After many years of writing poetry, I finally decided to start self-publishing chapbooks created around a theme.
I decided to start with poems largely inspired by living here in Venice, California, for over 20 years. Many of these poems first appeared in the Free Venice Beachhead, the longest running collective, underground newspaper in the United States. This monthly, free paper features poems from a variety of people. Famously, it published beat poets Stuart Perkoff and Philomene Long.
The book, “The Lady Still Resides Here,” is now available on Amazon. If you are local, please come out to my book signing and celebration of poetry on January 31st, 2018. The event will be from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Mystic Journey Bookstore, 1624 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice.
The evening will begin with me reading and signing my book. Following this, there will be refreshments and an open mic for guests to read one of their own poems or one of their favorite poems.
In Sandra Shulman’s book, “The Nightmare, the World of Terrifying Dreams”, I came across Carl Jung’s earliest dream memory. At the age of 3 or 4, Jung dreamed of “entering a large, underground chamber of stone. Enthroned on a platform was a huge, upright object made of flesh, with a single eye at its head, gazing upwards. Although this fleshy pillar did not stir, the child was frozen with horror, sensing that at any moment it must creep from the golden throne towards him. Then he heard his mother’s voice somewhere outside and above, calling . . . That is the man-eater!” (pg. 106)
Oddly enough, I also recall a vivid dream from when I was around 4 years old. Although it is somewhat different to Jung’s, it also contained a single eye, as well as felt like a mythic world. In my dream, I was sitting before our black and white TV, which was turned off. Suddenly, a single eye appeared on the black screen. Frightened, I decided to run outside. Immediately, I found myself running in a field of wheat, moving in the wind. The sun was bright; but still, I felt the eye following me wherever I went.
Years later, I discovered that my astrological birth chart contains the mythic struggle of Demeter and Pluto, a struggle that has in some ways, played out in my life. That dream reminds me of this myth.
By Krista Schwimmer
Ever since Michael & I moved to Los Angeles, we have felt a bond to Hollywood Boulevard. We like the feel of the Boulevard itself — the mix of old, historic buildings & the bustle of strangeness that is kin to Venice Boardwalk. It is also a nice escape for us, an easy day vacation, as we hardly know anyone in that area. In Venice, however, just a walk along the Boardwalk means we most likely will see someone we know. And now and then, it is nice to ramble amongst strangers.
On Thursday, January 8th, we made our escape. First, however, we stopped at MOCA in West Hollywood. There, we went to see “Songs for the Witch Woman,” the first museum exhibit of Marjorie Cameron’s work.
Through the brochure written by Yael Lipshutz, guest curator of the exhibit, I learned much about this fascinating woman. Cameron was an influential artist & occult practitioner in Los Angeles during the mid-1940’s. She was also Jack Parson’s “scarlet woman”, or so he believed when he met her not long after performing the magical operation he called “the Babalon Working.” They soon married; but their life together was cut short when Jack Parsons accidentally dropped a vial of mercury fulminate in his garage, killing himself in the explosion. (Some, however, his death was not accidental — either a suicide or a murder.)
Recently, I found out that one of the original, Bodhi Tree Readers died. Her name is Linda Hart Michaels. She died of emphysema on February 27, 2014. According to her friend, Anna, her last two days were peaceful.
I met Linda when I first approached Phil Thompson to let me and my husband, Michael, work as tarot readers at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore. It was November, 1997. We had recently arrived from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Linda told me she had been asking them to add psychic readers for years — but no luck. The two owners were still not budging when I also asked. Why they changed their minds less than a year later is another story, for another day. Today, I simply want to share a story about Linda.
One day, not long after we started up the Bodhi Tree Readings, I went to ask Linda a question. I noticed a beautiful angel card deck on her table. Now, most people who know me, know that I am not easily impressed by angel decks, largely because of their poorly conceived artwork. I had never seen this particular deck, so I asked her what it was. She told me it was called, “Angel Blessings” created by Kimberly Marooney. She then told me that she did not exactly read with them. Rather, she turned over one card and placed it on her table for each reading. She did this because she found the image comforted people. I liked that idea, for some reason. I also could see how the images could be comforting. Each one is an actual reproduction of a fine art masterpiece.
So, in memorium, today I decided to take out my own copy and pull a card for Linda. Above is the card I pulled: “Sandalphon” with the keyword”Power.” According to Marooney, Sandalphon “oversees the many powers given to the Seraphin including strength, abundance, beauty, and joy of living.” The power, however, this great Seraphin is connected with is the power of emotions. Sandalphon helps to identify ones fears and imbalances and take actions to work through them. Marooney says that by expressing ones true feelings and releasing emotional scars, ones power flows through.
I believe when we die that the journey continues. Linda, may your spirit path be one of joy, magic and illumination. Thank you for sharing in an important crossroads in my life. I will remember your laughter, your beautiful hair, and your gentle soul. Blessed be.
In January 2005, my husband and I were eating dinner at Norm’s Restaurant on Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica, California. For the second night in a row, I called my mother, who lived in Sonoma at the time. There was no answer. My mother did not believe in answering machines. Still, I knew she would not normally be out two nights in a row. My stomach tensed. I told my husband I was worried. He said she probably was alright; but, I could call the local police in Sonoma and they would look in on her. So, I did.
While the police went to look in on her, we finished our meal and headed home. They did not call back right away. I grew more and more anxious, and decided to do a quick, tarot reading on her. Much to my dismay, the cards looked unfavorable. I told Michael I thought she was dead. He assured me that she was most likely fine. When the police finally called, I was glad. I wanted the uncertainty to end.
I do not know who I spoke to that night. I simply remember his kindness. He gently told me that my mother was dead. The cause was still uncertain. He told me there was evidence of a fire. They were unsure if it was accidental or not, as her apartment was a mess. He made a point to say that she had died quickly and peacefully from the carbon monoxide, not from the flames of the fire. In fact, the fire hand not even touched her body. She was lying in bed asleep at the time.
by Krista Schwimmer
While at the Western Dental on Lincoln for my husband’s temporary crown replacement, we stopped for lunch at a nearby Denny’s Restaurant. I had been craving Denny’s whole wheat, blueberry pancakes for a few months — a real treat for me these days due to a traumatic event in the past year and a half that changed both me and Michael’s life forever.
We had finished lunch and were about to leave. Michael looked over at the Toyscoop, seeing what stuffed animals were there to be grabbed with the metal claw. Now, for this story, I have to give you a bit of a back story. When Michael and I first moved to California, we dined quite a bit at Norm’s. Michael soon discovered he had an amazing knack for plunking in just a dollar or two, and grabbing up a desirable stuffed animal. In those days, the quality of the gifts was often amazing. I am not sure how many of these he managed to obtain — at least 50 — with rarely spending more than a few bucks. And, although he sometimes lost, he won more often than lost, sometimes two or three at a time.