Just before 6 o'clock on Wednesday the 20th, while coasting up Main Street toward Rawvolution, I glance skyward and notice a massive chunk missing from the moon. Then the text messages start rolling in: “Look at the moon.” “Check out the eclipse.”

Urgently, I order my hemp tabbouleh and raw hummus to go, and head to the Pacific Nexus Gallery at the glitter-caked corner of Brooks and Pacific, home of the bimonthly Tarot Study Group, and local artist/musician/messiah Herwig Maurer. Herwig, of the high cheekbones, twinkly green eyes, tattooed wrists and pronounced dark side that is at odds with his gentle demeanor and graceful appendages, welcomes me early for the study group and suggests we take in the full spectacle of the lunar eclipse from the rooftop across the street.

He grabs his camera and his tripod, and just before we take to the crisp ocean air and the waning moonlight, he dumps two heaping spoonfuls of powdered monatomic gold under both of our tongues. Just so you know, mon­atomic gold, or ormus, is gold isolated to its single atomic state. It purportedly feeds the Light Body, syncs the left- and right-brain hemispheres, corrects DNA and acts as a super­conductor of thoughts/intentions/manifestations. All good for taking in lunar eclipses.

We jaywalk across Pacific Avenue, recently made over with a fresh batch of inspired graffiti, including a freak-out cute elephant materializing from a woman's puckered lips, toward the Brooks Court Apartments.

“This key sometimes works,” says Herwig, in his slight but distinctive Austrian accent, while jiggling the lock to no avail. I stand on the sidewalk, tripod in one hand, biodegradable to-go container in the other, nose to the sky, eyes glued to the orange-tinted sliver that is the rapidly disappearing Virgo full moon, while Herwig dials various Brooks Court friends for entry — again to no avail.

Then a pretty brunette dressed like Marlo Thomas' That Girl rounds the corner, also seeking entry into the evening's hot spot. She dials her friend and seconds later, a fluffy, pompon-tethered key chain falls from the top-floor window and lands in the alley with a melodious jingle. That Girl grabs the keys, and the three of us climb the three flights of vintage wood steps to the roof. That Girl bids us farewell as she disappears into her friend's apartment.

From the rooftop, delightfully adorned with fat, happy potted plants, we watch the eclipse unfold. It is perfectly angled between two stars, which Herwig insists on calling planets.

“The total phase of the eclipse is at 7:30,” I say.

“7:24,” Herwig corrects, while still maintaining he's not a Capricorn, despite being born on December 21, and exhibiting all the typical know-it-all Capricorn traits. See, Herwig is a follower of the sidereal Zodiac and fancies himself a Sagittarius. True, the 21st puts Herwig on the cusp, that elusive astrological gray area, but you know the saying: If it smells like a goat and acts like a goat, it ain't no freakin' Sagittarius.

I send my intentions to the moon while watching it disappear and peek out the other side again. Herwig shoots frame after frame of moon, stars (“planets”) and oh-so-many passing airplanes.

By the time the now waxing moon is obscured by cloud cover, we pack up and descend to the street, arriving back at the gallery just in time to meet with the rest of the Tarot enthusiasts, rearin' to deconstruct this week's card: Art (or Temperance), coincidentally ruled by Sagittarius.

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