Month: September 2020


No stranger to social distancing

Practiced it for years

Although enjoy being

What I believe is “social”

But pushed myself to fit in

Now, seem to have entered

A new phase that I named  

Full-circle fading of

Neurotypical actions

In social-distancing

Could be a doctoral thesis title

Retirement started it

No longer having to act

As if I’m just like them

Can accept the faint shadow

Of the Neurodiverse

It’s not a Plato-shadow

You probably read about it:

The philosopher examines

The meaning of reality

Prisoners in a cave

Seeing fire-lit figures

One escapes and experiences

An epiphany above ground

The real world of color

Blending in with others

Oh, no, though

Not like that at all

Perhaps the shadow is an

Evolutionary adaptation

Me and my tribe


Homo autisticus

Where we play near

But not with

Each other

Where for others we care

Although unseeable typicals

Are unaware

But now there is an equality

As Homo sapiens

Becomes less social

Goes inward for survival

Well, welcome to our world

The new Neurodiversity

And remember the consequences

If you go within sneezing distance of

Another mutation

But this one

Unlike us

Is deadly contagious…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Plato ’s Allegory of the Cave (no attribution available)


Susie Quattro, Suzanne Vega

Come on guys, don’t make me beg ya

Brittany Howard’s voice like earthquakes

Whatever happened to Alabama Shakes

Where’s Ann & Nancy Wilson

Have a Heart, you’re not very smart excluding them

Joan Jett rocks and shreds guitars

What a woman, she’s gone so far

Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin

Women’s top voices will always win

Egyptian walk sure does jangle

How ‘bout those guitarists from The Bangles

On your poster of male rock legends,

Thanks for Amy Winehouse, but she’s alone

She’d love to share the spotlight

With her sisters of XX chromosomes

So many women, where are they all

Cher and Diana Ross.

Joan Baez and Sister Roseta Tharpe

Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell,

Debbie Harry, Stevie Nicks,

Linda Ronstadt, Patti Smith,

Carole King and Christine McVie

Fantastic musicians and so I ask

What more can I say…?

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Rock Legends from Music When I Get Buzzed


*Scroll down for a YouTube video


Dragged myself out of Arizona

Silently kicking and screaming

After a few days in the Petrified Forest

Listening to the waves of silence

From the vast Painted Desert

Calming me as if I was

On a Jersey beach

Bombarded by negative ions


Listening to CCR sing

Who’ll stop the rain

Just to be comforted

From the line

“I went down Virginia

Seeking shelter from the storm”


Like John Fogerty knew

That’s what I was gonna do too


On Route 40

Once mythic Route 66

Around Gallup

Sign for a roadside attraction

In a town called

Continental Divide, New Mexico

Had to see it

Merely a sign

But made me smile

Awed me, actually

To think the rainfall knew

The borderline

Through the continent

Signaled direction

You go to the Pacific Ocean

You go to the Atlantic Ocean

A traffic cop

A teacher

A dance choreographer

Separating the drops

East and West

Knowing what is geographically best

Why did I remember this trivial item

From many decades ago?

Just can’t help wondering

Why the seven storms

In the Gulf

Stopped at Texas

Instead of dowsing

California, Oregon

Burning endlessly

What purpose to wreck

A community


When there is more than enough


To put out the Fire



The ways of Nature

Seemingly strange

No doubt have their own DNA

Of memory

Perhaps unaltered

Since the days of the Pangea

When continents were attached

When houses and pools

Hospitals and schools

Were unheard of

But oh

We on the Eastern side

Of the Continental Divide

Could have used less flood waters

If only the universal mind of Nature

Had the ability to Nurture

Helpless humans in the path of destruction…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Continental Divide, NM sign and map

*YouTube video Creedence Clearwater Revival, Who’ll Stop the Rain


I like the simplicity of Solar year holidays

No expensive gifts or frantic preparations

Just a basket of acorns and red leaves

Or a crust of pie dripping fresh blueberries

To mark diurnal and nocturnal spaces

Solstices signal a major change

But Equinoxes are not minor

They appeal to my Libra Rising desire

For equality, justice

Day and night commensurate

With the temperance

Of Autumn and Spring

Winter trees have their own beauty

Although some may perceive the

Deciduous ones as

Bare bones of ugliness, mortality

But look carefully and see

They are authentically

Dressed in a fine skin

Of music and poetry…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Fall Equinox 2020


While this deck and the book are destined to be one of my favorites, I would only use it to read cards for people I know.  There is still misunderstanding and an unhealable schism between the Baby Boomer generation:  those that went and those that did not.  I will briefly say that despite the protests—at least in Philadelphia where I grew up—I never witnessed anyone spitting on a military person.  Quite the opposite.  I hung out at coffee houses, was against the war, but went to USO dances and felt quite close to those who chose to go.  I believe it was a social class thing because I was from a blue collar area where not many went to college (and therefore  exempt from the draft).  The soldiers, sailors, marines were my neighbors, relatives, friends.  We all shared the best music ever written, we all had the same dreams and hopes, we just took different paths to what we thought was the right way, for us. 

That said, I want to add that this deck and book have awakened so much emotion in me.  I remember it all. And while I was always too shy to cavort about nakedly (as many of us were) I passionately believed in peace, equality, and a better world for future generations.  I was anti-war, pro-feminist, and a civil rights activist. I followed the 22 steps of the Fool’s Journey, so similar to the Hero’s Journey, and now I look back from my final journey and would do it all again. This doesn’t mean that succeeding generations cannot enjoy or learn from the deck.  I believe in the universal archetypes used in the Major Arcana and I like how the author divides the suits: Wands (Inspiration, as in the clash of ideas that inspired the Counterculture); Swords (Conflict as seen in street wars with a cultural backlash); Cups (Attachments from new lifestyles that formed new relationships and feelings); and Pentacles (or What Remains materially and spiritually from the Sixties).  There should be no gulf between the Sixties and Twenties.  All is circular, and what went on then, still continues now.

The cards and book were not sold together. I bought mine from Amazon, a phenomenal 600 page book that can be read from cover to cover or with your layout of cards as a guide to what the author was thinking when he combined the action of the counterculture with tarot symbolism. I found my deck of cards from The Game Crafter and was ecstatic to receive them before the promised date.   Some reviewers are asked if the cards are flimsy or if they will stand up to the querents who shuffle.  I don’t know.  They felt substantial to me but I do have a light touch.  I never shuffle as if I’m in a game of poker and I ask the querents to shuffle quietly while they think about their question and get their vibrations on the cards.  If they drop cards, I always keep them separate and read them as the most important part of their journey. 

All tarot readers know that the tarot is exactly that, one person’s journey, and each person has a different path.  No one is wrong or right.  The querent seeks the answer to personal questions and the reader seeks the best way to interpret, the best way to help the seeker. The Counterculture Tarot is an important deck of symbolism for Seekers on the path of truth…  


“Figure out the rhythm of life and live in harmony with it” –Tao Te Ching

How I’ve tried

To live up to

Lao Tzu’s words

Most of my adult life

And I do

Until anger

Or fright


Why can’t I

Accept things like

Political injustice

(The personal is always political)

Or hurricane season

(Live in Florida, stoically face the storms)

Or raging pandemics

(Distance yourself if others will not)

I want to be a human equinox

In perfect harmony

Acceptance equal to Happenstance

The point where the

Celestial equator intersects the ecliptic

A harmonious world

Orbiting the Sun

Even if not to my liking

My role model is a tree

Is it staring at me?

If so, it goes about its business

Of drinking and photosynthesizing

Of putting out leaves and acorn seeds

Never complaining


And I think of Daphne

Evading Apollo

Turning into a laurel tree

Yet every part of the laurel

Is poisonous

Seems to me

She was better off

Fending off the god’s advances

Rather than morphing into

Pure misanthropy

Apollo, whom I think of quite often

He the god of music and poetry

Did give the world the word


And the laurel wreath

In her honor

She now balanced


So in this week before

The Autumn Equinox

I work on Lao Tzu’s words

Read the Tao Te Ching

Try to calm my Aries fire

Fear of the tropical flood

Beclouding my blood

As it rises like the wind

Winding cone-like

In air and spilling on the earth

I am a walking, writing vessel

For the elements of

Earth, Water, Air and Fire

Expecting the Equinox

To smooth life over

At least for a day

Until I learn to obey

The rhythm of life…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Autumn Equinox


*scroll down for a Rascals YouTube video

Wake up singing weather songs

Lines from the Rascals:

“How’s the weather?

Whether or not, we’re together

Together we’ll see it much better

I love you, I love you forever…”

And now, I’m singing this

Not about my soul mate

Who never appeared

But about my little world

About life

I’ll love it, love it, forever

But with six storms surrounding

The Florida Peninsula

Wind, rain, and flood

I see trees smashing

My tin roof

Water engulfing the sand

Of my road

The road the trash collectors

Mail carriers

Refuse to service

And me

Standing there

Until a gust of

Tropical storm wind

Makes itself felt

And I morph into

Vitruvian woman

Pinwheeling down the dirt road

Into the last adventure

Of this life I love…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: for 9-12-20

YouTube video:


You’ve dragged me into
A cave I fear
Yet the treasures I crave
Await me there

Always a mind-bender

To contemplate Joseph Campbell

And his Hero’s Journey

Cetus means whale

And once again I think how I am stuck

In the Belly of the whale

In a metaphorical

Campbell way

I suspect there are zero whales

Cruising thru the Gulf of Mexico

So my best view of a whale

Is in the night sky

Where Cetus patrols

The sea of the water constellations

Named by Ptolemy

But everyone knows

Aquarius is an Air sign

Despite being the Water Bearer

Important to know

If you’re into elemental characteristics


The Sun passed through the sky

During the Rainy Season

And that’s why that area

Resembles a watery place

But I never knew outer space

Had seasons

The Florida joke is

We have two:

Summer and Hot

Anyway, lately,

So much rain

That even the frogs are seeking shelter

In my cave of a trailer

Diphda is the Arabic word

For frog

Diphda is also a star

AKA Beta Ceti

Brightest in the Cetus constellation

I layer all this scientific

All this mythic


For your edification

But what is my point?

Well, who knows?

That’s why I’m squatting

In my cave

Hermit of the stars

In this time of prison bars

To stay safe from germs and

Worms of doubt

Trying to make sense

Out of events

And when I do

You’ll be the first to know

Hang in there with me…

© 2020 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Cetus Constellation from Urania’s Mirror & Midnight Frog


A double treat for E.A. Poe fans:  two ways to read the tarot.  Into the Maelstrom concentrates on the divinatory meanings and Tell-Tale Heart is associated with the symbolism of Poe’s works. 

I have been reading tarot since the age of eight when my Gran drew sketches on pieces of wood and instructed me to think about my path as I matured and to add my own words and pictures.  She also taught me to read from a common deck of 52 playing cards.  By the time I was 15 I bought my first deck of tarot cards and realized my homemade deck and the store bought one were basically the same. 

I love cards, all types of cards, and have read them for myself and others for years.  But now I am retired and social-distanced, so I never read for others and sadly, I feel there is no reason to read for myself since I know the end of the story: no job, so not interested in whether I’ll receive a promotion or raise; no love interests; no real need for lots of money since I barely leave the house.  But something about this deck awakened me, reminded me, that tarot is so much more.  Tarot reminds us about the ethics—the joy—of living.  It reveals our thoughts and dreams.  Edgar Allan Poe’s stories were obviously a map of what to do, or not do, In life.  All the archetypes of humanity are present in both the deck and Poe’s tales, so the sacred marriage of cards and stories works well. 

I once answered that question about what I would want if stuck on a desert island with no chance of escape and I said, “My deck of tarot cards.”  Seems like I am on that island now and have not changed my mind.  This deck and book, in particular, will open up unexplored portals to the mind, whether you are a new reader or an aging one, like me. In the words of a masterful writer: perhaps “all  that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream…”