Bernadette’s Rainbow Adventures, Part 7
Graduation and saying good-bye to Kilimanjaro
I tore open the envelope, trying not to think about the hundreds of pink envelopes I had gotten over the years. Apparently, at some point in his youth, Daddy was told that pink means girl and blue means boy and he assumed that to be a universal truth which he never, ever questioned as long as he lived. To him, pink and blue was like left and right. There was no middle ground. You were one or the other. Instead of a spectrum of color, my Daddy saw a polarity of color. He may as well have been color blind.
In the envelope was a pink card. On the cover of the card was the drawing of a hippopotamus wearing a skirt while riding a unicycle while juggling bowling pins.
There was no text to complement the art. There was nothing explanatory and opening the card, I saw that there was no printed text on the inside of the card as well. There was only Daddy’s chicken scrawl:
To my special Bernie,
I can’t believe your [sic] about to graduate from college!!! I sure wish I had. Your Mommy and I are so proud of you. As you know, Mommy can’t fly so it will only be I who comes to your graduation. I have the most fantastic graduation gift for you and can’t wait to give it to you. You’ll love the color. I can’t bring it to Africa with me, though. You’ll have to come home after graduation to pick it up. I’ll be arriving two days before your graduation. I can’t wait to kiss Africa once again.
P.S. I can’t wait to kiss you again, too.
I remember that day so long ago back in Texas. My younger sister, Beatrice, was having some dramatic ordeal concerning her training bra. I think she was trying to stuff too much tissue down there or something. Whatever the problem was, I wasn’t paying much attention. I was too busy fantasizing about Raoul, the cook at Dairy Queen who had a perpetual grin on his face and a perpetual bulge in his Levis. His hair was so thick and full.
The normality of the afternoon was shattered when Daddy came home. He was yelling at the top of his lungs. He did that often but this time he was yelling in a foreign language. Beatrice and I went downstairs to see what was up. We walked into the kitchen to see Daddy doing a hornpipe. It was gross.
Daddy then took his hat off his head. I had to shield my eyes from the glare that reflected off of Daddy’s bald head. Daddy then took his hat and threw it across the room. To everyone’s amazement, the hat landed squarely atop the dog’s head. I looked at the dog and then at Daddy and then back at the dog and then back at Daddy and then back at the dog, who was now smiling. My first thought was….
“Oh, shit, Daddy’s got the mojo!”
Everyone in the room abruptly realized that Daddy had the mojo. He seemed to get it about every three or four years. When Daddy had the mojo there was simply nothing anyone could do about it. It was more powerful than the glare off the top of his head. When he had the mojo then he had the mojo and nothing, and I mean nothing, would get in the way.
As the room and the reality grew silent, my Daddy announced that…..
….. we were all going to Mexico City!
My first thought was, “Oh shit! Here we are, pasty white Americans living a stone’s throw from Mexico, and instead of advancing forward we dive back into the very center of that whole paradigm that we were disentangling from.” The clash of cultures was like a band member percussionist clashing their cymbals at the worst possible wrong moment during the performance. Dissonance, when calls, immediately rears its ugly head.
A moment suddenly happened. How’s that for a fantastic sentence? I mean really….”A moment suddenly happened.” Is there anything a moment does better than suddenly happen? I mean, really? Still, by the way my Daddy’s hip kept revolving round and round I knew something serious was up.
Beatrice was way ahead of me. With an armful of dishes and a sprig of hair dangling in front of her face, she said to me, “Daddy’s got the mojo.”
Yeah, Daddy had the mojo. It was exciting and depressing at the same time. I mean, it was great to see Daddy with the mojo. Lord knows, he needed it. He had turned into a pathetic hollow echo of a man since he lost the mojo. It was great to see him with the mojo again even if it meant that calamity was potentially imminent. Geez, timing can really suck. I remember wishing Mommy was there but she was on a plane at the moment and we were about to go to the airport to pick her up (that was back when Mommy still flew). Now we had to go to the airport while Daddy had the mojo.
We were waiting for Mommy at the airport. Once she walked out of the terminal runway I could see on her face that she knew something was up. My Daddy was waving his hat around as though he were looking for some dog to land it on. The hat was eventually thrown and it landed on some Hare Krishna dude who immediately knelt down and started chanting. The flowers he was holding melted into nirvana.
Mommy looked at Daddy and then at us and then back at Daddy and then back to us. “What the heck is going on?” she asked.
Still holding her hand, Daddy stepped back and made a sweeping gesture with his other arm as though inviting her into some magic kingdom or something. Mommy proceeded out further into the airport lobby. She stopped and turned to Daddy and said, “Okay, what the fuck is going on?”
Daddy uncoiled a bit and said, “Keep your bags packed cuz we’re going to Mexico City!”
Mommy looked at us and in that instant I could tell that she was as clueless as we were. Finally, she looked at Daddy, who now had a rose stem in his mouth, and asked simply, “Why?”
My Daddy made a thrusting gesture with his hips and groin. I had no idea what that was all about. He then said, “We’re going to Mexico City because of the Harmonic Convergence!”
I could tell that Mommy wasn’t sure what he said on account of the rose stem in his mouth. Intuitively, Daddy repeated his proclamation after taking the rose out of his mouth, “We are going to Mexico City for the Harmonic Convergence!”
I will always remember the look Mommy gave me.
“Is Daddy going to play the harmonica?” Beatrice was constantly asking me questions.
“Is Daddy taking us to a harmonica convention?”
“Why do we have to go to Mexico City?”
Before I could give my perfunctory ‘no,’ Daddy yelled out, “The pyramid!” We looked at Daddy and tried to pretend that everyone in the airport lobby wasn’t looking at him also. He finally continued, “My friend says that we need to be on the Pyramid of the Sun near Mexico City at sunrise on the fifteenth. That means we have only around 36 hours to make it to Mexico City. We must leave now.”
I had to practically run to keep up with Daddy as he quickly walked out of the airport. I still had no earthly idea why we were going to Mexico but I went eagerly, knowing that something exciting always happens when Daddy got the mojo.
First we had to clean all the chicken manure out of the back of the station wagon but once that was done we were quickly packed and on our way south. Daddy insisted that we had to drive to Mexico City. Mommy and Daddy took turns driving. We stopped only to change drivers or go to the restroom — and then only when it was critical. Daddy taught my retarded little brother how to pee in a jar. I have a feeling that he fully expected Mommy to teach us girls how to pee in a jar and I think he resented her for failing to do so.
At times while the whole family was awake Daddy talked about his friend Jose Arguelles. He’s the man who coined the phrase, Harmonic Convergence. In truth, I’m pretty sure Daddy never met Jose Arguelles or even communicated with him. Yet he always referred to him as, ‘my friend.’ Daddy was like that.
Daddy went on and on about the Harmonic Convergence and about how the whole world was going to change but I just didn’t get what it was all about and truthfully I don’t think Daddy really understood either. Eventually, we made it to the Pyramid of the Sun. I, of course, wanted to know where the rainbow pyramid was. Anyway, there were about 8 gazillion people there. I kept thinking, “This better be good.”
We were about two-thirds of the way up the pyramid on the east side when Daddy yelled, “Here it comes!” I looked at the horizon and watched the sun come up.
And that’s the last thing I remember.
The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Beatrice’s mouth retainer protruding out of her mouth which was like 8 inches in front of my face. God, what an awful way to wake up. Beatrice then yelled out, “Mommy!” I come from a family of screamers. Quickly, Mommy and Daddy came over to my bedside in the hospital. Lifting my head, I saw that my dim-witted brother remained seated. He was busy trying to peel some chewing gum off the bottom of his K-Mart tennis shoes.
Looking down at my body I realized that I had tubes sticking out of me and monitors clamped on me. I suddenly felt panicky. I looked at Daddy, “What happened?”
Daddy crossed his arms but before he could say anything Beatrice started blabbering. (With her retainer in it literally sounded like blabber.) “Bernadette cracked her head open on a pyramid!” Beatrice said this very, very loudly and that made me realize that I had a headache.
I looked at Beatrice very sternly, “Will you please take that thing out of your mouth while you speak? It’s just gross!”
Beatrice barely had the retainer out of her mouth before continuing, “Bernadette cracked her noggin open on a pyramid and she has 27 stitches in the back of her noggin!”
My arm bolted up to feel behind my head. I almost pulled my IV out in the process. Sure enough, there was a big gash on the back of my head and there were stitches holding it shut. I looked at Mommy.
Mommy was crying, “Oh Bernadette, my love, I thought we had lost you.”
Beatrice yelled out, “You should have seen all the blood!”
Mommy took over, “Honey, you have a concussion. You’re going to be alright.”
Daddy just stood there with his arms crossed.
Beatrice jumped back in, “Yeah, as long as she doesn’t bonk her head on some pyramid again. You should have seen all the brains that spilled out. The doctors just stuffed them back in.”
“Beatrice!” yelled Mommy. Looking back at me, she continued, “You’ll have some headaches but we have pills for that. We’ll just keep the wound clean and soon we’ll be able to have the stitches taken out. “
“So I’ll have a big gaping scar on the back of my head for the rest of my life?”
Mommy wiped her face with a Kleenex. She nodded affirmatively then added, “It’s the best place to have a scar if you gotta have a scar. At least no one will see it because of your hair.”
I looked at Daddy. He was staring off into space, his arms still crossed. That is when I realized he obviously must have missed the big Harmonic Convergence event that he was so excited about. How could he have had any of the mystic experiences he wanted when his daughter was sprawled on the steps of the pyramid with blood and brains spewing out everywhere? Daddy never talked about it but I’m convinced that he holds some resentment at having his mystic event ruined by my splitting my noggin open on a pyramid and being in a three-day coma. I feel really, really bad about it. I thwarted Daddy’s mojo. I prevented my Daddy from having his grand Harmonic Convergence event while I had the most outrageous event of my life. Of course, I guess it was just a dream since I was in a coma, right? Well, it sure seemed real to me.
Other than Monique and my second husband Cooper, I haven’t told anyone what happened to me while I was in that coma….
The vision I experienced while in a coma in Mexico City 25 years ago is really no different than every vision every human has, at some time, experienced. Most humans may not consciously remember that vision but they have a subconscious memory of it. It’s a vision of the new paradigm, the new earth, the new reality, the new age; whatever the heck you want to call it. It’s a silent indefinable craving for a vibration that we can all feel at the core levels of our being; a vibration that is suddenly upon us taking shape. Our stories are waking up. Our seeds are sprouting. We are awakening from the dream. Our awakening is that vision. It’s not only going to happen, it IS happening.
I mentioned that I suspected Daddy held some resentment towards me for ruining his Harmonic Convergence way back in the late Eighties. On the surface I have no reason for those suspicions because he never outwardly displayed them. He was always very supportive of me — even if that support came with running commentary. He had always longed for mystical spiritual experiences but always seemed to fall short of them. I think he realized that I was the only other one in the family with similar yearnings so over time he transferred his spiritual hopes towards me and began living them vicariously through me. I’ve always appreciated the support and I know I can always count on him but he seemed to have given up on his own spiritual dreams.
So for years I carried guilt around with me like a mismatched purse. In addition to the Mexico City fiasco, I disappointed Daddy when I was in school. I got decent grades but I never pushed myself farther than I had to. I avoided almost all extracurricular activities and I was not a normal student. Too often in class my gaze was directed out the window looking for rainbows.
I know I disappointed Daddy when I dropped out of Stanford and instead opted for Rainbow College. He never verbalized his disappointment except through innuendo but I know that he was eager to tell everyone he knew that his daughter graduated from Stanford. I could not help but wonder if, after graduating from Rainbow College, he would even tell anyone about that.
I know for a fact that I disappointed Daddy when I told him that I had absolutely no plans to bear any grandchildren for him. I told him that I was utterly devoted — married — to my quest for Rainbow Mojo. On a deep level I think he understood that but his ego really wanted to be called, Granddaddy. Despite Beatrice’s persistent attempts to land a man, there was little hope for grandchildren there. As for my dim-witted baby brother, there was even less hope. Having no grandchildren was yet another disappointment in a life full of disappointments for Daddy.
But I love him. He’s a weirdo but I love him.
I was at the dirt runway when the turboprop landed from its short flight from Nairobi. Daddy was the first one off the plane. As I knew he would, once down onto the ground he immediately knelt down and kissed the ground. I was walking towards him. As he stood up we embraced. Actually, it was more like he was squeezing the life out of me. Daddy had always been a hugger and when he hugged you all you could do was gasp for air and wait until he was done.
“Oh Bernie, it is so good to see you! Oh, and I am so proud of you. You’re about to graduate from college. Do you know how happy I am?”
Unclenching me, Daddy looked around, “And it is so good to be in Africa again. Ah, the air is full of mojo is it not?”
With that I immediately thought that it would be wonderful if Daddy got the mojo. It had been years since he last got it. With my next thought I wished that he wouldn’t get it until after graduation.
“So Bernie, are you excited? Are you nervous?”
“Well, I’m not nervous but I am excited. All of these years of training are about to come to a close. I’m going to miss everyone and I’m going to miss this wonderful land. And I’m excited about becoming an official Rainbow Patroller and beginning my life utterly devoted to a spiritual mission.”
“Uh…. yeah…. well, oh there’s my luggage.” The luggage was being taken out of the plane’s storage compartments and Daddy walked over to get his suitcase. Back with suitcase in hand, he asked, “So which way to the Hyatt Regency?”
I laughed. “Well, sorry to disappoint you but you’ll be staying in a tent.”
“I would rather it be a teepee but a tent is just fine with me. It will be good to be close to the earth. They have room service, right?”
I laughed again. “No, there is no room service. You have to go get your food at the mess tent and you have to do your bathroom stuff in a public latrine.”
Daddy took off his hat and held it to his chest. The glare off his bald noggin sent some birds into flight. “Hey, it will be like camping. It’s been a few years since I’ve been camping. You know Mommy won’t do that anymore.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Remember that time we went camping in the Black Hills?”
“Yes, we spent two nights sleeping in a teepee waiting to be visited by Native American spirit beings or something.”
“Uh, well…. yes. But that was fun, wasn’t it? You can’t tell me you kids didn’t have fun.”
“Oh, we had plenty of fun. To us it was like visiting heaven simply because we were not in Texas.”
Just then a jeep pulled up close to us. Roger the Dodger was driving it.
“Is this our taxi?” asked Daddy.
Daddy put his suitcase in the back and then sat in the passenger seat next to Roger. I climbed into a back seat.
“To the Hyatt Regency!” Daddy said to Roger.
Roger looked back at me.
I just rolled my eyes.
Graduation from Rainbow College is unlike graduation from any other college in the world. There are two parts to the graduation; one part with an audience and another part without an audience.
The most important part of graduation is taking the Rainbow Mojo oath. That is the part done without an audience. The entire class of graduating Rainbow Patrollers, which in my case numbered only fifteen students, goes out into the African bush along with our teachers and four Rainbow Mojo shamans. We go to a sacred spot to perform the oath, which in my graduating year was a hilltop from which one could see for miles. With Mt. Kilimanjaro looming in the distance the graduating students formed a circle with each of them facing outward.
The four Rainbow Mojo shamans positioned themselves just outside the circle with each one standing at the four directions; one to the north, one to the east, one to the south, and one to the west. The shamans faced the circle of students to give the oath.
We did not hold one hand in the air and one hand on a bible like how Westerners take oaths. Instead, we juiced our prisms by putting our hands out at a forty-five degree angle from our straight bodies. We closed our eyes and let the circles of white light in our hands spin furiously. We felt a triangle open up between our two hands and our third eye. Once the mojo was running furiously we opened our eyes.
In unison, the four shamans then spoke the pledge as the students recited it after them. I am not allowed to tell anyone what that pledge was but after taking it the students then turned around and faced into the middle of the circle. We then all held hands and started an intense flow of white light energy going through our hands and bodies in a clockwise direction around the circle. The energy was very intense and could be felt very strongly as it coursed through our bodies. After a few minutes we reversed the flow of energy to flow in a counter-clockwise direction and we held this flow for a few minutes. Still facing inward, we then recited the pledge one more time, this time without the four shamans.
And that was it. It was a very simple ceremony but it was extremely powerful.
We then returned to the campus for the second ceremony — the one with an audience. The audience consisted of the student’s family and friends who came as well as the rest of the college staff. The audience during my graduation ceremony numbered all of thirty-six people.
The audience was told to stand in a semi-circle with everyone facing inward. The graduating students formed a smaller semi-circle, also facing inward, directly opposite the audience semi-circle. So, in this way, the audience and the students were facing each other.
The four shamans then walked on the inside of the smaller semi-circle of students congratulating each one individually and giving them mojo. To the audience it looked like the shamans were simply placing their hand over the student’s heart but what was really happening was that the shamans were placing an invisible mojo object inside the student’s hearts. Sorry, I cannot tell you what those objects are but I can say that even now, twenty years later those four objects are still in my heart.
When this was done the four shamans then went and joined the audience semi-circle facing the students. Then, one by one, the students stepped forward and spoke to the audience. With great joy, each of them expressed their gratitude for the knowledge they had been given. After the last student had spoken the semi-circle of students dissolved as the students went into the audience semi-circle to be hugged and congratulated by their family, friends, and college staff.
And that was the entire graduation ceremony in a nutshell.
“Bernie, I have to say that was the weirdest graduation ceremony I’ve ever witnessed. But I also have to say that I was very moved. I could really feel the mojo. I’m so glad I was able to come. And I am so very proud of you.”
We fell into a long, tight hug. After stepping back I smiled, “Daddy, it really means a lot to me that you came to my graduation. I really, really appreciate your support.”
“The day you were born I just knew that someday you would have the mojo. I never felt that with your sister or brother. I knew it was your destiny and I knew that I had to do everything I could to help you follow that destiny. I now see that I was wrong in what I had envisioned for you as far as education went. I’m so glad that you followed your heart instead of listening to your crazy old man.”
Daddy then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box wrapped in pink wrapping paper with a little fuchsia bow. “I have a little graduation gift for you,” he said as he blushed.
My first thought was, “Wow that really is small.” But I took it and opened it up. Inside the box was a key ring with two keys on it. Holding the keys in my hand I looked up at him.
“Those are the keys to your brand new car.”
“What? Oh my god, you can’t afford to buy me a car.”
Daddy looked down at the ground then back at me, “I’ve been saving for some time. It’s a Yugo. That’s a popular new brand of car made in Yugoslavia.”
I looked down at the keys then back at him, “Let me guess…. the car is pink.”
Daddy blushed and looked down at the ground at which point I immediately knew that the car was indeed pink. I was not sure if Daddy would be able to afford to fly to Africa to attend my graduation but I had no idea that he would buy me a car — even if it was a Yugo. (At the time I had never seen a Yugo before and had no idea what kind of car it was.)
“Obviously I couldn’t bring the car to Africa to give you but it’s waiting in the driveway back home for you.”
I was overcome with love, “Oh, thank you Daddy. You’re the best.” I hugged him like never before.
There is a big difference between flying on a private jet and flying on a commercial jetliner. While I was in Rainbow College I had been flown by private jet around the world to the exotic locations where I did my Rainbow Mojo Quests. That was nice and I had grown accustomed to it. But now I was sitting in a commercial jetliner next to Daddy as I returned to America. On those private jets I was able to lie completely horizontal in order to nap. But now I was sitting in coach trying to get comfortable enough to doze off. It was a long flight from Nairobi to London to New York to San Antonio to Laredo.
Daddy had no trouble sleeping and he was snoring at a very high decibel level. I put the music headphones on but did not turn on any music. I was merely hoping to block out, at least somewhat, the bellowing of his snoring.
I placed the little pillow I had been given against the cabin wall and rested the side of my head on it as I looked out the cabin window. We were somewhere over the Atlantic and my body was already sore from the flight. We still had a long way to go.
I thought about my life. I was twenty-two years old and freshly graduated from college. Most people that age probably thought about what kind of jobs they were going to get and the families they wanted to start. They thought about careers and buying homes and settling down.
Not me. I was thinking about rainbows and the awakening of consciousness on the planet. I was thinking about all the exotic places I would travel to and the incredible wonders of the world I would see. Now that I had graduated from Rainbow College and taken the oath, I was thinking about what life as a Rainbow Patroller was going to be like.
I realized that I was giving up all the things that normal people expected out of life and I had no regret about that. I knew that my life would be very, very different than almost everyone else’s and I was filled with exuberance over this. I was totally committed to an uncertain spiritual life, not knowing what I would have to go through for either my own spiritual awakening or the collective awakening of humankind. I was determined to not let anything sway me from my chosen path.
Now, almost twenty years later, I realize how young and naive I was back then after graduation from Rainbow College. If, back then, I knew of some of the things that I have gone through since then I may not have been quite so eager and excited to embark on my chosen path. For this I am glad because, despite all the obstacles I’ve overcome, I am so thankful that I chose my path.
I had Daddy’s support for what I was doing even if he didn’t fully understand it. Back then, the Rainbow Patrollers was a super-secret organization and I could not explain in detail what I was doing to him or anyone else. I essentially set off on a life path that had no support from society at large. The only support I had was from fellow Rainbow Patrollers. At the time I didn’t fully realize what I was doing. Only now do I realize how brave I was back then….
…. or maybe ignorant. I’m not sure which. Either way, I certainly was determined. I had experienced Rainbow Mojo and nothing else mattered. Without hesitation, I devoted my life to it.
Now, a couple of decades later we are in a new millennium and the world has indeed changed. So, too, have the Rainbow Patrollers. For centuries we have carried out our work in secret but now we have decided to tell our story. For the last two decades I had carried out my work almost oblivious to the millions of people around me living their normal lives. Now suddenly I’ve got to switch my focus back to them. Once again, I feel like a neophyte starting out on a new path.
Esai, a man that I met a few years after graduation and whom I’ve been friends with ever since, told me to just tell it like it is. I had asked him for advice on how to tell the story of the Rainbow Patrollers, a task that had been assigned to me. When I asked him to elaborate he merely said to tell the stories just like I told them to him.
Whoops, I just admitted that I revealed secrets to someone outside of the Rainbow Patrollers before I was allowed to. Yes, I told Esai all about the Rainbow Patrollers long before I was tasked with revealing the secrets but he’s the only one I’ve ever told the secrets to. I promise. I haven’t even told Daddy.
Anyway, I’ve taken Esai’s advice and I’m just going to tell it like it is. Maybe people will think I’m crazy but I’ve never been concerned with that. Besides, I know I’m not crazy. I know because I’ve experienced and felt and lived the mojo and there’s nothing crazy about it. It’s the most wonderful thing and everyone deserves to hear about it and experience it. They will eventually anyway. Everyone will.
Sitting on that jetliner with sleepy eyes so long ago I was not concerned with spreading the word and showing people the mojo. I was too focused on my own impending journey and everything that awaited me. I was oblivious to the struggles of humankind just as I was oblivious of all the people on the plane, just as I was almost oblivious of Daddy’s snoring.
I took a deep breath and sank deeper into my pillow. I looked down at the clouds below. Occasionally there would be breaks in the clouds and I could see the ocean below the clouds. That is when I had a realization. I realized that there could be thunderstorms down below and there could also be rainbows happening down below but I would never be able to see them from a jetliner flying so high above. I would have to be down on the ground to see and experience those rainbows. Slowly, my eyes closed and I fell asleep.
And that’s the last thing I remember.