personal essay, tarot

The Hermit

Heading up to a cabin in Big Bear for a solo retreat tomorrow and I can’t wait. I know we’re supposed to be excited about the world opening up and all, but I’m pretty ambivalent about it. I miss hugs, don’t get me wrong, I miss hugs real bad, but I don’t miss traffic or drunk douchebags on the street or the lady on her phone in the checkout line or the guy with the boom box on the beach playing shitty metal that you can’t seem to get away from.

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exercises + experiments, mythic perspectives

Meandering Life

In last night’s Full Moon Gathering, we wrote breakup letters to our past selves and time traveled one year into the future to visit our new selves. With the Egyptian goddess of Ma’at and the Indigenous American Corn Mother as inspiration, we honored the natural life/death/rebirth cycle within and we used the “meander map” above as a kind of visual metaphor throughout the gathering.

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Hilma af Klint Altarpieces No.1
exercises + experiments, personal essay

Spring Cleaning

One quarter of the country has been vaccinated, quarantines are being lifted, and I feel like one of those fumbling newborn antelope plopped down in the wide-open Serengeti with ten minutes to learn running before the lions arrive. I, and countless others with whom I’ve been in conversation over this past year, have changed. Our priorities have shifted, values realigned. We’re worried about losing ourselves out there. We want to go back. We don’t want to go backwards.

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Pacific Ocean New Moon in Pisces
mythic perspectives, reminders

Drowning in Possibilities

This Saturday we gather online for the new moon in Pisces, our second of this style of gathering. Unlike the Full Moon Gatherings where I lead us through various embodiment exercises, in the New Moon Gatherings we sit around and share as a group. We’ll set our intentions on the new moon and we’ll pull some tarot cards to reflect on. If you’re looking to gather in circle with fellow seekers, contact me here. No fees. All are welcome. Saturday, the 13th at 6pm pst via Zoom.

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Robert E Lee statue with protestors
mythic perspectives, personal essay

White History

I grew up in South Carolina in the 80’s and I distinctly remember a sense of pride in the room of my junior high American History class when we got to the bit about the rebel soldiers from our beloved port city of Charleston firing the first shots of the Civil War. We Southerners were a fiercely independent brand of patriots, we were taught, who weren’t going to let the Yankees living five hundred miles away tell us how to live. Even though my school had more black students than white, it was clear to me even then that nowhere in the concept of “Southerner” was the black experience. I vaguely remember learning about slavery but only in the abstract, as a sort of short-lived cultural relic, a byproduct of that era, just… how things were

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Nina Simone lyrics Birds flying high you know how I feel
activism, mythic perspectives, personal essay, tarot

Good Omens

Inauguration comes from the Latin augur: “one who sees favorable omens for success”. (The word auspicious comes from this as well.) In Ancient Rome the augur was the official diviner who was called in before important undertakings of the state to determine whether or not the gods approved. He did this by reading the flight patterns of birds.

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Sharon Blackie
mythic perspectives

Sharon Blackie

I’ve been a member of Dr. Sharon Blackie’s online program, This Mythic Life, for almost a year now. Each month, Sharon writes on mythic themes like alchemy, the archetype of the witch, the “post-heroic journey” and more. She also records guided meditations and there’s a discussion forum to connect with others all around the globe.

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exercises + experiments

New Light

A Ritual for Sun’s Return

  1. Find a dark place… Somewhere pitch black. A closet, a basement, or just crawl under a heavy blanket. Get yourself into total darkness. (If you’ve got a lighter, bring it for later.)
  2. Settle… Where does your gaze go in the dark? What do you “see” now? When we remove the light (outer awareness, ego), our rigid sense of self immediately begins to break down. Notice how you feel when you can’t see the world around you. Where does your awareness go now? Where are your problems? Who are you in this space?
  3. Slowly find the light... Spark your lighter. Or if you’re under a blanket, lift an edge slightly. Let yourself see everything anew – the strange shapes around you, the funny bend in your wrist, the oily shine of your palm. Who are you in this new light? Who might you be?
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New Year Planner Tarot Spread
tarot

New Year Planner

This is the most in-depth tarot reading that I offer. I call it the New Year Planner – a 90-minute, 18-card session that provides a season-by-season roadmap for your 2021. We discuss how to work with your card-of-the-year, the archetype through which all of the other cards can be interpreted. We pull specific cards that point to unconscious or shadow patterns to look out for as well as call-to-action cards that offer practical, actionable tools to call on as you move through the year. We also discuss the broader mythology and archetypes associated with these cards.

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Giant Sequoia tree
fiction, mythic perspectives

Wise Elder

She told me she was 2300 years old. I told her she didn’t look a day over 2250. She said cool never heard that one before but I’m pretty sure she was being sarcastic and then she said she was actually monoecious and her preferred pronoun was they. I was too embarrassed to say anything at that point so we were both silent for a while looking out over the mountain together and it was one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences of my life and when I finally looked up again they were smiling down at me. I smiled too and looked back out at the view thinking how they were older than the pandemic of 1918, older than vaccines, older than Genghis Khan and Jesus and I just kept smiling. I couldn’t stop smiling.

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Painting by Aron Wiesenfeld
mythic perspectives

The Haunting of America

Though Halloween evolved from All Hallows Eve, a Christian holiday honoring the dead saints (hallows), its origins lie in the much older Celtic festival of Samhain. Celebrating the end of the harvest and the earth’s descent into winter’s womb, Samhain was a time of liminality (halfway between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice), when the veil between our world and the Otherworld was thinnest, when the dead were thought to move more easily among the living, when the revelers would set an empty place at the table for the ancestors and leave offerings of food outside as propitiations for the spirits.

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Orange leaf in orange sunlight
mythic perspectives

Animal Senses

I began to become convinced that this way of seeing is our most ordinary, normal, human, way of encountering our world; that in the absence of intervening technologies, our animal senses spontaneously animate the sensuous surroundings. We speak of things “catching our gaze,” “calling our attention,” “grabbing our focus,” and those are all quite precise ways of speaking, because as we’re wandering the world, things solicit our attention, draw us into dialog, a kind of conversation without words. A fallen leaf on the ground calls my attention, and so I slow down to stop and gaze at it. And so, in my experience, this leaf is not dead, though it’s been lying on the ground for days. It has its own agency. It has its own power, its potency. And so, it is with everything we experience. This has become a very basic insight to me: that our bodily senses, left to their own devices, are inherently animistic; that sensory perception is participatory; that the senses are gregarious organs that actively participate in the surrounding terrain; and that when we speak of the world around us as a set of objects or objective mechanical processes, we actually frustrate our senses and force our awareness to withdraw from our skin and from our eyes and our ears, and we climb up into our heads and live in a set of verbal abstractions—because the human animal cannot help but experience the world as animate and alive through and through.

David Abram, from “The Ecology of Perception”, an interview in Emergence Magazine
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Tiny Actions Over and Over and Over
activism, reminders

How to Save Democracy #01

Remind yourself that you can’t save democracy.

Sobering, depressing, I know. But let go of that burden (it’s overwhelming you) and just do one small thing. Everyday.

Donate. Mail postcards. Make calls. Make sure your friends are registered to vote. Your small thing inspires others to do their small thing inspiring others and others and others until…

we ALL save democracy.

Vote Save America
Vote Forward

💪🏻✌🏻✊🏻


More ways…

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Angela Davis photo by Deana Lawson
activism

Angela Davis

We have to have a kind of optimism. One way or another I’ve been involved in movements from the time I was very, very young, and I can remember that my mother never failed to emphasize that as bad as things were in our segregated world, change was possible. That the world would change. I learned how to live under those circumstances while also inhabiting an imagined world, recognizing that one day things would be different.

Angela Davis, interviewed by Ava Duvernay in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair. Full interview here
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exercises + experiments, mythic perspectives, tarot

The Trickster Within

USING MAGIC TO MANIFEST THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS

I saw a client recently who was struggling with direction in her life. Should she get a new job? Go back to school? Move to a new city? Consistently distracted by petty family dramas, she was feeling powerless, overwhelmed and unable to get any sort of clarity for herself. She needed to find a way to tune out the noise of everyone and everything around her, in order to tune IN to what it was she truly wanted – a near impossible task for many of us, especially with the world noisier than ever.

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activism

Language of the Unheard

I am writing this in my Santa Monica apartment. Right outside there are sirens blaring, scores of helicopters hovering overhead, two stores across the street that were just looted by roving criminals and a couple of structure fires a few blocks away. About an hour ago, there was a crowd of at least 300 peaceful protestors outside. I watched from my roof, afraid to enter the fray, but when they stopped and knelt in silent vigil for George Floyd, I knelt too, and raised my fist high in solidarity.

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reminders

How to Quarantine

The rain surrounded the cabin … with a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside…. Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, the rain. As long as it talks, I am going to listen.

From “Rain and the Rhinoceros” by Thomas Merton, 1966
*I discovered Merton reading David Abram’s masterpiece, “The Spell of the Sensuous”
**More on Merton in this lovely tribute by Doug Toft
***Photo by Joe Gardner
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Gandalf and Frodo
reminders

The Time That Is Given Us

“Mordor. That name even you hobbits have heard of, like a shadow on the border of old stories. Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

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Wenceslas Hollar illustration of the fable
mythic perspectives, reminders

The Moral of the Story

Look to the irony in any story and you’ll find the moral, the gospel, the very reason for that story existing in the first place. We’re all quarantined from one another, but maybe this is happening to remind us just how connected we all are. Maybe this interconnectedness is a really hard moral for us as humans to learn. We elected a president whose entire m.o. is to vilify “the other”. Fox News is built on this. It’s infuriating to learn about all the folks right now ignoring the calls for social distancing, but the harsh reality is that a lot more people are going to have to get sick and a lot more people are going to have to die before we start to learn the moral of this story. We are truly all connected, aren’t we? Even the president’s wall can’t save us. 

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Nautilus shell art by William Conklin
exercises + experiments, reminders

Self Care in the Time of Corona

Yes, by all means, breathe in the light. Yes, absolutely, focus on the positive. Pull out the crystals, light up the sage. Keep yourself safe. But don’t bypass what you’re feeling right now. This is the moment. Scary, messy, uncertain, full of potential. You were made for this, remember? You are no stranger to trauma. This is your wheelhouse. A natural healer, you are well equipped to thrive. Trust.

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How Heavy, The Deep Water. How Sweet, The Hope
mythic perspectives, personal essay

We Don’t Get to Know What’s Coming

Most of us have a recurring dream of some form or other. Some folks dream of flying, of losing their teeth. I dream of waves – giant, menacing, deep-water waves rising up in the night like dark-cloaked mercenaries. On and off throughout my life I have dreamed of waves. In my youth, I would mostly watch them from a distance, a hillside perhaps, or sometimes through the window of a house, the swell rising on the horizon. Lately though, the water seems closer. A few months back, I’m having a picnic as a wave towers over my friend’s shoulder. Just last week, I am on a dock when the water below me expands like a balloon, swallowing the dock entirely right as I wake up.

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dark wave
mythic perspectives, performance

Go Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

Wendell Berry


I’ll be performing at Write Club on Monday with the word “obscure” as my jumping off point. This Berry quote along with my recurring dreams of large waves will feature prominently in my piece. Come join the mayhem if you’re in the area! And check out my performance from last year for a tease of what I do. 🙏🏼

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Angels Landing Zion National Park
activism, personal essay

Aesthetic Arrest

Zion National Park in May of last year. We set up camp in the shadow of one of those glorious red rock monoliths with the rushing waters from a nearby (but unseen) river as our only soundtrack. That night the moon turned the whole valley silver and the sounds of the river seemed to amplify in the still night air, enveloping us in this white-noise cocoon. After dinner I went off on my own, determined to put a visual to what now seemed to come from everywhere at once, and as I pushed through the brush, the more it consumed and bewildered me, until finally, I reached the river’s edge and stood there on the banks, for how long I really don’t remember. 

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Pagan Otherworlds Tarot
mythic perspectives, tarot

Paying Attention

I’ve been reading the cards for more and more folks lately and every session has been its own kind of wild, weird and wonderful. Tarot has been a near-daily study and meditation for me for over three years now and while my understanding of it is always evolving, here’s what I currently know: I am not a fortune-teller. And while I do think we’re all “psychic” in our own ways, I’m not a huge fan of that word either. It just feels exclusionary and ego-based.

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activism, personal essay

Freedom Now

I grew up closeted in the backwoods of South Carolina in the 80’s and became interested in storytelling around 9 years old when my father would drive me into the sticks and drop me alone on the side of a dirt road with a rifle. From there I’d hike into the woods to find a marked tree with a small plank hanging from it, about 15 feet up in the air. I’d climb the tree and I’d sit on the plank and I’d wait quietly. And wait. And wait, for some unsuspecting deer to stroll by; a deer I’d never have the heart to shoot; a deer that would graze the baited corn my dad had spread out on the ground below while I silently watched, spellbound, boring all of my secrets into him telepathically, before firing in the air to spook him back to freedom. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing at the time, I just knew, on some level, that it was safer to be the boy with lousy aim than the boy who didn’t like to hunt.

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Francis O'Connor set design for Waiting for Godot
mythic perspectives, personal essay

Letting in the Mess

Samuel Beckett and Tom F. Driver on the function of art in a world in crisis

There is so much about my work as an artist that is changing. Much of what interested me just three years ago feels frivolous now. I stopped writing a romantic comedy just before Trump was elected and I’m not sure I could summon the drive to finish it now regardless of what someone offered to pay me.

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Letter to a Young Activist
activism, reminders

Letter to a Young Activist During Troubled Times

Grumpy Sneezy Dopey

I was home sick with a cold today. On the couch for hours watching movies, scrolling through the socials, in a grumpy, sneezy, dopey malaise. (Where is Doc and Happy when you need them?) There’s something about being sick that amplifies my insecurities. The shadow swoops in when I am weak, whispering – Poor you, So frail, So small, You will never accomplish the things you desire, Why bother, The world is on fire, No one cares… Nothing you do matters.

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Cosmic Tides
mythic perspectives

Cosmic Tides

A man’s soul is like a lagoon connected with the sea by a submerged channel; although to all outward seeming it is land-locked, nevertheless its water level rises and falls with the tides of the sea because of the hidden connection. So it is with human consciousness, there is a subconscious connection between each individual soul and the World-soul deep hidden in the most primitive depths of subconsciousness, and in consequence we share in the rise and fall of the cosmic tides. 

Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
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common sense crash test dummies gun reform
activism

Common Sense

You can still learn a lot from a dummy.

Growing up in South Carolina in the mid-80’s, I remember the adults around me grumbling about new legislation that was gaining momentum in Congress. Legislation that, if passed, would require the driver and front-seat passenger of a car to wear seat belts, or else be subject to a fine. The grown-ups were pissed. How dare the government tell us what we can and can’t do in our cars. Civil liberties! and personal freedom! became all the rage. I distinctly remember an aunt avowing she’d never wear a seat belt because she’d read somewhere that they were just a hoax, that they were highly dangerous and what if the car went off a bridge and into the water, huh?!

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How much time did you spend creating?
How much time did you spend consuming?
reminders

At the end of the day…

Image
exercises + experiments, personal essay, tarot

Intuition

Intuition is having a moment. Search the hashtag on Instagram and you’ll get over 2 million hits. It’s super trendy with the witches and the healers and all the new, new-agey folk (hi me!). Considering we’re living in deeply unsettling times, it’s natural that so many of us are seeking guidance and a stronger inner compass. But I often see intuition getting lumped in with things like psychic visions or other exclusionary skillsets which is disheartening and completely misguided.

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