Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Wonderful break

I have been off work since 4 pm, 24th December. It has been WONDERFUL! Hubby and I have done absolutely nothing but eat and watch DVDs. We didn't exchange gifts this year, but we have been having an awesome holiday just lazing about. Make no mistake, we have done a workout each day (today's was Cathe's Kick Punch & Crunch, and man am I sore from it already!), but it's been soooo nice to just watch UK's Strongest Man and Star Wars and so on, and eat biscuit after biscuit and drink cup after cup of coffee.

When Hubby visited his parents last week, they gave us £50 each for Christmas, so you won't need three guesses to figure out what I've been doing. I ordered a tarot deck and a book about tarot! The rest of the money I hope to spend on a couple of new workouts, as soon as something catches my eye. Unless I buy something tarot-related with it first.

The deck I chose just really amused me and I had to have it.

The Housewive's Tarot

It's described as 'Far from Heaven' and 'Leave It to Beaver' meet the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. Packaged in a retro-style recipe box, sporting red and cream gingham backs, all the cards are illustrated with graphics taken from period advertisements. It is absolutely hilarious, and gets great reviews all over the internet.

Here's the website (although it doesn't tell you much): www.housewivestarot.com

The Devil card is a chocolate cake with long, stockinged legs, holding a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other. The Judgement card is a lady whose butt has been morphed into a rump roast standing aghast on a bathroom scale. And the Death card is a jar of out of date mayonnaise with flies on it, surrounded by rotting tomatoes. Every card I've seen online has made me laugh. Had to have it. I love all things 50s retro. I may have to have a 50s retro day when this arrives, and watch 'Pleasantville'.

I also bought a book called Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary, which is highly recommended and contains explanations of tarot symbolism. Can't wait to see that!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Four of Pentacles

This card makes me smile because I can so relate to it. A young man sits on a bit of stonemasonry in front of a smallish city/townscape. Swathed in a dark cloak, he has wrapped himself around four golden pentacle coins. Hunched over the one in his lap, arms wrapped around it, chin resting on it, he has two more under his feet and one balanced on his head! He looks for all the world like a little kid trying his best to hoard all the toys, or like a puppy that has gathered things around itself, gripping them in its mouth and between its paws.

He's nicknamed the miser and he gets a lot of flak, but I can't help but warm to the old boy.

'Me! Mine!' says this card. He's just a young thing, look at that face. It's open and innocent--it's practically guileless. He has earned a bit of cash, or gained some sort of security, a bit of groundedness, a bit of whatever it is that makes him feel safe--and he ain't letting go. He doesn't want to lose it. His face says, 'This is mine. You can't have it, thank you very much. I'm not interested in taking yours, but I'm going to make sure you don't slip up and get what's mine. Those over there are YOUR toys. These here are MY toys. You don't touch my stuff, I won't touch your stuff. We'll both be happy.'

A lot of people are living their lives at Four of Pentacles level. I know I do. I certainly wish no harm on anyone. In fact, I wish prosperity and joy to all of them. I don't want to take what anyone has got, and I don't spend time envying what they have, either. I just want what I've got--MY money, MY time, MY energy, MY attention--and I'm not willing to give one iota of any of it to anything not of MY choosing. It's not personal--I just come first. To me, that's what this card means. It's saying, 'I don't wish ill on anyone, but this stuff is mine and I intend to keep it.'

Look at that guy's face. He's leaning toward you. He has an open expression. He's willing to be your friend. He'll definitely talk to you. Might share ideas, a laugh, maybe have a real heart to heart. He might even decide to give you one of the coins--if HE decided to. Because HE wanted to. (He probably won't but he might!)

Of course, I know that this is a low level of personal development. We have to learn eventually that no amount of clinging is going to protect us from loss. But this lesson, I think, is hardest in the area that pentacles represents: things of this world. The physical realm, our comfort as physical beings. Think about it. For all your big talk, would you willingly ease your grip on your warm home, your supply of clean water, your endless access to food, your physical survival and comfort? I bet not. And that's just one level of worldly clinging that this card addresses. Surely we can all relate.

Overall, this is probably not 'technically' a positive card. It shows there's some growth required. But I believe it's a very human card, and sometimes, a necessary card. Certainly a very normal phase, at the least.

I'm honest enough to say, when it comes to altruism, I'm not quite there yet. Neither is the lad on this card. The two of us, we understand each other.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Three of Pentacles

An archway, beneath which are 3 more archways. 3 circles within 3 circles--3 pentacles within the circles. Three is the number of creativity, results and achievement, and that's what this card is about.

The pentacles are worked into the stonemasonry of a church--they are not coins. This the only card in which the pentacles are not depicted on gold disks. To me this means this card is less about money and more about the actual labour of our hands, its products, and how we get the concept of the work out of ourselves and manifested as a finished thing. The creative process, then the physical process.

In the left arch stands a stonemason. He is elevated on a crude wooden bench, in the middle of doing some carving. His head is above the heads of the other figures in the scene--possibly because as he is the one who brings the vision from idea to reality, he is the superior--he is the one doing the magic of craftsmanship.

There are 2 figures in the right archway. One is wearing a rather outlandish cape and hood in blazing red and orange. Perhaps he is dressed in the 'current fashion' of his age, which always denotes affluence and looks very impressive at that moment, but also always looks ridiculous a few years later. He is probably wealthy and he obviously has his own ideas about how the mason's work should look. He is most likely the architect of the design, or a patron--but he lacks the skill to bring his idea to fruition. He might represent creativity or creative spark.

The other figure is a cowled monk. This is his church. He appears to be listening very intently to the exchange between the mason and the man holding the plans. In some ways, he is caught between the two of them--he can neither design nor create. And yet, he is still very important. He has the power to veto everything, stop the project entirely. He is the last word. He also seems to represent tradition and authority.

The card seems, then, to represent tensions:

  • fashion/trends/fads vs tradition/ authority
  • the inner guide of the artisan vs constraints from the outside
  • seeking guidance from the two (creativity/trends and tradition) yourself
The three figures might also represent the three aspect of the self: the physical (mason), the mental (the architect), and the spiritual (the monk)--but that to me seems quite forced. The pentacles are in the stonework, so the mason is the star of the show here.

So this card is about how you approach your worldly concerns--the way you make a living, the way you approach worldly things. Whether you seek guidance or follow your own inner guide. Whether you follow the latest fad or go with the traditional route. And what the outside world thinks of your work--and how you let that affect you.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Two of Pentacles

I step into the frame of the card and suddenly I am in a port town. I can smell the sea and hear the waves lapping. There's the oceany smell of fish and salt, the call of gulls, and the sound men working on their boats and on the docks. Hammering and bells. Waves are crashing heavily against the beach somewhere in the distance.

The juggler is on a boardwalk, and there are lots of people around. This is a crowded, busy place. The people are dressed in clothing of a bygone age. Mixed eras. Aran sweaters. Ladies in long skirts with kerchiefs on their heads. No one is paying any attention to the juggler, though he by far is the most colorful and outlandishly dressed. He is switching two disks from hand to hand while stepping from one foot to the other. It seems an odd thing to do, but he makes it look natural. He keeps the disks moving in a figure 8 motion, but there is no band of infinity visible around them. His expression is neither happy nor unhappy; he watches the disks closely as he passes them from hand to hand. People keep brushing past us and some of them bump into him, but he keeps juggling.

'How long have you been doing this?' I ask.

'Long time,' he answers, still looking at the disks.

'Is it work?' I ask.

'More like a calling,' he says.

I frown and look around. Everyone is so busy, going about their seaside tasks. Men in boats, women with baskets of fish, laundry, towing at little children. There's a bustle, but it is a quiet bustle, steady. It fits in with the setting. Everything is muted in tone, lots of misty grey. The sky seems so big. The sea is the colour of slate. There's a cold, brisk wind. And the smell of hot grease--a chip shop.

'All of these people are juggling, you know,' says the juggler.

I turn back to him. 'Can't you ever stop?' I ask.

'Not really,' he says. 'I can break up the pattern, pause a bit maybe. But you just have to keep going.' He shifts the disk in silence a few times. 'I don't mind it actually. It's just what you do. Gotta keep going.'

I look at the people. They're all going about the business of life. They don't notice the steady, rhythmic pace of it. They're all just living. That's not something you just stop.

'Even if you get dizzy, get jostled, even if you drop one of the darn things, you just pick it up and keep going,' the juggler is saying.

My eye is drawn to a woman in a gray headscarf who has a basket of fish. I suddenly am standing in front of her. She looks up and hands me an empty basket. It is just like the basket I have decided to keep my tarot cards in.

'Thank you,' I say. 'What do I do with it?'

'Put stuff in it,' she answers.

I am puzzled. 'How do I carry this if I'm supposed to be juggling?' I ask.

'Juggle in your head, carry in your heart,' she says.

'Oh,' I say.

'Trust me,' she says.

I am back in front of the juggler. He's a handsome lad. His hair is damp from the sea air. I tell him good-bye and step out of the card.


This is an exercise called 'Entering the Card', where you meditate on stepping into the world of the card and report what happens. You are meant to approach a character you see in the card and ask for a gift.

I found this exercise very useful. Some interpretations of this card suggest it is about continual change, like a mini Wheel of Fortune. In some instances that might be the case, but to me it indicates persevering in the basic duties and tasks of life; in the midst of many ordinary distractions and the general bustle. Concentrating on the task at hand, not allowing one's perspective to be skewed--mindfulness.

Total Immersion

Sorry I 've been away for so long, I've been completely immersed in my new interest in tarot. I have set aside my Osho Zen deck for the moment in favour of the more traditional Universal Waite. I am now engaged in an Intensive Deck Study, and I have committed to studying one card per day every day until I complete the deck. So I will finish 8th March, 2010. I may be posting about a lot of it here.

As part of the study, I have committed not to buying any more decks or working with any deck but the Universal Waite. I also have committed to doing a 3-card daily draw in the morning, and a Celtic Cross in the evening.

Tarot is a wonderful thing. The cards are so beautiful. I'm glad I decided to add this to my hobbies.

On another note, I weighed 138.8 this morning and it's only 2 days until Christmas break! Yay!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

My first reading (and first daily card)

I received my Osho Zen Tarot a few days ago and have spent some time familiarizing myself with the cards, as well as the Rider-Waite/Universal Tarot. Last night, I tried my first small reading. I settled on a layout called 'My strengths'. I simply laid out 4 cards that I chose from the shuffled deck, fanned out in my hand, and put them out face down, left to right, representing:

1. My strength now
2. How I can ulitize that strength
3. Where this may lead
4. The strength I need to develop

I pulled the cards with intention, laid them out, then turned them over and studied them for a long time. I consulted with my books (the Osho Zen little white book, and 'The Tarot Bible' by Sarah Bartlett.) I made some notes and puzzled on it for awhile, discussed with Derek and then this morning wrote up my reading.

This reading seems to be saying to me that I am in a place right now where I am seeing through some of my illusions, that I am seeing my life with unusual clarity. It is true that I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about various aspects of my life--my financial future, my job, and my spiritual practices. I have even recently set a 2010 goal for myself to 'find a way to reach out to others that is true to myself.' And each morning lately, I have been chanting for freedom from 'the great illness', ie, illusion. So when I turned over the card that says my greatest strength right now is 'Awareness', I smiled to myself.

The 'Awareness' card in Osho Zen corresponds to The Chariot in Rider-Waite. The Chariot card can indicate, and I quote, 'You have reached a place where you can stand up for your beliefs and make decisions based on what you want rather than on what others assume is right for you.' Well, isn't that exactly what I said in my last post!

Because I am having this moment of clarity, the cards suggest that now is a good time to strike at one of my most damaging delusions--one of my biggest fears, which has developed through layers of an overactive mind, the pain-body and illusion--fear of interacting with other people, of being more socially active. The card is called 'Participation', the 4 of Fire. I feel that to do this in a way that is true to who I am, I should develop them through my interests. I should keep the interactions at a level that is acceptable for me. I should try to say YES at least occasionally when I am asked to join in something. I should allow myself to be more expansive, more tolerant of others, to realise and feel that I am part of the rest of life. But the 4 of Wands (which the Osho Zen 4 of Fire corresponds to) is not really about tackling your fears. It is 'heralding a time of rejoicing and celebration'. The Tarot Bible says it is 'a blessing in any layout.' It means happier times are ahead. I do have a fresh confidence about who I am and what I have achieved.

According to this spread, the road that Participation may lead to is Guilt, 8 of Clouds (Rider-Waite 8 of Swords). There are 2 cards from the Cloud (Swords) suit in this spread. It is the suit of 'thought, connection, information, ideals and self-expression.' I must admit I was very puzzled and upset by turning over this card. How could awareness and participation lead to Guilt? But within the tarot, you are supposed to look at the cards and say what you see. On the Osho Zen card, I see a woman with her eyes closed being clawed at by the demons of her thought-life, but with a flowering branch overhead. On the 8 of Swords card, I see a woman who is blindfolded and bound to a tree. She thinks she can't escape, but her bonds look like she could slip them pretty easily if she chose to try. Neither woman can see. Both are suffering, but both seem to be suffering because of their perception of their situation. Participating with other people makes me feel vulnerable and afraid, and it occurs to me, so does celebration and happiness! The first because I am afraid of being judged during social interaction, or of not behaving right, not saying or doing or thinking the right thing. I know I am awkward to be around socially because I don't drink, I'm vegan and I don't like to stay up late--most of things people seem to find fun, I find awful and I hate all eyes turned toward me because I'm the one being awkward. And I've always sort of freaked out in groups larger than 2 or 3 people and just clammed up and said nothing. And the longer I stay silent, the more awkward I feel and the less likely I am to ever speak, even when spoken to! The second because--as I said in my last post--happiness might bring about bad things. Like the 'Fates' might take notice of an overabundance of joy and try to balance me out!

(On the other hand, I must consider the layout position of this card. It's what the road may lead to. So it could be that I do try to 'participate' more, feel bound by it, and feel guilty for not wanting to carry on with socialising! So I must be open to the possibility that even if I give it a good go, it might turn out that I'm not so sociable, and I will need to find a way to deal with that.)

The cards suggest that the strength I need to develop right now is Consciousness, Ace of Clouds (Rider-Waite Ace of Swords). A picture of the Buddha. A depiction of a hand emerging from a cloud clutching a sword, at the top of which is a crown dangling vegetation and plumage. The Buddha card and the Ace of Swords both work to cut through illusion. The Tarot Bible says, 'The suit of Swords represents the rational and logical, but it indicates that the rational mind leads us astray and the sword is to cut through the illusions of our principles, our ideals, our fears. These 2-edged swords remind us that we must facd our deceptions, illusions and fears--and that the logical must work with the wisdom of our heart.'

I need to develop the strength to cut through my illusions about the right way to behave, the right way to be a friend, and the delusion that others perceive me as strange or a burden or unworthy of being involved. If they thought that, why would they keep inviting me? I must 'believe in myself and be ready to leap into action'--to me, this means being willing to say yes, to have the confidence to take part.

Overall, this is a very positive reading. At first it caused all sorts of anxiety. I balk at the notion of social interaction, and yet, it's an issue I continue to struggle with. So clearly I have business left to do in this area, and the cards seem to be saying now is the time to work on it.

So what am I going to do? I have idly suggested a few times to a work colleague that she should come over and watch movies with us. Next week, I'm going to set a date for that. And next Wednesday night, hubby and I are going to a Quiz night.

(Again, if it turns out the guilt is a result of realising I'm not really the sociable person I decided to try to be, perhaps this sword would be cutting through some illusion about how I'm 'supposed' to behave or what I'm 'supposed' to want out of life.)

This morning when I got up, I did my first daily card reading. You shuffle, cut and pull one card and it's your card for the day. I pulled 9 of Swords--another Sword card! It shows a picture of a grieving Zen monk, and is called 'Sorrow'. What! Today is my day for sorrow? But I consulted a book and I was really surprised to read this interpretation, which follows on so perfectly from yesterday's reading. Here it is word for word:

You and you alone can act to set yourself free from all those negative influences of the past. You are feeling very cut off from people, very separate, as though no one can see through to the real you underneath.

The pain and sorrow of the past will not fade instantly, but it will fade. What you can do now is begin to open up and let the sun in.

For this to happen, you must begin to dig all of the loneliness out of your present and communicate your feelings to others.

You must begin to open up--don't stay in isolation! You may well have to look around and discover new channels in which you can being to relate effectively to those around you. You alone can do this work. It can take either a long time or it can be surprisingly short. Which are you going to let it be? Come on, get cracking and dig your way out! (Step-by-Step Tarot, Terry Donaldson)

Freaky! It just seems to follow on so perfectly. Out of 78 cards, I pulled a card that answered so neatly to the reading from the day before. This is really intriguing. And today's card does seem to be urging me to take action toward more social get-togethers.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Retrospective and looking forward

'So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over,
A new one just begun...'

December is a time for reflection. I just bought my 2010 'Sacred Journey' journal, and have been working on my retrospective, and looking forward.


It's been a good year. My days have slipped past, one after the other, in a haze of routine contentment. More or less.

As usual, I started the year in a regimented way, making very strict plans for myself. I spent a lot of time trying to organize my mind and my year, setting lofty, worthy goals, and carefully modifying the journal. I blogged about it. Looking at it now, it seems like a lot of pressure to put on yourself to expect to get everything perfectly colour-coded and all tasks 100% complete.

I feel I learned a lot about myself in the first quarter of 2009 by reading Eckhart Tolle. I learned about the 'pain body'. (I blogged a lot about that, too). It seems to me I've been doing much better with the 'melt downs' since doing that introspective work. In fact, hubby says this best year I've had since he's known me, as far as meltdowns go. None of them this year seemed to have anything to do with my personal life, but with my driving anxiety and those pesky lessons I was taking!)

Which leads me to my proudest accomplishment of this year: getting my UK driving licence. It took me 18 months of lessons, half a dozen books, a complete set of flower remedies, hours of meditation, chanting and hypnosis tapes, and even a session with an Emotional Freedom Therapist (which I recommend!) to get me there. But I did it!

April and May were very tough months. My Dad died in April, my son graduated from high school in May. That was an unplanned trip home in April, and a planned one in May. Both were fraught with emotion to deal with. Distance has made it easier to cope, but that was a difficult time, which rippled into the next few months. In fact, I'm still not sure I've dealt with Dad's death. Grief takes a long, long time.

I believe, though, that this year I have finally detached from the guilt associated with my son. He is who he is and he does what he wants, and I have relinquished control of the situation. (Control which I never had anyway). This has given me a rather numb sense of peace. Whatever happens has so very little to do with me, and I accept that. I think of him with interest, affection and concern, and what I feel is a healthy detachment. I have learned that keeping my head out of the past is the key to freeing myself from the guilt. He is nearly 19. No longer a little boy. I have given myself permission to let go, and this year, I seem to have finally accepted that permission and begun to do it.

I got rather bogged down in introspection at one point in the year and dropped out of Facebook, stopped posting to this blog, and stopped all reading of self-help or other books. I took a break from all of it until after my driving test and I believe that was good for me. I was starting to get 'magical thinking' about it all.

It's interesting where my exploration has taken me. I've discovered an intense interest in the most unexpected things. Crystals, flower remedies, chanting. None of this seems very Zen--but that's okay. My sacred journey belongs to me. I can do and believe what I want, and I can move through cycles and phases of practice and growth as I want. This is freeing and beautiful.

For years I have lived in fear of my financial future, worrying about my fate in retirement but unable to face the daunting prospect of taking action. Last month, I finally started looking into this. We are making a start toward investigating our options and creating a plan for our future. I am very proud that we are taking this step, looking forward instead of back--although we have to constantly remind ourselves not to waste time regretting inaction in the past, or fearing the future. For the first time, I feel hopeful, I feel positive. Maybe I won't be a homeless old lady dribbling in a corner after all. I have a good 25 years to build up a nest egg, and during that time I also must remember to live my life then and there as well as save for the 20-odd years after work is done. The goal is a pension and savings to cover rent and provide our needs. We're seeing an independent financial adviser in the new year (after Mercury is out of retrograde!) Hubby says he thinks that my releasing the guilt about my family has allowed me to move forward. Before, I couldn't look forward as I was chained to the past. I remember during that Emotional Freedom Therapy session, I kept saying over and over to the therapist, 'I can't let go of the guilt, I don't want to, I can't'--it was because I felt that the guilt was my only tie to my family, that somehow, if I let go of that, my separation from my son would be permanent and complete. But what it actually has done is free me. Not tormenting myself does not mean I don't love him. I can't say I'll never have another meltdown about this. But now I see things differently than I did (or rather, I see them clearly instead of seeing my illusions abou them), and as he becomes more of a man, I am sure I will feel even safer to move on.

And finally, the job. I recently had a job interview for a post I didn't want. Thankfully, I didn't get it, and I've been thinking about why I went for it. Once you get past the surface reasons--it was a step up from my current post, it was in a 'nicer' part of the county, and it is closer to where hubby works--you get to the truth. The real truth is, I am very comfortable in my current post and in my domestic situation. This is the happiest I have been, day-to-day, in my entire life. So comfortable that there is a subconsious fear that something bad is bound to happen to destroy the situation. And so, to prevent the bad thing that you don't want, you try to instigate a change yourself that is sort of what you want, or something you ought to want. At least, if change is inevitable, you can be the one in control of change. It's a fucked-up solution to a non-problem, but I'm convinced it's the reason behind a lot of the decisions that people make. I hope I don't forget the lesson that it's okay to be happy and pointless to try to circumvent the unexpected.

Looking forward

When I first started using the Sacred Journey journal, I chose them because they contained a lot of blank pages that I could paste things over or use to make notes on. The pagan elements of the journal bothered me. I found them frightening and distressing, and I would spend hours in December making them more usable by ripping out pages with references to cards, divination, spirit guides, etc. I quickly plastered them over with exercise rotations, charts for recording my weight, and snippets from the sanitized version of Buddhism that I had selected for its lack of imagery or 'heathen' practices, Zen. (It was the easiest thing for my Christian-reared mind to deal with--sitting in silence seemed so much safer than some of the other stuff out there!)

This year, I've learned to let go of my fear of occult and esoteric practices. I've learned to recognize and avoid what I call 'magical thinking'--which is ironic because as I've learned this, I have been moving toward seemingly 'magical' tools. I used to put so much hope into my spiritual practice--hope that it would somehow magically change me, change my circumstances, change my life. I did that with my Christianity, and later with my Buddhism. I felt that if I prayed and believed hard enough, or later, if I emptied my mind in mediation enough, that my problems would melt away. When nothing magical happened, I blamed myself for not doing it right, not having enough faith, not being worthy. I can see this now. Ironically, as I've moved toward crystals, flowers, chanting of mantras, I've become freer of magical thinking, because I view these practices as tools to explore the subconscious mind, to bring out of myself what is there. Even if that means just accepting the situation for what it is. In fact, especially the ability to accept a situation for what it really is! In and of themselves, these things hold no power or meaning. The only magic is in me.

And so, next year, I'm not modifying the Sacred Journey journal. I am going to use it as written. I have even ordered a set of tarot cards to use with it. 2010 is my year of openness, open to myself, open to all paths. Free of magical thinking--I hope!

  • May I let go a bit more of 'control of the universe'.
  • May I not make elaborate, detailed plans that no one could live up to.
  • May I recognise what's right and beautiful about me.
  • May I accept what's backward and dysfunctional about me, and work on it in a loving, nonjudgemental way.
  • May I reach out to other people in a way that is healthy and right for me, and true to the person I am.
  • May I lay the foundations for a financial future that will meet my needs.
  • May I accept that it's okay, in the book of my life, to leave some pages blank, while filling others edge to edge. But not to leave them blank out of fear.

I think as I move deeper into my 40s, I'm getting comfortable with accepting myself for who I am. I'm finding I struggle less and less within myself. I am coming to terms with societal expectations vs what I really want. I find I don't care so much what other people think.

I am whole. I really am.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Daddy cool

I wanted some comfort food last night and thought I'd try a vegan mac and cheese recipe, having read about one on Anna's blog. I had a look at Susan V's Mac and Cheese recipe on Fat Free Vegan, then compared it to the Mac Daddy recipe in Isa's Veganomicon. Susan's recipe calls for all sorts of stuff I don't have--garlic powder, onion powder, tahini (which I don't like), and it's supposed to taste like Kraft mac and cheese, which I never liked, so I decided I liked the sound of the Mac Daddy recipe better. When I went to make the recipe, of course I changed everything. I nearly always do that, if I'm not confident that what I'm reading is going to be yummy. I ended up making something all my own, based on Isa's recipe, and it was really good. Hubby and I ate it all in one meal. Here's my creation:

Pimpalicious Pasta

Cook half a package of wholewheat shells (I couldn't find wholewheat macaroni in the shops), drain and set aside (I like stodgy mac and cheese, so I cooked this just a little past al dente)

For the sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed, cooked in 1 Tbs oil
several grinds each pink salt and black pepper
pinch dried thyme
2 cups water
1 Tbs Marigold vegan bouillon powder
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/8 tsp turmeric (or to desired yellowness)
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp French's yellow mustard
1/2 pkg Cauldon tofu

Whisk together all ingredients except tofu and cook in saucepan until thickened. Add tofu and puree with hand blender until smooth. Pour into a small casserole dish and stir in the shells. Make sure the pasta is swimming in sauce. Too much pasta and it will be dry. Bake until bubbly and browning on edges.

This came out tasting rich and more-ish. The shells were all full of the gooey sauce and the pasta was chewy on top from being baked.

Word of warning, it didn't taste a thing like cheese. We sure did like it, though. If it had tasted like cheese, I would have had to throw it out. (Last time I went crazy and actually bought some parmesan cheese to put in something, we ended up throwing it out because it had that horrible dairy whang to it. Never again!) We had this with some steamed greens, and it was yummy.

If you don't like nutritional yeast flakes, don't bother with this recipe. And if you think you're going to end up with something like Velveeta, don't bother, either. I mean, if you want cheese, just eat some cheese! If you want something gooey, satisfying and vegan, though, try this one. We loved it.

(By the way, as usual, the photo is nicked from googling and choosing a photo that looks the most like what I made. Because as usual, I forgot to take a picture!)