Amanda and Angel
  • Amanda and Angel
  • Title: AstroAlchemy
  • Address: astroalchemy.com
  • Author: Simone Butler
  • From: Community
  • Blogging since: September 2007
  • Post Title: An Angel on Her Shoulder
  • Post Date: December 8, 2011

I first spotted Amanda at a busy intersection not long ago. “Sober, homeless, hungry,” read her sign. Nothing new there — destitute folks populate most well-trafficked street corners in San Diego, looking for handouts. What stood out about Amanda was the air of decency about her — and the flame-point Siamese cat perched on her shoulder. I rolled down the window and handed her $5. Her eyes lit up. “Can I pet your cat?” I asked. And so our connection began.

Amanda and her husband, John, have been homeless since they lost their jobs ten months ago. Both have college degrees. Neither does drugs or alcohol. At first, they camped out by a river near other homeless folks. But their tent was stolen while they were staying in a hotel room for a couple of nights, so now they’re sleeping under a bridge. Finding work is not easy once you’re homeless. “The position has been filled” is a constant refrain. Amanda, who studied business in college, even thought about becoming a stripper. “But they wouldn’t take me because of my tattoos and stretch marks,” she says.

On an average day, Amanda makes $30 or $35 pan-handling while John looks for work. This buys food for the couple and their cat. Amanda has seen a lot in her 33 years. Kicked out of the house at 15 and pregnant by 16, she got into trouble and lost her child. Repeated attempts to gain custody failed, and uterine cancer left her unable to bear more children.

At the intersection, Amanda often gets accosted or propositioned. “It’s like being an animal in a zoo, standing out here with people pointing and staring,” she says. “It’s the most humbling thing a person can experience.” When she’s feeling down, she reads the Bible verses scrawled on the back of her sign. Words like, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” remind her to keep her spirits up.

Nine-month-old Angel rests patiently on Amanda’s shoulder for hours at a stretch, nuzzling her neck. Amanda takes impeccable care of her beloved kitty, and was recently overjoyed to be able to get him his shots. She and John dream of having a van to call home until they get back on their feet. Going back home to Indiana is not an option — the unemployment rate is 50 percent, and winters are fierce. “This is a better place to be homeless than there,” she sighs. But Amanda has faith that things will get better. “We’re not going to stay homeless for long.”

Post Title: The Shadow and the Psychopomp

Post Date: October 23, 2011

Baxter the therapy dog was a bridge to the next world — a psychopomp who lovingly eased others across the veil. (Meaning “guide of souls” in Greek, a psychopomp is a being, whether shaman, angel or animal, that provides safe passage to deceased souls.)

Looking more like a teddy bear than a dog, the scruffy chow mix made his rounds at San Diego Hospice until his death in 2009 at 19.

Abused as a puppy and beset with ailments, two-year-old Baxter was about to be euthanized when dog-lover Melissa Joseph got wind of his predicament and rescued him. At first, the dog was terrified of loud noises and cowered whenever he saw a broom. But after years of tender care, Baxter became patient, reliable, courageous — and exquisitely sensitive to others’ suffering.

Nicknamed “Dr. Love” by the hospice staff, Baxter made an impact on people of all backgrounds and ages — even those whom no one else could reach. Soon after cuddling with Baxter and receiving his ministrations, many patients would cross over peacefully.

Those who knew Baxter believe it was his own ailments that made him such a powerful companion to others in pain. As in the shamanic tradition, his wounds had turned him into a healer.

The psychopomp is a Scorpionic figure. Scorpio rules the Underworld — the realm of death as well as the subconscious mind. Wherever Scorpio falls in your chart shows where you have suffered deeply.

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