Esoterical Egyptian Tarot

The tarot deck I am using this month is a collector’s item: the 1980 Enoil Gavat tarot, also known as the Tarocco Esoterico Egiziano (the Esoterical Egyptian Tarot). It’s another large deck, though it’s easier to fan out than the one I used last month, and is packed full of every imaginable tarot-related symbol. Supposedly, there are a few jokes hidden in the cards, most notably the name of the deck, which is the artist’s name, Tavaglione, spelled backward.

The word on the back of the card Opotoim is another backward play on words — mio topo — and is in honor of the movie El Topo, written, directed by, and starring the tarot master Alejandro Jodorowsky. The movie is a 1970 Mexican art film and El Topo in Spanish means “The Mole,” though in Italian Mio Tope means “My Mouse.” Another example of the artist’s sense of humor?

My card pick for today was the page of wands, and the main keyword is “stranger” or “foreigner.” A different interpretation of the page of wands mentions that I have a curious mind. And both those meanings are so apropos of today.

When I stepped outside to check the weather as is my habit, I noticed a U-Haul pulled up to the vacant house next door. Later, when my walk took me past the truck, (see where the curious mind comes in?) I got to talking to the fellow and discovered he’s going to be using the place, and the owner’s help, while turning an old school bus into a traveling home. I told him it sounded fascinating (which of course it does) and asked if he minded if I checked on his progress from time to time. He seemed delighted with the idea, though I got the impression it was more for the safety of his tools and such than bragging rights. The more people out and about, the more cautious nefarious folk tend to be. And he’s right to be concerned. There has been an inordinate amount of theft in the area, though I have heard that the main thief now lives in a different neighborhood.

Thievery isn’t the only problem. People also leave things behind, and that’s just as bad as people taking things — this morning, another neighbor had to clear away someone’s “home” — a sleeping back and other paraphernalia from one of the many homeless here in town. (Compliments of the homeless coalition that brings homeless here from the major cities in Colorado and elsewhere, and if people wash out of the program, they move into our alleys and abandoned houses.)

I don’t really see anything mystical in this particular card showing up on this particular day. After all, the law of averages dictates that at least some of the cards would be spot on.

But it is interesting, nevertheless — both the card and the stranger.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.


I’ve been reading a series of spy/crime/adventure thrillers. Many of the novels revolve around a race for finding treasure, and all of them incorporate plot devices such as torture, murder, and theft on a grand scale.

While reading this latest book that involves discovery and theft of Incan artifacts going back to Francis Drake days, it suddenly dawned on me that I can’t relate to these folks at all. It might make me seem incredibly naïve, but I simply don’t understand them and their need — their greed — to take things for themselves that belong to others. To steal from a museum so that only they can see the priceless artifact. To kill people if necessary, in order to possess something no one can ever know they own.

I realize there are such people in the so-called real world. In fact, most of the great fortunes were founded by those who became known as “robber barons,” emphasis on “robber.” Even today, no one can make a huge fortune without some sort of skullduggery that skirts legality. Lesser fortunes also often come from some sort of crime before the owners of the fortune go legitimate. It must take an incredibly narcissistic person, as well a sociopathic personality to see nothing, to feel nothing but one’s own desires.

I truly cannot relate to such self-absorption and criminal tendencies, though without ever condoning the crimes, I can sort of understand those who steal on a very small scale.

Supposedly there have been several break-ins and some theft a few blocks from here. The discussion of these break-ins revolves around the myriad pot shops in town (some people say the shops contribute to crime, others say they don’t, though I have a hunch what side of the issue a person is on depends on whether or not the person partakes of the product.) Other people blame the nearby coalition for the homeless where people from all over the state (and even other parts of the country) come to get off whatever substance they are on and find a way back to the homed population. This facility has a distinct effect on the town because people who can’t or don’t want to stick with the program wander away and instead of going back where they come from, they hang around here and add to the problems of this already beleaguered town. Not only do they contribute to the crime rate, but they are also a drag on the city’s limited resources.

These people are desperate for food or a fix, and they are looking for something to sell to sate their elemental needs. Although I’ve never been in that situation, I can understand. Sort of.

I don’t understand, can’t understand, using force to take what one wants, on any sort of scale, especially when it comes to being held up at gunpoint, as happened to me once.

People always say that our differences are what make life interesting, but I don’t agree when those differences revolve around criminal behavior. I think life would be plenty interesting without greed and murder and theft and even unkindness, though I suppose, for most readers, thrillers would be a lot less interesting without skullduggery.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator


For someone who lives such a simple life, I still manage to find excitement. Or rather, excitement manages to find me.

This particular adventure started with the snowstorm last night.

I went out in the dark to brush off the four-inch accumulation from my ramp. The snow doesn’t melt as quickly from the wooden ramp as it does from the sidewalks, and I wanted to make sure no ice formed under the additional two inches that would pile up in the next few hours. It was a lovely night: luminous and oh, so quiet. I stood there, broom in hand, and enjoyed the experience of being inside my own personal snow globe.

This morning, when I went out to finish sweeping the ramp, I discovered that someone (my next door neighbor, I learned later) had shoveled the sidewalk in front of my house. Such a nice thing to have done!

By the time I finished sweeping the ramp and brushing the snow off my covered car, the clouds had cleared away and the sun was shining warmly. So I went inside, opened the curtains to the back yard to get the benefit of the warmth, and . . .

What the heck?

Footsteps led from the back gate, across the newly dug garage foundation, around the carport almost to the house, then back around and into the carport, and finally out the gate. I told myself I must be misinterpreting what I was seeing. This neighborhood is crawling with feral cats, and I thought that perhaps they had sunk into the snow as they made their rounds.

But no. When I went out to look, I could see that the tracks had been made by shoes, so a person had definitely come in the yard, though it didn’t look as if anything had been taken. (The snow that had blown onto the things stored under the carport had been undisturbed.)

I checked with the contractor to make sure neither he nor one of his workers had come for a ladder or some such they had left here, but he said they hadn’t stopped by and he was sure the building inspector hadn’t either since the inspector wouldn’t have needed to enter the yard. The contractor suggested I call the sheriff, but I hesitated, since nothing had been taken.

Instead, I checked with my next door neighbors who have a camera pointed at the alley to see if they could see anything, and there it was — a video of a hooded fellow very deliberately striding up to my gate, crossing the foundation for the garage, leaving camera range, then a minute or so later, retracing his steps. My neighbor husband, being a tracker, followed the footsteps into a well-trafficked street a couple of blocks away where they disappeared.

My neighbor wife came over to stay with me and said I really should call the sheriff to report an intrusion, so I gave in and did. (Is this a small-town thing? In bigger cities, we don’t generally report something so minor, mostly because we know the cops are too busy to care.) While we waited for someone from the sheriff’s department to come, we sipped flower tea and talked about the theft/homeless/street people problem, which is fairly new in this area. There is a homeless coalition housed nearby, and they bus in people from the big cities, many of whom wash out of the program and end up on the streets here. It’s a good thing for those who stay to finish the program, but overall, it’s not a very good thing for the town.

The sergeant from the sheriff’s department came after about an hour, though he did say (when I asked) that if it had been an emergency, he would have been here immediately. Apparently, a couple of ambulance calls took precedence over my non-emergency. He took my name and birthdate, and I offered him a cup of tea. (I have to laugh at myself in light of my post yesterday about channeling my inner elder since offering tea seems such an . . . ahem, old lady . . . thing to do.)

The sergeant said that the guy in the video didn’t look like any of their “frequent flyers.” We told him we thought it might have been our troublemaking neighbor, but that the tracks hadn’t led to his house. The deputy said that the guy doesn’t live there any more, and if we see him to call because there is a warrant for his arrest — fraud and embezzlement. (Apparently, he is a full-service thug — drug dealer, thief, breaker of the peace, and now defrauder and embezzler.) Before he left, the sergeant said that he would make sure the alley behind my house is patrolled.

By the time I had a chance to take a photo after everything quieted down, most of the 6” of snow had melted, but the tracks were still visible. By sundown tonight, the snow will be gone and all but the memory of the weird event will have disappeared. Well, the memory and the locks I immediately went out to buy to secure the gates.

It really had surprised me that a potential thief would be brazen enough to come through the gate even at that time of night (2:35 a.m. according to the video). A lot of things go missing in this neighborhood, but generally, things are not taken from fenced yards. I have a hunch the absence of my car from under the carport (it’s temporarily parked out front since I can’t get around the garage foundation to park it under the carport) made him think the house was empty.

Adding to the weirdness, when I went to get the locks, it turned out they were kept behind the counter as if they were a controlled substance. Apparently, locks are one of that store’s most stolen items, second only to duct tape.

Weirdest of all, none of this scared me. It probably should, but I had the fence put up, am now using my new locks, and once the garage is up and everything stored out of sight, I will have done everything I can to protect myself.

I might be heading toward elderliness (young elderliness, that is), but I don’t intend to live in fear.

And anyway, at least in the writing, it seems that all this excitement wasn’t so exciting after all.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator