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The Underworld Diaries: California Wildfires

the underworld diaries Oct 12, 2017

This has been an incredible week of stress.  Two night ago my phone rang at 2 AM in the morning.  It was my mother to tell me the Sheriff department had called and was issuing a mandatory evacuation from our property, due to a forest fire that was in progress, and headed our way, less then two miles to the North of us.  The power was out as well.  Funny, it never occurs to you that the power will be out when a wildfire is headed for your house.  That's not something I ever thought about before. 

So there I was in my pajamas scrambling around in the dark.  My first thought, pack the cat who was laying on the bed.  (Word of advice... when the cat saw the carrier come in the door off of the porch at 2 AM he high tailed it for the doggy door.  I caught him barely in time before he got outside.  Something to consider in the wee hours, in the dark, when you don't know where your flashlight is,  and your adrenaline is running about as fast as your cat is).    Found the cat carrier, then got dressed, then got up to my parents house to see what was going on with six horses that needed evacuating.  Cat in the car, purse, keys and phone in hand, and half dressed I gave one last look around my home, my magical library, my altar and said silently "I hope this isn't goodbye", hardened my heart and walked out the door.  I still had a wild cat outside I knew I'd never be able to catch or find at this time of night, and my heart sunk as I drove out the driveway for my wild cat. 

I pulled up to my parents house and I could see the orange glow coming at us through the trees.  I could hear trees exploding.   My parents were not ready, and they were not taking action.  I'll not discuss what transpired for the next few minutes, but suffice to say I made a hard choice to make to get in my car and take my cat to safety since no one else was making any good decisions.  I drove a couple of miles out, parked on the side of the road and waited with my cell phone. If they  made a plan, I would return to help evacuate.  But I wasn't going to sit around waiting for a decision to be made was refusing to be made, while I was watching flames through the trees.  I had to assume some degree of self preservation would kick in for them shortly. 

We were really lucky. The fire moved around to the South West of us, and eventually the orange glow died away from our vision an hour or so later.  So I had a lot of time to think about things as I sat in the dark in my car on the side of the road with a very unhappy cat in a carrier.  Lesson one:  For starters my cell phone battery was waning.  I didn't have my car charger in my car and I wasn't sure where it was in the house. I had taken it out of the car a few weeks earlier for another necessary reason and had not put it back.   I had the presence of mind to grab my lap top computer and cord and house phone charger when I left, but it wasn't going to help me charge my phone in the car.  It occurred to me, that living in wildfire country in the heart of Northern California, I was not ready for this evacuation either.    Eventually my parents found me on the side of the road and parked next to me to wait, as we listened to the scanner.  The horses were still on the property. Everyone else on the street were evacuating their animals except for my parents.  My step dad seemed confident they didn't need to.  The trailer was not even hooked up.  I had no words. 

About 5 AM my parents returned to the property and an hour or so later I followed them.  As I arrived, they were finally hooking up the horse trailer, three hours later.  I still had no words.   I was informed that they would have to jump start the truck since the battery was dead if in fact they had to load six horses into a four horse trailer.   I took a deep breath, and walked away, and returned back to my house across the driveway.  

The next few hours were exhausting.  I had returned to my house even though mandatory evacuations were still in order, but only because my parents had returned and there were still six horses on the property and one wild cat.  At the moment things looked ok, but I knew how fast that could change.   Which is why  I left my cat in the car because I didn't want to take a chance of letting him loose in the house in case we had to leave again.  I tried to trap my other wild cat. I was out of wet food, and he wasn't having any part of the dry food in the cat trap.   Finally, 6 or 7 AM, power out, house cold, hungry, sun coming up, and nothing to eat in a fridge full of food going bad, I took my cat to the coffee shop for some tea and some food, bought some cat food, and spent an hour or so at my friends hair salon letting the cat out to stretch since he'd been in the carrier for over five hours, and charged my phone. 

We discussed my frustration about the incident with my parents total lack of an evacuation plan or strategy.  I realized helplessly I couldn't control any of their decisions.  Ultimately I had made the only choice I could make, by making sure my animal, the one I could at least catch, was safe.  The horses were out of my hands, much to my dread.  When there is a personal patriarchy in effect in the form of one's step father, and the decision is not yours to make about their lives, then you can only make a decision for yourself.  These are the very hard lessons of Pluto/Hades and in general those nasty generational animus complexes that Hades brings to awareness.  I returned home in the afternoon to keep vigilance and keep trying to trap my wild cat.  No go.  

By evening the power had been restored and vigilance continued as the fires were very slowly being contained.  If the power was back, it meant PG&E had been told it was safe to return to the area to get the power running.  So far so good.   I hit the hot bath.  Bliss.   When I regained my internet access on my lap top I was in shock to discover the devastation of Santa Rosa and Napa County.  Wildfires were burning everywhere all over the state of California.  I had been so wrapped up in our own small town, Grass Valley crisis for that 12  hours, that I had no idea what was going on elsewhere.  I looked in horror at the video images of the apocalypse that happened in Santa Rosa.  I had spent five years of my life living in Santa Rosa, many years ago, after I graduated high school.  Of that five years, I had spent several months driving a flower delivery truck all over the city that I was now witnessing being burnt to the ground nearly 30 years later.  Half of the entire city, completely incinerated. Miles and miles of city blocks in housing parks leveled to dust. Cars gutted.  Hotels, shopping centers, gone.   Some people apparently didn't have time to get out and were killed. Like us, it happened in the wee hours for Santa Rosa.  Over 20,000 acres and still growing were demolished by the fires in Sonoma County.  It looked like something out of a Terminator movie.  Meanwhile the "Lobo" fire here in Grass Valley looked tame in comparison.  It had reached about 900 acres and had zero containment  on the back side of downtown Grass Valley.  The objective was simply to surround the fire beast on all perimeters and try to keep it from expanding as much as possible, but long range spotting was a problem.    All of Lake Wildwood, a gated community, had been evacuated and 40 structures had already been lost at that time.   Rough & Ready was evacuated and fire staging was in progress.  Our McCourtney road fire was contained at least and had stopped it's forward progress but it wasn't anywhere close to being extinguished, and spot fires and wind were still a concern. 

All I could think was "this is the power of Pluto".  This is the power of the deity that is enshrined in my altar.  Why do I worship this deity?  As his priestess, there is a message for me here in all of this and I'm not entirely sure what exactly the full realization of that is just yet. I was a little too overwhelmed to try and figure it out so I realized these thoughts were going to have to incubate a little bit. 

Now two days later I sit here writing this blog.  We have about 50-80 percent containment on both of our fires here, and things seem to be looking good.  Last night I thought again about how unprepared I was for the 2 AM call.  At a moment's notice I grabbed the only thing that mattered at the time. My cat and my computer and my phone.  Having time to re-think things, and realizing we still were not out of the woods yet, what if I had to do this again in another couple of days?  This isn't over by any means yet.  These fires are still burning. The weather is still unpredictable.   So I walked around my house and assessed the situation.  Maybe it was time to make a couple of evacuation boxes and partially pack the car.  Here is what went into them.  It's pretty amazing when you are an occultist, what becomes a priority. 

  • Cat carrier readily accessible/ food, litter box, food dish. 
  • Sleeping bag & pillow
  • My great uncles Masonic Bible, one Kenneth Grant book, and one Franz Bardon book went into the box.  You can't replace either of those books out of my entire library for under $200-$900.00 dollars and that's assuming you can even find copies of them.  And the masonic bible is an occult family heirloom that weighs fifty pounds and was buried in the bottom of my spare bedroom closet. It was not easily accessible in a hurry.  My own co-masonic apron.  A couple of other "go to" Golden Dawn books went into the box along with my signed and autographed copy of Janet Farrars Witches Bible, cause you know....its Janet Farrar!   A few other reference  books  that I'm always using were thrown in.  Everything else in my extensive library would suck to loose, but as far as I know it's all replaceable on Amazon.  I know this because I've lost and replaced it all once before. 
  • Private occult documents that were given to me via initiate channels from various groups or orders I've been initiated into over the years.  These are things you can't replace unless you find someone to give them to you again.  And you cannot buy them. 
  • Ambroses athame I inherited after he died
  • My tarot card collection, including a nearly century old, tarot deck handed down from mother to daughter to grand daughter, who then broke the family chain having no one to hand it down to and gave it instead  to my elder friend the meta-physician and retired archaeologist, who then handed it to me...(how strangely some things cross our paths)..with a handwritten note about it's nearly 100 year history.  And the russian tarot deck. There I was standing in the used book store in Grass Valley one day a couple of years back when suddenly in front of me on the shelf is a used Russian tarot deck.  Written in Russian.  Cause that happens everyday. (???)
  • Computer bag full of my tech.  Lap top, phone chargers, computer microphone for those Facebook live sessions, (found the car charger by the way), thumb drives with back up files, tablet, current bills needing paying, a couple of folders of legal documents, (property deeds, copy of parents will, and current tax papers.  Massage appointment book.  All fits neatly with lap top in the computer bag.  Ahhh...Password book, with additional website graphic color HTML codes... throw that in.  Cause that's something you don't realize how important it is, until you don't have it anymore.  Small flashlight, working tarot deck, since I can  make a living with that too, out of a coffee shop with wi-fi if necessary.
  • 2 Occult journals
  • Mental note.  Massage table ready to pack at a moments notice since it's my livliehood.  Have massage table will travel.  And then I created the order in which this would get packed in the car in my head.  
  • Belly dance scimitar sword , Excaliber ritual sword, one ATS skirt I love, 1 choli, veil,  tribal Belts, zills, custom made harem pants, dance shoes for outdoor performances. Grappling hook...check, (private Kadima Tribal troupe joke) Cause when you lose your home, you still want to be able to grab your ATS belly dance bag and dance with your magical sisters after you are done sobbing on their shoulders, to recover from the shock and trauma and begin your healing journey.  (And lets face it, that shit was expensive the first time around.)
  • Sorted clothes in closet and bunched the stuff I couldn't live without into one grab and go bundle to stuff in the car anywhere as a last item.  Bottom drawer of small night stand dresser.  Two scrying mirrors, two golden dawn tools, (one was gifted the other I made), a couple of crystals I love, and any other magical items I can't live without that fit in the one drawer.  Plan.  Pull the small drawer out of the stand and walk out the door with it. 
  • Duffle bag with daily clothes.  One change of clothes folded on table  next to bed, so I can get dressed at 2 AM in the dark without a flashlight  Stuff everything else in duffle. 
  • Ice chest..... cause at some point you'll have to eat and need a place to put your food if you are living out of your car.  Tea bags, travel mug and thermos, bamboo knife and fork set, pocket knife, in ice chest.  Cause you know... when you are stressed and exhausted, and you don't have your favorite cuppa, at 6 AM because the coffee shop doesn't carry your brand of tea... it just makes everything worse.  This is where I realized how important some of the little stuff really is.  When your life is turned upside down, a simple cup of your favorite tea to normalize your morning routine might help to bring order to the chaos, while your sitting in a smoke filled parking lot in town with your pissed off cat.  Don't forget the hand warmer gloves and the ski cap.  
  • Four framed pictures off of the wall.  My two deceased horses, a deceased dog and a personal drawing of my astrology chart drawn by my deceased occult teacher.  
  • Geneology box.  Time to dig that out of the closet and put in an easy access location. 
  • Important jewelry and valuables. 

All said and done this list of items is taking up about 1.5 square feet in my kitchen and contained in four small plastic tubs, one computer bag, one ice chest, one cat carrier, and clothes ready for stuffing anywhere.  Massage table ready to throw in car as well. 

Finally ..... put your keys and purse and reading glasses, sunglasses all in one place so you don't have to look for them in the middle of the night. Scoop it all into another cloth shopping bag and get your ass out the door when you have to.  Spending ten minutes looking for your keys and your purse while a wildfire is descending upon you is not recommended. 

As the message of Hades incubated a few hours, this was the first takeaway as the thoughts began to take form.   It's all about what stays and what goes with Pluto. It's all about what has to die to be reborn, and what you get to keep if you are lucky.  It's also about knowing the difference between making conscious decisions, so that Hades doesn't have to make them unconsciously for you.   And it's all about making the wisest choices for the circumstances.  This was my wake up call to be a little more prepared, and to understand a new layer of my underworld God and his process.  It was the wake up call to contemplate what is actually meaningful, and what it's OK to walk away from.  And it was my lesson to realize what is out of my control.  My parents, their horses, my wild outdoor cat, and everything else I can't take with me that will not bend to my  "Will" at short notice.  You can't force others to do the smart thing. You can't find wild cats in the dark, and it takes about a week to trap some of them in the daylight and it sucks.  When others do not cooperate, I'm afraid I have learned a very important thing about myself.  I have apparently taken the hard line philosophy of the occultist.  You live in the world but not always of it.  You have to let people work out their own karma, suffer their own choices, and walk their own path, even if you love them and want them to get their shit together and they simply refuse.  I can't go down with the ship, if the ship isn't cooperating with the situation or with the Sheriff department.   There are things that depend on me.  Things that are actually under my own control.  Had six horses that don't belong to me burned alive, because my step dad was willing to "wait and see what happens", I'd a been sick to death about it.  Had my parents died in the fire?......Unspeakable.  But you can't force people to make good decisions even if they are related to you, and what I learned is that my days of martyerdom are over after a lifetime of dysfunctional family drama and the witnessing of 48 years of their bad decisions, and how those bad decisions have affected me in my life journey to date.  I wasn't going to let my cat sit in my car in their driveway when it was in my power to drive him down the road to safety.   At some point you have to make a choice and take decisive action in the direction of your soul path.  I chose to sit two miles down the street on the side of the road, and harass them with my cell phone instead, waiting to see if they were going to follow me out or not, or what they intended on doing when they did finally get around to making a decision.  At the very least my mom had her dogs on a leash.  Had they decided to evacuate horses I would have driven back to assist, I was still close enough and at least I could keep better tabs on the fire from a different vantage point. 

My Southern California firefighter friend who was awake on Facebook at 2 AM, tapped me into the local scanner on my cell phone internet so I could hear the dispatch.   At some point if necessary I could have called the Sheriff department and had my parents forced out by the officials.  That would have been an option.  I am afraid I have relinquished my burden of guilt over other people's choices however, long ago, and ceased to blame myself for another's self destructive decisions.  This is what Hades reminded me of in the last 48 hours. 

I've always said the underworld Gods are not "user friendly".  I stand by my belief in that philosophy.  When Hades comes calling with his purifying underworld fires, when Hades decides what stays and what goes, when Hades forces you to re-evaluate your personal world, what hard choices would you have to make? Hades is bigger then any of us. 

I have decided that from now on, come fire season in this state, I will have evacuation boxes ready to go throughout the dry season.  As well, I have decided a grab and go magical box is not a bad idea year round, because it has come to my attention that I'm not interested in paying $900.00 to replace my one and only Kenneth Grant Book.  Having digital backups of some of the privately handed down documents is also not a bad idea.  There is probably a few other things that need to go in the evacuation plan, and I now have ample time to consider what they might be.  Having about a hundred occult book downloads or documents on my lap top is a handy grab and go backup.  

Hades asked me to ask you, what would your occult evacuation box look like?  And what handy and easily accessible place would you store it in?  The world is in total chaos. It might be time to get down to the bare bones of what really matters for all of us.  The dark side of Pluto is raging right now, and we are but mere little specks of dust in this global drama that is playing out.  Floods, hurricanes, anthrax breakouts in Africa, Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump.  Pluto takes no prisoners. Santa Rosa is a perfect example of what I'm saying.  With Pluto in Capricorn currently, and Jupiter entering Scorpio for another year, the fires of underworld transformation are burning strong.  We might want to consider how best to surf the tide, lest we get swallowed by it.  I'll say it one more time.  What you refuse to face consciously will be decided for you by the unconscious. I recommend some conscious input in the process.  But that's just me. 

The good news is, Hades is all about resurrection at the end of the day.  He really does have our best interests at heart, even though it doesn't feel like it.   It's time to make a new and better life.  What is laid to waste, is so, because it doesn't serve us any longer.  But we can choose at least a little, what still matters, with some conscious preparation. 

 

Light  In Extension. 

 

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