She pulled over on the main highway as instructed by the google maps navigation application. ” In 400 feet turn left and the destination will be on your right”. There it was. A simple corner building displaying building art typically found in artsy up and coming historic districts. A scene of a castle wrapped itself along the wall on Tennessee Avenue and just barely touched the redbrick facade of the front entrance that faces Frank Lloyd Wright Way. Across the street is the Patio 850 restaurant frequently featured in the local Lakelander Magazine. Another testament to the popular trend the area seems to be enjoying. It is only a few minutes drive South on Florida avenue from the Historic Downtown Lakeland area where her hair salon is. In the last month leading up to the holidays, she had begun to experience a change in the texture of her hair. It had become dry and brittle and would break off at the slightest touch. She had considerable root growth as she had not colored her hair in over six months. The breakage seemed to be taking place along the hair shaft were her new hair growth, now gray, met up with the old color damaged section. In an afternoon of frustration with the limp drab locks that would not cooperate she took the scissors to her hair and snipped away at the old dying strands. The result was a hideous home cut that made her look to herself like the feral child from the original MadMax movie. She wore it well though and got through a week of bad hair days. But on this Friday the 13th, the day after the full wolf moon, she decided it was time to stop pretending she would ever grow long hair again. With her typical resolve, she drove herself down to the Liquid Hair Salon and requested Kevin but he was booked. So she called out to the Universe and said: “thank you and now I will trust that you will lead me to the hands of the person who can fix this mess.” Erin appeared.
She fixed the mess for a mere $30 and in a matter of twenty minutes she was back in her car feeling free. Free from the drudgery of pretending she had long hair or would ever have it again. Now there would only be a need for minimal self-styling and reasonably priced upkeep haircuts. She freed her her hair from the slavery of expensive hairstylists who were clueless about what to do with thinning and dying hair, but deceptively hid their ineptness with disproportionately expensive pricing intended to convince customers they could provide a “fix”. Ahhh, she was free from this illusion! These pirates can sell their wares elsewhere for even though she was fond of pirates and the gutsy freedom they represented, she was not a fan of thieves and liars. She agreed that paying expensive prices for services provided by hair stylists, masseuses, and nail salons were necessary to add the element of glamor to some people’s stories, just like she enjoyed adding mysticism to hers. The difference for her was that she no longer had to be forced to add characters, not of her own choosing, to her story. She was fully aware of the associative reasons why long hair was such a point of contention with her. It was the way she had cloaked her poor self-image away from herself. She had worn her hair long into her mid-twenties. She had begun the process of lopping it off as she entered into her thirties when her DNA signaled to her body to start dropping strands of hair and her once shiny locks began to dull. Up to then, she used her hair as a protective shield to stand behind. Like the burqa, some women are forced to wear in certain Moslem societies. Such was her attachment to her hair that she realized she had lived in denial that her hair was permanently thinning for many years. She also never fully accepted that her hair only looked good if worn extremely long or extremely short. In-between lengths never worked for her. She had the type of hair that did not lend itself to current trends in hairstyles. These facts about her hair she finally acknowledged on this Friday the 13th as she entered the salon. She knew that she would remember this visit and although she had worn her hair short before it had always been with the intention to regrow it. Today, she was not sure she would ever want to regrow it again. While the receptionist went to find an available stylist who could take a walk-in, she walked to the couch and found a seat between two women. One was perhaps a bit younger than her, with platinum blonde thick shoulder length hair, and the other was considerably older than her with a less thick bob of natural white shoulder length hair. After asking politely if the seat was available, and being given permission to sit, she sat on the couch and picked up a book titled Schorem’s. It was a photographic essay on Schorem’s Barbershop, which is in Rotterdam, Amsterdam home of the Scum Bag barbers and the Scum Bash. They cater to quite an eclectic clientele. There was a Mark Twain quote on the first page of that book: “All things change except barbers, the ways of barbers, and the surroundings of barbers. These never change. What one experiences in a barber shop the first time he enters one, is what he always experiences in barber shops afterward till the end of his days.” She felt like this was the first time she had ever consciously walked into a salon with resolve and Mark Twain’s quote in that book about barber shops resonated with the feeling she was receiving and especially how she felt when she left that shop. She was liberated. Her new short pixie haircut shattered all the long hair stereotypes that had become a part of her psychology and somehow released her from her mental shackling to long hair. She rubbed her head in wild abandon and marveled at the feeling she got from letting go of her hair issue. She recalled that in most movie scenes in which women had their hairs cropped off it was usually forced upon them under duress. But she did not feel stressed. Although she acknowledged that stereotypically, the short haircut was intended as a humiliating punishment. She remembers that in Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Malena” he tells the story of a woman whose life is destroyed because she has the misfortune to be attractive and has great tits. The character of Malena is portrayed by Monica Bellucci. In the movie Malena is condemned for being the village slut and her hair was chopped off. The movie received negative reviews from critics who were harshly admonished by fans of the Movie. There was one response from a fan that had particularly resonated with her it made the following statement: “Although the movie received horrible reviews by Roger Ebert, who she feels obviously missed the allegorical nature of Malena as a polemic symbol. Perhaps, she thought, it is because, he, like most, were skewered by the very thing Tornatore is addressing in the movie: The objectification of feminine beauty. Mea culpa. Malena’s story is the truth.” Humanity should know better by now she thought, and if it doesn’t too bad! She was no longer influenced by those outdated conventions. Not now, not at this time in her life. She was free, free to explore and pursue wild muses. And now, since she was already downtown, this would be a good time to explore The Raven Fairie. As a side note, the next day as she recounted to her husband, the liberating feeling she experienced in having her hair cropped off and how she was writing an entire short story about it, he exclaimed in his usual, intellectually snobbish attempt at humor, my dear obviously your hair was in the way of your brain. She thought, and I married him because???? She would have gotten mad at him if she didn’t see the truth hidden in the statement. She burst out and laughed out loud and thought to herself, By God he is right, her hair had been in the way of her brain all these years.
A few nights earlier during a typical insomniac night of youtube channel surfing, she found a series of videos about tarot cards and in the process stumbled upon several videos introducing The Raven Fairie in Lakeland, Florida. Whattttt???? A Wiccan Pagan establishment in Christian-centered Lakeland? It got her attention. To find this type of community she had traveled all the way to the spiritualist settlement in Cassadaga, which is about an hour east of Orlando. But this place was minutes away in her own backyard. The Raven Fairie looked like a unique place to explore pagan and Wiccan ways and perhaps discover a new tarot deck. All their videos were posted back in 2014 so she was a bit apprehensive as to whether it would still be in business. She decided she would take a drive over there and check it out this weekend. But, her weekend began early. She had selfishly considered a trip to the Florida Keys, but an onset of neuropathy on her left foot seriously limited her ability to walk and forced her to rethink a long road trip and a destination requiring long walks. She opted instead to stay close to home and remembering The Raven Fairie, thought this would be a perfect day to explore the place and maybe go for a reading, especially since it was Friday the 13th and just one day after the full wolf moon in Cancer affecting her 10th house of career. She also duly noted that the year 2017 is the first year in a new 9 year cycle and therefore is a year of really new beginnings. Mercury goes retrograde this year which means the atmosphere is clearer and she can stop taking wrong turns, missing pieces of directions, and otherwise being befuddled by details. Cancer being a cardinal sign in the element of water presented a nourishing and refreshing symbol to her. Cardinal signs are not into procrastination so this year she knew would demand action from her. Metaphorically, it’s time for the crab to exchange the old shell for a newer more current version.
As she walked in she was greeted by Darryl Melton. When she saw him she couldn’t help thinking that his appearance was intending the Magi trump card of the tarot but she was picking up Hierophant all over him, astrologically she felt Pisces, or Virgo and a lot of Neptune. Hi! She called out in a strong, happy to find you voice. She had recognized him from his intro youtube video and found something kind and welcoming in his eyes. She wasn’t even ruffled when he explained there was a crystal throne meditation in session. His way of asking her to tone down her exuberance or in other words be quiet. Oh, she said in a quieter tone, in other words, I should be quiet. He acknowledged this with his eyes and mumbled out something but she didn’t pay any attention. She was too busy following her eyes around the room looking at all the staged fairie, pagan, Wiccan paraphernalia. Where are your tarot cards she asked? Darryl quickly directed her to the wall just behind her. Ahhhh. She browsed there for a long while and finally turned and asked how she could get a reading. Someone said to her, “see this man right here behind the register” and they pointed to a man who was seated behind the counter where the register was located, “he will set you up” they said. “We have three of us here who can read who would you like?’ She looked at a young girl who looked very pleasant but felt no connection to her, and at Darryl with his friendly dancing eyes, and at the man behind the registrar who was pretty much invisible to her and quickly returned her gaze to Darryl. She said, since you are the one who greeted me, I think I will choose you.
Darryl disappeared into another room saying he was going to get a drink of water, she was focused on selecting and paying the guy behind the registrar for her reading. While waiting for Darryl to return she asked if she could browse and upon approval meandered into the adjoining room. She passed a room just to her right that was elaborately staged to give the impression one was entering an enchanted forest. Hanging vines and sparkly lights on mock tree branches adorned the entrance. Peering into the room she felt as if she were looking down a long corridor. This was yet another illusion. The room was actually quite small, but the mock foliage and sparkly lights contrasted against the darkness of the interior of the room made it seem longer and deeper like she was peering into a rabbit hole. At the back of the room was a great throne which softly illuminated the room validating its name “Crystal Throne”. She could hear the mystical sounds of tuning forks drowning out all other sounds in the place and felt them resonating in her body. She swears she heard the sound of flowing water somewhere in the background, although, she can’t be sure there were any water features anywhere on the site. In her mind, there is a vague memory of a gentle mist, but again she can’t be sure. It may be only her mind that has conjured these memories. This is what she enjoys so much about the pagan Wiccan way, it always unlocks areas in her brain brimming with creatively descriptive ways of viewing reality. She wondered if she should ask if she too could sit on the throne, but within minutes Darryl reappeared and escorted her to a small quaint silk scarfed partitioned room down a short corridor that was lined with other such scarfed rooms. This is where the readings took place. She could hear conversations taking place as readers in the adjacent rooms read the minds of their subjects. She knew that is all this was. It was the magic of illusion. In fact, the readers were just very well versed in picking up cues from their subjects. Listening to their breathing, facial ticks, eye movements, and how they spoke. They asked special questions that enabled them to tap into general archetypical descriptions from which to compose the story they would tell their captive audience. She knew this. It was a game, an entertaining game she enjoyed and frequently indulged in. She knew that, like everyone does, she knows the answers she is seeking. They reside somewhere in the dark softly sparkling enchanted forest in her brain. She also knew that she had spent a long time lost in that forest attracted by carefully staged distractions that she magically projected into her real-time life experiences. Her particular style of approaching life had to include a sense of magic. Life had to hold mysteries and be arrayed in mysticism that provided her with the hope of existences beyond the one she was in. Existences that never ended. She was beginning to feel that everything was a story someone was telling. Her story, she thought, should contain wizardry, witchery, and magic because they were much more exciting and interesting characters than saints, demons, or scientists. Her attention was abruptly redirected to Darryl. They entered his small artistically draped reading room and he closed the silk drapes behind them with magnetic curtain holders. She marveled at them. She had never seen these before and wondered to herself where she might get a pair, although she had no curtains to use them on. Still, they were so cool. The space was just large enough for the tall round cafe type table that was covered with a tastefully patterned cloth. Part of Darryl’s story was his art. Some of his pieces were displayed on the walls of his reading room. She wanted to tell him she was an artist too but decided to let him tell her his version of her story rather than help him write the script. Darryl sat to the left and she sat on the right. Behind Darryl was a tall chest that contained small square shelves and several small drawers where he stored his cards and crystals. The sounds of tuning forks from the crystal throne room revibrated the space. The effects of the resonating sounds were calming and soothing. She still could not shake the sound of flowing water somewhere in the distances but she couldn’t be sure it wasn’t her hyper-creative urges taking liberties with her memory.
Darryl began to speak and opened the session by asking her what was her zodiac sign. She hesitated as she knew her answer would provide him a key which he would use to unlock the archetypical descriptions he would use as the foundation for the story he would tell her. But she knew that if indeed he was as seasoned at this as he presented himself to be, that her sun sign did not match the energy she projected. There was much more mystery to her, and she wondered if he would receive the electromagnetic emanations generated by her body. So she said Sagittarius and he smiled. He said I am picking up Capricorn all over you. She smiled back and gave a knowing gesture, as this confirmed to her that Darryl was indeed an intuit. He was reading her or at least was able to sense the magnetic resonances emitted by her brain through her body. She felt a positive vibe and explained I have a Libra rising with Saturn the ruler of Capricorn exalted in Libra in my first house, I also have Venus the ruler of Libra, positioned in Capricorn in my 4th house. Then she sat backed and observed him. She had just given him, not all, but enough information to help him relay a really elaborate story to her her if he chose to. But, to his credit, he didn’t use the information. He looked deeply at her as if he was not expecting her to know that much astrological language, or as if wondering about her motives for sharing such deep knowledge with him. He seemed baffled for about a second but quickly regained his composure and control of the session. He acknowledged the Capricorn influence in a way that told her he was using this to confirm to her that he was really reading her. She smiled and said “yes I know,” then added, “thank god for my Sagittarius sun.” ‘I need a little sunshine in my soul.” At the same time, she was thinking about the dark, harsh, Saturnian influences that she subconsciously projected. They were sharp and piercing and often made people wonder if they liked her or not. It’s the same effect her nose has on her otherwise pleasant face, she thought. She had noticed how her strong aquiline features were softened only by her dimples. She had never really consciously acknowledged this before, but when she looked at her face she often wondered whether the dimples and the nose belonged together on the same face. Somehow they didn’t match and she thought this was part of her charm. She knew her features often left viewers wondering whether they thought she was attractive or not. She was very comfortable with the way she looked and liked to think of herself as belonging to that eccentric category of women like Cher Bono, Diane Veerland and Barbara Striesand, because, to her, they just seemed more interesting. Suddenly she refocused and asked herself why was she thinking of this now when she was about to receive her reading? Why did this mysterious thought bubble lead to her nose and her dimples? Was there something to learn here? Yes, another layer of decloaking my dear. Who cares what she looks like? Who cares what she appears to others? It only matters how she feels about herself. Belief is what makes things real. Nothing that you do not believe in is ever real. These are her dowager years and she has given herself permission to free herself from all the bullshit in her head about appearances, hers and everybody else she views through her eyes. Frankly, my dear no one should give a damn!
She snapped back and focused on Darryl who was just about to commence her reading. He announced he would open with a Tree Oracle. How appropriate she thought, she loved trees.
As Darryl shuffled the cards and held them, he breathed into them as if clearing away the dusty residues of previous readings. He then asked her to shuffle the cards until she was satisfied. She shuffled them only three times because she liked the number three. It held special significance to her although she knew not why. She was not mathematical and could not speak or understand the language of mathematics. As she shuffled she could think of nothing else except how excited she was to be receiving instead of giving a reading. She was so excited to be able to receive a reading on such short notice that she did not ask if she could take notes, record, or take pictures. She actually just experienced the reading, the environment, the sounds, the smells, and vibrations. She was glad she did it this way because she was really able to immerse herself in the experience without the distractions of recording or taking notes. She knew that the retelling of the reading would, of course, be tainted by how she remembered it and in fact, would not be historically exact. She knew she would restate Darryl’s messages by inserting her words which are representative of how her mind works. It is how her brain will process and understand the message. This does not bother her because she knows the message she receives will be accurately portrayed in her retelling of it. Only it will be in her own words, not Darryl’s.
As she recalls, there were four trees in the reading but the only two she remembered were the Birch Tree and the Heather tree. Darryl described the Birch as a tree that parents used to discipline their children and is still often associated with such discipline. He Explained, however, at the same time, it is associated with healing, birthing and providing many options. It is a tree that presents itself as many trees but it is really only one tree. It is one root system that sprouts many trees. He said that trees are special because they have been on earth for so long. They are like old friends who have sat by and observed the earth. They are like the watchers of the earth and its inhabitants. Their energy, he said, is very strong and very stabilizing. They are the lungs of the earth. The Birch is telling her that it is time for her to cease her self-flagellation and move into the next chapter of her life. The Birch was saying to her, that she must let go of what has moved into the past, and prepare for what is soon to enter into her present. She should be preparing for her next phase in this life. Like the Birch sprouts many trees from one root system, she should look at the next phase of her life as containing many opportunities from one major source. He mentioned art, but her mind whispered softly to her it will be through writing. He kept insisting and focusing on the need for her to focus and take action from beginning to end. He said the Birch spoke of opportunities ahead. She must conquer her fear. The Birch is telling her that when she tells herself that she doesn’t know how to do something, or what to do, she needs to take a step back and look at the larger picture and refocus her attention on what needs to be done. The Birch is telling her to stop fleeing from one project to another project seeking ways to escape. It is time to focus on completing what one starts and to pick one project at a time. The Birch said she is dancing first in this garden and then in that one. She needs to stop dancing and get the job done! He brought up her Saggitarius tendency to shoot arrows wildly, he suggested that she instead select a target to aim at and shoot her arrow at that target. He reminded her she has good aim. As he spoke to her she was visualizing herself with a camera in her hand instead of a bow. Her shooting style was to shoot wild and edit later. She listened to what Darryl was saying.
He then described the Heather tree as a bringing to her a calming, protective, and unblocking energy source. He said the Heather was giving her a promise of good luck and bringing a cleansing and protective energy to her so she should get to work. Darryl told her that the message from the trees was that she knew what needed to be done, but she was focused on the perfecting of a plan. She was avoiding the doing by editing the plan, redoing the plan, and tearing up the plan and starting all over. He said she was stuck in this process because of fear. He said that a door would soon open for her and she prepare herself to walk through it. He reminded her that when you open a door you usually have to walk through a long hallway to get to the next room. He said the trees are saying that she needs to start walking towards the door and not allowing herself to be distracted. Gosh, she thought, I could have saved myself some money and just listened to my husband, but this, after all, was a more enchanting way to be admonished.
Darryl then proceeded to gather the cards and put them away. He turned to her and said this is where I usually ask which deck you would like me to read to you from next. However, I already know so I won’t ask. He then pulled out the Dragon Deck. He said the Dragons want to speak. She smiled and said, I like dragons I was born in the year of the Dragon. He laughed out loud as a spark of recognition was exchanged between them and he exhorted just how much he loved dragons that they were such great fun. He said the Earth Dragon wants to talk to you as he lay out a circle of ten cards. She smiled or rather the water dragon energy within her mind smiled at him through her eyes, and she sat quietly and listened as all ten little dragons repeated the same message from the trees. Get your shit together and get to work! Stop being distracted and avoiding the tasks! Darryl picked up one card in particular and said to her, this is the Shadow Dragon, and this is what this card says to you: Fear is the great destroyer! Fear lives and thrives in the mind! What are you afraid of? Name it, face it, and get over it! Get past your fear!! This dragon is saying that you must develop new relationships with your wounds and your fears in order to move forward and conquer them. Good psychological advice Darryl! Reframing with the npr technique is what her mind said to her. And to fear she said:
The Dragons are confirming the message from the trees, said Darryl. You have nothing to fear except your own mind.
Interesting she thought, and was suddenly flooded with this thought: It is a problem of consciousness you see. How on earth can all that you perceive around you and on the earth fit inside your brain? Because it is a story. It is your story. You tell it to yourself and to anyone else who will listen just as you listen to the stories being told to you. It is entirely up to you which stories you will believe.
People love to listen to stories. Do not be afraid of your success. Everything you tell yourself is metaphorical it never is the real thing. Therefore, get busy writing your own metaphor. Let the magic happen, the magic of your conscious creation. Sometimes it seems, we need a little coaxing from our muses to get to our truth, our answers, and to motivate us to drop our fear and create our story. I listened to my inner voices and out poured this narrative.
I hope you enjoyed it, soon there will be more to come!
Thanks for stopping by,