Friday, June 30, 2017

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 70, July 1 2017

Click here for a printable version of Issue 70

Interview with
Jamie & Jesse Jager of Wrackline

Wrackline Curiosity Shop, Yachats, OR
Wrackline, a curiosity shop, is located on the corner of Forest Hill Rd and Hwy 101, just north of Yachats. Wrackline is open Thursday through Sunday.

TYG: How did you come to Yachats?
Oh man! So, we grew up in Philomath. Both of us actually went to school together, but we weren’t really friends or anything. I was one year above him. So I graduated, left; he was in Philomath still. We eventually got together, about five years ago now, we just lived 30 miles from each other at this point. We started dating and everything... what I’m leading to, is we decided one day to go on a cross-country, hitch-hiking kind of road trip to try and figure out “Where could we see ourselves for a good chunk of our lives? Where would we want to place down some roots?”

TYG: That’s always an important decision.
Jamie: [laughs]
Yes! So we went all around the country. We went the south route down through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas...

TYG: We did that!
Yeah! We did that, then moved back up the East Coast, and then back around to Oregon. There were places we fell in love with, but wouldn’t you know it, the whole time, we got back to Oregon and we were like, “So... Yachats?” [laughter] Right where we started. We started at the south end of town and just stuck our thumbs out, and we came back, and we’re like... let’s move here! [laughter] So we started looking for properties and stuff–we didn’t really know what we were doing; we just wanted to be here. And we found a house–a cheap, little, cute house–just right up the road. And so we’re there, and we were kind of trying to figure out a business opportunity, you know, what can we do? There aren’t a lot of jobs around here. What can help us survive? And we both were struggling with wanting to feel more part of the community. [We wanted to] get to meet and really know the people around here. And help out! And spur on new ideas, and get people excited about other things, and connect with these people. That’s why we love Yachats! So that’s what I think we’re kind of doing here. That’s how we landed in Yachats.

TYG: I certainly think this shop is amazing. I love the 50s feel of it.

TYG: I’m guessing you were going for 50s?
Well, not necessarily a certain decade, but an old era, but timeless at the same time–just a little bit of everything. [laughs] Organized chaos. Curiosities. We like to call it a curiosity shop. It just sparks interest, creativity in here.

TYG: So what got you the idea for this shop?
Jesse: Well, I think her! We lived in Bend right after our cross-country trip–we got a job there and created a house.
Jamie: It was quick–less than a year.
Jesse: And we created a feel within the house.
Jamie: And that was the first time that we really discovered this way of decorating, and realizing what we can do with older things that we find. We both love collecting older stuff–in a way, we like to save it from getting thrown away, because you’re never going to find anything of this quality, or sometimes of this character anymore. So we both–just separately, even before we got together–we both kind of naturally did that in our own lives. And when we moved to Bend, that was the first time we really lived together, and we both quickly realized, “Dude, with our minds together, we come up with some really funky ways of decorating.” And we’d put up a picture on Facebook or something, and people would be like, “How did you even think of doing that? That’s amazing!” So that’s kind of what happened here.
Jesse: And we both like the era, or vintage, basically.

TYG: And of course everything here has a character, a story behind it, just as the nature of being old things.
Exactly. And sometimes you know it, and sometimes you don’t... The other day, we were making up stories for certain things, like a bowling pin. We had this huge, extravagant story that never happened.
Jesse: Because it’s burned. So we were wondering, how was it burned? [laughter] But to tie it back in to why we did this shop: stories and people. We love the story behind items. The significance of an item isn’t always seen right away. You have to get to know who owned it, or where it came from–all those things. I think the reason behind all this is because we love people. We love connecting to people and learning from people, and being creative with people. And [...] we talk so many people who have stores like this, and we’re just blown away by their passion, and their creativity, and their stories.
Jamie: Their stories! It always seems to go back to that every time. And it becomes almost like an addiction: “I want to meet new people! I want to go out and find something I’ve never seen before.” It gets in your blood!
Jesse: A new mystery! Even if you don’t have all the information on a new item, you can research it. You know there’s a story behind it.

TYG: That’s part of the charm–just knowing that something has a story, even if you don’t know what it is.
The mystery of it, yes. Another aspect of this shop that was a personal thing for me was, growing up as a kid, I was a really weird kid. [laughs] I used to collect weird stuff and hide it in my room so they wouldn’t find it, because I found it so fascinating. Like–I hesitate saying this because it was so illegal, but it was innocent! It was complete innocence at this point. I was probably eight or so, and we came down here and there was a beached whale. At this point in my life I know to not touch it! But as an eight-year old, I was fascinated. So I ran up to it, and I plucked a barnacle off of it, and it came with a piece of blubber, and I hid it in my bag and I went home. Three weeks later, the whole house smelled like rotting, dead body. [laughter] And my parents are like, “What on Earth is in here?” I went to school, and my Mom combed my whole room and she found a ziplock bag that had a dead barnacle and whale skin in it, just rotting. And it was putrid, just terrible! But that was the first thing. [laughs] And ever since then, I just love going out and finding things. Obviously, I know the rules now! Curiosity shops played a big role in my life, like the one in Seattle, “The Old Curiosity Shop.” It just mystified me.
Jesse: So with all that, I got to know Jamie...
Jamie: You just fanned it!
Jesse: Yes–I wanted to give her a chance to blossom in all those areas. So I did that, but then I got into it.
Jamie: He started exploding as well, in creativity.
Jesse: I’m passionate about the picking and the people, and I just want to keep going. Hopefully, I want to keep inspiring and just connecting. I think connecting is the main thing.
Jamie: Especially these days. I feel like you don’t have a lot of connections anymore.

TYG: You’d expect more, with Facebook and that sort of thing. I don’t know why, but you feel a sort of distance.
Right? We’re more connected than we’ve ever been, but I feel, at times, that I’m more alone. [To a customer] It’s a porcupine quill!

TYG: That’s amazingly long!
Isn’t it, though? They’re super-sharp.

TYG: Okay, I had no idea they could grow that big.
Jamie: They get bigger! Those are small ones.

TYG: What? How far down do they go into the skin?
I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think super-far.

TYG: It must have to do with the white [part].
They’re all different colors, kind of mottled. They’re cool. They’re not a local species, though.
Jesse: And they have little barbs on them.
Jamie: Yes! Just like stingray barbs. I used to train stingrays.
Jesse: She was a marine biologist in Newport.
Jamie: I actually went to the marine science program down here in Newport, through Hatfield. I jumped all over the country and worked in all these really neat places. I met Jesse, and that’s when we decided to come back here.

TYG: So cool! So, how do you get in contact [with people] and get these items? Or do people come to you?
People come to us, or a lot of the time, we’ll just travel. We love traveling around; we love going to little general stores. A lot of the time what happens is [that] we’ll go to a little town. One town that jumps out in my mind that we went to last year is called “Looking Glass.” I’m not really good at directions, but it’s kind of out past Eugene, more southern Oregon. Looking Glass, Oregon–they have the oldest general store in the state. I think it’s the original business in the state–I might be mistaken.

TYG: So it’s actually passed down, family to family?
Yes! And it’s still there, and it’s the most gorgeous building. It’s just incredible–it’s so neat. Someone put so much time and energy into that–it’s not a quick build, like we do now. I love it. So, we went to Looking Glass, and it’s places like that that we go to check out. And you’ll go into a little general store, and you’ll talk to someone, and they’ll be like, “Oh, I know someone down the road that has stuff that you might like–I know they’re getting rid of things. And so you just meet people that way.

TYG: Garage sales are gold mines!
Garage sales! Estate sales–those are awesome too. We try to hit those as much as possible as well. But then people come in and talk to us too! “I have a collection that my kids don’t want anymore. I’m getting older, I want to make sure it doesn’t get thrown away. Are you guys interested in buying it?” So... a lot of stuff like that. [She goes off with a customer.]

TYG: This store is wonderful–so amazing!
Thank you–that just means so much to us. We just do it one day at a time... [There ensues some conversation about an oversized pack of cards, and several versions of Sorry games.]

TYG: You know, one of the most incredible board games I’ve ever seen, as just a work of art, is at the Overleaf. They have a penguin chess game. It’s chess, but all the pieces are exquisitely crafted and painted, and I’m guessing they’re made of wood. Penguins. It’s amazing.
I want to go there and check it out!

TYG: I don’t know if they still have it out, but it used to be that you could just walk in there and start playing.
We should have a Sorry game here pretty soon! We were thinking of having a game night.

TYG: Yes, this is a perfect space for a game night! [...] Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?
Well, one thing we haven’t talked about is our vision.
Jamie: Yes, the future plans for this place! Because this [gestures around] is like maybe a quarter of what we want to do with this place. This front area is always pretty much going to be our shop, the retail space. That back hallway-ish looking room, we want to turn it into the local history and oddities museum. There’s a big blank wall where we have all those scientific posters up.

TYG: Have you been to the Little Log Church Museum?
Yes, I love that place! [...] So we want to turn that wall with all the scientific stuff into a feature wall to showcase local artists. So every few months, depending on the theme–like June is Gay Pride month, so have a theme back there with maybe a local artist who’s part of the LGBTQ community, and Creature Features as well, like animals that practice homosexuality and weird things; odd, crazy things that you don’t even think of happening. And then there’s a big room back here that we want to turn into a classroom, where we’ll have resident artists come in and do classes, marine ID classes, Jesse has some ideas for like an outdoors exercise program–everything. There’s a geologist that wants to come in...

TYG-Editorial Assistant: I’d like to ask a question... What’s the story behind the posters and photographs of the lunar soil samples and micro-crater studies?
Awesome question, because it’s something that we just recently acquired and it excites us beyond reason. There was an estate sale that was south of Florence actually, of a geo-physicist who passed away, and it was his life-long collection. He was the highest-paid geophysicist in America during his career. He worked a lot during the Apollo 10 mission. And so we have those posters back there depicting some of the scientists that were working on that, some of the lunar dust they found that they blew up...

TYG: Yes, the zap craters!
Yes! And then we also have some of his sifting trays, different meshes to sift the lunar rocks and stardust and stuff like that. He’s a really cool man–we have a little pamphlet on him, [Gerald J. Wasserburg].

TYG: So, anything else?
On the 4th of July we’ll have this outdoor area open, and I hope to have ready by the 4th a kind of seating area, and then we’re going to have an herb garden on the side. And also we’re going to be expanding on the inside to have more retail room just for the summer.

TYG: Well thank you so much!
Thank you Allen! It’s been a joy!
Jesse: Thank you so much!

Interview with Morgen Brodie

TYG: So, how did you come to Yachats?
My daughter [Star] and granddaughter [Pi] had moved here, and they started campaigning pretty early on. I thought, “Yeah, you know, I’m not really ready to move yet, but I’ll think about it–I’ve always loved it here.” Then my daughter sent me a drive-by photo of a house with a teeny little hand-lettered “For Sale” sign in it, that had gone up the day before. I called the owner in California and looked at the YouTube. About a minute in, I knew it was my house! I call these situations the milagros: The people who get here despite all logic, despite all money, depite everything... and that’s how it happened to me!

TYG: I know a few of those as well.
Yes! It totally came together.

TYG: It happened for us, as well! We were in Washington, Kalama, [my parents] had dreamed [of coming] out here! [They had] been here before, and thought how cool it would be to work out here. And then it opened up!
See? How long ago was that?

TYG: 10 years–wow!
Isn’t it odd? I remember, I only came here four years ago, and you were a kid! And now I look at the pictures, and I think “Oh my god! Who is that young man?”

TYG: So, you’re a social worker! How did you get into that?
Quite by accident. I majored in medieval drama and philosophy and theology, so [makes a raspberry sound] job prospects, not so much! And I just kind of fell into it, over and over. I worked for a bunch of different non-profits, and ended up working for the state for a long time.

TYG: So what exactly did you do as a social worker? I’ve always been kind of fuzzy on what it is.
Well, I’m not a trained social worker academically. So my philosophy of it–and I became a trainer and a policy-setter, so I got to spread that around, is that you are able to come into a juncture of people’s lives when they’re having trouble. [It’s] maybe their own trouble, or somebody else is having trouble about their choices. You earn some trust with them, and you try to figure out what’s going on from their perspective, and what their options are. You offer them whatever choices you’re aware of, and listen to their own choices and why they make them, and just try to be helpful. A lot of it was crisis-oriented. I’ve worked in domestic violence, and elder abuse.

TYG: Always a hard place to work.
Very hard! But people have the right to make their own choices, and as they understand what they’re doing, and as they understand what their options are, it doesn’t always please other people, but I don’t think that was my job.

TYG: It’s always hard, especially in abuse cases. It’s like, why would you ever do this?
Yes, it’s pretty complex. And, why would you stay the first time somebody hurt you? But that’s pretty complex too. I think that being respectful to people and trying to help them see what the options are is the main thing.

TYG: Absolutely–that’s a worthy cause. So I hear you’re a local artist as well!
Morgen: [laughs]
I make things, yeah. I like to think of myself as a craftswoman–it’s less pressure. I’ve dabbled in a lot of media, and I’m partner in a gallery.

TYG: So what kind of stuff do you make?
Right now I’m mostly working in fabric, and I’m starting to play with ceramics. I have a friend who has a kiln, so we get together once a week and just make things.

TYG: That’s really cool! So you make pots and pans and stuff?
I do different whimsical things. I work with wool, so I knit and felt, and do wall hangings.

TYG: Wool is a beautiful material.
Yes, I love it. I have a shower stall–not my main shower stall!–full of raw wool that has to be processed. It’s so cool to just follow all the way from the sheep to the finished product.

TYG: So do you spin the wool yourself?
I do!

TYG: Wow!
Well, I’m lazy about it, so I can, and sometimes I do, but I have a friend who’s a good spinner who keeps me supplied, too.

TYG: That sounds amazing!
It’s very meditative, and I just like taking raw materials and seeing what can happen with them, what they want to be more than what I want them to be.

TYG: Because once you get into the status where you’re slowly knitting something, even though your hands are moving, your mind is free.
That is absolutely true, Allen. It helps me focus. I usually am knitting constantly, like if I go to a meeting or a talk. I have friends who went to medical school in Germany, and they said that it’s very common for people to be knitting during the lectures. If I’m not doing something with my hands, I’m not paying attention.

TYG: Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?
I really love being here; I find it’s a place to be really contemplative, which is what I’m about at this time in my life.

TYG: Trying to understand yourself? One has to understand oneself before one can understand anyone else, really.
Well, I think that’s true, Allen. And the work that I’m doing now is consciously trying to step outside of myself and look at the world from other perspectives, particularly with regard to racism, which is work that I’m doing right now. You know, you have this concept of the world that was given to you, and you operate as though it’s true, and you don’t recognize the harm that it does to other people and to yourself.

TYG: Sometimes you don’t recognize its inadequacies as well, where it doesn’t explain anything.
Absolutely! Or you think it explains everything, and you embrace it so tightly, and then you find out that there’s nothing there. It’s like the Wizard of Oz.

TYG: I still love that the whole thing behind that movie was a brilliant con artist. [...] Well, thank you so much!
Thank you Allen, it was an honor to speak with you!

Morgen Brodie is part of  River Gallery, at or 503-838-6171, located at 184 South Main Street in Independence. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11-5. Our August show is Eclipsing Color: Adventures in Black and White. We’ve invited all our artists to submit black and white work only for that month. We’ll be having a party starting at 9 am for the eclipse and have special eclipse T shirts for sale.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 69, June 1 2017

Interview with Katrina Wynne

 The Yachats Gazette enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with Ms. Wynne, who wears many hats: “Forester, gardener, Soulful Counselor/psychotherapist, mediator, minister, officiant, Death Doula, Natural Health Educator, landlord, political activist, community organizer, Tarot & oracle expert and international teacher/writer/lecturer, professional radio broadcaster, podcaster, budding videographer, journalist, photographer, graphic artist, motorcyclist, bicyclist, hermit and aging Super Woman.”

TYG: So how did you come to Yachats?
That’s my favorite question. I think everybody in Yachats has some incredible story about how they landed here.

TYG: Seems like it!
I think it does seem like it. Okay, so... I was at a process work conference in Waldport, with the Mindells...

TYG: Process work?
Yes! Do you know Arnie and Amy Mindell? They’re delightful people, wise people—they teach all over the world. I’ve been studying with them since 1988. I was at one of their workshops in Waldport, while I was in graduate school up in Seattle. I came down on my motorcycle. And then I thought “Oh, I’ll go down to Yachats for lunch and find a nice, little place to eat.” But keep in mind, this was back in 1991. And when I came down here, there was no place to eat. Nothing that was really open for lunch that I would eat at. At that point Blythe had a cute little restaurant—I can’t recall what it was called—but that’s where I really wanted to eat, but it was closed. So right across the street there was this real estate agent, and with motorcycles you have to have a very wide radius for turning. So I thought: “Okay, I’ll just turn into that parking lot.” And then I thought, “Well, you know what, why don’t I just go in and see if there’s some property!” Because I’d been looking for some property for a couple of years, and I had very specific qualities for that property that I was guided by the trees to look for. I talked to the real estate agent, and he goes, “Well, we have either time to look at one property down in Yachats, or two down in Beaver Creek.” And I said, “Well, I’ll look at the one in Yachats.” And we drove through, we drove out, and I said, “I’ll take it.” And so like the Fool, I jumped in. And like the Fool, I ended up making Yachats my home, because the trees were calling to me, because the land had just been clear-cut. I didn’t even look at the house; I looked at the land. Trees speak to me, and they were crying, and saying, “Look, we need somebody to help us heal.” And so I made a commitment to live here, and to help those trees heal. And now they have a good 27 years of growth on them. They’re looking pretty good.

TYG: I think I know what you mean by the trees talking to you. I’m going to ask you if this is what you mean, but sometimes it almost seems like you can feel their radiant pain.
Yes, I agree with you. Sometimes you can feel pain of different aspects of nature and people.

TYG: It just looks wrong, sometimes.
Definitely; it’s a shocker. I know the first time I saw a clear-cut, I was absolutely shocked. And that was back in 1972 or 73.

TYG: It’s a bad practice, I think. I don’t have a problem using wood, but I think you should do it in an eco-friendly way, which to me means using a high tech solution that’s something like a multi-level farm, where you let them grow five years and then have a harvest.
Well, let’s just say that trees are a natural entity, and they have their own, natural way of growing, and the less we interfere with their natural way of growing, the happier they are. If you think of trees as the USDA does, as an agricultural product to be harvested. A lot of things in this world have been turned into property and turned into resources and ignored their own, natural calling—their natural way of keeping the balance. So of course, in my work—no matter what level of work I’m doing—balance, like it sounds like it is for you, is very important. Everything has its own sense of how much water, and sunshine, and air, and space it needs. And you know, people are that way too! And I like to work with people.

TYG: I absolutely agree with that. I think that treating these amazing natural forests as property is wrong. I think that if they have been specifically set up to be agricultural, I don’t think it’s so bad. Again, like one of those tile tree farms, where the trees are manipulated to make the maximum out of wood, and the least possible devastation to natural forests. I think there’s something special that the natural forests have.
Hmm. Well you probably like the idea of the bamboo commercial forests, because they do have a very quick growth period and are easily harvested.

TYG: I haven’t heard of it, but it does sound interesting.
Yes, a lot of products are made out of bamboo. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of glues and resins and toxic things that are used to put those products together, such as flooring, so it’s kind of like a mixed bag. [...] But anyway, I totally agree with you: the more natural, the better. And I’m the kind of person where I start asking questions like, “Well where did this come from?” and “Who grew it?” and “How were the people treated?” and “How was the land treated?” and “How were the animals treated?” and “Did they use fertilizers?” and “Did they use pesticides?” I probably ask more questions than the average person, which can be very irritating for some people! [laughs] 

TYG: I don’t have a problem with that. I think if you want to know more, more power to you.
Right on, brother! [high fives]

TYG: Also, there are very different kinds of fertilizers. Some fertilizers are these artificially made stuffs that are only designed for growth speed—there’s no balance implied. But if you’re utilizing natural fertilizers like manure, I’m okay with that. And even if you could somehow design a [fertilizer] that has balance in mind, that helps growth speed but also keeps the plant healthy, then I probably wouldn’t have a problem with that.
Let’s use an example since we’re talking about this. Let’s say you’re using chicken manure for fertilizer. Chicken manure itself can be an excellent fertilizer for certain applications. But then you would get, “What have the chickens been eating?” “Where did their food come from—is it organic or were they eating GMO grain?” So basically that’s being passed on from one level of digestion to the next. I’m very careful about those things as well. [...] I put myself through college the first few years by working at a natural foods store, and then when I graduated, I actually owned my own store for about five years. It was called Community Foods. One of the things we did was not only provide the healthiest food that was available, but we worked personally and distributed food from local growers that we knew were growing things in a certain way. We actually were very instrumental in supporting [an organization which was] at that time called CCOF, which was Certified California Organic Farmers. Later on, this influenced Oregon Tilth. They had a very, very high standard of what was considered organic growing. What’s interesting about that politically is that the USDA did not want to grant them their certification, because they were concerned that it would bring questions up for the general public about, “Well, if this is organic, what is everything else?” So that’s when the USDA decided to come up with their own label for organic, which is a sub-standard quality. They allow chemicals and things that, say, the CCOF would never allow. So as a store, we were actually purchasing food from those farmers who were CCOF-certified, distributing them to the other stores in town, and also visiting the farmland. This was in Santa Cruz, so down in Watsonville, there’s a lot of farmland down there. This is very political these days, but there are a lot of undocumented workers, and I got to witness first-hand how they lived, how they were treated, how they had these little bitty huts with no bathrooms, no running water, in the middle of a field where planes were flying over them and spraying them with chemicals. And I have to admit, that’s why I’m voting yes on 21-177, which is a measure that [came up] about aerial spraying right here in Lincoln County. I’m not in favor of spraying aerially, because I’ve seen it affect friends of mine; it would affect me where I live, it affects our water, the land, nature, everything. 

TYG: Very, very bad idea. It’s just too imprecise!
Yes. And there’s not enough of a policing—I’ll put it that way. It has no teeth. There’s no follow-through.

TYG: And there’s no good way to do it, either. Even if you had all the policing you wanted, there’s no real way that I can think of to truly identify the range of aerial spraying, because the planes move too slowly, and there’s too much spreading time, too much variability in the wind.
So you have the problem with drift, and not a lot of accountability. And then you have to know who to sue, and what people don’t know is that you can’t really sue the land-owner who hired the plane or the helicopter; you actually have to sue the driver, the pilot. Because they’re the ones responsible, ultimately, for any kind of drift.
TYG: Wow! That doesn’t work. That doesn’t make sense at all!
I can’t give legal advice, but this is just something I learned from a friend of mine who went through this and went to court and had a very, very difficult time of that. [...] Think of it this way: If you hire someone to do a job and they do a faulty job, are you responsible for the faulty job? Are you responsible for hiring those people? Anyway... So I’ve lived here since before you were born, and I plopped in here back in 1991, bought this clear-cut property, and it’s funny, because I’d just finished graduate school in Seattle, and I had my Master’s degree in counseling psychology.

TYG: So that’s how you made your living, trying to help nature.
It’s kind of like my primary job was helping the land, helping nature; but my day job was helping people deal with their own out-of-balanceness in life, and helping them find their own balance through counseling.

TYG: Two very interconnected fields.
They are for me, because both of them have to do with honoring peoples’ nature, and helping them find balance and find their own way of being, in a world that’s very out of balance.

TYG: Absolutely. There’s too much need for profit, and too much reliance on old ways, ways that would have worked fine before people understood. In terms of drilling oil, I can’t blame the first pioneers all that much. They had no idea! They had no idea what would happen to the environment. [...] So what kind of counseling do you do?
First off, I would say I’m rather eclectic. Also, in my 26 years here in Yachats, and practicing in Oregon, the laws have been changed. Currently I practice what I call “Soulful Counseling,” which means I’m a minister who also does spiritual counseling. My background and training, of course, is my Master’s degree in counseling psychology, as well as my background and training in process work as well as psychotherapy. Another thing that I bring into my counseling knowledge, but don’t necessarily bring into a session, is my background and training in metaphysics, and understanding people and life from a whole different point of view. That actually ends up being more of the work I’m doing these days. I’m doing less on the individuals/couples/family counseling, and also mediation (meaning personal mediation, not legal) and life-coaching—even though I’m still doing those things—and more in this other area, that is another funny story about moving to Yachats. For 20 years, before moving here, I was what one would call a solitary practitioner of metaphysics, tarot, I Ching. So I’ve studied tarot cards, metaphysics, oracles—many, many other things, and only practiced them privately for 20 years. And the ironic thing is that I moved to little, bitty, old Yachats...

TYG: ...and there’s a demand for it!
People are asking me to teach classes, to do private sessions, and I end up starting a little psychic fair here. And then I handed it over to Violet, and Violet turned it into a big, huge, wonderful event which is called Pathways to Transformation, which has been going on... this will be the 21st year. I actually teach all over the world. I’m invited to teach in China; I’ve taught in New Zealand, I’ve taught in Europe. I just came back from teaching in New York City at a tarot and psychology conference. I have a few books out on tarot. So that’s actually where a lot of my passion is, and it does tie in with the counseling skills, because what I’m doing in the tarot world is teaching [card] readers how to really raise the bar on their skills and their ethics, and how to turn tarot lessons from the stereotype of predictions and fortune-telling, and more into how it can be therapeutic and supportive for people in their life. So that’s a great passion of mine.

TYG: So could you explain to me and the readers what tarot is? I haven’t actually ever heard of it.
Certainly! So tarot cards typically are a deck of 78 cards. A playing card deck tends to have 52 cards in it, and what you call four suits. The four suits go from the ace to the ten, and then you’ve got what we call your three people cards, or court cards. So tarot cards are an interesting combination, going back some four or five hundred years, basically to northern Italy, where someone decided to combine playing cards, but they added another card for each suit because they wanted to add a woman, which is the queen. So you have your page, your knight, your queen and your king, which are the four people cards, then you have your ten and what we call the pips, one through ten, or the ace through ten. And you’ve got the four suits. But what they added to that, or combined with it, which makes it unique to tarot, is what we call the 22 cards of the major arcana. And the 22 cards of the major arcana, going back to deep, deep, metaphysical knowledge, represent what I think of as a visual book of wisdom, just like when somebody looks at the Bible or the Quran, or many, many other books of wisdom. There’s a great deal of wisdom, but they’re pictures. As they say, you know, a picture speaks a thousand words, so each one of those cards has a million stories in it. And when you combine the cards, it really expands the story in a very, very unique way. 

TYG: So it’s a very interpretive venture.
Ah, that’s a great question. For some people it’s very interpretive. For the way I work with the cards, with my background in psychology and especially in process work with the Mindells, I actually don’t try to interpret the cards, I try to bring in the experience the cards and my client’s intuition, and my intuition, and really bringing the lessons and the energy of the cards to life. So, remember earlier when we were talking about listening to the trees? And feeling the trees? That’s what we do with the cards. We listen to them, we feel them, and they speak to us in a unique language, so it’s not one interpretation fits all. That would be sort of like the old card-science way of working with them.

TYG: So, just explaining to the readers here: I feel like often this kind of stuff can sound like “whoo hoo,” but I know what you’re talking about. There is some sort of weird thing out there that science hasn’t quite uncovered yet. I don’t know what it is, and it may be people putting interpretations on things, but I choose to believe that there is something there.
Well, actually, quantum physics has tried to describe this, and one term that kind of that kind of fits with this picture—and I learned this from Arnie Mindell, who himself is an MIT physicist in his past—is this thing, called an entanglement. An entanglement means, there’s something going on way over there...

TYG: Two atoms that are directly paired.
Yes, right. So two things are happening. It doesn’t appear that they’re connected, but they actually are connected. So let me put it this way: So, do you dream? Do you have dreams at night when you sleep?

TYG: Yes, absolutely.
Katrina: Alright. And is it your belief that when you have a dream, there’s maybe a message for you there sometimes? Or it’s telling you something about your day? Or are they ever prophetic—that means, are they telling you about something that’s going to happen in the future?

TYG: I have never experienced a prophetic dream, but I would not be surprised if it happened. Just because, again, there are odds. And I have a very wild imagination. That’s just something I am. I choose to believe in the polycosmos, because it just makes sense. I’ve seen several very good book interpretations; they’re fictional books, but they are written by very strong scientific authors. One of my favorite authors is a person called Neal Stephenson, who writes amazing stuff. You want to learn more about a very good and intuitive, working interpretation of the polycosm, then his book called Anathem is very good for it.
Thank you. And along that same idea: Imagine that there are these different levels and different dimensions within our current dimension. And we, as human beings, are kind of limited, when you look at the spectrum for instance.

TYG: The spectrum of light.
: Well, there’s the spectrum of light, but then there are other vibrations that our eyes do not detect, right? We can see the rainbow, but we don’t see the X-rays, we don’t see microwaves. [...] So imagine that everything is vibration, and there are certain images that vibrate in your dream realm, and other images that vibrate in your waking, day-to-day life. Now imagine that there’s a dimension beyond your dreams that’s trying to communicate with you, but it can’t communicate in everyday language. It has to reach you through what I call a sort of intermediary language. It can be the language of your dreams. To me, that’s the way the tarot cards work: They’re an intermediary language between your everyday, conscious, linear thinking, and something that’s beyond that. So to me, each card is like a snapshot of a dream. [...] So the fun thing is, I’ve combined both of my worlds, and I call myself a “forest mystic.” [laughs] Because I live out in the woods, and I’m connected to the trees, and I feel very protective of the forest, and at the same time I totally vibrate with the metaphysical world, and all this cosmic consciousness, and caring about the Earth, and the people, and the universe, and understanding how to vibrate with it all. And it’s not something many people can talk about, and I appreciate that you kind of speak this language a bit.

TYG: To be honest, for me, part of it grows out of thinking further about the free will versus predestination debate. My final conclusion, you could call it, of one line of my inquiry, is that if there is no free will, there is no polycosm. Because if there is no free will, everything will happen one way. And that scares the he** out of me, to be honest.
How about this? You were born with your genetics, right? You have the gift of your mother and your father to make who you are. And that’s kind of like your potential in this lifetime, among other things. But guess what: You get to decide what you do with it, and that’s the free will. So you can’t change at this point who your parents were. Right? That’s the fated part in this sense. But what you do is completely within your hands. So there’s this beautiful dance between the two, I think.

TYG: Absolutely. Seeing what you are allowed to do, and what you can do. For me, what’s has been allowed to do, is to be a human being. I choose to believe that as long as you have a few basic genetic parts, you can do just about anything that’s physically possible. And the way I interpret that is that I plan to become a scientist and an engineer, and I choose to believe in the beauty of cyclical motion—cycles are cool, but I also love literal cyclical motions.

TYG: Spirals I like, but I’m thinking more about wheels, and gears. I’m fascinated by the scientific, and the hard.
Well see, that’s the cool thing about metaphysics. Because meta-physics means people, intuitive, having visions, who prophesied, or had a way of knowing other than linear thought. And it’s taken science a while to catch up with them.

TYG: That’s an interesting way of putting it. I think that yes, sometimes that happens, but also it’s logical outgrowth. Because I feel that outgrowth, in terms of what can happen, goes a lot faster than physical experimentation. The mind works a lot faster than the body.
It does! In fact, some people say that the mind works faster than the speed of light. I’ve been doing a little research in that area and I still have more to learn, but it’s a fascinating area for me.

TYG: I find that sometimes I [have to wonder] “How does this work?” then other times, Blam! It all comes to me.
Have you heard the word “synchronicity”?

TYG: I think so. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by it in this context.
Well, meaningful coincidence.

TYG: Yes, inspiring coincidence.
Yes! It’s like you were thinking about somebody, and the next moment, they call you.

TYG: I know what you mean about that—and it’s weird when it happens!
So you might actually find the work of Carl Jung interesting. That’s what my presentation was in New York, just a couple of weeks ago. I’ll give you the title: “Life Is But a Dream: Jung, Process Work in the Dreamtime, and Tarot.” What I was exploring, and what I was educating people about, were the actual theories behind Jung’s work, his actual ways of describing them. He was very interested in science, and being able to have repeatable patterns, but he drew a lot of inspiration from metaphysics, and from myths, fairy tales, and stories from around the world, because he started noticing, as Joseph Campbell did, these patterns that would keep repeating. And that’s why he came up with the idea of the collective unconscious. He’s saying, well, there must be some kind of connection going on between us that we can’t see. He used the image—or many people have used the image—of an iceberg. So what we know is that little piece of the iceberg above the water’s surface, but below is our personal conscious and the collective unconscious.

TYG: 95%. I think that the collective unconscious could be—I don’t know this for sure, because our science hasn’t progressed far enough—it could be built into genetics.
Oh, now you’re getting into the work of Carl Calleman! Carl Calleman worked for the World Health Organization. He was a Swedish cellular biologist, but he was also fascinated with metaphysics, and he studied the Mayan calendar. By studying the Mayan calendar, for him, it clicked, and it coincided with evolutionary leaps in biology. From there, he went on to come up with an amazing idea, which he calls the purposeful universe. Which is again this whole idea about how much is fated and intentioned, versus how much is free will. So if you ever get a chance to read the Purposeful Universe—I don’t want to give too much away, but he basically, ultimately says that in our own cells there are unknown aspects of our DNA, which themselves—and this is my interpretation—are like an antenna, that picks up these signals from the center of the universe. It’s fascinating.

TYG: The center of the universe, hmm.
The center of the universe, yes.

TYG: I wonder where that would be, because we think that’s somewhere within the light-radius of our universe, but of course we have no way of knowing that. It could be quadrillions of light years, far beyond what’s actually happened so far. Because we’re only in year 14 billion, or something like that, 15 billion. If it’s quadrillions away—because we’re pretty sure that the universe expands faster than light, or that’s what we think—so I’m wondering... I mean, we know that there are processes that operate faster than light—we know that for certain now. We have measured this, because we’ve seen things coming out of a black hole! [...] I feel like perhaps there may be two levels of logic. There’s the logic that we know of so far, that we can measure, which is the logic of conscious thought. And then I’m wondering if there is some sort of logic that we will eventually uncover, that is a much deeper logic, that is tied perhaps directly into our cells, or our genetics, or perhaps it’s some deep physical property of the universe. This is again completely speculative, but I would be surprised if that were the case.
That’s what I love about process work in psychology. It’s one of the few modalities in psychology that honors the Earth, and the universe, and all these unknown things, and realizes that there are ways that they are trying to communicate to us, and through us, and with us. And that kind of goes back to the Dreamtime, and the indigenous peoples such as the aboriginal Australians, who have a sense of the Earth dreaming us up. And so then you have to ask the question, “Are we the dreamer? Or are we the one being dreamed up?”

TYG: This is a question I’ve always had. [...]
So you can imagine, with all these fantastic thoughts that we’re talking about, these conversations... I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to have these conversations every day with people.

TYG: Huh.
There are only a few people that have the same fascinations. So that’s why I spend a lot of time out by myself in the woods. [laughs] [...] And so, back to the question of why I came to Yachats: it was a leap of faith, but also, I think Yachats was dreaming me up to be here. So, I just really appreciate that you reached out to me—I was surprised, and interested that you did it on my birthday, the same day I was doing the presentation in New York.

TYG: Oh, I had no idea!
I totally got that it was all kind of lined up. So that in itself was very intuitive of you.
TYG: Again, I had no idea!
Well that’s the fun part for me! I have students from all over the world, because I also teach online, and I have my podcast, so I have people listening to that all over the world. It’s just amazing with the new technology how we can really reach out and connect with so many people. Our sense of community truly expands. I’m very excited about that. And thank you for letting me be in the little old Yachats Gazette!

TYG: Thank you so much!