I spent nearly half of the ninties living in Oakland. It’s where I did the final days of time with Pluto in Scorpio emerging from my 12th House, onto my ascendant. They were dark days, but not without the promise and allure of secrets only derived from a romp through the underworld.
With all the Libra in my chart, I had been steadfastly relationship based. I rarely experienced sex without the formality of commitment. During those last years of Pluto in Scorpio, that would change. I decided to give myself over to the energies of Pluto in Scorp. I could write a steamy tell all book alone about these years.
From 1992 to 1997, I managed an apartment building on the cusp of East Oakland. My first day there, my muddied baptism in that place, was the day of the Rodney King riots. I had no idea what to expect. I was no stranger to the Black American experience. On the contrary. I had grown up in the racially diverse watershed that is East San Jose. I would get high and play hoops with my friends from our version of “The Hood.” On Sundays, I would trip across the street and race AFX cars with the Hairston kids, where I heard the first outrageous strains of P-Funk. In a touching yet odd holiday ritual, we would swap pumpkin bread for soul food. I got my first taste of collard greens, chitterlings and sweet potato pie from their lovely matriarch. You get the picture. But living in the nape of the hood and managing living spaces while Pluto, the Lord of The Underworld, in its own sign, in the darkest part of my chart, was a very different trip.
Oakland was the backdrop to it all. When I got there, I thought it held so much promise as San Francisco’s lesser sister, the Cinderella ash collector still looking for its magic slipper. Its a fitting metaphor since Oakland maintained its true working class status with one of the busiest ports on the West Coast, while San Francisco made a clear decision to gut its fishing and canning industry along the wharf and sundry piers to become a tourist haven. Oakland kept it real.
Often though, my zeal for the poor sister was dashed by the clarity of my experience. I learned to wait at nearly every green light after watching hoopties blast through clear stops, time and again. I even witnessed drivers that didn’t have the experience or presence of mind that I did, rush into the green, only to be t-boned by a heap of Detroit steel doing fifty through a dead red.
I was idealistic. I thought if I could spruce up the building, people would take greater pride in it. I remember putting a picture up in the laundry room to give it some warmth, only to have it stolen in a few days. I put a good sized Ficus in the lobby, with a big, heaping pot that one person would have difficulty moving, let alone taking. Within a week, it was gone. It was kind of indicative of my feelings about Oakland. Every time I invested any promise in it, it would let me down and yet I loved so many things about it. Even my tenants would reflect this.
I would have AFDC Moms come in and rent from me. If you don’t know what AFDC means, its “Aid to Families With Dependent Children.” In landlord speak, it generally means “guaranteed rent.” So I would get AFDC moms, which I would break down into two camps; “users” and “abusers.” The users, I had zero problem with. They were using the system to get a leg up and move on. AFDC stipulates that you cannot work while receiving assistance. I had moms that double dipped and went to school as well. I had ZERO issues with that. They usually upgraded their living situation after a few months. The abusers were cliches, having multiple children with different baby daddies. They were the poster children of scorn for the likes of Limbaugh, living stereotypes and reminders of smug “told you so” attitudes. Conformity to tragedy is really more like it.
As the days went by, I descended deeper and deeper into Pluto in Scorpio’s unrelenting siege on my soul in Oakland’s heart of darkness.
I wound up buying my own hooptie; a 1970 Pontiac Bonneville with a back seat big enough to get busy anywhere. It had a seizure on the way to Burning Man, coughing up oil in the desert, then died shortly thereafter. I went to jail on two separate occasions, one time winding up in the bowels of Oakland’s jail, a primitive holding pen where men are treated like animals in cages with open urinals and toilets. I heard tales of gang warfare at places like Chino and Folsom. It was eye opening and yet, I never felt threatened by anyone in there. Conversely, I was at a restaurant in North Beach just a few nights later where a bloody fight broke out amongst a group of drunken and arrogant WASP youth. I couldn’t wait to get out of either place though.
Oakland was where I took Ibogaine and contacted the soul of Africa. Its where I bonded with a tenant who sold exquisite mud cloth attire. She had given me this great vest which I proudly wore over a black turtleneck to a tux party in SF. It was where started to deepen my psychic gifts. My tenants used to come to me for readings. My downstairs neighbor from Senegal was trying hard to get U.S. citizenship and would ask me if I could read for him. I would and the information was always positive and not surprisingly, accurate. Then he brought his best friend, and then his daughter. I was always repaid with a plate of peanut curry sauce chicken over rice and strong black tea with mint. I felt like the luckiest man in the world receiving such delicious and heartfelt compensation.
While I was descending down into the pits of the system, Oakland was also the place where I was ascending, leaving my body, astral traveling through my fourth-story-perch up into the dark night skies. Its where I practiced practical magic with mind blowing results.
TAPPING THE GRID
Sidney talked a good game and was probably one of those kids with a mile wide smile that would charm the hardest of hearts when he was young. As an adult, he was lost in the netherworld between adolescence and manhood, now on tap for a baby boy. He was stuck in reverse and causing all kinds of problems around the building, wreaking meth fueled havoc.
Evicting people is not easy in the Bay Area, but we had to get him out, so I decided to dial up a scenario. It went like this; I visualized a small fire in his kitchen, where no one would get hurt, but they would have to move out as a result. In less than a week it happened. A few days later, we were serving Sidney with papers. It was not a pretty sight.
About a week later, there was another incident. A woman named ironically named “Hope” was living on the first floor. As the days progressed, I watched Hope go from vibrant and sassy to downright mean, staring at me through raccoon eyes, darkened and streaked by late nights and crack. Her sister pulled her fat sedan in the back to park one day. This was a no-no. Tenants only. So I walked up to Hope’s apartment and asked her sister to move her car. Of course, she didn’t. As I walked past it, I wondered if I should slash her tire to show her a lesson (Remember, I’m dealing with Scorpio here). I did not. However, the next day, when I walked past the car, I noticed that someone else had. Hope’s sister never parked her car in the back again.
In every magician’s life there is a great working. Sometimes like Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard, it’s intentional, others, like mine, it happens in the miracle of the void.
A week or so after the tire slashing I had yet another problem tenant to deal with. She lived below me. It was about 9pm on a weeknight and was carrying on and partying. Loud. It bugged me. So I went downstairs to ask her to keep it quiet. We were evicting her, so getting her to pot the volume down was not going to happen. I thought about what I could do. I thought about going into the basement and cutting her power. No. That could be dangerous. I could have a riot on my doorstep. Then I thought about cutting everyone’s power, not just in the building, but the neighborhood. That would do it!
Within ten minutes, it was done. Lights out. Not just in my hood though, but throughout the West Coast. I dialed into Art Bell on my battery powered radio and everyone was calling in about it. From Bellingham to San Diego and as far east as St. Louis there had been a massive power surge and blackout. During the news break, ABC news reported on it and said tha.t “the source of the blackout was, Oakland, California.” Well of course I had to call into Bell’s show to tell him my story and lo and behold, I got through. In his typical Art Bell, more than slightly jaded way, he listened and said, “Well there you go ladies and gentleman, you can blame it on the man in Oakland.”
The next day, it was reported that the source of it all was in the Central Valley, but for a few, very surreal hours, the Universe conspired to show me the power of intention and will, particularly if no one was harmed. I would be given a very different lesson around this just days later.
Another problem tenant had let her serial criminal brother stay with her. I didn’t like him. One day, while I was gone, his “wife” was there and they got into a fight. He beat her. In fact, he beat her so bad that afraid for her life, she jumped out the fourth-story-window, a good thirty feet below onto asphalt.
A few days later, I saw her lying on their furniture-less floor, wrapped in a blanket. She had suffered some sort of brain damage in the fall and was reduced to being a child, having all her needs attended to. Her bad dude “husband” was there. I was pissed. I decided to use my new found powers on him and visualized him falling out that window. It boomeranged badly on me.
I had a great dog named “Cosmo.” He always stayed home while I went off to work. Not long after the falling body incident, it was a hot day so I left my window open, four stories up and drove off to work. I came home that night to the news that my dog had fallen out my window and down onto the concrete below while I was gone. Miraculously, he had only suffered a small break in a bone near his hind quarters. But the message was loud and clear to me; “No Harm Shall Be Wished Upon Another!”
All of those other incidents involved external elements, like the weather magic that John Dee was purported to work against the Spanish Armada, time and again when they attacked England. It was in Oakland where I touched the heat of this dark and powerful flame.
ONE HUNDRED PERCENT INCLUSIVE
Now in Oakland, the Occupy Movement takes its first casualty. Unlike Zuccotti Square, where the protesters are buttressed by the unions and protected by Bloomberg, Oakland mayor Jean Quan didn’t get the memo. OPD took on the Occupy encampent with tear gas. Witnesses say they used flash grenades as well. Now she and Police Chief Harold Jordan are bending over backwards to accommodate Occupy Oakland. Jordan is going to meet face-to-face with the organizers of O.O.. This will piss off Middle America to no end. It will look like capitulation of the highest order. For the Occupy movement to be successful, it must engage the middle and invite it in. There must be a bridge built between the “we’re getting fucked and the game is rigged attitude” with the “government is fucking us and we want less of it” mindset, because therein lies the difference between the left and the right, OWS and The Tea Party.
For me, it goes back to the rift between the Spirit and the Will, Order and Chaos, Mu and Atlantis, Goddess and God. What we’re really trying to do is balance the bi-cameral nature of our collective soul and the false separation that’s haunted us since Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, while Lilith sadly looked down upon them from the deck of a gleaming space craft passing overhead.
Saturn in Libra is a dynamic expression of this in action. We’re trying to balance 40,000 years of injustice and illusion in just 30 months of hyper condensed Earth time. The urgency is set against the square of Uranus and Pluto. We’re witnessing a rupture in continuity. The challenge is what takes place beyond the din of the crowd. Always.
Here, the brutal death of Moamar Ghdaffi was celebrated in grotesque overtures of pornographic violence. Bloodlust is the new reality TV. How did we descend so low?
In Libya, citizens got free health care for life. If their condition couldn’t be treated at home, they could go abroad. They were given free education up through getting a doctorate, there or elsewhere. Lost in the chant of Gaddfi’s supposed savagery was the fact that women had it better in Libya than almost any other Muslim country. Now, they’ll be taking a little time travel trip back to the 15th Century. OWS helped drown out the death of a people, not just its leader.
OAKLAND’S DARK STARS
Oakland was incorporated on May, 4 1852. It is heavily loaded with Taurus; Sun/Mercury/Saturn/Uranus/Pluto/Chiron all mostly conjunct. Throw in a Scorpio Moon and Jupiter in Scorpio, with Mars in Leo and what you have is one, big, nasty T-Square.
With Moon in Scorpio, Its home to “The Black Hole Of The Raiders.” The late, Al Davis moved the team out of Oakland and then moved them back, extorting millions out of the city to get the team to return, while ruining the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum by erecting Mt. Davis, a monolith of luxury suites for the Raiders, used a scant ten weekends per year, obliterating the pastoral view of the East Bay hills in the distance.
Jerry Brown was mayor of Oakland recently. The A’s were looking for a new home. They had settled on the downtown area, in a blighted corner just north of Jack London Square. They had plans and were ready to roll. Brown apportioned the land to one of his buddies for condos and killed the stadium deal while putting a gag order on it.
Oakland was the base of the Black Panthers. Its also home of the celebrated Billy Beane who has recently had his life played out by Brad Pitt in “Moneyball.” Beane was an average ex-ball player turned cost conscious general manager looking for a competitive edge. A Taurus, he has flourished in Taurus heavy Oakland–his star shining brightly. However, he had to deal with Oakland’s dark underbelly, its Scorpionic Moon as his A’s teams were populated with known steroid users such as Jose Canseco, Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, and Jason Giambi. Its like that in Oakland.
I’ll never forget my time there. I wouldn’t trade it for any experience. It was hard but I danced with the forces of sex, death and birth in an intimate embrace. One final tale of my time there sums it up.
One day, one of my tenants was pregnant and went running out into the hall, blood gushing from her uterine walls, soaking the carpets of the hallway, rushing to the hospital. While she was away, I cleaned the blood from her bathroom walls and floor, wondering about her child and his bloody baptism into this world. She had him and everything seemed fine. Then one night I came home and she greeted me at the door, telling me that her newborn son was having a hard time breathing. She asked me to take her to the hospital with him. About half way there, she said he wasn’t breathing. I tried to gauge what the hell was going on. I looked over at her and saw nothing but a blank face and for just a second I could see her leave her body, checkout completely, wordless.
I pulled over to a gas station, took the small child in my hands and started to move his little lungs like an accordion. He began to breath. I had the station attendant call an ambulance and within minutes they were both nestled in there, snugly and safely. Off they went.
It was like cosmic clockwork. Pluto moved out of Scorpio and into Sag, sliding into my first house. The building was sold and a new owner brought in their own manager. I was relieved of my Pluto in Scorpio duties and moved out shortly thereafter.