This morning I was getting coffee and there was a white egg on the counter, balanced between the handles of the hole punch they use to stamp the cards.
"Are you saving that egg for something special?" I said to the barista.
"It's the spring Equinox and I'm trying to balance it," she said. "They say today is the only day you can balance an egg."
"Really, why's that?" I said.
"I don't know. Something about the earth's equilibrium. I got it to stay one time this morning, but it's been really hard today. Last year it was so easy. Like, you could just put it there on the counter and it would stay. But today's not like that. I don't know, it feels like something's different now."
Then I spent a few minutes trying to balance her egg, chatting about magnetic fields and lopsided yolk, but it kept wobbling, so I gave her back the egg and went to eat my bagel.
One of the flyers on the wall advertised a free event called "Talking with the Dead," where a professional medium named Tallkat Conley was going to explain exactly what the afterlife was like, before calling forth the dead ancestors of audience members. This sounded too good to be true, so I went over there around six.
The event was in a yoga studio and the air was thick with incense which made it hot and hard to breath. There were about 30 people, and most of them were old enough to have a wife or a husband on the other side, which was probably why they came.
When Tallkat Conley burst through the door she shouted, "Good evening my beautiful people!" and raised her hands to the roof and twisted her wrists back and forth, like a cabaret dancer waving goodbye to an airplane. Tallkat was indeed very tall, and she bent down to kiss the bald shiny head of a fat woman who had just had chemo, and she said to the woman, "You are a beautiful creature!"
Then Tallkat bounded to the front of the room, where there was a big gold throne for her to sit on, and she growled, "Yeah, baby! Yeah!", pumping her fists in the air. Her boyfriend put on music — something about Shambala, Shambala — and everyone started to dance awkwardly. Tallkat threw daisies at the crowd, and came over to me and spun me around, saying into my ear, "Tonight ladies lead." When the song was done, Tallkat asked her boyfriend to bring her some water, and everyone settled down into their chairs to learn about death.
"Life was tough for me," said Tallkat in a hushed tone. "I didn't want to see dead people. But you can't always get what you want."
When she was six she was sitting in her grandmother's coat closet and her dead grandfather visited her, carrying a newspaper and a fedora. She told her grandma what she saw, and her grandma started to cry.
When she was 17 her boyfriend died in a car crash on Saturday night, about an hour before their date, but then his spirit showed up for the date anyway, because he didn't realize he was dead. He said, "Hey, why are you crying?"
"I could have held him," said Tallkat, "if only I knew then what I know now."
She told us exactly what to expect from the afterlife (no pain, no suffering, no hunger, no time, no stress, just total bliss, also lots of libraries and universities and people doing science to send back new inventions to the living world, and the act of creation is instant and effortless — basically, don't fear death). Then she moved on to the channeling.
She sat on the gold throne and closed her eyes, and stayed there a while. Then she would suddenly open her eyes and say, "You! In the teal-colored sweater, I am getting a strong message for you!" Then she would have the person come up to the stage and stand next to the throne, and she would say things like, "I am feeling a strong female presence. Do you have a wife on the other side?" If the person said no, which is what they said a lot, she would say, "Then maybe a close female friend?" And if the person said no again, she would say, "You know, this could be an old girlfriend you haven't talked to in years, and who still thinks about you, now from the other side." Eventually something would stick.
After doing a few, she called on the only young couple in the room. "I'm getting a strong feeling around the two of you," she said. "Did you have a common loss?"
The guy and the girl looked at each other, and then they looked at Tallkat, and said, "Well, we had a pet that died." Tallkat asked them to come up to the stage.
"This pet," said Tallkat, "I'm getting a strong feeling it was a cat."
"No," said the guy.
"Oh," said Tallkat. "Well, I'm also feeling it could be a dog."
"No," said the girl.
Tallkat opened her eyes and said, "Well, what was it?!"
"A rat," said the girl.
"Ohhh, of course," said Tallkat. "Well, I'm feeling that you both had a really strong connection with your rat. Is that not true?"
They said that yes, it was true, and Tallkat talked for a while about the rat, and how it was sending them unconditional love from the other side.
It went on like this for a while, and then a pretty young Mexican woman in a business suit came up to the mic, and stood there with dignity. Tallkat asked if she'd recently lost a child, and the woman said that yes, she had. Tallkat asked if it was her son, and she said that yes, it was, and that he was 16, and named Julian. The woman started to cry. Tallkat asked if she was now more afraid of driving, and the woman said that yes, she was. Tallkat asked if Julian was sometimes still in the car with her, and the woman said that yes, he often was. Tallkat said it was OK to talk to him there in the car, or anywhere else, but that he was really happy on the other side, and that he'd found true love with another girl who had died young, and that he wanted his Mom to know he was doing fine, and not to worry. The woman cried some more, and as she went back to her seat, I thought how she seemed like a really good person.
After the event I was still holding my daisy, and I asked a girl in the lobby if she'd gotten one, too. "Yes, but I am a very tactile person," she said. "I just love to touch things, and feel them, and tear them apart, and understand how they're made and what they are, so I ripped up my daisy. I work with plants, you see."
"Are you a botanist?" I said.
"I'm interested in the spiritual essence of plants, and their oils. I work with oils, you see. Oils are amazing."
Then she handed me a few stones from Morocco and told me to feel them.
Her friend was an older woman named Tamara, and she'd just bought some vegan carrot cake, which didn't look very good. They invited me over for salad, and Ally the botanist had me sample some of her oils, which I rubbed onto my throat chakra and said, "Ahhhh".
Tamara grew up in Mexico with a Beatnik runaway mom, and dropped acid for the first time when she was 8. She showed me a photograph of the color spectrum through a very pure crystal, taken recently in Australia. Apparently in the last few years a new color has emerged that was never there before, located between green and blue. They call it Magenta 11:11, or Doorway Magenta, and it's meant to prove the new vibrational frequencies that everyone here talks about transforming the world in the next couple of years.
Tamara moved to Santa Fe a few years ago and got a job as a waitress. She was happy to have some financial independence from her divorced California husband. She'd been working at the restaurant a few days, and then suddenly one day at lunchtime her legs gave out, she couldn't stand up anymore, and she had to go to the hospital.
She learned that afternoon that North Korea had just tested a nuclear bomb on the other side of the planet that morning, and she's pretty sure the shock came through the heart of Mother Earth and up into her feet.
Now every time there's an earthquake or a tsunami somewhere in the world, she gets laid up for a few days before and a few days after, like cows who lie down in the grass before it's going to rain.
We covered a popular range of Santa Fe topics — time speeding up, 2012, the I Ching, the Mayan calendar, the crystal skulls, the impending collapse of the dollar, consciousness rising, past lives, Terrence McKenna, and tarot cards.
Then she printed out my chart and told me all about myself and what my shadows were, where to find them, and when they'd be finding me anyway, which is the kind of thing that makes you shiver.