Saying Good-bye

I have to let go of an old friend this week and it hurts my heart, a friend that has seen me through 22 years of my life. This friend is my sofa, couch, or settee. 

It was a hot day in August 1989 when I presented my partner, Thom, with a brand new sofa as a birthday gift. It was perfect for our country farmhouse in the Columbia River Gorge and I was thrilled. He was less so. Come to think of it, he was downright disappointed.  (I may have even purchased it with his money.)

“You got me a sofa? For my birthday? You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t want a sofa. You want a sofa. You bought it for you.”  I was silenced by the truth of it. 

Thom was never fond of the sofa. He was not home long enough for one thing, his career as a naturopath, instructor and politician kept him away. But when he was home, that was our spot. We curled up by the woodstove, watched the gold pendulum of the grandfather clock tick away the evening, talked about homeopathy, hemorrhoids or the latest growth on Mrs. Collin’s back.  

My first grandchild Britan was brought home from the hospital in November to nap on that couch, her mom and dad sitting on either side, exhausted and proud. It held Thanksgiving guests, and later serious discussions between my son Clay and I about their decision to move back to Los Angeles, taking Britan with them. The couch held midnight tears and the pain of disconnection that followed. 

Women gathered in my living room for seven years learning psychic development. They found insight, sisterhood and bravery on that couch, our black cat often leaping in and out of their laps. I’ve dropped sticks of incense on the fabric and patched the resulting holes. It’s been my place for watching movies, writing books, and starting each new day.   

My mother, her husband, Joe and Thom’s father, all dead and gone, each reclined there when they visited from afar. Unwanted and unwelcome guests rested there as well, guests whom I cooked for badly and sent away early. My daughter Kristen and I sank into the cushions on week-ends to taste hummus and dream up vegan menu items for a part time catering business. 

When Thom and I separated, the couch went into Susan’s basement until I could find a new life. When money ran out I tired to sell it, but did not succeed.

In 1995, I went to live in the home of a Cherokee Indian named War Eagle, putting my sofa in the spare room, where I slept on it, prayed, meditated and wrote memories. Britan came to visit and cuddled with me in the evenings. She asked if she could sleep with me in my bed. “I’m sorry sweetheart. I have no bed, this couch is my bed.” We made a pallet on the floor.  

When I opened an office in SE Portland, the sofa was carried up flights of stairs to anchor the coming years of truths and confessions, cleansing tears and transformation that followed. It was the vehicle for relaxing into other realms and a place to feel safe and secure.  

A client once used the sofa to distract me from issues he feared. “Do you ever curl up on the couch between sessions and take a little nap?” I told him I did, his question buying him a smile and a little time but no escape. Another afternoon I found a gentleman from Japan had arrived early for his session and fallen fast asleep, his feet propped over the back, recovering from jet lag. Then there was the woman who got up from the couch to counsel me one winter morning, when the pressures of my life broke through my therapist’s veneer. I remember a conservative woman declaring, “Coming to see you is better than doing drugs.” This followed by a young playwright. “You really kicked my self-pitying ass, Karen. Thank you.”  At least one thousand clients have sat on that couch to make peace with themselves and their lives, their honesty, love and intention creating a sacred place, more holy ground then furniture.  

When that office outgrew its usefulness, the sofa was moved to a spare room in the Salmon Street Writing Studio. The doorway was narrow and my furniture would not fit. But it had to fit. The couch was my healing place and I needed it. I called a carpenter to remove the legs. It still wouldn’t budge. The camel back frame was cut by half against his better judgment. “You don’t understand,” I told him. “I have to get this in there!” It was reassembled but never regained its sturdy structure. 

In 2005, I was melting from seeing too many clients, so I found a home in the forest for rest and recuperation. And that tired old couch moved right along with me, supporting my healing as I starred into tall pines and emptiness. When I met my friend Gib, we sat shoulder to shoulder for three months doing sound editing for my audio books. The sofa held our laughter, accomplishment and lively disagreements, as well as sensual meals and sensual pleasures. When my mother died and Gib left, I wept for them both on the cushions of my long time companion.  

A second granddaughter, Isabella, has flown across the length of the couch, turned summersaults, jumped up and down on the cushions, balanced on its reconstructed back, taken naps and used it to support near-perfect headstands. Isabella’s favorite game is playing store. She removes everything from my closet, explaining the virtues of each piece, sells it to me, wraps it and pretends to call a taxi so I can transport it all. I pay her with monopoly money and she gives me deals.  

So, you see what I’m going through? What I’m giving up and letting go of? I’m losing a friend, a witness to my life, my family and the lives of all those who have come for healing. I hope this old girl goes to a good home because I’m sure going to miss her, gonna miss her like crazy.

See Me Beautiful

Long client day today, full of beautiful people finding their way out of bad situations.

Every work day I see people who are buried under years of trauma. Many of them have swallowed so much pain, they’ve mistaken hurtful experiences for their identity, believing themselves to be bad, broken or incapable. After the veil of adulthood is pulled away, a client’s work is almost always about repairing and integrating the child self.  

The greatest gift you can give anyone is to see beyond the garbage they carry and their accumulated pain, to see beyond anger and acting out, until you find the core of their being and the truth of their soul.  If you are looking for a gift this holiday season, try that one on for size. 

Red Grammer wrote a song that expresses this better than I ever could. Many thanks. 

See me beautiful.  Look for the best in me.

It’s what I really am and all I want to be.

It may take some time, it may be hard to find, but see me beautiful.


See me beautiful, each and every day.

Could you take a chance?

Could you find a way, to see me shining through in everything I do?

See me beautiful.


Being Clear


My half-price holiday special brings new clients that don’t always know what they’re getting. The word psychic has many associations, but mostly an expectation of predictions and fortune telling. That is not what I do. I used to, decades ago, but found it unfulfilling, because predictions tend to leave people wanting more of what they believe I have, and they do not. In short, it can create dependence.  

I am called a psychic because I see who people are to the bone, but the goal is empowerment, not prediction. I use my gifts to provide insight, understanding and perspective, so others can walk the earth in a stronger way. Opening a path to health and happiness has my attention, because finding the expression and purpose of ones soul will last a lifetime. It means waking up and once we become conscious, we can not go back to sleep – nor do we want to. 

My goal is to uncover the radiance you carry and to extract any energetic influences that interfere with the expression of who you’ve come to be and what you’ve come to do. I’m here to support your gifts and honor the finest parts of you, until you recognize and claim them for yourself.  

A soul reading is the beginning of that work. It reveals your essence, defines your current situation, the issues you’re struggling with, what needs to happen to heal them and what past life influences are affecting your behavior. 

It is not a psychic guessing game. It is a partnership and sharing, resulting in an energetic shift which allows change. I am often given specific information, but don’t look for it, because it’s not my passion.

 I’m your girl if you’re looking for a way to bring your light, unique gifts, creativity and wisdom into the world. But if you’re dying to know what Aunt Norma in Montreal is up to or how much longer her cat will live, I can make a referral. There are a lot of wonderfully gifted psychics out there, each with their own focus. So do a little research and make sure the one you’re employing is really the one you want. 


Original Essence


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had grateful clients say, you changed my life. I am a completely different person now, so much happier and fulfilled.

How did I do it? I did it by bringing light to their dark places, creating a safe nurturing environment and by seeing the truth of their soul, then holding their spirit with respect and beauty until they learned to do that for themselves. I freed them to stand in the best part of themselves, but never changed their essence, which is an important distinction. They are not really different people; they are simply more of who they already were.  What I do is turn up the volume on their light and bring them out of hiding.

You could not change the essence of a person if you threw cosmic fireballs at it all day long − just not going to happen. 

 As parents many of us believe that we can shape and mold our children, but we can not. We can create a supportive loving environment and teach values, but that is all. I think if we could really understand that, in our heart of hearts, that it would relieve a world of parental guilt and all the, ‘what did I do wrong’, conversations that go on inside and outside our heads. 

 For example, my husband Gib is an athlete. His greatest desire was to have an athletic son, but he didn’t get one. He got a gentle sensitive boy with the soul of an artist, who had no desire at all to go crashing around an athletic field. In the end, the son felt he didn’t measure up and that he disappointed his father, while the father wondered what he’d done wrong. 

We are all unique. We all come in with a strong powerful core and mission, but when we don’t listen to that inner voice that carries our wisdom, and we let others define our purpose for us, we become sick, depressed or unhappy. 

I have found astrological charts to be helpful, because they expose the birth blueprint of each individual. I remember finding out about a trait from my brother’s chart and being surprised.

Really, I said, he’s wired that way? I thought he was just doing that to piss me off.

The point is, that people are who they are, and we can’t do much about it, except love them as they go through their changes. That’s the challenge we all have, to strip away the layers of information and experience, until we come back to our original essence, then celebrate that essence and take it proudly and boldly into the world. We are not here to hide, but to be ourselves as fully and completely as possible, while supporting others as they do the same.

Thank You


One of my clients is a world class entertainer. She has been doing a one woman show since March, eight performances a week. It’s the first week in August and she has two more weeks to go. She’ll rest awhile then take her work to Los Angeles, New York and London.

Before she performs, she closes her eyes, reaches deep within herself and says, thank you.

What a powerful centering prayer that is.

Thank you. It is not − I want − I need, or I must have. It’s simply standing in the grace and reality of what we are and all we have become.

Thank you, acknowledges our gifts, our health, and our deep connection to something greater than ourselves.

Saying, thank you, as prayer shines our inner light on all that is right. We see that we are human, we are flawed and we are blessed, all in the same moment.

I was struck with her session because of my own years in the performing arts. I did not say, thank you, before I went on stage. I seized in fear. I sweat blood. I judged myself through the eyes and value systems of my audience.

How wise she is, this young forty year old woman, to take her power back from all that is external by simply and honestly standing in the fullness of gratitude.

I’m thinking about…

child in fountain

I’m thinking about what we cover up.

I’m thinking about the pain we live above.

I’m thinking about the nice face we show the world that hides the scars and wounding and devastated places underneath. 

I’m thinking about what a difficult place the world can be for the children who get hurt and don’t know how to handle the pain or know where to look for support.

I’m thinking about how those same children don’t change inside, they just have grown-up bodies and responsibilities.

I’m thinking about the people who grow up and think that money or a new thing can heal their empty place.

I’m thinking about suffering that has no definition or language. 

I’m thinking about the ways we hurt each other and how we never could if we saw what birthed each action.

I’m thinking that the world would be different if we could pull back the veil and see the little scared person who sits at the controls, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz.

I’m thinking about the millions of people who sit alone in their houses every night, who want to connect,  become more or find love, but have no idea how to do it and are too afraid or defeated to try. 

I’m thinking that it’s our job to grow a rose out of all the shit that gets piled on top of us every day, and to fertilize it with our willpower.

I’m thinking we must insist our rose grow just to spite the dark side.

I’m thinking that it’s our job to pull ourselves up from the muck and scream at the universe.

Not today, you can’t take me down today.

Visit to the White House



Two of my clients were at the White House on the 4th of July, summoned by the almighty Obama, when he decided to throw a backyard party and barbeque. Nate is an internationally known musician – a bass player with a band called the Foo Fighters. His partner Jessica is a screenwriter, band manager and mother to their bright big-eyed son, Noah.

 It was evening. Malia’s birthday party was going on inside. Nate was with the band headlining the night’s activities and Jess was on the side yard of the White house watching fireflies explode into light. Noah was delighted. He reached out repeatedly to catch them but always fell short. He ran, he grabbed, and he missed. He was getting discouraged.

Then a voice came from the bushes. A man dressed in black emerged with an assault weapon strapped to his chest.

Here you go little buddy, he said, a firefly caught in his grasp. Noah was delighted.

Where did you come from? Jess asked.

Oh, we’re all around, out of sight. There are a lot of people here now. It’s our job to keep everybody safe.

Jess looked around as he motioned. Men in black appeared from nowhere like a scene in a shooting arcade, acknowledged her, then melted back into the unseen. 

As she was digesting this, Bo, Obama’s dog, came out to poop. The mess was immediately cleaned up and a yellow flag inserted in the ground where the pile had landed.  She turned to her secret service buddy:

What are the flags for?

Wherever the dog poops the lawn will be cut out and replaced. The flags tell them where to put new sod. 

Barbeque was served, ice cream, beer and wine. They filled their plates, sat on poop-free replaced grass to watch the evening fireworks and felt extremely protected.


sunset swan

She hovered in shades of night time blue like Kuan Yin, up high and out of conscious sight. It looked like she was blowing bubbles because small specks of something were descending from that place to this.

The air is full of secrets, little hidden messages I don’t yet know, traveling down, past and through. One day soon they will land in my ear as an idea, inspiration or sudden fiery impulse. I see her and feel her, I know she is there.

Today I did a reading that was full of birds. The woman was dancing and each part of her body was a different bird. She danced, smiling and full of light. These were not ordinary birds. They sprang from the tropics in shades of radiant life. A raven off to her left showed the dark night she’d moved out of.

Her husband was a bold rooted tree, serious and solid. Elephants walked next to him, and in the shadows, I saw dolphins for diving deep. Their colors matched perfectly, like an artist painting with the same brush and pallet. She offered him gaiety and life. He offered stability and shelter, a good match.

I see the world in symbols, colors and images. I walk in twilight and mystery willing to share the unseen. What is this strange way of knowing? It’s not easy to understand for minds that paint with black and white.

These visions would seem frivolous and unimportant except for the confirmation they bring, the comfort, recognition and guidance that can heal and reveal.

I allow more of this reality into my days as I get older and have less to protect, defend or hide. For me, it simply is.

I went shopping today for a ritual knife needed to cut into other realities. I gather bones and feathers. A friend called me a witch yesterday. More labels, more useless titles that limit, repel or invite. Words can’t define experience; they box it so we can feel safe. It’s the risking, opening and allowing part that can set us free.

It’s nice to be older and more fully who I am. I no longer apologize or push into shoes that don’t fit. Now my essence speaks my name. I know who I am and I know what I do.

Flight Pattern

butterfly finger

He walked in my door in that way people do when their life is falling apart. He married the wrong woman so they battled and tore at each other, until they turned into people they didn’t want to be. He is a fine man, she is a fine woman, but they are not fine together. 

The pretending is over now, the pain is too great. Their foundation can no longer support their lives. They are at the place of no return, because they know too much truth and can’t put the broken pieces together again. He came today with eyes full of sorrow and courage, with words full of failure and fear. 

But this breaking open, this new place is the healthiest he has been. Of course it doesn’t feel that way to him. He no longer sleeps. His mind races towards an unknown future; he can’t eat and is drinking too much wine. 

He is stepping into the void now, that crack in the universe that teaches us so much.

This is the shamanic initiation, the ultimate letting go, the final test of faith in the face of darkness. But I know this man; I know the fabric of his character and the integrity of his soul. He has to let go. He has to let himself fall so he can find his wings. 

He approaches the cliff now, knowing that it means death, the death of an old self, an outmoded consciousness and a way of life. He walks toward this change because he must. The wise man in him is saving his life, while the personality grabs and claws and rails against his fate. 

Any day now he will jump – and he will fly – and he will find himself, as he floats slowly and helplessly toward the new ground that will heal and free him to start again. I will have the pleasure of being his witness.



portland-stairsI learned a lot from my residency as a therapist, but very little came from the books I read. It was the personal realizations that moved me to insight more than any training skills. Specifically, I learned that the judgments and criticisms of others that I was so quick to make in the privacy of my own mind were destructive and misplaced, saying more about my lack of development than anything else. 

I ran therapy groups at Clackamas County Mental Health Center with Rich Panzer, the resident psychiatrist. Our evening group was attended by a very angry, immensely overweight woman, whom I disliked immediately. She triggered me because she was the dark side of the compliant physically fit girl I had learned to be. Her manner was caustic and fiercely good at pushing people away. I secretly wished she would leave the group, and take her attitude with her. I felt she was standing in the way of real healing for others, but mostly she evidenced an uncomfortable place of judgment in myself that I had no skill to deal with. As months went by and her shell began to weaken and crack, I was able to glimpse the magnificence of the spirit within.  When she felt safe enough to tell her story, give up her secrets and release her pain, I felt shamed by my earlier thinking.

I saw the same thing repeated daily in my practice at the clinic, clients hiding their beauty and wisdom behind years of walled off pain, desperately needing to find a way out, and just as desperately determined to create a kind of safety that prevented them from doing so.

The spoken message was, please help me, my life is a mess and I can’t go on.

The unspoken message was, I’ve been hurt so much that I can’t let you close enough to know me.  I have to constantly guard from danger.

It took time to understand how to separate people’s defenses from their deeper essence, but I count it as one of the most valuable lessons of my life.

Debbie Ford wrote a book called, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” which helps us understand how we project what we can not accept in ourselves onto others. If you haven’t read it and feel ready to look at your own shadow side, I’d give it a try.

The Fast Track

trees1 I used to do acid once a year, when it was pure and I was open. It felt like kissing the face of God. It elevated me to such a fine place that I was truly one with everything. I never thought of it as a drug. I never approached it that way. For me, it was a point of communion. I took it seriously.

I remember walking in the evening rain in Cambridge. I was barefoot. The rain washed against my face like a lover’s touch. My feet splashed through puddles with the exuberant joy of a ten year old. I had never felt so alive, so present, or so much in the company of all that was divine.

My life had edges around it, but acid removed those.  I  wore my insides on the outside. I was cradled and safe, and led into new awareness’s that beckoned like rainbow colored bubbles, each one their own universe and surprise.

Acid was pure then. I stopped using it when it became laced with less friendly substances. I also stopped because I read that it was the fast track to the face of God, but the visit would be short.  If I really wanted to stay, maybe even set up shop or live there, then I had to learn to meditate. I had to earn my residency.

I have never duplicated those moments, but I remember them tenderly as a place of perspective, enlightenment and grace.

I never tried heroin. My life hung by such a gossamer thread, that I knew it would take me permanently out of this reality, if I opened the door, even a little.

I had a client a few years ago, who was a gifted violinist with the symphony. I tried to help him, to love him, and to hold him here, but heroin held his other hand, and pulled with more weight than I could manage. His death was a sad waste of genius.


dream-cat2A client gave me a box of chocolates. I am not supposed to eat chocolate but who can resist? I am not supposed to eat anything that is really wonderful anymore, but I do. In fact my mouth is full of chocolate. I’m on my third piece. I’ll leave the fourth one, the last one, because there is no chewy center. No surprise in the middle. There is only a small rectangular piece of milk chocolate with a logo stamped on it. Oops, too late! I picked it up to examine the design and bite into the corner to prove it was solid. What could I do then, put it down? Nah, just stuff it in next to the rest of them. Now there is an empty box. Soon I will start to itch, and my throat will close a little. People who call will ask if I have a cold because I’ll be sniffling. I get such incredibly low marks for discipline.

I did the cards this morning. They said to be careful of over-indulgence. Don’t try to fill the empty space with food. Ride out your feelings, notice and allow them. I obviously am not listening to guidance today.

I have done everything I know to avoid writing. I have baked a quiche and watered the plants. I have framed a picture and done laundry. The sound of the heater fills the room as I study the tea that spilled in the saucer of my cup.

My thoughts are scattered. Life is strange. We all think we have some control and some say in things, but I wonder. Sometimes life is just life and we’re in it, being stable and happy, or being tossed like a ship at sea. My clients are suffering from the recession, their survival fears are strong. They are being stripped of material security and what savings they had to keep poverty at bay. I worry about them. They are asked to cope differently and be creative in finding solutions. Astrology has thrown us a curve as well. The difficult placement of Venus is great for the arts now, but will highlight weak points in relationship to the point of separation. Ouch.

I talk with my husband about the recession. What would you do if we had lots of money, he asks. What difference would it make? I spin a few fantasies of home and generosity, while he does the same, but as I look around I know that we have everything we need. Our lives are bountiful, the simplicity of our existence full and over-flowing.

I am busy being strong for others now. Sometimes I feel too strong, sometimes I feel too weak. Sometimes I feel like taking long walks to clear my heart. I search for perspective in the distance. I wish life was not so hard. I wish things could flow with more grace and ease, and that there were not so many broken bodies lining the landscape, and filling my dreams. I wonder if there is enough chocolate in the world to deal with all of this. I would be surprised.

The Critic

old-man-with-hatHe grew up under the critical and unforgiving eye of his father, his boyhood magic extinguished by the chill of unyielding expectation. The tender qualities of wonder, joy and spontaneity went into hiding. They dug little foxholes to survive. The good soldier dutifully learned the qualities modeled as he stepped without choice on to the battlefield of his father’s world. He learned the art of finding fault, furrowing his forehead, and inverting the corners of his mouth. In fact, he became so good at being like his father that he forgot about his own essence. He forgot that he had hidden his magic in places so remote, that they had become lost.

Eventually he came to understand and even appreciate his father’s legacy, as he too found power in diminishing others. It made his lost parts feel bigger and better than those around him. He built a life of self-importance, accepted his loneliness as normal, and learned to function above his fragmented inner-life.

The boy in the man took him toward a career in theater, not so secretly hoping that his qualities of joy, laughter and wonder could be released, allowing him to integrate his spirit. It didn’t work. The cold water splashed on his young heart had solidified. He could not expel his father’s words, You are not good enough, and never will be.  There is no room for errors, mistakes or forgiveness.  Be perfect going in or don’t go at all.

As an adult, the boy who learned to judge himself without mercy, turned his razor-sharp vision toward others. Well-educated, lonely and brittle, he made a career of being a critic, and was paid handsomely to inform the public of flaws and weaknesses in those with freer spirits than his own.  He remains a man who is terrified of engaging the fullness of his heart, while demeaning the risk-taking of those with more courage.

Long day at work

seattle-night-skyVendors were handing fresh strawberries to pedestrians on street corners to celebrate the first day of spring, as I wove through busy intersections on my way to work. Ocean air was tangibly fresh and salty, and drew my eyes to the harbor. The pacific skyline was filled with giant orange cranes hoisting containers on and off railroad cars, as tug boats with blue roofs, white framed windows and bright yellow hulls pulled barges in and out of dock. Waterfowl played above the cool waters that lapped against the shore, incoming fog shrouded a distant beach.

I took a short cut through serpentine streets, as they descended through well groomed neighborhoods, past banked rhododendron hedges and white azaleas. Mt Rainier filled the horizon, as I eased into downtown traffic and finally to a parking place.

I was doing readings in a restaurant during happy hour to make extra cash. The uncluttered white walls and subtle curves of the restaurants’ interior had a calming effect. It was unpretentious and relaxed. I made my way to the long bar in the lounge and settled in under sepia toned lights. Happy hour had begun. Cozy wooden tables were already filled with conversation, cocktails and the energy of letting down after a busy day.

I moved to the coat rack and hung up my purple jacket. I wore purple high heeled shoes with a matching skirt, and a green silk blouse. I was in my purple phase. My hair was gathered and twisted away from my face with a decorative hair stick, emerald-like gems cascaded from each ear. I slipped a fake wedding ring on my hand to avoid propositions, and looked around the room to see how many numbers had been placed on tables. I was happy to see I had very few.

My first customer defined the word gentleman. He had white hair, wore a three piece suit, lavender shirt and soft yellow tie. A bright red handkerchief sprang from his left breast pocket. His face was narrow and intelligent, his eyes deep brown. He flashed a smile that was both tender and curious as I walked to his table. Extending my hand, he shifted a glass of white wine between long artistic fingers, until his right hand became free to meet my own. I pulled out a chair and sat across from him.

So, you’re the card reader, he said, My friends have given me amusing reports of your talents. I thought I would see for myself.

Amusing? I questioned.

You seem to have a skill that is insightful and yet based on chance. I understand your readings are accurate. I find that curious, amusing and improbable.

I liked him immediately, and decided to begin reading. You’re a man who has become successful by using your wits, I told him, but I see decisions being made just as often from your heart, a desire to be fair in all things and most importantly, an active intuition. What I do, is not so different from what you do. You define your abilities as hunches or gut feelings, but it is the same wisdom. You are better than most at knowing who to trust, and what deal to back away from. That is not logic, but the feeling that informs wisdom. We operate in the same way, so you must be amusing as well.

Fair enough, he said. Can I buy you a drink?

Music played in the background as the bartender scurried from one customer to the next. I was grateful for the quiet volume of the music, because Saturday night’s bartender preferred a louder variety of popular music and cranked up the sound. On those nights I went home with a headache after screaming my readings above lyrics about a Pink Cadillac.

I don’t drink, I told him. Odd isn’t it? A card reader who works in a bar and doesn’t drink. Thanks anyway.

Are you morally opposed to alcohol?

Not at all. My body just won’t accept it. It makes me feel ill. It’s the same with coffee. I might as well drop acid as drink a cup of coffee.

He smiled, but I could tell that my last remark made him uncomfortable. I was immediately sorry I’d said it. I didn’t want to give him the idea I was a drug head. He was already taking a risk. He looked at me with penetrating deep brown eyes that held such intensity, that I began to wonder who was reading whom.

You are a curiosity to me, he said kindly.

That makes two of us, I replied. I am a curiosity to myself. If you figure me out, let me know. I’d appreciate it.

He laughed and our connection deepened. The waiter came over to see if he wanted more wine, but was waved away.

Alright, he said. Let’s see what information you glean from those astounding cards of yours. He shuffled the deck like a man used to playing poker, then handed them back. I began placing them on the table when he covered my hand to stop me.

You don’t need these cards, do you? he smiled. Can you read for me without them?

Of course, I said, I already have. The cards just make it quick and easy. I like to use them because they give my customers visual images to go away with, which most people remember longer than words. I can do it with or without the cards, I  repeated, which do you prefer?

All right, he said, turn them over. We had entered a contest driven by his curiosity. I turned over The Emperor, the Five of Pentacles and Ten of Pentacles. The symbols on the cards have a way of lighting up for me, so I can understand which aspects of the card holds the most importance. The face of the Emperor filled with light, the cane pictured in the five and the coins of the ten. I began to read:

I see another white haired man in the card of the Emperor, a close friend, someone with fullness of face and a more casual approach to both attire and his work life than you have. You share conservative views and a long history.

My eyes caught the figure of a man, leaning on a crutch in the five of pentacles. He is pictured outside on the street, as if kept away from the good things he desires.

I’m thinking your friend is in poor health right now, and that you are concerned for him. There is respect in the friendship that has been built on years of trust. He is going through a difficult time and you want to help.

My eyes moved to the ten of pentacles, a card filled with money and images of family.

He’s been a friend for so long, you are almost like brothers. I’m thinking that you share a business life, and that you are very affected by his suffering. The cards show recovery and a return to prosperity, so I wouldn’t worry.

He confirmed my reading and sat in silence. I had a sense that he lived alone, while his friend enjoyed both wife and family.

Has your wife died? I asked. He nodded and I felt an accepted loneliness he no longer questioned.  I envisioned him raising from his bed in a well-ordered house, and going into a drawing room, where he sat by the window enjoying strong morning coffee and the New York Times. The table’s companion chair remained empty, as a reminder of his wife’s absence. In the evening I saw him going to a dimly lit study and settling into a leather armchair with a half finished book. The patterns and traces of his life invisibly defined and seized him in a way that had become unnoticed.

We talked casually for a few moments before I excused myself.

I’m sorry for your loss, I said, referring to his wife. He smiled in return, Thank you. I appreicate the information about my friend. I returned his smile knowing that it had not been the information about his friend that had brought comfort, but a sense of being truly seen, heard and understood without judgment. It’s not perdictions we crave, but soul recognition. I collected my fee and moved to the next table.

 I glanced over at the next numbered table and saw a balding man with glasses in a brown cotton shirt, sitting next to a much younger woman. They were draining the last drops of Belgium ale as they pushed back their chairs to leave.

Sorry, they said, as I approached. We’re running late and have decided to move on.

I was glad for the break and headed toward the salad bar to fortify myself for the evening ahead. I was sprinkling blue cheese and olive oil on a plate of greens when Julia walked in.

Oh good, she said, You’re back. I want a reading as soon as you’re done eating. It’s very important.

Julia was a tall thin attorney whose wallet overflowed with hundred dollar bills. She slipped off her white business jacket and settled in a corner table with her friend, Jan. Julia liked white, the way I liked purple. She looked chic and Barbie doll like in linen. Silver bracelets rattled on her right arm, and black and white sling back heels graced her feet. Her best friend, Jan, was her opposite. Jan was tough, liked wearing heavy boots and jeans, chain smoked and rarely smiled. The waiter delivered the usual salt-rimmed margarita to Julia, and a gin and tonic ‘straight up’ to Jan.

Here we go again, I thought, cornering stray pieces of arugula with my fork and hurrying the last traces of salad into my mouth. The bartender inspected a glass in the overhead light, frowned at specks of dust, and polished it clean with a bar towel. He nodded his head in Julia’s direction to indicate that she was my next client, then smiled, knowing how frustrated I felt after reading for her. We shared a moment of silent understanding, before I took my dishes to the clearing cart and went to the table.

Jan never stayed for Julia’s readings, That woman freaks me out!  True to form, she excused herself as I approached, pulled up a nearby stool and settled into more comfortable conversation with the bartender about politics and economics.

She wanted no part of Julia’s “woo- woo – personal growth experience,” and had no idea how someone with a rational mind could believe such non-sense, let alone pay to hear it. The bright flame of her match was replaced by the glow of Jan’s next cigarette, as blue smoke drifted into the air and encircled her head.

            Oh, Karen, Julia said, with positive excitement. I want to read about Karl. I’ve just met him and we have a date this Friday. She held up a picture torn from a magazine of a stocky Lebanese man with olive skin and spiked dark hair. He’s a chef, she continued, a famous chef.

I mentally fortified myself as I sat under the  glow of the wall light and examined her photo. Let’s not read about this guy tonight, I suggested. How is your work going?

She gave me a puzzled look and began fidgeting impatiently with her napkin. I have a big case pending, which you know, and have to travel again next week for another deposition. Work is fine. I want to talk about Karl, she repeated, moving into her forceful attorney mode.

Julia always wanted to talk about the next man, but I could no longer indulge her. She was radiant in her excitement, but my obvious reluctance stopped her in mid-speech.

I can’t do this anymore, I confessed, because the men are not the issue. They’re a diversion. For me to continue reading about each new man is a disservice to both of us. I think you know that.

A look of cold despair crossed her face, an unsettling sense of delusion. She began to lobby me once more. Julia did not allow herself to think of her past, although it festered in the depth of her soul. She wanted to focus on external relationships and staying in control, the very qualities that made her a excellent attorney.

This man is different, she continued. I’m sure he’s the right one.

I was unyielding, knowing from experience that she would become rapidly suspicious, jealous and finally cold toward him in a few short weeks.

When Julia came for her first reading a year ago, I was surprised by her past. She was a frightened child whose mother valued material things and worked excessively to acquire them. Her father had abandoned the family at an early age. In their absence, Julia looked to her uncle to provide the love and connection she needed. When she was in elementary school her uncle disappeared, and she was the one to find his body. He had killed himself a week earliest in a small trailer and the body had decomposed in summer heat. In a moment of unguarded vulnerability, she described the overwhelming smell that came from the trailer, and the sound of buzzing flies that blanketed the screen door.

Julia could not allow love in her life, as much as she craved it, because she believed it would end in abandonment. She knew she could not stand a repeat performance of loss, so she abandoned the men in her life first, before they could abandon her. Her friend, Jan was a reflection of the tough person she wanted to be, but could not achieve.

Julia gave me a ‘what am I paying you for,’ look and continued. Please, just put the cards out. I need to know.

I put the cards away and restated my message, It’s time to address this issue at its core, I said gently. You need a good therapist. You have post traumatic stress, and no man is going to fix that.

But, she continued, if I can’t talk to my psychic about these things, who can I talk to?

A therapist or a shaman, I repeated. This is not for your psychic, Julia. See someone else.  She pushed her chair from the table, paid her tab and went away.  I had no doubt she’d come back another day with the same questions about another man. 

That evening, I did readings about impending legal battles, custody cases, internal political disputes and for a secretary who believed she was being stalked. I even read for a woman persistent enough to have tracked me from the television station to the restaurant.  Her face was especially sad. She wore loose knit clothes over a large framed body and had deep lines in her face that showed years of stress and toil.

As she and I sat together, it became clear that she was looking for future predictions of the National Inquirer type. She’d come for a reading because she wanted her future told, without taking responsibility for anything it might hold. When I repeatedly brought her back to a path of action and accountability, she recoiled. In the end, she threw down her money and left saying, You’re nothing like you were on television!

I smiled to myself as I packed up my things.  I guess that was my worst fear, to have someone tell me I’m horrible at what I do, but because of the painful place that birthed her comment, I didn’t take it in. To be read for, a person needs to be open to being seen, and to the possibility of new thought, which requires the courage to change.

I was relieved to finish work when I packed up my things and headed for the door. My thoughts were racing from the people I had seen and the energies taken in.

tugboatThe lights of Seattle shown on downtown office buildings, as I pushed open the door and stepped outside.  The night air teemed with the wet, green smells of marine life, as I stopped to breath the cool night air, trying to be more present, trying to release the visions and stories I had so intimately held. The bobbing procession of tug boats and fishing fleets were at rest under evening shades of purple and pink, as I cut through alleys that led out of downtown and back up the hill to Mt Baker. I was grateful for my car, but missed visiting the salmonberry, quince and little violets I once walked past on my way to the bus. The lights of downtown faded with each mile I traveled, and the maple lined boulevards skirting Lake Washington rose in the headlights. My little Datsun wound around residential streets until it came to rest in front of my storefront perched at the crest of the hill.

 I held the energies of my clients too strongly to go to sleep, so I went to Rip’s market to pick up the evening paper. Rip and I were visiting about our work days, when a man from the neighborhood burst through the door, pulled a gun from the folds of his jacket and handed it to Rip.  Here, take this, he said. I just shot my wife. Better call the police. 

 Seattle was a city of extremes and it was taking a toll. Some mornings I would stand in a welfare line to receive free rice and cheese, and the same evening dine on pheasant in the wealthy homes of grateful clients on ‘millionaire hill.’ I felt myself being ripped apart by the intensity of Seattle’s urban environment, and decided it was time to move back to Portland.

Investment Counselor

turkish-coffeeIn the 1980’s I worked in The People’s Bank building in Seattle. I read for lawyers, investment counselors, tax attorneys, an occasional judge, receptionists and secretaries. My work was well received. I had a client base of familiar faces.

A new client came to see me one evening just before closing. His cards were full of money, speculation and loss. I felt confused by the energy of the person sitting in front of me, and the contrasting voice in my head. My client wore a charcoal Armani suit, a dark bordeau tie, had monogrammed cuff links and carried a double zipped briefcase with PRADA of Milano printed on a small silver triangle. But the voice in my head was practically yelling at me that the man had no money. I was so conflicted I could not continue reading.

Could you just give me a minute, I asked, as I closed my eyes. I’m a little unclear on this one.

He nodded in agreement and returned his coffee. 

What do you mean he has no money? I said to the voice in my head. Are you daft? I’m not going to tell him he has no money. I would be insane to do that. Look at him. He looks like a millionaire, and those are not borrowed clothes. They are tailored to fit him. Come on, give me a break!

The voice spoke again demanding that I listen, Tell him he has no money!

You’d better be right, I said. You’d better be right! I took a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh. A knot formed in the hallow of my belly.

This is what I’m getting.  I stalled a little longer, gazing into space. I took a long drink of ice water and blurted out, Looks like you have no money. I watched the color drain from his face as he fixed his attention on his drink.

I gathered up my cards and prepared to go home. I just blew it, I told myself. When I looked up at him to apologize, and make an excuse about it being a long night or anything else I could think of, I noticed tears swelling in his eyes.

I’m an investment Counselor, he said, and I just lost everybodys money. Today, I lost it all. I’m ruined. I don’t know what to do. I have no future. I have nothing. It’s over, my life is over.

I extended my hand, covering his own and give what comfort I could. I’m so sorry, I said. I’m really sorry. I listened as he wept and his body shook with fear. I felt inadequate offering the only thing I could truly give,  a willing ear and open heart.

Is there hope for me? he asked. Is there any hope at all? The last card in his reading had been the Tower, which signified the destruction of old forms and the enlightenment that comes after pain. Of course, there is hope, I told him. There is always hope.

I walked him to the elevator.

You’ll be all right,  I said. Believe that! The elevator door closed silently and I never saw him again.

Boeing Aircraft

sky-bikeEvery year Boeing Aircraft invites psychics to come and read for their employees. The aircraft company is a quick drive south from Seattle on Interstate 5. Acres of new planes can be seen along the freeway, lined up on Boeing field waiting for delivery. Inside the main building, we post our photographs with a brief description of what we offer in the lobby.  Employees pick the person they’d like to see, put their name on a waiting list, then enter with questions that fall into categories which include love, money, health, family and business.

The reading room itself is large and warehouse-like with tables placed in rows. Some thirty psychics with various skills offered service. It was a marathon client week-end that paid well and provided a catered lunch. I brought a table covering, business cards, some favorite stones and plucked a single red rose from the twelve near my bed.

One of my first clients was a young woman who had recently lost her father. She came to inquire about including his spirit in their Christmas holiday. She was looking for a ritual, although she did not know how to put her request into words. I remember this reading especially, because it was an instance when I got sidetracked and momentarily betrayed myself. To answer her question, I closed my eyes and waited for images. The scene that appeared showed the family pulling an empty chair, his easy chair, into an intimate circle near the tree. Then I saw the young woman placing a fisherman’s cap on the seat. But as I began to deliver the information my mental sentries jumped forward. I always see them like little soldiers with rifles on their shoulders, red uniforms and tall black boots. It is their job to discredit the information that comes from the realm of spirit, because they work for the mind. They are employed by all that is rational and concrete.

Hey, they say, What’s this doing here? This has no worth. We didn’t approve this? They stepped forward at the very moment I was delivering my message, grabbed the information about his cap and pulled it away. This is too specific, they said. Do you want to look like a fool? What if they don’t have his hat? Be safe! Be careful! Be general! Replace that word. Use the word garment instead. Then you can’t get into trouble. Why get into trouble?

The censors had me in their grasp and had reworked my delivery so quickly I barely knew what had happened. I would recommend, I told her, making a circle near the Christmas tree, include his favorite chair and place a garment on it. Use something that belonged to him and felt special.

She looked at me, clearly pleased. Great! she said. We’ll do that. I can put his hat on the chair. We still have his fishing cap.

I am better than most at keeping the sentries at bay, but every once in a while, when I least expect it, they take me down. 

The other reading I remember from the 40 short readings I must have done that week-end was for a young woman about to be married. She was having nightmares and irrational fears. She wanted to marry in her husband’s faith, but something inside her would sabotage the meeting each time they were supposed to enter the sanctuary. When I asked spirit for information, I found a vivid past life. I saw her seated outside a temple in a country with a dry climate. People were wearing flowing silk robes as they entered a tall building. It was her job to wash their feet before they entered. The building was a holy place. She knelt by the entrance doing her job as they prepared to enter sacred space.

I think you had a job washing people’s feet outside a temple in a hot place like Egypt, I told her. It’s something you did every day. It humbled you and irritated you at the same time.

Oh, she interrupted, I hate peoples feet. I am so funny that way. I can’t stand to look at them and even feel that way about my husband’s feet. They repel me.  I tell him when we are in bed to keep his feet on his own side of the bed.

In that lifetime you were not allowed to enter the temple, I continued. You have a soul memory of that, even though it has been unconscious, it is still powerfully in place. That belief is keeping you out of your husband’s church. Talk with yourself and make a clear distinction between now and then. It is time for you to enter the sacred space of your marriage. You get to enter the temple now. You get to be happy and walk at his side.

She was visibly relieved but still curious. What’s a soul memory?

A soul memory is an unconscious knowing that we carry from one lifetime to the next, that can affect us profoundly. We may not be able to bring it forward on our own, but once it comes into awareness, there is always a deep and settling recognition of the truth it holds. Uncovering and embracing that knowledge brings freedom. 

At the end of the week-end, I gathered my belongings, and noticed that the rose on my table had turned color. I held it to the light in disbelief. Must be the lighting in here, I told myself, carefully packing it away. But when I got home and returned the rose to the vase, which held it’s original family, I was struck by what had happened. The rose had turned from vibrant red to a deep shade of purple. The only explanation was that the spiritual energy of 30 psychics had absorbed in the water and again in the rose, turning it the color of the crown chakra, which was the energy center we were all using.


tiger13I saw a Clint Eastwood movie last night and came away completely satisfied. What is it about these movies?  Clint is the equalizer, like Bruce Willis and Tony Soprano. They are the warriors, the ones who put things right by finding quick, immediate solutions to injustice. There is no guilt, or long involvement with the grinding gears of a glacial legal system. They take matters into their own hands and do what needs to be done.

As a therapist I admit to having revenge fantasies when I hear stories about child beatings, rape and other unimaginable cruelties. I want to call The Godfather and say, go take care of this. I don’t ever want this to happen again to anyone. Stop it now and forever, wipe it off the face of the earth. My spirit is looking for a cosmic hit man.

This part of me alarms my husband, who is one of the kindest men on earth. When Jodie Foster was sitting in the subway in, The Brave One, and saw three men approaching with knives to terrorize, rape and cut, she surprised them by pulling a gun and blowing them away. I squeezed my husbands hand during that intense scene and whispered, yes, in his ear, justice, immediate and final. He smiled a nervous smile. I loved seeing her move into her warrior self instead of becoming the victim that needs years of rehabilitation to recover a fragment of the woman she used to be. I’ve gone back with my clients to moments of original trauma. I sat with their courage when they looked at raw, open pain and wept right along with them. I now hold memories I don’t want to hold, and a knowledge of human suffering and injustice I can never release.

I understand there is no one to blame. I only wish it was that easy, but it never is, because the bad guy is usually the bad guy because of what was done to him. He is dealing with the thorn in his own heart. I look beyond him, to his tormentor, but the piercing is endless. Real life is so complicated, while movies are so wonderfully black and white.

Obama is a wonderful role model, much like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. They are the true leaders. They are warriors of the heart. The wise part of me knows this, but once in awhile, after a day of working in the trenches of life, I just want to go to the movies and watch the bad guys get blown off the planet.


Here is a memory that still haunts me.

I was living in NE Portland in the late 1980’s, and teaching psychic development classes several times a week. The majority of my students came from the naturopathic, chiropractic, massage and medical schools, needing to balance their academic studies with something more felt, intuitive and humane. A beautiful red headed nurse named Valerie enrolled. She did well in class for several quarters and then began behaving in confrontive and fearful ways. We talked after class and she confided that she had been diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic, and decided to go off her medication. She was dating a friend of mine who was a psychologist, so we joined forces, both of us talking to her about the importance of her medicine and the need to stay on it. I knew she loved our classes, so I used them as leverage.

I can not allow you to continue with your studies until you’ve gone back on your meds and stabilized.

She did not listen. Valerie dropped out but continued in my life by coming to my home at odd hours, and begging for predictions. She was sure others were plotting against her and insisted I go with her to Canada to help her start a new life.

My husband was a doctor and took me aside to warn me of her condition. She is becoming dangerous now, Karen. She could harm you, so be very careful. I held my ground about the medications, not knowing what else to do. She stopped visiting, but continued to make disturbing phone calls.

slate-floor1One evening I wrote a letter to my sister in New York describing the situation: if we should be murdered in our beds, I want you to ask about Valerie. I dropped the letter in a post box the next morning as I drove my son to school, then stopped at my usual coffee shop to reward myself with tea, a scone and the morning paper. I was thinking how hard it was to get him out of bed on school days, and wondering about a solution, when I saw the Oregonian. The front page displayed a color photo of three bodies being carried from a house in black bags, with insert pictures of Valerie and her little girls. I dropped my tea in horror; my breathing became labored and deep. My mind raced. Could this nightmare be real? I looked again at the photos, the house, the body bags, and the police. The article said that Valerie’s children had been playing on the beach at Rooster Rock State Park when she pulled them away, drove home, shot both of them, then shot herself. Her note said that she did not want them to grow up with the same hellish disease.

I drove home doubled over with grief and disbelief. I could not eat, sleep or think of anything else for weeks. My dreams were haunted. I blamed myself for not knowing how to help. Soon the police arrived, making accusations that I had somehow encouraged her to take such drastic actions through my ‘new age’ methods. They had found class materials and some of our recorded sessions in her home. I was angry, hurt and sarcastic.

Yes, that’s what I do. I charge clients $50, and then tell them to go home, shoot their children and themselves. I make a great living that way, wouldn’t you?

The policeman continued. What exactly are these groups you have? Are they like a séance where you talk to the dead?

I forced a normal tone in my voice. No, they are like a self-improvement class you would take at Portland Community College. I don’t teach there because I like being self-employed, but I used to teach there. I did for years.

The newspapers took up where the police left off.


A columnist from the Oregonian took the opportunity to write at length about her hatred of ‘these ill-equipped new age people.’  Friends, students and professionals wrote letters in my defense, but they were not printed. Willamette Week did a feature article on the psychics Valerie employed. I was encouraged not to meet with the reporter, but I was eager for someone to see the credibility and truth of a situation that was being blown out of proportion, so I gave her a free session, and explained the healing and expansive aspects of the work. The reporter was young and receptive, but her story was written. She was only visiting to fill in the details. That’s when I learned the difference between promoting the truth, and a story that sells papers.

Valerie had been to a competing psychic and reported distorted information about our sessions. This man, whom I had known for years, was telling others to avoid my work based on her paranoid stories. When I called him to talk it out, I found him eager to slander, so I threatened to sue and we parted ways. 

I was being attacked on all fronts, not eating, sleeping, or working.  I closed my business to recover. Months later we found a farm house in the Columbia River Gorge and moved in. I spent months sitting on the front porch of that little white house, looking into miles of rolling hills, tree tops and the river below. I did not want to work again. My body lacked walls, boundaries, and the natural protection that enables people to easily function in the world. My ability to see and help is in direct relation to living filleted open, like a fish. I spent months in silence and introspection, being healed by my surroundings.

playing-cardsWhen clients managed to locate my phone number, I told them I was finished, out of business, with no desire to continue.

I had a client from India who worked at Tektronix. I had read for him for years.  He was always surprised when I knew who he was on the phone. That was our ongoing joke. Kaarin, how you know it is me? When he rang me and asked for a session, I told him what I told everyone else, but he reacted differently, he said, I can wait.

Well dear, you will have to wait a long time because I am finished.

He rang me the week after and asked again. Are you ready yet? Must I wait longer?

I am not ready, I told him, I will never be ready again.

No Kaarin. This is who you are. You can not walk away from yourself. I will wait. You are my psychic. There is no one else.

He called every week and we had the same conversation, until finally I relented and read for him. I am grateful, in retrospect, for his persistence because he helped me open my door and my heart one more time.

Other Dimensions

ladderDave had been a business client for years. He exemplified upper management, drove a Cadillac, and looked like a model for GQ magazine. It was 1992. I was living in an old farm house on the crest of a mountain in the Columbia River Gorge. My clients commented on the peaceful drive along the Sandy River, telling me what an important inner transition it was.  I imagined Dave motoring along the river, as I rummaged through my closet, wondering what to wear. Deep in the corner hung the Native American ceremonial dress I was married in, more costume than daily wear, more dust catcher than useful. I kept it for its power and beauty. To my surprise, I found myself grabbing it from the hanger and slipping it over my head. 

Dave arrived on time, as punctual as ever. I offered tea and conversation, while noticing his change in attire. He no longer looked like Mr. GQ. He’d let his hair grow, wore turquoise jewelry and a loose fitting shirt over cotton pants. When I closed my eyes to read for him, I was aware of two distinct spirits. It surprised me so much I could not go forward.

Dave, Are you aware of the Indian that lives in you? I asked.

Yes. I’m so glad you said something because everyone else thinks I’m crazy. It happened a few months ago. I suddenly felt this desire to change myself. It is unexplainable, but I know exactly what you are seeing.

I could not do anything for Dave with the Indian in the way, so I stopped the reading.

Do you mind if I speak to him directly, to see what he wants and why he has come?

Please do. I want to know as well.

I made a bed on the floor from a yoga mat and blanket, and watched Dave lower his broad-shouldered body on to the mat, his manicured fingers neatly folded by his side. I sat on the floor next to him with one hand above his heart, another above his belly, and led him through a relaxation exercise.

Feel the welcome weight of the blanket that covers you. Breathe deeper still. Now, let yourself be held in the welcome arms of the earth. When Dave was cocooned and protected, I opened the channel between dimensions and summoned the Indian. I was rooted, calm and centered. I waited and listened, staying neutral and receptive. Then, an unexpected burst of energy literally swept me into another time and place, very much like being in a dream where daily reality ceases, and dream reality becomes total and all that is.

 I was walking with my Indian husband along a barely visible trail. Wind blew against silence, the only sound – a distant cracking of ice. We moved raw and slow through a towering canyon, stone spires and red rock sitting broken and piled below snow coated cliffs, the sky, pale and grey. I felt ice melting against my hair, as I lowered my face into the warm comfort of my buffalo robe. He and I walked heavy with things unsaid, and no voice to say them. I felt pained and inconsolable. Our only child lay buried under mounds of rock, while we moved on in search of food and shelter, our resources depleted.  His love for me was total, as mine was for him. I made a home in that knowledge. I made a life in it. There was no questioning or doubt. The experience of our love was unlike anything I have ever known, or come close to knowing in this life. It filled me.

That’s all there was, a glimpse, a moment, a lifetime. I was fully there, and than I was not. I was drawn back as rapidly as I’d left, my body jerking, small volts of electricity pulsing through my veins. My whole body felt burned, as if I’d stood too near the sun. I fell apart, and wept as if my heart had been cut. I could not console myself and was horrified that I was still in session. Poor Dave was working to bring himself out of trance to attend me. What happened? What happened, he repeated, again and again. What can I do for you?  I rocked back and forth, howling with grief for a dead child and a lost love, my knees pulled against my chest, arms wrapped around them like a teddy bear. 

I know that spirit. I know him, is all I could say. Please go now. I will finish your session another time.

shovel1Dave was reluctant to leave. I insisted. My world was falling apart. My boundaries were shattered. After he left, I paced like an animal. I shivered, felt feverish and sick. I went to the bathroom to find a homeopathic to calm myself, looked in the mirror and saw for the first time the irony of my attire. I had put on my Indian print wedding dress to meet my Native American husband from another dimension. I ripped off the dress, got a shovel and buried it deep in the yard. I didn’t want to have anything to do with a garment that could transport me instantly from one reality to another. I wanted to be in control. I went to bed and stayed there for several days. My body burned, my energy circuits fried.

Dave called often to see how I was, but I didn’t answer. I was afraid of him too, afraid that he could somehow pull me back into that place that made reality dissolve. I phoned him after a week, but didn’t put him back on the schedule for a full month. I needed to work up to it.

When I did see Dave, he looked more himself. Apparently the Indian had moved on, his visit complete. Dave brought a photograph with him of a man called, Black Eagle from the Nez Perce tribe. I knew what he looked like, he told me, so I went to the library to do some research, and there he was.

I held the photo in my hands. It was, without doubt, the face I had seen.

You can keep it, Dave said. And so I did.

Sometimes I place it on my altar and speak with him. Other times I put it away, because his presence feels too strong, yet he is always around. Black Eagle has appeared independently to friends, and once to a client doing a vision quest. He offers support and love to them, sometimes conveying messages to me.

Understanding Predictions


My friend Kim comes by every two or three months to exchange readings. I look forward to our visit because it’s a time of holding light and encouragement for one another. We both read in a way that puts our present experience in perspective, pulls in a glimpse of the future, and points to weak places where we need to hold firm and persevere. Our style and visionary skills are about love, support, encouragement and friendship.

My friend Susan was ten years old, when she went to a ‘Fun Fair’ in a friend’s basement. A fortune teller was hired to do readings for the kids. When it was Susan’s turn, the woman turned over three cards, studied them, and announced that Susan would die when she was twenty-six years old. End of reading.

Can you imagine saying this to an impressionable ten year old, or to anyone for that matter? This woman took child abuse to a new level. I am happy to announce that dear Susan is now sixty-six years of age, but she lived for sixteen years in secret terror. What kind of person tells another such a wicked thing?

The purpose of intuition, psychic abilities, or any level of extraordinary knowing is to shed light on our lives so we can heal, attain freedom, and elevate our consciousness to a perspective that allows an expanded understanding of reality. The mind is in charge of resistance and control. It is fear-based and wants to keep us safe. To move beyond the mind, into the realm of spirit, takes us deep inside an inherent wisdom, where we experience first hand the place in us that is timeless, the place that does not die, the place that is wise, the place that is just visiting this reality, the place that recognizes truth. When we understand the sacredness of our lives, our days take on a different perspective. We may get bogged down in the personality and the mundane, but knowing, feeling and experiencing the place where our soul resides, allows an essential freedom that can bring us back to center by simply closing our eyes, and engaging. Being brought back to center, and being reminded of the truth about our selves when we lose our way, is the purpose of a good reading. 

So be careful when you decide to ask for help. Think twice before you open yourself to someone you do not know. Ask people you trust for referrals, and don’t ever walk into a storefront with a ‘Psychic Readings’ sign posted in the window.

Making Sense of it


I never thought much about my ability to see into the lives of other people until I entered graduate school. I always had a sense of the layered qualities and patterns others carried, and was routinely advised and guided by dreams, but it was not until I did a practicum at Clackamas County Mental Health Center that my abilities were brought fully home.

Rich was the psychiatrist in residence, as well as my teacher and supervisor. He and I were running an evening therapy group when the subject of dreams came up. After group ended, he took me aside, Karen, write down a dream of your own, and bring it to our next supervision session. That will be an excellent way to explore.

I went to our session expecting to understand dream symbols, projection and relationship. What happened instead surprised me. The dream I brought was long, detailed and all about Rich. When I read it, he withdrew. His color blanched.  Nobody should know those things about me, he said, there is no way for anyone to know what you  just told me.  He became quiet, going deep inside his private world. His puzzled silence letting me know our meeting was finished.

My session with Rich made me aware that whatever was happening in my world was different than those around me. It made me question my career. I enjoyed learning to help and heal, but the methods seemed inadequate. I sat in a tiny consulting room and saw one person after the next. There was no magic answer for their pain, just a learned ability to listen, and to empower by providing feedback. But what empowerment could there be, when the person’s consciousness and view of reality stayed as small as the room we sat in? They needed a larger, more holistic vision.

I was too confused in those early years to follow my wisdom. I only knew the limits of what I was learning, and that it was wrong for me. I already had stomach ulcers from stress, so I dropped the program. Instead, I joined a theater company to travel, sing, dance and wash the sorrow from my bones. There was a woman in the company who read tarot cards. When she read mine, I was both amazed and hooked. Here was a language of symbols and images which spoke volumes without the written word. Looking at the cards gave me an ancient sense of homecoming.  Here, at last was a way for the voices that spoke through my dreams to be direct, immediate and available. I closed myself from the outside world, and spent days being pulled into their complex framework, a framework that beautifully described the human condition. 

I lived in a converted mansion with a sweeping central staircase, occupied solely by artists. The tenants were poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, designers and theater people. When I announced what I was doing, nearly everyone in the building came for a reading. I gave generously, eager to test my wings.feathers1

I was surprised to learn that some people were afraid of the cards, because they had been hurt by words from unloving hearts. They had been told cruel and unjust things by fortune tellers and gypsies, who placed cards on the table between them, as they delivered fear-based messages. I was also surprised that people came back wanting more and more. But I just gave you a reading. I just told you that.

It took a long time to make the soup that became my healing practice. I drew on many varied ingredients, but always used the first session to gain trust. I’d quiet myself and merge with my clients to understand the blueprint of their lives; what gifts they had, what troubles, patterns and hurts. I gave this knowing back with a spiritual perspective, so they had a new understanding and foundation to stand on. We did whatever healing was needed to shine light into the shadows that kept them trapped and unfulfilled.

People ask how I developed my skills and inquire about my teachers, but developing my sensitivity has never been the focus. The focus has been learning to live with and manage it. I do not seek books, classes or teachers. I  seek to escape them. For years I could not go into crowds, ride a train, or go to a department store, because my body became overloaded. Feeling and seeing so much overwhelmed me and made me ill. I have learned to focus down and make boundaries, but it does not happen easily. My husband goes to parties alone.

One of my students left an intuitive training class saying, When I came to class, I thought I would give anything to have the skills you have, to see what you see, and be able to do what you do, but now that I understand what it takes, I am very grateful that I am not you!  

Nancy’s Story

bird-in-handNancy had lots of psychiatric labels when she came to see me; bi-polar and borderline personality to name a few. She was thirty years old, severely overweight and had an attachment disorder that compelled her to phone her father several times every hour. Nancy came for healing at her father’s request.

When she sat down the generator outside the window burst into life, roaring with deafening noise. The button on the tape player refused to stay in the record position, the microwave engaged, the dog began barking and a neighbor knocked on the door. It is not unusual for children with psychic abilities to cause such disruption, but this was a different energy. When I closed my eyes to read for her, I saw the spirit of a large unbalanced man who was sharing her body.

Nancy had been so labeled, treated, medicated and repressed by the medical system that she’d lost all sense of health. Together we found and enforced her healthy-self and brought it back into consciousness, so she had a frame of reference to begin our work. I spoke about spirit possession, and asked if she was aware of it.

I have always felt there was an uncontrollably violent part of me, she said, that is living my life. I do things that frighten other people. When it’s happening, it feels like I get pushed aside, as if someone else is doing it. Then I wake up, look around and wonder what happened.

Nancy went away with a new understanding and spiritual perspective which gave her strength and encouragement, but I knew I couldn’t make progress until the spirit was removed.

incenseI have always seen spirits. For some reason, I vibrate with a higher energy frequency, an openness and sensitivity that allows sight into realms that don’t exist for most people. I have been called to remove disruptive spirits from houses and from clients like Nancy in the past. I do it by quieting, closing my eyes, and allowing them to come into vision. I witness their story, all of which plays like a movie inside my head. I am not always successful in this work, but when there is success, the spirit moves on and their absence changes the person’s life for the better. The spirit I saw in Nancy felt large, male and violent. I didn’t feel that I was strong enough or capable enough to move him out, so I began to research someone who might do it for me.

I heard about a medical intuitive from a friend, and asked Nancy if she would be interested in going.  After Nancy’s visit, the healer informed me that there was no problem at all. If there were I would have seen it, she said. Her casual approach and ungrounded confidence led me to believe that she had no skill in that area at all.

I asked for help from a healer from the Lakota tradition, but he was full of ego and wanted Nancy to show up for weeks of training before starting the work. That would never happen, so I passed on him as well.

I was walking in downtown Portland with my friend, Cora, when we happened upon Nancy. After she and I exchanged pleasantries, Cora looked troubled. Who was that woman, she asked? She has such a dark energy in her. It feels male and angry, like it’s been with her a long time.  Cora’s words were helpful, because it’s easy to doubt myself when I am the only person who sees what I see. I have learned to trust, but there is still the loneliness of a work that is not easy for others to comprehend or share.

I continued to search for the right person for a full year. I asked a local clairvoyant, who is excellent with predictions, but found her uncomfortable with thoughts of possession. I asked a Catholic friend if she knew a priest who was capable, but got no reply. In my frustration, I encouraged myself to do the work, but a wiser part knew that I was out of my depth. This spirit would take a strong masterful personality, not a gentle feminine one.

My daughter and granddaughter live in an ashram, and mentioned that the Abbot, Swami monkChetanananda was returning from a year in Tibet. The term Swami, means teacher and bringer of light in Tibetan Buddhism. I had not met him before, but encouraged Nancy’s father to seek an audience  and explain the situation. He and Nancy went together and I came later. The Swami is a large bodied man, over six feet tall, who has devoted his life to spiritual practice and mastery. We talked about spirits and spirituality. He confirmed my vision and agreed to meet with Nancy for three puja’s, or healing rituals, where he would release the spirit. I was extremely grateful, since it is rare for the Swami to attend the healing of an individual.

It is not uncommon in healing for things to get worse before they get better, which is what Nancy reported after the first session. She exploded in anger and was crippled by migraine headaches. During the second puja, the spirit was released and the third brought her back to normal.

Nancy is a different person now. She no longer lives in cloaked avoidance of light, but seeks it. She can function, react normally, is no longer violent, and no longer calls her father for constant assurance.  She is in school, doing well and working two jobs. When the spirit entered, at about age twelve, her own development was arrested. So she and I met to repair her sense of self, and make sense of many troubled and forgotten years. There is more work for her to do, but that is in the future. For now, she is happy to have joined the world and I am happy for her.

Finding Balance

 When I was in my thirties, I lived in Seattle, or rather crash-landed there after two exhausting years of being on tour with the theater.  Travel, hotel rooms, performing and restaurant meals left me ill and defeated. I had to leave the theater with no idea what to do next. At that time, I did not see my intuitive healing work as a career, it was just something I did for the people I met who were in need. I seemed to always have a small stream of folks coming to my door for help. My Aunt Ethel had encouraged my sight in a playful way, by reading my fortune in tea leaves. It was a game we played together. I moved on to using cards and eventually to nothing but my own knowing.

tightrope-walker1Because I was new to Seattle, I took myself to a psychic fair at a local yoga center to meet kindred spirits. After an afternoon of readings, a man approached and asked if I would come on NBC to demonstrate my skills. I told him I’d think about it. Not being a television watcher, I had no way to judge if the experience was meant for ridicule, so I asked neighbors if the show was reputable. It was, so I accepted, hoping the experience might provide a few new clients to tide me over.

 I was broke the morning of the program, so I borrowed bus fare from the man who ran the neighborhood market across the street. I grabbed a large paper bag, stuffed my belongings inside, and ran out the door. Others came in limousines.  When I arrived, I was ushered upstairs to a waiting room, where I met interesting women with similar abilities.  The television hostess took me aside, and asked if I would give her a quick sample of my skills. She was scurrying around in a frantic state of disarray, looking like she could have a nervous breakdown at any moment. Every hair had to be perfect, as well as her clothes, make-up and voice. She was on a fast-track to the top, despite personal cost. I told her as much. She declared me a genius, and that was that.

When I was escorted into the television studio, she was calm, confident and inviting. I know that psychics have many rituals they use in doing their work, she told the audience, and noticed that you carry your special things in a brown paper bag. Could you tell us about the significance of that?

I sat in a moment of disbelief. The only significance, I laughed, is that I could not find my purse this morning.

Well folks, she continued, Karen blew me away with the accuracy of her reading earlier, so I am excited to hear what she will see for us now.

Another moment of disbelief. ‘Blew me away?‘ Reading for her was like asking somebody if a house was on fire. Not a tough assessment.

I shared with the audience what little I knew about the history of using cards for divination, then read for a woman about a new business she was opening, what it would involve, and what it could mean to her personal life. 

The producer had arranged for the same woman to stand up and ask the same question of each of us. We were kept in isolation until we read, then taken off again, so we couldn’t hear what the others reported. We were being publicly tested.

Long story short, the show was a success. I had never watched television in the morning, and had no understanding of the number of people who did, so when my phone started to ring, I was pleased. I did not know that the phone would not stop ringing. The phone did not stop at any time during the day or night. It did not stop for a full month! At first I left the receiver off the hook, so I could have moments of peace, but eventually I unplugged it all together. I thought I should be able to manage the calls, but it was like trying to stop a human tsunami. And so, I walked away. 

I began doing haircuts for neighbors to make ends meet, and put up signs to help as a Girl Friday along Lake Washington. An older woman named Margaret was my first client. She was my idea of a Norman Rockwell style grandmother. She spoiled and loved me to such an extent that I dropped other clients, and worked only for her.

I felt unsettled by the television experience, and guilty. I knew my sight could help others, and felt a strong sense of duty. But I was only one person and my inner resources were already dangerously low.

I remember being frightened during this period. I felt I should be able to create or read or sculpt or write whenever I pleased. I was afraid there was something wrong with me when the activities that gave me comfort dried up and went away.

Margaret was wise at these times. She would remind me about cycles and seasons over tuna casserole, warm cookies and coke. She helped me understand the timing of things, and that it all came down to keeping my balance, no matter what cycle I was in.  When life is abundantly good and showering you with gifts, stay humble and centered. When life is throwing stones and pulling you into the mud, stay humble and centered. Watch it all. See it for what it is, and never let it define you. I learned that year that receiving too much, was as dangerous as receiving too little, and that if I centered and waited, well, pretty soon, all that I needed would come back around again.

The Lost Children


We are making generations of lost children. These are the tender souls born to mothers and fathers who split apart and try again with other partners. Often the child from the first marriage no longer fits or belongs. This child, imagining a secure and welcome future is unwittingly discarded, often exiled to an island of loneliness, while being told to behave. These children are brought along without choice, becoming a reminder of another life, another time, another partner. They mutate into the unnecessary appendage of a new life.

I’ve watched it happen with kittens. Place one that doesn’t belong in the litter next to a nursing mother and she will bat it away, often wanting to kill it. So many of our little ones are living the Cinderella story without the happy ending. Soon they are taken to therapists. What’s wrong with this child? Fix him, give him drugs, make him conform, take away his anger. Where is the medicine for a broken home? Where is the mending for defeated trust and shattered hearts?


 Alma stood in the doorway, a suitcase in each hand, her neatly braided hair trailing the length of her back. Shades of evening blue spilled from my window highlighting her feet, adding a surreal feel to the scene. I was in my bathrobe and slippers pushing uncombed hair from my face, as I watched her white limousine pull from the curb.

Alma was a client. She was alone in a foreign country and extended a desperate hand in my direction after her husbands sudden death. Our work was the foundation she stood on to recover and quiet the tears that shamed her into isolation. She summoned me in the dark hours of night, the lonely hours when her defenses were weak and the raw places in her heart felt unmanageable. I had agreed to be delivered like a living security blanket to wrap around her emptiness.  More light shone in her face now, she’d found a new well of courage, not a lot, but a beginning.

I had pneumonia when she called and was slow to heal. We will meet later, I told her. Now here she was, standing like an aberration in the entryway of my home. What brings you here, I asked?

She placed her tapestry bags on the floor and lowered her eyes. Karen, you saved my life, I belong to you now. I am here to serve you. In my culture, when a person saves your life, you belong to them.

You belong to them.. Her works washed over me in quiet disbelief.

Alma dear,  What I did for you was my job. You paid me well, You owe me nothing. I am deeply touched but no, please, you do not ‘belong’ to me. She smiled, touching the silk of my bathrobe as she moved to the kitchen. You have saved my life, she repeated, I belong to you.

My daughter pushed open her bedroom door wiping sleep from her young eyes. Mommy, who is that strange lady in our house?

Alma opened her purse, pulled out herbs and carefully placed them on the counter. You will do nothing, I will cook and clean for you. I will serve you in all ways. She took a lime colored wrap from her neck and transferred it lovingly to my shoulders.

Oh dear, I thought. Oh my, this is going to take some serious sorting out.

Alma made herself a bed on the couch and I went back into my room, wrapping my fingers around the warm fragrant liquid she’d provided. You’ll see, she said, as I closed the door between us. I will do a very good job.  Her words hung in the air, sending shivers of dread down my spine.

It took a full month to recover and to convince my devoted servant to leave and go on with her life.

During that time I learned that I liked cooking for myself, doing my own laundry, making my own bed, tending my own children and shopping for my own food. I hadn’t known before how those activities defined the fabric of my independence. Leisure was a kind of death to my spirit. My health returned and dear Alma returned to her own country, her debt fully paid.

written 7-30-08


I knew she was a single mother. They are my weakness, reflecting my own years of having not enough and choosing to be alone rather than grab another wrong relationship.  I agreed to see her for twenty dollars. A reading, I reasoned, could give her  perspective, a new foundation to stand on and send her forward with tangible hope. 

I quickly realized a reading would not be enough when I pulled back the veil of her life to find blood and large open wounds oozing with infection.

Okay, the healer in me reasoned. I must continue seeing her. My practical mind protested, going into matters of paying office rent, utilities and taxes. That part scolded me. These situations are not good for you. My healer bargained. Okay, I’ll give her six more sessions, then cut her loose.

By the eighth session she had claimed her strength and was moving with a warriors courage. This is the time, I told myself, to end our sessions. I practiced the speech in the morning mirror. I wrote notes to myself over lunch. Setting boundaries was never my strength. I kept reminding myself, it is not your place to take care of the world. You are a business woman, so behave like one. Before our session began I delivered my rehearsed speech.

“I’m sorry, I’d love to keep seeing you but I simply can not continue our twenty dollar fee.”  There I had said it!

She immediately burst into tears; floods, torrents, oceans of tears. “I’m so sorry, I’m so embarrassed. I know you deserve much more, but this small fee is actually more than I can afford.”

She told me spring break was coming and she didn’t have enough food for her children. She was going to ask her x-husband’s mother for a loan but hated the way the woman made her feel and her reluctance in giving it. I went to my desk, pulled out my checkbook and wrote her a check for two hundred dollars. Boundaries have never been easy.

written 4-16-08

Life Sentence

My writing voice comes from the past. It’s like a fine-tooth comb moving through and around experiences that are otherwise forgotten.

My writing voice remembers the steel clank of heavily guarded prison doors, where I emptied pockets, answered questions, signed papers and allowed myself to be searched by people who had forgotten how to smile.

I was in a high security prison for my friend’s wedding, a slight bird-like woman named Linda who popped into my life when I was alone, exhausted and struggling. Linda thought of herself as a black woman, even though she was the tiniest little white thing you ever saw. I first met her when I was opening a storefront in Seattle, ripping out interior walls and refinishing floors. My overalls and tee-shirt were dripping dust, as I walked outside to rest on the sidewalk.

 “What’s going on here? What’s this going to be?” I looked up at a delicate woman with dark corkscrew curls cascading around her head. Her jewelry glittered against morning sun, as she stood with one hand on the hip of her thin summer dress. Her high heeled shoes clicking in rhythms all their own.

“What it is, is a disaster,” I replied, feeling more then a little defeated, “but what it’s going to be is, The Mount Baker Psychic Center.” I pointed to the wreckage of lumber and sawdust heaped inside.

“Are you doing this all alone?”


“Not anymore, you’re not. I love psychic stuff.  I have to work today, but I’ll come by later and help you.”

I expected never to see her again, but at six o’clock she knocked on my door, all smiles and bounce.

“Here I am, let’s get to work!”

Moments like that are not quickly forgotten. 

Linda had been living with Dave, a once famous jazz musician who landed in prison after becoming addicted to heroin. He robbed stores to support his habit, ending a brilliant musical career.  After two years of visiting Dave in prison, Linda accepted his proposal of marriage.

Linda asked me to be her maid of honor.

Dave asked me to do readings for the inmates.

I said yes to both.

Door after door opened, as the last slammed closed behind us.

Finally we were delivered to a large room where the ceremony would take place.

The guards were at bay.

The service was sweet and sincere. Linda married in a pink satin dress holding a trailing bed of miniature roses. Dave and his best man were dressed in black suits, high gloss shoes and crisp white shirts. After champagne and cake, I set up a table while Linda and Dave went off to a trailer. “You will do readings, won’t you, Karen?” Dave asked. “The brothers are really excited about it.” 

The men lined up, smiling and ready. They were mostly black, large, masculine and sincere. Their questions were no different than questions asked on the outside. They sought information about loved ones, wives, children and parents. They needed hope for the future and to have someone witness their goodness. They wanted to be listened to, shown respect, given comfort and guidance. I thought I would be afraid of them but I was not. Instead, I felt gentle and compassionate.

The tempers ready to detonate had not come from the inmates, as expected, but from the guards. Their behavior was dominant, controlling and abrasive. Repressed anger radiated from closed hearts. Those were the men I didn’t want to meet on a dark street, not the prisoners. The prisoners had committed crimes, but the guards were living day after day of malignant rage which was destroying their humanity ~  a whole different kind of life sentence.

My writing voice is also my healing voice. I offered it then, and I offer it now in the hope of making connection.

written 5-28-08

Song for Keyo

I have trouble remembering what happened yesterday, but my brain has forever stored the lyrics to useless, senseless songs from the 1950’s.

Dungaree Doll

I wanna make a chain of paper clips and chain us together while I kiss your lips.

The kind of slow sensual song I listen to now reminds me of packing seven of us into a Volkswagen Van to drive from Portland, Oregon to New York City. Big Bush was the driver, named for the Afro that filled most of the front seat. They were street musicians who performed in Harvard Square. They played music and I read Tarot Cards.

The lyrics to Lean on me floated through the square sung by Keyo Morales, my wonderful Puerto Rican friend from Spanish Harlem. Keyo had a shaved head. He wore a hoop ear-ring (before men did such things), a tuxedo jacket over Army fatigues and red high top tennis shoes. I loved Keyo with all my heart, but so did ever other woman whoever met him, because Keyo’s love was universal, too big to be contained. Keyo sang because he wanted people to stop fighting and start smiling and dancing. His music opened their hearts.

What a lovely troupe of friends I traveled with that summer. My daughter, Kristen was there too, but I missed my son, who stayed with his disapproving father, my thankfully X-husband. Everyone welcomed Kristen as part of our traveling family.

Eager customers formed lines around the block waiting for comfort, healing, and a view of their future from the woman in the blue velvet dress. I gave each person 15 minutes and they gave me $5, which actually meant something 30 years ago. After a long night of work I hid in the public restroom and counted my money. Great wads of five dollar bills made me rich. It was enough to get us an apartment for the summer and keep us in food. Transportation was provided by Keyo, who gave me a ride to Harvard Square each day on the handlebars of his bike, my nine year old daughter perched on the cross bars between his protective arms. Women were always lined up to see him when we arrived, but I was the only one coming and going on his handlebars.

When I hear dreamy loving music I remember that summer, the summer of being a nomad. How ironic that I led a gypsies life only blocks from the French Music School where I’d prepared for a career in opera. My life seemed to veer farther and farther from the mainstream every day.

Once I asked Keyo if he had ever done acid. “400 times,” he answered. Some part of me thought I should be worried, but it was the baldheaded man in red tennis shoes I felt most comfortable with. He was the person who taught me about love with no sexual expectations or conditions.  Keyo was love. His life was loves statement and his music its expression. His audience recognized the lack of it in their own lives and flocked to him like a pied piper of the heart.

I returned to Portland in the fall on The Grey Rabbit Hippie Bus, all of us crowded together like bunched asparagus. No room to move or breathe. They let us out in California and we hitchhiked back to Portland. Keyo stayed. I heard he moved in with a Native American woman in the winter. I tried to imagine a female vast enough to encompass his energy and love.

I felt sad and more than a little jealous, yet I knew he’d been there as my teacher and deepest friend; holding him was like holding the wind.

written 5-21-08