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Talking To Pluto: How My Road Trip To Sedona Led Me To the Underworld

The best way to begin is at the beginning.

Edward and I set out for Sedona, Arizona from Omaha on a bright Monday afternoon. My plan was to drive to Hays, Kansas and camp for the night, before heading on to Tucumcari, New Mexico the next day. We'd spend a couple days exploring around Tucumcari before moving on to Albuquerque and slowly making our way to Sedona (and eventually on to a stint at the Grand Canyon). Good plan, right? I thought so. I felt ready, so relieved that Edward had fully recovered from his GI bug and eager to reach those warm desert days. But two hours into the drive, just at the point where I needed to turn south to make our way into Kansas, I heard something, something I'd heard before.

In January of 2015, I awoke in the middle of the night, sat up on the side of my bed, and heard a voice as clear as if someone was standing right next to me talking: open the door. I turned my head towards my closed bedroom door, not scared, not alarmed at all by the calm instruction I'd just received. I just looked at the door, and then I got up and opened it.

The bathroom light was on at the end of the hallway, but the door the was open. I could see my daughter's feet on the floor along with a pile of towels. I said her name as I walked towards the bathroom, but she didn't answer. The short version of this horrible story is that I found my daughter nearly unconscious on the toilet. She was white as a ghost and incoherent, her skin cold and clammy. There was both vomit and feces all around her. I called to her father to call 911. When EMS arrived, my daughter's blood pressure was 60/30, and she was unconscious.

Thankfully, my daughter pulled through that ordeal. She was the victim of a horrible case of salmonella that hit her so hard and fast, she lost enough fluid to trigger neuro-cardiogenic syncope (a diagnosis she received as a result of this scare). Her body was behaving as though it was in hypovolemic shock, and had I not found her that night, she could have died. I found her because of that voice: open the door.

That same voice spoke to me as I neared my exit for Kansas: keep driving. It came from no where. Keep driving, and so I did. I drove until I got just west of North Platt, Nebraska, and then, as if I was a robot operating on some pre-programmed protocol, I pulled into the most picturesque rest stop I think I've even seen. It looked like a large park, so lush and green and spacious, framed by two lakes and fields of wild grass. The waning moon, just days away from its full moon peak, a lunar eclipse in Scorpio, shining directly above my van.

I checked Google Maps just to have an idea of about where we were in the state, and I found the exact location of the rest stop. It was listed as closed. I checked my rest stop app, and sure enough, it was listed as closed there too. And in the parking lot, across from the truck area where two semis sat idling, my van sat alone for the whole night. Not a single car, van, or suv came to that rest stop, at least not while I was awake.

The next morning we strolled around the lake. My plan was to be back on the road by 9am, but I never left. I had no inclination to leave. Instead we drove just down to the next exit, some random town, and spent the afternoon at this random park...that had peacocks strolling around it with the normalcy of robins searching for earthworms. Peacocks. My spirit animal for the year, pasted at the top of my 2023 vision board and hanging on the wall of my bedroom. I came upon a park in western Nebraska with rescued peacocks roaming freely, one literally walked right in front of us as we moseyed through the grass. For a second, I thought maybe I'd finally found my way to Wonderland, but no, just the universe talking back.

It would another 4000 words for me to explain my state of mind when I set out on this Sedona trip. The scare of Edward's illness took a toll on me; I was dissatisfied with the direction of my YouTube channel; and I felt, as Bilbo Baggins would say, like butter scraped over too much bread. My life is moving forward with such vigor sometimes I'm hard-pressed to keep up. I'm not complaining about that, I'm just saying I get a little fried sometimes, and I feel weak and like maybe I don't have it in me to do it all. That's how I felt as I was driving out that day. Weak, uncertain, and a tinge overwhelmed. But as the day went on, after we left the peacocks and found another nearby lake to explore, I got the urge to write, to journal.

I sat on a blanket in the sun while Edward slept in the shade, and I talked to god (we might have different ideas of that word, but for me, god is the notion of an energy larger than me, a cosmic divination I cannot possibly comprehend and have no interest in trying. I often get asked if I believe in god, and my answer is always the same: I believe in the universe. I can't tell you exactly what I mean by that except to say it's a faith in something from which I came and to which I will return. It's the song of a bird and the red of a rose, the giggle of a baby and the devotion of a dog. The universe, everywhere at once and no where at the same time). As I journaled, I noticed how different I felt in my body, how calm and how powerful. I sat by that lake and sketched out a formal business plan for my puzzle shop (so I can apply for some small business grants now that I'm thinking bigger); I reworked my YouTube plans to be more in line with the kind of content I want to create; and I made a long list of research items and topics pertaining to how to scale a business and how to plan a tiered rollout. I sketched out the next couple months of filming plans, and I set a hard deadline for the first draft of my screenplay.

When Edward woke up, we went for a long walk, and then we returned to our rest stop where I lied on a blanket under the moon and meditated with the energy I felt moving around me. That night I dreamt I was on a boat that was sinking, and everyone else was in a panic but me. I pushed my way through the crowd, and I steered the boat over some kind of wavy, purple hill to safety. Then we all climbed out of the boat, up some stairs, and into a room so bright I couldn't see anything. Then I woke up. I woke up, and I felt so strong and so clear and so centered. The difference in me was stark enough that I pulled out my phone and looked up my astrocartography line (a method of locational astrology), and sure enough, my rest stop was situated within 7 kilometers of my Pluto trine ascendant line. The second I saw it, I knew. Plutonian, yeah, that's how I felt.

We ended up staying three nights at that rest stop, long enough for me to step into some power but not so long as to get lost in the underworld. I left feeling competent, clean, and capable, like I'd shed four layers of skin, like I really could steer the ship to safety. And as if I needed anymore convincing, just down the highway from the peacock park was a billboard with a single red tulip and the word "bloom" in tall white letters. "Bloom" in my word for 2023. It's written all over my journals and my vision board; it's on post-its on the mirrors in my apartment. I drove down the highway after seeing that billboard, tears running like water, feeling more full of love than I have in such a long time. Sometimes it's easy to feel alone, like we walk this world unaccompanied, but this past week I was reminded that we do not. Help really is always available to those who ask for it. For some that may mean talking to a therapist or a member of a clergy, for me it came from talking to the stars.

Message received. Thank you.

Oh, and as I write this entry, we still haven't left Nebraska. We're hold up in the far northwest corner of the state in a land that feels like one of the last untouched corners of the country. I'm not sure what I was hoping to find in Sedona, but I no longer need it.

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