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The Absence of Evil

Love’s Reclamation of the Soul

Siobhan Nicolaou




Rohnert Park, CA

Smashwords Edition
Copyright © 2017 by Franciscus Siobhan Nicolaou

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The Absence of Evil/ Siobhan Nicolaou. —1st ed.

Table of Contents



Dedication

Introduction

Chapter I. Starry Eyed

Chapter II. Die Hand Des Schicksals

Chapter III. A Rock Feels no Pain

Chapter IV. The Principles of Lust

Chapter V. Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground

Chapter VI. Dancing with Mrs. D

Chapter VII. Angels and Demons

Chapter VIII. Stigmata

Chapter IX. Plagued

Chapter X. Redemption

About the Author

Soul Readings from Spirit

Dedication



I dedicate this book with gratitude to the entire cast of characters I created in this life to further the evolution of my soul. My parents, siblings, ex-husbands, The Roman Catholic Church and all the extras to whom I bow for the important roles you have played in the production of my life the movie.

Sincerest appreciation for Archangel Michael, Yeshua Nazare, Sathya Sai Baba, Mother Mary, Melchizedek, King Solomon, Abraham, Enoch, Moses, my daughter Anastasia, Marcy Calhoun, Fredereka Farris, Chief Golden Light Eagle, Joao de Deus and the Casa Dom Ignacio Entities, and Sondra Sneed without whose love, joy and guidance I would not know myself to be the truth of who

I AM.

Special thanks to Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, and John D. Spooner for your inspiration, generosity of spirit, and encouragement.



For those who see me as I once was… I have died and resurrected a million times, it is but your eyes that have not.

Siobhan Nicolaou, The Sword of Truth

Introduction



This book is about my journey through the colorful pages of my soul and how I emancipated my body, integrated my emotions and freed my mind from the illusion of evil. Duality was my own personal hell on earth for much of my life, and unlike other modes of transformation, mine has taken place through the integration of the emotional body as a means of changing the perceptions of my mind, rarely the reverse.

The battlefield that was my childhood paved the way without missing a brick to the loving embrace of a much grander illusion. Leaving home at age fourteen, I steeped myself in a stronger concoction for another thirteen years.

On this trickier level of the playing field I was respected, protected, able to keep up with the dance, and smart enough not get trampled under hoof. Unlike my home where darkness was fed into my emotional body unknowingly and under the guise of love, in my new world I picked up this bigger, sexier more alluring chalice of greater power and drank deeply.

The taste of freedom found ironically in this new type of bondage was seductive and delicious, and all I had felt about myself as a child was validated in my experience. I consumed the illusion, played in it, laughed in it, cried in it, lived it, believed it, breathed it, slept with it, snorted it, supported it, and loved it. Years later, when I changed the program, the real dance began.

In 1987 at the onset of the harmonic convergence, my capacity for denial reached its limit and everything suddenly turned the deepest shades of black. Given the choice to live or die, I chose to live negotiating that life had to be different from what it had been.

Awakening was inevitable, although not knowing this, I reached for some answers in a new way trying to make any sense of things. Attending a meditation class for the first time, I opened the door of light within my mind and heart that revealed something greater than the darkness I believed was life.

The only greater ecstasy than complete and utter bondage is the complete and utter freedom from it.
—Siobhan Nicolaou, The Sword of Truth

The awareness of the light that lives within me, and the pain that kept me feeling separate from experiencing it, put me on my path to wholeness. My healing process set in motion twenty-seven years of an intense production of shadow play manifesting itself in hundreds of ways and in many disguises.

My divided mind tormented me until I integrated enough illusion to come to the consciousness that any “evil” in my experience is a reflection of my own inner demons. Demons became real when I became aware of my light; until then I had nothing to compare them to. In this new contrast my life became a fantastic exploration of my emotional baggage on my journey to the truth within the baggage itself.

Until the light, it seemed natural to live life in drama and pain with a false sense of normalcy carved out of the ingestion of society’s wine. For decades after my awakening, it felt like the darkness and the light were battling over possession of my soul. I have experienced countless dreams of the devil challenging me, tempting me, teaching me, coaxing me, having sex with me, threatening me, talking to me. Many times I woke sweaty and breathless, yet always victorious tricking him and finding a way out. As I evolved, I came to stand my ground moving among the demons unheeded, protected by my entourage in and out of my dreams. Now I stand as the light and compassion within and among them all.

To myself I am whole and I am love. To my siblings I am an enigma. To the indoctrinated Catholic, I am Satan herself. To those I help, I am an angel. To those who want to stay asleep, I am their worst nightmare. To my lover, I am the deepest part of themselves. To that which is darkness, I am the light of love aflame within the essence of its unworthiness.

To Archangel Michael, I am a full time job. To my Guardian Angel, I am way too hard on myself. To my Mother, I am courageous. To my Father, I am a woman. To my daughter, I have immense strength. To God, I Am That I Am.

My journey to wholeness has been a road of unconventional stepping stones traveled without any help from traditional therapy. It is the continual trip down the yellow brick road of self examination that challenges me in every step saying “How bad do you want it?" It is not a path for those of weak mind or spirit. Freedom takes courage, commitment, and the desire to break free from blame, projection, and the illusion of separation. It is challenging, revealing, and most of all rewarding.

I have been judged in every way, by everyone, for every move I have ever made on every level as I have turned my back and made different choices for myself. I have walked away from what everyone in my life from birth has told me is truth and learned to listen inward.

Grief was my constant companion until I realized nothing can be lost or left behind and that in the deaths of my many loved ones, I grieved only a part of myself. There are no sacrifices in life other than that of the ego, and I have lost nothing through gaining the wisdom of my experience on the other side of my pain.

The only difference we are here to make is within ourselves, where all conflict begins and ends. Our veils are the film projected into the holographic creation of our life the movie. This book is an offering of love and inspiration for those who hold themselves and others in contempt consciously or unconsciously, whether in the past or present. May this book inspire you to love yourself above all, transmute and transform should you choose the path of wholeness and a life lived consciously.

I am living proof that one can integrate their way from any perceived level of darkness back to the source of light within it. I know now that I am love, and that I am loved, and I am at peace in the arms of my one, my all, my only self. It is only through love that your true purpose is revealed.

While it is true that one’s perception must shift to exact a complete change in consciousness, there is a great deal of integration that takes place between awareness and lasting transformation, and it all begins and ends in the emotional body.

Those who believe wholeness comes solely by way of mind will only know half of the truth.
—Siobhan Nicolaou, The Sword of Truth

Chapter I

Starry Eyed



There is nothing in my childhood that can explain why or how I have become who I AM. It is only through healing and transformation that I have become that I AM, and even when I believe I have arrived at who I think I AM to be, I AM given the option to become more or more of the same. The key is love and knowing that who you are, and who you were, are always in the process of becoming.
—Siobhan Nicolaou, The Sword of Truth



My parents were born in the 1930’s - a time when ignorance was normal and consciousness was nil. They did not know who they were outside of what they had been told by others, and raised me from their limited wisdom and capacity to love.

Grandma’s Italian lineage took our roots from Rome the long way to California via Madera then Hawaii where she was born the last of eleven children. Grandma sang all the time, danced ballroom and the hula well into her 70’s. She was feminine, full of grace, faith and courage leaving my paternal grandfather while my father was still a toddler in 1936. The man I embraced as my Grandfather was a caring man that she met and married shortly after her divorce, and she remained his wife for fifty years.

Grandpa was a foreman for US Steel working happily for decades ensuring quality of life for his family. The only things I knew about Dad’s youth was that he got in trouble for stealing crates of tomatoes from trucks, he was a good athlete, and Father Gregory was his mentor. Taken under Father Gregory’s wing at a young and impressionable age, he became the father figure my dad looked up to. His commitment to the priest derived from his patriarchal conditioning, fueled my father’s disdain for the feminine. They remained closest companions throughout the priest’s ninety two years and traveled the world for decades on Vatican lira.

Mom’s German family had status in their East Bay community. Oma Steinbeck was born in San Francisco, moved to the East Bay when she was very young. The family owned a large meat company there for forty-one years. My Opa was a very tall, huge-handed man with a soft personality who died before I was born. Oma visited twice in my childhood, and always stayed at a hotel. She walked upright assisted by her cane, wore French lipstick and expensive face powder. She was classy and smart, sad and beautiful. Tante Donna was tall, shy and blue-eyed like my Opa, the opposite of my fair skinned, black-haired boisterous mother, who had brown eyes like her maternal grandmother.

Baptized Lutheran with a rebellious soul determined to evolve, my mother at age fourteen proclaimed her devotion to the Catholic faith and found herself placed in Catholic boarding school through college. She met my father while he worked the wood fire grill at a landmark diner in her East Bay town. Stopping in for lunch, mom’s classy, sophisticated long lean looks met with dad’s square jaw, olive skin, muscular build, and I surmise chemistry took over from there. She married my father right out of college, despite her parents disapproval and threats to disown her for marrying an Italian who they viewed as beneath her station.

Marie was born eight months and twenty-four days after the wedding, with Stephania a close second fifteen months later. Two years passed and I was conceived on the current of my parents' negative thought forms and emotions, on the tail of two lost pregnancies. My nature as an empath absorbed everything through feeling and the heaviness of the energy began veiling my soul. Then there was Grandma …

Staring off into the sky with starry saucer eyes, the adults around me bustled. The warm rays of the sun suffused my face while the subtle scent of narcissus wafted through my playpen in the early spring air. Five months old and not entirely in my form, Grandmas’s playfulness captured my momentary attention. Her spirit exuded celebration and beauty, her vibrance permeated my auric field with la dolce vita. She was the motherly love I resonated with, and we were very close until the moment she passed thirty-seven years later.

Mom focused compulsively on daily chores, keeping order about with three small children dutifully performing one task after another. It was as if she made a pact with God that he would reward her at the end of her life for agreeing to suffer all the way and doing everything right. Children in those days were often considered a Catholic duty, a daily duty, not a daily joy.

Six months later, we moved to another house where my brother Matthew was born and fifteen months later Mark. The folks went through the motions of life without forethought or reflection, living a typical life like everybody else.

Known as a “good baby," it was my nature to be floating happily in other worlds rather than caring to engage those around me. My earliest memory of feeling the negative energy of my surroundings was at eighteen months as I steadied myself on the ottoman at Oma’s. Dad dragged Stephania by the arm as she resisted his lead forcing her from one room to the next. The energy of fear stirred the moment of peace that surrounded me, my throat constricted and I let go, falling back on my behind. Stephania, imbalanced from the time she was small, was challenging for my parents. Her condition worsened yet went unacknowledged and untreated; she inflicted physical and emotional pain on me throughout my childhood with hardly a reprimand. My energy responded by closing down, finding it safer to be invisible.

If you tell your mind to forget, it will, and when you tell it to remember it will do that too.
—Siobhan Nicolaou, The Sword of Truth

Chapter II

Die Hand Des Schicksals



We never heard any intelligent dialogue or observed any healthy solutions concerning the family problems between my parents; democracy was absent in their militaristic style of parenting. We were given no sense of value or voice and were never encouraged to honor our body, mind, feelings or spirit.

By age three, mother’s chores and punishments were enforced, and my toddler photos showed the weight of the emotional blankets in the sadness of my large eyes. She collected and typed her rules and regulations, organizing them in an old blue-green cloth covered binder for everybody’s reference. There were chores and bed times for every age group. My parents were also great at making up punishments on the fly. Those never made it into the book, but created the sticky substance later used to form the bricks with which I built the walls around my heart.

Illusion was gaining momentum and preparing me to join the ranks of Catholic school. Too young and too sensitive, I entered first grade at age four; we lasted through the school year, then moved for a third time.

The first of two houses we occupied for a two short years in that rural mountain town was at the end of a gravel driveway next door to Mrs. Taylor. Mrs. Taylor was a widow who had white hair and big blue eyes. She took fondly to us, especially Matthew, and gave us a Brach’s candy caramel wreath for Christmas. Finding the flavor of raspberry particularly good, I searched for the shiny purply label when it was my turn to pick. Our house had wood and linoleum floors, our television screen had a green hue and sat on metal stand in the living room. Army tanks were the images that I retained from television at that time, along with the faces of Walter Cronkite and Captain Kangaroo.

My earliest recollection of a dream was in this house, a flying dream still so real.

I watched my shadow glide over the gravel about 3 ft above the ground to the end of the driveway, feeling the warmth of the summer sun on my back and the arid heat emitting from the rocks below. I felt free, like all was well and I was safe.

Waking to a different reality entirely, I did what all kids do and covered up my feelings of stress with things that looked playful. Manifesting my greatest fear again, we uprooted and moved to a remote house that sat on a small hill overlooking an acre lot at the end of a dirt road. The vegetable garden was the view out the front window down the slope, with the chicken and duck coops right along side. The back and side lots were grapevines, pine trees and manzanita bushes as far as the eyes could see. My room, shared with my sisters, had cold cement floors and with bunk beds and a phonograph.

Not knowing how express myself, taught to be quiet, my repressed anguish manifested as bladder and kidney infections with alarming frequency. As this was wildly inconvenient for my mother, her words felt like arrows when she targeted me with the emotional brunt of her shame and disapproval. The folks never addressed my sadness, or their actions or tried to figure out why I was sick all the time, they only knew how to empower that there was something wrong with me, and all of it was my fault.

One of the few times I remember my mom in a space of peace was when she read us books each night before the lights went out. I studied her face, watching her lips as she read with clarity and expression. I noticed how her left front tooth ever so slightly overlapped the right, and how her lipstick had faded into varying shades by the end of a long day. She read us the Brothers Grimm (the unabridged not really for kids version), Aesop’s Fables, nursery rhymes and a multitude of stories that I still remember today.

Dad, never adopting the work ethic of his blue collar family, didn’t seem to believe in himself enough to create an economic solution to the ever increasing population of our family. As he hopped in and out of sales jobs, they scraped together what they could. The nuns from our parish brought us dinner on numerous occasions, and with it came the feeling of poverty instead of a memory of gratitude or prosperity. We bought groceries with food stamps at times over an eight year period until finally dad kept the same job for over a year.

There were five of us now with more moving parts and personalities to control, so I guess mom and dad decided it would build a stronger team if the pain were distributed more evenly. None of us initially realized that a non-admission of guilt to the question of “who did it” would bring us ALL to the belt, or the paddle, but it did. We stuck with that plan, putting the weight of the collective threat on the one singled out by the pack after all had taken his / her beating. For a while we figured we should cover each other’s asses and suffer as a unit because there was always something wrong with something. We cried when mom and dad would try to break us down to give each other up, and we learned to be strong against tyrants.

My eldest sister Marie, burdened with so much responsibility, naturally heaped onto her pile the job to protect us and find ways to improve things- mostly at her own expense. I held my feelings under water until they drowned trying to carve a sense of stability and security out of life.

Getting hurt happened frequently. Without many regular toys, we were always coming up with whacky ways to stimulate our young minds and satisfy our curiosities. As day was breaking on a mild summer day, our slumber was interrupted by the commotion of Marie waking dad as he scrambled to his feet and bolted outside. Stephania, first on the scene, was holding up Matthew dangling from a rope he had tied around his waist before jumping out of the tree house. The only thing that seemed strange was noticing dad did not wear pajamas to bed.

I received my first communion in second grade, wore a white dress carrying a rosary, hands approvingly folded. Going to confession saying, “forgive me father for I have sinned” confused me not knowing what it really meant. Answering “no” to the questions given by the priest, he would get more general as if he had to find something. Feeling guilty and trying to do the right thing, I made something up to feel worthy of the penance. I was given a scapular and told to wear it like a press pass in case I should die so St. Peter would know to let me in. Viewing it as ridiculous through my six-year-old perception, and not completely convinced, I forgot about it until one day it resurfaced on my closet floor and I ground it under the ball of my foot just to see if anything would happen.

Mom, now pregnant with Amanda, got us moving on short notice to the wine country where she was born for a small wrinkle in time. The flood came in December, and I watched dad frantically stack the orange weave furniture and sandbag the doors. We watched as the red wagon floated across our disheveled yard. Mom got us organized, wrapped the baby and piled us into the Oldsmobile. My eyes were glued to the swift moving water on the road out the car window as we partially drifted to Oma’s in the East Bay. Oma had beautiful things and a beautiful home. We ate cold cereal the one or two days we were there, and a smile broke across my lips savoring the Sugar Pops and gazing through the short, sheer, cheerful curtains out the window of Oma’s breakfast nook.

In January, Mom made Marie fish-shaped birthday cakes out of the Baker’s Coconut Book, and before she could blow out the candles and get too excited, we felt the possibility of another flood due to the torrential rain, putting a nervous damper on the party. The saturation of the land yielded a forest of rhubarb that grew alongside the fence that lined a cracked cement path on the side of the house. Mom made strawberry rhubarb pie, making a lasting impression on my post-toddler tastebuds. Dad hitched up the wagon after the flood and moved us to higher ground back to the Nor Cal pines and then the lower Sierra foothills to begin again.

Trying to soothe my emotions, I began chewing my nails down to the quick. My aura, continually shredded by uncertainty and trauma, stacked layers of emotion in various corners of my body and mind. Chewing my nails to blood was quiet and oddly comforting as the responsibilities of chores and family got heavier every year. My two older sisters passed the frustration caused by stress down the pecking order taking the form of verbal abuse, intimidation or brute force if Stephania had something to impress upon me. The raising of voices was more commonplace now and being older I was beginning to hear my mother’s words in a different way.

Our new house in Folsom was over one hundred years old and right above the main drag of the old west town. Some plants from the Victorian era like sweet scented violets and string of hearts were present in the garden. There was a huge fig and cherry tree, red geraniums and more snails than I had ever seen. Mom would send us out as her henchkint with small paper bags partially filled with salt to kill them, to “do something constructive” as she often said. There was a walk-in cellar with a few leftover canned pickles in old glass jars still sitting on the cold damp narrow shelf. The houses on neighboring streets had flowers planted along the outside of the fences with pink lilies so fragrant that the scent drifted sweetly for blocks in the soft clean air.

We kids slept upstairs in the dormitory divided by a single center wall, and we all got new beds. Each one of us got an official metal army cot, with US ARMY stenciled on it. It came complete with a three inch mattress and a matching foot locker. We were required to mitre the corners while making the bed, and mom often bounced coins to see if the bedding was tight. Our beds were stripped and remade every Saturday, and yard work was likely if the weather was good. All chores were inspected before we could play, and was very frustrating if I had to do something over. “doing it right the first time” was impressed upon me and how I adapted to make things easier on myself in one way and harder on myself in another.

Beginning third grade with my new uniform and Campus Queen lunchbox gave me a glimmer of hope. I loved my lunch box because Grandma gave it to me. It was pink, metal and created its own microclimate, so my bologna sandwich was a failure by late afternoon. I made peace with warm iceberg lettuce and the unique smell of hot tin and brown apple that hit my nose when opening the lid. Good mustard was my saving grace.

A small school, a small class with ominous reflections in my classmates reinforced my feelings that life was painful and most people in it hurt. I was depressed, always the youngest, skinniest most sensitive child and did not develop physically as the rest of the girls. Having the darkest skin in class after swimming all summer didn’t help our relations either. Turning the negative projections of those around me inward, I was beginning to believe the inadequacy I felt. Turning seven years old and overwhelmed, I cried my eyes out begging my mother to put me in another school. Between my lips and her ears the words completely vaporized; she looked at me expressionless, lit another Virginia Slim and gave me the silent clue to carry on.

Mom pregnant once again this time with twins, veered my adventurous spirit happily away from the house exploring around our quiet Victorian neighborhood. The streets with no sidewalks were shaded by humongous trees surrounding the mansions that were just as big and just as old. Finding a bee hive in an old hedge, I looked at it closely watching the bees go about their business. My heart opened to the fuzzy tranquility of the honeybees. Imprinting the hive with my olfactory sense to preserve my delightful discovery, I picked up my steel horse from the dirt and pedaled home.

When the twins Sara and Luke were born, a baptism followed within months of their arrival and Mom invited the clergy over for coffee and cake at our house. Mom had towels called the “priest towels” which we were never allowed to touch. The edges of these special towels were thoughtfully crocheted, always folded neatly and brought out only when the priests came over. Sent to the bathroom to wash my hands before cake, I hastily reached to dry my hands almost touching the towels of “holier than thou." I could feel my mother’s words like a spell on those towels and momentarily retracted my hands. Standing alone, hands wet, I chose to err on the side of caution and wiped my hands on the towel of nothing special. Relieved having let myself off the hook, I ducked out trying to mask the feeling of guilt for having the thought.

Manifesting allergies far worse than before, the energy held in my heart turned into asthma. Asthma became part of my experience after I encountered my first spirit with everyone dismissing it as my imagination. My attacks were sometimes fierce and scared the hell out of me when I was unable to breathe. Beside myself with terror and sadness, I tried to block my sensitivities completely.

A scratch test soon revealed I was allergic to darned near everything. Cigarette smoke, chalk dust, dogs, dust, cats, milk, and tree pollens of all kinds. My respiratory system, irritated by paint fumes and other harsh chemicals, sent me to Grandma’s when dad had to paint. Mom and Dad continued to smoke and bought a dog they named Otto Edward Leopold Von Bismark Schönhausen for dramatic effect. We called him Biz for short. The joy of a pet was clouded by the burden he became to all of us kids who were given the responsibility for his care, and he lasted about eight months.

Chapter III

A Rock Feels no Pain



Fourth grade came at the time when schools did away with old math and I flunked with a capital F. Sister Augusta meant well and had such horribly buck teeth that it was distracting. Her saliva would foam as she struggled to form words through her protruding teeth. Coupled with my deep sense of hopelessness, I called it a wash and kept trudging forward trying not to stare.

Stephania was becoming more angry and aggressive at home, managing to extinguish any sparkle that lingered in the air. Mom, in response, added more rules and punishments using dad as her enforcer. Exercising our muscles of rebellion, we would cuss because it was forbidden. If we got caught, we had to scream our words high from the back porch in my mother’s effort to reinforce shame. From the depths of my throat, I bellowed for the whole world to hear; but the words fell mostly flat on the deafened ears of Mrs. Mendez who lived next door.

Mrs. Mendez was a great woman with a house full of warm memories of those who had gone before her. The house had the original well on the screened-in back porch, boarded up since the dawn of pipes and plumbing. Like another grandmother, she taught me how to play card games like casino while we ate persimmon cookies on the front porch. She had a parlor with a fireplace and old photos of older times on the mantle. She wore a house dress with an apron, and always had a cloth hanky. She gifted us continually with an abundance of citrus, pomegranates and other great things from her garden’s bounty. The laughs we shared echoed in my heart across her shaded front porch down the short stone path to the gate of her white picket fence. Her laughter was intoxicating and inspiring, always lending a lift and a sense of comfort to know she was right next door.

My creativity expanded beyond paint by numbers, water colors and spirograph, when I met an artist on Main St. who offered to give me art lessons. Art led me to the discovery of my soul showing me the abundance of it’s brightest colors. Carol Mathis had a studio / gallery on Main St. She was the daughter of a famous artist, George Mathis, known for his lithographs of the gold rush days in Eldorado County. Carol was real and down to earth, wore cowboy boots, smoked cigarettes and created all day.

In the morning when mom put me out like the cat, I wandered down and hung out with her even if I had no class that day. I spent hours honing my water color skills, painting pen and ink drawings of various types of exotic mushrooms. Carol taught me the skill and art of using pen and ink which quickly became a favorite, and showed me how to use charcoal, pencil and oil pastels. Carol was magic with everything. She walked around and picked up any medium creating something spontaneous and spectacular. The smell of rubber cement still lingers in my mind when I imagine her affixing colored tissue paper to create layered cities and landscapes.

Business hours on Main St. were unpredictable except for a cafe or two, and no one was ever in a real hurry. Various types of “out to lunch” signs hung in the proprietors’ windows while they shuffled in and out of the saloon for afternoon breaks. If time had moved any slower, tumble weeds would have formed in my mind’s eye and rolled past horses tethered to hitching posts, slapping flies with their tails. Carol introduced me to another Main St. artist named Spence (over a bourbon old fashioned and a Roy Rodgers at the saloon) whose medium was oil paints. Visiting his gallery was euphoric, and the smell of oil paint mixed with turpentine brought me to the sensuality of the palette.

Spence put paint to canvas from sun up beyond sun down, and no doubt in his sleep. Quietly I watched him squeeze the silky paint onto the palette, announcing, each color by name as he mixed them to create other colors.

Many paintings hung in his gallery, but one stood out in particular. Mostly orange, red and gold, the devil stood in the foreground leaning back, smiling diabolically, watching a launched warhead rise through the clouds in the near distance. It was a huge conversation piece and one for silent contemplation. Spence paid me to model for a class on Wednesday nights, and I felt a ray of worthiness in his friendship.

Forming a sense of individuality and beginning to develop into the creative soul I was divinely intended to be, my new sense of self threatened those around me. I learned to keep myself small so others felt better about themselves and left me alone. Making it home at dusk, skipping up the alley with smiles in my heart, I would shut myself down before entering my house. Pausing for a deep breath, I closed my heart and bowed my head. With my joy completely suffocated I turned the handle and stepped through the front door.

Unsuccessful in relating to kids my own age, I continued connecting with the adults around me instead. They were not mean spirited and were much more interesting. Conversation topics included travel, and theorizing of all sorts which opened my mind to new and inspiring thoughts. Activities became more artistic, creative, soul connecting and I began learning so much about things of real interest to me.

Sister Loretta, my fifth and sixth grade teacher was an amazing soul. She truly loved her vocation, and her alignment with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit spilled over into the many ways she made learning fun. She designed learning stations for us with headphones and other cool things you rarely saw in Catholic school. She was smart, resourceful and way ahead of her time. I was impressed that she constructed the Q&A board with alligator clips attached to the ends of wires. We touched them to the button heads of the paper fasteners, lighting a red or a green light indicating a right or wrong answer. Sister Loretta’s class was my first look into my soul’s history, teaching me in depth about the only thing in school that ever moved me enough to pay attention.

Learning the ancient history of the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Sumerians, Canaanites, along with the oldest names for their territories and the great rivers that ran through them struck deep cords of resonance. Words like Mesopotamia, Constantinople, Tiber, Nile, Tigris and Euphrates stirred and enlivened my soul. Studying about these cultures, so closely entwined, with their simple, extravagant and passionate ways of life, I connected with my ancestors in the civilizations responsible for birthing all knowledge of the highest order. They were a most creative, innovative, strong, spiritual and physically beautiful people.

Her classes kept a light breeze in my sails and distracted me from the ugliness and inadequacy projected from my emotions to my mind rapidly becoming solid beliefs about myself. Beginning to appreciate the human form in ancient sculptures and paintings, I noted the proportions and was stunned by its sheer magnificence. Deciding to be an archaeologist when I grew up, I never imagined it would mean unearthing the ruins of my past and integrating the pieces of my shattered self.

Marie, bound to a state of perpetual servitude, retreated into books for self preservation and something she could call her own. Marie, always interested in medicine and by her nature the ultimate caregiver, was a candy striper by age thirteen at the local sanitarium. The hospital was full of older patients with a variety of illnesses, both physical and mental. Marie read her patients books, fed them and found her natural place in the circle of life.

Stephania simmered in her discontent because I was asked to model for art classes and was being treated like something special. She was a menace I avoided constantly, but sometimes she appeared out of nowhere to blindside me. Beyond Stephania’s shadowy presence, observing my parents punish my siblings was painful to me. Feeling their ways of control so deeply, sorrow stole my breath adding another ten obsidian bricks to the fortress surrounding my heart. The walls became so solid and high, they cast a shadow over my rainbow soul to become the black cloud that eventually blocked my light completely.

Sara and Luke were nearing age two when Oma died; Mom received her inheritance, and we pulled up tent stakes to buy a house across the river. We moved from a fun and inspiring neighborhood to a more rural setting with fields instead of art. Boredom without guidance in a less refined culture was my canvas, and I did the best I could to remain inspired within my new condition. Our new home had more rooms, but we still had to share them. Dad put in new linoleum and transformed the garage into a bedroom and laundry room. Mom dedicated Oma’s beautiful furniture to the front room and forbade us to sit on her well-made comfy couches. A large painting by Walter Keane hung on the wall mirroring the sadness in my large eyes, and a dark dramatic painting of the crucifixion captured my now jaded perception of Christ in the world.

Matching the chill of what was becoming my heart, the heat was turned down to fifty-five degrees at night no matter how cold it was outside. Jumping into a cold cot each night found me completely under the covers blowing hot air around myself to get warm. Finding a position within my blankets that held the heat leaving a small hole to breathe, I remained as still as possible so not to stir the air surrounding me. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night was resolved through trial and error. Wrapping myself in my blanket and running to the bathroom, I found my mattress was freezing upon return. Running to the bathroom without cover, left me too cold to relax enough to pee. Either way, I had to focus myself into relaxation, relief finally came with release of my bladder as the steam from my urine rose to warm my inner thighs. Most of the time I would just stay in bed in my one position and try to go back to sleep.

Dad took a job selling cutlery and kept the job for several years. With dad now a traveling salesman, mom had us to herself for long regimented days. Art classes went out the window and the threat of our father’s retribution hung over our heads in mom’s calculated attempt to keep us in line. Mom and dad struggled to come to terms with Marie and Stephania turning into young women, and searched for answers within their golf-ball sized sphere of consciousness.

Getting older and out-growing the pack mentality, we silently agreed it was every man for himself as we began breaking away from the collective pain and running for our lives. We knew how or how not to act by way of a look and other nonverbal clues. Finding it enough at this point to cover our own asses, when hell’s fury opened its door to our brother, we stepped out of the way until the scorching wind passed.

Many people on the new block were giving parents and society the finger so to speak, there were black light posters on people’s walls and some really interesting examples of living. Crazy daisies on sides of Volkswagen buses, macrame plant holders, bongs, and dinning tables covered in capsules being divided among the adults. The pungent smell of patchouly wafted onto the street in some cases and marijuana spilled out of wooden boxes on coffee tables. Long-haired kids ran around playing amidst this intoxicated version of peace, love and nothing better to do.

Music was bigger than television then. Everyone had a record player or a hi-fi and our house was no exception. When mom and dad weren’t around, Stephania played Janis Joplin lining up with her mannerisms and music so she could strum her guitar singing Janis’s songs while smoking at the neighborhood hangout. Mom forbade us to listen to our music when she was home and loved to blast Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture when she was in a good mood, marveling at the power of the canons. There were homes where the Carpenter’s music took center stage; the melodies and lyrics melted into my mind as I lounged on soft new furniture in a quiet, nurturing home that felt so foreign to me.

Dad was considered the “fun” parent because he ate candy and shared, played with us outside, encouraged art projects and taught us girls how to cook. He often took me with the boys fishing and on the way to the river we stopped by the bait shop. He bought us starburst candy, orange soda, earthworms and brightly colored marshmallows for bait, then crammed it all into a small styrofoam cooler. Soda and candy was a rarity at home, and we piled into the truck tearing the wrappers off our candy with abandoned restraint. Fishing was a great way to be away from whatever mom was imposing on the girls, and eating candy and sipping sweet bubbles made it all the more glorious.

On outdoor adventures our manners could relax and I could eat my sandwich in peace not having to abide by the rules at home where mealtime was always tumultuous. We had to raise our hands if we wanted to speak. The seating arrangements were dictated by das field marshal and determined by our manners. If we relaxed for a minute by landing an elbow on the table, it was met with a jab from the tines of Mother’s fork, and the repeat offenders had to sit next to her. It was so difficult sitting around our long table next too so much pent up energy while constantly being told to sit up straight and often subjected to my father’s anger and opinions.

It was a rule that we had to eat everything that was put in front of us whether we liked it or not, and Stephania never could stomach the texture of eggs. Dad, fed up with her defiant claim came unglued and made her eat everything on her plate. Stephania fearfully complied and in turn vomited the eggs partially into his lap. He proceeded to yell, and throw a fit as she cried. Tears erupted around the rest of the table in response to the fear and anger that enveloped our beings. No one said a word; no one ever did.

At age nine standing in the field, I extended my right arm with palm facing out in front of me, moving it slowly left to right, creating an invisible shield of intention to push the pain away. Armoring myself with the lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s I Am a Rock, I consciously sealed myself from the pain of life because a rock feels no pain and an island never cries.

Adults like Carol were my respite, so when she moved from Folsom to the Gold Country I visited. We went to her father’s home / art studio, I made new friends and played in the river panning for gold nuggets. We ran around old cemeteries rubbing gravestones with black charcoal on paper, capturing the imprints of angels and other interesting images. Riding horses in the dry, dusty heat of the summer sun, I marveled at the size of the golden scarabs that emerged from the dirt at dusk on my way to the pavilion. Country tunes filled the air and the pampered campers danced under the starlit sky along the Coloma River. When summer was over, it brought me into the seventh grade when school became more pleasant than the energy at home.

Sister Gertrude was conflicted in her role as a nun and although she aspired to be hip and on the leading edge in the content of her teaching, she fell miserably short. Home economics class brought us to clean the convent and instruction in sewing. The class itself was derived from a Butterick “how to” insert with which it seemed she had little experience. Finding a bottle of Black Velvet whisky in the cupboard, I imagined it was for the priests and wondered how the sisters could be happy living such narrow lives.

In eighth grade I was a cheerleader, blue and gold, and somewhat enjoyed it, in spite of the lack of support I received from the other girls. Mr. Campo, my math teacher, was interesting and made sense to me. We connected in his ability to get me to understand math and our love for Hawaii and other traveling adventures. He gave me photos of trips to Waikiki and we shared a love for the ocean, Puka shells and anything beyond day to day life. Mr. Campo was another breath of fresh air in the otherwise stale content of Catholic school. His perspective was expansive and the positive part of my last year in parochial school.

The routine of my home life that summer was pleasantly interrupted by a call from Carol, who had married and moved to another place in the Gold Country and invited me up the summer before I entered high school. Mom drove me up to spend two weeks with Carol and her new husband who were live-in managers of The Vineyard House in Coloma. President Ulysses S. Grant had stayed there while visiting in the 1800’s and gave a speech from the front steps. I stayed in the president’s bedroom and felt pretty amazing getting comfy in the bed where he once slept.

A storage room upstairs was filled with treasures stashed there dusty for at least six decades. Outside everywhere were very old empty bottles of varying sizes, an some crystal door knobs that turned purple from their continual exposure to the light of the sun. Massive oak barrels used for aging wine sat out back, and antiques of all kinds could be found even among the rows of straggly vines of a once thriving vineyard. Carol sent me and my friends on very clever scavenger hunts, taking us half the day on a wild imaginative journey to claim the final prize. We rode horses and played in the river, making it hard to leave the divide that summer, as I knew in my heart it would be my last visit.

The waning heat of our August days brought me to the reality of high school and to finding my place among the student body. The folks believed I was better off at the Fair Oaks high school as it was a beautiful high school with more refined kids.

Mom arranged a ride with a preacher’s daughter who was a couple years ahead of me and I had to walk across the damp, cold fog-filled field to get to her place. Agatha lived on the church grounds and was always wolfing down a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast as I arrived. Her house was quiet and sterile, and I couldn’t help but notice her softer and easy going mannerisms.

Entering high school at age twelve had its challenges, mostly in the freedom it allowed me away from home. I discovered new neighborhoods with finer kids, better cars and opportunities to hang out in style. The Eagles “On the Border” spilled out the windows of the seniors’ shiny waxed Mustangs onto the newly paved parking lot, and we spent days trying to change the water to wine. Two classmates met their maker burning to death in a car crash and sent an ashen cloud of grief over our otherwise jovial group. It was the second and third deaths I experienced among my friends. My marine biology and English classes were the only two of any interest to me, and the only two I ever attended. Second semester found me more interested in sunbathing along the American River rather than going to class, and I was transferred to my local high school sophomore year because of poor attendance.

As a witness to the constant turmoil between my older sisters and my parents, I knew they were making plans to leave home. The thought of having more responsibility for my five younger siblings and subsequent subjugation of my soul lighted my way out the door. I found solace in the field across the street often lying in the tall grass and watching the clouds go by, munching on minor’s lettuce, climbing the giant oaks or crying to the depths of my soul. The earth always nurtured me unconditionally and held me in her arms of unwavering love, no matter what I brought of myself to the table.

My sisters continued acting out, climbing out the bedroom windows at night and hanging out with neighbors down the street. When Marie left home they hung out with different, grungier types of people. Stephania had a boyfriend which she spent most of her time with, while Marie went out with his brother, trading one family in ruins for another, striving to create anew.

I hung out under the stars with friends on balmy summer nights, sneaking out the window myself a time or two. Once while still dark, I laid down to rest in a spot of tall tender grass for a few minutes before I had to make haste to get home. I gazed silently at the mix of fading stars and blue beams of morning light, deeply inhaling the first breath of sunrise. The light blended blue and gold, with its long rays enhanced the beauty of the peach and olive orchards. Picking up speed, staying ahead of the cackling pheasants who signaled the dawn of each new day, I hurried down the path. Over the fence with but for a moment’s pause, crouching behind the tomatoes, peering at the house to gauge any activity. Staying low to the ground, I made my way across the lawn to my window carefully removing the screen and climbing in. Burying myself under the covers, I tried to catch a few winks before we all had to get up and get ready for Sunday morning church.

Dad would make pancakes on Sunday, and then chores as usual. We didn’t discuss our parents or their actions with others because we saw nothing wrong with the picture. If anything was talked about, it was in a laughing context. “Remember when Dad…?" and we would laugh sharing stories of past times we had gotten hurt at the hand of either parent or some other reference to pain. My siblings and I were allowed to fight and make fun of each other, we teased each other all the time. I made up names for everybody and laughed about that too.

The ability of my mind to deny what would have destroyed me before I was ready to face anything was nothing short of amazing. The effects of prolonged exposure to the negative energy at home hardened my attitude along with my perception, and I let it protect me and take control. I stopped chewing my nails to the quick by befriending the Marlborough Man and had a relationship with him that was satisfying for another fourteen years. Leaving fear and weakness behind, I summoned the demons of my brutal inner past and moved forward with an aura that spoke for itself.

The compressed emotions from years of accumulated anger began bubbling up beneath the surface of my denial. The energy swirled up from it’s depths after mom and dad announced at the breakfast table one morning that they were getting a divorce. Mostly still around the table, we swallowed our feelings along with our words, then carried on with our various chores. We gathered our belongings with the pieces of our broken hearts and silently left for school.

I learned how to fist fight at home, and was told “never pick a fight, but if you get in one, don’t come home a loser." I sought to keep the feeling of rage about their plan to divorce down, but that day I got into a fight, I didn’t come home a loser, and I got a good look at a part of myself that I was barely beginning to become conscious of.

Mom who I never saw as courageous then, exchanged religion for spirituality and packed up the youngest three children to create a new life at a community in Nevada City. The word “guru” was totally foreign to me, and not understanding what it was about, I put it out of my mind.

Three months later, I watched my mom drive away with Sara and Luke and Amanda looking out the back window of the car waving us goodbye. Our family dispersed in seven different directions that day. My sister Stephania disappeared; Matthew and Mark lived with dad for a while, then Matthew shared an apartment with a friend and the beloved Antonuccis embraced Mark as their own. I hit the bricks with Marie at fourteen years old, staying with friends all over town.

Somewhere within the year that followed, I was at a bar shooting pool when a brawl broke out. Like a spaghetti western, bottles flew through the air, bar stools were taken up as shields, and fist fights ensued.

Although I was standing back and watching, not moved by it one way or another, the cops showed up too quickly and I was caught making tracks out the back. Taken downtown but being a minor, I was sent to juvenile hall. Wasting my phone call on my father, who told me to get my own ass out of trouble, I cried softly to sleep in my dormitory bed.

Annie was a guard who saw the light in me, though I had no idea it was there. She was a no nonsense gal who called me out of the lunch line the next day to ask me what I was doing there. She held up a mirror of light to me and I was touched by her genuine concern. The black cloud of “not me” quickly blotted out her sun, but I never forgot how for a second I remembered another truth about me.

There is no love from an outside source that can heal you, it can only reflect what you are capable of doing within the self.”
—Abraham

My court date arrived and Mom came down from the mountain quite unexpectedly, and unlike I had ever known her. In a cotton skirt with long graying hair, she sat and watched calmly as the court decided to release me into her custody. After taking me to lunch, she returned me to the wild and returned to her gentle life in the hills.

Chapter IV

The Principles of Lust



The principles of lust are easy to understand, do what you feel, feel until the end. The principles of lust are burned in your mind, do what you want, do it until you find … love.”
—Enigma MCMXC a.D.



Turning fifteen and a big corner in how I wanted to live life, I found a pseudo sense of normalcy in a man from a different side of the tracks. Jimmy came from a good Sicilian and Irish family, was naturally well built with striking blue eyes and brown hair. He was educated, had a great job and many opportunities that come with being a respected family in the community. He was Romanesque in his love for rough contact sports, cleanliness, dietary preferences, and uninhibited sex.


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