Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Want Everlasting Pleasure/ A Gift of Chocolate?

If you are only opening this to find out how to get Everlasting Pleasure Chocolate, feel free to skip this brutal story and go to the image of the chocolate bar below.

Not my photo, but I did see a Hawk earlier today on my hike!

It all happened so fast. The screech of the Red-tailed Hawk as it swooped down to snatch up it's unsuspecting prey. The sharp beak plunging into the soft, downy, still quivering, breast of the brown woodpecker, scattering small feathers and drops of blood on the trail - only a few feet in front of me.

I was on my way down from a giant spiral made of small rocks where I had done a ritual to honor my quiet and cautious, marshmallow-soft, launch of Sparks & Leaps

The spiral is on a hidden plateau high on a hill with a stunning view of San Francisco and Mount Tam and a place I love to go to honor holidays and significant days in my life. It is also one of my favorite outdoor dance floors. 

The date was February 1, 2014. It was Imbolc/Candlemas/the day before Groundhogs Day/ halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox it was also the day after the New Moon and the second day of Chinese New Year (Year of the Wood Horse) and seemed like a propitious time to make a symbolic gesture for a beginning.

Witnessing the carnage and last flickers of life of the Northern Flicker woodpecker did not initially appear to be a particularly favorable omen, but I decided to put a positive spin on it (it certainly was powerful!) and wait to see if any deeper meaning would be revealed.

In last month's New Moon blog about killers, I told the horrific story of three young predators who swooped down on an unsuspecting, innocent man and plucked his wallet and keys from his pocket and left him dead in a pool of blood. This occurred on a trail connected to the one where the hawk was (and also a few yards in either direction from the Gunshot Fire Road and a road named for the pirate - Sir Frances Drake).

I have not been able to stop thinking about him and all of those connected to this tragedy and holding all in my heart.

At the end of that post, I said I would recount a bizarre series of incidents relating to the theme of the predator on this trail. For those of you who want to read a couple more (fortunately no bloodshed), I will include them at the end of this one.

This is of one of the woodpecker's feathers and a rock with blood from the site of Steve Carter's murder - both of which I keep on my altar.
Ever since the event with the hawk occurred, I've been wondering what (if anything) it might mean. After all, if one is going to a sacred spot to do a ritual and something like this happens, in theory it should mean something, but I was baffled. Also, in addition to the stories at the bottom, there have been SO MANY other happenings with the same theme. 

I would gladly have given this troublesome theme of violence, predators and death a funeral. I tried many times to dismiss or reinterpret these frequent reminders from the underworld.

It was especially vexacious as I tried to understand how to interpret this theme in relation to the equally persistent, compelling and confounding themes of holidays (holy-days/ natural cycles/ celebrations/ ceremonies/ rituals) and  synchronicities (with all of their Magic - including both the derisive label of “magical thinking” and the mind blowing implications of immense power and Mystery), and the issue of “Magic” in relation to placebos or what I have privately referred to as “the snake oil and mummy paste issue”.

All I wanted to do was to create a service to help families in the middle of life transitions like divorces.

But every time I tried to jettison any of these pieces, more validation in the way of similar stories would occur. And whenever I tried to force myself to use conventional, practical, rational, logical methods like action plans and diligent effort (WORK HARDER/FASTER/MORE/ BETTER), to whip Sparks & Leaps into a clear concept that could be translated into a “moneymaking vehicle” and useful service or to even consider creating a different business or the option of paid employment elsewhere, I would hit a (metaphorical but still painful) brick wall.

And then I would be flooded with ridiculously clear indications that I needed to continue doing exactly what I was doing. Unfortunately this plan appeared on the outside (and to my own increasingly hostile inner critic, justifiably concerned about survival needs) to be engaging in frivolous activities and left me dreading the inevitable questions from everyone about what was happening with Sparks & Leaps.

Okay, here is where the FREE CHOCOLATE comes in!

My Friend Bethanne's guilt free, yummy chocolate

I am overjoyed and deeply relieved to announced that these themes are finally beginning to come together! I will be sharing more details soon, but in the meantime, I'm offering any of you who enjoy puzzles to play with the colorful pieces (see the words in color in the text above) and see what kind of picture you put together.

I would love to hear any of your perspectives before I reveal the next version of Sparks & Leaps. (Third times a charm - and I'll bet my clever loyal readers know what day that launch will occur - cue the Sonny and Cher song from the movie!) 

Anyone who creates a story of Sparks & Leaps (even if satirical) that includes all of these pieces will receive a gift of chocolate if you give me your address (which I promise not to use for anything else ever unless you are already in my address book and receiving greeting cards). 

You can send your entries to michelle@sparksandleaps.com or if you prefer anonymity and foregoing the candy, use the comment section of this blog. And, of course I always welcome any feedback, anonymous or otherwise, in the comment section.

I will also send chocolate to the first 7 people who help me with the following quest which I am also posting on various social media sites.


I am looking to interview seven women (who are also mothers or stepmothers) between the ages of 40 to 60 whose marriages suddenly and unexpectedly ended. You could either be in the middle of divorce right now or could have navigated this experience in the past.

If this is you and you are willing to tell me your story, please send me a private message or email at michelle@sparksandleaps.com

I imagine the this conversation (which is, of course, totally confidential) will also be of great value to you.

Or if you know of anyone who fits this description and might be willing to talk with me about their experience, please share this invitation with them.

Thank you!

And if you read about this in my blog, claim your chocolate!

And now, just to lighten things up a bit after all of the recent heavy topics in my last newsletter and blog, I wish all of you a Happy Diwali - Hindu Festival of lights - and a day full of the delightful synchronicities that many associate with 11/11 (anyone reading this at 11:11 on 11/11?).

As for Armistice Day/ Veterans Day (how cool that WW1 ended on 11/11 at 11:11!) , I am planning on addressing a related topic connected to Pearl Harbor Day in the next New Moon Blog. But in the mean time, here is a respectful note of acknowledgement to honor those who have served and the hope that we can learn to resolve our conflicts without war. 

And now, here are the other two Spiral predator stories I promised earlier for those who are interested.

Photo of my shadow wearing a pirate hat that was in the center of the Spiral that day.
On the Autumnal Equinox 2014 (a few months after the Imbolc incident with the hawk), I decided I would do another ritual to address my reluctance to create a stronger presence with my new business. I had been working with a business coach and had joked with her that I was wearing a cloak of invisibility and was nervously considering taking it off. 

As I was walking up the trail to the spiral, I was on the phone talking to a friend whose brother had died. After my condolences, he asked me the dreaded question, inquiring how Sparks & Leaps was going. I told him about my cloak of invisibility and how my coach had advised that rather than ripping it off and feeling naked and vulnerable I should do a little striptease.

Just as I said this provocative phrase, and at approximately the same spot on the trail where the hawk had dined, a young guy (mid 20s?) rode by on his bike, and stared at me. 

When I got up to the Spiral, he was there. Watching me. I approached the spiral slowly and hoped he would ride his bike down the hill and go away. But he stayed. Watching me. I asked him if he wanted a turn, indicating  that was what I had come there for and hoping he would take the hint and go away. But he declined and stayed. Watching me.

It was approaching dusk so I couldn't leave and come back and I really wanted to leave some offerings in the center of the Spiral (including one of the feathers from that little woodpecker), so I walked in and out the Spiral fairly briskly, keeping an eye on the biker.

I walked back to the path I had taken up to the plateau and pretended I was leaving in the hopes that he would go so I could go back and have a little sunset dance.

As soon as I had disappeared behind the bushes, he got on his bike but instead of riding down the trail in front of him, he rode over the rocks to the center of the spiral and rode back and forth over the spot where I had left my tokens*.

Then he ducked behind a tree and got off his bike with his back to me.  I couldn't see exactly what he was doing but what I did see seriously creeped me out. I left immediately and high tailed it down the hill, while talking to a nearby friend on my cell phone, explaining exactly where I was and what had happened, just in case he might try to follow me.

After finding another place to dance and finish my ritual, I went home and drew a card from an oracle deck. I got The Hermit, who (among other intriguing details that were very helpful for me) “wears a grey cloak of invisibility”.

I kept my virtual cloak of invisibility on and I avoided the spiral for several weeks. But then I decided I wasn't going to let myself be scared away from one of my favorite places and went to reclaim it. 

The occasion I chose was all Saints Day/ Day of the Dead. I thought about Saints and sinners, good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains, as well as vampires, pirates and other popular scary Halloween characters. In the spirit of Day the Dead which invites a playfulness to grim topics, I decided I would play with my own inner sinner/villain and use that energy to scare off any predators. I brought a little skull and cross bones button along with some other items to leave in the middle of the Spiral.

When I reached the middle, this little action figure was waiting for me.


I didn't have my iPhone yet to take a photo, and didn't want to remove him (bad Spiral/labyrinth etiquette to take anything out that someone else put there), but I looked up purple villain action figure when I got home and discovered Bizarro. He was a fairly sweet and pathetic villain who was just trying to be like superman but was inherently flawed. I was actually touched and illuminated by his story and delighted to have made his acquaintance.

Me at the center of the Spiral on 9/11. This year.

* This was not the first time that something I had left in the middle of the middle of a spiral or labyrinth had been vandalized with significance for me. Here is that tale from a previous blog



    I am looking to interview seven women (who are also mothers or stepmothers) between the ages of 40 to 60 whose marriages suddenly and unexpectedly ended. You could either be in the middle of divorce right now or could have navigated this experience in the past.

    If this is you and you are willing to tell me your story, please send me a private message or email at michelle@sparksandleaps.com

    I imagine the this conversation (which is, of course, totally confidential) will also be of great value to you.

    Or if you know of anyone who fits this description and might be willing to talk with me about their experience, please share this invitation with them.

    Thank you!

  2. My contest entry:
    Divorced from my customary activity of compounding snake oil and natron (sometimes erroneously referred to as mummy paste), I was perusing the Book of the Dead when something sparked my imagination. What if ancient microbes leapt from Tutankhamun to the defilers of his grave? Sensationalist papers at the time of the tomb’s excavation attributed the sudden death of Lord Carnarvon (who sponsored the dig) to the pharaoh’s curse. Scientists dismissed this (and several other mysterious deaths of people connected to Tut’s “discovery” ) and sought explanations elsewhere. But such synchronicities should not be discounted. The killers may, in fact, be lurking in the paraphernalia, enabling the king’s transition into the next world. Indeed, one transcription of an ancient hieroglyph found at the site offers this warning: “Beasts linger on gold.”

    1. I guessed who you are and LOVE your story, but can't figure out the "Beasts linger on gold". Hmmmm...

  3. Well, you said to use all of the highlighted words. Now, how to fit Blog into my story? How about an acronym? Those wee beasties, dusting the golden treasure, could be the microbes mentioned earlier! Only the gods know for certain.


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