him. He squinted trying to read the number on the car, when he realized how absurd that was:  he was trying to read the number of a flying car. He burst out laughing.

Thank goodness his laughter coincided with Newman telling him not to worry, that he didn’t see any UFOs up there. The artist must have thought that he was laughing at his comment.

After dropping Newman home, he wondered about his own mental health. I mean, life was logical and there was a reason behind everything, right? So what could be the reason behind a flying car? A flying police car, on top of that! He couldn’t ask anyone, couldn’t talk about it. He was a police officer, for heaven’s sake! He dealt with reality, the hard reality of life.

He went to the library to look at a book on UFOs. This was totally out of his comfort zone and it didn’t feel right. He put the book back on the shelf. He had to walk away and accept that there were some things that could not be explained. He was about to leave, when the librarian tapped him on the shoulder. The art history class was about to begin in the library’s conference room. It was free of charge. Would he like to join?

A flying car, the library, an art history class. Understanding Barnett Newman. There was a reason after all.

 

One Yin Yang Angel to another

“What was the song we were listening to up there?”

“The Logical Song. Supertramp.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDiuQCz46dw

 

Yin Yang Angels and Cancer

Samuel of Eye was a Cancer. He longed to surrender his soul to a place that he could protect and defend, and that would protect and defend him in return. The Valley of Eye was not that place; it was not his Ithaca. He grew up there, but he did not feel connected to its customs and traditions.

Everything turned around when he went to the sacred city of Embrun. He had a déjà vu when he entered the Temple of Op-Pollo. The moment he stepped inside, he felt that he had been there before. His conversation with the Oracle began when the crow flew from his shoulder to hers. He was deeply moved when she told him and his group that it was the god Op-Pollo who had walked through their valley; the footprint was his. He felt ashamed to have tried so hard to destroy it, and if he had been alone, he would have knelt down to ask the god for forgiveness.

Before leaving the Temple, he heard the crow caw, and he turned to look at it. The crow flew from the Oracle’s shoulder to the Temple Attendant’s shoulder and turned white. His teacher had once told his class that seeing a white crow was prophetic: Here lies your future, it was meant to say. If his future was in a temple, he would build one in the Valley of Eye.

 

One Yin Yang Angel to another

“How did you do that?”

“That wasn’t me; that was dad.”

 

Yin Yang Angels and Libra

Making a choice is not easy for Libras. They do not want to leave anything or anyone out. They see the good and the beautiful in both the ordinary and the extraordinary, and making a choice can sometimes feel like committing an injustice.

Jane of Eye was a Libra, and when Samuel asked her to move to the sacred city of Embrun with him, she couldn’t answer. He was asking her to make a choice between him and her life in the Valley of Eye. She needed time to think.

She thought the Star of Op-Pollo helped her find a solution, a way out of having to make a definite choice. She had set the Star in a ring and was admiring it, when she saw a person standing outside her window holding up a calendar – offering it to her. She shook her finger and said no, thank you. Why would someone be handing out calendars in the middle of the year… She looked at the ring one more time before putting it in its box, and suddenly knew what she would do: Samuel would be working at the temple six days a week, and the gemstone had six rays. She’d go to the sacred city and be his ray on the seventh day.

 

Gas by Edward Hopper, 1940

Yin Yang Angels and Capricorn

Otis’ dad was a Capricorn.

I woke up this afternoon and went on my computer to check the pigeon-keeper forum. People usually leave me a ton of questions. When I brought Otis home, I did so much research on pigeons, that I ended up becoming a source of information for pigeon keepers all over the world.

Otis. What a pigeon. He’d look at me as if he could read my mind. He’d fly away every morning and I’d always hope he’d find his own pigeon family, but he’d come back every time, faithfully. I guess he had no choice when I switched jobs.

I love my job. I’m not afraid of hard work and long hours. I probably handle those snow-clearing machines better than anyone. I have endurance and I am a committed man.  

Something happened the other night. I saw a light at the bottom of a hill. It looked like the rotating beacon light that’s on my machine. I thought I’d check it out in case somebody needed help. I left my warning lights on and climbed down the hill. When I got closer, I heard music and saw people dancing around a bonfire. The light I had seen was the light of a bonfire; imagine that. When I showed up, people took my arm and invited me to dance.  

I’m a good dancer.

 

The Dance by Henri Matisse, 1910  

Yin Yang Angels and Aries 

I’m going to let it go this time, but for future reference, just remember that Aries comes first. You misrepresent us when you leave us till the end. 

They call me Bride of the Forest and I’m an Aries. Never try to extinguish the fire of Aries. 

When I inherited the Valley of Me, the neighbouring valleys told me that I’d have to tame it before I could live there. But taming it was the last thing I was going to do. My valley is the only one covered with virgin forests. It is as wild now as it was in the beginning. Why tame something so beautiful. When the neighbouring valleys objected, I told them to live and let live. When they objected again, my people and I went to them with a declaration of war. We must have scared them, because they backed down with peace offerings. We are a fierce people. 

The Valley of Me is rich in wildlife and only the brave live here. It is our training ground. We learn to recognize danger and we work on conquering fear panic. We improve our judgement and reflexes, and we weigh when to war and when to nurture. We also offer eco tours and have spectacular hiking trails. Our neighbours have come to appreciate us. 

When the day is done, we party; Aries know how to party. It was at an outdoor party that I once saw angels drop from the sky. I was in such awe that I fell to the ground and asked god to marry me to this land. Ever since then, the people of Me call me Bride of the Forest. 

 

One Yin Yang Angel to another 

“Wasn’t her valley called the Valley of M?” 

“Yeah, it was. When she requested a name change, I had it processed in a day. Valley of Me sounds better.” 

Cazimi: In the Heart of the Sun

Venus

In ancient times, when I rose in the morning before daybreak, the Greeks called me Phosphoros the Morning Star. They said that I lit up the hearts of men and women alike and awakened sensuality. When I rose at night after sunset, they called me Hesperos the Evening Star, and said that I reined in sensuality and made people sensible.

When they realized I was the same star, they called me Venus, because I can be both sensual and sensible, like you.

When I’m the Morning Star and become visible in the sky before sunrise, people feel impulsive, bolder, and get easily carried away by their feelings. It’s different when I’m the Evening Star and become visible in the sky after sunset.  People take time to reflect on their feelings,  to think things over before they act.

The power of my planet to influence you  is stronger when I’m the Morning Star and the Sun is behind me. When he’s behind me, he cannot keep my power in check. The Bride of the Forest met Gisela’s boyfriend when I was the Morning Star; she raised her eyes to look at him and was love-struck. Chances of this happening when I’m the Evening Star are slim. There have to be other influences in the sky to make up for the power I lose when I trail behind the Sun.

Then come those rare moments when I neither lead nor follow the Sun, but appear to be next to him, in his heart. I cazimi the Sun and we join forces for you to have a good time, to feel sociable and attractive in the company of friends. You sit in your own throne so to speak, and feel like a star.

  

Venus transiting the Sun – image courtesy of NASA 

 Mars 

The ancients did not confuse me with anyone. When they looked at me with their naked eye, they knew that I was Mars, fierce warrior and gatekeeper of your life. It is my energy you tap into to defend and protect yourself.

Out of the three personal planets that accompany you in your daily life, I’m the only one who is independent enough to move away from the Sun. Venus and Mercury stay tied to him, but I am free. I am independent and free,  and when you grow up, I encourage you to be like me.

When you move away from home, Venus preserves your family ties and Mercury keeps the lines of communication open; but the moment you step outside, you step outside with me.

I demand excellence from you. I demand Arete:  not just raw talent, but the repeated practice that makes you be the astronaut or the tree trimmer par excellence.  

Mercury cazimi the Sun happens 4 to 6 times a year, and Venus cazimi happens every 11 months. I wander off pretty far, and I cazimi the Sun only once every 2 years. The Sun is your spark of life, your joy and vitality, and when I join him, we  give you a boost of energy and courage, and we push you forward to do something daring.

 

Mercury

Hey guys, I’m Merc, and like my brother said, I’m tied to the Sun – but more about that later.

I’m your planet of information and communication, and I rule Gemini first and Virgo second. Let me tell you why. If Gemini says he needs a fresh coat of paint, and I send him a home reno  company; he’ll  be delighted. If Gemini says his car is ready for the junkyard, and I send him a tow truck; he’ll be delighted. If I do the same thing to Virgo, she’ll tell me that I should have consulted with her before doing anything.  She’s all about research and pondering things through and being organized, and organization is not my thing. I do free-association better, and so does Gemini; that’s why I rule him first.

I’m tied to the Sun because without us, you’re lost. I’m not just about information and communication and free-association – I’m your intelligence.

If you’re looking for the solution to a problem or can’t find your glasses or are missing a piece of information, wait till I cazimi the Sun. That’s your light bulb moment;  the day you find your solution, your glasses, and the missing piece of the puzzle.

So  my brother can brag about being independent and free all he wants. Independence and freedom don’t count without intelligence. I stay close to the Sun so you can be intelligent about your freedom and independence.

When I cazimi the Sun, we enlighten you.

 

“Logos Hermes” Roman copy after a Greek original of the 5th century BCE 

Venus

First of all, the ancients did not confuse me with someone else. They  saw Phosphoros and Hesperos at different times and did not know that both were me. I like it that they saw me as two separate stars, that they perceived my dual nature before discovering that I am one Yin Yang planet. They made me whole when they named me Venus.

Second of all, I’m not just about sensual pleasures and keeping the house clean (so put the broom away). I also rule every emotion there is between and beyond love and hate.

The Sun is the source of life, and when you connect with the Sun, you feel a sense of well-being; call it happiness. I stay close to the Sun so that you always remember what it’s like to feel happy. Whenever you feel anything else, you do the things you need to do to go back to feeling well: you forgive and forget, or you ask for forgiveness; you make a phone call and re-connect or you kiss and make up; you exercise and eat well. You strive to be happy, and for all the work that you do to get there, I reward you when I’m in the heart of the Sun.

Like Mercury, I rule two astrological signs: Taurus and Libra, but I would never put one in front of the other. I rule them equally but differently.

 

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, 1484 

Mars

The ancients may not have confused Venus with someone else, but they were confused about her. I’m still confused about her, and we’ve been together for a very long time. I never know who I’ll wake up with in the morning: Phosphoros or Hesperos, or any of the other entities that exist in her multiple dualities.  

As for emotions, they tend to get in the way of getting the job done. Look at Bride of the Forest in the Valley of Me:  she couldn’t just focus on strengthening her body and working on her reflexes. She first had to conquer her fears; then she met Gisela’s boyfriend and she had to conquer desire. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t feel – don’t get me wrong; I have deep feelings myself. I’m just saying that emotions get in the way of getting the job done. When I’m in the heart of the Sun, I get rid of your fears and of any conflicting emotions you may have, and I make you brave.

By the way, if Merc gave me my intelligence, then I must have perfected it. I mean, look at him. No, no – those are sunspots. He’s the tiny black dot in the lower middle-right of the Sun.

 

Mercury

For such an intelligent man, my brother just put his foot in his mouth royally. What was that about not knowing who he’ll wake up with in the morning? I bet you he’ll be sleeping on the couch tonight.

Before he pontificates, he should wait until that tiny black dot is in the heart of the Sun – just like you see up there. Together, the Sun and I will help him overcome his woodpecker tongue.

 

Venus  (interrupting) 

He’s sleeping on the couch tonight.

 

Mercury  (continues)

Oh, that reminds me. Venus misunderstood me when I said that I rule Gemini first and Virgo second to mean that I don’t treat them equally. I do treat them equally, but I am the rightful ruler of Gemini and not quite the rightful ruler of Virgo. Virgo and I are not a perfect match. Perhaps one day, a planet will be discovered that will fit Virgo better than I do. That’s what happened  to Scorpio. Mars ruled Scorpio until Pluto was discovered.

That brings something else to mind. Some of us believe that planet Earth is the rightful ruler of Taurus. In fact, whenever Venus is caught up in helping Libras make decisions – which happens quite often – the Earth acts as supply ruler of Taurus and does a wonderful job. 

 

Venus  (interrupting again)

I will never give up Taurus!

 

The Dream of Aries by Henri Rousseau, 1910 

Venus

I am the planet of art, beauty, love and relationships. You cannot build or break a relationship without feelings, and I contain them all: love and hate, admiration and jealousy, detachment and possessiveness. We are all complicated planets, but I am the most complicated of all. You cannot expect anything less from a volcanic planet with churning red-hot molten lava and poisonous gases. No wonder Mars is confused about me, but he could say it with more elegance.

I give Mars reasons to exist.  If he is the will to live, I am the hope for life. If he is Arete, I am Passion. People excel in the things they’re passionate about. Whether Mars likes it or not, we go hand in hand.

I would include Mercury in this planetary coexistence  if he had not been so mean to me. He knows very well that half my soul is in Taurus and half my soul is in Libra. If you know the story of Amador, you’ll know what it is to put your soul into something outside of yourself and the attachment it creates. Besides, planet Earth is also the supply ruler of Virgo when Mercury’s busy playing games with Gemini.

 

Mercury (interrupting)

Venus, you’re off topic.

 

Venus

Look who’s talking.

 

Mars

Mercury, help me out here. I’m going to conclude this.

 

Mercury

Go for it. 

 

Mars

If Mercury is about Intelligence and Venus is about Emotions, then I’m all about Action. Without me, you do no act, and without action, there’s no need for emotions and intelligence.

When I’m in the heart of the Sun, we join forces to propel you into action, into doing something exciting and out of your comfort zone. Of course, it’s always better if you have the company of someone you love, and it’s always smarter if you don’t take any unnecessary risks.

 

Mercury

He’s more inclusive with my assistance.

 

Venus

He may not end up sleeping on the couch after all.

  

La Grande Odalisque by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1814

The influence of a cazimi can be felt a few days before and after the actual dates indicated

Venus cazimi – August 14, 2019

Mars cazimi – September 2, 2019

Mercury cazimi – January 29, March 14, May 21, July 21, September 3, November 11, 2019

 

Moon cazimi

 

On the day of a new moon, the moon is in the heart of the sun. Sun and moon, your body and soul, come together on this day to re-connect. The ancients considered it a day of rest, a day when you came back to yourself.

Amador never paid attention to a new moon. Month after month, he kept on giving away bits and pieces of his soul to more and more gadgets – until Venus intervened and sent her magpie. 

He had a nervous breakdown the day before a new moon. The sun took action, collected all the bits and pieces of soul he had given away, and put them back into his body, by force. The following day, when the moon joined the sun, Amador rested.

 

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

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