As I write the final words of this blog, it is June 5th, 2012, the date of a very rare Venus transit of the Sun, and, “coincidentally,” my 58th birthday. It’s also the day I officially change my name from Tara McKinney to Tara Faulkner. Yesterday, during the Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse, I managed to complete the elaborate bureaucratic process necessary for my new name to be legally recognized, but today I celebrate that this has actually occurred, through the posting of this blog and in other meaningful ways. This is the story of a series of seriously strange and significant synchronicities that led to my decision to change my last name to Faulkner and then helped me understand, in ever-widening circles, the underlying reasons for doing so.
Numerology and the Case for Major Mojo
It all started a couple of months ago, in mid-April. I was in Montana for a quarterly meeting with my Inner Sight friends and colleagues, Isha Lerner and Janet Morrow, and for fun one afternoon we decided to each have a reading by a local numerologist by the name of Terry Cito. Much to my surprise, after giving me a lot of very valuable and insightful information based on my birth name and date, Terry gently but firmly advised me to change my last name, explaining that the name McKinney “doesn’t have the right ‘mojo’ for you at this stage of your life.” I should explain that McKinney is not my birth name, but rather my mother’s maiden name, which I gave myself fifteen years ago at the age of 43, in the throes of my Uranus and Saturn oppositions, more commonly known as “the mid-life (identity) crisis.”
The name McKinney has very meaningful associations for me, so initially I resisted the thought of changing it (Please see my blog, “The Hungry Ghosts of the Irish Famine,” for more information on the McKinney ancestral line). By the next day, however, I was starting to wrap my mind and heart around the idea of the name change, so I called my Mom, who happens to be a genealogist, and asked her for a list of our family surnames, going back as far as my great-great grandparents on all sides. One surname on the list called out to me: Faulkner, the name of my mother’s maternal great grandparents, Ione and Frank, and a long line of others from whom Frank was descended.
I asked Terry to evaluate the name Tara Clare Faulkner from a numerological standpoint and he gave me an enthusiastic two thumbs way up, saying it had “major mojo” for my work (Destiny Number: 77 (master number), indicating dramatically increased mystical and clairvoyant abilities), would give me the visibility and strength to inspire justice in the world (Soul and Ultimate Goal Numbers: 17/8, representing the Star Card, plus the Strength and Justice Cards in the Major Arcana of the Tarot), and, last but not least, would even improve my love life (Personality Number: 60/6, correlated with the Love Card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot).
The Falcon Animal Totem
I did some research on the origins and meaning of the name and discovered it derives from the 12thcentury occupation of the “falconer,” i.e. one who trains falcons to hunt prey for humans. I looked up the esoteric meaning of the falcon animal totem and was excited to learn that falcons are associated with great clarity and focus, in addition to the ability to identify inner obstacles (prey) and overcome them at an astonishing rate of speed (since they can fly over 200 miles an hour!). For all the above reasons, I was leaning heavily in the direction of changing my last name to Faulkner, but what happened next definitely sealed the deal.
Am I a Falcon, A Storm or a Great Song?
On my way home from the quarterly meeting in Montana, I had a 2 ½ hour lay over in Minneapolis. Just off the plane, I was meandering through the terminal in search of edible food when I heard someone call my name. It was a friend of mine from Montana whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Over dinner, we got caught up on our lives and I told her all about the possibility of changing my last name to Faulkner. At the end of my story, I raised my hands above my head, replicating the flight of the falcon as it circles the heavens, at which point my friend excitedly interrupted me to announce that a falcon-related poem had been spiraling around inside her head for the past week or so, apparently in anticipation of this very moment. It was Rilke’s “I Live My Life in Widening Circles,” which she promptly recited for me:
I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
As my friend said the word “falcon,” I had one of those goose bump experiences I always get in the presence of seriously strange and significant synchronicities, and, as it turns out, that was just the beginning. On my flight to New Orleans later that night, I fell into a kind of reverie, imagining the falcon forever circling the “primordial tower,” evocative of the trunk of the World Tree, with it’s branches reaching into the heavens and its roots to the far side of the galaxy. The evidence was piling up and I suddenly knew the Faulkner name change was inevitable.
My Faulkner Ancestors and the Revolutionary War Connection
Back in New Orleans, I received a large manila envelope in the mail from my Mom with 20 pages of detailed records on our Faulkner ancestors going back to my 7th great grandfather, Samuel Faulkner, born in Dublin in 1691. With the crucial birth and death records, I was able to do some research of my own and confirm that at least two of my Faulkner ancestors were veterans of the Revolutionary War. (This is not true of any other line of my family tree, most of whom arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1850s). I was thrilled to discover the Revolutionary War connection, especially since I am feeling the need at this time in our evolution as a species to find my own 21st century expression of the revolutionary impulse, nonviolent, of course, but nonetheless Plutonic. (As I allowed this information to sink in, I reflected upon the fact that we are fast approaching a series of six Uranus/Pluto squares, which will play out over the next three years beginning on June 24, 2012. The last time we experienced this particular astrological configuration was during the Revolutionary War period in the latter part of the 1700s.)
More recently in the Faulkner branch of my family tree, I knew from stories passed down to me that my great-great grandmother, Ione Faulkner, had been a feisty, tee-totaling member of the Women’s Temperance League throughout her adult life, and that she had once threatened to disown my grandmother for playing women’s baseball on a team sponsored by a beer company! Her yard was always overflowing with wild flowers that she cut every Sunday morning and took to church to decorate the altar. In fact, I have a picture of her and my Mom in Ione’s front yard – Ione in her mid-80s but looking truly ancient; my Mom about 3 years of age, with a pageboy hair cut and one of Ione’s wild flowers in her hair.
The Story of Odin, the Tree of Life and the Falcon, Vedrfolnir
Less than a week after my return to New Orleans from Montana, my niece (my identical twin sister’s daughter) gave birth to a healthy baby boy here in New Orleans, whom she and her husband named Odin after the Swedish God who hangs upside down from the Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, in order to gain wisdom and humility. In researching this Nordic version of the Tree of Life story, I discovered that perched at the top of the Tree was an eagle with the falcon, Vedrfolnir, sitting between its eyes, symbolizing omniscience. As the story goes, the falcon reported directly to Odin on all it saw in the Heavens, on Earth and below. In this way, Odin gained wisdom from the all-knowing falcon with the 360-degree perspective at the top of the World Tree. Shades of “I Live My Life in Widening Circles”!
With more help from my Google search engine, I soon discovered that, on a galactic level, the Swedish version of the Tree of Life is identified with the Milky Way. When viewed from the northern hemisphere at midnight on the Winter Solstice, the top of the World Tree/Milky Way is due north in the constellation Aquila, associated with the falcon, Vedrfolnir, while its base is due south in the constellation Hydra, associated with the serpent that coils around its roots (where, by the way, my sidereal Moon is located).
Carl Calleman’s Planetary World Tree and the Swedish Connection
Similarly, in his book, The Purposeful Universe, biologist and Mayan scholar, Carl Calleman, hypothesizes the existence of a planetary Tree of Life – a macrocosmic, galactic version of which he identifies with the Milky Way. According to Calleman, the trunk of the planetary Tree of Life coincides with the 12 degrees longitude line demarcating Western and Eastern Europe, running through Sweden, Germany, Italy and Libya, etc., with its roots in the deepest parts of Africa.
Using the tools of Astro*Carto*Graphy (which superimposes one’s birth chart on a map of the world), as conveyed to me by the very gifted astrologer and wizard, Wayne Moody, I had recently learned that my Saturn Midheaven line (the vertical line bisecting one’s astrological chart (which is, itself, symbolic of the uppermost point of the Tree of Life)) happens to run exactly on top of the trunk of Calleman’s “hypothetical” World Tree, at 12 degrees longitude. Furthermore, much to my surprise, according to the results of a recent DNA test, my deep ancestry going back approximately 500 years is primarily Swedish!
The Egyptian Falcon God, Horus, and His Mother, Isis
With all of the above in mind, I did a Google search for additional iconography related to the falcon, worldwide. In a matter of seconds, I was scanning a list of websites dedicated to the Egyptian Falcon God, Horus, with his all-seeing “Eye of Horus.” I had been vaguely aware of Horus as the son of the Goddess, Isis, one of my all-time favorites (due to her associations with Venus, the star Sirius and the Galactic Center), but hadn’t paid much attention to him. Suddenly, Horus shifted to the forefront of my imagination and came into sharper focus.
In Astro*Carto*Graphy terms, my Venus/Saturn crossing line (the place where my angular Venus and Saturn lines intersect on the planet) runs right through Egypt, at 29 degrees latitude, wrapping itself around the planet horizontally and connecting me in especially impactful ways to those places which fall on the 29 degrees latitude marker, including the city of New Orleans where I currently live (on my Venus Midheaven line, no less).
Even before knowing any of this, I had noted a mysterious connection between Egypt and New Orleans, as evidenced by the number of Mardi Gras parade krewes (crews) that are named in honor of various Egyptian deities, including the Krewe of Isis (which every year spends many thousands of dollars decorating its elaborate floats with her likeness). What I find especially moving and significant about the Egypt/New Orleans connection is that Egypt was one of the places where the revolutionary impulse erupted most dramatically during the “Arab Spring,” or “Arab Awakening,” of 2011. I felt the idealistic energy of that grassroots uprising very powerfully here in New Orleans and continue to be inspired by the ongoing efforts of the Egyptian people to achieve true democracy. The Egyptian Revolution catalyzed the revolutionary impulse in my own DNA, I believe, going back through my Faulkner ancestral line to the Revolutionary War that birthed the United States into being, and beyond.
Conclusion: Angels Among Us
Three weeks ago, as I was standing at the sink loading the dishwasher, I announced to my sister that I intended to “manifest” a June 4th date for my name to be legally changed, just in time for our birthday on June 5th. I’m really not the sort of person to make pronouncements like that, but something came over me: I was in the manifestation zone, in the interest of co-creating yet another seriously strange and significant synchronicity. Yesterday – June 4th, I might add – I found myself in the Civil District Court Clerks Office at New Orleans’ City Hall completing the final bits of paperwork for my name change before heading to Courtroom G, where I had been assured a “friendly judge” was on the docket who would rubber stamp my Name Change Judgment.
Minutes later, my sister and I walked into a courtroom that was completely empty except for a very elderly gentleman sitting with his back to us, hunched over the table where lawyers typically sit facing the judge’s bench. He appeared to be having a heart attack or at least in a lot of distress. Just as we were about to intervene (my sister is a nurse), the gentleman swiveled around in his chair, saying in his gravelly Louisiana drawl, “Oh, hello. I didn’t realize anyone was here. What can I do for you?” I quickly explained my mission, at which point, I began to consider the unlikely possibility that the mysterious gentleman who appeared to have one foot in the grave was, in fact, the judge.
Noting the 2012 date on my Judgment document, the gentleman began speculating about what might, in fact, occur on December 21, 2012, telling us he had heard that all the planets would be lining up with the Center of the Galaxy, the poles would spontaneously reverse themselves, causing the volcano in Yellowstone National Park to erupt and burying all of us under two feet of ash. This prompted an animated five-minute conversation on the subject, during which my sister and I shared our thoughts and feelings on all matters related to 2012, including that extreme weather events might occur but that, ultimately, we felt the Mayan Calendar end date was all about rebirth. “Good!” he’s said, “We could use a rebirth! Actually, we could use two!”
We all laughed as, to my relief, the judge finally signed my Judgment! As I turned to follow my sister out of the courtroom, he called after me, saying, “Ms. Faulkner!” I immediately turned around, saying, “Yes?” and then “That’s the first time anyone has ever called me that.” He laughed and said, “I know. I just wanted to make sure you were ready.” I felt his words land somewhere deep inside me, setting up a resonance that made me feel I was in the presence of a guardian angel of some sort, not unlike the Archangel Michael character played by John Travolta in the movie Michael. It was a little spooky, but in a good way.
I stumbled out of the courtroom in a daze, down the hall and back in the District Court Clerks Office to file the Judgment. This is when things got even weirder, like Twilight Zone weird. The clerk who had advised me to seek out the judge in Courtroom G, looked at the judges signature on my Name Change Judgment and with a very puzzled look on her face, said, “Louis De Rosa? Who’s that?” When I asked if there was a problem, she replied, “No. I’ve just never heard of that judge before. Hmmm… Sometimes they call in adjunct judges. That must be what happened.” Mind you, this was a clerk who was close to retirement age, who, no doubt, had worked at City Hall for at least 30 years and would presumably have known all the judges, adjunct or otherwise. And what about that name: De Rosa, meaning “Of the Rose,” the rose being the most Venusian, 5-petaled/5-pointed stars of all the flowers? Are you kidding me?!
I had to restrain myself from bolting back down the hallway into Courtroom G, where I suspected I would NOT find Judge De Rosa sitting hunched over the lawyers’ table, but, instead, some other judge of a less ethereal nature with a full docket of cases and no time or inclination to speculate about 2012 or test my readiness for the mantle of my new name. Part of me wanted to know, but another part of me was just as happy not to…