Sunday, September 25, 2011

And On To The Next

This is a just a short note to thank those of you who stopped by Earth Spirit yesterday to buy a book, get a goodie bag, or simply talk about Wicca. A special thanks goes to Keith, who did a lot of hauling, and dragging, and searching for misplaced muffins and keys. At least we always have SOME adventure, nephew!

For those of you in the Red Bank NJ area over the Samhain weekend, I will be conducting an open Circle at Earth Spirit, 25 Monmouth Street, on October 30th, starting 7pm.  Please, no costumes, but if you wish to wear a robe or Circle garb, that will be fine. This is a serious ritual, so kindly leave the children at home.

Our next signing will be at the 3rd annual Para-X at the East Brunswick Elks Lodge, 21 Oakmont Avenue, on October 15th.  The event runs from 11am-8pm and looks to be a blast.  This will be my first time appearing at this venue.  There will be authors, psychics, artists, paranormal groups, food etc etc. Even Ecto 2 will be making an appearance! This event is sponsored by the New Jersey Ghost Organization.  Check out their web site at: 

I'll be there with my books, Graven Imges Oracle decks, hand sewn tarot and stone pouches, and goodie bags! 

Thanks again, everyone.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Samhain...

Sometimes, I don't listen to my own advice.

I knew “me and mine” were experiencing difficult times. I specifically made runes to ward my property, even shared the “how to” on this blog. Then, life got busier. I put off charging and placing them. September came – I should have known better.

Because my CRO was not cast properly, my insurance paid for a re-cast, this time by the man who made my original devices. I was prevented from going for my final fitting because Hurricane Irene created the “island” of North Brunswick. I couldn't get over any of the bridges, Route 18 was flooded, the canal was now a river all by itself and – forget East Millstone. If any of you saw Bound Brook NJ in the national news during Hurricane Floyd, East Millstone flooding is it's equal.

I had water in my basement, and a problem with the bathroom wall. It kept changing into various forms of modern art. (No kidding! It was morphing before my eyes!)

Wall as Art
I was to pick up the CRO the following Wednesday. OK. No problem. I also had a two day workshop at the office that was mandatory Wednesday through Thursday. I would miss a few hours, but otherwise could get it done.

That Wednesday, I got up early, took care of Rufus, got out to the car in the scary CRO and shoe (by now, I was terrified of falling in them again), and started the car. I adjusted everything, checked for school kids, started to back out and...BOOM! There was a nice explosion, my car listed to the left, smoke rose in the breeze, and then – silence. To me, it was a blown tire. That's all I saw. I moved my CRO appointment to the following Wednesday and called my boss. Thankfully, my cousin George is an auto genius. He was on his way to change my tire. I assured my boss I would be late, but I would make it.

Two hours and three jacks later, cousin George finally gets the car lifted up enough to see what happened. I knew the news was bad when he walked in the house carrying something that looked like a metal horseshoe. This was not good.

“This is not good,” said cousin George. “Your coil exploded, it shot this piece right though your new tire, and you're going to need a coil, strut and another new tire. Don't know if I have the parts on hand. I'm calling a flat bed to pick up the car. Sorry, Kath.”
(I was comforted by the thought that this happened backing out of my driveway, and not going 50 mph down a country road).

So goes the mandatory workshop. Boss understood, but wasn't happy. Two of us had to miss this event and would need to attend it at another site. She finally found one – Glastonbury CT. The date? Oct 20-21.

Same time as my already paid for vacation. My NON-REFUNDABLE vacation – to Salem Mass. And I was all ready for it!

Eventually we found another venue, NYC in November. Ducky. I can't yet handle trains and subways, I can't park at the Sea Port and walk. That means car service for two days, for which I will probably have to pay myself. Yikes.

I finally charged those runes and had my nephew place them for me in the proper spots. The water in my basement dried. Gold Metal came out and replaced the flashing around my bathroom exhaust pipe. There was an actual hole in the roof caused by Irene (who knew?). I picked up my CRO and my new shoes. I'm still getting accustomed to both, but I can tell the CRO is a vast improvement over the prior. You just can't beat items hand made and personally adjusted by the individual who crafted your device.

Rufus and CRO
I went to my eye doctor and all was well there.
I am breathing a wary sigh of relief. It's still Samhain-tide, however. If it can go wrong it will. However, I think I'm better prepared now. Beyond warding the house, my friend Goldie took a look at my chart and provided some guidance which has proved to be invaluable. Thanks, sister!

I am still hoping I get a few copies of the new Fate Magazine, with my gargoyle piece, in time for my book signing next week. If not, there are still plenty of goodie bags with other issues.

I will be at Earth Spirit New Age Center, Monmouth Street, Red Bank from 12-4pm on Saturday September 24th. Come visit, see the shop, buy a book or a Graven Images Oracle deck. Meet Keith, my nephew and photographer. Have some candy corn and enjoy yourself!

Before I go, I must share this. Keith and I were running errands the day before Irene hit. At one point I had to get gas. We pulled into my local BP station. While filling up, I mentioned that the next Fate article will probably be “Haunted New Brunswick”. I glanced over at the garage bay, then added “And I must be onto something if THEY are here!”

Keith took a quick picture. It's not perfect, but take a look what was in the bay for servicing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Memorial

It was an incredible, beautiful day. We had had a lovely weekend, celebrating my niece's upcoming wedding. The weather had been OK for the start of the week, but this was spectacular. There were crystal clear skies, deep blue, perfect, and mild temperatures announcing Fall just around the corner - a time when I felt alive.

I knew where my family and friends were: Claude would be working from her office not far from the Trade Center, my nephew was suppose to be heading into NYC. Everyone else was working in New Jersey. I was at work in Piscataway: my day started at 7:30am. I was at my desk when someone said they heard a plane had hit Tower 1. All I could think was “What kind of civilian idiot went off course now?” Shortly thereafter, I was told another plane hit Tower 2. That's when we all realized: this was no accident.

We emptied into the foyer, huddling near the company's large TV screen. The images were surreal. The smoke and fire, the people jumping to their death. One of my co-workers whispered to me “Oh, God! Adam works in the South Tower!” (Adam was a former employee who married one of our long time office friends.) I turned to another co-worker who was a volunteer fire fighter. “Any chance they can put those fires out?” He merely shook his head no.

We scrambled back to our desks for cell phones, then returned to the TV. My best friend worked blocks away from the Towers – no answer. My nephew was suppose to be in town – no answer. Our friend had heard from her husband. He was on the way down and would call when he reached street level. He never did.

In horror, we saw Tower 1 disappear. Then, Tower 2 was gone. I thought of Claude, out in the streets, breathing in those toxins with her asthma. I thought of my nephew potentially on the trains beneath. Another friend's husband worked in the area..we all had colleagues in those buildings (it housed many insurance offices).

Rumors ran rampant: more planes were missing, the White House was hit, no – the Pentagon – all planes were grounded, and all bridges were being closed. We were told to go home. I left, still not having heard from anyone.

I had just about gotten to my street when an explosive sound erupted overhead. It was a military squadron, flying so low I could see their markings. A neighbor appeared on his lawn and started to film as they flew by. There was no doubt they were heading towards the City (we're only 45 minutes away by bus). In a sky usually full of Newark International flights, they were the only aerial presence.

I hurried home to my phone.

By day's end, I located almost everyone. My nephew got up that morning and decided he was going to work from his NJ office. He was safe. Claude had survived as well, although barely. After the first plane hit, she ran to the window in her boss's office where she had a view of the Towers. A shadow passed overhead, then a wing. The second hijacked plane had to dip to avoid her building on the way to its doom. She witnessed the second strike.

With that, she abandoned the building. She just made the subway as the first Tower fell. A co-worker with asthma, who got caught in the cloud of dust, died from the exposure. She somehow made her way to the New Jersey side of the river, where people were being hosed off before boarding trains. Finally, she made it home.

We did not hear anything about Adam.

The next afternoon, our friend called and said if we wanted to visit, we had better do it now. She was sitting calmly on her sofa when we arrived. The kids had been sent somewhere to play. She told us there was no sign of Adam in hospitals, on any lists – and yet the majority of the folks with whom he left had made it out. Eventually we heard the story: Adam and others got to the sky lobby when the office secretary wanted to get off. She had gone through the 1993 attack and was afraid to take the elevator any farther. Adam volunteered to walk down the stairs with her. That's where they were when the building fell.

The memorial service was almost unbearable. I don't know how our friend stayed as centered as she was. We tried to follow her example and be brave, until her 9 year old daughter read a piece she had written about her Dad. Her voice didn't waiver, or hold a trace of a tear. She was magnificent; it was we who broke down.

More and more stories came out about folks like Adam. There was a man in one office who could have left but refused to abandon his invalid friend. There was a security guard who volunteered to stay with a badly wounded man, waiting for help that never reached them. Amid the destruction of humanity arose the beauty of its spirit, over and over.

In the following days, the tragedy was unavoidable. All our communities had lost members, and our local fire fighters went to the aid of their brothers in NYC. They maned a fire house, allowing that company to go search for their missing. In gratitude, we were given part of a Tower support beam which forms the center of our 911 memorial.

The Raritan Valley is in a unique position: smells from the City have a way of drifting towards, and lingering, along the river. We couldn't escape the smell of fuel, concrete dust, burnt was everywhere.

Finally, after the rains that night, the shift of winds, the flow of time, the air cleared. Trees were planted, names engraved in stone, on plaques, in bricks – but we weren't likely to forget. And the thing I remember most is Adam willing to help a co-worker, people going back it to search for others, folks staying behind to comfort the fearful.

My x-husband once turned to me and said “ They call them 'heroes.' WHAT heroes? They all just went to work, or hopped on a plane, and got killed. They didn't do anything heroic, they just died.”

Oh, really?

The Gods of the Universe bless every single one of them.