Para leer La Busqueda de Fernando in Espanol presione aqui: www.labusquedadefernando.wordpress.com
“I could a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, make thy two eyes, like stars, start from thy spheres, thy knotty and combined locks to part and each particular hair to stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porpentine.” Shakespeare
I have such a tale, which I am now setting down in the form of a memoir entitled Searching for Fernando: a true story of destiny, astrology and the Virgin of Guadalupe, which I plan to publish if I ever get an ending to my story. It is the story of three people who are linked by destiny: myself, an American woman – and two Mexican men. Three people fated to meet. Each one destined to cross paths with the other two at different times and places, in both Mexico and the United States. It is also a detailed account of how one man experienced his first Saturn Return. And ultimately, it is an experience of Chiron in the 7th house, manifested at it’s highest level. When one resolves the karma of Chiron in their own natal chart, they can become the catalyst for healing in others with the same karmic problem. I have Chiron in the 7th house of my natal chart.
(note: the green links are to documents that substantiate my story)
December 2005: I find myself in a desperate situation
The sun was setting as I trudged along the dusty Mexican road, trying to ignore the noise of the traffic as it raced past me. My desperate thoughts whirled like a carousel. I was alone in a foreign country, with no passport, no money and no identification. My car was immobilized in a mechanic’s garage, awaiting a part from the United States that was lost in the Christmas mailing rush. The vision in my left eye was obscured, the result of a punch in the face a few days before, and I was in agony from a painful case of shingles.
The road gradually climbed to an overpass, and I paused at the top and looked down at the railroad tracks far below. A fleeting thought passed through my mind – if I jumped now, it would all be over in seconds. Then, horrified that I had even contemplated such an idea, I plodded on. How had I come to be in such a miserable situation? How had something so innocent… a chance meeting with a stranger on a park bench eighteen months earlier… lead to this?
I am an astrologer. I have been studying 22 years. My special area of study in astrology has been synastry, the study of how one chart links to another. I also have a history of dreaming future events, and speaking in my dreams with saints and people who have passed on. Often when I have a question I pray for an answer in my dreams before I go to sleep and sometimes I receive an answer that night.
I guess this story really begins in 1965, when I was five years old. I developed an obsession with Mexico. It was my desire to go there, especially at Christmas. I think I drove the people in my life crazy talking about how I would someday be a writer and live in Mexico. At Christmas I made piñatas and enticed my siblings to play along. I listened to Mexican music and painted dozens of pictures of the Mexico of my dreams. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about a homeless Mexican boy who is befriended by a burro, which I actually sent to several publishing houses. It’s obvious to me now that I had some vague memory of my pre-birth life plan. This lasted until about the age of 17, and then went dormant for 28 years – one cycle of Saturn. So dormant, in fact, that in the year 2000 I received a free plane ticket to Mexico and I gave it away because I had no desire to go there. But like a smoldering ember in a seemingly dead fire, that springs to life with a strong breeze, the events of 2004 caused my childhood interest in Mexico to come roaring back to life. As for becoming a writer, this is the first thing I’ve written since I left high school.
My first inkling of what was to come
“The sky is like an open book, in which are written the signs of the past, present and future.” Origen
Often I look years ahead in my ephemeris – an astrologer’s guide to the stars – just to see what’s coming down the road. In May 1997, I was looking ahead and I saw that in May 2004, a foreigner younger than myself, would enter my life and change it forever. Over the next seven years I often thought of this man and wondered where he would be from. I always thought it would be someone from an English speaking country; like the U.K., Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.
In the year 2000 I became very ill after receiving a Yellow Fever vaccination. I am personally opposed to vaccinations, and I never would have gotten one, but I was informed that I had to have it to go to Africa. I had a lifelong desire to visit Africa and I felt an urgency to make the trip in 1999, because I knew that in a few years it would become extremely difficult to travel by air and that the hassles of flying would not be worth it. That was the only reason why, against my better judgement I took the vaccine. The ironic thing is, it was all for nothing. I was never asked to present my certificate of immunization. I’ve read a lot of bad advice in travel guides, but this was the worst.
I was pretty much housebound for four years. It was like living death. The vaccine contained a live virus, and I developed Yellow Fever. However, my immune system sustained the most damage and was exacerbated by the fact that I had already contracted Lyme disease in 1997. Besides the pain and suffering, I was nursing three beloved pets through serious illnesses, and two of them died during my illness. As devastating as it was, I understand now that those deaths were necessary. I could never have taken off for Mexico if I was still caring for ailing pets.
My pug was sickly the last nine years of his life and needed constant care. I was closer to that dog than any other creature, before or since. His birthday was the 8th of May. This was to become the most important date in this story. I was also facing possible homelessness every day. There are no words to describe the misery of living through a terrible illness, as you watch your pets slowly die and contemplate homelessness. Each day felt like an eternity. I felt if the illness didn’t kill me, the stress would. I couldn’t even escape from my wretchedness during sleep, because I was tormented by terrible nightmares throughout my illness. My healing began when I became a vegan, and by using only herbs and natural methods I slowly regained my health.
When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, My couch will ease my complaint,’ Then You scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, Job: 7: 13,14
Towards the end of 2003, I discovered Tualatin Hills Nature Park had opened near my home. I had known the woods were there since I was a child, however it was opened as a park in April of 1998, when I was living in Washington. One day on my way to the grocery store, I had to make a detour and I saw the entrance to the park. When I got home, I went on my bicycle to check it out. I began to ride my bicycle there daily, and sit by a lily pond on a bench for two hours every evening. I tried to breathe deep and relax. It was the only thing that helped my stress in four years. I kept returning every evening because I knew in some way, sitting at the lily pond was improving my health.
Unknown to me at the time was the history of the land where the park had opened. For the last 152 years, the place has been known as St. Mary’s Woods. In 1861 the property was purchased by Father Francois Blanchet on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oregon, and held undeveloped until 1981, when it was sold to the parks department. An oasis of peace that slowly had a city grow up around it.
Soon I noticed that the wildlife lost all fear of me. Rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks played around my feet. Once twin fawns approached, and touched me with their delicate noses. One evening an owl flew down and perched beside me, so close I could have touched it, for half an hour. Something else I noticed. Worried and troubled people would come to the lily pond and confide their problems to me. I tried to listen with empathy and give helpful advice.
I have had only two dreams of Jesus in my life, and both had a profound effect on me. One evening at the pond I remembered a dream I had in 1994. In the dream, Jesus was standing next to me and we were looking at a lily pond. He was telling me important things, none of which I could remember when I awoke. I had puzzled on the meaning of that dream for years. This evening at the pond I thought I finally had the answer. Jesus was showing me the place where I would get my health back. Later I would realize that He was showing me the place where my life would change forever.
During the darkest days of my illness I had not thought about the foreigner in my future, but now I thought about him every day at the pond. May 2004 was only two months away. On the night of March 17th, I said a prayer before I went to sleep.
March 2004: I see Fernando in my dream
In my prayer, I asked God to show me the mysterious foreigner in my future. I must have been sleeping for several hours when I had this dream: I was in Los Angeles, standing face to face with a man who had brown skin, black hair, high cheekbones and a hawk nose. He looked Middle-Eastern to me. The strongest aspect of the dream was the emotional bond I felt with this man. He said: “I have to go to Oregon.” I said:”I have to go to Oregon too, I wish you could ride with me.” Then I awoke. I was elated my prayer had been answered. I ask God to let me see him again when I went back to sleep – it was about 4 am. I was so excited that I had a hard time sleeping again, but when I did fall asleep I saw him again. We were in my home in Oregon, and he said: “I have to go now.” I said: “Please don’t go”. He reached out for my hand and kissed it. Then I woke up. I was sure, with the certainty of dried cement, that the guy was Persian. I was inclined towards this belief because I love Iranian food and culture, the astrology I practice has it’s roots in Persia, and I knew that Los Angeles has a large Iranian community. I had never used the Internet before, but now I went to the library and found iranianpersonals.com. I put up a profile and began writing to Iranian men all over the world. Every time one sent me a picture, I was disappointed it was not the face I had seen in my dream.
I still went to the lily pond every day. A few times it crossed my mind that perhaps he would show up at the pond, but I quickly put these thoughts out of my head. It was too fantastic, like the old cliche of meeting a stranger on a park bench who changes your life. Once it even entered my head that perhaps the man was Mexican, but I dismissed this quickly too.
May 2004: I meet Fernando at the lily pond and learn he has the same birthday as Ping
The third week of May I was at the lily pond one evening, I think it was the night of the new moon. A man came down the path and my first thought was that this was the guy from my dream. I greeted him, but when he began to speak I could tell he was Mexican from his accent and I immediately dismissed any more thoughts that this was the man, because I was so invested in my Iranian theory. I really wanted the dream foreigner to be from Iran. Right away I saw this man was very troubled and I wanted to help him. He sat beside me and explained his problem. We talked for a long time, like old friends who had just connected after years apart. I remember thinking at the time, that never before had a stranger opened up to me so casually. I advised him to go back to church and pray often. I said I would pray for him. My words seemed to help Fernando. I could see he was feeling
much better. I wondered why I had not seen him before in the park so I asked him how long he had been coming there. He said three months. When he got up to leave, as he walked away, he turned around and said “Remember, Fernando.” For the next two weeks I didn’t think about him, except once or twice, at which times I said a prayer for him.
Two weeks later on June 3rd, the night of the full moon, Fernando came back. He was a very different person than the last time. He seemed almost jubilant. He said he was happy because he had seen my bicycle chained to a tree and he knew I was at the pond. He said he had been thinking about me every night before he went to sleep. I asked him how his life was going and if my advice had helped. He said yes, but I could see that he didn’t want to talk about the subject, that he wanted to ask questions about me instead. I asked his birth date, and he said May 8th 1967. I gave him a prayer card of St. Michael that I had been carrying around for two years. Somehow it seemed like the right thing to do. It was not until three years later I would learn that May 8th is the Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/festivals/may/feast-of-st-michael.html and on May 8th 1637, St Michael appeared to a dying Mexican peasant, healed him, and led him to a miracle spring of healing water, where the church of San Miguel del Milagro was later built. A place I have since made a pilgrimage to.
Fernando told me he liked to play soccer. Then he asked me if I was married, and said that he was divorced, and that his x-wife and seven year old daughter lived in Los Angles. He showed me a photo of them. I suddenly realized he was flirting with me. This distressed me, and I didn’t know how to handle it. For the past seven years, my contact with single men had been very limited, since I split with David in 1997, after ten years together. I had been very isolated during my illness, and now, coming back into the everyday world, it seemed overwhelming and a bit scary. Only someone who has slowly recovered from a long illness can possibly understand my feelings at the time.
Fernando and I talked for two hours, but always the conversation returned to his request that I go out to dinner with him. The more I told him that it would never work, the more persistent he became. When it got dark I offered to walk with him to the Light-Rail station where he would catch a train home. As we walked he seemed to get desperate, like someone trying to talk their way into the last open seat on a lifeboat. At one point he grabbed my hand and kissed it. I still didn’t make the connection to my dream. As we parted at the station, standing face to face, he asked me to give him a kiss. Now that I know much more about Mexican culture, I realize it was a natural thing for a Mexican to say. I’ve certainly heard it enough times since then. Reflecting back on the episode, I would characterize the request as sweet and gentle. Compared to what I would later experience in Mexico, it was positively genteel. However, at the time it seemed pushy, and forward, and I said: “I can’t believe you asked that!” I could see in his eyes that I had hurt his feelings and I felt badly about it. He walked away, but called over his shoulder that he would be back at the pond the next day. I went home very upset. The last thing I wanted was to have someone pestering me at my peaceful spot every day. I still hadn’t completely regained my health.
The next day I changed my time at the park, going early, and I went to sit by the big pond instead. At dusk I went back to the Lily pond expecting him to be there, but he wasn’t. I felt relief, but a tiny bit disappointed too. The next evening when he was not there, I couldn’t deny my disappointment. What was up with this? I wondered. When I got home I looked up his birth date in my ephemeris. That’s when I realized I had made a terrible mistake. He was the man I had been waiting for and I had sent him packing. However, I was not overly concerned because I thought he would come back eventually.
Fernando does not return
When a month went by and he had not come back, I began to search for him in the large Mexican community of my town of Hillsboro. It was very hard for an Anglo to penetrate into this segregated world.
Seven months prior, in November 2003, a piece of the Tilma of Juan Diego had been touring the West. When it stopped at Holy Rosary Church in Portland, I had gone to pray and ask for healing for my health problems. Now, at the pond every day, I began to pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe to intercede for me and help me find Fernando. Slowly over the weeks, a plan began to form in my mind. I would make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City on Dec.12th, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to pray for success in finding Fernando and improvement in my health. I had made three solo pilgrimages in the past: to Glastonbury, Oraibi and Mt. Shasta.
” I told Don Fernando that he could use the same means to visit me on other nights, for now I was his, until such time as he wished to make the matter public. But except for the following night, he did not come again, and I did not see him on the street or in church for more than a month. I tried in vain to communicate with him, for I knew he was in the city – So I left my house, accompanied by my servent and many apprehensions, and started for the city on foot to ask Don Fernando to tell me how he had the heart to do it.” Cervantes
My plan slowly forms
I had rented a jeep in Kenya and driven alone, so I didn’t have any fear of driving through Mexico, although my relatives thought I would get my throat slit by Zapatistas and I would never be heard from again. Jupiter was just going into my third house and it was an excellent time for a trip.
That summer and fall of 2004, I never missed a day at the lily pond, but I knew now that Fernando was not coming back there. Every evening I repeated the words of Our Lady to Juan Diego, and I felt peace and hope for the first time in four years:
“Listen my son to what I tell you now; do not be troubled nor disturbed by anything; do not fear illness nor any other distressing occurrence, nor pain. Am I not your mother? Am I not life and health? Have I not placed you on my lap and made you my responsibility? Do you need anything else?”
Fernando had told me where he was from in Mexico at our first meeting, but try as I might, I could not remember. In the fall as I planned my trip, there was one place I knew I had to go. When I had lived with David, for ten years I heard him praise a small town on the Pacific, near Tepic, called San Blas. He had lived there in his hippy surfer days and he said it was paradise on earth. Once we even made plans to go there for Christmas, but it didn’t pan out. Now I wanted to see this place and see if it lived up to all the praise. It would be my first stop on the way south.
October 2004: Jose departs Zamora, bound for the United States
As I planned my trip, far away in the central Mexican state of Michoacan, a 27- year -old man was about to embark on a journey that would change both of our lives forever. His name was Jose, and he was six months shy of his Saturn Return. He had been in jail in Mexicali from 1998- 2002 for leading people across the border – the slang term for a person who does this is ‘coyote’. After he was released, he returned to Michoacan and entered a drug treatment program, from which he had recently graduated. In 2002 in Zamora Michoacan, Jose had met Gina, his dream girl. She was beautiful, kind and artistic, but her family was upper-class and did not like Jose. Gina’s father forbade her to see him. Jose brainstormed about how he could improve his status and win the family’s approval. He thought that if he could only get to the United States, he could make good and return for Gina. He had lived in Wenatchee Washington for a year with an uncle during his senior year of high school, but he had never learned English. So one day he set out.
This is a classic case of Saturn in the 7th house natally, which Jose had. The placement of Chiron and Saturn in the birth chart represents negative karma brought into this lifetime from the past. The Saturn Return occurs for everyone, roughly
between the ages of 28-30, and again at 58-60, when Saturn returns to the place it was at birth. It always signifies a major karmic test, often involving a thwarted desire,which galvanizes the native into (usually futile) action. The 7th house represents marriage and all partnerships. Jose wanted to marry Gina, but the karma in his 7th house caused his plan to be denied, so as his Saturn Return approached he was going to make a huge effort to overcome the blocking force of Saturn, in the meantime living out his karma, and learning hard lessons about partnership, which is the weak spot in his birth chart.
Jose and a companion hopped a freight train going north, determined to get to the border. They had no money. In my story destiny is always present. In so many ways fate takes over to ensure everything happens as it is supposed to. Now destiny was working to get Jose to San Blas where he would meet me. After two days on the train, they were hungry and had run out of food. When the train got to Tepic, the two men jumped off and went to near-by homes to beg for food. When they returned to the train, it had left without them. They went out to the highway and began to hitch-hike north. The first driver who stopped said he was going to San Blas, and did they want to go? Jose had never heard of San Blas. He asked if it was north. The driver said yes, so they went with him. In San Blas Jose ran into a friend that he had known in jail. This guy helped him to get a job. In a few days, his traveling companion moved on, but Jose liked San Blas and he decided to put his dream of going to the United States on hold for the time being.
“I cannot straight-forwordly tell you that reincarnation is a principle or process that all people naturally undergo. I can tell you I do have cases on file that prove certain individuals have lived more than one life.” Ed Warren demonologist and devout Catholic
“But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist. Matthew 17: 12,13
Fernando appears in my dream as a black swan
In my frustration to find Fernando, I did something I would normally never do. On October 1st I went to see a psychic, a
woman who calls herself “Amen Ra”. She kept me waiting an hour and charged me seventy dollars, an outrageous fee for what I considered to be rubbishy advice. I asked what town in Mexico Fernando was from. She said Nogales. Thinking she was referring to the large border town, and because everything else she said was either vague, or way off the mark, I totally dismissed this. This woman’s two most ridiculous statements were : “You don’t like to take risks” and “Your time of suffering is now over.” If you read to the end of this story you’ll see how laughable these pronouncements turned out to be. It was only two months before I would begin the greatest adventure of my life, and she foresaw none of it.
A week after I spoken with the psychic, on Oct. 7th, I asked in prayer for a dream to confirm that I would find Fernando. That night, I dreamed of a castle on a lake. There were four swans on the lake, two black and two white. I knew one of the black swans was Fernando, and one of the white swans was myself. When I awoke I took the dream as a yes, because all my life I had the desire to someday own a home with a lake where I would keep a pair of swans, one white and one black. This idea had been planted in my mind sometime before the age of seven, after I had watched a 1930’s era cartoon that featured a black swan and a white swan.
A few days before I left for Mexico, I was at the lily pond, and I asked in prayer, that if I was going to find Fernando, I wanted to hear the ABBA song “Fernando” that day. I went straight from the park to the grocery store and as I was shopping the song “Fernando” played on the store’s music system. I then went straight to a used record store and bought an ABBA album with the song, which I recorded on tape and took with me on my trip.
December 2004: I depart for the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City
“To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under Heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
So I left December 6th 2004. I planned to be gone a month but it was March 5th before I got back. I only knew a few words of Spanish, but I would learn fast, being dumped into the deep end of the pool, as it were.
Near San Bernardino, once again fate
intervened. The clutch went out in my pick-up, delaying me. I knew I would not have time to stop in San Blas on the way south, so I would make it my last stop on the trip home. If I had stopped in San Blas on the way down instead of the return trip, I highly doubt Jose would have returned to Oregon with me. For one thing, we would not have been able to communicate with each other.
When I got to the Basilica of The Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, I made my prayers. I had a painful rash on my face for two years, and nothing I tried had helped, but within 24 hours of my prayers at the Tilma of Juan Diego, the rash was gone. This really boosted my spirits. I headed south to Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque. Every day I learned a little more Spanish, although the Mexicans I conversed with seemed perplexed by my lone wolf traveling style and my vegetarian habits.
Driving through the mountains of Oaxaca, I stopped at a roadside shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe and climbed to the top of a rocky outcropping. The sun was hot on my face as I gazed at the valley far below and thought: It’s four days before Christmas, I’m in the Tropic of Cancer, and I feel really good. I’ve been to the brink of death, yet somehow I survived to experience this moment. As long as I live, I will never forget the joy and gratitude I felt. One night as I drove through the wilds of Chiapas, the stars were so bright I pulled off the road. I stood for half an hour staring up at the heavens. I couldn’t believe how clear the atmosphere was and how brilliant the constellations.
From Chiapas I drove north to Acapulco, where I spent a month. There, I had a health breakdown and was confined to my hotel bed with a raging fever for several days. I had done too much, too quickly, and this was a warning for me to take it easy. From Acapulco I went to Michoacan to visit the Monarch Butterfly Reserve. Next, it was on to Lake Chapala in Jalisco.
Then I spent a week in Guadalajara. In the city park, there was a pair of black swans. When I went into the large church by the city marcado there was a black swan flower vase/planter filled with flowers. I felt these were signs. I had been all over Mexico and that
was the first time I had seen a black swan flower planter. I wanted to buy one – I already had a white swan flower planter, purchased many years before – but I had no idea where to find one. One evening as I walked down the street in Guadalajara, I asked in prayer to talk to someone that evening who was named Fernando, as a sign that I would find him. A few minutes later a car
pulled up and the driver asked me if I wanted a ride. I said no and then asked him his name. He answered “Fernando” and then drove off. I knew I would be in San Blas the next week and I saw in the stars I would be making new friends there (Venus on my 7th house cusp). I wondered about who these people would be. As it turned out, besides meeting Jose, I made three good friends in San Blas.
I meet Jose in San Blas and learn he has the same birthday as Fernando
The first thing I learned when I got to San Blas was that the Virgin of Guadalupe had been appearing inside the ruins of an old Spanish church – on the hill above the town next to the old fort – since the previous Easter. This was told to me by an
American woman who had lived there for about thirty years. At a café in San Blas, Andra – a vegetarian – heard me enquire if I could get a vegetarian meal there, and she struck up a conversation with me. When I told her I had come to Mexico on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady, she unbuttoned her over-shirt to reveal her t-shirt. It was covered by a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe! Andra said she had known there was a reason why she had picked that particular shirt to wear that day. I took it as a sign. Even though it was 2 am and the ruins were closed, I walked up there and clandestinely entered the church. I knelt and asked Our Lady to send me a sign if I was going to find Fernando.
“But to me, a dreamer of dreams, To whom what is and what seems, Are often one and the same – The Bells of San Blas to me, have a strange wild melody, And are something more than a name. – The chapel that once looked down, On the little seaport town, Has crumbled into dust; And on oaken beams below, the bells swing to and fro, And are green with mold and rust.“ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A few nights later, I went to visit Andra at her wonderful little oasis a few miles from San Blas. In the course of our conversation I told her about my swan dream, but did not tell her the story of Fernando, or of my prayer at the ruins for a sign. Towards the end of the week, I literally bumped into Andra on a street in San Blas. She told me that she wanted to tell me something that she felt was a sign. After I had left her home the previous Sunday, she picked up a novel she had been reading and came to a passage where the hero brings his new bride home to the family estate. On the estate is a lake where a pair of swans, one white and one black, have always been kept. That was a good enough sign for me.
I went back up to the old Spanish church to talk to Rosa, the caretaker, who had seen more apparitions of Our Lady than anyone else. We were standing in the ruins and she asked me my name. When I said Kristina, she started. She said a woman in white, who said her name was Cristina, had been appearing at the exact spot where I was standing for more than a year. I took this as another sign. Rosa believes Cristina is a friend of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
I met Jose in the main plaza on the evening of Feb. 20th. By now I could carry on a conversation in Spanish (Jupiter transiting my 3rd house). When he learned I was from Oregon, and saw I had Washington plates on my pick-up, he told me about living in Wenatchee. He asked me to give him a ride to the United States. When I asked Jose how he would get across the border, he said he had done it more than forty times, and it wouldn’t be a problem. I told him I always travel alone, and to forget it. We made plans to meet the next night. I asked Jose to tell me his birth date as he was leaving. My jaw almost hit the floor when he said May 8th 1977. Jose was born ten years to the day after Fernando.
For a week he badgered me to take him north. I kept telling him to forget it, but then a plan began to form in my mind. If Jose was living in Hillsboro, he could open doors for me in the Mexican community and look for Fernando. I decided to let him come with me.
Then Jose disappeared for a few days. Now I really wanted to put my plan into action. I asked Our Lady to send him to me if this was a good plan. That night as I ate my dinner I looked up and saw Jose sitting on a bench outside the restaurant. We went to a cantina and worked out our plan. He said when we got to Mexicali he would call his family, who lived in Tijuana, to come to Mexicali, and he and his two brothers would cross the border on foot. I would take them to Hillsboro, and front them the money for housing and food, which they would pay back to me as soon as they started working.
Jose returns with me, to help me search for Fernando in Oregon
It took us two days to drive to Mexicali. I realize now that Jose was on his best behavior at the time . It must have been
very difficult to keep up the facade that would crumble as soon as he got to Oregon. Looking back, I remember two minor events when he slipped up and briefly revealed the real Jose. However, he quickly regained his savoir-faire. I also found out about his beliefs. Jose was the only Mexican I ever met who claimed to be an atheist. He scoffed when I talked about astrology and reincarnation. He expressed his distaste for the key chain I had bought at the Basilica that had a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In fact, he was hostile to any mention of religion.
Jose’s family arrived in Mexicali a few hours after we did. Only one brother wanted to go north. I told Jose the stars were against him in March and he was not going to get across. I told him to wait until April 12th. Of course he didn’t believe me and tried three times to cross, and each time got caught. I could wait no longer. I said I was going home, but if he got across, I would come back and get him. During the time I was waiting in Oregon to see if Jose would actually make it across the border, I had a dream that he was knocking on my front door, so I was pretty sure that he was going to make it to Hillsboro.
The evening of April 12th I got a call from Leo, Jose’s brother. Leo was the only member of the family who had been born in California, so he could cross back and forth across the border. Jose and Juan had made it across with a coyote and were in a safe house in San Diego. They had promised to pay the coyote $2,500. when they got to the United States. Jose and Juan would not be released until the money was paid. Leo hit me up for the money. I felt I had been put on the spot. I was struggling financially but I had a lot of credit cards at the time. Leo promised that if I wired him the money, they would have it back to me in two months. So I took a cash advance on one of my cards and wired it. Jose waited about ten days in the safe house because I could not leave immediately. Shortly before I left for San Diego I talked to the coyote on the phone. I couldn’t believe he would be so stupid as to give me the address of the safe house over his cell phone. The Border Patrol must have been listening.
Jose’s narrow escape from ICE
On April 21st, at five am in my motel room in Santa Nella California, I got a phone call. It was from Ricardo, the boyfriend of Jose’s sister Griselda, who lived in El Centro. The safe house had been raided. No-one knew where Jose and Juan were. I said to keep me posted and I would continue heading south. Just north of LA, Ricardo called again. Everyone in the house had been caught except Jose. He had escaped the safe house by crawling through a window, and made his way to a ranch, where he was hiding in a cattle barn. A Mexican worker on the ranch had called Ricardo to pass on the message. Ricardo said he would pick up Jose and take him to a motel in El Centro, and would call back with the name of the motel. Once again fate had intervened. I turned east towards El Centro, and after Ricardo called back, went straight to the motel.
Jose looked terrible after his experience.The next step was to get him through the border patrol checkpoints, one east of San Diego and one just south of Temecula. I hid him in the back of my pick-up under blankets. Then we were on our way to Oregon, where I would begin my baptism by fire into guerahood, and where Jose’s notoriety within the various police departments of Washington County would grow with each passing month. As we came down Grapevine, Jose was chatting away to Gina about his exciting new adventure, on my phone. As time passed, the cost of these frequent phone calls to Gina would add up considerably.
After we got home I printed a birth chart for Jose, since I now had seen his birth certificate with the time of birth. When I saw that his Saturn Return had just begun and it was in the 7th house, I realized that our bizarre partnership would be the karmic test for his Saturn Return. Already I had tried to tell him about my search for Fernando, and each time I brought it up, he would change the subject. I knew I had to be patient. In all the chart comparisons I had done in my life, I had never seen the amount of negative karma between two people as I now saw between Jose and myself. His Saturn was rising in my 12th house, and my Saturn was rising in his 12th house. I could clearly see that Jose and I had come to blows in at least one past life together.
April 2005 through June 15th 2005: Jose’s first weeks in Oregon, and I begin to realize what I’ve gotten myself into
Jose had told me the story of how he ended up in San Blas as we were driving through California. In fact, I had become so engrossed in his tale that we ran out of gas on the Interstate. This story, his narrow escape from ICE, and what I learned from his birth chart, made me realize that Jose was in Oregon because he was supposed to be. The test of his Saturn Return in the 7th house was his relationship with me and our partnership. At this point I didn’t know he also had karma with Fernando.
We had problems from the first day. He couldn’t stay at my home because I live in a house that contains a business office – I am the groundskeeper. I had to get a motel for him. He didn’t have any I.D. so he couldn’t rent an apartment or get a job. He said things had really changed since he was last in the United States. Finally we were able to locate a place to get fake I.D. and he was then able to get day jobs as a temp.
Jose was nasty and difficult to get along with, more so with each passing day. I’m a very easy-going person, and was patient to a fault, but now he was driving me to the end of my rope. I rarely lose my temper, but he provoked me to that a few times. Also, the charges on my credit cards were racking up at an alarming rate.
It was not real clear just exactly what he was doing for me, other than making my life more difficult. I told Jose that he was like my pet, expensive, but not very productive. If he had been a pet, he would have been a rattlesnake. Interesting to observe, but you knew it would never show any gratitude to you. And it would bring excitement into your life, because you never knew when it would turn on you and strike. Even in his photo, Jose has a reptilian stare.
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning – His heart is as hard as stone. Job 42: 18 and 24
Strangely, he rapidly made new friends. However, all of these young men would come to me privately and tell me what a nasty person Jose was, and that they didn’t know why they were helping him. They also said in hushed and shocked tones: “Jose says he does not believe in God!” It seems that for Mexicans, this was almost unheard of.
One of these young men I became good friends with. Noe is sweet and sensitive (natal Neptune rising in Sagittarius), the opposite of Jose. We spent many hours talking about astrology, reincarnation, the Biblical apocalypse, and his tales of the strange happenings in his Mexican village. He said I was the only one he could share his visions with. He ask me to read his chart, and I said when he had his Saturn Return in 2006, I thought he would be deported (natal Saturn in the 9th house). He had not been in Mexico since he was eight years old. He was indeed deported in September, 2006.
I finally was able to rent an apartment for Jose in a private house. I paid first and last rent, a total of $900. He kept telling me he would pay me as soon as he got a job. He started pressuring me to marry him so he could get a green card. Marrying in the United States would not compromise his plans to marry Gina in Mexico. This is a perfect example of 7th house Saturn. Trying to use marriage as a means to improve living conditions and status, especially true for someone with a calculating Capricorn ascendant like Jose. He was also pressuring me to buy him a car.
When he was still at the motel, Noe invited both of us to a big quinceanera birthday bash at Centro Cultural. As we drove to the party, Jose was nasty and verbally abusive. When we got to the party, he said I couldn’t go in. I said I was invited, and I was going in. I thought perhaps Fernando would be there, and that’s what I had paid all the money for; a ticket into the Mexican community. Jose suddenly attacked me, beating me and pulling out a hunk of my hair. He kicked the window of my pick-up and cracked it. He kicked my tape deck and broke it. Inside, Noe heard the commotion. He and two friends subdued Jose and pulled him into the party. I drove home.
Several hours later, Noe called me and asked me to come as fast as I could to the party. When I got there he said that when a priest had joined the party, Jose had caused a ruckus, yelling obscenities. He had to be forcibly removed and had run off. Noe and I drove to the motel and found Jose passed-out on the bed. The next day he remembered nothing after we got into the car to drive to the party. He admitted to having similar black-outs in the past. Now I knew Jose had a serious problem with a negative spiritual parasite. My friends and I were all praying for him but it didn’t help.
One day when he was bugging me for a car, I said if he found Fernando for me, I would buy him a car on one of my credit cards. This was the first time he let me finish the story of Fernando without silencing me – on his second day in Oregon I had taken Jose to the lily pond, very much against his will. After several more weeks of relentless wheedling, I said I would buy the car but he could only use it for work and he would not get the title until he found Fernando. We found Jose’s dream car, a red 1987 BMW convertible for $4,000. which I put on my credit card. That car was destined to become a big part of this story, and end it’s days in the jungle along the Guatemalan border.
We drove the car back to his apartment. He was happy, and said he would take a nap. As I walked to the door to leave, Jose suddenly picked a fight with me and insulted me. I asked him later why he would do such a thing when he finally had what he wanted and life was looking up for him. He said he had no idea why he said those words to me. Now we were standing face to face. I told him I was sick of him and I was taking the car and leaving him on his own. I also said something calculated to hurt his feelings. Suddenly I was on the floor! Jose’s blow was a sucker punch to my face. This could have blinded me as I have a tear in the retinas of both my eyes. I said I was calling the police and he would go to jail. He fell on me, and we careened around the room, rolling and wrestling as he tried to get my cell phone.
Finally I broke away from Jose and he let me go. He begged me not to call the police, and promised to go right out to the highway and start hitch-hiking south. By this time I knew what a liar he was and I didn’t believe him. I called 911. When the cops got there, I saw for the first time the protection that would surround Jose for the next three months. From June 15th to September 15th, there seemed to be a mysterious force helping him stay in Oregon. The cops called me a liar. They said that no-one developed a black eye so fast, and it must have happened the day before. They insulted me, and said that I must have provoked Jose into punching me. I felt like I had been suddenly transported into a bad corrupt southern cop movie. At any moment I expected to hear cicadas buzzing, dobro music, and Jackie Gleason to appear slapping a truncheon into the palm of his hand. It was difficult to believe that the police in 2005 thought they could speak to me in this manner, and get away with it. I had a lot to learn, because this was only the beginning. Just then Troy, the owner of the house, walked up and testified that 45 minutes before, I had no black eye. Only then did the cops take Jose to jail. As it turned out, they did get away with it. I filed a complaint against these Forest Grove cops for their rude behavior, but it was dismissed.
June 2005: All attempts to rid myself of Jose prove futile, so I resign myself to the situation
I drove home in the car. I never regretted buying that car. I fell in love with it and enjoyed every minute of the short nine months I drove it. I had to go back that night on the bus and get my pick-up. I had made a spare key to Jose’s apartment because I wanted to be able to remove my furnishings and computer, should he suddenly disappear. (I had just received a new computer as a premium for switching a credit card balance to a new card. Jose asked to borrow the computer, and of course I never got it back. One of his friends told me he had sold it for a hundred dollars.) Jose had suspected I had made a spare key,
and we had argued about it. Now I went into the apartment and stripped it bare. I took all of his clothes, every bit of food – that I had bought – even the soap and the toilet paper. All I left was a small statue of St. Michael that I had given him when he moved in. Once again, when I gave Jose the statue I did not know his May 8th birthday was the Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael. I knew he would be out of jail in 24 hours and I thought when he saw he had nothing in Oregon, he would go back to Tijuana. I hid the clothes in my stable. I owned a horse at that time.
Even though he was not supposed to have contact with me, Jose began calling and coming to my home constantly. He told the police I had stolen his clothes and they threatened to come and search my home, but I didn’t flinch. I, and several of my friends, each called Homeland Security to report his address, his illegal status and his crimes. They always said they would take action, but in reality they didn’t give a rat’s***. I realized now that whatever I did, he was not going to leave on his own.
“It lies not in our powers to love or hate, for will in us is over-ruled by fate.” Christopher Marlowe
One day I went to Noe’s place and Jose was there. He offered me the olive branch and promised to go home as soon as he had the money. I didn’t believe him, but I said he could keep his clothing in the stable and come and go there as he pleased. Once again we began to spend time together. If he wasn’t going to leave, then I might as well have him continue to look for Fernando.
Over and over again, that long summer of 2005, I saw Jose getting help. When the two months of rent ran out, his many new friends would let him sleep on their sofas. Some nights he bunked with Ali Baba in the stable, some nights he slept in Hillsboro’s Shute Park. Nicky Hernandez at the temporary service took him under her wing and went way out of her way to help him get jobs. When he failed his urine drug test, a condition of his probation – for attacking me – the judge gave him “one more chance”. When I called his probation officer to report that he was breaking his probation by contacting me; the woman, Carla Patricia Pinto, said it was my word against Jose’s, and she wasn’t going to do anything. Jose said Carla was in love with him, and later events proved to me this was probably true. When I suggested to him that he marry Carla for his green card, he said he didn’t want to hurt the girl. “Since when have you cared about hurting anyone?” I replied. “You’ve never shown the least concern about hurting me!”
I was going crazy trying to understand what was going on. I knew he was getting help, but from where? Were dark forces maneuvering to keep him in Hillsboro to continue to harass me, or was he here for a reason, besides the karma? I felt any karma between him and me should have been exhausted by now. I knew that Jose puzzled on this also, because we had several conversations along those lines. Once I asked him “Who’s helping you, God or the devil?” He replied that he knew he was getting some kind of supernatural help, but he didn’t know where it was coming from. Jose speculated that perhaps he was getting help because while he had been a coyote, he had crossed several desperate people who did not have the money to pay him. After a few of these conversations I began to realize that Jose’s self-professed atheism was not down to his core, and that perhaps it had more to do with his tough-guy persona.
Jose finds Fernando
One day I decided to do a chart comparison between Fernando, Jose and myself. I didn’t have a birth time for Fernando, but with his birth date I had 50 percent of the data. The picture that emerged startled me. It looked like Jose, Fernando and myself had been in some kind of a love triangle in at least one past life together. There had been jealousy and then violence. I felt one person, maybe two, had been killed. I felt it was Jose who had killed me because once, out of the blue, he had said “I will only be happy when you’re dead!” He immediately back-tracked and said it was a joke, but I understood what it meant.
The next time I saw Jose I told him that we had to have a talk. We sat in my car and I said “Look, I know you don’t believe in astrology or reincarnation, but I do. I can see in the stars that you owe me a big debt from a past life. You came here to pay that debt. However, since you’ve been in Oregon you have only made the debt bigger. I don’t want to come back and see you in my next life. I want you to pay the debt now. You can’t pay it with money. The only way you can pay the debt is to find Fernando. God helps people to pay their karmic debts, and I believe He will help you to do this, so be ready when the time comes!” I was shocked when this macho man and former gang member, began to cry! Jose told me he had already found Fernando, but he didn’t give him my phone number, or mention me at all, because he was afraid when I found Fernando I would abandon him.
On summer evenings, Mexicans often play soccer in Hillsboro’s Shute Park. Jose frequently joined one or the other of these teams because he loves soccer, and when he lived in Wenatchee he had been a valued player on the local Mexican team. I had already been a spectator at some of these Shute Park games. In fact, the only times that Jose appeared cheerful and cordial was after playing soccer. It seemed to be a way for him to release stress.
Jose proceeded to tell me that one day in June – it was now the end of July – while he was in one of these games, he heard another player addressed as Fernando, who fit my description, and also had the very unique tattoo on his right leg that I had mentioned. After the game he followed Fernando and saw him enter an apartment near the park. I knew Jose wasn’t lying because he described details of Fernando’s
appearance that I had never told him and also demonstrated a mannerism of Fernando’s. Of course I was angry. I insisted he take me to the apartment. When we got to the apartment – which was vacant – and knocked on the door, a neighbor came out and said Fernando had gone to pick apples, and left no forwarding address.
Jose is deported
Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward Job 5:7
So the summer of 2005 went on and on and on. One night Jose took the BMW from my driveway as I slept, and drove to the beach with his friends. He didn’t bother to call me and tell me he had the car, until after I had reported it as stolen. On August 19th I took Jose to the big event of the summer, when LOS TIGRES DEL NORTE played the Expo Center in Portland. Actually, I think I enjoyed the concert more than he did.
Jose continued to have problems with the police, and continued to skate away every time. When friends would ask me how things were going, I always answered the same: “Remember the part in It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey roughs up his angel, and Clarence says, ‘there must be an easier way to earn my wings’? Well, there must be an easier way to find Fernando.”
Meanwhile my treatment by the police of Hillsboro, Cornelius and Forest Grove, was so horrible as to be almost unbelievable. I was doing nothing but reporting what was going on and I was made to look like the bad guy.
Every time I went to the police to report one of his crimes, I was mocked and ridiculed. The Cornelius Police refused to write up a report on the assault and battery that happened outside Centro Cultural. Only after I went to the Washington County Sheriff (who put pressure on the Cornelius Police) was the charge accepted. Twice the Hillsboro Police told me to go away and stop bothering them.
One Hillsboro officer whose name I don’t recall (portly, blonde crew cut, – think Martin Milner in Adam-12) responded to my complaint against Jose – grabbing my car keys out of the ignition and running off – with: “what you’re telling me doesn’t pass my stink test”. Apparently his stink-o-meter wasn’t functioning properly that night. Concerning another assault Jose committed against me (before the assault he went to jail for), Cornelius police officer Craig Wellhouser told me that he was urging the D.A. to drop the case, and if it continued, he would personally see to it that I went to jail for perjury. He said this AFTER he had seen the photos of my bruises, and my cracked windshield. Wellhouser also told me to: “stay away from Hispanics for your own good.”
Among the many insults directed at me by our men and women in blue was ‘prostitute’. One would think it would occur to these cops, that if I was really the drug addicted prostitute they accused me of being, I would have some sort of criminal record because I had lived in the area for years. I suppose a case could be made that I had brought Jose to Oregon, so I deserved what was happening – this seemed to be the general consensus whenever I complained about Jose – but the police didn’t know this.
Update: In 2012, a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit alleging ongoing corruption was filed against the Cornelius Police Department. In July of 2014 the department was dissolved after officials deemed the department’s internal problems were unfixable. Shortly before this finding, several Cornelius Police officers entered a home and scooped up white powder. Officer Miguel Monico told one of the home’s residents that it had been field-tested as cocaine, and bullied the resident into pleading guilty to possession of cocaine. The white powder turned out to be bath powder. The resident who was bullied was just awarded $30,000. in a lawsuit against the police and the city of Cornelius. Miguel Monica is now a Washington County deputy. On October 3rd 2014, the Washington County DA announced prosecutors will no longer use Monica as a witness in court. With this caliber of officer working for the Cornelius Police in the summer of 2005, I now consider myself fortunate that no drugs were planted in my car that year.
Of all the rotten cops I dealt with that summer, there was one who treated me with dignity and respect. On July 29th, the day after my encounter with Officer Stink-o-Meter and another cocky, belligerent female officer – “didn’t we tell you yesterday to stop bothering us?” – I went to the Hillsboro Police Dept. to report how my complaint had been dismissed by them the night before and also that afternoon. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and Jaime Castro was sent out. He listened to me politely and patiently, and then he heaved a big sigh, and told me that, if I didn’t mind waiting, he would send out an officer to take my statement as soon as one was free. He seemed very weary to me. It can’t be easy being supervisor to those rocket scientists who work for the HPD. As I waited, a fatal stabbing occurred just a few blocks from the station. All the officers rushed out the door. I waited a while longer, and then I realized that it could be hours, so I went home.
One night in late August when we were driving together in Hillsboro, Jose begged me to let him drive the car. I gave in, but told him to be very careful as I saw in the stars there was a potential for problems that night. In a parking lot he backed into another car. I screamed at him to stop, but with a screech of tires we fled the scene of the accident. He drove to my home, jumped from the car, and hid himself on the property.
The police arrived shortly, because someone had written down the plate number. I gave them all the information I had on Jose and they searched for him in the yard, stable and pasture, but came up empty. Then these cops tried to pressure me into letting them search the house. After a summer spent defending myself against false police accusations, I wasn’t about to let these guys set foot in my home. It turned out that Jose was in the house, hiding under my bed.
On September 15th I was stopped by police in Hillsboro while Jose was riding with me. He was arrested on hit-and-run. He may also have been charged with a probation violation, because he was breaking his probation merely by being in my company. This time he had an immigration hold at the jail because of my earlier calls to Homeland Security.
I visited him one time at the jail. The Washington County criminal justice system doesn’t appear to be very well organized becase they let me in to see Jose while we were still under a no contact order. Jose told me that he had actually cried when he thought about all that he had done to me. He said it was the first time he had ever cried out of remorse for hurting someone. He said that in all his years in Mexicali jail he had never cried for what he had done to his family. I told Jose this was normal for a person during their Saturn Return, that this meant Saturn was actually teaching him something.
I felt Jose would be deported on October 17th because there was an eclipse in exact opposition to his 9th house north node. Actually that was the day ICE took him out of the Washington County Jail and transferred him to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, the holding pen for illegal aliens in the Northwest. He was deported to Tijuana on October 31, six months and three days after he arrived in Oregon.
Right away Jose began calling me and begging me to take him to San Blas where he said he had been happy. He knew I was going back to Mexico for the winter and that my first stop would be San Blas. I said yes, on one condition; we would go together to a curandera – a shamaness/fortune teller – in Mexico, and if she could tell us the name of the town Fernando was from, we would go there together and search for information. He agreed. After all, I had taken Jose away from San Blas, I felt it was fitting that I should return him there.
In November 2005, Jupiter was conjunct my 4th house cusp. This happens every twelve years, and is the best time in a twelve year period for a person to try and get information about past lives. I had tried to have myself hypnotized many times and it had never worked. I wanted to try one last time when the opportunity to receive information was so good. I wanted to know about the life I had shared with Fernando and Jose, and maybe the hypnotist could get me to remember the name of the town Fernando had told me he was from.
On November 22nd, I went to see hypnotist Geoffrey Knight, who claimed that he had never failed to hypnotize anyone in his forty plus years career. I didn’t even come close to being hypnotized. All I thought about the entire session was my date that evening. Like so many New-Age hucksters I have met in my life, he couldn’t admit his failure. He said he knew I had been hypnotized and I just didn’t realize it. I didn’t argue, I paid him the hundred dollars and left.
I had been taking treatments for my health with a EPFX/SCIO-cybernetic biofeedback machine in Vancouver, Washington www.healing-waves.com.About a week later, at a session with the machine, the operator mentioned that the machine had a past life feature, and did I want to try it? Did I want to? Of course, I jumped at the chance. I told Michael the story of Fernando. He typed the names Fernando and Jose into my past life program. The data that came out matched what I had seen in the stars. It said that the lifetime that came up was most likely in Africa – Jose had been fascinated with my photos of Africa – that there had been a ‘social crime’, that there had been violence, and that jealousy was the main emotion connected with that lifetime. This data really gave me confidence. I had been going on faith that what I had seen astrologically was correct. This was the first back-up I had received and it felt really good and gave me confidence.
A week before I left on my second trip, I again asked in prayer – at the lily pond – to hear the song “Fernando” that day if I was going to find Fernando. Once again, I heard that song in the same grocery store as before, that evening. Before I left home, I had the BMW painted Aztec Gold. I then took the car to German Autowerks and said to go over the car from top to bottom and fix everything that could possibly cause me a problem, because I was going to take it to Mexico.
December 2005: Return to Mexico; Jose and I are stranded in Mazatlan
So I left, December 8th, 2005 – around 1:30 pm – on what was to become the most ill-fated trip of my life. Never again will I leave on a trip without doing a chart for the exact moment of departure. That morning I got up at dawn, and went to the lily pond to watch the sunrise, and to pray. I knew it would be a difficult trip, but I didn’t know it would turn out to be a catastrophe. After a few days in Palm Springs, I got to Tijuana December 12th. I suddenly realized it was the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I thought about how much had happened in the past year. It seemed more like ten years. Jose was very glad to see me, but he didn’t like my color choice for the car. He was not expecting me because I had said I would leave on the 14th. He had been trying to call me as I pulled up outside.
In December 2005, Saturn was sitting exactly on the spot in our composite chart where all the negative karma was; Jose’s Saturn in Leo conjunct my Leo ascendant/Uranus, with transiting Mars making a station in a square aspect to Saturn. Because of this, I knew there was going to be trouble on this trip. But I also felt strongly this was something I had to do. I tried to think of the worst case scenario. Maybe Jose would abscond with my car in the night and leave me stranded in some little Mexican town. Maybe we would be involved in a terrible car crash. I felt the worst danger days were the 19th and the 20th when the Moon was in Leo. Often the Moon will act as a timer on a major event. I decided I would not let Jose drive my car.
“O heart, Let go of your worries about the future. In this friendless world come and join us. If you want to ride the horse that sails on the breeze of dawn Then become the dust under the hooves of a Darvesh’s horse.” Rumi
I told him we would leave in a week, because there was a lot to do on the U.S. side before heading south for four months. My new paint job was damaged when I was side-swiped in San Ysidro on the driver’s side door. Twice that week, Jose was arrested and sent to jail for having no I.D. – a common practice in TJ.
When I pulled up outside his aunt’s laundromat on Sunday morning he was waiting. I said: “Lets get out of here before something else happens.” Suddenly Tijuana cops appeared on the scene. They grabbed Jose, and shoved him in the paddy wagon. At that moment, Jose’s father, who lives in California and happened to be in Tijuana that day, walked up. I explained what happened and he bribed the cops with fifty dollars to release Jose. Jose jumped in my car and we left Tijuana as fast as possible.
We departed Tijuana on December 18th, Jose playing a reluctant Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote. The trip began on an inauspicious note. I was popped for speeding and had to pay a $200. bribe, before we even left Sonora. That first day on the road, Jose surprised me by saying that he was considering writing a book about our misadventures together. Coming from a person who had told me many times that he hated to read, it was something of a shock.
The morning of the 20th I was too tired to drive, having driven very late the night before. I told Jose I would sleep in the backseat and to be very careful because I could see in the stars something bad was going to happen that day. When I awoke in the afternoon, the car was vibrating badly in the shifter area. Jose said it had been that way for several hours. We stopped at Culliacan and tried to find a garage, but we could find none that were open. Jose wanted to wait until morning, but I said that I thought we would need a new part, and that BMW parts would probably have to be shipped from home – I turned out to be right about this. I said that if we were going to be stuck waiting for a part, I wanted to wait in a town with a beach and tourist facilities. I said we would try to make Mazatlan that night.
We got back on the road as the sun was setting. I was driving. About twenty miles later, we heard a terrible grinding noise and the sound of metal pieces falling, but the car kept going and the shaking stopped. I knew that if I shifted, we would loose everything in the gear box. I tried to remember from last year if there were any stops between where we were and Mazatlan. All I could remember was a toll casita about ten miles north of Mazatlan. It was a very nerve-wracking hundred mile drive in the dark. I knew if we stopped for any reason, we would be stranded in the middle of nowhere. We made it to the toll casita and I was right, The shifter flopped uselessly after I shifted to neutral. We were towed into Mazatlan and taken to a taller mechcanico (auto garage).
The process of getting the part was agonizing. My shop at home had to find someone who spoke Spanish so they would know what part to send me. The part was no longer available, so Stacy Bilow at German Autowerks, went on-line, found the part second-hand, had to wait for it to come in the mail, and then send it off by U.P.S. I will be forever grateful to him for his kindness to me during what was to become one of the worst episodes of my life. It was just before Christmas and the volume of mail slowed everything down. U.P.S. promised the part in two days, but it took more than a week (I asked U.P.S. for a refund when I got home, but they wouldn’t budge).
Everyday I walked six miles to the taller, to see if the part had come. My stress was through the roof. I was already exhausted from the events of that past summer and fall, and now my health began to fail on me. For 25 years, whenever I get really stressed I get a case of shingles. Now I came down with the worst, most painful, longest lasting outbreak of shingles I had ever had.
Jose and I had a hard time getting along during normal times, but now, trapped together in a hotel, we were arguing constantly. I was forced to share a room with him because my credit cards were butting up against their limits. The owner of the cafe next to the hotel asked us why we were traveling together. When Jose and I were on the road together, people were always trying to figure out just exactly what our relationship was. If we had been in the United States I would have said: “I’m playing out my favorite television show. I’m Tod Stiles, Jose is Buz Murdock, and we’re traveling in a ’87 BMW convertible because I can’t afford a 1960 Corvette.” Since this would not translate culturally, I always told them Jose was my ‘companero de karma’. This didn’t explain a whole lot either, because karma is not a well known term in Mexico. When we shared our story with the cook, she told us how she had once met a man on a bus, and searched for him twenty years, only to find him on another bus. This information cheered me. I felt it was a sign we were on the right track.
On December 23rd Jose told me he had met a man at the cafe who was going to Tepic for Christmas, and who offered him a ride. He said he wanted to go, and I was all for it, because I was sick of the sight of him by then. I said I would join him in San Blas when the car was fixed. He asked for money. I gave him a 500 peso note. Jose said he would call when he got to San Blas. I spent Christmas day in bed, exhausted and feeling rotten. By Christmas night Jose had not called and I was wondering what had happened.
Jose and I face our biggest karmic test yet: He steals everything but my cell phone, and disappears
The morning of the 26th there was a knock on my hotel room door. When I opened it, I was surprised to see Jose. He was angry. He said when he got to Tepic, he had tried to buy a ticket for a collectivo to San Blas, but the ticket seller thought the 500 peso note was fake and called the police. Jose said he had been in jail for Christmas. He had called his uncle in Michoacan to come and bail him out, and give him the money for a bus back to Mazatlan. He accused me of giving him the bill because I wanted him to go to jail. He gave the bill back to me and said he had fished it out of the trash can at the jail. I took the bill to a bank to confirm if he was lying. I was told it was fake, so at the time I believed his jail story. Actually, he had engaged a taxi in Mazatlan to take him to Zamora so he could visit Gina. In Zamora he jumped from the taxi without paying the driver. Jose told me later he had not wanted me to know he was going to visit Gina, because then I might have guessed it was he who had stolen my portable DVD player. It went missing the night the car broke down, and he claimed the taxi driver had taken it. Jose took it to give to Gina as a Christmas gift.
In the afternoon Jose returned to the hotel room, and began arguing with me. He was worried about his future. He started pressuring me again to marry him for a green card. When I said I would never do it, he said that he would take what he needed from me by force, if that was the way I wanted it. He pushed me down on a bed and began struggling to get my money. I had a velvet bag around my neck with my passport, drivers license, tourist card, credit cards, debit card, papers for the car and $800. in pesos. I had deluded myself into thinking this would be the safest place to store things vital to my trip. It was stupid of me to keep everything in one place, something I will never do again. We were wrestling as he tried to get the bag from me. I thought I had it firmly, but he punched me in the eye, grabbed the bag and fled. It took me a few moments to comprehend the full extent of what had happened. I was alone in a foreign country, with no I.D., no money, and no way to get money. I ran into the lobby, blood streaming from a cut on my nose. Someone called the police. It took them a long time to come, and they were not much help. They drove me to their headquarters where they said I could fill out a police report (pages 1 and 2 of report) in the morning. I didn’t have much hope. I was sure Jose was already on a bus south.
When I got back to the hotel, I walked to my car in the garage to get the photo copies of all my I.D., that were hidden in the car. Everyday when I walked to the taller, I had to cross a high bridge over a railroad track. This night, and the next two days when I crossed the bridge, I just wanted to jump and end my misery. Words cannot describe how depressed I felt, and I was in excruciating pain from the shingles. I also had what looked like a large soap bubble in the field of vision of the eye Jose had punched. Fluid had leaked through the tear in my retina, and I wasn’t sure if it would lead to blindness in that eye. The worst thing was, what had just happened had taken away all my confidence in what I had seen astrologically. Now I felt that the story I believed about Jose, Fernando and myself, was just a fantasy I had invented in my mind. So this is the price I pay for my stupidity, I thought. When the shifter broke, I had felt relieved because I thought since the bad event I had foreseen had happened, I could relax a bit. I realized now that the bad event was much worse than anything I had contemplated.
The U.S. Consular Agency was pretty much no help at all. Thank God I still had my cell phone. I called my dad and asked him to fill out one of my checks – had signed several blank checks before I left home – for $800., cash it, and send me the money by Western Union. I didn’t even have money for food. Luckily I had paid for a week in advance at my hotel, and I was used to fasting for my health. Patti Fletcher, the Consular Agent in Mazatlan, was kind enough to pick up the money from Western Union for me, something I could not do without I.D.. However, she said it was a personal favor and the Consular Agency was not obligated to help me in any way.
On the evening of the second night after Jose fled, he knocked on my hotel room window. I opened the window and said: “I hate you! Give me back my passport and other stuff and then I never want to see you again!” He begged me to come outside to talk. I said I would give him ten minutes. We sat on a bench by the busy street.
Jose gave me back my credit cards – which I had already cancelled immediately. He said the money was all gone. He had spent a lot of it on drugs, and the rest partying. I asked for my I.D., and he said they were being held by someone as collateral for a drug debt. I told him about the bubble in my eye and said that it might progress to blindness. I had told him about my torn retinas after he punched me the first time back in Hillsboro.
He started crying. He said he wanted to die, and had run in front of a car that day in an attempt to commit suicide. It barely missed him. As mad as I was, I could see that he really was remorseful and I had compassion for him. I recalled how difficult my own Saturn Return had been. I had felt so confused and alone, and had no-one to turn to at the time for understanding or advice. That was when I first began to study astrology. I had felt that something very important was happening in my life, and I wanted to discover what it was. Now, fifteen years had passed, and I was in the position to mentor someone through their own Saturn Return. If you’ve read this far in my story it will probably surprise you to learn, that up until my first Saturn return I was an atheist. I had my Paul on the road to Damascus moment in November of 1990.
I said: “Look Jose, you know I have told you many times you have a bad spirit. I have prayed for you, my friends have prayed for you, your family has prayed for you, but you have never asked for help for yourself. YOU have to ask God for the help you need. Pray with me now.” I took both of his hands and began praying for deliverance in English. Jose joined in, in Spanish. We were both crying now.
Praying there on that bench, with the traffic roaring by, was one of the most intense emotional experiences of my life. For the first time in our association we were communicating as one soul to another; without gender, age or race between us. Something changed that night. Jose did not become a saint by any means, but the deliberate nastiness was gone, and he started going into churches to pray again, something he would never do before.
When we finished praying, I demanded he get my I.D. back. He said he would try, and that he also had something important to tell me. “I met a curandera and she wants to meet you and help you.” At first I thought he was making it up to get back in my good graces, but he told me things about myself that the curandera had told him. These were very personal things known to no living person but me. Obviously, she knew what to tell Jose, to make me believe. It was enough to convince me. For the first time since Jose had fled with my things, I felt a glimmer of hope.
Jose meets a Curandera
Jose had been befriended by a young man on the beach. When this man said his mother was a curandera, Jose had asked to meet her. He was frightened when she appeared to know all about his life. At first he thought I had somehow made contact with her and told her the details of his life.
When he gave her my photo, she said: “Mucho sufrimiento”; and when he gave her my card, she exclaimed: “Ahh… he is from Michoacan, you played soccer with him up north!” referring to Fernando. She had said she wanted to help me for free because I had suffered so much in my life. “O.K.” I said. “You have two choices: you get me a meeting with this woman and you can go with me to San Blas, if not, you can stay here in Mazatlan and rot!”
Jose said he would try his best, but that her family was very protective of her. The curandera was surrounded by a kind of family guard, made up of male relatives. In fact, I never even saw any female family members. The expertize of this woman was finding missing persons. In Mexico, the mafia kidnaps many people for ransom. This women had found several of these kidnap victims, and her life had been threatened as a result. We would have to be checked out by the family before she would see both of us together. Just the fact of Jose and myself traveling together seemed strange to a lot of Mexicans. Also, the curandera had to first consult Santa Muerte as to whether Fernando was still in the world of the living. This is the way she begins all her missing person cases.
( a note about Santa Muerte, aka the Grim Reaper: Death is a regular guy in Mexico, and apparently willing to lend a helping hand whenever petitioned for assistance. His image is everywhere. There are entire magazines devoted to enumerating the miracles of Santa Muerte. Two such stories I remember were a woman who claimed Santa Muerte had cured her blindness, and a man who said Santa Muerte helped him to win the lottery. Mexicans consider Santa Muerte to be female, but the Grim Reaper will always be male to me.)
In the next few days I got my I.D. back, with the help of a kindly taxi driver who had befriended Jose and myself, and acted as a mediator between me and the person who was holding my I.D. – I had to pay off the drug debt. He was an older gentleman, also named Jose. The last thing the taxi driver said to me before we parted, was about Jose: “I know this guy, and he’s a lion. But he’s a lion without any teeth. Be careful though, because he can still hurt you.”
We meet with the Curandera and learn that Fernando is from the Tangancicuaro area
I felt I would get a chance to talk with the curandera because that month Jupiter was trining my Pisces Moon, which means ‘help from a women’. Jose was staying in a cheap motel just down the street from my hotel, with some young men he had met on the beach. During the time we were awaiting the verdict of the curandera’s family, I had contact with him several times a day. At three a.m. one night, Jose knocked on my window and told me to come to his motel quickly, because the curandera’s son wanted to meet me. The son must have inherited some of his mother’s talent, because he could read my mind. He took my hand and said, “You want to die right now but you are going to live to be very old.” He told me other things, all true. I felt it was a good meeting, and that he trusted me.
Then Jose disappeared for 24 hours. The next day I had to go to a government building in the old part of Mazatlan to replace my tourist card, which had been lost in the struggle for my velvet bag. It was about a five mile walk. I walked everywhere in Mazatlan because taxis are so expensive. Just as I was about to enter the building I got a call from Jose. His voice sounded queer, full of fear. He asked where I was going. I explained, and he hung up.
That night Jose returned with a young man whom he said was the curandera’s nephew, and who had been trailing me around Mazatlan for a week. During the 24 hours he had been missing, Jose was being held by the family of the curandera. The family had a hard time believing our story about the search for Fernando. They thought we were really working for the Mexican mafia, or the police. When the nephew called back to the family on his cell phone to report that I was about to enter a government building, the family had held a pistol to Jose’s head, and demanded to know what I was about to do. Petrified Jose had the gun to his temple as he was talking to me! When Jose described to me later how terrified he had been with the gun to his head, I have to admit the mental picture gave me pleasure. For once, he was the one being terrorized.
Now we were approved to see the curandera together. I asked the curandera’s nephew if I could treat him to dinner. He said yes, if the restaurant was close by. He showed me the bottoms of his feet, covered with blisters from trailing me around Mazatlan, and said that I walked more than anyone he had ever known!
The next day I got my car back. Jose drove me to the curandera’s house that evening. It was a poor adobe house in the slums of Mazatlan that tourists never see. I was touched that this woman who obviously did not have an easy life, would want to help me for free. What a contrast from American psychics, with their big egos, movie star clients, and hundred dollar an hour fees.
The curandera looked like she had been sent from central casting. She was about my age, intense and mysterious looking. She had a regal bearing, and commanded respect. She said that Fernando, Jose and myself were three points on one triangle. She never mentioned reincarnation, but she said for us to achieve peace and harmony all three of us had to come together for ‘union’. If Jose did not help me find Fernando, he would never have happiness in this life, and when he was my age (45), all that he had done to me would come back on him double. She said that in the past two years, I had passed Fernando many times in public places, but that we had never made eye contact. She said Fernando was from the area around Tangancicuaro, in Michoacan, and his extended family had lived there for many years. She said if Jose and I went there together we would get information, but if I went alone I would find out nothing. It turns out that Tangancicuaro is five miles down the road from Zamora, the town where Gina, and Jose’s aunt live! Jose had even been to Tangancicuaro in the past. She asked us to return the next evening.
The next evening the curandera said that I would find Fernando some time in the future. She said that right before we made contact again, the hair on the back of my neck would stand up. The curandera asked if we would go to Tangancicuaro immediately. I said I needed at least two weeks of rest in San Blas because my health was going downhill. She said it would be best if we went right away. I thanked her profusely. I’m sure she knew how grateful I was. Somehow I felt it would insult her to give her money, even though I really wanted to.
So we left Mazatlan after 21 days. I’m sure the manager of Hotel Mazatlan was relieved to see me go. After the first two weeks of Jose’s antics in and around the hotel, the manager had sternly said to me: “This is a family hotel!” and threatened to evict me. When I stopped in Mazatlan on my first trip, I had disliked the touristy feel of the place, and had no desire to ever return. Now I will always have a special place in my heart for the town. Just when I had been at my lowest ebb, the curandera had come into my life, as if by magic, to restore my hope. The car break-down had turned out to be a good thing.
Jose was maintaining his ties with Oregon. While we were in Mazatlan, he called his probation officer, Carla Pinto, and fed her a sob-story about hitchhiking south and being stranded, penniless, in Mazatlan. According to Jose, although she cried and professed her love for him, at least she had enough sense not to to wire him the money he had hoped for.
On our way to San Blas we stopped in Tepic, and Jose showed me the spot where he had hopped off the train in the fall of 2004. In San Blas, I couldn’t get out of bed for two days. I told Jose that I would go back to the Basilica in Mexico City to pray for recovery, and also rest and recuperate, and I would return in ten days so we could go to Tangancicuaro together. Meanwhile, I told him I could see a romance in his future in San Blas. What I really wanted more than anything else at that time, was a break from Jose.
I head East to Tangancicuaro, where the riddle of the black swan is finally solved
The next day as I headed east, I drove through Tangancicuaro, but did not stop. About two or three miles east of the town, I was a little shocked to come to a village named Nogales! The words of the psychic in Portland came back to me with a jolt (o.k., so she was right about one thing… but nothing else). The village was so small it wasn’t even on the map. Starting at Nogales, and for several miles east, I drove past many pottery shops, their wares spilling out the entrances onto the pavement in front. They all were selling the black swan flower vase/planters. This was the only time, except for the church in Guadalajara, that I had seen these. So the dream of Fernando being a black swan was a clue to where his hometown was, coming just a week after I had asked the psychic this question.
First I went to Patzcuaro to pray at the Basilica of Our Lady of Health – the miracle church – for resolution of my health problems. I was in bed there three days. Then I was in bed four days in Mexico City. I prayed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but was still feeling horrible. I kept roaming, but I couldn’t out-run my ill health, or the bad luck that stuck with me like a faithful dog. Next I went to Veracruz, where I had to pay another $300. when I backed into a car in a parking lot. I had panicked when I saw a cop car, because I had already paid four large bribes, and I was doing my best to avoid contact with the Mexican police. I slammed into reverse, and backed up without looking. After that, I went straight to a hotel and didn’t leave my room for three days.
By now I was on the opposite coast from San Blas. Since I had been planning on going to Chitzen Itza and then on to Cancun, it would have been a waste of gas to go back to San Blas, and then return to the east coast. I continued to head south.
When I stopped in Catemaco, on the shore of a beautiful lake, I consulted a curandero named Pedro Gueixpal Cobix. Luguna Catemaco is famous for the number of brujos and curanderos (shamen) who live there. Although the dark, candlelit “office” of the curandero looked like a taxidermist’s shop, with the bodies and skins of just about every creature in Mexico; the man himself was clueless about Fernando. He said that my dream of Fernando as a black swan indicated that Fernando would be dead soon. I didn’t bother to tell him about Nogales, or what the black swan symbol represented to me personally, because I could see that he was all show, and no go. For this worthless bit of information he charged me twenty bucks. This guy has a website: brujogueixpal.com. The room with all the candles (photo on his website) is where I had my consultation with Pedro. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks Senor Gueixpal Cobix is a charlatan: http://foro.enfemenino.com/forum/loisirs7/_f214196_loisirs7-Pedro-gueixpal-cobix-es-un-charlatan-vean-las-pruebas.html
Update: As of January 26th 2011, Gueixpal-Cobix is no longer occupying his office in Catemaco. His large mural of a tiger is still on the building, but it is now the site of another business. He may have moved his office, but I think it’s more likely that his clients wised up to the fact they were being fleeced. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid those selling spiritual help. The very fact they are charging money indicates that they don’t understand basic spiritual law. And if they don’t understand basic spiritual law, how worthwhile can their advice really be? I’ve never charged a dime for an astrological reading. Sadly, there are many who are willing to pay large sums to someone who will tell them what they want to hear, and sadly, there are those who will take advantage. The same holds true for those “spiritual teachers” holding expensive seminars. The higher the ticket price, the more rubbish you can expect to hear. It’s the blind leading the blind.
Some of these “gurus” lead very sordid personal lives. I lost track of a girl I knew in grade school. When I bumped into her years later, I learned she was working for an escort service in Portland. She told me that when Deepak Chopra was in Portland, he ordered up three women from the escort service for a foursome. She was the only woman of the three who recognized Chopra, and he warned her to keep silent about it. I guess Al Gore called the wrong service. He must have heard from his buddy Deepak that Portland was the place to find that kind of action.
I tend to believe my former schoolmate, because in July of 1996, THE WEEKLY STANDARD published a story of a prostitute who claimed a similar tryst with Chopra, and had the signed American Express receipt to prove it. Chopra claimed that he had loaned his card to an assistant. I heard the story from my former schoolmate in October of 1992, almost four years BEFORE the prostitute’s charges were published. It’s bad enough to engage in group sex and solicit prostitution, but then to make his assistant the fall guy… what a scum-bag. Anyone who was living in Oregon in the 1980’s during the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s reign of terror (poisoning salad bars and issuing assasination edicts on public officials) can be excused for being a little leery of gurus, no matter where they come from. After Rajneesh was deported, he reinvented himself as Osho, before kicking the bucket during his second Saturn return. Amazingly, he STILL has disciples all over the world!
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness they allure through the lusts of the flesh – While they promise liberty, they themselves are slaves to corruption” Second Peter 18 – 19
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
I suggest that if you have a burning spiritual question, to ask in prayer for an answer in your dreams. Reading dream symbols is not difficult to learn, and you get better at it the more you practice it.
February 2006: I am forced to abandon my car in Chiapas
It was in Palenque that I finally started to feel better. Since I was already far south, I decided to spend a few months in extreme southern Mexico before I returned to San Blas. Jose had been calling me and asking me when I was coming back. Now I told him I would be back for Semana Santa. He told me he had a new girlfriend in San Blas.
From Palenque I went to Cancun (I recommend Hotel Campestre Las Palmas in Cancun: $12.50 a night with excellent service and plenty of hot water, very clean, and a friendly parrot named Pancho to greet you). Then I crossed over the bridge into Belize, where a coconut in the road ripped off part of my muffler.
After that, I decided to nip into Guatemala for a few days. I saw in the stars a potential accident for myself (Mars square natal Pluto). I debated whether to sit in a hotel for a week until the transit was over, or hit the road again and take a chance. After all those days trapped in hotel rooms, trying to recover my health, I was restless.
I didn’t wait it out. I asked many people if the road to Comitan (the jumping off town for Guatemala) was paved the entire way, and they all said yes. I didn’t want to drive on any gravel roads. I came to a fork in the road and debated which direction to take for ten minutes. My map indicated straight, but the sign indicated right. I decided to go with the sign. It was a fateful choice because the sign was misplaced (very common in Mexico).
After a few miles the road turned to gravel. I stopped and asked three different groups of people walking on the road, and they all said that eventually the road would be pavement again, so I figured it was just temporary road-work. The road became worse, much worse, and just when I was debating whether to turn around and go back, I hit a rock in the road which ripped out the bottom of my motor. I didn’t know for certain what had happened, but I was pretty sure that I had just lost the engine. So this is the grande finale of my disastrous trip, I thought, as I put my most important things into a little suitcase and left my car in the gravel road, not knowing if I would ever see it again. In that wild place there was a good chance the car would be gone or completely stripped when I returned to it.
Fifteen minutes before the rock incident I had stopped at a little store, where I had a short conversation in English with a man who seemed to be working for the store owners. He had told me his name was Carlos Noguera Ramirez, that he was from Columbia, and that he had lived many years in the United States. Now I headed back to the store, suitcase in hand. Many times since then I have pondered what he was doing in that remote spot.
At the store Carlos told me that shortly a collectivo would stop at the store that could take me to the nearest town, and there I could catch another collectivo to Benemerito de las Americas where he knew there was a grua (tow-truck). He offered to borrow a tractor and haul my car back to the store where he could keep an eye on it until I returned. I can’t convey here the sense of relief and gratitude I felt to hear these words. So a few hours later I found myself in Benemerito, outside a fenced compound guarded by a pack of dogs – home to the local grua owner.
A corpulent man with a vague resemblance to Oliver Hardy, Felipe Sanchez was much amused when the largest member of his dog pack lifted it’s leg and peed on me. However, he was not amused by the idea of heading into the most dangerous part of Chiapas to retrieve my car. He refused to set off without a companion, two huge machetes, and a large quantity of beer.
We wasted a great deal of time searching the local cantinas for his friend. At each stop the engine of the grua was harder and harder to start, and it was one a.m. when we reached my car. By that time Senor Sanchez had passed-out, and his companero did most of the work that night. True to his word, Carlos had my car waiting at the store. I thanked him and gave him my card, saying that if he was ever in Oregon to call me and I would do whatever I could to help him. He actually did call me six months later from Texas (Carlos, if by some chance you ever read this, I still have the same phone number and my door is always open to you).
for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; Matthew 25:35
We took a different route back to Benemerito de los Americas. The companero (who’s name I never learned) drove the entire way. As the aging tow-truck labored over hill and dale through the jungle night, on the seat beside me Felipe’s head lolled and his great bulk jounced with every chuckhole we hit. I kept hoping a jaguar would cross the road so I could at least salvage something from this disaster, but all we saw were tropical moths diving kamikaze style into the headlights. When we came to a bridge over a deep canyon, my heart was in my throat, because I was worried that the rickety bridge would collapse under the weight of both grua and BMW, plunging us into the water far below.
After being towed ($300.) back to Benemerito, it was four a.m. and we dropped my car at the taller mechanico belonging to a friend of Felipe. In the morning, my worst fears for the car were confirmed. It would have been thousands of dollars to ship a BMW motor into the jungles of Chiapas, so I had to abandon my car. I also had to leave most of my personal effects with the car because it would have been too much to carry on the bus with me. As I walked away, it was especially depressing to see the mechanic and his friends celebrating his good fortune with my six-pack of Pacifico. They had laughed with delight while showing me the huge hole in my oil pan, jammed full of
Jose called me the next day. Since he was so attached to the car, I expected that he would take the news pretty hard, but he took the news with typical Mexican fatalism.
Later, I realized that in my haste I had left behind Leo, my lion mascot that had accompanied me all over Mexico. Once in Hillsboro (I suppose just to rile me), Jose had tossed Leo’s bobble head out the car window. I spent half an hour looking until I found it. Now, losing Leo for good added to my woe.
Update: I returned to the town on Jan.16th 2008, and I learned the fate of my car. When I showed up at the compound of Felipe Sanchez, he seemed extremely reluctant to discuss my car. He swore up and down that he had not laid eyes on the car since the night it was towed. He scolded me for not leaving my car in his compound, and claimed it would still be there waiting for me, if I had done so. (If he had actually made this offer at the time of the disaster, I would have jumped on it.) From someone else in town I learned that, just as I had suspected, The mechanic I left the car with had somehow got it drivable again, and it had been seen cruising the streets of Benemerito. However, the mechanic didn’t have much time to enjoy it because he was murdered within six months. Where the car is now, is anybody’s guess. I had joked to Jose several times about the car being cursed, like the Graf & Stift phaeton in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. Now I wonder.
A year before I went back to find the car, I had a dream where I had returned to Benemerito to search for my car. In the dream I cruised up and down the main street looking for the taller mechanico, and couldn’t find it. That actually happened when I returned there. I really had to look hard to find the former garage, driving back and forth, as in my dream. The reason was, after the owner had been killed, all traces of his former business had been removed.
April 2006: I take the bus to Tangancicuaro
I took the bus to Acapulco. Once again the stress of losing my car caused my health to crap. It was a month before I felt good enough to take the bus to Michoacan. I went back to see the butterflies, and even though I was still weak from my health problems, I made the difficult climb up the mountain. There’s something about standing in the fragrant pine forest of Michoacan, with thousands of Monarchs swirling around you, that is balm for the weary soul. I was feeling a bit more lighthearted as I took the bus to Tangancicuaro. In Tangancicuaro I had a strange encounter with a curandero who tried to extort $300. from me. He claimed to know Fernando’s last name, but the name he came up with was actually Jose’s last name. He also produced a few scraps of information I knew to be true, but most of what he said was rubbish. Perhaps Jose and Fernando share a last name, as well as a birthday.
I stayed there five days, and just as the curandera said, I learned nothing. However, I did met another interesting fellow there, whose name is Luis Humberto. After I shared my story with Luis, he told me his own incredible story. He spoke excellent English because he had lived in the United States for many years. He had gone to Villahermosa to work for several months. One weekend he and several companions went to visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum. It may have been Ruinas Coba. I wasn’t taking notes, because I didn’t know I would be writing about it later. Anyway, at the ruins, Luis became separated from his friends and went missing for several days, while his frantic companions searched for him. They eventually found him in the ruins, babbling in a strange language. Luis has no idea where he was during the time he was missing, or even if he ate or slept. All that he remembers is talking to “spiritual beings”. From Tangancicuaro I took the bus to San Blas.
I return to San Blas for Semana Santa, and Jose and I make a plan
Semana Santa in San Blas is great. On Palm Sunday a man dressed as Jesus, rides a donkey through the town, while people in the street wave palm fronds. Then he rides right up the stairs of the church and rides inside! I enjoyed the service even though it was a little hard for me to follow in Spanish. Jose was happy to see me. He introduced me to his new girlfriend, JoAnna, but confided later that it wasn’t the same as his feelings for Gina.
I told him that it would be too difficult for us to go on the bus together to Tangancicuaro, and I was running out of money. We would have to go next winter. Our quixotic quest was on hold for the time being.
In the meantime, Jose wanted to make another try at life in Hillsboro. I wanted him to come back too, to continue the search. I felt that the curandera had influenced him enough, that he would do the right thing, should he meet up with Fernando again. However, he would be on his own, as I was pretty close to being broke with no prospects for the future. I know that sounds crazy after all he had done to me, but when you go through such a bizarre experience together, as we had, a bond is created. I was exhausted from the events of the past twelve months, but I have to admit that I was becoming addicted to the constant excitement that Jose provided in my life. Everything is relative. After spending four years mostly confined to my home; staring at the walls and shaking for hours on end, in terrible pain and thinking that each day was my last, the events of 2005 seemed almost ‘fun’ by comparison. Maybe it was because I had felt alive again, after four years of living death. However I would say, that in light of the endless calamities that plagued my 2005/2006 trip, I would now advise against departing on a long journey when Saturn is hovering around one’s ascendant. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to retreat to an underground bunker for the duration. I told Jose that when I got home I would wire him the money to take the bus to his sister’s home in Mexicali. Then I would drive to Mexicali to pick him up.
May 2006: Jose and I are arrested by ICE
“How ‘ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” Walter Donaldson
Jose got to Mexicali on his 29th birthday, May 8th 2006. This year there was no money for a coyote, so I agreed to try and cross him in the trunk of my rental car. Astrologically I gave it about a 50-50 chance. While George W. Bush was in Yuma, Arizona to show everyone how secure the border was, I was driving through Yuma on my way to smuggle an alien.
We got caught, probably because of the rental car, which tends to alert customs. I got a $5000. fine and Jose was dropped back over the border with a warning that next time he would go to jail for a year – which, like so much of the bluster of ICE, turned out to be an idle threat.
The folks at Beaverton Enterprise car rental were pretty freaked out when they got the phone call from ICE, but calmed down when they saw the car, and realized that no damage had been done. The receptionist even chuckled at the thought of Jose curled up in the trunk of the Sebring. I think people who live dull lives, sometimes welcome a little excitement, as long as it’s not too much excitement. I don’t really regret the incident because it makes an interesting segment for the book, but I’ll never try it again. Jose called me once in July 2006, to say he was going to try again. Then I didn’t hear from him for fourteen months.
Of all my astrology books, the one I value the most is THE ASTROLOGY OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS by Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker. Here is an excerpt from the book that describes just one of the many planetary aspects I share with Jose. In this quote, I am the Sun individual and Jose is the Uranus individual:
A’s Sun Opposition B’s Uranus
“This comparative combination can produce a clash of wills. The Uranus individual’s desire for freedom and independence is likely to clash with the Sun native’s authoritarian tendencies. The natives must show absolute respect for each other’s freedom if they are to get along. The Sun individual may regard the Uranus person as eccentric, impractical, unreasonable, or unreliable. The natives often meet suddenly and under unusual circumstances and are involved in many exciting adventures together. The natives can act as catalysts for change in each other’s lives.”
August 2006: I get married!
Two days after I returned from Mexicali and my aborted attempt to cross Jose, I met Carlos. Carlos was born in Guatemala. We were married in August, 2006. Carlos’ Venus is exactly on my 7th house cusp, his Sun is conjunct my Moon, his Mars and Moon are conjuct my Venus, and his vertex is conjuct my ascendant. These five taken together, are a strong indicator of marriage in a chart comparison. I know my marriage to Carlos is also part of my destiny because I had dreamed my wedding three times in August of 2000. In the dreams, I could never see the face of the man I was marrying. Also, for six months before we met, I could not get the name Carlos out of my head. I thought “Carlos” was someone I was going to meet in Mexico, because in the past this has happened with other people’s names, before I met them. When I left my car behind in Chiapas, I had thought at the time that Carlos Noguera Ramirez was the Carlos I was supposed to meet.
In 1954, the CIA ( google: Operation PBSUCCESS), fomented a bloody 36 year civil war in Guatemala, by ousting a democratically elected president. In 1952, the United Fruit Company (aka Chiquita Banana, known in Latin America as ‘El Pulpo’ – the octopus) were paying their Guatemalan workers fifty cents a day, while they raked in profits of 65 million a year. They owned half the arable land in Guatemala, and almost all of the railroad tracks. The new president, Jacobo Arbenz, was intent on breaking up this foreign agricultural giant, and returning the land to the peasants of Guatemala. He forced United Fruit to sell land back to Guatemala, and then distributed the land to 100,000 Guatemalan peasants. Of course, the United States couldn’t stand for that, and the CIA tried to bribe Arbenz to moderate his policies. When Arbenz would not take the money, the CIA orchestrated a coup and the president and his wife (along with Che Guevara) were sent into exile in their underwear.
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, had represented United Fruit when he had been a law partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, and his brother ( CIA head) Allan Dulles, was on the board of directors of United Fruit at the time. America’s ambassador to the UN, Henry Cabot Lodge, owned a large portion of United Fruit. Because hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans died; and the country was nearly destroyed; for no other reason than to save the United Fruit Company; some Guatemalans have been grated asylum in the United States. Carlos first requested asylum in 1988. He was deported to Guatemala last month (September 2007) when his asylum was denied.
“The candle is burning slowly and surely, and it is only a matter of time before the large American interests will be forced out completely.” American Abassador to Guatamala John Peurifoy’s memo to John Foster Dulles six months before the US contrived coup that destroyed Guatemala.
“It was, in fact, hard to distinguish United Fruit from the CIA in those years. The organizations shared personnel as well as equipment and intelligence.” from THE FISH THAT ATE THE WHALE: the life and times of America’s Banana King
“I won’t rest until I see these capitalistic octopuses annihilated. In Guatemala, I will perfect myself and achieve what I need to be an authentic revolutionary.” Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
I’m going to Guatemala for the winter, to visit Carlos, and bring him his clothing. Since I had no way to contact Jose, the last two weeks of September, I was sending him a mental message to call me. He called me on Oct. 2nd, and said he kept getting thoughts to call me for a week. I have asked him to go to Tangancicuaro with me in December. He wants to do this. After we search, he can return to either Tijuana, or San Blas, on the bus.
If it’s my destiny to finish the book, I will find Fernando. If not, then there is no book. It’s been the quest to find Fernando that has transformed my life. Finding him is just the period at the end of the sentence. The book idea came to me because I thought perhaps people could learn something from my story; that we’re all connected and that the most routine activity, like a walk in the park, can have a domino effect that changes several lives. Spirituality can’t be learned in a seminar, or purchased with money. The only currency that buys soul growth is patient suffering, with grace and fortitude; and compassionate assistance freely given. Only when these qualities are lived on a daily basis, is the soul released from the karmic chains that bind it to earth. There’s no magic potion, no affirmation, no “get out of jail free card” to wipe away karma – or if you prefer, bearing one’s cross. No pain, no gain. It’s that simple.
“Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, As the swift seasons roll! Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!” Oliver Wendall Holmes
Most importantly, I want readers to know that our Holy Mother is there for each and every one of us. All we have to do is ask for her intercession. Catholics don’t “own” Our Lady, any more than Mexicans “own” the Virgin of Guadalupe. She makes her appearances in the form most appropriate for the time and place. Our Lady appeared as a dark Madonna in 14th century Spain more than two hundred years before She showed up in Mexico. The Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe stands in Extremadura, Spain to mark the place. Where She appears, miraculous transformations follow. The decades following the appearance of the Tilma saw mass conversions to Christianity by the Aztecs, and an end to centuries of bloody human sacrifice.
If you would like to better understand the mysteries of the Tilma of Juan Diego, and it’s connection to astrology, both meso-American and Sumerian/Chaldean, please watch this video. I have no connection to the person who made this DVD. I added this for those with open minds, who would like to learn more about the Virgin of Guadalupe.
I don’t want to disrupt Fernando’s life. The stars are telling me that he has either re-married or something similar. I am happily married, although I miss Carlos dreadfully. However, this separation is only temporary. The events I have lived through in my life have taught me great patience. What I hope for is one meeting between Fernando, Jose and myself. The “coming together for union” as the curandera said. If we don’t come to some kind of resolution in this lifetime, we will be forced to keep coming back together until we do. It should be very clear why I do not want to come back and deal with Jose’s shenanigans in another lifetime. Also, I want to say to Fernando : “Thank you, a thousand times, for jerking me out of my invalid phase and catapulting me into a new life.
“All things by immortal power Near or far Hiddenly, To each other linked are That thou canst not stir a flower without troubling of a star” Francis Thompson
The United States’ relationship with Canada, our neighbor to the north, has been like a placid, conventional marriage to a home-town childhood sweetheart. Our relationship with Mexico has been like a torrid affair with an exotic foreigner, full of passion and pain, secrets and exploitation. In a way, my relationship with Jose is a microcosm of the love/hate relationship between our two countries. If he and I can ever come to a state of healing, perhaps there is hope of healing the painful wounds spanning two hundred years between Mexico and the United States. I sincerely hope so.
Translation of an Advertisement in Puertolandia Magazine:
Kristina – Searching for Fernando who’s date of birth is 8th of May 1967, he lives in Hillsboro with his sister. Kristina remembers when she gave him a card with the prayer of Saint Michael. She has wanted to meet again for 1 1/2 years. Fernando – If you want to communicate with her, send your address with a photocopy that proves your date of birth with the requirements of this section and a return envelope and we will send the information of Kristina.
Update: April 1st 2008: A reunion with Carlos in Guatemala, and a close call on the trip home
Well, I made it to Guatemala and safely home again. Carlos and I spent a month cruising around the south of Mexico and Guatemala. We went to Lake Atitlan and Chichicastengo. I would say that the best thing was the nature park at Lake Atitlan and the spider monkeys and coatimundis there. Another highlight was when an ocelot crossed the road in front of our car on the road east of Palenque.
I had a very close call on the trip home. I spent my last night in Mexico in a motel on the outskirts of Santa Ana,
Sonora. As usual, I was walking around my motel room barefoot. I sat down on the toilet and glanced down at my feet. Less than an inch from my right foot was a deadly Arizona Bark Scorpion! I know for sure that it was
Centraroide Sculpturatus, because I scooped it up in a jar and took a photo, before chucking it out the door into the desert. I spent the rest of that evening contemplating what would have happened had I placed my foot an inch to the right. It was scary, but not as scary as two years before, when I came within inches of stepping on a rattlesnake in the Grand Canyon.
Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
Jose did not go south with me. I spent a week with him in Tijuana. Although he badly wanted to go, I did not take him for two reasons: At the time of our meeting with the curandera Jose had been thoroughly shaken and scared. Now the fear had worn off, and he was saying he thought the curandera was a fake, and all she had known were only ‘lucky guesses’. He still doesn’t really believe the story. The curandera had said that he needed to have faith in the story for us to get any results together. Secondly, he stole my spare cell phone. When I confronted him, he returned it, but it was too late. I had said “one more chance” to him before I left Oregon. I headed south alone, and in San Blas I met a man returning to Michoacan after many years away.
December 2007: More strange events in San Blas, as I meet a wayfarer headed to Zamora
When I reached San Blas, the first thing I did was to go up to the ruins of the old Spanish church. Now, I asked the Virgin
of Guadalupe for a sign if I would ever finish my book. Rosa was there and she said Our Lady and Cristina (the phantom in white) were still appearing in the ruins of the church.
That night as I walked to the home of friends, I was approached by a tall, thin man. He had features a little like Fernando, the same bone structure in the face. He tried to sell me a little boat he had made. He said that he had just been released from jail in San Luis Rio Colorado, two days before, after serving time for a crime he did not commit. I had just been in San Luis two days before. It was the first time I had begun a trip to Mexico crossing at San Luis. This guy, Yesse Cordoba, said he was desperately trying to get home to Michoacan and he had no money. I asked him where in Michocan he was from. He said Zamora. Since Zamora is a few miles down the road from Tangancicuaro, I asked him if he knew the town. He said he knew it like the back of his hand. I felt this was the sign I had asked for.
I asked Yesse what he was doing in San Blas. San Blas is at the dead end of a twenty mile, twisting jungle road. It’s not the kind of place you end up by chance. He said he had been hitch-hiking, and a man had stopped and asked him if he wanted to go to San Blas. He said yes because he wanted to see the ocean. I had planned to stay five days visiting with Andra in San Blas, and then drive in one day to Tangancicuaro, spending Christmas Eve there. I thought maybe
there was a one in a million chance Fernando had gone home for Christmas, and I might bump into him. I told Yesse I was going to Zamora on Saturday, and if he wanted to sleep on the beach for a few nights, he could ride with me. Then I sat right down on the sidewalk and told him the whole story of the search for Fernando. I don’t know how much he understood of my bad Spanish, but he agreed when he got home he would assist in the search in Tangancicuaro.
Before I left home, a friend had given me a sleeping bag as a gift. I didn’t need one, but I took it along because I felt I would meet someone who needed it. I asked Yesse to come to my hotel, and I gave him the bag and fifty pesos. I asked him to come back the next day. He had tears in his eyes because he was grateful, and he removed his bracelet, which had a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and gave it to me. That was a good enough sign for me.
This being Mexico, I really thought I would never see him again, but I was wrong. We spent a lot of time together the next four days. Yesse was mostly on the beach, selling the little boats he made. I let him take showers in my room and I gave him a few of Carlos’ t-shirts and socks because he had no change of clothing. He used my cell phone to call his family, who had no idea he had been released from jail, because he had no money to call them. One evening Yesse bought me dinner, after he had a good day selling boats on the beach. As we bid each other good night, he gallantly kissed my hand, calling to mind when Fernando kissed my hand in the park, and making me wonder if perhaps hand kissing is a popular custom in the Tangancicuaro area. He was a very polite and respectful young man, and turned out to be a pleasure to travel with. We left San Blas at 8 a.m. and got to Zamora at 2 a.m.. Yesse turned out to be a big help on the road asking for detailed directions in little towns. It was the first time I had driven the inland route from Puerto Vallarta to Michoacan.
Yesse’s family was very grateful for my help in returning him home, and whatever he was accused of (I think it was a theft charge), I believe him when he says he was innocent. Being rail-roaded into jail is common in Mexico. Anyway, he has my photo, with my address, phone and fax on the back, and he promised to keep up the search for members of Fernando’s family at soccer games and other public events, so it is in God’s hands now.
There is a strange parallel between how I met Yesse, and how I met Jose. Jose was on his way to the border from Zamora, and ended up by chance in San Blas, when he was offered a ride there. In San Blas he met me, and I gave him a ride to the border because I was going there anyway. Yesse was on his way from the border to Zamora. He ended up by chance in San Blas, when someone offered him a ride there. In San Blas he met me, and I gave him a ride to Zamora because I was going there anyway.
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind of man could invent.” Arthur Conan Doyle
Update: Oct. 30th 2008:
A few days ago I received a phone call from Jose. He said he was in San Ysidro at his cousin’s house. He claimed to have crossed the border alone, on foot. I know he really was where he said, because it was his cousin’s land-line number on my caller ID. He said he was going to stay with his father in California and pick crops. I asked him why he was calling me, and he said he wanted to say he was sorry and that he would pay me some money when he got a job. I don’t believe it, but I’m glad he called because it gives me important new astrological data.
Update: Jan. 5th 2009: I learn that a teacher in Guatemala has plucked the title of my book from the Collective Unconscious, and is using it as the title of her blog
There is a story I have wanted to share on this blog, But I have been waiting to get permission of the other person involved. Now I have the green light, so here it is:
Six months ago I decided to do a Google search on the title of my book to see if anyone else was using it. I was verysurprised to come up with two links. The first remains a mystery to me. There is an American teacher in Guatemala who has named her blog: SEARCHING FOR FERNANDO. I read the entire blog, and there is no mention of a Fernando in it. It’s as if she plucked the title out of the ether. There is no question of plagiarism because her blog existed before I posted my story on-line. It must have been very disturbing for the author to learn of this coincidence, because she immediately denied public access to her blog. However, you can see a cached page at this link: http://www.randikjohnson.blogspot.com It seems that human beings react to the inexplicable in two ways: some choose to close down, while others choose to open up to a new world of exciting possibilities. It’s my hope that most of the readers of this story fall into the latter category. The second link proved to be much more exciting and fruitful.
More incredible synchronicities: I meet Tamara and learn she has the same birthday as Ping, Fernando and Jose, and that she has a painting entitled Searching for Fernando
This link lead me to a website selling art prints. The print in question was a beautiful tropical reef scene, and it was titled SEARCHING FOR FERNANDO. From there, a link lead me to the artist’s website www.artisticmurals.com . I was enchanted by the vibrant paintings. They radiated color and life. I knew the artist had to be a special person indeed. I sent Tamara an e-mail asking how she had come up with such an unlikely title for her painting. She e-mailed back to say that the Fernando she had searched for was a baby alligator! In 2005, Tamara was painting the mural, of which a small segment would eventually become the print SEARCHING FOR FERNANDO. Near the home where she was painting, there was a little stream, where a baby alligator lived. She named it Fernando, and visited him every day. One day after a heavy rainstorm, Fernando was missing. Although she searched and searched, he was not to be found. http://www.artisticmurals.com/tropical%20marine%20life%20mural.htm (scroll to bottom of the page and read the last sentence about Searching for Fernando)
I loved the gator story. As a child I had wanted a baby alligator as a pet, and later when I moved to Florida as an adult, I enjoyed watching the baby alligators that seemed to be in every ditch and pond. I knew only an old soul could find such tender feelings for a baby alligator. I asked Tamara if she would like to read my story and when she said yes, I e-mailed it to her. This was before this blog was up. That night as I was washing dishes, I saw the Virgin of Guadalupe in my mind’s eye. Suddenly I knew that Tamara’s birthday was May 8th, that she had done an artistic rendering of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the past, and that she would graciously offer to do a painting for my book. All three things turned out to be true! Another synchronicity is that Tamara’s daughter and I share the same first name. Here in her own words, is Tamara’s story of her experience with the Virgin of Guadalupe:
“The story about the Virgin is very strange. In 1989 there was a cactus that was growing on the side of a busy street in Phoenix that looked like Our Lady of Guadalupe. It drew people from all over the states that left candles, prayed and gathered for hours. One morning I awoke and decided that I would go to the cactus with my sketch book and create a drawing of the cactus. While I was drawing lots of people kept asking if I would draw them a sketch, so I did. I drew as fast as I could. Then the Deacon of Our Lady Of Immaculate Heart Church walked up, broke the top of the cactus off and began walking to his church. Naturally the entire crowd of people followed, including myself as I still did not have a sketch for my personal collection. The church filled up with hundreds of people and there was no way I could draw fast enough for everyone that wanted a sketch. So I walked up to the alter in front of the statue of Mary, got down on my knees and prayed for guidance. Kris, the most incredible thing happened. As I was kneeling, a beautiful white light swept through my entire body, it flowed like a butterfly gracefully swirling inside me. At that exact moment I knew that what I needed to do was make one sketch and then have prints made of the sketch. So I announced to everyone that this is what I would do and that I would bring the sketches back to the church. When they were finished I went to see the Deacon to see if he would let me sell the prints for $3.00 each and donate all but one dollar to the church. He said he had been approached by many artists in the past but until then turned their offers down. The next day was the day of Ascension and he said I could bring the prints for the evening mass. He warned me that there would not be many people there. I smiled and said yes there would. I contacted all the news and radio stations and asked them to do a story on the cactus and my sketch. Three news stations showed up and two radio stations talked about the event. The church was so full that people were lined up outside to get in. The news teams had to literally crawl over the pews, it was truly a sight to behold! I sold several hundred prints that night and was on the news many times. Everyone kept telling me that I was blessed by the Virgin, and they didn’t know what had happened only a few weeks before. Anyway, I donated a fair amount of money to the church, who in turn set up a special fund to help poor Hispanic families and others in need. The kicker of it is that I was living with my daughter because I didn’t have any money for my own place. I had just returned from studying in NYC and was flat broke.”
What a beautiful story. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Tamara is one of the few people I have met who truly understands what it means to live love, in action and deed. Giving to others in need, when she had almost nothing herself. Many people believe that the only way they can do good is to make a large cash donation. But Tamara used her time and talent as an artist to make a real difference. By the way, I received her story before by blog was up. Tamara had no idea when she wrote it that it would someday be read by the public. The best stories are not those written to impress an audience, but rather those that are sincere, and straight from the heart.
“To think and to will without action, is like a flame shut up in a vessel, which dies away; or like a seed cast upon sand, which does not grow up, but perishes with it’s power of germination. But to think and to will and thence to ACT, is like a flame which gives heat and light all around; or like a seed sown in the ground, which springs up into a tree or flower, and lives.” Emanuel Swedenborg
Another false idea is that to be a volunteer, one must make a commitment of regular hours to a charity or organization. Why not become a freelance volunteer? For this, there is no commitment needed except for the desire to spread good cheer. A freelance volunteer is always looking for opportunities to make the world a better place; be it lending a hand, offering encouraging words, or sharing whatever it is you have (food, clothing, transportation etc.). You won’t earn a plaque for your wall this way, or be invited to a volunteer’s banquet, and it won’t put brownie points on your resume… but it will earn you brownie points in heaven, which is much more important. Someone once asked Mother Teresa how he could follow her example and lead a life of service. She answered : “Do what’s in front of you.” I can’t think of better advice than that. All around us every day, there are opportunities to help, that go unrecognized. To recognize these opportunities requires a basic reorientation of the thought process. When you begin to focus every moment on how you may be of service to others, it soon becomes a habit. And once it becomes a habit you will be living a life of service without consiously thinking about it.
I had a dream a few years ago that I returned to my home from a walk, and my yard was filled with beautiful flowers. I thought: wow, I forgot that I planted those seeds! Then I heard the message: This is the result of the seeds you’ve planted. It’s a comfort to realize that our good works are not forgotten, even if we forget them. My number one frustration in teaching people is to make them see that a small act of compassion or gratitude may be more important in the grand sceme of things, than a flashy act of valor.
take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. – But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. Matthew 6 1, 3,
Some have said that my experiences were just a series of coincidences that I cobbled together to fabricate a story; that I have assigned meaning to meaningless coincidences because I want so much to find a reason for the experiences I have lived through. These are skeptics who are stretching for an explanation, and I only feel sorry for these pitiful people. The synchronicities with Tamara stretches that explanation to the breaking point. The story was already there. I didn’t have to rearrange events or make anything up. All I had to do was write it down. I have already survived my time of doubt and questioning in Mazatlan, and I emerged only stronger in my convictions. If my true tale were just coincidences it would have petered out a long time ago. My story keeps expanding to include more people, and I will follow the trail where-ever it leads.
Update: May 8th 2009
Happy Birthday Tamara! Thanks for your continuing support. I hope you have the best solar year ever. Happy Birthday to my little Pinger, patiently waiting to re-join me. Happy Birthday Fernando, where-ever you are. I pray for you every day. Happy Birthday Jose. I know where you are. You’re 32 now. Is this the year you are finally going to grow up?
“Such luster water lilies throw Upon the brook that lies below, Lipping their blossoms with it’s flow, ‘Twould make a landscape painter pine To win a hue to match with thine To make his martyr’s mantle shine.” “ Shelley
Update: July 21st 2009: Gina Gets Married
It seems that Gina wouldn’t wait for Jose. She has married someone else. I’m not surprised. I told Jose four years ago, to
expect this. I was in Tijuana three months ago. I visited Jose’s mom, and gave her a printed copy of this website. She is a very nice lady, and she feels badly about the nasty way Jose treated me. Jose only lasted a week in San Ysidro, before he was caught and deported again. He was not home when I stopped by. I asked for a photo of Gina, to post here. However, Jose has thrown away all his photos of Gina, and does not want her name mentioned. I’m going to make a few predictions here, for posterity. It seems that the most common retort, when an astrologer gets a hit, is: “I don’t remember you saying that.” With predictions posted on-line. It can’t be dismissed later.
These two predictions are based on astrology: #1. I believe Fernando got married again, or something similar, around the summer of 2006. A committed partnership is considered a ‘marriage’ in astrology. I feel it has been a turbulent relationship, and there is a chance it could have dissolved by now. #2. I believe Fernando has seen me in dreams, several times. In these dreams, he knows I am trying to give him a message, but he can’t understand what the message is. This next prediction is based on a dream I have had several times: When I make contact with Fernando again, it will be when he calls my phone. These last two predictions are not based on astrology, or dreams, just feelings that I continue to have: #1. Fernando still has the St. Michael prayer card I gave him. #2. Fernando and Jose are distant relations. I have an idea that my story may be resolved when I have my Chiron Return, because the role that I have played in Jose’s life seems intrinsically related to Chiron in the 7th house of my natal chart.
I get the feeling that there is one last surprise in store for me, something I do not yet know at a conscious level. I had a dream during my illness that puzzled me at the time, but makes perfect sense now. I dreamed I was given a statue of the Holy Mother made out of mother-of-pearl. I have since learned that an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe made from mother-of-pearl does exist. It’s in a museum in Mexico City, and I hope to someday get a photo for this website.
The synchronicities continue. A few weeks ago I was having dinner with a friend, in a Chinese restaurant. A family was having dinner at the next table. My friend asked the father of the family his name, and where he was from. The father said his name was Fernando, and he was from Michoacan. Then I opened my fortune cookie, and it said: “the person sitting next to you is more important than you think.” Each booth in the restaurant had a glass panel with a nature scene etched on it. At our booth, the etching was of a pair of swans swimming on a lily pond.
And here’s two more synchronicities: if you scroll back up this page and examine the page from Puertolandia magazine, at the top of the second classified column there is a classified ad that begins: 707 CARINOSO. The friend I was dining with, placed that ad in Puertolandia in 2006. we met three years later by chance, when he found this website and contacted me. Neither of us realized that his classified ad was on my website until many months later. After we discovered this coincidence, he revealed to me that his grandfather had given him the nickname Cisne Negro (black swan) because he had been different than the other kids. He hadn’t told me because he disliked the nickname.
I have been doing a little research, trying to find out what the connection is between swans and the Mexican state of Michoacan. So far I have learned that the Purepecha Indians (also known as Tarascan) of Michoacan, have a traditional swan design they use on pottery. I am asking for prayers for Carlos. He went to Cancun six months ago to look for work, but because of the near collapse of Mexican tourism, he is struggling to keep his head above water.
Update: September 18th 2009: Jose gets Married!
Jose got married! On September 16th I dreamed that Jose called me, so I expected to hear from him soon. He called yesterday with the news that he had gotten married. Another synchronicity, his wife’s name is Lily. I spoke with Lily on the phone and she seems like a nice person. I like her. Lily’s Sun is in Leo, which makes for ease of communication between us. They are expecting a baby in February, and if it’s a girl they have promised to name her Kristina. I asked that they choose ‘ Guadalupe’ for a middle name. Jose also promised to try and get a photo of Gina for the website.
Update: May 27th 2010: I have not heard from Jose or Lily since last January, so I have no news from Tijuana. Carlos is still struggling to hang on in Cancun. I send him money as often as I can, but I’m also struggling. Here is a link to a strange-coincidence news story about May 8th birthdays: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1280658/What-chances-Son-father-grandson-born-day.html If the odds of a father, son and grandfather all being born on May 8th are 272,910 to one, what are the odds of all the bizarre coincidences happening in my story? If some bookmaker cares to figure this out, I would love to know.
Update: August 27th 2010: I want to thank all the good folks who prayed for Carlos, when he was hanging onto life by a thread. Carlos has had bleeding ulcers for some time now, and last week his condition (exacerbated by the stress of trying to survive in Cancun) was very grave. On the 17th he went into congestive heart failure, and was at death’s doorstep on the 18th. After hundreds of people of all faiths responded to my request for prayers, Carlos has rallied. His heart seems to have returned to normal, but the stomach problems remain.
I’ve finally been able to find work, as a charwoman. If all goes as planned I will leave for Mexico the first week of December. However, that was my plan for the last two Decembers, and it didn’t come to pass. I realize by now that my personal plans are often futile, and always subject to the approval of whatever force is controlling my destiny.
Update: January 8th 2011: Tijuana
I was delayed leaving Oregon by a month. I got to Tijuana this afternoon, and the first thing I did was visit Jose’s mom to find out the news, and deliver a teddy bear for the baby. Their baby DID turn out to be a girl, but they didn’t name her after me. I expected this. Jose has never kept a promise to me, so why should this time be any different? Both Jose and Lily have checked themselves into drug rehab. I guess they’ve been in the program two months. Jose sometimes gets to visit his mom on Sundays, and he is getting out on work release every day to do landscaping. I hope they can pull it together for the sake of their baby.
Update: Oct. 21st 2011: Mars has been conjucting my Uranus, and yesterday when the Moon moved forward to join the conjuction, I was expecting the unexpected. Remember how I said that the Moon can trigger a transit? I wasn’t real surprised when Jose called me. When two people share a karmic planetary aspect and they have been out of touch for a while, when Mars crosses their shared aspect one will often get the urge to call the other. I had not spoken to Jose directly for two years.
According to Jose, Lily is off at loose ends somewhere. He says she is not interested in having a family and only wants to party. Jose’s mom is caring for Vanessa. I mention this for what it’s worth, because Jose is a habitual liar. I think it’s much more likely that he’s the one who finds family life confining.
Jose is going to make another attempt to cross the border without a coyote. He wants to come back to Hillsboro. I told him that the job situation is bleak in Oregon and not to expect any help from me. Maybe if he does get across he’ll stay in California. Because Jose seems to be incapable of doing anything alone, he has a new traveling companion. He met Francisco at his aunt’s laundromat in TJ. I had a long conversation with Francisco yesterday and he told me that he and Jose had traveled together to Cuernovaca. If he survived one trip with Jose, at least he knows what
he’s letting himself in for.
Today Francisco called me to say that he had texted the url of this blog to his girlfriend in California. After she read my story she told him that although she believed the part about Jose, she thinks I invented Fernando. I have this to say to Francisco’s girlfriend: I don’t appreciate being called a liar. It’s a supreme insult for anyone to say I made up any part of my story. It’s like telling a war correspondent wounded in battle that he invented his war stories. Why don’t you turn off the boob tube and try using a little critical thinking?
#1. So I placed a dummy classified ad in Puertolandia Magazine because I knew that in three years time I was going to post a phony story on the Internet and I needed to manufacture evidence to back up the phony story? When I married Carlos, why didn’t I just change the name of my story to: Searching for Carlos, and pretend Carlos was the one I had been searching for all along? It would have been so easy. And what possible reason (other than finding Fernando) could have compelled me to bring Jose back to Oregon in 2005? For a lark? I just decided one day to climb out of my sick bed and head on down to Mexico so I could return with a violent cholo who would make my life a nightmare? I don’t even like the guy. I will say though, Jose is every writer’s dream character; complex, manipulative and evil, but with enough intrinsic goodness that he keeps you wondering if he’ll ever really reform for good. the best thing is that he’s a real live person who continues to provide me with material for this story. Many of my readers tell me that when they come to the end of this story they want more. Well, I can’t write more until more stuff happens.
#2. If I had the kind of imagination that it would take to invent this story, why am I not a best selling novelist? The plot, and the twists and turns of my story are worthy of Dickens or Shakespeare. There is no way I could have made it up. I can write about events that have already happened fairly well, but I have zero talent for creative writing. I read a lot, but I NEVER read fiction. With a world full of incredible true stories, I just can’t work up any interest in someone else’s fantasy. I would rather read the back of a cereal box than a book about vampire lovers. And why would I post my beautiful photos of Latin America for others to steal (which has been happening ever since I put up my blogs) if I didn’t have a damn good reason for doing so? I put up the two websites, one in English and one in Spanish, because it was the only thing I could think of that might help me find Fernando. What other reason could I possibly have to invent a 29,000 word story and put it up on the Internet? I’m not making any money off of my sites, I don’t sell readings, and if I was making it up, why not make up an ending?
I can think of few things more embarrassing than passing off a phony story as real, only to be publicly humiliated later when someone checks the facts. with this in mind, I have stuck to the unvarnished truth. I wrote the story exactly as it happened. I didn’t add or change anything. I used real names and actual dates. And I didn’t write it for fame or fortune, but rather as a real-life example of how reincarnation and astrology work to produce destiny in the lives of ordinary people. I don’t even own a computer. I have to go to the library to maintain my blogs. In fact, were it not for the kindness of a stranger I met on the Internet, this story and the photos would still be in a file. This man offered to put up this website at no charge. He even designed the header at the top of this page (thank you Kirk!)
There’s a long paper trail that winds through the Washington County criminal justice system that backs up my story. Anyone who wishes to persue this paper trail need only send me an e-mail, and I will reply with Jose’s last names. I will show the originals of the documents that are posted on this website to anyone at any time. I don’t know you, but I can see by your comment that you’re a dim bulb. We can’t all be Einstein, but at least make an attempt to use the reasoning faculties God gave you.
Update: Oct. 26th 2011:
Francisco is growing increasingly irritated with Jose and has decided to try and cross alone. He says Jose is wasting his time with promises of easy crossings, which is true. Jose may have been a coyote in the 1990’s, but he has no idea of what the situation is like at the crossing points these days. I do, because for the last three years I’ve spent time along the border from California to Brownsville, Texas questioning crossers about what the situation is like now.
Francisco has given me permission to write about his relationship with Jose. In the fall of 2008 he was deported to TJ. He met Jose while he was washing his clothing in Aunt Lupita’s laundromat and they struck up a friendship. When Francisco went to visit his family in Cuernovaca, Jose went along. Apparently it was a good visit and Jose minded his manners, because Francisco did not become disillusioned with Jose until the trip back to TJ. They decided to try and cross the border together. They took a bus back to TJ, and Jose said he would depart the bus at Mexicali to visit his sister, and then join Francisco at his motel in TJ. Francisco waited for Jose at the motel for three days, but he never showed up.
This is typical Jose behavior. He will often disappear without a word for days at a time. Francisco then crossed with a coyote, and that was the end of his friendship with Jose until last month. When Francisco was deported again last month, he did not look up Jose. When he saw him on the street he did not want to attract Jose’s attention and managed to avoid him… but only temporarily. Jose did eventually see Francisco on the street and since it seemed impossible to avoid Jose, they began to hang out together and made a plan to cross together. That’s when they called me.
Francisco feels like Jose is using him, which would be correct because Jose uses everyone he gets involved with. It’s a strong Capricorn trait (Jose’s ascendant). After the events in Mazatlan, Jose finally revealed to me what was on his mind in February of 2005. When he met me in San Blas, his plan was to return with me to the United States, convince me to marry him, and then divorce me and take everything I had. The fatal flaw in this ridiculous plan was: #1 I had nothing for him to take but my good credit, and #2, he believed I had fallen for his charms and could therefore manipulate me. He was so gung-ho on this plan that it took me a long time to convince him that he was only in Oregon to find Fernando. At the beginning of our association Jose pretended to be in love with me, but it didn’t work. For the first time in his life he had met his match; someone tougher, smarter and more experienced than himself. The opinion of most Mexicans about American tourists is pretty low, and based on stereotypes. Jose had me pegged as an average American tourist.
Jose read my story for the first time the day they called me. The Spanish translation of my story was posted three months ago, and Jose only learned about it from his call to me. He is angry about the way I portrayed him in the story. When Francisco pointed out that I had merely written the truth (which Jose had told Francisco about long ago) Jose became angry at him for siding with me. I’m interested to learn if either of them makes it ‘al otro lado’.
Update: November 7th 2011: Yesterday I tried to call Francisco to see if he made it to the other side. I got a recording that said the number was no longer in service. I hope he calls me to let me know what happened.
Update: March 29th 2013: On July 21st 2009, I wrote that I thought there was one last surprise in store for me that I did not know at a conscious level. I don’t know if this is it, but I’ve come across something that is quite a surprise to me.
After doing some research on the constellation Cygnus (the swan), I’ve learned that many ancient cultures around the world considered Cygnus as the gateway through which souls entered and exited the physical world, and some of these cultures believed that swans transported souls exiting this world or returning to earth for another try at life in a physical body. A mammoth ivory carving of a swan in flight was discovered in a 15,000-year-old burial site of a child in eastern Siberia, and in a grave dated 4330 BC in Denmark, an infant was found cradled in the huge white wing of a swan. Over the millennia some European cultures subsituted the stork for the swan, as the transporter of returning souls. Endangered now, the elegant white bird with black wings was once very common in Europe. This belief has filtered down to us today in the folktale that the stork brings new babies.
Incidentally, there is a depiction of Cygnus at the top of this website, but that was not my idea. Kirk is the sole creator of my header. It seems that the benevelent force that has guided me through this story, is also guiding the people who help me.
Update: May 22nd 2013: I loved this commercial when it came out in the late 1980’s, because of the theme of woman and swan as mirror image. The concept of swan-humans, seems to be deep in the collective unconscious. Folk tales around the world are full of stories of people who shift between a swan form and a human form. This is especially true in Celtic mythology. I never thought I would see this
commercial again, but yesterday I thought I’d take a look on Youtube, and there it was. Of course, when I was watching this commercial back in the 80’s, the narration was in English.
I was googling swan photos recently and I found the castle I saw in my dream almost nine years ago! Leeds Castle actually has black and white swans on the castle lake, and their logo features a black swan. Nine years have passed since this story began, and I’m still getting surprised. Also, I still do not know why there were two black swans and two white swans in my dream. Over the years people I know have claimed to be one or another of the two extra swans, but it never really seemed the answer to me. Hopefully I’ll find out eventually. One thing I’ve learned in this story is that the revelations come very slowly. Here is the website for Leeds Castle: www.leeds-castle.com I would love to visit Britain again, and if I do, Leeds Castle will be at the top of my list of places to visit. On my last visit to Britain in 2000, I drove out of my way to see Wells Cathedral because I learned there were bell-ringing swans there.
Update: May 30th 2013: For more than forty-five years, I have wanted to see again the 1930’s era cartoon that had given me the desire to own a pair of swans – one white, and one black. I found it! Until youtube came along, I didn’t think there was much of a chance that I’d ever see it again. For several years now, I’ve been searching on youtube; but not knowing the title of the cartoon, or who made it, the search had gone nowhere…until yesterday. I was watching old beer commercials – they make me nostalgic for the Oregon that used to be, and is now gone forever – when the swan cartoon popped up as an option. I was a little surprised that the black swan turned out to be such a despicable character. I guess my immature brain was unable to discern this when I first saw the cartoon. So here it is: TIME FOR LOVE 1936 by Max Fleischer:
Update: June 17th 2013
Ever since I watched the swan cartoon again, I’ve been pondering why it had such an impact on me – so much so that I thought about it for more than 45 years. And why did the evilness of the black swan fail to register with me? Astrology is a language of symbols, and if you’ve immersed yourself in the subject as I have, you start to think in symbols. I now believe that the swan cartoon touched me at a symbolic level, rather than a literal level. I think that the black and white swan together symbolize what the Yin – Yang does. So I designed my own yin yang symbol.
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