Archive | Spirit Matters

Hard Times Are Just Across the Street

Bread line, 1932.

I live across the street from an elementary school.

Over the last 20 years, this has proven interesting for any number of reasons. When I was still deciding whether I wanted children, the building loomed as a daily litmus test. Did I find the student’s neon-and-sparkle outfits, their rising cries and laughter, grating or poignant?

(From my child-free state, you may draw your own conclusions about my conclusion.)

On election days, sign-bearing advocates and impatient voters have flocked the block, adding an extra frisson to the air. And three-quarters of the year, three-quarters of the neighborhood street parking has been claimed by teachers—not that I’m complaining. (I am, but also get that on this point I don’t have a pot to piss in.)

But now that school has been out of session since March, the building across the street has taken on a new role. It has become a food pantry, and at any time of day our neighborhood is colonized by long lines.

I’ve come to know the pantry’s administrators, have even helped out a bit, and what I’ve been learning about the “food-insecure”—which is an absolutely wretched phrase for the hungry, which admittedly is also a wretched phrase—is that most of us have absolutely no idea who among us is really, really struggling. Especially now.

After three decades of living in this city, I recognize many of the pantry’s recipients, if only by face.

There are people whose struggles are visible, whether because they are mumbling the same phrase over and over to themselves or carrying their life’s possessions in garbage bags or flat-out wearing those bags. Then there are the baby-boomers with neatly pressed clothes and averted eyes, the old ladies wearing flowered house dresses and been-there-done-that jutting jaws. The green-haired punks who ride up on souped-up bikes, the hipsters sporting hemp backpacks, the young mothers with bracing smiles and freshly bathed children in strollers.

People of all ages, races, walks of life united only by the fact that they do not have enough food. By the fact that all the other social services that should have been in place for a national disaster—the financial relief, the rent freezes, the affordable health care—are nowhere to be found.

So these people stand in the rain and in the terrible heat, waiting for what by all rights should already be in their larder.

Upon returning from the Catskills last month, I realized that in my hasty departure I’d left behind my groceries. And that, for the first time in my life, I was so broke that I might need to join that line.

I wouldn’t have been ashamed to do it, but I would have felt ridiculously guilty. I would have felt that, with my excellent education and personal resources, I should not have reached that point. Which is to say: I would have felt as every other struggling American is made to feel. That my deficits stemmed from personal failures rather than public ones.

Black Panther Free Food Program recipients, 1968

Between kind donations and a new insurgence of clients, I circumvented the need for the pantry that week. But I know it’s there, and am both relieved that it is and sad that it has to be.

It’s 7:44 am as I write this, and mawing on my oatmeal I can see that across the street people are already lining up around the block. From my heart I send each and every one the hug I can no longer physically bestow.

These are not necessarily end times, but these are very hard times. The bad old days are here again, and the new dystopia is now.

Pray–and protest!–for us all.

Donate here to the NYC food bank. And if you like what you’re reading, donations are gratefully received on behalf of this blog as well.

On Reading for Men: Asked and Answered

Do you read for dudes?

The truth? Yes, but it wasn’t until the last month or so that people who identified as men began to regularly request Ruby Intuition readings. So why now? Maybe because the destabilization of Month 6 of Covid and Year 3 of Trump’s Reign is hitting guys (cis and trans) especially hard. Even in 2020, many are conditioned to feel worthy only when they’re financially and emotionally supporting others—or at least when they can contain their big emotions no matter how lost they feel.

In my practice I am bearing witness to men who feel such overwhelm that—well, that they’re willing to come see me. So what do I offer? Compassionate, comprehensive clarity about the future as well as the past, not to mention the culturally elusive value of divine masculinity, which entails solicitous action and selfless service, and is just as essential as divine femininity/ (Integrated people channel both.) The good news? In the long run, this upheaval will pave the way for healthier relationships and healthier hearts.

There’s a reason heart attacks fell more men.

In the meantime, I am deeply honored by the beautiful vulnerability I am experiencing in all my clients. As Alice Walker has so rightfully said: “The way forward is with a broken heart.”

To schedule a reading for yourself or a loved one, book here. Painting by Alice Neel, doctored by yours truly.

The Rosy Sparkle of Birthday Readings

It should surprise nobody that I do a lot of birthday readings during Leo season. Why? Because those born under this sign know how to treat themselves right—and this includes harnessing the extra magic of solar returns.

When asked about the ideal time to schedule a reading, I always say “trust your gut,” But I confess that while I’m always honored to tune into my clients, I especially adore the rosy sparkle of a birthday reading because that is your personal new year and there’s a lot of “good wind” around beginnings. Thus birthday readings don’t just prognosticate the future. They shape it, since we can beautifully meld our wishes with divine will when the sun is close to its location at the time of our birth. A birthday is a personal new year—only it’s not just about setting intentions. It’s about realizing them.

To schedule a reading for yourself or a loved one, book here.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy