28 May 18: In Memoriam: Patrick Napolitano

I received the news last night that my little brother Patrick went down in a vintage plane in New Mexico from Kansas on the way back to Fresno sometime between Friday night and Saturday, I guess. He was a very experienced pilot, a freak of a mechanical maintenance man, and more than anything else, just loved being up there all by himself.

“You know that song, “Sailing?” he’d said, back when he was working for MGM Grand airlines counting and measuring and checking and re-checking every bolt and screw. I remember how proud I was on the tarmac when we’d boarded the plane and he’d walked us out. That’s my brother, I’d said, and if he checked this plane, it’s definitely ok.

“That’s how I feel up there.”

“Whenever you get on a plane” he’d said to me sternly, “You need to ask for the 90 hour Stem-to-Stern Certificate. They have to check that plane stem to stern every 90 flying hours, or they can’t take off. With commercial schedules these days there’s no way they can do that. They have to show you that certificate.” I nodded, imagining the scene:

…a planeload of pissed-off New Yorkers. “Sorry, we can’t leave..” the annoyed pilot says over the P.A, “The bitch in 32B needs to see our ‘stem to stern‘ inspection certificate. Guess we’ll aaaaaallllll just have to wait a little looooonger!”

Patrick was a unique, eccentric kid. I mean, he lived in his own world. In our family at that point the sooner you found your own world to live in the better.

When he was really little, he became completely fascinated and obsessed by the trash truck. He’d stand by the window, eyes wide, and watch them ride in on the huge gray beast like warriors on a tank, the truck beeping and backing up and the huge jaw-like apparatus lowering and picking up the cans, the trash man supervising and assisting the whole operation masterfully from the ‘stern’, leaping from bumper to curb like a dancer, waving, beep beep beep until the mighty tank rumbled away.

Little Patrick must have been about 3 or 4 when he morphed into a trash truck. Purposefully striding around the house on his new little legs, his little right hand was on an imaginary stickshift as his little left hand confidently maneuvered an imaginary steering wheel. He’d ‘drive’ around the coffee table, stop, and carefully check his imaginary rear-view mirror before sounding a little ‘beep beep beep‘, back up, change course and head to the kitchen.

I remember him in being in this mode most of the time.

As soon as he could he started hanging out at the Van Nuys Airport before he was old enough to drive, riding with the Civil Air Patrol and working on finding a missing plane that had gone down decades earlier.

He found it.

If my brother were that hyper, mysterious little kid today, he’d be doped up within an inch of a walking coma.

We just knew there was something going on we didn’t understand but it was obviously very clear to him, so we just watched him go…marvelled at him, really.

I’m so moved to read today what I’m reading about him, seems that a lot of other people feel the same way I do.



Mad respect, baby boy.
















27 May 18: The Lovers,reversed/The Fool/Ace of Coins

Don’t rush into anything. Uh-oh. Someone may be about to make a bad decision in regard to a romantic relationship, partnership or friendship.

On the Karmic #6 of the Major Arcana, The Lovers, the olde decks show a man standing in the middle of two women as Cupid hovers overhead, arrow cocked in his bow, ready to  shoot and choose one of them if the hesitating, wavering man doesn’t make the choice himself. On the Morgan-Greer card, a nude couple embrace in a garden of calla lilies, gazing into each other eyes.

Center stage we have the innocent, trusting, nothing to lose Fool, ready to get out there into the big world and explore all its offerings. Carrying a white rose, he is open and receptive, a pure soul. He is the Seeker, life is an adventure. Rules? What rules.

Ace of Coins (Virgo/Taurus/Capricorn) is very much of the solid, reliable, material world, and means money, wealth, gold, valuables, and earthly riches in general. This could be that the opportunity to be involved in a new endeavor that has the potential to be something very successful in the ‘real world’ is being offered to the Fool, but his back is turned as if he doesn’t want or need it, or is too enamoured with The Lovers to pay attention to anything else.

I’m not surprised to see the Fool with his back to the coin. Associated with the wild, unpredictable and unconventional planet Uranus, money to him is more about what it can actually do rather than being its own reward. As a matter of fact, that one coin may be all he has in his little hobo sack he carries tied to the stick he’s holding over his shoulder – he should be careful with it. His ever-loyal service dog is always at his side as he skips merrily along through life. Today it’s the little dog that catches my eye, who seems to be trying to get the Fool’s attention.

There is much debate about the Fool’s dog. Is he looking out for his foolish master, and is he barking a warning of trouble ahead as the Fool, rose in hand, strides purposefully in the direction of the reversed Lovers? Is he just happy for his master?

The Fool could be bearing an engagement ring, and making a ‘relationship right’. He’s got the rose and the ring, and he’s ready to do the thing. He shouldn’t rush it, although it’s hard to tell him anything when he’s like this, and everyone may be a bit shocked. It may be a complete surprise, even to him.

This could also mean he’s turning his back on a real thing. The huge, shiny Ace of Coins being offered out of the sky could literally be a ‘windfall’ of cash. It’s as if the Skyhand is lowering the coin into his garden, which I assume is his, but today his back is to it. He’s  ventured out to follow the path through the leafy arch down the mountain and out into the wide world. It’s a beautiful garden, red roses in bloom, lilies in bloom. I’m going to assume the rose he’s carrying with him is from this garden. Maybe this garden is established and mature, and he’s off to find a place to plant a new garden with his white rose. Starting over.

So the Fool could finally be making a choice and a proposal.

However, he is anything but conventional, and if there’s a rule or regulation, chances are he’ll break it, bend it, or ignore it altogether – including relationship ‘rules’. This Fool could even be paying to watch other people’s private moments or spending his money on relationships that are based solely on sex. To each his own, but that could get expensive.

He should be investing that coin into something more long-term, but what the hell, he’s a Fool!

He could be traveling to invest or to lend money to a couple or partnership in ‘over their heads’ or a new ‘startup’ which would not be a good idea right now. That receptive white rose he’s carrying may as well be a sign that says ‘I’ll believe anything you say, how much do you need?’

He’ll never see that money again, but – he may not really care.





25 May 18: The World

Fulfillment. Hopefully, more than every once in awhile we enjoy the feeling that everything’s perfect in our lives –  at least as ‘perfect’ as it can get here on Earth. Everything feels right: you love your life, what you’ve done, where you are, how far you’ve come, who you’re with, where you’re going, your world. Commit that moment to cellular memory and make that feeling the goal. You may be surprised at how little it really takes to achieve it.

On this 21st card, the very last of the Major Arcana, we are at the end of the journey,  completing the entire cycle before returning to the very beginning, The Fool, Numero Zero.

It is a majestic and beautiful card. Against open blue sky, in the center of an egg-shaped wreath of green leaves (the Cosmic Egg an ancient symbol of wholeness and of course, the endless birth/death cycle. We still don’t know which came first.) a nude female figure dances, although she is draped below the waist and is widely believed to be a hermaphrodite symbolizing the perfect balance of male and female (Rider-Waite, Morgan-Greer) although also generally identified as the Great Goddess. That she is dancing suggests the dance of the Hindu God Shiva, the Creator/Destroyer. The dancer holds a wand in each hand, suggesting the ‘creation of his/her world’. The universe must always be in motion, as is subatomic matter. Think of sacred dance that had been outlawed, i.e., the Native American Ghost Dance. Holy stuff. Dance is physically moving space. Feng Shui.

On Yuri Shakov’s Russian card, as usual, there is only a planet floating in black space, surrounded by stars and potentially, other worlds. There is no celebratory wreath of success, only the completion of a cycle. The world has once again successfully turned. The dancer is not a delicate figure but a very human, well-muscled, similarly draped nude female  wearing a Kichka, a beautifully embroidered peasant’s hat worn at celebrations.

Dali’s card, ‘El Mundo’, confirms my interpretation of the strange, ghostly, semi-transparent ever-present formless faces that appear throughout his angst-ridden deck. In a blood red-room 3 figures are chained, resembling the prisoners of the Devil card, and a frightening, scowling face with huge bleeding eyes watches them at night through a window. The world was something that had to be dealt with whether he liked it or not, did he feel imprisoned by it? How could he not, the one he created was so much more interesting. Dali didn’t stand by and watch the world, he dove right in and became it.

Saturn rules this card, and Saturn don’t play. Kronos to the Greeks, Geb to the Egyptians, Saturn is the Lord of Time, and here on Earth we measure it, mark it, need it, waste it, give it, take it, turn it back, turn it forward.

This card is the ending of a major cycle in life which obviously and naturally will usher in a new one.

This card is an ‘international card’ and could mean travel or having completed or beginning a new job, assignment or relationship with someone at a distance or foreign.

It’s a good card on a good day, the world has turned.



24 May 18: Queen of Coins reversed & Two of Swords reversed

Dear Johnette,

Please get off your ass and bust a move immediately. There’s no time this morning.

You know we love you,

Your Cards


Basically that’s what happened this morning. I was endlessly driving – or more accurately, not driving, but stuck in various traffic’s all day out of town and out of range yesterday, the day a long-awaited piece of business mail finally arrived, of course, the first day in months I’m out of town…

Rather than settle in for a nice morning read I felt the slap of the reversed Queen (Virgo/Capricorn/Taurus) and had no choice but to take it personally. I shut down and did trek to the Post Office to be there the minute it opened. All is signed and sent back overnight to get a jump on the 3 day weekend.

Done and dusted.

We can now turn her upright again.


Thank you for the message.


I listen, I listen.





23 May 18: Seven of Cups reversed & Five of Wands

Waking up to reality. What a pair this is.

The ‘Castles in the Air’ card, the dreamy, illusionary 7 of Cups/Water (Pisces/Cancer/Scorpio) shows us a shadowy figure of a human with his or her back to us enamored with a beautiful smorgasbord of overflowing gold cups containing various questionable contents floating in on Sky Clouds.  He is overwhelmed by his options, visions, and imagination – some of these images are more realistic than others, which is what this card is all about (Rider-Waite). The Morgan-Greer card has no shadowy figure, it is us who has to decode these mirage-like images.

One cup seems desirable, overflowing with gold and jewelry, but it could all be fake. One contains a dragon head, but what with all the clouds and mist and confusion, we can’t tell what’s what. Is it a dragon, or a distorted puppy? He’s got to pick a reality, basically, or his life will never get past the dream state. Cups are emotional, not necessarily practical, and this is a mighty watery, misty, wishful card. He feels chaos. Overindulgence and escapism to the point of delusion is the common reputation of this card, and in a lot of readings, even worse when reversed.  Hallucinations. Fantasy.  This is well known as the ‘all that glitters is not gold’ card.

The 5 of Clubs/Fire (Sagittarius/Leo/Aries) is a card of competition. 5 young men brandishing thick clubs wave them around at each other in mock-battle, but don’t seem to be doing any real harm, as we see no physical contact. Debate, argument, dissent, lively collaboration – could even be in your own head, one of those ever-entertaining ‘internal debates’ i.e. arguing with yourself. This is the martial arts card, you have a judo match going on in your head.

I’m wanting to see this as successfully coming out of a period of neglect or self-indulgence, possibly even with the help of an intervention. Maybe friends are trying to talk some sense into someone who is ‘losing it’ after ‘a dream has died’ or they’re trying to involve you in a group or team project or event of some kind to get you ‘out of yourself’. It’s not comfortable, but they mean well.

Maybe there was or is competition for a ‘fantasy job’ or person you desperately desired but didn’t get – and you’ll see it turned out to be a good thing you didn’t.

Or: are other people keeping you from achieving your own dream?





22 May 18: The Star & King of Cups & 6 of Wands, all reversed

Burnout. This is all about someone unfit to lead, basically. A sad layout for sure, but I can’t feel bad for this reversed King of Cups/Water (Pisces/Scorpio/Cancer) because in this position he can be a sorry son of a bitch, manipulative and controlling of everything and everyone else but his own emotional state. Upright he’s a respected, mature, caring father figure –  he embraces all kinds of people,  his wisdom and advice trusted and respected. Or at least it was..but not anymore. This one can have all kinds of issues: drugs, alcohol, sexuality. Toxic as hell. This is one miserable, mixed-up bastard..or bitch. Whoever it is is too old to be this screwed up.. they don’t seem to know or care that they are, that’s the challenge here.

Inspiration is gone (the Star reversed) as we can see from the Star. Upright the card of hope, protection, inspiration and guidance here is reversed. I do get a ‘shooting star’ vibe from this – it’s an amazing thing to see a falling star flame out, quite poignant. There is a poetry to it. But this isn’t a pretty sparkling falling star, this is a sad, slow loss of hope, inspiration, emotional balance, confidence and health.  Burned out, in the cold light of day, it’s just a another rock.

The Six of Wands upright is a card of victory. A rider on horseback leads a team behind him bearing 6 tall staves held proudly upright. The lead rider wears a laurel wreath on his head, and another is attached to the top of his own staff like a victory flag celebrating a great achievement, and we assume there is an audience for this parade.  Reversed, he is simply no longer capable of leading anyone anywhere, whether he knows it or not. He may not even want to.

Basically he shouldn’t be at the center of this layout or at the center of anything. This is someone who should have retired, because they’re just not going to get ‘any better’.

Or younger.

This is a mid-life crisis spread if there ever was one, or if it isn’t, someone’s ‘burned out’ or their ‘star has fallen’ and they’re just not in touch with the reality of it.

These cards are good cards upright, which means the energies want to be there, but are waning, or more likely dissipated by the instability of the collapsing King.

If this picture were to be turned right side up, he could lift his glass, ride out into the sunset to the sea with dignity, be remembered for the ‘star’ he once was, and embrace the next cycle of his life.

Take up surfing or something.

I used to watch all the old ladies swim at sunrise in Hawaii and think,

“Isn’t it breakfast time for sharks?”












21 May 18: 7 of Swords & Knight of Clubs & 8 of Clubs

Secret travel plans. The fired-up Knight of the Wands suit (Leo/Sagittarius/Aries) likes to be always on the move – but he’s generally here and gone pretty quick. In traditional decks, he even looks like he’s having a hard time keeping his rearing horse from bolting out from under him.  He’s the star of this little show at the center of the other 2 cards. His back is to the sneaky, covert 7 of Swords/Air to the left, showing someone making off and away from a town in the background with an armful of swords – nobody’s watching. The card to the right of the Knight is another card of the suit of Fire, the 8 of Wands, showing 8 straight clubs flying through the air in formation. This card is sometimes referred to as ‘arrows of love’ and they do look like arrows descending to their ‘target’ from some distance. This card brings news, announcements, invitations, plane tickets..it’s all about making a move. Between the touch-and-go Knight of Wands and the frequent-flying 8 of Wands, there’s no doubt the time is now for this impatient Knight.

So it would seem that someone has been planning to make some kind of move from behind the scenes for a while. But this is also a card of avoidance and procrastination, no longer possible or desirable. This Knight has been, like his horse, straining at the reins, but either timing wasn’t right or he didn’t have everything he needed in place in order to make his plan work. He is now ready to put his ‘secret plans’ into action.

He’s probably ready to bolt and go his own damn way where he can move at his own (sometimes manic) pace. This fast-moving 8 is telling him to ‘strike while the iron is hot’.

But that 7 of Swords (Gemini/Libra/Aquarius) is the Card of the Thief, and this Knight’s back is to him, so I’m worried. Is someone stealing from him while he’s away or involved and distracted by something at a distance? This is embezzlement as well..we see that the thief is making off with only 5 of the 7 swords, leaving 2 stuck in the ground behind him as he runs off. That was nice of him. Will they even be missed? Is this a one-time thing or is this thief stealing little by little, coming back for the last of them later? Heads up, Sir Knight.

Is this Knight secretly paying somebody off for something, possibly at a distance? He can be a bit of a player..

If you’re traveling, watch your stuff. This thief also will steal your ideas, so be mindful.

It’s time to make your move, if you’ve been planning one. The Sun moving into Gemini out of Taurus in a way sort of feels like Mercury going direct after a retrograde…from Earth to Air.

Something that I notice when I consider this layout in a traditional deck as opposed to the Morgan-Greer: the Knight of Wands usually faces left rather than right and we see him only from the waist up, there is no horse in the picture at all, but his salamander logo is prominent on his yellow sleeve – he’s fireproof, as the salamander was thought to be, or certainly thinks he is. He certainly seems to be.

The thief of the 7 of Swords in traditional images is shown looking back over his shoulder as he steals away alone, in which case he would be face to face with the Knight in the center of the layout who may have just ‘landed’ or returned from a trip to find someone stealing from him, maybe even catching him in the act. This thief has looked back, it’s someone the Knight knows, and he’s not happy about it. How long has this been going on?

Time to make your move, or just make A move..maybe someone will surprise you with plane tickets and a Hawaiian vacation.

(That volcano’s been flowing since the 80’s. We used to watch the lava hit the water and cool and explode into new rocks, it was all very primordial and awesome. It really is something to see, and when we stood on the lava flow, it melted the bottom of our sneakers.)