After my pet less year of solitude,which also coincided with a year of painful recovery from a riding accident,I was finally ready for furry love in my life again. My friend Abby,who was part of the original Lower East Side Jew-witch Tribe that moved to Melrose, was moving to California and needed a good home for her beautiful 2 year old neutered female black cat, Pearl Bailey.
I was a little hesitant as I was still adjusting to the loss of Luna but Pearl seemed like the purr-fect new familiar for me. She used to entertain all the folks at Abby’s house by walking across the piano keys regularly. So what could be a better way to get back into the world of furry friends than a piano-playing black female cat named Pearl Bailey.
I was told that the only thing that she didn’t like was to be picked up and held so I of course promptly had to check that out for myself as I was a confirmed animal hugger.
Just as I had suspected, Pearl loved it when I held her. She had been low cat on the totem pole in Abby’s furry family but in mine, she was the QUEEN CAT!! I adored her and doted on her every move, each mew, she had me under her paw but never took advantage of the power imbalance.
There wasn’t a night that went by that she didn’t sleep on my chest purring me to sleep. There wasn’t a card reading, nor a class that I taught in the old Church that she didn’t supervise, that she didn’t move from student to student around the circle collecting pets and love all over her beautiful full black body.
One of my regular clients who was totally cat phobic even befriended her. Little by little, I let the woman get used to Pearl’s presence at her readings til it got to the point that if Pearl for some reason had another agenda, the woman pouted and looked bereft until her one cat friend returned for duty!
As a matter of fact many clients began feeling like they didn’t get a “Real” reading unless Pearl was there too. I was not a human chauvinist, I knew my place and Pearl knew hers. For one year it was Pearl and me and we loved it; that was until the wild big puppy named Moonshadow came to live with us.
I knew that I had wanted another Shepherd as Luna had made me fall in love with the breed but I was taking my time til I really felt up to having a dog again.
Pearl and Moonie had a hilarious relationship in the beginning. Pearl, having been a solo Queen for the year was just not sure about this gangly mess of big ears and legs that seemed to crash into everything. Moonie on the other hand was totally curious about this smaller furry thing that hissed.
Together, they sort of forged a Tracy/Hepburn style relationship. Pearl would hold court on top of her favorite chair and Moonie would walk by pretending not to notice her and then take a quick well placed-sniff. Pearl on the other hand would wait til Moonie was almost past her and then swat Moon’s butt with her paw. This feigned animosity gave way to out and out fondness between them. Pearl gave Moon basic training in cat etiquette or “catiquette” as I called it, and she never forgot it with any other new cat that came to live with us.
Pearl could probably have lived quite happily with no other cats in the house especially after she and Moonie and I moved to Moonhaven and Astarte,yet another dog, moved in as well.
Moon taught Astarte how to be cat savvy as she was a little rough around the edges with other animals, being part Pit Bull, Rhodesian Ridgeback,and Lab.
But this is Pearl’s story and it is an amazing one for sure. Never was there a more psychically attuned cat. She always knew who in a given room of people most needed her affection and guidance and she gave that so willingly and constantly. Pearl seemed equally at home with intimacy and her independent nature, we could all aspire to such balance!
Pearl’s affection for playing the piano did not end in Abby’s house. It was not at all uncommon to find her sleeping on my new digital grand piano or walking across the keys when uncovered. The cat just had a piano fetish or was Mozart in a previous life or perhaps Clara Schumann.
For the most part, Pearl was the picture of serenity and grace, taking most things in stride as long as nothing in her environment changed too much and she could cuddle up with me at night.
The relationship that I had with my partner was quite turbulent however and Pearl and I had cultivated an oasis of shelter in the storm. Somehow I acquired another black cat named Sebastian in that divorce and he lived with us for another year before disappearing.
During the next year, I started feeling the need to have a baby something. It all started when a baby goat fell into my hands at the County fair and I cradled her til her mama goat could be found. That experience awakened such a maternal instinct inside me that would not be denied. Each day it was something else, a goat, a miniature horse, finally I settled on the idea of a pair of kittens. It all seemed simple enough and quite doable compared to a miniature horse.
Today in more enlightened times, I would have asked Pearl’s permission or at least feedback regarding new felines for our family, but these were less enlightened times. One night, during a horrible thunder storm, I brought Tara the white Siamese to live with us. The roads were so treacherous that night that I sang the “Tara Chant”Om Tare Tu Tare Tare Swa…… all the way home to keep both of us centered and safe. The next night, as planned, I brought Merlin the tiny tuxedo’d Hemingway kitten to Moonhaven to share the bathroom with Tara as they both acclimated to their new home. They became affectionately known as “the kittens,” a term which followed Merlin til he was almost a grandpa.
I now had not one, but two babies and Pearl was having a fit!! She retreated from my bedroom for days at a time and would barely look at me. I was just not expecting this disdain but I should have been more sensitive to her Queenly feelings, I should have anticipated this possibility but I did not. This would be a mistake that I would try never to repeat.
I began to wonder if Pearl would ever return to my bed and our intimate connection. Weeks went by and one day when Astarte was about to pounce on the kittens, Pearl jumped between them hissing, protecting “her babies.” I knew then that it was going to be alright. That was the turning point after which all was forgiven and the three cats became friends.
Clearly I must have needed more feline protection because I surely got it.
One of my all time favorite Pearl stories occurred during a Past Life Regression class. A woman friend was in the midst of a rather dismal past-life which was ending tragically with her dying penniless in the gutter. We were all feeling the grim circumstances and intensity of the moment when a booming sound came from the direction of my office. I instantly realized that it was the familiar sound of Pearl hurling herself against the closed office door. She must have been mistakenly shut in my office where she fell asleep,til now! I motioned for a student to go and open the door for her at which point she came flying into the living room where we were working and carefully lowered herself down onto the chest of the regressed woman placing herself deftly into the crook of her arm. Meanwhile as all this is happening, I am rigorously beating myself up for a lack of professional boundaries with my animals.
And then, the miracle happened which made me never second guess the wisdom of my animals again.
The woman who was being regressed and still in trance-state exclaimed to Pearl,”Oh thank goodness you are here, you were my only friend and now I won’t die alone!
“We were all speechless. How did Pearl know exactly when to come out of her own nap to play this cameo role in the regression session? That night, Pearl got a can of Tuna, her favorite, for service above and beyond.
Pearl and I had a wonderful 13 years or so together with her rarely missing a night on my chest or a reading at my side. During those final years, I had been severely psychically attacked and although Pearl definitely had a black belt in psychic self-defense [as did I] her defenses were worn down by age and she succumbed to a cancerous tumor no doubt meant for me.
I learned an enormous amount those final 2 weeks with Pearl. Somehow, she had been preparing me for this by sitting in my regression chair day after day for weeks prior. I finally got the message that she wanted me to time travel with her, to visit an important past life that we had shared together.
The night that we finally went on our journey, I had one of my students regress me with Pearl sitting in my lap. As Pearl and I sat there moving through time to our destination, I could feel our bodies begin to meld together and then suddenly, there we were, she my black horse and I, some sort of a Crusader in partial armor.
I was fascinated by this pairing and even more by the seamless bodily connection that we had as we galloped into many a battle until we were ambushed by an opposing warrior and killed. [I had totally forgotten until this writing about Pearl being my horse and perhaps that is why in her current incarnation, she likes to hang out in or near the barn with my horse China who used to be her old buddy Moonie!]
That seamless physical connection between us continued even after we moved back into our present life! I thoroughly enjoyed our deepening closeness but was confused by it as well until she got the cancer diagnosis and I had to try everything I knew and things that I did not to save her from this killer.
By this time in my life, I had also begun to be mentored by Animal Communicator Kay Cornish Mann who also had a previous life with Pearl and I in Egypt. During that life,Pearl had been hers and when she died, I inherited her black cat. Needless to say we both had very deep and special feelings for this cat as did Tara who I was living with at the time.
Tara and I took turns laying with Pearl, spelling each other at night as we did not want her to stop breathing and not have someone there with her. I remember becoming acutely aware of the sound of Pearl’s shallow breadth against my cheek. I had tried so many healing modalities for her but to no avail
One night near the very end of Pearl’s life, I can remember Kay coaching me on the phone as I did Psychic Surgery on Pearl. I had never done this before and could amazingly feel exactly what I was doing because since the regression, I could feel everything that Pearl did. Clearly that was the reason that I had to become one with her body. Now I could accurately feel my way through her to remove the cancer. I remember moving my hands through her almost lifeless form through my own fears and almost blinding tears feeling the movement of a very large mass. Kay’s words,”I think we got it” came through the phone but I was crying so hard that I could barely hear her voice. Tara and I were cautiously optimistic after that night and Pearl actually did seem to rally for a bit.
One of the things that she always loved was to sit on the bridge section of the Grandmother Tree which wrapped its arms around the magical circle in Moonhaven. Obviously, this was a place of great healing and peace for all of us and especially my animal friends. On these days, Pearl would drag herself out my door and over to the tree to bask in the sun.
After a while though it became clear that she could not really make it on her own steam so we took turns carrying her out to Grandma and sitting with her for an hour or til she seemed to want to go back in. The other animals would all come too and we would have family meetings out at the tree and sing our good-byes to Pearl. On that last night, I once again was asked by Kay to do Psychic Surgery on Pearl with her supervision of course. This time we were not to be successful and through torrents of tears, I felt my cats life-force pass from her body.
I thought that I might die myself, the grief was so intense for me. She was after all my Pearl-girl, my black horse, my Sheba -Lila from Ancient Egypt and who knows who she would become next?
This was the beginning of my understanding that our animals did indeed reincarnate and that we did have some way to draw them back if it was their path and desire. I sat with this knowledge as well as my profound grief for some time.
A knowing emerged that Pearl would return on or near Easter Sunday which was April 4th that year and only about 2 weeks away at the time. She had passed on Sept 11 and I was absolutely elated at the mere thought that I might have my Pearl-girl back. On April 3, on a trip to the Itchetuknee house that Tara owned, a black lab/chow puppy appeared in the driveway. He was starving and weak and oh so precious. Of course I would want to keep him or at least save his life and find him a home. Someone so weak and vulnerable needed a really strong name so I called him Tonka[the great one in Lakota]and he happily moved into Moonhaven. Was he Pearl? It was so close to Easter after all, and she said that she would come back. I checked with Kay on this and she confirmed what I suspected, that Tonka was a messenger from Pearl, not Pearl but a teacher to help me understand more about this reincarnation process.
On April 4th, Easter Sunday, one of my Tarot students called me and told me that her friend’s cat just had a litter and that she in fact had a black female kitten that might be mine. After all, the children of that house had named each kitten after a jewel and this tiny black kitten with some silvery sprinkles on her hair was being tentatively called…what else but PEARL! I went to meet this kitty to feel her for myself and was deliriously happy to feel my Pearl in my hands again. The peace that came over me from not only believing in reincarnation but knowing that my little love had returned was beyond description.
This time, I would have the pleasure of also knowing her as a kitten. Pearl’s reincarnation, Jasmine was born, my Jazzy Jaz on Easter Sunday just like she promised me