Although denied for centuries by the Church and some scholars, Donna Woolfolk Cross, has written a convincing fictional account of a ninth-century woman Pope. Her notes concluding the novel outline her credible sources for why she believes Joan did in fact exist. Her choice to write fiction was based on there not being enough known about Joan to write an extensive biography. Nevertheless, she makes a good case for her existence in a time when few records were kept and very little is known about the time period. Joan’s story comes to us through persistent legend and uncanny Church practices.
The novel plunks the reader down in a foreign age where women are not only second-class inferiors but brutally treated. Possessed of an inquisitive mind, Joan immediately resents living in a household where her brothers are educated to rise in the Church and she is left to menial housework. Her only eventual task is to marry as well as she can. Opportunity comes when her brother dies during a Viking raid, and she seizes the chance to disguise herself as a man and enter monastic life. Once established, she excels as a scholar and healer. Turbulent times eventually lead Joan to Rome and all the way to the papacy.
Cross’ book roughly follows the legends that have come down about Joan. The tale is well-written and engaging. Modern audiences can well imagine the motivations of someone who wants more for themselves and acts to defy convention and take advantage of opportunities as they come along. The story is a triumph of the human spirit striving for expression while the darker forces of others are at work here as well.
(No longer under contract restrictions, I can now share the story freely.)
A Dutch settlement, north of New Amsterdam,
The New World 1638
Father would want me to record this day. I fetched parchment and pen. My soul was hollow as I wrote words unthinkable only days earlier.
Alone, so very alone, I write to stave off the madness that encircles me. My only wish is to hold on long enough to see you return.
Sickness has spread through our village. I am told I must remain indoors so as not to tempt the Devil’s wrath. Watching from my window, I have seen the bodies wrapped in linen and taken behind the village. I know not how long this will continue or who shall succumb next.
Father, it has been too long since I have gazed on your kind countenance. I fervently hope you will hear my prayers and hasten back to your most obedient daughter.
May God have mercy upon us.
The rain had stopped, finally. The gray clouds broke in the afternoon sky as the cab pulled to a stop in front of a house on Lindengracht. Dad jumped from the front seat and hurried to help the driver wrestle the luggage from the trunk. The cab’s dome light came on and threw a beam onto the metallic clasp of Mom’s purse. Lydia caught the glint of the reflected streak and winced. She looked away, but the damage was done. A flickering cascade of broken, mirrored glass danced at her feet. Instinctively, she closed her eyes. Not now, she commanded. Not now.
Moments later, Lydia opened her eyes and found the image gone. She sighed with relief and got out of the cab. Standing near Mom, Lydia gazed at the three-story brick structure and stifled a yawn with her hand. It was more modern than many of the buildings they had passed since their arrival into the garden district, but still old by American standards. The house reminded her of Colonial Williamsburg except that it was very narrow and tightly surrounded by other structures, one building almost melting into the next. She closed her eyes and yawned, opening her mouth wide. Stretching, she thrust her jaw left and right, fighting the effects of jetlag. It had been a long flight from New York City.
Dad deposited Lydia’s wheeled suitcase alongside her and returned to retrieve the rest of the bags. Mom left Lydia to grab her own shoulder-bag and makeup case from the back of the cab. Lydia turned to look at the tree-lined street and remembered from her tour book that many early canals in the area had been filled in. The grassy strip just beyond the paved street was probably one of those former canals. She wondered what it was like to live in a city where water was the main method of travel. Sleepy pictures of Venice floated through her mind as Dad tapped her shoulder indicating he was ready to go inside.
Lydia pulled her suitcase to the bottom edge of the house’s stairway and bumped it up the six steps following Dad. The three of them stood before a massive oak door while Dad dug deep into his pockets for the key. The family would stay in this historic house owned by the company while Dad interviewed with a Dutch publishing firm. His previous job as editor at an independent art book publisher vanished when the company decided to change its product line. Now that company produced novelty books for children.
“It’s got to be here,” Dad said, his Southern accent making the words melt like butter on toast.
Exasperated, Mom stepped forward and reached to help Dad explore his other pants pocket.
Dad playfully slapped her hand as he took a step back. “Not now, Ronni. The child’s watching…” He grinned.
Mom rolled her eyes. “I’m only trying to help.”
Lydia smirked. She’d seen this kind of behavior before. Dad enjoyed these little stabs of humor while Mom was always uncomfortable with them, reacting slightly shocked each time. Maybe if Mom pulled her own joke once in a while Dad would be able to lay off it. But really, Lydia couldn’t see that happening. Her parents’ dynamics just wouldn’t allow it. They’d never change.
“You two aren’t going to do this the whole time we’re here, are you?” Lydia asked.
Dad produced the key that had been hidden in his hand the whole time and reached for the door. Mom raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips as if to say look what I have to put up with.
“Of course not, darling. I, for one, am going to be on my best behavior.” He swung the door open and stood gallantly to the side, allowing the ladies to pass.
Lydia stepped over the threshold and into a darkened room. Directly in front of her, a staircase led to the upper floors, and just to the left, illuminated only by the light from the street, a vase of tulips sat on a pedestal. The creamy white vase was overwhelmed by the vibrant yellow and red flowers that overhung it. The splotch of color momentarily made the entranceway warm and inviting. Dad closed the door and plunged them into darkness.
“How ‘bout some lights?” Lydia asked.
“One second, one second…” Dad slapped at the wall feeling for the light switch.
A click and the overhead light came on.
“Very nice,” Mom said examining the entranceway and taking note of the fresh flowers. A mirror hung on the wall opposite the arrangement. That caught her eye. She stepped forward and peered at herself. Long slender fingers sporting a French manicure smoothed her eyebrows and corrected a bit of stray lipstick. Without taking her eyes off herself, she pulled a brush from her purse and whisked her newly colored blond locks from her face.
“You look beautiful already,” Dad said grabbing her around the waist, embracing her.
“You always say that,” Mom answered.
“Because it’s always true.”
Lydia turned away from the tender moment. She’d seen that many times, too. She abandoned her suitcase and strolled left into the living room. Two large windows brought light in from the emerging sun. A beige room with a fireplace and comfy blue sofas greeted her. She sunk luxuriously into one of them and eyed the coffee table, considering whether to rest her feet on it. Slipping her shoes off, she started to raise her feet, but then Mom entered the room. Her feet stayed on the floor.
Dad poked his head around the corner. “Don’t you want to explore the new digs, Sunshine?” he called to Lydia.
“Sure,” Lydia said pulling herself to her feet.
Mom surveyed the room and stationed herself at the rain-spattered window. “Do you suppose it’ll rain the whole time we’re here?”
Lydia joined her at the window. “The guidebook says that in Amsterdam, it’s raining, just stopped raining, or getting ready to rain. It doesn’t look too bad right now.”
Mom turned and looked at Lydia. She swished Lydia’s long brown hair off her shoulders so that it hung behind.
“I’m waiting,” Dad called.
With practiced motion, Mom pulled a few short tendrils curling in the humidity and smoothed them down behind Lydia’s ears. Lydia felt her mother’s eyes on the strawberry birthmark at her hairline. Starting in pre-school Mom had covered it with makeup and Lydia repeated the behavior mostly out of habit. As her mother reached up, Lydia stepped back and spun around. She ran to meet Dad at the foot of the stairs.
“Race you to the top!”
Lydia gave him her best, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding look.
“You think I’m too old for it? Just because I’m a little gray and have a little extra weight,” Dad poked his pouch of a tummy, “doesn’t mean I can’t still beat you.”
“I mean, I’m too old for it. Fourteen-year-olds don’t race their fathers anymore.”
Dad sighed, sounding almost hurt. “Sounds like some ridiculous teenager rules! I thought you and I would resist the imposition of silly rules and blaze our own way.”
“Nope,” Lydia said. She started slowly up the stairs.
“I’ve always said that maturity is overrated, and fun should take precedence.”
“That’s not sounding very parental. Don’t let Mom hear you say that.”
Lydia paused at the top of the stairs while her father caught his breath. In his mid-fifties, Miles Bradshaw had begun to show the decade or so that separated him from his wife. As Lydia gained height and maturity, she watched her father become grayer and rounder. His reading glasses had recently become a permanent fixture. And while the physical changes were expected, she more frequently questioned her father’s ability to adapt to her growing up and changing. He should know that ninth graders are beyond racing their fathers up a flight of stairs. Besides, her father always said that being an only child had made her mature beyond her years. So why did he want her to participate in such incredibly childish behavior?
A quick look upstairs revealed three comfortable bedrooms and a small bathroom. From a window in the smallest bedroom, Lydia peered out onto a grassy courtyard framed by laurel bushes. A garden with spring bulbs bloomed alongside the foundation, and in two beds separated by a walkway were rows and rows of tulips.
Dad leaned against the doorframe. “Small, but nice. What do you think?”
“It’s fine,” Lydia answered. She went to the bed and bounced up and down a few times. “What will our new house be like?”
Dad moved to the window. “That depends. Assuming I get the job, we’ll get a place in the country. Big change for us.”
“That means no Saks or Bloomies. You think we can get a puppy?”
“I think that might be negotiable— if and I mean if, we move. I know you’ve always wanted a pet. Heck, I had a dog as a kid. Loved the dickens out of that hound dog.”
“I know, Dad. That’s why I think it’s time I had my own dog. It’d make the move easier if I had something to look forward to. You know?” Dad gazed out into the backyard seeming to consider her plea.
“Let’s see how things progress, dear daughter, and I’ll get back to you on that. Let’s say you’re not looking at the parent who needs the convincing. Right now, I’m more concerned over how your mother’s going to handle the move. She’s going to have the hardest time adjusting. That is, if we move.” Dad walked down the hallway out of sight.
Lydia fell back onto the bed and smiled. Visions of puppies danced in her mind’s eye. At least if they did move, the prospect of getting a dog was on the table and since Dad was okay with it, it meant that Mom would cave over time.
She sprang to her feet. The move would be a big change and she worried about how they’d all adapt. She knew that Mom was not looking forward to giving up Manhattan to go upstate. In fact, Mom had done her best over the years to erase her rural roots and pretend to be from the city. She enjoyed the fast pace of the metropolis and its myriad choices. Mom loved the crowded streets, the theatre life, the shopping, and the excitement that seemed to make the streets pulse. Dad was right that Mom would have the hardest time relocating.
Lydia herself was conflicted over the family uprooting itself from the city. She could see some definite disadvantages, but she also recognized that it wouldn’t be all bad. There was the possibility of the puppy! No doubt she’d miss her friends and the routine of her life. She might have to give up ballet, but that might not be such a horrible thing. What worried her most was the uncertainty of the whole thing. If Dad didn’t get the job, they’d stay in the city. But if he did, and it was very likely that he would, then they would be moving.
When Lydia considered that possibility, she felt unsure. What should she feel? Scared and sad about leaving her friends? Hannah especially. How would Hannah get along without her? Would Hannah be mad at her? Blame her? Would Hannah forget her the week after she left? Maybe. Lydia considered the other option. What if she could actually feel some excitement about the change? Maybe getting out of the city would be a good thing. The school might be a little more relaxed and not so focused on standardized tests and whose parents did what. In a small town, she might be able to go more places on her own and enjoy more freedom. She’d be able to be outside more. Actually, be in nature and see wildlife. That would be cool! Being a teenager away from the city might have its perks. But then again, there was always the problem of whether she’d fit in. Would she be able to make friends?
The only thing she was certain of was that Dad would make it through any transition just fine. His perpetually upbeat attitude assured he’d always land on his feet, finding something good in everything that ever happened.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs broke her train of thought. She realized it was only Dad bringing up some of the luggage.
A slight breeze lifted her hair off her shoulder and Lydia wheeled around. Facing the window, she watched as one of the curtains floated up and then returned to its normal position. An odd occurrence with the window closed, but one she thought could be easily explained. Obviously, the windows were not well sealed, and the wind had raised her hair and blown the curtain, startling her. Old houses were like that, just like old apartments. Back home, weather stripping ran all around her bedroom window because without it, her room would be freezing in the winter.
Lydia approached the window, confident that she would be able to feel the draft responsible for moving the curtain. She floated her hand around the window searching for air flow but found none. The window was old, but it seemed to be in good repair and Lydia did not feel a breeze. Dropping her hand, she tried to remember how the incident had happened. She was tired and maybe jetlagged just enough to think she saw a white curtain move against a white wall. If she was turning around when she saw it, maybe it was just that motion combined with not focusing precisely, that made the curtain look like it moved. Yes, that must be it. Lydia refused to dwell on it.
There were far better things for her to concern herself with. Deep down she had a feeling that Dad was going to get this job. He really wanted it, and he’d be good at it. She sighed. How could she make this move better for Mom? For herself? She turned and left the room, walking to the master bedroom, which faced the street.
A large, four-poster bed with a bright blue comforter hugged the wall to the left. She stepped around her parent’s luggage and into the intense sunshine pouring through the sheer curtain panels in the two windows in front of her. The first sunlight of the day beckoned to her, and Lydia rushed forward to be engulfed in its warmth.
From the window Lydia watched as a large, muscular woman pumped her bicycle and drew near. The woman leaned the bike against the lamppost in front of the house and secured it with a combination lock. Lydia pulled the curtains back for a better look and a few moments later, the doorbell rang.
While the print copy is no longer available, the ebook can be found here:
In this popular book, psychic Ainslie MacLeod outlines a system of soul evolution that fascinates and provides fodder for deeper exploration. In his system, the soul progresses through ten levels or ages on earth. The first stage of existence is lived out in simplicity, isolation, and naivety. We are brand new souls trying to understand the very basics of incarnation. A soul will spend 5000 to 6000 years in each stage reincarnating as necessary until progressing to the next level.
Briefly, here are the levels and their characteristics:
Level 6: social justice, uncertainty, introspection
Level 7: complexity, creativity, innovation
Level 8: activism, liberalism, sophistication
Level 9: spirituality, self-improvement, healing
Level 10: altruism, inertia, compassion (you will need to read the book for the explanation of inertia here, but is does make sense)
Anyone reading this, no doubt has decided which level they think they are currently have achieved. Our soul’s perspective on life goes through massive shifts about halfway through the process. The way MacLeod uses the term “old souls” is clarified in the book to be associated with qualities representing more peaceful, more empathetic individuals who are more accepting of differences and more open to questioning belief systems. The author goes as far to say that political beliefs are an indicator of someone’s level. (To me that means, I could easily draw a line to define the US red/ blue political split above.)
Exploring MacLeod’s system further, we find that each soul expresses through a personality that was created on the astral plane before incarnation. There are ten soul types. Reading through these, you can choose what resonates with you as a primary. You may also be drawn to a secondary. Some people have several which overlap and influence. You can sign up to take the soul type quiz on the author’s site here: https://ainsliemacleod.com/soul-type-quiz/
Soul Types: (and percentages of the population)
Helper (6 %)
Transformer (less than 1%)
Although most of us have no conscious memory of past lives, our past lives form the basis of our daily existence in all kinds of ways. We gravitate toward the familiar. Talents and skills spill over. So do limiting beliefs, phobias, and fears. Unexplained physical ailments from past lives often carry over. Even events in our current life can trigger traumas of the past. A good portion of MacLeod’s book covers this terrain. The cases he presents are intriguing.
Some of the material will sound familiar to those who have read many sources on past lives. There is something to be gained from trying the mediation exercises at the end of the chapters to see what can be gleaned for the individual. This is a book that makes you wonder about your past and what you might be bringing forward. Why you like certain things and not others. Why certain cultures call to you. Why you like such and such music or art. Patterns that you repeat. Why you have an ache or pain, or what about that scar… It will also make you think about that friend or family member who can’t heal or break out of a cycle. It’s about plunging deeper into the unseen and life. Many libraries have the book, go find it. MacLeod has been interviewed by Oprah. The book is great fodder for conversation if you can find a person willingly to dive deep with you. I hope you do!
When Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, weird incidents plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, unexplained shadows move through the kitchen. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to upstate New York. She ignores the phenomena, blaming everything on jet lag and her migraines. Then Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch and the bizarre happenings continue. Soon Lydia must face what she may have inadvertently brought home with her, an unhappy ghost from the past.
“YA Author Ellis Nelson knows how to thread a carefully spun tale with some little known, wildly interesting, historical facts and wonderful family dynamics. She paints memorable portraits of the different countries and eras – including the scents, fragrances, smells and stenches that so clearly define those ancient times in Holland . . . right into the New World!”
5 Star Amazon:
“TIMELESS TULIPS is both fascinating and informative on many levels. Ostensibly, it is a work of Young Adult historical & visionary fiction, and while I know the YA audience will love it, it’s also a satisfying adult read. …Read this engaging tale of visionary insight, historical perspective, and just plain entertainment. It will not disappoint.”
5 Star Amazon:
“Nelson brings the setting, characters, and events to life with a deft hand. Lydia’s timeline is equally unique. Her relationship with her fashion-conscious mother added a nice layer of credibility. Lydia has to be both sleuth and ghost buster before the story ends.”
5 Star Amazon:
“Timeless Tulips is the third novel I have immersed myself in by gifted author, Ellis Nelson. As with her other books, this story is exciting, suspenseful, and definitely unique. The plot twists in unexpected ways and is filled with shadowy circumstances. A wonderful read!!”
Recently I’ve been playing with a function on a software program that allows you to put in certain astrological parameters and find a famous person who matches your chart. Fun stuff!! My best match was a writer I know well and while I was surprised at how well the details matched, I wasn’t shocked at all. It made me smile in that small knowing way. Anyway, the first person who guesses my best match (no more than 5 guesses per person, please), will win a print copy of Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds. Sorry, US mailing addresses only, unless you want an E-copy of the book. Contest ends Sep. 15. Challenge on! Comment below. My secret match will be revealed then if no one guesses correctly. BTW- Charles Dickens and I are NOT a match.
Let’s turn to Charles Dickens, whose chart I chose to briefly examine because everyone knows something about him and his work. Who didn’t read at least one of his novels in school? Writing during the height of the Victorian era, Dickens created some of the best-known fictional characters of all time and experienced a level of popularity seldom seen with a writer. His work continues to be read and produced today. Some of his widely recognized works are: A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Bleak House. Dickens was also a social critic who pushed for children’s rights, educational improvements, and social reforms.
Evolutionary astrology begins with the premise that we all have lived many lifetimes and we evolve spiritually through the many lessons we encounter along the way. To understand the themes associated with anyone’s past lives, we must look to the south node in the birth chart. Dickens’ south node is in Pisces (4th House). Let’s begin there because it reveals much about what his soul has been through.
With the south node in Pisces, Dickens would have had an understanding that our true nature lies beyond the transitory existence of the physical body and the day-to-day reality. The world may have been experienced as dreamlike or a projection into the matrix. This was probably a key source of inspiration in his writing. Oftentimes, someone with this nodal pattern suffers from a loss of self because Pisces is associated with the boundless where the line between self and other doesn’t exist. Dickens may have had lives in monastic settings engaging in deep spiritual practices including meditations, rituals, fasting, and other aesthetic pursuits. This by itself can cause a loss of connection to the real world. Everyday life may seem strange and harsh. Some examples of the lower expression of the Pisces energy might be someone who falls into addiction or someone who allows others to determine their life path for them. These people don’t live fully in the three-dimensional reality as successful individuals. The higher manifestation of this energy allows an exploration of inner realms and transcendent states which fuels heightened levels of creativity, imagination, and psychic ability (in some cases). Certainly, with Dickens his creativity and sheer volume of work indicates he was using the Piscean energy well.
An interesting biographical detail that can be tied to Dickens’ past life in Pisces, was his membership in The Ghost Club. This paranormal investigation and research organization, founded in London in 1862 devoted itself to studying ghosts, hauntings, and psychic phenomena. Considered to be the oldest paranormal research organization in the world (although not always continuous), predates the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) by two decades. Dickens’ fictional work featured ghosts in A Christmas Carol and The Signal Man, and probably in other works as well.
Charles Dickens south node was found in the fourth house of home and family. Here family must be viewed in a broad context of kinship groups extending to family, clan, or tribe. His past life suggests a pattern where the family defined much of his existence. Family business, expectations, norms, reputations, all limited his life in some way. Some of those restrictions may have been severe. The residual effect on Dickens would have made him very loyal to those he perceived as “family.” This loyalty may or may not have been deserved. It is a remnant from the past where radical commitment and identification to the clan was required. It is possible that feelings of familiarity with people in his current life were rooted in the past. The legacy of the south node in the fourth house suggested that he was likely to have deep but complicated relationships with his family of origin.
Dickens struggled through a tough childhood. Although up to the age of eleven, biographer John Forster describes his life as idyllic, things changed when his father went to debtor’s prison. Charles left school and worked in a boot-blacking factory under miserable conditions. In his creative life, he drew heavily on his experiences of hardship, poverty, and social inequity. Very few details were known of his early life until a biography he had collaborated on was released after his death. Dickens was ashamed of his early life and did his best to hide it. Nevertheless, his loyalty to the family was shown through the provisions of his will. He provided well for all his family members, a wife from whom he had separated, several friends, and all the servants he employed.
Much more analysis could be done on his chart. Interesting to note the strong square to the nodal axis with Neptune indicating the need to release limiting beliefs, religious views, or philosophies. While Dickens was considered Christian, he seemed to despise organized religion. This is certainly an area for more exploration.
This is just a brief glimpse into evolutionary astrology. If you are intrigued about what your own chart might reveal, contact me below. Clients continue to report surprising correlations and stories about how evolutionary astrology reports have helped them. Be aware my fall schedule is filling fast. This is going to be one INTERESTING ride into the new year. Several key astrological aspects are being triggered bringing in fast change.
More Answers and Advice for Parents of Estranged Adult Children- Sheri McGregor, MA
About a decade ago, I became the unwilling member of a group of parents who society has forced into silence and continues to judge and blame. Truth be told, I would have made many of the judgments that were projected on to me. I am the parent of an estranged adult child. Ignorance and silence perpetuate untruths concerning estrangement. Along with this, there has developed an entire philosophy of cancel culture and a business sector within psychology that supports blaming parents. Don’t get me wrong—I realize divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse all can lead to estrangement. But these are NOT fueling the phenomena we’re dealing with. Sheri McGregor’s book is about how “good parents who work diligently and do their best sometimes end up without the sweet fruits of their labor.” Her statistics indicate that as many as one in four families will experience an estrangement at some point. Gone are the days of reasonable parenting producing anything like reasonable outcomes, IMHO. Early in my own search for understanding, I looked for books and found ridiculous nonsense that blamed, shamed, and put the onus on parents for reconciliation. What a breath of fresh air to find McGregor’s book which empowers parents!
In 2016, McGregor released her first book, Done With the Crying: Help and Healing for Mothers of Estranged Adult Children. I skipped that one preferring to go on to the second because the focus of Beyond Crying is about moving the family that’s left behind forward. After years of processing my own feelings and coming to the same place as the author about her own situation, I was more concerned about how siblings handle estrangement and how to prepare for end-of-life choices. In addition, Beyond Crying, offered expanded material on mental health, boundaries, and truths about reconciliation.
The overall emphasis of this book is to help parents recover a strong and healthy sense of self to move forward with purpose. The adult child may never reappear or reappear only to break again. Even reconciliation that is functional will never be what it once was. You can’t go home. Hard truth. McGregor shares many stories from interviewing over 50,000 parents who have walked this path. They are enlightening.
And I know that if you read this far, you’re wondering—why. Why did my estrangement happen? Like many of the parents in the book, I don’t know why. I never will.
This is the BEST real-life thriller I’ve read since Hot Zone, and it provides the basis for the hell year we all lived through in 2020.
Michael Lewis conducted the background research to explain why the US was horribly prepared to face the unfolding of a pandemic. In this book, we meet the behind-the-scenes heroes, who early on attempted to provide insight and guidance, and … were thwarted.
Read about Laura Glass, a 13-year-old in New Mexico, whose interest in disease spread for a science fair project becomes the nation’s starting point in understanding how to model Covid increases. Of course, this couldn’t happen except in a nation focused on external terrorist groups. Lewis also exposes the reader to the systemic failures of the public health system by taking us inside the lived experience of a Lilith-like character (Dr. Charity Dean) who buts heads time and again with the CDC, even before Covid. As a public health officer, she knew how her contemporaries would react as 5000 or so separate entities, at a time when a single strategy would be necessary to contain spread. Learn the history concerning the Swine Flu and why the CDC would never step up again and take the lead in a time of crisis. As an agency, the CDC emerges singularly unfit to fight anything. It is an academic study agency wholly unsuited to lead anyone anywhere.
Behind the scenes, like in a great movie, a team of maverick scientists gather online to share data and ideas. Many are highly placed, occupying careers in agencies throughout the government, risking their careers meeting covertly. Led by Carter Mecher of the VA, the team overturned previously held beliefs about the 1918 Pandemic showing that social distancing and mask wearing could make a difference. Mecher had also been instrumental in developing a national response plan under a previous administration. For a time, the team has an influence especially when Charity Dean gets the ear of CA. Gov. Newsom in the early days of the pandemic but soon politics force her out. If this had been a Hollywood movie, the heroes would have prevailed after the fight, but this was reality and 2020 was some kind of alternate reality at that. The book ends in the spring of 2020. Bungling government institutions fail to step up, focusing on avoiding blame, and preserving the status quo. Hundreds of thousands die, the nation is divided, we fail to contain the pandemic. Big questions remain. Have we learned anything? Will we take the steps to address pervasive governmental shortcomings, or will we be the laughingstock of the world in the next pandemic, too?
Hundreds of books will be written in the years to come to trying to capture the Covid experience. This is an eye-opening one setting the stage for what unfolds. If you were constantly puzzled by the lack of governmental leadership on all levels, this book is a good starting point into gleaning an understanding.
The premier episode of The Mystical Minute. Join Ellis for brief videos on all things mystical or spiritual. The first up is a look at what we know about NDEs (near death experiences) from the book After by Bruce Greyson.