When I Was Called Rachael

In 1987, I graduated from university. Finally, 18 years after I started. I thought that having a degree would help me get a job that was more of a career. You know, less direction and more directing? Well, that was a laugh. I got nothing after college, except disillusioned. I had intended on going to law school, but right before I was to take the LSAT, I had an encounter with the ugly side of the law. The clique, the powers that be, the way you don’t speak your mind if you want a job kind of ugly.

So law school was off the table. It should have been no matter what because we had no money for tuition. I would have had to work and go to school or else go way into debt on student loans. I had two kids, ten years apart, and I had no time. Not even an extra ten minutes a day.

I hated working for other people. I worked from the time I was 16 until 1987 when I said, no. No more. I was fortunate in that one child had left home and the other one was 7. We had just bought a home we could afford on one salary. I was free from needing to pay the mortgage and buy food. It was a good time.

There was a great place in Detroit on Lafayette, downtown. It was called The Rainbow Gypsy Tea Room and I went there often for a $15 reading and a cup of tea. I became friends with the owner. I started reading tarot for people there. I was good. Shocked me, I can tell you. Words just came to me that didn’t go through my mind.

I met another reader there, Bonnie. Bonnie was to become one of my dearest friends and I am so sad that I don’t see or talk to her any longer. I think she’s in Florida somewhere, last I heard. She did me the most wonderful favor, being my friend. She sent me to Do Something Different, where I lectured at Adult Education Classes throughout metro Detroit. I built up a clientele. She taught me to quilt, something to keep me busy in between readings. I owe much to her.

She convinced me that Jennifer was not a good name for a reader. For a lawyer, yes. A reader, no. She said I was a one-name reader and I should find that name. I spent days looking. I finally chanced upon Rachel, which I liked. But the numbers in Rachel weren’t that great. I added an A and became Rachael.

Everyone who knew me as Jennifer, started calling me Rachael. It took a while, but soon all my friends were on board and Rachael I was.

I did groups outside the home. Parties where the hostess would get a free reading if there were 6 people present. For 7 years I had a group every weekend, sometimes two. I read during the day when my clients could come on their lunch hour. I read from 7 at night until 9 and I lectured a couple of nights a week. I was busy.

It was easy in Detroit. There are a lot of people there who need readings. I met most of them. I had a friend who worked for a private detective agency. They worked with me, sending me people who were missing a loved one or someone who’s loved one had run away. I worked a murder case, which was horrible because I had to see what happened. He eventually was tried for the murder, but only because he bragged about it to his cellmate. He was in jail for trying to kill another woman. He loved doing that stuff. I hope the key is good and tight in that lock.

I have always studied astrology and occasionally I would have a client, like my chiropractor, who thought the scientific aspect of astrology was better than my intuition. I did his chart and the charts of his friends. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it’s the same information, different method. I read the chart intuitively.

I’ve been studying astrology seriously since the 70s. I dropped out of school in 1972 and I had extra time on my hands. Plus, I was confused. I needed to know what the hell was going on. I didn’t want to continue school, being a German teacher had lost all of its appeal, but I didn’t have anything to fill that void with at the time. I was just treading water.

I used to tell my students, I always had this feeling that doom was just around the corner. My husband has this too. He calls it pianos falling on his head. I told my students I needed a reason, had to know why I felt like this. So I found it. I found Saturn, Neptune, and Mars all conjunct my ascendant in my 12th house. Voila! My horrible life explained!

Eventually I got tired of assuming my birth chart controlled my life. It didn’t. I was controlling my life based on a few planets and their aspects. I started looking around for explanations of the planets, the aspects and what the hell I could do about it. I had astrology readings from a professional astrologer. I had haunted The Mayflower Bookshop during my college years because I needed resources for my Senior Essay Project, a requirement for graduation. The owner, Robert Thibodeau, is an intuitive astrologer and recommends the best books. I didn’t have a reading from Robert then, seeing as how I was poor, but I have had 4 since and each time I am relieved, relaxed and ready to continue.

A side benefit of being a reader is helping people. They need direction, if nothing else. So many of my clients were young girls, desperate to be settled down, married with kids. I did a lot of educating while I was reading them. I talked to them, I told them rushing those things was a mistake, I explained to them the choices they have now that their mothers did not have, I tried to convince as many as I could that tying yourself down to one man at the age of 18 is ridiculous. I tried.

Sometimes there would be a major crisis in someone’s life. Like the wife of a policeman charged with murder. Those weren’t easy, but they were necessary. Just knowing what would transpire was better than wondering. I didn’t always have happy news, but at least I had news.

And so I was Rachael and then back to Jennifer. Jennifer was a good name for a wife and mother. Rachael was more fun.

And I read. I read not people, but books. I studied design, astrology, psychology and I read everything I could about bipolar disorder and schizo-affective disorder. I cooked too. I made fantastic vegetarian meals that would appeal to my son. I watched over him. I don’t think there was one minute of time since 1995 that I didn’t watch over him. I had my life plan down to a T.

And now, I’m here on our sheep farm. Taking care of a shepherd and his sheep, loving life in the woods and pinching myself. I don’t know how I got here, I’m just glad I did.

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