It was midnight on July 20, 2017, or July 21, 2017, to be precise. The moon was in Gemini. The same place where it was when I was born on November 18. And in eighteen days, there was going to be a lunar eclipse, and in exactly one month, on August 21, 2017, there was going to be a total solar eclipse - the first of its kind to cross the United States in 99 years. And nine plus nine, well, that equals eighteen.
But at midnight on July 21, 2017, I didn't notice any of this. Instead, I turned off the lights to go to sleep.
I lay in bed, covered in the comfortable weight of blankets, and I closed my eyes. That was when my skin began to crawl.
I felt something around the corner - just a few feet from the foot of my bed, in the square space between my closet and my bathroom.
I tried to ignore it. I told myself there was nothing there. I told myself I was safe. I told myself it was all in my head.
But the feeling only grew stronger. It felt like there was a man standing just a few feet from my bed. I sat up straight and turned on the light. I didn't see anything, but I could feel it.
I spoke out loud: Okay, I'm trying to go to sleep. Can you please leave me alone?
It was then that I sensed that it wasn't just some man - it was my grandfather. As soon as I realized this, my heart stopped racing, and my head became flooded with information - information that he was sharing with me.
Because in that moment - at midnight on July 21, 2017 - my father's father, who died when I was eight years old, came to me and shared with me a special ritual that I could do to harness the power of a historic eclipse.
The ritual flowed through me like water. I wrote it down as it came - the ingredients and all the instructions. And the only reason I'm not sharing the specific ritual with you now is because he shared it with me in confidence, but I will say that I didn't have two of the ingredients. One was easy enough to order online, but I had no clue where to find the other.
Once I finished channeling all he had to share, I told him thank you and good night, I turned off the lights and finally went to sleep without any problems.
I woke up the next morning unsure of whether I could trust my memory. So that night, before turning off the lights - I spoke out loud: If I'm supposed to do this, can you please show me tonight where I can get the gold?
I turned off the lights and fell asleep. That night, I dreamt of a friend - someone I didn't know very well and hadn't spoken to in months. In the dream, she had a tiny bottle of gold paint or something - maybe for art - and it was clear that she knew where I could find the missing ingredient - flakes of real gold.
I woke up, and the first thing I did was email her - telling her about the dream and asking her if she knew where I could get some gold flakes. She emailed me back right away and told me she was looking at a small bottle of gold ink as she typed. She told me where she'd gotten it and what section she thought I could find what I needed.
It was settled. I was doing this thing.
Now I just had to solve the last obstacle. I was supposed to do the ritual outside, but I didn't want to do this in public, so a park was out of the question. Then I realized that my little Brooklyn townhouse has a backyard, but my neighbors had the rights to it. I went ahead and asked them if I could use their space, and they agreed - no questions asked.
And voila, I was ready to cast this spell.
The whole ritual occurred over the course of two moon cycles, and it ended when I (somewhat spontaneously) buried the gold in the ground beneath a tree. I covered it with dirt and walked away.
Over the next day, I was struck with the strong sensation that something was growing where I'd buried the gold. I kept imagining a purple flower blooming - or something. Of course, at this point, it was October, and a flower blooming was highly unlikely. Nevertheless, two days later, I returned to the tree.
I looked down where I had buried the gold - the spot I'd left covered in dirt - and that same spot was now covered in a piece of grass and this random green shrubby stuff and an even more random piece of purple ribbon. Not quite a flower, but a purple bloom for sure.
And as it happens, I have a spool of purple ribbon in my desk drawer. Ribbon I use for wrapping client care packages, and if you look up now at the top of this page, you may notice something - a purple ribbon.