sample page from the book's
"Italian Pilgrimage" chapter:
" I remember memorizing my first Italian word, “ocho,” as I listened to the
Italian language tapes that my father had brought home in preparation for
our family’s Catholic pilgrimage to Rome. I was eight years old and
thought it was “neat” that Pope Paul VI and I shared the same name.
Even more than the chance to miss a lot of school time, I naturally
responded with excitement to a new overseas adventure where I knew
things would be different and more interesting. The idea of an overseas
trip hit a synchronistic chord in my soul. I was so excited! This trip would
be the first of my many travels and adventures over the next thirty years to
Europe, North Africa, and Asia. I later learned that this love of travel or, at
least, being more happy away from one’s birth area, is common with
those who have Uranus rising in their Western geocentric natal birth chart.
During the days before our departure to Italy, I remember worrying
inexplicably about the possibility of dying before we left and thus being
denied such an exciting adventure. When I shared these feelings with
my mother, she very matter-of-factly stated that I needn’t worry about it,
as God had other plans for me to fulfill which necessitated my living a
longer life. This answer, along with her confident tone of voice, was very
satisfying and allowed me to dismiss the death-before-departure
scenario. My thoughts clung to her answer again as I experienced the
very turbulent Alitalia flight as we slowly flew over the Atlantic Ocean to
Rome. Besides, I thought, we were on a Pilgrimage to honor “God” so we
would not be permitted to crash. The fact that a Roman Catholic priest
was sitting next to me was also reassuring.
The small but memorable things about the trip were the majestic old hotels,
churches, cathedrals, fountains, the people on motorbikes, the bitter hot
cocoa which needed endless sugar to make it palatable and the small
individual size pizzas which were different than the large American-Italian
and Greek-style pizzas back in The States. Of course, the hole-in the-
ground ceramic toilets, which I would see in many countries over the years,
were also eye-opening.
The pilgrimage involved visiting a few interesting Cathedrals, which I
thought were really very impressive, and various outdoor holy sites and a
lot of picture taking in the rain with the old style instant Polaroids. These
pictures would be scrutinized for vague images formed by darker and lighter
patterns which some of the adults called Ahrimanic* or saintly images which
gave me an eerie feeling at the time.
Many years later in Asia I would recall the scrutinization of the Italian holy
site pictures as I beheld my first performance of Wayang, the magical
shadow puppet plays of Indonesia. As one watches the shadows one soon
learns to view them as real characters and forgets that they are just a
reflection of the actual marionettes. Even further removed are the strings by
which each figure is manipulated and the puppet master himself. What a
poignant lesson in life: as a baby grows, the brain inversion subsides, the
auric vision fades and the baby is told what to call this or that. Imagination
and spiritual connections fade as the parents’ realities, worries and thought
processes are forced upon infants as though by osmosis, the parents’
thought processes become the baby’s and their illusions become the baby’s
realities. What Karma we weave.
Upon returning from my exotic adventure to my third grade class, I was
surprised that everything appeared the same as it had been when I
lefteven though I was not the same. It was a bit like time travel; I felt I had
changed with this exotic adventure while no one else had. If I had not talked
about my trip, no one would know that I had been on, what was to me, such
a big adventure. Often I have had similar feelings upon returning to one
country from another i.e., that time is indeed relative and it can be used by
each in one’s own way. Everyone is experiencing one’s own karmic path
and may not even care about the experiences of others.
It is all so personal and appropriate."
*In many Western and Eastern religions and philosophies (including
esoteric Christianity), Ahriman is considered to be the post-Satanic type
energy force which dominates our present evolutionary age. Ahrimanic
forces promote and thrive on human apathy and materialism (as opposed to
Satanic energies which thrive on human emotions).