quite unusual

I decided the singles scene was NOT for me during my first separation. And yet, in the early spring of 1978, being single again, I set out to establish a new life. My goal was a life-style that would be both comfortable and safe.

I took my time finding a semi-furnished apartment—an apartment I could love; an apartment where the carpet was not shag—not the color of dirt; an apartment where the rented furniture was not thread-bare or smelly. I took some of my savings and purchased a few, very few, pieces of additional furniture – an ultra modern dining room table with four chairs and a spindle rocker for my bedroom.

This move was going to be much different from the first one, where my girl-friends and I threw clothes, cosmetics and odd bits of junk into the back seat of our two cars and calling it good enough got out of Dodge as fast as possible.

This time my ex and a couple of his friends helped me move my stuff on Saturday and Sunday. This time I knew there would be NO going back, so I packed souvenirs and tchotchkes, paintings and art supplies, cleaning supplies and kitchen necessities.

I had some vacation time coming, so on Monday,with a few days off, I started working on getting the moving boxes out of the middle of the living room and organizing a “home”. This, I stated emphatically, was going to be my last move for a very, very long time.

Finally, about Thursday afternoon, I went shopping. I bought clothes, shoes, linens and food – in that order. I was fast finding out that the cabinets and refrigerators of my single friends made Mother Hubbard’s cupboard look well stocked!

Shopping just for me was a first! For the past fifteen years all of my shopping trips had been carefully regulated by the amount of household money I was allowed, and spent only on the stuff that was absolutely needed.

Guess what – shopping can be FUN!

When I went back to work several of my single friends talked me into joining a “Divorce Survival” class with them. And so, between work and class and the friends I had never really been free to enjoy before, life took on something of a routine.

Looking back now, those first weeks blur in my memory. About the only thing that stands out are the classes.

Once a week I got together with a group of men and women who were all hurting at least as badly as I was and we compared pain, confusion and anger. It was certainly one of the most emotionally freeing times I’d ever spent. We were sharing things like grief, fear, anger, loneliness and stress. We were all finding out the others had experienced similar problems and all of us were looking for answers. We were finding out that the problems we blamed for our destroyed marriages were looking back at us from our mirrors, and had in many cases been with us since childhood. We’d carried some of them around with us as excess baggage most of our lives. We were hearing terms like “fair fighting, communication barriers, invasion of space, and warm fuzzies.” We were learning a whole new language and a whole new way of thinking and communicating.

As a class, we looked into stuff like Transactional Analysis, psychology, parapsychology, astrology and bits and pieces of everything else imaginable. At one point my best friend said, “I don’t think there are any answers, Ellen.  There are only more questions!”

An interesting, and quite unusual, tidbit stands out during those months of searching.

Today I recognize it as something quite spiritual, and quite special!

One of the women in our group was heavily involved in parapsychology and astrology. She talked to me for hours at a time about what she believed; about the supernatural power she believed she could tap into at will, and about what it would take to activate even more ‘power.’ She had an extensive library of books on the paranormal and astrology. One huge, old book in particular gave instructions on “how to chart a horoscope.” It was something of a “do it yourself manual” on the subject.

At any rate, with her urging, I borrowed it over one weekend, read the instructions, and proceeded to chart my horoscope. I was fascinated by the whole thing. I couldn’t tell you today what I found or what my horoscope said – the usual garbage about the Aries personality, how it complimented or clashed with the other astrological signs, what could be expected, in general if you were born an Aries, and blah, blah, blah.

I DO recall one line of the text standing out on the page, almost as if it had been highlighted with a fluorescent yellow marker.

“DO NOT BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE OCCULT.”

That little bit of information excited me.

I was enthralled with the supernatural in every form – from ESP (a big deal back in the ’70s), to the Ouija Board (we considered it a party game back then. I barely needed to touch the planchette to make it fly around the board.) and, of course, my horoscope. For years I had dabbled around the edges of many things mildly paranormal – now my horoscope was telling me, “do not become involved.”

When I returned the book to Penny on Monday I told her what I’d found.

“Oh come on! That’s nowhere in my book.”

She was right! We couldn’t find it. She carefully redid my horoscope herself, She was after all the expert.

That single sentence was nowhere to be found.

But I know what I saw! To this day I can close my eyes and plainly envision the page.

“DO NOT BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE OCCULT.”

Okay, I know lots of my Christian friends read their horoscope religiously, and it wasn’t until I was much more familiar with God’s Word that I understood this warning from the supernatural was very real, very serious and quite unusual. You explain it. I can’t. I just know what I saw!