Last night I went to a book launch at Books Inc on Market in the Castro because someone I met online three years ago was launching a book. As she said herself, in a shout-out to a certain Hilary, Books Inc doesn't usually launch self-published books. But there was Tosha Silver, astrologer and all-round disciple of the Divine, hawking her Ourageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead to a well-dressed crowd of wide-eyed seekers.
I arrived late and was pleasantly surprised to see there were no empty seats among the folding chairs crammed into the open space between shelves and shelves of books. I settled for a spot behind Eastern Philosophy, with a view of the crowd through the books. It was like a duck blind, and they were the ducks. I was chuckling to myself about my voyeurism as I recognized someone who'd been my buddy for half a year, someone I'd met through Tosha. I wanted to say hello, but she couldn't see me, so I settled for analyzing her sartorial choices. Not bad. Girlfriend not bad either.
In fact, I met Tosha's friend before I met Tosha.
In fact, when I met Tosha online I was at my wit's end, which is where I need to be in order to go onto a Woman Seeking Woman page of Craigs List. I answered her post and she answered my answer. We had a furious enlightening exchange for a few days, during which she prudently concluded this wasn't going to work in the mundane sense of the word. She graciously sent me on my way with a large dose of cosmic consciousness. She did not want to meet me but she would physically mail me a few spiritual aids. I lept on them like a starved lioness upon a wildebeest.
I'm forever in her debt. That's why I'm blogging her book.
So there I was, hiding behind a wall of books, with Lao Tzu at my spleen and Shunryu Suzuki at my throat chakra, listening to Tosha charm the crowd with her unique mélange of all the various influences showered upon her during this incarnation. And they ate from the palm of her hand. So when it came time for questions, they were in an advanced state of trance and it was up to me to break the spell.
My tongue sputtered into action, finding each word as a rock climber finds the next bump. "What is the cosmic significance of the current catastrophic shift in economic policies and what will be the fate of these self-serving forces in the future?" By the time I'd finished, the crowd was looking my way happy I'd made it to the end.
Tosha said, "I love having a question coming to me from the books." Then, in good Capricorn fashion, she said there was a lot about money in her book and we should therefore buy it.
I declined this advice, which put me in the minority. I had a chance to peruse all the sale books before the book-signing line died down to where there was just one conservatively dressed woman cradling a large tropical bloom destined for the author, listening to a tall middle-aged goth chick tell her, "It's not necessary to do acid in order to perceive the oneness of all things... but I think it helps." Whatever.
Then it was my turn with Tosha. I walked up empty-handed. This is my mudra. We air-kissed and she sent me on my way again, in preference for someone who'd bought a book she could sign. It hurt less this time.
If you decide to buy this book, you'll encounter an intelligence confessing to "polyamorous love affairs with Jesus and Hindu goddesses," despite or because of the rabbis in her family, who offers her writing as a means to what she calls Inner Alignment, the aligning of the self with the Self, without fear of contradiction by cultural details. Best of all, you'll be introduced to Essence of Tosha, a spiritual being who's been around a few blocks with her head on her shoulders. She's funny, practical, wise, a wide-range mystic, erotic, passionate, self-effacing and full of herself. Mostly, I suppose, there's something very courageous about her.
The courage to receive.