EP72 Massive Change with Barbara Moore

She’s back!! Barbara Moore is joining me this week for another exciting episode of The Hermit’s Lamp Podcast. It’s been a big year filled with lots of changes and new journeys so join us to catch up, and hear what’s been brewing on the farm! Full transcript below.

This is our FOURTH chat on The Hermit’s Lamp Podcast so if you’ve missed any be sure to check them all out.

The First is on choices and Initiation.

The Second is all about Finding your Path.

And our Third was an amazing discussion on How the Tarot Works.

Catch our previous episodes here EP 22 Initiation, Choices, and Truth – A talk with Barbara Moore, EP 44 Finding Your Path with Barbara Moore and Ep58 How Tarot Works with Barbara Moore

Connect with Barbara on her website and feel free to shoot her an email.

Don’t forget to check out the Triumph of Life Tarot here.

If you are interested in supporting this podcast though our Patreon you can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

Thanks for listening! If you dig this please subscribe and share with those who would like it.
Andrew
Transcription

ANDREW: I want to first start off by saying, big thank you to all the wonderful people who are supporting the Patreon for this podcast. They are getting some awesome bonus stuff, like special recordings, sneak peeks of artwork and other projects that I’m working on, and they are helping grow this podcast. They are helping move towards the goal of providing transcriptions so that deaf people can take part in these conversations, and they are also helping support the work that I do, running down guests, getting people on the show, coordinating people in different time zones and on other sides of the planet, and, finally, they’re helping improve the production value of this podcast by allowing me to start considering acquiring better equipment and get away from some of the janky, duct-taped together process I’ve been doing for a long time. If you dig the podcast, jump over to http://patreon.com/thehermitslamp and pitch in. Every dollar helps.

Welcome to the Hermit’s Lamp podcast. I have back, for our annual conversation, Barbara Moore. If you have not listened to the previous episodes, check them out in the show notes and maybe even consider stopping here and going back to listen to those. I find it hard to imagine that people don’t know who you are, Barbara, but in case they don’t, who are you?

BARBARA: Oh, yes, gosh, I haven’t answered this in awhile; I’ve forgotten my usual answer! I am a tarot reader, a tarot deck creator, a tarot author, a tarot teacher, and I also do some work for Lo Scarabeo, an Italian tarot deck publisher, and I also do the acquiring and project management of Llewellyn’s tarot projects, kits and books. So that is probably what most people know me for.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm. But you know, I think that, what I’d like to start with is, a lot’s been going on since we had our last conversation. There have been huge changes in your life. And that started really with, like, an unusual sort of shift in your relationship.

BARBARA: Yes, it sure did. And the story actually started, it was just starting, during our last conversation, but it wasn’t time to talk about it, it was too soon, so it actually began—if we’re going to give it a point, we’ll say October 2016, although, of course, like all stories, it started a little bit before then. So, I’ll try to condense the story and then we can unpack different parts of it if we want to. So, the beginning of the story started sometime earlier in 2016, maybe even in 2015. And, what started happening is, my wife was starting to feel very discontented with her life, and sort of questioning ideas about herself, who she is, versus what she’d been taught to be, and this included behaviors and habits as well as the way she presents herself to the world and moves through the world. And her way to deal with that for about a year and a half was to say we needed to move. And, okay, two things were going on. One, the housing market was really bad and we were underwater mortgage-wise at that time. Also, I felt very very rooted in my home and I didn’t want to move. So, although we kind of played with those ideas, it didn’t go anywhere. And then, after talking and talking, and things going on, she—we can’t remember who came up with the idea first, but we finally realized that it wasn’t we who needed to move, it was she who needed to move. But, it wasn’t so much that she needed to move somewhere to live, she needed to go on an actual quest, an actual journey of self-discovery, like a physical journey. And so, in the summer of 2016, we started researching ways to live in your car, and how to live on the road, and also kind of culling back our budget so that we could live on one salary, and then, in the fall, she quit her job. She quit two weeks shy of her 20-year anniversary, and she was a cover designer for Llewellyn.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: And, then on October 3, she packed up her car, and she took off. And she had no plan, she didn’t know where she was going to go, what she was going to do, just go. And so, and then I stayed home and I held down the house and managed all of the household day to day stuff, whatever. And for the first month, she didn’t have contact with anyone, not me, not anybody, because she just needed to like, like have a sorbet-like cleanse, herself, like, just have the space. And then, even after that she didn’t have contact with other people for, until around Christmas time, so, like three months. And so what she did was, of course, she went south and west, because of weather, and so she did spend some time sleeping in her car at national forest lands, and at truck stops, Walmart parking lots, and she also used a website called Couchsurfing.com I think it is, and that’s a website where people just stay, “you need a place to sleep? You can sleep on our couch,” and they’re perfect strangers, you know, and so she went and she was very brave and went and stayed at stranger’s houses sometimes. But the main website that she used was something called Workaway, and what Workaway is, is it’s this website where families or people—not businesses—okay, so it’s all personal stuff, where people need help, or need someone to do work, they will, you can work for them, in exchange for a place to sleep and sometimes a meal, you know, it varies depending on the situation, and so she used Workaway and worked at this small family farm ranch in Colorado, she worked at a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico, she worked in Phoenix, and then she worked up the coast of California and so during this time–

ANDREW: And all the while, you’re hanging out—and all the while you’re hanging out, living your life, sort of as it was when she was there, but now you’re by yourself.

BARBARA: Correct. And so, some of the projects that I was focusing on while she was gone was, we were really focusing on getting rid of things. We just had so much stuff. Like, people who have been in a house for 13 years, you tend to accumulate a bunch of stuff, and we just, we wanted to be lighter and to be more open and not so weighted down. And so I spent a lot of time just going through the house and getting rid of stuff and making it, you know, as essential as possible. I also had so much going on professionally last year as well; I was helping with Lo Scarabeo and Arcana Publishing in China to start a tarot school in China. And not just like offering workshop weekend classes or whatever but set up like a six-month school, or well, ongoing school, but each course is six months, and so, working on getting that together. And then I was presenting in Italy for their, for Lo Scarabeo’s 30th anniversary, I was teaching at Omega Institute, so I was preparing for that, I had three writing projects due, so I had a bunch of my work that I was working on and I also and I didn’t realize, this was something that really took so much, that sapped me, took so much energy, was: I was holding space for her, while she was gone, and by that I mean, like, I was holding safety for her of course, and then just space and guidance and just holding the center, you know, of our relationship, our home, our life, steady, so that she could go and do what she needed to do, like I was like a pole and she was like a balloon, and I was holding the string that kept, that gave her enough freedom to do what she needed to do but enough security to feel safe in doing what she needed to do. So. You know. So, I was doing all that while she was gone.

I also visited her three times while she was gone, I went out for my birthday, to San Diego, in January, and then, we met up in Portland, at the NEWTS conference, and then, she ended up in a place called Potter Valley, in northern California, and she got there in January and stayed until the end of May, so clearly, she liked this place, she liked it a lot, and she liked, she discovered, after doing a bunch of different work, like she even did a little bit of design work, cause she felt like she was done with design, but, she gave it a few more tries and she’s discovered yeah, she is pretty much done with design, at least for now.

And, oddly enough, what she discovered is she loves farmwork. Very physical, very—you know, she just loved the farm work. And she loves the people in Potter Valley. She said that all her life, you know, she’d always wanted to be part of community, and always tried in different ways to be in this community or that, whatever, and never felt like she was really enfolded into any group. And you know, Potter Valley has less than 700 people; it’s really tight-knit, it’s really liberal, it’s populated by a lot of either aging hippies or next generation hippies, so politically it fits in with our beliefs really well. The farmers are all committed to organic growing for their crops and then humane treatment of animals for their animals that they use for milk or meat or wool or whatever. So, I came out, she wanted me to come to Potter Valley to see Potter Valley. So I did come out and see that, this place. But I was super sick and super tired and I honestly didn’t remember much about it, except that it was lovely, you know, and the people were very kind and generous and open, so, then she came home in June, and then, she was good, I mean, it was amazing, what happened to her on this trip.

Before she left, she had some health things going on. First, she was on anti-anxiety medication. Second, she had a lot of physical aches and pains. Her spine bothered her, she’d go to the chiropractor several times a week, she couldn’t sleep very well, she was always waking up, not getting a good night’s sleep, so all this stuff, okay, so she was sleeping on mattresses on the floor, in her car, bad beds all over the place, she got off her anxiety meds completely with her doctor’s—you know, she talked to him before she left, you know, and this is what she wanted to do, so she didn’t just stop, she, you know, had medical support for that, and then she didn’t have to go to the chiropractor, her back didn’t hurt, she slept like a baby, I mean it was just incredible, and she was all like loose and groovy. I mean, she always could be that, but she always had this very, this is how things are, and let’s be organized, let’s you know have plans, and you know, just very orderly, and she just got really spontaneous and loose and open and not having expectations, things should be this way, which made her happier with everything because she wasn’t comparing it to what she thought it should be.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: And then she got home. And she was cool for two days, and then she—it all started happening again, you know, all the old things, just whatever, we don’t really know for sure, what it was about there, maybe the house, maybe she’d just been there for almost 50 years being a certain way and couldn’t be differently there, whatever it was, I sent her back to Potter Valley, I was just, like, let’s get you gone, and we also decided that we were gonna sell our house, because the market had improved over that past year, in fact, houses were selling really well, and that we would move to Potter Valley. And–

ANDREW: Which is where you are now.

BARBARA: Which is where I am speaking to you from right now. Yeah, so the thing about Potter Valley is, there’s not a lot of housing here. It’s, I think it’s zoned or set up so that new construction is not really something that happens here and to buy a farm or a house would be hundreds of thousands of dollars cause it’s California, and, but luckily, the last people she worked for, their names are Carol and Noel, they built an apartment kind of tucked into their house, so their house is kind of above and around our house, our apartment. And, they built this apartment, and they built it because they are both American Sufis, they follow Samuel Lewis’ teachings; he’s the man who developed the Dance of International Peace, I think that’s what it’s called, and they’re both in the healing tradition of that tradition, and part of what they do is hospice work in helping people transition from life to death. And so some of their Sufi friends were getting older and dying, so they built this apartment so that those people if they wanted to could have a place to die with Sufi healers around them. I mean, so, they knew that my wife was looking for somewhere to live here, but they never offered her this apartment, because it was built for Sufis. And so when I came to visit them, they were asking me, what, well, what do you believe, Dylan?

Oh, I should say, one of the changes that happened, to my wife, while she was on her journey, was that she kind of honed in on who she felt like she was in terms of just outward presentation to the world, and part of that is, well, she’s a female, and she, but, she feels way more comfortable when she dresses either like an eight-year-old boy, or a really old man, those are kind of like her two styles, but she never really, she always felt weird about doing that back in St. Paul, for some reason, cause that’s not what is expected and she wasn’t raised to be that way.

And the other thing is, she got a boy haircut, which is so cute on her, and suits her so well, she seems so comfortable, but, even more importantly than the outward expression, is how she calls herself, and she never felt like her name, which was Lisa, it never really suited her, she didn’t feel like it matched who she was, and so she left home and I did not know this until like November or December, she left home with a list of gender neutral names that she wanted to try out while she was on the road, and so she, and the name Dylan was on the list, and it was the first one she tried, and it stuck, and so, now, she hasn’t legally changed her name, cause that’s like oodles of paperwork, but she is going by Dylan now. So, I always say my wife, because I haven’t told that story, and most people know her name as Lisa; now we are calling her Dylan. So, anyways, the, Carol and Noel were asking me about my beliefs because they said, Dylan said you’re kind of into this stuff. So I explained it, you know, my loose ideas about how the world works and whatever, and, so they said, oh, so, you’re a Sufi too? And I’m like, I don’t know about that, I’m not in anything, or whatever, and so they said you’re what we would call a wild Sufi. And wild Sufi just means you’re not attached to any group, you’re just out there doing your Sufi thing, so, you know, right after that they offered us this place to stay, because….

ANDREW: Amazing.

BARBARA: …I’m a Sufi, I can stay in this apartment, so, that’s how we ended up with this little apartment, which is quite a change, we had a three-bedroom house with two stories, built 1911, big, beautiful craftsman/workmanship, and I had my own office and everything, and now we’re in a one bedroom very very very tiny place, so, we’ve had a lot of adjustments, but I suppose we’ll get through the adjustments a little bit later. Yeah, so, right, so now we are here, in Potter Valley, and she is doing farm work for lots of different farmers in the area. She also is working a little bit for the local community college’s art department; she started off doing life modeling there for the life drawing class, so she was doing that back in the city too, she just likes to do that. And she’s now also, because the art director, the professor who’s in charge of the art department, her assistant quit, so she asked Dylan if she’d step in for the rest of the school year to fill in for that, so she’s working with her and helping to produce the student spring art show, so she’s got really a wide variety of things going on and so she’s super super happy.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. So, how is it for you, because from the outside, it seems like you basically just gave up everything… and moved out there…

BARBARA: [laughs]

ANDREW: How are you adjusting to, kind of like finding your way into the world which Dylan sort of found and had already kind of put roots into?

BARBARA: Yes, and you use the right words, cause she told me, several months after she was here, that she felt like she was putting down roots. Exact words. And so yeah, how is it for me? Well, yeah, I mean, I think on the surface of it, you could, one could say, oh, you just gave up everything, so she could have this life that she wanted. And, that is both true but also not true. Because for me, I had spent most of my life moving—I lived in lots of different places—and never stayed grounded in one space for too long, and I also reinvented myself a lot. Like, I’ve had so many incarnations of this life. In this life.

And, yet, when we were in that house that we just left, we’d lived there for 13 years, and never in my life even as a child, I’d never lived in one dwelling for that long. And, I also don’t feel like I, you know the biggest change in myself while I was living there was, I left full time employment to do freelance but, I’m still working for the same company as well as other companies. So, not a huge like reinvention. And so, I’m sort of feeling like if I don’t move I will probably die here. And, I don’t mean that in a bad way, like oh my god, I’ll die in three years because of whatever, just that, I could very comfortably, grow old, settle, and live here the rest of my life.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: And then I thought, well, crap, I’m not ready for that to happen yet, I mean, traveling is cool, I love traveling, of course, but, there’s also nothing like living in different places, you know, which is different than traveling, and also becoming a different person and shaking up my life, so this is very much ready for that. Also, and this is very very important, I was so done with being cold for six months of the year.

ANDREW: [laughs] Yeah!

BARBARA: Yeah, unless you live in Minnesota, or have lived, you don’t really, I don’t think you can fully understand how cold it is, and for how long, and I was just done with it. And—

ANDREW: As we’re recording this, it is December 13 today, and in Toronto where I am, it is, I don’t know, minus 15 Celsius with the wind chill, so like, you know, 15 or 16 Fahrenheit, you know, it’s cold, is the thing. It’s real.

BARBARA: It is so cold.

ANDREW: [laughs]

BARBARA: Yeah, like, and right now, it is about 10:30 in the morning here, and it’s about 50 degrees, it’ll get up to about 66 this afternoon, so, that’s much much warmer.

ANDREW: Very civilized.

BARBARA: Yes, yes, civilized! [laughing]

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: Yeah, okay, so, right, and then, okay, so, I wanted to not have the physical trappings of my life set for the rest of my life. So that was one thing that was a plus for me to move here, not being cold, that was another plus. Another thing that was super important, and this was really actually harder than I thought it would be, is, I wanted to have a year off, and by a year off, I mean, not doing, not committing, to other projects, book contracts, teaching, anything, except for my work for Llewellyn and Lo Scarabeo, cause, one does need some kind of income and here’s a clue, farm hands don’t make a lot of money. [laughs]

ANDREW: If you’re thinking about abandoning it all and moving to the country, you will not get rich.

BARBARA: You’re not gonna get rich, you can’t be doing it for the money. So except for just that work which is very very part time, I wanted to have nothing. And, you know, when you work hard to get your name out there, to be involved in the community, opportunities come your way, and it gets really hard to say no to them, so I had to do a lot of training myself to say no and I have had many invitations and so I have nothing, I have no book contracts for 2018, I have no teaching obligations, I have nothing. So I have created this space where I can just start reading what I want, researching what I want, playing with different ideas, totally disconnected to anything that anyone needs from me.

ANDREW: Hmm. It’s kind of amazing—

BARBARA: [muffled]

ANDREW: Sorry.

BARBARA: That’s okay.

ANDREW: It’s kind of amazing how far you’ve come, like, I remember when we, I don’t know if it was the first time we talked or the second time we talked, but, you were giving up your Facebook and social media and withdrawing from that stuff so you could focus more on what matters, and then here you are, some number of years later, like, withdrawing even further from sort of obligation and the things that people think that should be done and so on, so that you can instead focus on what you want and need to do. You know? It’s pretty amazing.

BARBARA: Gosh, you’re right, I hadn’t really realized that, but it is so true, I keep taking off the veils of the unessential to get to the heart and bones or something.

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah. Yeah, so one of the things I’m thinking about pursuing, of course I’m not committing, I’m just playing with the idea, is becoming an interfaith minister.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm?

BARBARA: I, over the last couple years I’ve performed a couple of weddings, and—

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: …working with the couples, and, like the last wedding I did was so fun, oh my gosh! So, it was the couple who were friends of one of my nieces, and my two older nieces are total, like, nerds and geeks, like they play role playing games and magic and you know, all of, like, they read all the good books and so, I kind of rediscovered that part of myself when they came of age, because I started playing with them a little bit too. Anyways, one of their friends, the couple were getting married, and they’re also big into all that stuff, and, so their wedding was very subtly influenced by you know Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, you know, just all their favorite fandoms, and so when I talked with them about you know how do we want the ceremony to go, one thing I try to do is make it so that it suits their personality, but also, if it’s what they want, helps their families feel part of it and comfortable as well.

And, you know, of course, their families come from Christian backgrounds and you know, the groom was more agnostic and the bride was more pagan, so you know, tying in philosophy from his end, and paganism from her end, Christianity from the parents’ end, and wrapping it all up with their fandoms, was so fun. You know, like in one sentence I’m like quoting Jesus Christ and Albus Dumbledore, you know, together, and I’m watching the people as I’m doing it, and they’re engaged and they’re laughing and they’re listening, and even like the father of the bride came up after and he’s like, I have never paid attention to any wedding ceremony as much as I did this one, except for my own, you know, and so, I just started thinking about how much I enjoyed that work, and then I was talking with my friend Nancy Antenucci and I’m like, I wish I could be a minister without being associated with any one religion, and she’s like, well [laughing], you can, it’s called interfaith ministry. I’m like oh, [laughing], cool!

And I looked it up, and there is like the Chaplaincy Institute is located in Berkeley, California, which is two and a half hours from where I am, and they do, it’s like online for part of it, but then you are required to go on site, 12 different times during your class, for five days at a time to do these intensives. And so these 12 intensives are, well, one is psychology and spirituality, and then the, no, I think two are psychology and spirituality, and the other 10 are different religious paths that you study in depth. And then, as a student you like pick one that you specialize in and a second one that you secondarily focus on, but you technically know something about all of them, it just sounds so cool! And, they will let you come and sit in for free on the first day of any one of their monthly classes. So I’ll be doing that in January or February probably. So, yeah. I lost track of the question. Oh!

ANDREW: What question?

BARBARA: How is this not just me sacrificing everything! Yes, so there’s tons of opportunities here. Right.

ANDREW: But it also sounds like, whereas, uh, for people who maybe felt like the other person was driving it, it would feel like a sacrifice, but…

BARBARA: Right.

ANDREW: But for you it was sort of this moment of an opportunity to shed, right? To basically be like, you know what? I’m ready to cleave away some stuff and, you know, pare it back further, you know?

BARBARA: Yes, yes! and I mean, I think an important distinction that I should probably make clear is, from the beginning of this whole thing, I never felt any feelings of like being a martyr, or sacrificing. I mean, yes, there was sacrifice of like lifestyle and budget and her being there…you know…I mean, yeah, sacrifice but sacrifice is like too strong a word. It’s like, I just adapted to do what our family needed.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: And, but you know, when I think of martyrdom and sacrifice I think like, oh, you’re giving up something that costs so much. And no, that has never felt, except that, I guess I should be honest here, there’s one place in my life, where the sacrifice is big and does kind of hurt even still, but, you know—my sister, whose wedding I happened to officiate, she has, her children are now, the boy, Benjamin, is two years old, and then the daughter, Lily, is seven months old, and, my other sisters have had babies, and I never was into them, right, I mean, they’re fine, whatever.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: I fell in love with, well first Benjamin, he came first, fell head over heels in love with him, and now with Lily, and I was taking care of them, when they didn’t have day care I’d go over there at least once a week, I mean I was just so into these kids, and I miss them so, so much. We call, we text, we Facetime, she sends videos, but with babies, nothing, nothing, can substitute for holding them, and snicking them, and…

ANDREW: [laughing] Exactly.

BARBARA: …oh my god, I miss them. But, I am going back, in February, for a sales conference for Llewellyn, so I am going to stay long and get in all my baby time, so, that’s how we’re dealing with that. I will just go back and visit them as often as is feasible.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: But yeah, so other than that, no, it feels like, even though on the outside, Dylan’s journey and my journey look really different, we are running along the same path, you know like to here, even though it’s doing different things for us. I mean, she spent the last year shedding her stuff, and now she’s building her stuff. And I’m still kind of shedding, you know, like, we just got here on November 6, so we haven’t been here that long…

ANDREW: Just over a month.

BARBARA: Just over a month, so I am still adjusting, so I’m probably going to give myself at least through the holidays, through January, to just, adjust.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: So. Cause it’s really different living in the country. I mean, we’re not even talking like a suburb or a sparsely populated town, we’re in the freaking country…and, it’s really different. And mountain roads! Very windy, sometimes scary, and I’m not a great driver, so that’s been a huge challenge, so I have a lot to adjust to just yet. Oh, even mail delivery, like we’ve always gotten stuff like in the mail and things delivered and right before I left home, Amazon started doing same day delivery in my neighborhood, you know and of course we didn’t need it, but it was kind of cool that it happened and it didn’t cost extra. Well, here, we had to get a P.O. box and even with the P.O. box, I mean, stuff gets delivered to neighbor’s houses, and the neighbors just kind of walk it over, but you can’t expect anything fast.

ANDREW: Mmmmhmmm.

BARBARA: Like, nothing is fast and you just have to have patience and nothing is that dire, you know, that’s one of the big differences here is there is no rushing…

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: You don’t have to …you know, you’re not, you’re totally doing what you’re doing, cause you’re not watching the clock or thinking I have to be somewhere at this time or at this time. I mean there’s a little bit of that, but overall, the whole attitude is just so different. And that’s been kind of a challenge to adjust to, but I have to say I’m kind of digging it. It’s so much less stressful!

ANDREW: Yeah, trying to slow down my life has been something that I’ve been working on for awhile now, largely unsuccessfully, you know, because, partly being a parent and running the store…

BARBARA: Mmmhmmm.

ANDREW: …means that I do have a lot of time points and stuff like that…

BARBARA: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: …and partly like living in a major city and whatever, it’s just, it’s sort of, it’s both hectic and everything’s always possible, like, I could be coming home at like 10:30 at night and be like, oh, I’ve got to go by the grocery store, and like, buy something, or buy everything for the week, whatever, you know; it becomes this thing where it’s not like, you know, there’s always these possibilities, so nothing self-regulates, right, so…

BARBARA: Yeah….yeah. I was gonna say, it’s just not, the family, the children, the store, being an entrepreneur, all of that in and of itself makes for a very full and busy life, but also, I can only imagine that the energy of the place you live, you know, like a big city, like you said, there’s always possibilities, life goes on, you can always do stuff, and, everyone else is living in this life that’s run by a clock or things to do or so many things to do, I don’t know how easy it would be to even consciously try to slow down your life.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: …while you’re living there…it would be so hard…so I hope you can find that, because it’s so cool.

ANDREW: Well, it’s definitely something that I’m working on. I was thinking recently about, there’s this Henry Rollins quote that goes around, you see it as like memes and stuff on the regular, which is “there’s no such thing as free time, there’s no such thing as down time, there’s just life time, go,” or something like that, right?

BARBARA: Sure, sure.

ANDREW: And, so like I’ve been not in like, sometimes I’ve read that in the past and thought of it as like, stop wasting time, you know?

BARBARA: Mmmhmmm.

ANDREW: But more so now, I’ve been, it’s been sort of emerging as like, this sort of need for self-imposed structure, you know, like, how do I carve out the space to make the things that I want and need to have happen, happen, which also includes, you know, quietness and time in the ravines and you know all those other things, right?

BARBARA: Yeah…..

ANDREW: …you know, it’s complicated.

BARBARA: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Definitely. One of the things that I’ve been noticing here, and it’ll be interesting to see how it shapes our future is that, okay, when I lived in St. Paul, or anywhere else that I’ve lived up till now, earning money has been super important, and not just earning enough to live, but like, that was how you measured how successful you were, in some ways? Or in having the right things, you know, and that was really kind of a way that I would measure or shape my life, cause that’s just what you did, right? At least how I grew up. And here, you know, like I said, farming does, you don’t earn a lot, right? And, so nobody here seems rich in money and, but they could have stacks of money in the bank, I don’t know, all I know is outwardly, like, clothes and cars and going out and recreational shopping is not a thing, here, honestly.

ANDREW: You’re not jaunting down the road for sushi and fancy food every night?

BARBARA: No, no. And you can wear the same clothes every day or every other day and it’s just not a thing. But what is a thing is having the time to run into someone and just stop and chat for 45 MINUTES, you know, and not be like, OH MY GOD, I’M SO…you know…

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: …you know, I’ve never heard anyone here say, OH MY GOD I’M SO BUSY or I have to rush because…I mean, every once in a while there’s something like, I have to take the dog to the vet, I mean, there are time things, I don’t mean there isn’t, but it’s so very different.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm!

BARBARA: And you know, so, it’s causing us to think about, what makes a meaningful life to us? And, what do we actually need and want?

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: You know, it’s part of that stripping bare, you know, if you’re living in a place where expectations of having, you know, certain—and I was never like, into fashion fashion, but even if you’re not, there’s still, like, you know, some sort of a line, of you know, what people are wearing and what people are doing and…oh, I don’t know. Anyways. It’s just very different and really refreshing and amazing. It’s not like any kind of life I’ve ever known.

ANDREW: Hmm. Do you find it’s changing your spiritual practice?

BARBARA: Well, that’s a really great question. There’s a couple of things that I want to say about that. First of all, toward the end of her, of Dylan’s being gone, or like even when she was home, she was home in July, and that’s when I was in China, I, by the end, I was barely holding it together, because, and I hadn’t realized how holding the space for her and keeping myself going plus all this really really challenging work work that I was doing just sucked everything out of me. I mean, by the time, I had enough left to get us here [laughs]…

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: You know, cause the drive here was super hard, it was five days, I had my car and the dog, she had the big U-Haul, you know, and we drove through all kinds of weather and roads and I mean, I had enough barely to hold it together to get here and once I got here I just kind of lost it, you know, and she, Dylan, talked about, well, you know, you should do some magic for the house sale, cause I had been doing it before I left, but I hadn’t continued it, and this and that, and I hadn’t been doing my nightly blessing practice, and I’m like, I have nothing, I just have to let something fill me up, I don’t even have it in me to ask to be filled up. So I’m really like… [laughing]…I don’t know…like a slug.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: And, I am just now starting to feel like, okay, like I just started this past week—well, it’s only Wednesday—but just this week I got my nighttime blessing practice in line because and you know it took me a while to figure out like what was going on with that, so…

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: So, you know, that in St. Paul, my nightly blessing is I would, I could, I knew my neighborhood so well, I could visualize, like, I would extend my bubble of where I could affect the energy, you know and as I did it, the longer I did it, the further it got, but that would be how I’d start, I’d be like here’s where I’m going with this, and then I would do, two blessings, always, may all things be at peace, and then a specific blessing, a different one each night. And uh, and when I got here, it’s like, I don’t know this area, and even if I did, there’s like hardly any people in this area, and I don’t…

ANDREW: But bunnies need blessing too, you know!

BARBARA: Aaah, yes, yes! But, I just couldn’t get a grip on what, how I should do this.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: And so what I realized is, and so, like this is even better than the neighborhood blessings, is there are so many farms, like there on the land one, there are farms, there are plants, there are animals, all kinds of, I mean, and the area I know, is full of plants and animals, so I’m sending blessings into the food, and so, when people eat that food, that I’ve been blessing for its entire life of growing, they’re going to get so blessed, right?

ANDREW: Amazing.

BARBARA: I know! What a way to effect change in the world, you know? And I’m like, so excited about that, so. That is something that has changed, it has remained the same, it’s still a night time blessing practice, but I’ve changed what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, so that has changed. As far as everything else, I’m still trying to make friends with the trees and the land and everything around here, so I’m like, okay, how are we going to work together, what are we going to do, so, that is still coming into being.

ANDREW: When you were traveling, cause in the last year you were in Italy, and various places in the U.S., China, and so on…do you try and tune in with the land where you are? And the trees and stuff as you travel…or?

BARBARA: I have not, usually, with the traveling, it’s, well this year, it’s been so hard that I just, I don’t, actually, no, no. I mean…

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: I kept feeling like if I could, or should, maybe I would feel more grounded, but, I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but when you get too far away from your center, where your practice holds you, that, it’s like the further out you go the more you need to come back to the center but the harder it is to come back to the center?

ANDREW: Hmm.

BARBARA: I mean, that’s how it feels for me, and sometimes, it just feels like I have to totally lose it and then reel back in.

ANDREW: Yeah, I feel like that’s true, I feel like I definitely have experienced that. For me, I definitely, one of the first things that I do when I arrive somewhere new is I spend some time tuning in, and you know, like, as a way of getting there, but, I’m kind of, like right now, I’m kind of going through something different…

BARBARA: Mmmm?

ANDREW: I was writing about it somewhere earlier, yesterday or today. And, I feel like, I feel like I’m like, I’ve left the planet, like, or at least like, everything, you know, like I mean obviously I haven’t, because I’m still living here, I’m living with all the people that I’m living with and so on, but, earlier this year, like maybe since the middle of the summer, I started working with meteorites and meteorite-derived things, like moldavite and stuff like that…

BARBARA: Uh-huh…

ANDREW: And then, a couple of weeks ago it was my birthday, and I picked up a new meteorite, and ever since I got that one, I feel like, metaphorically, but on some sort of deeper level that I’m just traveling through space with it now…

BARBARA: WHOA….

ANDREW: and it’s going to go somewhere different. I don’t know what that means…it’s kind of weird, because unlike this sort of return to center that you’re talking about, and maybe this is just a big arc of a return to center, but it feels like it’s going somewhere different, and I don’t really know what that means, or what that’s going to look like, but yeah. It’s very interesting.

BARBARA: Wow. I cannot wait to hear more about that, cause…

ANDREW: [laughing]

BARBARA: Seriously!

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah, well, and cause I remember [laughing], this was kind of funny, I remember Dan Pelletier, from the Tarot Garden?

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm. [Yes]

BARBARA: One of the coowners? He and I used to debate all the time and just kind of horse around with our ideas, and one time he asked me, he’s like, “So, tell me, what if River Tam used the tarot deck, what would it look like?” And River Tam for those who don’t know, is, she’s a character from Firefly, if you don’t know Firefly you SHOULD know it, because it’s awesome.

ANDREW: Go check it out.

BARBARA: That’s right, and I said, and I had this great answer, I’m like, “oh, she would use one that, the cards are completely blank, and when she laid them down, they would get pictures on them,” you know, cause she’s all kind of mystical and strange and whatever, and Dan is like “No, no, she wouldn’t,” you know, cause he had the answer he wanted to give, and…

ANDREW: Uh-huh? Was it the Baseball Tarot? Was that his answer?

BARBARA: [laughing] Nooooooo, no no no.

ANDREW: [laughs]

BARBARA: But it had to do with astrology. And he was kind of griping on, you know, how earth-based tarot uses earth-based astrology and when you’re in outer space, the constellations don’t look the same?

ANDREW: Oh. Yeah.

BARBARA: Because you know, you’re looking at them from a different point of view, so, yeah, so this idea of, yeah, what perspective do you get, and what kind of truths are revealed, when you’re looking at things from outer space, like if you are looking at earth from there or, you’re out there looking somewhere different, that you can’t see from earth, or feel, or whatever, so I just think that’s going to be pretty cool, pretty weird too.

ANDREW: Yeah, well, we’ll see what comes of it, you know?

BARBARA: Yeah. Have you read a book called The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell? The Sparrow and its follow up is called Children of God?

ANDREW: No. Is it good?

BARBARA: Oh my god, life-changing. But, you have to read both of them together, not together at the same time, but read The Sparrow one, then read Children of God, because, The Sparrow’s gonna rip your heart open, and then, Children of God is gonna rip it even more?

ANDREW: Okay.

BARBARA: And bring reconciliation. And so, it’s like, they’re amazing, but, I bring them up, because, it involves outer space and spirituality.

ANDREW: Hmm.

BARBARA: You know, it’s science fiction, but there’s this really deeply rooted, I mean, the main characters are part of the Catholic church.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: But don’t, like that, say, the Catholic church, whatever, because it’s so totally not, it’s so worth it. Anyways, so, you might find that goes good for your journey.

ANDREW: I will, I will consider it, I uh, I, I, this is something I probably don’t talk about very much, but I actually don’t really read ever…

BARBARA: ohhh…..

ANDREW: …and uh, I recently tried to give reading a go again, not that I can’t read, I just don’t read.

BARBARA: Right.

ANDREW: And, it just didn’t really go anywhere, like I picked up a bunch of books that seemed really cool, and tried to read them, and would find myself picking them up and, you know, when I was talking to Enrique…

BARBARA: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: …in one of the podcasts, and we were talking about like, we’d run across a sentence where somebody would say something, and I’d just stop. I’d just go and think about that for six weeks or six months.

BARBARA: [laughs]

ANDREW: And so like, reading is this very strange thing for me, where like, I’ll start, and then something will catch me, it’ll set me off on like ideas and stuff, and then the book just sits there, and like I’ve gotten ten pages in and then haven’t gone back to it for three or six months or whatever, and so, I actually just gave up on the books that were sitting around cause they were, they were starting to give me the stinkeye, from all the dust on them.

BARBARA: [laughs]

ANDREW: No no no, I can’t do it, I’m sorry, I thought I could read, but I can’t, I’m sorry…but you never know.

BARBARA: Yeah, yeah.

ANDREW: It almost might be different, so.

BARBARA: Yeah, maybe, maybe, yeah, hopefully, but, or not. Whatever! There you go!

ANDREW: Yeah. Well, that’s cool. Yeah. So.

BARBARA: Go on.

ANDREW: So, as somebody who’s had creative projects on the go, how does it feel to not have a creative project on the go right now? Other than YOU as creative project, right, you’ve kind of cleared the decks of a lot of that stuff.

BARBARA: Right, right, well, there are two levels of feelings going on right now. One is I feel like, I am not able to actually fully enjoy that feeling yet because we have just gotten here and our house from St. Paul just recently sold, but the closing isn’t until January 2nd, so of course it could fall through any time between now and then and then we’d start all over, so there’s like, that kind of mental space needed to deal with that and all that paperwork. Also moving to a new state, car registrations, new drivers’ license, health insurance, renters’ insurance, you know, there’s just like a lot of things, paperworky things, so.

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: So I’m just grateful that I don’t have a lot going on, that I can take care of this stuff.

ANDREW: And it takes time too, right?

BARBARA: Mmmhmmm.

ANDREW: One of the things that changed this year was my eldest has switched to being homeschooled, and in fact we’re actually unschooling her, which is basically, like, we’re letting her drive the stuff and we’re just sort of gently nudging her toward stuff, and really what that looks like for the most part is reminding her of the stuff that she likes and wants to be doing, that she forgets that she likes and wants to be doing, and, you know, somebody said when we started the process that it can take three to six months to deschool yourself, right, to like slide out of that structure that you were living in and that was determining everything about you for so long, right? And so…

BARBARA: Mmmhmmmm….

ANDREW: You know, I think you’re in one of those times, right? Where…

BARBARA: Yes! I would love it if I had, like, you to do for me what you did for your daughter! Or…

ANDREW: [laughing]

BARBARA: …not you personally, but a person like you, or just a part of myself that can do that! Cause that, you know, nudging in directions, reminding what you like, you know, and that’s what, kind of the path that I’m hoping to follow when I actually get this tedious stuff done, I know I’ve got these books that I want to really dig into, I have a box full of notes and ideas that need exploration, I have some art ideas I want to play with, you know, so there’s like lots of things on the table, and…

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: Can’t wait to see where it all goes.

BARBARA: I know. Oh, one of the other—cause you asked, how does it feel?—one of the other feelings, and this is one I’m really glad to see it didn’t pop up first, cause it means I’m kind of giving it a lower priority, which is what it should have, is this fear, of failure. Like, oh my god, I’ve talked for so long about having this year off and blah blah blah and now I have it, what if I don’t do anything brilliant with it? Oh my god that would be so humiliating, right? So, you know, I realize that’s a ridiculous, and not productive, feeling, so…

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: …you know, I’m trying to learn, where is that coming from, how can I pull that out, cause it’s not good, it’s not good for me right now. But it’s there, it’s there.

ANDREW: Producing stuff is such a strange business, especially like, creative and/or spiritual stuff, you know? I mean, as you know, I created a tarot deck this year.

BARBARA: [laughing] I heard!!!

ANDREW: …the last little while, right? You know. And, I actually created forty cards between the beginning of August and the middle of September and wrote thirty thousand words or something like that, all while working and while my mom had her hip replaced and fell and broke it and was in the hospital and while my partner went across to the other coast and put on a play, and I was at home working and had the kids and like, there’s this time where I was just doing all this stuff, and I remember as I was sort of like finally wrapping up the material, I was like this is just great, I’m gonna do my next thing, I already know what it is and blah blah blah and, I totally didn’t. You know, like…[laughs]

BARBARA: [laughing]

ANDREW: [laughing] And it’s like, you know, it’s so funny, you know, this notion of, like, what does space produce, what does time produce, what does availability produce? I go back to like the sort of notion of the muse and that a lot, it’s like you know, that’ll drive you whenever, like we might have, you have this year and the muse may show up and you might do your most important thing in the universe thing that you do in a long time, or you might just like, spend a lot of time, like, lounging with fingerpaints and the muse and doing stuff and there’s just no accounting for it, right? At least that’s how I see it, anyway.

BARBARA: Mmmhmm. No, I do believe that that is true, which is why I want to kind of get ahold of that feeling, to help remember that it’s not what you produce that’s important this year. It’s what goes on inside of me, more than anything else.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: And that has value too. You know and, for people who pay attention to the Wheel of the Year, I mean this is a good time to have moved if I’m going to be like cocooning and just adjusting and being easy on myself cause it’s the dark time of the year and this quiet introspection feels very natural at least for me, so that’s been super helpful as a way to prepare for, cause then spring will come and hopefully I’ll be adjusted and ready to go and doing things. But if not, then…that’s okay too, right?

ANDREW: [garbled]

BARBARA: Oh I’m sorry, what was that?

ANDREW: That’ll be important too, right? Then you can watch the plants come up, right?

BARBARA: Yeah!

ANDREW: Everything’ll spring up, and life’ll grow, and so on, right?

BARBARA: Well, you know, it’s really interesting here, they’re planting things now!

ANDREW: Wow.

BARBARA: I know, I mean, that’s what Dylan was doing the last two days, she was planting I think cauliflower and chard and one other thing, oh and she’s been doing a lot of onions for farmers. Yeah, they’re planting now, they have a really long growing season here.

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Like I don’t know if it ever stops.

ANDREW: That’s amazing.

BARBARA: Mmmhmm. I think there’s just certain crops that will grow this time of year. And some things that you plant now that come up in the summer or something like that. Clearly I’m not a farmer! [laughs]

ANDREW: Uh-huh. We’ll expect some more farm handiness by the next time we talk.

BARBARA: Okay…[laughing]

ANDREW: Detailed graphs! Well, we’ll plant this at this time, and da da da…

BARBARA: [laughing]

ANDREW: So, I guess another question that is interesting, is, so, Dylan’s been through a lot of change?

BARBARA: Yes.

ANDREW: And you’ve carried on your relationship through that.

BARBARA: Yes.

ANDREW: Because I mean, how many people could sort of imagine saying, yeah sure, go away for a year? I’ll see you sometime. You know I mean…

BARBARA: [laughing]

ANDREW: I know it wasn’t quite that but like, that would be a deal breaker for a lot of people, right?

BARBARA: I suppose you’re right, and it kind of actually was that, because…

ANDREW: How did you roll with that? How did that happen?

BARBARA: Well, it happened very naturally and easily, really, and it kind of was what you said, because we didn’t know when she was coming back, you know, so it was totally open-ended I mean the only thing is, we had, a certain amount of money from our retirement that we allotted to help cover that year. And I said, you can be gone as long as you need to be or until this money runs out! [laughs]

ANDREW: Uh-huh!

BARBARA: So there wasn’t really an ending on it, but how did I roll with it? Well, okay, so, probably first and foremost, is because I love her. And, she needed this.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: So, I’m not gonna not do it. Or let her do it. Or not even let her, but support her wholeheartedly. I needed to see her become healthy and happy, so that’s one reason.

ANDREW: Mmmmhmmm.

BARBARA: The other reason is because the longer she was staying, the worse she was getting, because the more conscious she was becoming that something was wrong within her. Like just the worse and harder it was for her to be home, and for me to live with her, right, so, it was almost in some ways a relief on just this kind of you’re driving me crazy level? Because you’re so un-discontented, I can’t be by you?

ANDREW: Mmmmhmmm.

BARBARA: That’s a lot more cut and dried than it really was, but. It’ll give you an idea. The other thing is that I’m very hermitlike and like to be alone anyway?

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: So just being alone is not hard for me. I know some people, it is hard to be alone; I would be days at a time without seeing or talking to anybody, it was fine with me. Plus, I had a lot of work to do, so. You know. I was never like lonely and never didn’t have anything to do. But, and also, we’d been together for almost 20 years, and, I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but sometimes I think, while she was gone, I kept thinking, maybe everyone in a long term relationship, if they’re feeling stagnated, or whatever, just want a booster, add something, inject something into their relationship, maybe everyone should do this, you know, take a sabbatical from each other, not a separation, you know, it’s not like we’re gonna go try to be without, but you know what I mean, just give each other space to become, without, I mean, cause even healthy relationships, they’re some kind of codependence, some kind of a you do something, you see how your partner reacts and that reinforces or makes you not, you know, even the healthy ones, I don’t think that that’s not…

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: avoidable.

ANDREW: Yeah, well, you know I mean, in my relationship, which has been going on for almost 20 years, right? You know, we kind of use this language of we keep going back to dating, right? Something will happen and we’ll be like, who are we now, what do we want now, what makes sense now, what are we going to do going forward, what assumptions have we been living that we no longer want to be living, you know, and I think that kind of reassessment of things, whether through separations or not, is kind of one of the few ways that I can see that long term things can sort of work well and be healthy because otherwise, I mean maybe if two people don’t change, but you know, I don’t know, I’m such a changing person, I’m always shifting in some way or other, so. I don’t think that that’s really a road that would work for me? So.

BARBARA: Right. Yeah, well yeah, yes, and I’ve heard other people talk about that too, about you know, you know, sure, you commit to a relationship and especially in our culture, you commit for life, and whatever, but it’s not really realistic to I think if, well I don’t think it’s good for people to stay exactly the same, their whole life, I mean maybe it is for some people, but it’s never been that way for me, so I just, it feels like it could lead to stagnation, and for the relationship, I mean people say, well you used to do this or you used to do that, you know, well, okay, so maybe sometimes that’s a problem, you’re not being considerate or prioritizing each other, or, if it’s like well whoa, we don’t do that any more because that’s not who we are any more, so like what you were just saying, have conversations. You know.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: What is important and what’s different and what are we going to let go of? So you’re not always like, oh, you don’t do that any more. But, like, what, yeah, we’re not doing that any more, but we are doing this. You know, and very consciously tending the relationship and not expecting it to be the same but helping it to grow and change as the individuals grow and change.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm. Yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: It’s not easy though.

BARBARA: [laughing] Yeah, no, sometimes it’s not! Well, and for me, I am lucky, in this case, for me, it has been easy, because, what’s happened with Dylan is she went away and lost all the things that weren’t her and most of the things that weren’t her were things I didn’t like anyways…

ANDREW: Right.

BARBARA: …that much, and she clearly didn’t enjoy them either, anymore.

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: And so what’s revealed is more her, what at least at this point in her life is her true nature, and she’s more comfortable and confident, which makes her even better to be around and highlights everything that I loved about her from the start.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: So, you know, yeah, I guess, I could see, this idea, one of the partners going off for a while, being kind of scary, and you know, there are hardships involved, but, in the end, you know, it’s kind of worth it if it helps the person come back being more themselves and more confident and more authentic.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: You know, it’s like a little bit of a sacrifice or, if you even want to think of it that way, but in exchange you get something really good.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: So. And, you know the whole deal breaker thing, do you have a partner because you want someone who’s physically next to you all the time and that’s your definition of what your partner is or is the partner someone who you help each other become your best selves, which is much broader and leaves it more open to things other than just we will sleep under the same roof for as many nights as possible per year or whatever.

ANDREW: Well and, I guess it’s just really important to know which of those you are, if you’re one or the other, right?

BARBARA: Right.

ANDREW: Because if you mistake that, that could be a really, speaking of uncomfortable, you know?

BARBARA: Yeah. [laughing]

ANDREW: [laughing] Yeah, we’ll just stay the same forever! Oh wait, no no no, I’m the changer, and now this is, not working right. And I mean, that happens too, right? So.

BARBARA: That does, that does.

ANDREW: Yeah. So, are you reading cards for people in the neighborhood, are the farmers coming around to ask you about their cows and sheep and their broccoli and chard, or…?

BARBARA: Mmm. No, I have read for one of the farmers that Dylan works for, but others have asked but it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve only been here a little over a month, I’m sure it will happen, I mean I keep telling people, I’m sure I’ll bring my cards the next time they invite us over for dinner or whatever. So I’m sure I will. I don’t know if they will ask about their cows and their crops because they’re usually really smart and know like, I don’t think they need the cards.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA. Yeah. But if they do, I’ll report back next year and let you know, maybe I’ll develop a book on tarot and agriculture or something. [laughs]

ANDREW: Amazing. That would be wonderful!

BARBARA: Yeah. [laughing]

ANDREW: Very cool.

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: So, what are you looking forward to over the next bit? You’re going to go check out this school, right, this clergy program?

BARBARA: Right.

ANDREW: What else are you looking for? Just getting into your paints and your art supplies and trying stuff?

BARBARA: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I definitely want to continue working on my art, and you know, I have my novel that I have written and I did go through a phase where I sent it to a bunch of agents, of course got nothing, you know, so I kind of want to decide about am I going to do that, do another round of agent searching or am I gonna just self-publish it, which is a possibility. Do something with it, because I just feel so bad for it. It’s just sitting there. It’s so cute, one of my sisters, cause you know I had one of my sisters read it, one of my sisters was like, are you ever going to do anything with that and are you ever gonna write the sequel, I just think about those characters all the time, you know, so, which I take as a good sign.

ANDREW: Yeah, that’s a great compliment.

BARBARA: Yeah, and then you know I do want to just get like, I do love tarot, and I can’t help but see everything through the lens of tarot, and I’m super interested in exploring the fool’s journey on different levels and in different ways and I don’t,  and also like, part of this minister training too, like, even, you know, as I study each module of each of the different religions, like taking those precepts and putting them into tarot and just seeing you know and then using that as like some kind of a comparative model, I don’t know but it just seems like there’s a lot of material to play with there.

ANDREW: Well, yeah, I mean, I think that there’s a lot of really interesting ways in which tarot can be used to look at traditions. I mean, of course, I think that given that my tarot deck is the Orisha tarot deck, right? I mean, I basically spent a bunch of time exploring it as where those two systems overlap and how they might shed some onto each other in some way, right?

BARBARA: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes.

ANDREW: And so I think that there’s a lot of really great ground that can happen from that, yeah, I think it’s going to be very interesting to see what emerges, so.

BARBARA: Yeah. Oh, I thought of another project idea that I might play with.

ANDREW: Yeah?

BARBARA: Yeah, yeah, so, okay, like, okay, okay, there’s a lot of esoteric, magic, all that stuff, it has deep roots, right? Historical, sometimes ancient roots, whatever, and you know a lot of people in circles we run in really study that stuff and develop modern practices based on those things, you know, and I think that’s really interesting, obviously, since I’m talking about studying that, but I also think that as human consciousness evolves that spiritual truths or understandings will change and develop too, because I think that we humans are creating reality and the future as we go along.

So, you know, I just think that always relying on the ancient is not the only way, and so I got this idea of, you know, thinking about magic like what can we learn about magic in modern times by studying and comparing and analyzing how magic shows up in literature, modern literature, and so I thought of doing like, and the way this came into my head is cause, like the past like three months or so, I listen to audiobooks as well as reading books but, and, I just needed like comfort books to get me through that. Like I said that time was really hard and I couldn’t be challenged intellectually. I just wanted something that was comforting, so I re-listened to all these series that I love like I re-listened to all the Harry Potter books, and I re-listened to Jim Butcher’s the Harry Dresden Files, which are about Harry Dresden and he’s a magician. I re-listened to Lev Grossman’s trilogy, The Magicians, and right now I’m re-listening to, and I’m almost embarrassed to say it and I don’t even remember the name of it, cause it’s more of a romance novel, but it’s, oh, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, and there’s a trilogy of books, there may even be more, I don’t know. So all of these theories, I realized, like okay I didn’t realize these were all my comfort series, and what they all have in common is that they are magical worlds in the modern world, you know.

ANDREW: Right.

BARBARA: It’s how magic works in contemporary times and so, you know, like, so, what are the core, like in novels, they don’t just lay out a worldview, right, because that would be boring, that would be nonfiction or something but, you know, so just go to these books and kind of pull out of them, their worldviews and the way the world works and how magic works and what it is and what its purpose is. How does spirituality and ethics fit into it? Etc. etc. I just think that would be such a fun comparative study. Of those four, well, the first three for sure, maybe the Deborah Harkness series too, I’m not sure about that one yet. I just think that would be so cool.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on these days, with magic, you know. I think that there’s sort of an interesting blend of contemporary practice and sort of modern practice but also sort of a return to, as Gordon White says, a reenchanting of the world, or—

BARBARA: Yes.

ANDREW: …a more animist worldview. You know, and I never realized that I had an animist worldview and always have, like I just didn’t have the language for it in that way, but, that’s kind of always been my worldview.

BARBARA: Yeah…

ANDREW: So it’s very interesting to see that kind of emergency people, you know, working with that and exploring that in different settings and so on. I mean it’s funny because so much of my magic is urban, you know, in one way or another, and some of that involves spirits of place and spirits that have been here, and some of that comes from the plants and animals that are around, and some of that just deals with the urbanness of the energy of people and the flow of stuff through the city and things like that, so.

BARBARA: Mmmhmmm.

ANDREW: Yeah, so I think that, you know, the river has one kind of magic and the busiest street in town has another, right? you know. So. Yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah…that’s so, that’s cool, it is really cool. I remember when I first started, probably when I first started working at Llewellyn, was when I became really aware of modern paganism and you know it was always so way back, 20 years ago, so much stuff was so little English cottage in the woods kind of idealized life, and if you weren’t living that you couldn’t really live this life and I know that’s not what the books were saying but that’s how it felt.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: And I did always think there should be more urban, urban-based, you know, Christopher Penczak, you know, I think he’s the one who wrote City Magick or urban magic or something like that.

ANDREW: Yeah, there’s a few books for sure.

BARBARA: Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s really neat because one of the things that interested me was, people would talk about oh, well you have to be in tune with the natural world and the Earth and da da da da da, as if anything that is man-made isn’t natural and maybe, depending on your definition, but in one sense, the broadest sense, you know, is it natural, well, it exists in the natural world. It is physically…so there is, whatever we make is made out of something that existed in the wild or naturally in some form or another, so I think the same kind of energy isn’t flowing through it, well, it wouldn’t be exactly the same, it would be altered, modified, but, you know, someone has to pay attention to that and learn its ways and learn how it works.

ANDREW: For sure. Well and, ironically enough, now you’ve moved to a little Sufi cottage in the woods, right?

BARBARA: Yes.

[Both laugh.]

ANDREW: That’s the sort of idyllic thing that people were craving in one way or another, is not far from where you sort of ended up, which is kind of amusing.

BARBARA: It’s true. It is amusing because one of the other ridiculous feelings I’m dealing with is, I feel guilty, which is just silly because, first of all—

ANDREW: Why?

BARBARA: Well, because I feel so lucky, like I can’t, I mean, I look out my kitchen window, right outside the kitchen window, there are freaking hummingbirds, which in Minnesota, that’s pretty rare and further, the trees just beyond, there are egrets in the trees, beyond that are the mountains, I mean, come on, it’s just gorgeous, and like I could describe the laidback lifestyle and stuff, I just feel lucky and I feel sorry for people who don’t have it and like my, one of my sisters, well, both my sisters work SO HARD and…

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

BARBARA: I don’t know, you know, like survival skills or something? I don’t know.

ANDREW: Yeah, I mean, I get that, obviously your feelings are your feelings, right?

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: But, but you know, I mean, I think that if people listen, you know, listen to all of the podcasts that you and I have done together, right?

BARBARA: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: That you can see the moments at which you made deliberate choices, right?

BARBARA: MMMMHMMM.

ANDREW: There’s the time that I did like around when I did that impossible reading for you and you started like, I’m gonna start shifting this, and shifting that, and shifting these other things, you know and…

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: At all these points, you made that choice that would open that road and take you in those other directions, right, and so, you know, it’s not as easy as we could all go back to the land, and you know, like, that kind of thing, like that’s totally not true or real…

BARBARA: Right.

ANDREW: But if people deeply desired it, you know, there are often choices that could be made in those directions, you know, I mean, obviously, like, privilege and other limits get in the way, you know, but in a general way, you know, lots of people have this option to sort of choose to make change and choose to go in different directions, and they don’t. You know?

BARBARA: Right, right.

ANDREW: And, yeah.

BARBARA: Nope, you are right, you are right, that’s exactly what Dylan said to me when I mentioned the guilt thing, you know. Sometimes, with my ridiculous or unhealthy or unproductive feelings, which actually, part of my growth, because being able to actually feel and identify these kind of feelings, new, new territory for me.

ANDREW: Mmmhmmm.

BARBARA: …Doing so well, but, sometimes it helps to voice them…

ANDREW: Sure.

BARBARA: …because then you can hear how silly they are and then to have someone say something like well, yes you’re having that feeling, as you’re dealing with that feeling, remember also what you just said, people have choices, blah blah blah. It’s like yes, yes, yes. You are so right. Thank you. [laughs] Yeah, this is a long ways. Like I don’t remember but I think maybe our first one might’ve been me going on and on about truth with a capital T or something like that! [laughs]

ANDREW: I think that’s true.

BARBARA: I think so. [laughs] Wow. Thank goodness we do these every year so I can remember the magnitude of this journey.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah, I know, it’s amazing.

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: Well, I think maybe this is a good spot for us to bookmark it until next time.

BARBARA: I think so, yeah.

ANDREW: Are you, are you still online anywhere, is there space where people can follow you and stuff?

BARBARA: Yes, just my website is http://www.tarotshaman.com/ and contact information is there, and I do blog occasionally. As I play with the ideas coming up in the next year, I will probably be blogging more, because it will be a way of playing with the ideas and maybe getting interaction and feedback on them, whatever. My email address you can get from the website, but it’s Barbara moore07@comcast.net and totally email me, because, you know, I’m just here hanging out. I’m not like all busy busy busy. So, don’t be afraid to write to me.

[Both laugh.]

ANDREW: Amazing. All right. Well, thank you for making time to be on the show again. As always, it’s a pleasure.

BARBARA: Yeah, thank you too! I love it and I look forward to next year already.

ANDREW: Yay!

 

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