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Spiritual pioneer Linda Goodman
sought the secrets of life
from more than just the stars
by Maria Barron
Time lost its authority to crack the whip over human endeavor in author Linda Goodman's home in Cripple Creek, Colorado. True, there were clocks about; approximately the number of clocks you would expect in a spacious home like hers -- the hilltop home where she chose to spend her last earthly years, living, laughing, praying and pondering in the tiny mountain town she always described as "slipping off the time track." Those tick-tocking faces of the fourth dimension, dispensing the day in measured units, were placed in the normal kinds of spots where people could be expected to look when they wanted to assess just how much time they had let slip by while chatting, and just how little time was left in which to accomplish all the tasks they had assigned themselves that day. Only, Linda's clocks purposely wouldn't permit such assessment. One might say 10:20 and another 1:05.
And was it a.m. or p.m.? That might even become hard to gauge in a house like Linda's, which she kept fully illuminated 'round the clock in an endless day. Light glowed through the colorful glass of her Tiffany lamps and through recessed fixtures in the floor and ceiling of the chapel she created in the home's southern end. Even the laundry room stayed lit. Even the light inside the dryer stayed on.
"I learned to sleep with the light on," said Linda's friend Evelyn Stauffer, who frequently occupied the guest room and lent a hand when needed. Evelyn lived next door with her husband, Ed, a couple of grandchildren, and sometimes other souls from an extended family that doesn't necessarily require blood ties to join. Linda had a similar attitude about family. "She said I was her sister," Evelyn said.
Evelyn never asked about the constantly burning lights. She knew after years of "sisterhood" to expect a bit of the unexpected from Linda. Friends also learned to expect from Linda a steady stream of stories and teachings, an attitude that ranged from the light-hearted to the imperious, and a fiercely determined brand of generosity. She practiced what she preached and consistently gave away 50 percent of all her income to animal rights and environmental organizations, and to friends, relatives and people who seemed as if they could use it.
"I would never take money from her when I did things for her," Evelyn said. So instead, Linda bought the family presents. "One time," said Evelyn's husband, Ed, "I came home, and here was Linda having a dishwasher delivered to us. I told her, 'I don't want that dishwasher!' She said, 'You're getting it!'"
Every now and then, her friends found they could take Linda's motto to heart and even "expect a miracle." When David, one of the Stauffer's grandchildren, began to make a habit of sleepwalking through the house at night, Linda advised putting a purple plate -- the kind she discusses in Linda Goodman's Star Signs -- under his mattress. It worked like a charm, and the sleepwalking never recurred.
Ed is a police chief, with a "just the facts, ma'am" attitude. When he tells the story of David and the purple plate, he begins with the disclaimer that he doesn't believe in astrology, the discipline that made Linda Goodman a household word. Nevertheless, he tells the tale with amazement and respect. He now keeps a small purple plate, which Linda gave him, with him in his truck. A purple plate decorated with a guardian angel.
"If everyone has a guardian angel," Evelyn says, "Linda is ours."
Miracles and magic, galaxies and time -- Linda put her own distinctive spin on ideas like these that have fascinated people throughout the ages. So it came as no surprise to her friends that Linda regularly pooh-poohed Father Time. In newspaper interviews, she said she didn't believe in time. In her books, she wrote that time was an illusion obscuring the "eternal now."
"I'm not in the habit of wearing watches, because I don't believe in time," Linda said in an interview in the Los Angeles Times. "There is no such thing as time. Time is an illusion. But one has to deal with the false reality of it on Earth."
Linda's road to the peaks of publishing, to the living rooms of film stars and presidents, and eventually to the starry-skied mountain hamlet of Cripple Creek, began in the hills of West Virginia. Her childhood rotated, in batches of years or months, between a little town called Parkersburg and a larger university town a couple of hours' drive away, called Morgantown, where her relatives lived. She graduated from Central High School in Parkersburg, home of the Big Reds, in 1943, school officials said. The school is now called Parkersburg High School.
As an adult, she expanded her travel coast-to-coast. She was part of the first generation whose life paths suddenly could leave jet trails through the sky, and catching planes was one of the few things Linda believed a watch was good for. She was a frequent flyer who spent a lot of time in New York, the publishing capital of the world, and in California, where the new age she helped to usher in with her first book, Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, seemed to get a running start. She did much of her writing at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, churning out page after page during long spurts of inspiration at the typewriter.
Attracted as much to the bustle of the crowd and the lives of the world's movers and shakers as she was to her mountain solitude, Linda dined with the Kennedys and spent time with Howard Hughes. She was a close friend with movie actress Terry Moore, and she entered her decades-long friendship with fellow astrologer Jacqueline Stallone when Jacqueline's son Sylvester was a babe in arms. She would tell her friends, with a comic twinkle, that she had changed young Rocky's diapers.
Linda was a star in her own right, as her Sun Signs book was the first astrology book ever to earn a spot on the New York Times Bestseller List. Followed by yet another success with Linda Goodman's Love Signs, which also made the New York Times Bestseller list.
Such glittering achievements and such a glamorous circle of friends must have seemed distant dreams while Linda was growing up. She was an only child with fairly normal childhood routines, attending public schools and church on Sunday and visiting relatives during summer vacations. But she also, from a very young age, had an unusual, ecstatic love of thunderstorms, a driving need to seek out answers to the mysteries of life and death, and a life path that brought the specter of death into her life early and heartbreakingly often. Linda relates a number of her formative childhood experiences in Gooberz, a sometimes surreal, spiritualist, love story in prose poem form, which Linda classified as fiction but which reads as a kind of autobiography of the soul.
Linda, whose birth name was Mary Alice Kemery, often wrote that she was born during a thunderstorm on an April day in an unspecified year. Hers was a home birth, and Linda distrusted her family's official version of the event. She believed, according to slightly veiled references in Gooberz, that she was born not in her parents' hometown of Parkersburg, but instead in a house on Kingwood Street in Morgantown, where her maternal grandparents and an aunt lived.
Although Linda never revealed the full contents of her own birth chart publicly, a chart cast for around 8:23 a.m. on April 9, 1925, in Morgantown, West Virginia, matches all the aspects she did reveal about her natal chart and the circumstances she believed about her birth.
In Gooberz, Linda says she was born in the morning and that she always had a hard time really reconciling who she was because of her "somewhat afflicted planet in Libra." That kind of identity conflict fits the astrological description of a person with the Sun and Moon in opposite signs. In the chart as cast, it is the Moon, representing the emotional nature, which shows up as Linda's "somewhat afflicted planet" in gentle, beauty-loving Libra. It opposes her natal Sun in the fiery, independent and combative sign of Aries. The "graceful conjoining" of the stars Spica and Arcturus, which Linda mentions in the same description as a blessing in her chart, is there as well. The two stars are conjoined with her natal moon.
Linda also says her chart was blessed by trines from Gemini, Neptune and Mars. In the chart as cast, Linda's ascendant shows up at about 9 degrees Gemini, and indeed there are trines emanating from the point of her Gemini ascendant as well as from Neptune and Mars. Neptune, the planet of dreams, trines her Sun and Venus. The ascendant and Mars, both located in quick-thinking, communicative Gemini, trine the mid-heaven point in the chart. Suggestive of how one might be remembered in the world, Linda's mid-heaven point is in the New Age sign of Aquarius.
Also, in the chart as cast, Linda's ruling planet, Mars, sovereign of Aries, is conjoined with her ascendant, providing an explanation for why Linda would refer to herself, in newspaper articles and with friends, as a triple Aries. Only two planets -- the Sun and Venus -- are in Aries at any time that morning. But with Mars located at the point of the ascendant, the third dose of Aries Ram energy is added, conspicuously, to the personality.
Crystal Bush made the 3-hour trek up the long, twisting mountain road for a one hour meeting with the lady she had long admired. She spent the entire day in what was to have been a one-hour meeting with Linda. "Lady Linda" was how Crystal thought of Linda Goodman -- a person deserving of a title of nobility. Meeting her that day had been a wish come true for Crystal. A wish come true and a confirmation of the metaphysical power of thoughts to manifest as reality.
A Cancerian of Irish birth, a business-woman with a successful London track record, Crystal had come to America on her thunderbolt path of karma. Crystal's move to America fit precisely with a prediction she had been given as a child, when another seer in Ireland foretold her future as he saw it. She had not been afraid of that old man, who had had the look of a wanderer. There was something very deep about the way he had looked at her.
Linda looked at her that way too, with an intensity, depth and focus. "She looked into my eyes and like an electric shock, she penetrated my soul," Crystal said, sitting in her Santa Monica office, recalling the lingering moment when she and Linda first clasped hands. Crystal had been pursuing her idea to establish a live astrological network. She had gone through proper channels - meeting first with Linda's manager - before being granted an appointment on the mountaintop. There, the hours flew by as the two women exchanged ideas about ways to assist people in understanding and making progress in their lives. They agreed to work together on a detailed astrological compatibility guide, one that would look more deeply into planetary comparisons in lovers' charts than Linda Goodman's Love Signs did.
In the car afterwards, Crystal was still pondering the conversation of the day when the winding road down from Cripple Creek leveled out for a while and another town came into view. Linda's manager, Jim McLin, who was driving Crystal on the three-hour trek back to her Denver hotel, pulled up and parked at a roadside restaurant, and the two went inside for a bite to eat. Crystal was fighting a headache. But a quiet travelers' dinner turned out not to be on the evening's agenda.
Linda, our Queen of Hearts wanted to continue conversing with Crystal, the aquatic Cancerian and the fiery Ram already had become friends.
Linda told interviewers that she began her career writing for newspapers in the eastern and southeastern United States. She also said she had written speeches for black American civil rights leader Whitney Young, who served for several years as president of the National Urban League. Her political activism re-emerged at various times throughout her life. In 1993, she whipped off political letters on both the national and local level. One, to President Clinton, advised him to study a particular experimental fuel additive as he formed his environmental policies. The other, a letter to the editor of Cripple Creek's little weekly newspaper, The Gold Rush, advised local voters to return incumbent city council members to office.
In her personal life, Linda endured the pain of loss time and time again. She had children who died in infancy and a daughter, Sarah, nicknamed Sally, who died or disappeared as a young adult.
"She believed Sally was kidnapped," said Evelyn. Linda looked for Sally in various ways. She also continued to include dedications in her books to Sally, whose surname was Snyder, and to her other surviving children, Bill Snyder, Jill Goodman and Michael Goodman.
Linda had three significant romantic relationships in her life. The first, her marriage to William Snyder, and then Sam Goodman, and the last, her love affair with Robert Brewer, she relates with a unique blend of rhyme and reason in Gooberz, drawing from her own experiences in those relationships to illuminate her ideas about life and death, karma, reincarnation and "Twin Selves."
Linda's writings suggest that much of her spiritual quest into various faiths and theories of eternal life sprang from her own need, and the need of people who wrote to her, to find a way for those who mourn to be comforted; for the springtime, Easter miracle of resurrection and rebirth to be interpreted in a way that brought its promises into being here and now, in this life on Earth.
She believed in the potential achievement of physical immortality. And she developed a theory of reincarnation that held that the souls of people who died could, under certain circumstances, re-enter the world in the bodies of others who were in the midst of life, rather than reincarnating as babies. She indicated that she believed her first and third lovers were connected in that way.
But during her final years, as she faced declining health caused by diabetes -- when her belief in the benefits of physical immortality would occasionally give way to a desire to move on from this earthly plain of experience -- she would call to the love of her middle years, her second husband, Sam Goodman, who had preceded her in death.
"Sam was her protector," Evelyn said. During their marriage, "Sam raised the kids and let her do her thing." And so, in the moments she contemplated leaving this life, it was Sam she expected to meet her at the crossing, Evelyn said. "She would say, 'Sam, come get me. Come take me home.'"
But when death did come on Oct. 21, 1995, it was unexpected, coming at a time when Linda's optimism for life on earth had returned. Her ruling Mars had just entered happy, expansive Sagittarius. She had substantially completed her work on astrological compatibility that would become the book Linda Goodman's Relationship Signs. She was also making plans to write a children's book on astrology -- plans she shared in exuberant conversations with her friend Crystal Bush, whom Linda had chosen to be her spokeswoman and who now serves as president of LindaGoodman.net in her honor
Article written by Maria Barron for LindaGoodman.net, and reprinted here by permission. Copyright © 2000 by LindaGoodman.net, LLC, all rights reserved. Photos of Linda's homes copyright © 2000 by Maria Barron, all rights reserved.