The Hermit’s Lamp Podcast - A place for witches, hermits, mystics, healers, and seekers
EP97 Living with Astrology with Kelly Surtees

EP97 Living with Astrology with Kelly Surtees

March 29, 2019

Kelly and Andrew explore the influence of the planets in their lives and the lives of their clients. Sharing ideas about Uranus moving into Taurus. They also talk about the possibilities and limits of resolving challenges with more difficult placements. They also laugh a lot!

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Transcript 

ANDREW: [00:00:02] Welcome to The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I'm hanging out today with Kelly Surtees, who is an astrologer, and someone that I've known for, you know, at least a decade, I'd say now a bit longer. And [00:00:17] their approach is really interesting to me because they're super smart about what they do, but they have a great sense of humor about it as well. You know, there's a way in which they seem [00:00:32] to me to continue to laugh and enjoy life and all of those things even when talking about intellectual stuff or hard stuff or whatever and I think that that's a trait that I super admire and [00:00:47] try and kind of hold in myself as I go through all of life's ups and downs and so on. But you know, hey Kelly, for people who don't know you, why don't you introduce yourself? Who are you? 

KELLY: Hey Andrew, well, I'm Australian, which might be obvious now [00:01:02] that I started talking. I married a Canadian and so I live, currently, just outside Toronto, but I'm an astrologer, probably what people are more curious about, and I've been an astrologer full-time professionally for nearly 20 years, [00:01:17] so it has been my life's work. 

I came to astrology very young, not because anyone in my family was interested in astrology, but because I was, and I started learning the basics when I was 10, 11 years old, back [00:01:32] in Sydney where it was a lot warmer than where we are now, and carried on with my sort of personal exploration. It was style of astrology through my teenage years and then in my early twenties, I actually signed up to do a massage therapy [00:01:47] training course and the college I was studying at in Sydney offered an astrology training program, which just had never occurred to me was a thing. So that's kind of how I got started, and what I do today is, I work with clients and students around the world, [00:02:02] I do one-on-one consults in astrology, but primarily what I'm doing more and more of these days is teaching the next generation of astrologists through my online training programs. 

ANDREW: Amazing. So before we, before we were recording [00:02:17] here, we started kind of talking about astrology and we were talking about the history and the way in which sort of history and tradition and sort of practice all flow together, and I think that I'd [00:02:32] love to kind of try and pick that up and talk about that a little bit, right? 

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: You know, what, where did your, where did your astrology start? Like what kind of, did you start out studying older forms? Did you, did you...?

KELLY: Absolutely not. Not, I started with a [00:02:47] very modern psychological astrology, which was hugely popular in the 80s and 90s, like 1980s, 1990s. I started studying astrology in the late 1990s. And yeah, just had a very, [00:03:02] I would say, a very modern introduction to psychological, almost evolutionary, components in astrology. And that was great, it got me started got me into my practice, and it was when I attended my first astrology conference, which was the FAA [00:03:17] conference in Melbourne, I think in 2004, that I was lucky enough to hear people like Demetra George, John Frawley, and Lee Lehman speak, who are very well respected astrologers who all practice slightly different forms of mediaeval [00:03:32] or traditional astrology, and connecting with those teachers really aroused my interest in things like, where did some of these things we use in astrology come from? Like who first created the houses, for instance? Or why is [00:03:47] this planet associated with the things that it is associated with? So yeah, I would say within, you know, the first five years of starting my practice, that had become a real interest for me and that was like going down the rabbit hole. 

ANDREW: Yeah, for [00:04:02] sure. I think that there's, there's always this question about that kind of stuff for me, which is really like, where, how far down do we go?

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: You know, starting, starting out for me, you know my interest in astrology [00:04:17] came out of you know, studying Aleister Crowley and studying his magical systems. And so, you know, it was a lot of magic and ideas around the inner planets predominantly, you know.

KELLY: Yes.

ANDREW: And you know, and sort [00:04:32] of like working with that and looking at that as a magical model and so on. But you know, as you start digging in and you start looking back, you're like: Okay. Well, where does that come from? And what is that? How far does that go? What, where is the source from which that wisdom [00:04:47] comes from? You know? And I think it's such a, such an interesting and challenging question to kind of slide into, you know? 

KELLY: It's a huge question, because it, you know, something… To try and answer that for astrology [00:05:02] takes you back to the origins of philosophy, to the origins of mathematics, you know, things like wondering why we've associated a particular physical thing or phenomenon with a certain emotional experience [00:05:17] or a certain philosophical construct. So when you dive into these origin stories, if you like, of some of the magical practices, you are almost going back to the dawn of human thought and human ideas and that can [00:05:32] be a very broad research project, because then you're not just learning explicitly about the origins of astrology. You're actually reading, you know, ancient philosophers, and you might be reading some of the original mathematicians to get a sense on why [00:05:47] they did what they did and where they were coming from. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think it's so important to also try and understand, it's not just about what they said, which is certainly important. But it's also, [00:06:02] what were they? What were they thinking? How were they thinking about it too? Right? Because you know, like in a divination class that I've been taking with one of my elders, we were discussing how, you know, a hundred and fifty years ago, [00:06:18] the scope of life's experiences, that we needed to speak about in divination, were equally complex probably on the human front, but on the practical fronts, were much narrower in some ways, you know? The range [00:06:33] of human experience and the range of things we have access to is so different. And then you know, when we go back to, like, what was it like in ancient Greece and what was it like in, you know, here, there, or wherever, you know? Yeah, it's hard to even, I think, understand [00:06:48] exactly how they considered certain things. 

KELLY: Yeah. That's a . . . That's a really great point. I mean, two topics that come to my mind. One of them is, in the older literature on astrology, there's a lot of questions and a lot of detail around dealing with [00:07:03] ships and dealing with crops. So there's a lot of, you know, what indicates shipwreck? Or is my ship going to come in? And that seems a bit weird to a modern person, because why are they so obsessed with ships? But then you have to remind yourself that [00:07:18] many, many hundreds and thousands of years ago, ships were actually the primary form of transport. We didn't have trains or planes or obviously automobiles...

ANDREW: Yeah.

KELLY: And just to your point there, you do kind of have to almost put yourself back into: What was life like, two [00:07:33] thousand, two and a half thousand years ago, when things like crops were more likely to perhaps fail, water quality was a massive issue because that obviously led to the spread of disease or illness, life expectancy [00:07:48] was shorter, things like pregnancy were life threatening, in many cases, for women, and many more babies died, you know, in the first 12 months of their life then do today with modern medicine. So a lot of the questions and a lot of the, their life, if [00:08:03] you like, just to almost give a superficial summary, they lived a lot more, closer to the line of life and death than what we do today. And one of the kind of attacks against older forms of astrology is that it's so fated, you know, [00:08:18] and it's so deterministic, but the intention was to try and give clearer answers about really meaningful topics that were, you know, more touch-and-go than what they might be today. 

ANDREW: So where [00:08:33] do you, where do you fall on the sort of fated spectrum of things? 

KELLY: Oh, this is a really good question. And I've thought about it because it does come up. I have any . . . .

ANDREW: Yeah! 

KELLY: Over the years. There's a beautiful quote. I think it's by Albertus Magnus, [00:08:48] who says something like, actually, maybe instead of bastardizing it. That's how you know, you're an absolute asteroid nerd, that you have books like this handy, [00:09:03] because there's, he has a beautiful quote that I kind of . . . . When I first discovered this quote, however many years ago, it really helped me clarify my own answer to the fate versus free will argument. So he says, "There is in [00:09:18] man a double spring of action, namely nature and the will, and nature for its part is ruled by the stars, while the will is free. But unless it, the will, resists, it is swept along by nature and becomes [00:09:33] mechanical." 

And that idea, like fate is sort of your, your nature, or what's kind of ruled by the stars, and the free will to my mind is our very human thinking, you know, application of effort, and I've seen [00:09:48] this in chart work with clients and students over the years now, enough that I know it to be true. That your birth chart might be, if it's almost like a map of your fate and if you do nothing, if you just allow the fate to manifest freely and purely, [00:10:03] it can give very clear sense of this area of life flows, and that's where you have success, and this area of life is where you're going to hit blocks after blocks. But if you choose to apply your free will, I'm not saying that anyone can make anything [00:10:18] happen because I don't actually believe that's true. 

ANDREW: Sure.

KELLY: But I do think that there are certain topics, as indicated by the chart, where the application of one's effort, aka free will, can move the needle from completely dissatisfying [00:10:33] to perhaps somewhat satisfying or maybe from somewhat satisfying to more fulfilling. There are some topics in some charts that that have a bit of a firm no and that sort of response. So I do think we [00:10:48] have free will within a scope, if that makes sense. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think people come--because I do predictive card reading, right?

KELLY: Yes.

ANDREW: People are always like, where does, where's my free will? Like, [00:11:03] you know? Or they're like, well, just tell me how it's going to be. I'm like, well, in this case, it's a free will issue. How do you want it to be? In this case it's not a free will issue. You know?

KELLY: Yeah, I think that's, that's a beautiful way of describing it. I mean, I've looked and worked with clients over the years and I've beautifully been blessed to have [00:11:18] a couple of clients allow me to share some of their chart work in my teaching. But I have a handful of clients who have been single their whole lives, and whatever they have tried or not tried or maybe they haven't even been interested. The topic of relationships [00:11:33] has simply not come alive for them. And there are ways to see things like that in the chart, and then there are other charts where it's like, there are some challenges here, but if you put the effort in, you got to be able to get a little bit more. But I like how you summarized [00:11:48] it there, that there are some topics that are kind of fated, and a little bit out of our hands and there are others where it's like, you can move the needle on this, if you desire it enough. Yeah. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I often think of [00:12:03] it this way: You know, so, we live on a planet with seven point whatever billion people. 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: All of those people are seeking to exert their free will. 

KELLY: Yes.

ANDREW: However, you know, everybody is to a greater or lesser extent [00:12:18] acting based on culture, which is, which is a force that, you know, if it's internalized and not undone, you know, it's just like fate, right? You know, like the cultural bias or cultural experiences or cultural expectations, [00:12:33] right?

KELLY: Even family conditioning. 

ANDREW: Right? Well, that was going to be the next thing, right? Like, you know, our baggage, our personal baggage, right? And then we're, so, we're not only trying to exert free will, but we're trying to exert free will into the sphere where everybody else is exerting [00:12:48] those forces and maybe some degree of their own free will, and then there's some amount of chaos in the system, and then there's some fixed points, and it's like, so how much, how free is that free will? And I think, you know, maybe it's, you know, [00:13:03] as we're talking about it, I think it's a carryover from my time being so focused on Crowley's kind of magic of cultivating the will and building the capacity, you know, in the way that that quote talks about, right? Like, you know, it's like, how [00:13:18] free can we become from those things? The answer is, never free. 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: Fully. But like, we can create a lot more space and in many areas of our life, maybe we can create a lot more space so that then we can kind of act, choose, [00:13:33] or discover where we are aligned better maybe? You know? 

KELLY: Yeah, and I think that's a huge part of any type of magical healing work, whether it's astrology or tarot, or other ritual practices. One of the things that [00:13:48] Dimetra George said in this very first conference years ago, which has stuck with me, she described that it's partly the astrologist's job to help the client understand the areas of their life that are most likely indicated flowing [00:14:03] fulfillment, and the areas of their life that are less likely to give a reward or sense of satisfaction relevant to the amount of effort that they might put in, and I think that's, you know, sort [00:14:18] of, to what you're speaking about here--We're speaking about. We can influence certain things to a certain extent, but you made a great point, like the 7 billion people, all trying to influence certain things. We [00:14:33] can't all get everything. It's just, it's not the way things are built. I won't have as many children as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, no matter how hard I try, that's just not part of my experience, [00:14:48] and other people might be like, but I want, you know, the wealth of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or what have you and like, that's not, you know, so part of our work is to help guide people. Like you might think that you want these things. It doesn't really bring you fulfillment. Like there is an exploration [00:15:03] around the self-awareness, self-knowing, like knowing the self and moving beneath some of the things that we think we want, to get in touch with the things that really make us all come alive. 

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah and I know for me too, you [00:15:18] know, like because I spent a lot of time, especially magically, but you know, definitely in other ways too, kind of working to counterbalance the, you know, tendencies in my chart or the things that are more problematic there. 

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: But even [00:15:33] at that, you know, like, you know, like my placement of Saturn is just, you know, it's a it's a recurrent point of friction for me. And that's probably never going to change. I can see it coming. I can see it coming more now. I [00:15:48] can have better strategies for dealing with it when it kind of like, brings up its thing. I can make some degree of better choices in advance. But you know, it's sort of, it's a, it's a, it's in a place where it [00:16:03] just kind of continuously causes a certain kind of friction in my life. And you know, the reality is, it's like, well, I've just got to roll with that, I've just got to accept that, and I've got to learn to to see it and roll with it and move through [00:16:18] it and to not hold onto it. And, and even kind of at this point, you know, I used to think that I would eventually kind of like learn the lesson of that position and and be free of it in a sense, and I've even caught a move past that where I'm like, [00:16:33] I don't even think that-- I'm sure there are lessons that I will continue to learn about it. 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: But I think that, that that's also a wrong idea. I think that, you know, stuff like, some of the aspects are just about straight up acceptance, you know, and just be like, look [00:16:48] at that. That's just the way it's going to be. Stop hoping it's going to be different. 

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: And then see what changes, you know? 

KELLY: Well, that is a really powerful piece. I mean, it reminds me of people who are like, I wish I was taller or I wish I was shorter or I wish I had, you know, different, [00:17:03] I mean, you can probably change your hair or your boobs or what have you, but it's very hard to change your height. You know, it just, you are either a tall person or a short person for the most part, and these-- You just have to work with it. You know, I'm a tall person. I'm 5'10". [00:17:18] I'm like a hundred and seventy eight centimeters or something. And you know, when you're a teenager, you hate that, because everybody, you can't hide in a crowd, people see, but you know, as an older woman or a more mature woman, it's lovely. I can carry a little bit of extra weight and [00:17:33] nobody knows, kind of thing. 

So my relationship to that fixed thing in me has changed over time and that's kind of, what you're speaking to here is that there are certain parts of our self and our psyche that we do have to [00:17:48] kind of just accept and it's what, the piece that I got really excited about, that you said, is what if I stop mentally and energetically and emotionally resisting this thing that is one way that I so desperately wish was another way? [00:18:03] If I just breathed out and allowed myself to acknowledge and accept, you know, I always have to be vigilant about money or about sexual interactions or about career, whatever it happens to be, based on, you know, you mentioned your [00:18:18] Saturn, someone else might have a problem with their Mars. You know, if you just kind of go into an acceptance place with it, the freeing up of energy and emotional power that you have been using to try and force back on that is incredibly liberating and when you take [00:18:33] that energy and you apply it to, you know, a talent or a skill, the idea of enhancing the good, you can radically change your life, not because you made that problem thing be anything other than what it was, but because you stopped [00:18:48] giving it all your focus. And you put your focus on to something that actually has, you know, some potential to take you in a more fulfilling direction.

ANDREW: For sure. And I think that that's, I mean, that's one of the reasons why, going and sitting with an astrologer, [00:19:03] if you're not, you know, or learning it yourself is so helpful because there are aspects, you know. I mean, you brought up Mars, right? You know, I mean, I've Mars in Aries, I was a very angry young person, you know, and I have a, I have, when [00:19:18] it emerges, a very very bad temper.

KELLY: Yes.

ANDREW: But it's not that much of an issue any more. I mean, I still need to be mindful of it. But that one has been way more amenable to management and modification than [00:19:33] other aspects of my chart, because, because of its nature, maybe because of my nature, probably, because of its placement, and so on. So. There are those things where it's great and you can kind of turn them into an advantage. I mean it's part of what fuels my drive to do [00:19:48] what I do around work, right? Like I have a lot of energy, a lot of the time, and so I can do a lot of work and run the shop and do all those things. You know, whereas other people are always like, how do you do so much? I'm like, I've got Mars in Aries. I've just got gas in the tank. It just keeps going? You know? [00:20:03] 

KELLY: Yeah, you're the Energizer bunny, it just keeps going and going. I mean, what we're kind of alluding to here is something that comes to us from the Hellenistic astrology, form of astrology, that has to do with sect, which is S-E-C-T. Which kind of divides [00:20:18] charts into daytime or nighttime. Very simply based on the time of day that you were born. Then this working theory is that if you're born in the daytime, Saturn is going to be a little bit more helpful or productive for you and Mars a little bit more problematic. [00:20:33] And if you're born at night time, the reverse is true. Where in the nighttime, the cool of night tends to calm the heat of Mars, so you tend to get less sharp Mars problems. And in the nighttime, the cool of the night exacerbates [00:20:48] the kind of curmudgeonly Scrooge-like energy of Saturn, so you tend to get more of a harsher Saturn. 

ANDREW: Sure. Yeah. 

KELLY: In a nutshell. I don't know if that rings true for you, personally Andrew, but... 

ANDREW: Definitely, I was born at 9:30 at night. So. 

KELLY: Yeah, that was going [00:21:03] to be my question to you, just based on the fact that you seem to really like-- I mean, your Mars is placed in one of its home signs in Aries, and that also is a way of getting a little bit more of the positive potential. The other thing you're talking about too, though, is we are all hotter [00:21:18] as energetic beings in our youth, and if we have Mars problems, they will tend to be worse in our teenage years or in our 20s. 

ANDREW: Sure. 

KELLY: And then the aging process, where we cool and slow, just biologically, that does [00:21:33] temper some of the Mars problems. The reverse is true for Saturn, though. Saturn problems can sometimes be something we do have to carry with us, even as we age, because the nature of aging tends to kind of stimulate more Saturnian type manifesting. 

ANDREW: When [00:21:48] you talked about the, the coolness at night exacerbating, you know, Saturn. 

KELLY: Saturn...

ANDREW: Yeah, I've had this image of like, oh, it's chilly, and my knee hurts cause it's cold now, and oh.... [laughing] You know, it's just like, oh, man, such a Saturn image, right?

KELLY: Yeah, to have sore knees, or a sore back, and it's worse in the winter, because winter is like exacerbating Saturnian qualities as does nighttime. Yeah. I mean [00:22:16] there is a positive reversal here, which is that Venus and Jupiter, considered the two benefic planets, people born in the daytime tend to have more Jupiter type gifts or talents, because the [00:22:31] heat of Jupiter is really conducive to the heat of day time. Whereas Venus is more of a moist cool planet, generally speaking, and she really comes to the fore in the evening. So if you're born at night time after the sunset or before the Sun has [00:22:46] risen, and obviously daytime and nighttime is different depending on season and time of year and birth location. So--

ANDREW: Sure.

KELLY: ....being born at 9:30 at night, if you're born in Europe in July, you might still be a daytime baby, because it's a very [00:23:01] late sunset, but if you're born at 9:30 at night in January or February in Canada, you're definitely a nighttime baby though.

ANDREW: For sure. 

KELLY: Yeah. You do, you get like a specific type of problem, depending [00:23:16] on whether you're born in the daytime or nighttime, and then you get a planet that is giving you, you know, Venus is, can be, more creative or more relationship-oriented and that's nighttime gifts. Jupiter is more about that wisdom and teaching and inspiration and motivation and that's more [00:23:31] of a daytime gift. I mean, you have to look at the planet in the chart as well. I mean...  

ANDREW: For sure. 

KELLY: You'd want the Jupiter or the Venus to be in a nice sign or making a great aspect. Yeah, but that's, I don't know just when you were talking about your problem with Saturn, I'm like, I feel [00:23:46] like you must be born at nighttime because this is very--

ANDREW: For sure. Yep. My parents remember exactly what time I was born, because my dad was watching Hockey Night in Canada, which was on a Monday, [00:24:01] and you know, whatever right? Like he's like, there's like a very specific set of things that we associate around that, the memories around that, so they're like, there's no question about what time you were born, you know? 

KELLY: I love birth stories like that. Yeah. That's fantastic.

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure. 

KELLY: So yeah, so this [00:24:16] is my guess, we got here, I'm like, how did we get here, fate versus free will and what's in the chart? And [24:24 not quite clear] really amazing. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I definitely think so. So, I'm also very interested, because I've been following along [00:24:31] what's going on in the stars these days, even though, even though it sort of, on a personal level, astrology has shifted away from what was at one point a more professional folks into a more just kind of personal curiosity. You know, I got really curious [00:24:46] about: we have this big shift into into Taurus right now, right? 

KELLY: We do.  

KELLY: Big energy.

KELLY: We're recording this just as Uranus, like a big explosive volcanic planet, has moved into Taurus, which is the most [00:25:01] fixed stubborn stable sign in the Zodiac. There's a real contradiction, if you like, in the symbolic imagery here, Uranus loves to shake things up. It literally is like earthquakes and volcanoes and lightning strikes and [00:25:16] Uranus is like the farmer in the field. He's just plowing year after year, so this is a huge-- We're starting this new kind of seven to eight year cycle that is going to radically reshape society, [00:25:31] culture, and individually, each of our lives as well. 

ANDREW: Yeah, it's been, it's been interesting to watch sort of-- In my orbit, there's been a lot of people who've had a very [00:25:46] sort of disruptive shift go on in the last kind of, you know, like in the last few weeks, really, kind of you know, and it's sort of like, we're going along, I'm going this way. Oh, wait, what the hell am I doing? No, I'm [00:26:01] going to go this other way, you know? And it's such a, such an interesting shift to watch happen, you know, and to sort of, and also to try and roll with it, you know, because it's been-- A bunch of that's had an impact on me as well. So it's always, it's really [00:26:16] interesting to see it's going on everywhere. I'm like, all right, I'm gonna keep my eyes open, could be anywhere now, because it's the other thing about it.

KELLY:  Well, that's-- I was talking about this with a client earlier this week, and they had something in, their chart is being activated by [00:26:31] Uranus, they're a little bit resistant as you know, everyone with planets. So if I back up a second, Uranus is moving into Taurus, so it is activating anyone with planets in the sign of Taurus, but the way the planetary aspect patterns [00:26:46] or energetic patterns work, while Uranus is in Taurus, it will also have a fairly dramatic impact on the other fixed modality signs, which include Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. So those four signs, Taurus, Leo, [00:27:01] Scorpio, and Aquarius are all quite activated but it does get a little more technical than that in the sense that Uranus moves quite slowly. And so we actually had a taste of Uranus in Taurus in 2018 between [00:27:16] May and November, but Uranus was only activating the first one or two degrees of Taurus in 2018. 

This year in 2019, Uranus is going to activate all the way up to the first six degrees of Taurus. So [00:27:31] for people who might be familiar with their birth chart. Very specifically, if you have a planet between zero and six degrees of any of the fixed signs, so taught, you know, you could have, could be four Leo Well, three Scorpio or two Aquarius or five Taurus. [00:27:46] They're all getting that Uranus transit. And I was talking, I had a client this week who fell in that category, and they were very sort of resistant around: What if I don't want to make this change? what if I'm not ready to make this change? And [00:28:01] I kind of laughed because having worked with, you know, Uranus for many years, here is an indicator of that major kind of upheaval and change that leads to new freedoms and Independence. You know the Uranus change has a purpose, it leads [00:28:16] to new freedom, it leads to new authenticity, it leads to Independence. But if it's coming, it means that the shake-up, the time for the shake-up is now. And it can definitely surprise you. 

And I have a personal story where last [00:28:31] summer in the northern summer, I was very frustrated with where we were living. I just had sort of done 10 years in a little small town and I was just a bit restless and bored, and what's next? and when can we go and live near the ocean again? And [00:28:46] and so my husband and I had some really big talks over the summer, and we pulled it apart, his career really has him here, and we came up with a plan by the end of the summer, this was all while Uranus was in Taurus, where we would move to the West Coast in two [00:29:01] years time, when he would retire. And I was like, that's great. You know, it wasn't as soon as I wanted, but it was sooner than he wanted. So we did that lovely relationship compromise and then like a month later, he came home and said, there's a job in [00:29:16] a whole other part of the world, that I think I'm going to apply for, and I was like, okay, well just apply and see, and anyway, long story short, it took a few months. There's a lot of interview processes and we found out that he's accepted the job and we're now going to be moving [00:29:31] literally in the opposite direction to where we thought we were going to move and that's how Uranus works. I felt the energy of being restless and bored and we started doing our lovely logical human brainstorming about how we could come up [00:29:46] with a practical plan and Uranus is like, you're on the right track, but I want to throw a few surprises into the mix, and so here's an unexpected out of the blue wild idea. Do you guys want to say yes to this? And we did. And that's [00:30:01] so what you're saying, Andrew, it works like almost scanning. Where is this Uranus thing coming from, even when you know to expect the unexpected, Uranus can still surprise you and you know, give you those curve balls. They can be very exciting and very liberating [00:30:16] but they will not be what you had thought. 

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure. I feel like my experience so far of this energy is that I was thinking that I would be doing a lot more traveling and teaching over the coming while? 

KELLY: Yep! [00:30:31] 

ANDREW: And the shift in energy and the shift in circumstance over the last little bit and like right around now has, has gotten me canceling most of my travel plans, and being like, you know what, I think that, I think that what I [00:30:46] need to actually do is focus more on creation and focus more on like, sort of deepening the, the foundation of the store, and, and my work in regards to that, as opposed [00:31:01] to the sort of like, I'm going to go around and teach all over the place, which I love but it's like, it's like, no, that, that's not where you're going right now, and I'm like, all right. 

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: Fair enough. 

KELLY: So did you have a relatively quick kind of you know, I set up [00:31:16] this schedule and then just a few months later, kind of changing it and reshaping things? 

ANDREW: Yeah. I mean, it's really, some of the stuff has been set up for a while, but it's yeah, there's just been a bunch of projects and ideas that have been on the table that, that, [00:31:33] you know, starting, starting about, well really, starting at the start of this year, you know, sort of. So, I mean, I got divorced last year, and then, so I've been, you know, sort of like living separately now for about four [00:31:48] months by the time this goes live and I was just realizing that a) I'm kind of tired because it's been a lot, right?

KELLY: Yeah. That's a lot to process, yeah.

ANDREW: So there's that. B) My entire day to day living [00:32:03] situation has changed, you know, I have my kids half the time, you know, all my other work life tries to live in that sort of compressed other half time. 

KELLY: Yep, three or four days a week. 

ANDREW: Yeah, and, you know, and there's a lot more, oh, a [00:32:19] lot more, there's a lot of kind of running around that's a part of my life, you know, especially as my kids get bigger. 

KELLY: Yes.

ANDREW: You know, they're not big enough to be...

KELLY: All the driving. The driving. 

ANDREW: Yeah, or you know or like, taking them around, I mean, we live downtown so, you know, but they're, they're cool [00:32:34] to go. The older one's cool to go places they know, but if they're going anywhere new, they need us to take them, you know?

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: So, it's like, all right, everybody's on the bus. Let's go here. Let's go there. Let's do whatever, right?

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: And, and so all of those changes just made me realize [00:32:49] that, you know, I needed to kind of shift back to reassess my actual energies and that I also needed to kind of look at what's, [00:33:04] what am I what am I doing? And what am I hoping to get out of it? And does it make sense from that space, right? And so there are a bunch of things that I've been doing where, like, from a practical point of view, they seem like [00:33:19] they make sense but maybe more from an emotional point of view, I'm, I have some other agenda for being there that's not being met?

KELLY: Yes.

ANDREW: Around the growth of my career, around, you know, interconnection with people, around a bunch of different stuff, right? And once [00:33:34] I realized that discrepancy... And I was like, okay, so all of these things where I have an unofficial agenda, that's really my actual agenda, that is not in alignment with doing these things, I should stop that, you know? And, and [00:33:49] a lot of the travel was sort of geared around some of that stuff, right, you know, fun, escape, you know, status, whatever, I'm like, none of those things matter that much ultimately and if I want to have fun I should just go have fun. And if I want to like [00:34:04] escape, I should like, take a day off work and go do something, but like, traveling to go work somewhere else is not a way to accomplish those things, you know?

KELLY: Yeah. Yeah.

ANDREW: So. 

KELLY: So this is great because it sounds like you're coming into a deeper sense of what [00:34:19] is authentic and real and right for you. And that's, you know, the whole pathway of Uranus is that it is, it awakens us, if you like, to things that might have been latent or forgotten or neglected, but the [00:34:34] chaos or the upheaval of of changing things is a really critical part. It's like there's almost a dare, a cosmic dare, you know, if you would like this level of authenticity, how much are you prepared to change in your life that's kind of on the fake end of [00:34:49] the spectrum, to really sit in that deeper sense of self. 

ANDREW: Yeah. For sure, yeah, it corresponds with sort of a drive that I've been feeling as well. Like there are lots of parts of my life that I haven't [00:35:04] been public about. I mean, I haven't been secretive about them, but I haven't been like super public about them either?

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: And you know, so like, you know, being a polyamorous individual. It's a thing that people, if they know me, know about me, but it's not a thing that [00:35:19] I've sort of historically, you know, broadcast per se, right? 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: But also, I've been feeling like that's something that I wanted to change and so I actually recorded an episode, the episode previous to this is about poly, [00:35:34] polyamory and love and spirituality, you know, and so it's like, it's also that, right? Like what are the risks you're willing to take, right? What's, what are you willing to put in? How much discomfort are you, are you able to engage to get that authenticity? Right? 

KELLY: [00:35:49] Well, and this is the key, is that there is some discomfort and that's a really beautiful way. Like what risks, what are you prepared to lose, or put on the line so that you can be more authentic? Are you prepared for people to maybe judge [00:36:04] you a little bit because you're owning your stuff? And Uranus is really correlated with things that are counter cultural or might be defined against society's norms as a little unconventional or atypical. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

KELLY: I always [00:36:19] think about Uranus in Taurus is like just letting your freak show out, like fly your flag, basically. We all have parts of ourselves-- 

ANDREW: Yeah.

KELLY: That are a bit weird and a bit odd or bit unusual and when [00:36:35] Uranus shows up and really starts, because the last eight years we had Uranus in Aries. So there was a very specific type of Uranus vibration going on. And what I would say is, for most people, the last eight years brought a lot of that chaos [00:36:50] and call to authenticity. The next eight years probably won't be as strong for you, just because, you know, if you are activated by the areas or the cardinal sign piece, you may not have as much fixed signs, you know, in your life, but there is always a risk. There's always a level like [00:37:05] Uranus is like, how can you let the part of you that feels like a black sheep be more on display more of the time, you know, if you think you're wearing red when everyone else is wearing white, how can you embrace that part of you? So.

ANDREW: Yeah. 

KELLY: It's wild, I mean and Uranus [00:37:20] in Taurus has some pretty specific collective themes that I think we're going to see as well. I don't know if you looked into those. 

ANDREW: Well, I'm, I listen to you and Chris and...

KELLY: Austin. [00:37:35] 

ANDREW: Austin, I was going to say Aidan, and I'm like, no Aidan is a person who's on my podcast, Austin, on The Astrology Podcast where you do a-- It's a great thing, you should go check it out. There's lots of good stuff about it. The episodes that I listen to are [00:37:50] the sort of monthly forecast episodes where the three of you discuss what's coming and so, you know, I heard the discussions about, about that and the other elements, you know, that sort of tie it into maybe a bunch of economic change and other stuff [00:38:05] that might be coming. So, but yeah, if you want to share some of that I would love to hear it here too. 

KELLY: Yeah, I just thought, I mean, I always love the personal because I really love working at the individual level, but I know, people are often interested in the collective. So, the last time we had Uranus in Taurus was from about the mid [00:38:20] 1930s to the early 1940s. So we did have Uranus, I just to give people some context, Uranus is in Taurus about every 84 years. So we had that period early in the 20th century and then the time previous to that was like 1850s [00:38:35] kind of mutant 19th century and some of the things that happened globally in one or another of those periods, the mid-1850s, mid-nineteenth century period, was the gold rush, where we had this idea of like mining, [00:38:50] literally blowing up parts of the earth, which is Taurus. The blowing up part is Uranus, and we would, people were discovering gold or precious metals from the land, so there is definitely an environmental component to Uranus in Taurus, around [00:39:05] what are we doing to the land, the environment? What kind of an impact does that have, is it having? 

Unfortunately, you know, there may be some innovation in how the land is created or mind or what have you that may not be, that may be destructive [00:39:20] initially. So I'm not saying it's all perfect in that 1930s, early 1940s period: food, manufacturing, really, took off. A lot of what we call sort of modern food manufacturing, the food technologies were really developed [00:39:35] then. Some of those were fantastic and some of those things were relatively quickly proved to be actually quite dangerous. So, you know, every innovation that comes through around safe food, whether it's food production, food cloning, food [00:39:50] development, that type of thing, some of them are going to be great, that we'll want to keep around and others, you just, keep your wits about you but-- The other thing that's really different: Taurus is a feminine sign. It's ruled by Venus and it tends to be associated with [00:40:05] feminine type archetypes or feminine type people in society. And historically, there have been a lot of technological developments that have freed up women and changed women's roles in society when we've had Uranus in [00:40:20] Taurus. 

So things like washing machines or sewing machines or spinning looms have been developed in previous Uranus in Taurus cycles, you know, which was typically sort of woman's work with air quotes. And so, if it would normally take you four hours to [00:40:35] do something by hand and now you can use this, use this gadget and get it done in an hour, it gives you back your time. So there is something about Uranus in terms of freeing up time. And you know, one of the big things in that, the, because the [00:40:50] last time Uranus was in Taurus was through World War II, and one of the changes around sort of gender roles that happened then was so many young men sent away to war in many sort of English and first world societies, at the time, women [00:41:05] were allowed to leave the home and the domestic setting to go and fill some of the working job roles that were previously run by men or taken by men. So women got this taste of their own independence. They tried on different roles. [00:41:20] Of course, you know, the men came back from war and then the women were kind of sent back from the offices to their domestic duties if you like, but those women were the mothers of the women who-- mothers, sometimes grandmothers, [00:41:35] of the women who then really got very involved in the 1960s liberation that went on. 

So you can see some of these seeds of larger cyclical change that can come through. So just with Taurus being a [00:41:50] little bit more of a feminine sign ruled by Venus, the sign where the Moon is exalted. So the, two sort of typically feminine planets, nurturing, you know, anything to do with people who identify as feminine and, and whether that creates limits or opportunities [00:42:05] in society, and a lot of stuff I suspect also to do with women and childbirth and child-rearing basically, so there are some really key collective themes that we can keep an eye on. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Over the, [00:42:20] well, I think, I think it'll be interesting to see how those play out. I mean, I think that we can easily look at what's gone on in the last few years as setting the stage for that, right? Like the emergence, you know, of the me [00:42:35] too movement, you know, in the spiritual communities, the sort of rise of witchcraft and being a witch and the way in which that empowers the feminine often, you know, in a broader sense of definitely a lot of women in particular senses, [00:42:50] you know, I mean, I think that there's, there's lots of layers where, where I can sort of see that energy being ready for a change on some level, and you know, yeah, we'll see where that is. 

KELLY: Yeah. Yeah. I mean and I was saying, you know, [00:43:05] I've said to one client this week, you know, it's the idea of, watch this space. You know, Uranus, we know is going to pave new inroads and new types of innovation, new types of technology, 3D printing is a massive Uranus in Taurus thing, the idea that out of the ethos [00:43:20] we can create material objects, but you know, watch the space, just be open, the Innovations are going to surprise all of us, even those of us that are expecting them.  

ANDREW: Well, they always do, right? 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: They always do. Yeah. Yeah, I was [00:43:35] just thinking the other day about about my cell phone and about, for some reason I was talking about the, back when I had a pager, to my kids, right? And they've never known any of those technologies. And they're like, what do you mean? Like someone would just send you their phone number and then you'd just call them? [00:43:50] And I'm like yeah, that was it worked, you know? And that wasn't that long ago. I mean, it was a while ago now, but it's not that long ago, right? 

KELLY: It's just been that, in our lifetime, Andrew. I mean, I don't know, I think you and I are relatively similar ages. Like when I was a kid, we were on a rotary [00:44:05] phone still?

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah. 

KELLY: Yeah. It's really interesting. Alan Turing, who is a code breaker who worked in England, in Bletchley Park, decoding the German codes, funnily enough in World War II, he was [00:44:21] this mad kind of technological guy. He had a very prominent Uranus in his chart. So he's kind of relevant to what's being talked about. He had this image in the late 1940s. He imagined a day where women would be walking around the park [00:44:36] with their computers in their hand. And that was quite striking to me when I read that because that's essentially what we do these days with our phones. There's so powerful that they are I mean, you can store files and record video and interact [00:44:51] with, you know, people halfway around the world, and the phones we have today are better than the computers of the 50s, basically. So it is phenomenal.

ANDREW: I mean, they're better than the computers of our childhood too, right? 

KELLY: Well, exactly! Those big... [Traces the shape of a big computer with her hands.] 

ANDREW: Think about my  big 20-year, [00:45:06] my early PCs, or whatever, right? I mean, those things, you know, they didn't even have color monitors, you know?

KELLY: No! We played black-and-white Pac-Man, basically. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. 

KELLY: Yeah, I remember being in like, I don't know grade three or four in primary school and there was [00:45:21] one computer in the classroom and each student, you paired up with a buddy and you each had about 20 minutes, you know, whenever computer time was, and all you did was play games. I guess it was just to familiarize us with the fact that these things existed. 

ANDREW: Yeah. [00:45:36] 

KELLY: But that's you know, that's the late 80s. That's a while ago now. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I had a Vic-20 and we, I was very excited, that I would spend like a long time doing programming and then I would run the program and it would like change the screen color. [00:45:51] And it was exciting and exuberant and then I, and then I would record my program onto the data storage unit, which was a cassette tape--

KELLY: Oh, my goodness!

ANDREW: And it would like record it onto the cassette tape, right? 

KELLY: You could put a computer program on [00:46:06] a cassette tape back then because the-- Oh, my lord. 

ANDREW: Because they were so small, right? Like it was just text, right? Yeah. So funny, right? 

KELLY: Oh my God. Yeah. 

ANDREW: All right. Well now that I feel old. [laughing]

KELLY: I know, now that we've made ourselves really feel middle-aged, [00:46:21] nurse? Yeah, it'll be fun. It'll be fun, yeah. 

ANDREW: So, is there anything else that is coming up that you're, that you're, inspired about? 

KELLY: Yeah, there is one thing that [00:46:37] I'm really excited about. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

KELLY: And this is the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that is happening in December of 2020 in the sign of Aquarius. It's a very nerdy type of timing cycle. It's currently being completely overshadowed on [00:46:52] the astrological airwaves because everybody's focused on the Saturn Pluto conjunction in early... 

ANDREW: Sure.

KELLY: Which does have, I'm not saying it's not important. I'm just saying, personally, I'm more interested in the Jupiter Saturn. Jupiter and Saturn conjunct every 20 years, [00:47:07] but every couple of hundred years and, well, the thing is, every 20 years, they make these conjunctions in signs of the same element. So we have this elemental, you know, 200-year-cycle, and the conjunction in December [00:47:22] 2020 is really officially the start of the, air grand mutation, if you like. And so the last couple of hundred years, we have had Earth Jupiter Saturn conjunction. So we had a lot of Earth-based focus [00:47:37] collectively. We've had the Industrial Revolution. We've had structured work days. There's been a huge focus on money and mining and accumulation. 

And the air period is very much about ideas, movement, and interaction. So that's kicking off [00:47:52] December 2020 for the next 200 years. So for all of us alive now, we are going to witness this massive collective shift over the Air, out of the Earth element that has really governed so much of human experience since the [00:48:07] early 1800s. And we're going to be a witness to this change, which the type of technologies we were just talking about is a huge part of. 

The last time we had the Air elemental 200-year period, late 1100s, all [00:48:22] through the 1200s and most of the 1300s. Now, that was actually considered to be sort of the very first start of what then became known as the Renaissance. But in that time frame, we had these weird technologies like paper manufacturing being [00:48:37] perfected. And so the idea with Air is that we're talking about ideas and the dissemination of ideas. Astrology actually went through a massive rebirth in that time period, pre the official Italian Renaissance. And [00:48:52] I think what we're going to see is, ideas or philosophies are going to become more of a focus and they're going to spread more. We're also going to have people moving around a lot more. There was a lot of invasions [00:49:07] that happened in that time frame where people spread out with their ideas more. The big disease that happened through that time frame, of course, was the Black Plague, which is an airborne disease. So the idea, at the end of 2020, as we start this Air [00:49:22] period, where everything is to do with the mind, to do with the intellect, and to do with technology, and to do with the dissemination of ideas becomes much more. And it's hard to imagine how it becomes more than what it has become already, but it is going, is going to be faster accelerations [00:49:37] there. And then I think you know from a disease perspective, those types of airborne issues are also something we're going to need to be more mindful of, so yeah, so a few hundred year chapter.

ANDREW: Time to double [00:49:52] down on getting your flu shot! [laughs] 

KELLY: Yeah, flu shots, you know, when you think about how mobile people are becoming, in the sense that we don't all go to 9 to 5 jobs in specific locations anymore. That's a very Earth kind of thing to do, [00:50:07] and also, you know, this podcasting. I mean, it's the radio of the modern era, but it is about-- Like I think podcasting is just going to get more and more popular, anything that's online, that involves the sharing of ideas or insight or [00:50:22] wisdom is just going to explode. We haven't even touched the tip of it yet, basically.

ANDREW: Yeah. It's an exciting time to be alive.

KELLY: Exciting time to be alive. I don't know that it bodes well for things like banking industries or credit systems, because I think they're going to go [00:50:37] through a massive upheaval, but that's... We're probably due for that. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I think so. I think that, yeah, I mean, I hear every single year that the banks here make more money than they've ever made before. [00:50:52] 

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: And I'm just like, how is that even possible? And, you know, and the answer is well, you know, there was a time where having a bank account meant that you accrued money on your, on your savings, [00:51:08] you know, but the idea now, like, you know the amount of fees and this, that, whatever, there's no way, you know, unless you have heaps and heaps of money in there, that, you know, anybody's going to be making any money off of a bank account. So, you know, so those dynamics are going to, you [00:51:23] know, shift again at some point, right? So. 

KELLY: Absolutely, and we're seeing that a little bit with alternative payment process and alternative money transfer options, you know...

ANDREW: Yeah. 

KELLY: Back in the day, we had to go to what, Western Union, to send money internationally. And now, [00:51:38] there are companies, and I, we use one called Transferwise, which allows you to send money if... There's more of a mobility here that the banks don't have the monopoly that they used to. Now look, they still have a massive monopoly, and they're making huge amounts of money. 

ANDREW: Sure.

KELLY: But [00:51:53] you're seeing more of these little startups popping up that I think are going to become increasingly popular. Venmo, I think, is really popular in the states, that type of thing. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Well, even, even PayPal and you know, Apple's integrating it [00:52:08] directly into the, directly into the phone, so you can just text people money and stuff, like it's all changing, right? 

KELLY: That's, that's the thing, like you used to have to go and get cold hard currency and nobody has... 

ANDREW: Right? 

KELLY: ....physical cash anymore, money is just a number on a computer [00:52:23] screen. 

ANDREW: Yeah, you don't even have to talk to people anymore. [laughs]

KELLY: You don't! I mean, you know, you go to a bank, and nowadays there's more machines than there are people because of the automation, if you like. 

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure.

KELLY: That's something I think we're [00:52:38] going to have to work on as a human race, is humans get something from being physically with other humans that we can't duplicate, you know, and even doing things like this where we're online and we can see each other. It's great, and it's a, it's a functional [00:52:53] substitute, but it cannot replace the exchange of multiple levels of energy that happen when you're physically in person. And so I think that's going to be almost our goal, is we have to still come together in the flesh, [00:53:08] even though we don't have to any more. 

ANDREW: Yeah. So take away from this episode: go hang with your peoples. 

KELLY: Yeah.

ANDREW: Watch your money. 

KELLY: Yeah. 

ANDREW: And if and if a company called Skynet comes and wants to sell you some robots, say no thank you because [00:53:23] nobody needs a Terminator showing up at their house later on. 

KELLY: Right, nobody needs a terminator.

ANDREW: Well. Thank you so much for making time to hang out with me today. It's been so nice to catch up. For people who want to come and follow you. I mean, I already mentioned [00:53:38] The Astrology Podcast and that thing, which I'll put a link to in the show notes, but where else are you hanging out, where should people come and find you to be in your orbits? 

KELLY: Yeah. Look, if anyone does want to, follow along if you like. My main [00:53:53] website is KellysAstrology.com, but you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I'm a little bit chatty on Twitter occasionally. It is actually my preferred social media platform. Like, I know that sort of sound and I'm not, that's weird these days. in addition to [00:54:08] the monthly episode on The Astrology Podcast, I also do a weekly show with two Aussie girlfriends called the Water Trio Astrology Podcast, and you can find that, as well as The Astrology Podcast on SoundCloud, iTunes, and YouTube. 

Coming up at the end of March [00:54:23] is my next online training class on career and life direction in astrology. So the idea here is, I'll be showing you how to answer the question of what should I do with my life and that's a four-part training. There will be a live weekly class initially, but it will also be all online, [00:54:38] and one of the new offerings that I just started last year that's been really popular is my monthly astrology guide service, which is a subscription-based offering where you get details about every astrology aspect happening every week and every month. So if [00:54:53] you're kind of obsessed with astrology and you want to follow along at home with your own chart, that resource provides all the info you need. Everything that you might need on any of those counts can be found on my homepage of my website, KellysAstrology.com

ANDREW: Awesome. [00:55:08] 

KELLY: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Andrew, it's been great to chat. 

ANDREW: Oh, thank you for being here.

EP96 Love, Spirit, and Polyamory with Ariana Felix

EP96 Love, Spirit, and Polyamory with Ariana Felix

March 15, 2019

Andrew and Ariana talk about everyones favourite topic love. Exploring how their relationship to polyamory and spirit guide and shape their world view. The podcast also takes a tour through astrology and spirituality in general. If you are looking to explore polyamory or just for a different world view check it out. 

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Andrew

Transcript 

ANDREW: [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I'm here with Ariana Felix and we are going to talk about some really interesting stuff today: romance, love, non-monogamy, and polyamory. [00:00:15] And, I came across Saltwater Stars, which is their Instagram, and started following them, and, you know, have been really enjoying listening to their astrology and listening to a bunch of the other great work [00:00:30] that they're up to. And when I saw a post about polyamory, I was like, yes, this is this is the conversation or the person-- I've been waiting to have a conversation on this for quite a while and it seemed like the right fit, so. But for people who don't know who [00:00:45] you are, why don't you introduce yourself? 

ARIANA: Yeah, so I'm Ariana and I run Saltwater Stars, which is mainly an astrology platform, to use the word, but I'm an astrologer [00:01:00] and my work is doing readings and writing a lot of writing, about what's going on astrologically, but I also play with tarot and magic and, you know, brujería. I'm [00:01:16] from Brooklyn, New York, by way of Puerto Rico, but I live in southcentral Pennsylvania right now. So yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up. That's like a 10-second summary.

ANDREW: Perfect. So I'm [00:01:32] sure, like, people have heard the term, but I wonder if there are people who don't know what brujería means. 

ARIANA: Oh, yeah. So brujería is basically the Spanish word for magic. It is usually referring to Santería. [00:01:47] And it actually has a huge connotation with, like, as a derogatory term. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ARIANA: So how it's being used now, in the like quote-unquote mainstream, [00:02:02] is really about reclamation of the term. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: Even though, still, in like in my culture, it's still, a majority look at it as a negative thing, you know, like brujería. It's witchcraft, basically.

ANDREW: [00:02:17] Yeah, for sure. Well, it's the thing that everybody looks down on until they have a problem, right? And then they come knock on your door and be like . . .

ARIANA: Yes.

ANDREW: . . .please help me with the thing! help me with this! [laughing]

ARIANA: [laughing] Right. What, like, what was it, that thing that you mentioned the other day, that I was skeptical about but now I might really need? Like-- [laughing]

ANDREW: Exactly. Exactly. For [00:02:35] sure. Yeah.

ARIANA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: Yeah. My elder references a Cuban saying, which is something like, something along the lines, in English, of you know, everybody's Catholic on Sunday, and then they go see the saints, like the Santos, when they, when [00:02:50] they have a problem, right? You know, so.

ARIANA: Claro. 

ANDREW: That's how it goes.

ARIANA: Exactly. 

ANDREW: So, tell me tell me about, like, polyamory for you. You know, [00:03:05] where did that start, if there's sort of a clear start? How did you, how did you find your way to that? You know, like, what was that journey like for you? Because, you know, that's not a thing that-- I mean, it's growing [00:03:20] in awareness in the media and I think in general these days, but you know, it's definitely not, it's still not everybody's life. Right? It's still kind of different in that way. So, yeah. 

ARIANA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Oh, geez. I [00:03:36] think I was always, like in my adult life, I was always really curious about it. But still from this like, vantage point of being like, “Oh, that's interesting, but probably like, not [00:03:51] right,” you know? Like I grew up very, like, strictly religious. And so, when I like exited out of that and was, you know, doing my own thinking, when it came to relationships, I just, I [00:04:06] was like, fascinated by the idea that like, tap, polyamory taps into this concept of like, the expanse of love, you know, so much of like heteronormativity and patriarchy is [00:04:21] about this like, finite amounts, you know, and that's why you need to have possession over it because there's like only so much, so you better get yours, you know.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ARIANA: And so that never really resonated with me. And [00:04:36] then I was also, I think, as curious as I was about it, confused, because, you know, well, I wasn't like really educated about it, and I was confused by the fact that I like also really appreciated deep intimate relationships, [00:04:51] you know, and commitment.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ARIANA: And so I was like, well these things don't fit together, you know, [laughing] and so it wasn't until the past two years, really, that it's been like part [00:05:06] of my life, but it's been very very gradual because there's been a lot of deconditioning that I've had to do for myself to kind of navigate the shame that came up around [00:05:21] it, which is like, fortunately, I have a lot of experience in, because so many things about my life are like the opposite of how I was raised, you know?

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: And what I was taught to think. And so, for me, the, I [00:05:37] think, like the entry point into non-monogamy was really about allowing myself to prioritize pleasure, to prioritize love of all kinds, right? And [00:05:52] I just like, I'm really committed to this idea that, why would I say no to more of that in my life, right? Because of, like, heteronormativity and patriarchy and whiteness. Like why would I block access [00:06:07] points off for myself? And so I think that was the thought that kind of catapulted me into being like, Okay. This is something that I do want to live into and that does feel right for me and that does fit into, like, [00:06:22] my own love ethic, you know? 

And so, it was interesting, because I was all, I'm already, I was already in a committed relationship that was like, very seemingly heteronormative, you know? And so, it's like, [00:06:37] I had to, you know, have those conversations with my partner, right? And it was like this learning curve that we shared together, you know? But I had to like, be brave enough to initiate [00:06:52] it, you know? And be like, this is something that I want and that I'm curious about, you know, because it could have very well not have resonated, right? But I had to like make the decision to be open to experimenting. 

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah, [00:07:07] I think it's really, you know. My experiences with it is that it's definitely-- There are people who are more naturally suited towards it than others. You know, I think it's not necessarily for everybody. So that being aware that like [00:07:22] you can try this out and be like, “Oh, you know what? No, thank you.” You know, that's great too. Right? But yeah. Yeah, I think, I think this, this process of sort of deconditioning stuff, you know? I think it's [00:07:37] so helpful, right? You know, I mean, I think that as a person who spends a lot of time talking with other people about their love life, you know, being a card reader, I feel like having [00:07:52] committed, you know, continuing to commit a bunch of energy to deconditioning, you know, all the different things for myself around love and other things is super fruitful. But I also think, in terms of finding our own happiness, [00:08:07] I think that that's so key as well, right? You know? And for me, polyamory, nonmonogamy, and like all this kind of stuff, it's kind of been a constant theme for, like, since I was, you [00:08:22] know, in my late teen years, sort of, on and off all the way through my life, you know? And it's been either, you know, it started out as a relatively--unconscious is the wrong word. But you [00:08:38] know, we would, we, me and someone I was seeing, would have conversations about inviting other people over or who we wanted to bring home from the bar at the end of the night or you know, all that kind of stuff. 

And so that in that sense, it was very conscious, [00:08:55] you know, because we were talking about it, but it also was not really considered in a framework or a structure. There were no bigger conversations about it. It was sort of always, you know, [00:09:10] close to the moment and without a lot of sort of conversation about what it meant or what else might happen or all these kind of things, you know? And so a lot of, a lot of my journey sort of after that period was of sort of trying [00:09:25] to sort through and figure out what those, what those dynamics that make sense for me around that are, right, you know, and right, you know, all that kind of stuff. So, but yeah, I think, I think that for me, where I've kind of gotten to with it is this place where [00:09:40] I think that connections with people across the board, you know, friends, lovers, relationships, whatever, they tend to have a natural [00:09:55] level or a natural level of intimacy or connection, physical or otherwise, that if there aren't limits placed on them, then they'll arrive at, you know? So it's been this process of sort of, especially [00:10:10] in the last few years of sort of settling into, you know, understanding how I can see that in different dynamics and how sort of finding that level of intimacy, being like, Oh, yeah. This is, this is wonderful, and [00:10:25] and I don't necessarily want more, you know, in a conventional sense, but this is great, and this could just continue to be great or you know, these level of orbits are great, or all those kinds of things. So. Yeah.

ARIANA: I [00:10:41] think a huge thing for me, that in retrospect I'm grateful for, was like knowing myself well enough to know that I wasn't, I'm not particularly a casual [00:10:56] person. With the exceptions of make outs, I’m very casual about that. [laughs] When it comes to like intimacy and all that, I knew about and I know about myself that [00:11:11] I do like to have, like, at least the shape of the container, you know, and agreements, and clarity, and I don't know, the word commitment is coming to mind, and I know that has a lot of its own, [00:11:26] you know, baggage, but I like longevity, you know, and so in all my relationships, you know, like with my family and with my friends and etc. It's really important to me. And so I [00:11:41] was really lucky to come across the term poly-capable because I was like, you know, obviously there's that overlap between polyamory, nonmonogamy, but I was interested in nonmonogamy [00:11:56] for the sake of more partnerships. 

ANDREW: Right.

ARIANA: Right, not so much for the sake of cruising itself, which is, you know, also totally cool. And so I think that piece is what has allowed me to be clear [00:12:11] about what kind of connections I'm interested in or have the potential to grow that way, right? Because you know, obviously it can't be like a decision from the get, [00:12:26] you do have to like build a relationship. 

ANDREW: I think I want to pause you there for a second. I think it, I think it, I want to hear what you have to say after too, but I think that one of the things that I think is such [00:12:41] a an important piece to understand, is how to, how do we on-ramp into relationships? You know, and how do we hang out in that space? You [00:12:56] know, like where you're like, I would like containers. I like a sense of commitment. You know, I personally tend to not use the word commitment but sort of tend towards the word agreements, even though maybe it's a bit semantic, but you know agreements, [00:13:11] for me, implies sort of more of a, we're always reaching those things, you know, or they're open to renegotiation and to change in a way that commitments doesn't feel as much, but I think that so many people, especially people [00:13:26] who are not polyamorous, that space where, you know, they don't want to be casual, they don't want to not have a sense of commitment. They don't want, you know, like [00:13:41] all of those kinds of things. And yet, meeting somebody and starting to date somebody always involves all of those kinds of things. Right? And I think that that, that sort of, how, you [00:13:57] know, I'm really curious how you navigate that. And I think that, you know, anybody who's out there dating and is sort of like working with this stuff, you know, I think that it's a really important question to ask and kind of get clear, because I think that there [00:14:12] are so many kind of pitfalls around that, you know, in our own minds and hearts and fears that they really make that kind of wonky for a lot of people, so that's why I wanted to pause you because I thought that was such an important piece there. You know, how [00:14:27] do you know?  

ARIANA: Yeah. Yeah, I feel like it's that that knowing what I want. All right, like knowing that I'm interested in more partnerships [00:14:42] in my life, especially with people of color, you know, like black indigenous people of color. Like that's my priority, and so, it's kind of like more like a guide than anything [00:14:57] else, right? Because there is, like you're saying, there is, like you’re saying, that part of all of it where you don't know what's going to happen, you know?

ANDREW: Sure.

ARIANA: And everything is even when there's like, okay, we have this agreement, like you said, is all open for renegotiation. [00:15:13] And I think that's, like you're saying, is a super essential piece to, like, any of this working, right? And so, I think that I know I [00:15:28] feel like it's so highly contextual, right? So you can be, like, with one person, being clear about what you want, and they are also interested in the same thing. And so you're seeing how you can grow that together if it's possible, right? And then there might be another person with whom you’re like, this [00:15:43] is what I want, and they’re like, I'm not interested in more partnerships, you know, or not interested in what you want, this is what I want. You know what I mean? And so, I think, that allowing for that, allowing for it to be highly contextual, you know, and super nuanced, and [00:15:58] just like, it's never going to be concrete. You know?

ANDREW: And when you run into somebody and they're, sort of, you know, looking for something different, will you just let that go, then? Will you tend [00:16:13] to walk away from that? Or what's, you know, like, cause that's the thing, right? You know, when people are looking for love, right? So often we like, you know, cause, oh my, look how cute they are, I mean, maybe I could, I [00:16:28] could be a little different, or like, you know, or like, or I don't have any other options, or, you know, like there are many reasons why we get pulled into this stuff, right? And so, I'm curious how you handle that. You know?

ARIANA: I [00:16:43] think that, so far, my, the way that I've handled it has been to kind of like that, oh, walk away, not be like, “Okay, well, we're never talking again,” you know, but that's [00:16:58] like a, that's a hard, that's a hard one for me. If our desires aren't congruent or what’s the word, I [00:17:13] don't know, like, if our desires aren't compatible, it's like really hard for me, to, I don't know like, alter my desire? [laughing]

ANDREW: Right.

ARIANA: So, like, maybe it's better [00:17:28] if, you know, the nature of the relationship or the connection changes, so that I can manage this on this side. Does that make sense? 

ANDREW: It does. Yeah, for sure. 

ARIANA: And I know, I know, I know about myself that I have a tendency towards being [00:17:43] kind of like working with absolutes and I'm learning my way around that. So I guess this is the honest answer is like, I do tend to be like pretty absolute and I'm learning how to leave more room for what actually happens, [00:17:58] right? Because like life is not absolute at all. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Sure. 

ARIANA: So yeah, that's my answer to that. So I definitely, the whole like leaving space to [00:18:13] adjust my desires and allowing a connection that might not have been what I wanted but it's still something in its own right is really hard for me. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I think that's fair, right? I think that's totally fair. You know, I mean, I tend to be [00:18:30] a very considerate person, you know, as Sagittarian and as exuberant as I am about things, I'm also a very considerate person and so I tend to kind of always temper that by like, [00:18:45] looking at what's going on in, in all the arenas of my life and sort of, kind of, with a half an eye to making sure that I don't inadvertently, like, blow up the stability that I've been building, you know, because it's like, oh, it’s so exciting. I could just whatever, right? 

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: It’s like, no, [00:19:00] no, dude. You can't do that. That's not, that, that actually isn't going to work out well in the long run. And I think that that's true around poly for me too, you know? I mean being aware of like, what are my [00:19:15] actual energetic and time limits? You know, what are my? You know, I mean, like, it's, I do casual very well as well as sort of relationship stuff, but even at that, I only have so much time in my life, you know? [00:19:30]

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: Between kids and shop and partners and so on, right? It's like—

ARIANA: Right.

ANDREW: All of those things require some attention, you know? And I think that my other kind of almost [00:19:45] like my mantra through like, you know, the last couple years has really been: be brave, make the brave choice right now. What's the brave choice here? And sometimes that brave choice is [00:20:00] like, fess up and be like, I really really like you, you know, like I really hope this continues or whatever, and sometimes that brave choice is like, you are so darn hot, and yet also this is [00:20:15] not going to fit in my life, and I can go find that hotness in a way that, you know, maybe does work in my life. And so being brave enough to kind of like, step away from both [00:20:30] of those things. But like, you know, it's not quite a talking myself down to putting down the, you know, put down the phone, don't send that message. You know? It's not quite at that level but there's definitely moments where it’s like you know what, just, what's the brave choice here? How do you commit to [00:20:45] the brave choice? You know? And I think that that's kind of been where I've been leaning and you know, it tends to work out well, but you know, but yeah, but sometimes it's not always easy, right? 

ARIANA: That is such a Sag mantra. [00:21:00] I'd have to say. 

ANDREW: Which part of—

ARIANA: What's the brave choice? That's so Sagittarius. 

ANDREW: Yeah. What about that, though? I'm curious. Like, which sign are you? 

ARIANA: I'm a Scorpio. [00:21:15] 

ANDREW: Okay.

ARIANA: With like a million planets in Scorpio. That's my issue with absolutes and [laughing] …

ANDREW: Uh-huh. Yeah.

ARIANA: Just like Sagittarius has this, you know, it's a fire sign and like the other fire signs, [00:21:30] really works with this initiatory energy, you know, and that requires bravery and courage and this, like, transparency of spirit, you know? And so I love that that's what you're working with, because it’s actually, [00:21:45] with this, like, when it comes to polyamory, because polyamory itself is about expansion, right? And that's so Sagittarian a concept, very ruled by Jupiter is about expanding things. And so, using such a like [00:22:00] fiery mantra to create room for that expansion, right? and to, like, navigate yourself through it, I think is really powerful. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's one of those things, right? I mean, I think that dating at any [00:22:15] level isn't easy, necessarily, right? Like there are times where it's really easy, which is great. There are times where it's work and there are times where, you know, we get kind of stuck in it, right? Or stuck in ourselves or, you know, or life just doesn't align [00:22:30] with it. Right? And I think that just being so aware of all that stuff is so helpful, you know. Yeah. So, let me ask you a question towards a Scorpio then. 

ARIANA: Okay. 

ANDREW: How do you deal with [00:22:45] jealousy? 

ARIANA: Oh God.

BOTH: [laughing]

ARIANA: You couldn't, you couldn't find a more original Scorpio question to ask! [laughing] 

ANDREW: You know, I'm only a basic astrologer. So [00:23:00] all you're going to get it is [laughing]

ARIANA: Fair enough, fair enough!

[laughing] 

ARIANA: Jealousy… So, what's really interesting is that I feel like I've struggled with [00:23:15] jealousy my entire life. Like I remember as a child, like, someone would play with my friend and I was like, you know, why are they playing with my friend? 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: And so I've had a lot of time to kind of work through it [laughing] and figure out how [00:23:30] to, how to manage it. And so at this point in my life, I find that it's really parallel to my work with like self-confidence and self-esteem, you know? And then stuff, It’s, really, the [00:23:45] intensity of it has dissipated a lot and I-- It doesn't often come up for me. And I think part of that is also just because of my beliefs, right? Like the same beliefs that allow me to be polyamorous and [00:24:00] have an open relationship with systems. Those are the same beliefs that dissipate my jealousy because it's like, okay. I don't want to be in a relationship of like transaction or possession with people, [00:24:15] places, and things, you know? And so reminding myself of that helps me to be like, you know, and it’s also, I don't know. 

I think that, [00:24:33] I really, it's really important to me that the people that I love and care for feel spaciousness in relationship with me. And I think I have this, like, terror that my jealousy would, you know, [00:24:48] like, reduce that or eliminate that, the spaciousness. And so, if and when it does come up for me, I tend to just like, manage it on my own, you know, like walk myself through words, like, you know, “this is not a big deal, and it's okay.” 

And something [00:25:04] that's also helpful is not assigning meaning to things, you know? Because I think for me, my relationship with jealousy is almost always about, “Oh, okay, I am like, not as important, or not as amazing, and I'm going to be abandoned,” [00:25:19] you know.

ANDREW: For sure.

ARIANA: Basic abandonment trauma issues, [laughing] and so reminding myself that that's not the case, you know, just because someone's like, talking to someone, [laughing] has been really helpful. So [00:25:34] I think also. 

Yeah, I think I just like really have this deep priority to not-- I don't want that to take up space and I think growing up in a household where, like, my parents’ marriage was so full of that. So, like, just [00:25:49] an abusive level that really turned me off to it, you know, so like when it comes up, I'm like, yeah, no, we're not going to do that. Like, that's not, that's not allowed, but not in the way where I'm like, pretending that I don't feel it, you know? I’m just managing it for myself. So [00:26:04] far so good. [laughing]

ANDREW: I find that-- I mean, I think that there are a few things. And a bunch of them, a bunch of them, good chunk of stuff that I [00:26:19] think comes down to like evoking jealousy for me, also, comes down to like, understanding like, how I actually am interested in poly or [00:26:34] what I'm actually interested in, you know? And so like, you know, being aware that, like, you know, for example, maybe if somebody like, if [00:26:49] there's, if I want, if I wanted a more serious connection with someone than they were available for and they were like a super casual person who had a high turnover of like, of lovers? That's probably not a good place for me to be.

ARIANA: Right.

ANDREW: Like that's not a-- It's not a place [00:27:04] where I can get what I desire from that situation.

ARIANA: Exactly.

ANDREW: And so like, kind of rolling that back and sort of taking ownership for it and saying, this is not about them and what they should or shouldn't do, that's not helpful, you know?

ARIANA: Right. Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: And like you [00:27:19] said, one of my, I'm definitely on the side of, I don't want to limit other people's freedoms. And, you know, and I'm not going to allow people to necessarily limit mine either, you know? I mean, there are agreements, which is something different. 

But [00:27:34] even at that, those agreements don't extend to, you know, the rest of my life in the sense that they cut off a bunch of things, you know, they're more like, these are these are my commitments to this relationship, and you know, and those tend to [00:27:49] be more about time, energy, attention, and things like that, you know, or safer sex things, or what-have-you, right? But and then, some of the other stuff comes back to like, you know, for me, jealousy, you know, other [00:28:04] than what I just talked about, is either rooted in something that's deeply unexpected? 

ARIANA: Mmm.

ANDREW: Where, where everything seemed like it was going in a certain direction and somebody talked about things in a certain way and [00:28:19] then something happened that made them realize they wanted something completely unexpected, from my point of view, maybe from theirs, maybe not.

ARIANA: Mmm.

ANDREW: And so that that can be difficult and invoke that feeling of jealousy, which then, [00:28:34] you know, seeing that and having the clarity to go to the person, and say: “So hey, I'm having some feelings about this because everything that I heard was going in this direction and then this was a change,” you know, that can be like, you know, can make it [00:28:49] clearer, right? You know? And clarifying that and understanding more about what that change was or how it occurred or whatever, usually gets rid of it, you know?

ARIANA: Right, right.

ANDREW: And then the last one is this, like, you know? You know, there was a time not [00:29:04] so long ago where I had a bunch of feelings and, you know, ultimately it was about the fact that sort of two of my kind of more casual ongoing people ghosted on me. And you know, like, it wasn't about the [00:29:19] person that I felt it towards at all, it was more about that sense of lack of stuff and the disruption in my life. And then that kind of, like, bleh! [laughing]

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: You know? I don't have a better word for it than that, but that like that mess [00:29:34] of complicated feelings—

ARIANA: Right.

ANDREW: Before it got kind of parsed out into what it was, actually about, then was essentially looking for a place to attach to something, you know, instead of actually kind of like looking at it being like, oh, you know what, you should, you [00:29:49] know, feel sad about the fact that this happened or you should, you know, get back on, get back on Tinder and find a new connection, or you should whatever, right? Like, you know, and that kind of returning it back to a place of action, even [00:30:04] if an action is kind of a non-action, of like, just sitting with it or whatever, right? You know, that's always kind of a super helpful thing for me as well. So. 

ARIANA: Yeah, I mean, I think, I keep returning to how care for the self, like caring for yourself is [00:30:19] like, just obviously foundational to everything—

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: But like, when it comes to managing and navigating, you know, nonmonogamy and polyamory, it's like, I’ve [00:30:34] found for myself, I'm like, oh, it’s like even more important than ever before that I'm caring for myself. And that I'm in relationship with myself. You know, and like, prioritizing that because it's so easy [00:30:49] to get kind of like get stuck, like you were saying, you know, or just like-- It's so easy to not know how to move forward. Right?

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: And [00:31:04] I think and that's true for most things that involve other people, because there's like, there's no control there, you know?

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: Which is like a cause of panic for me on a daily basis [laughing]—

ANDREW: [laughing]

ARIANA: But is actually totally normal and healthy and good, you know. [00:31:19] 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ARIANA: Learning how to be like, okay, so I can't do anything about them. How can I care for myself in this moment? 

ANDREW: For sure, right? 

ARIANA: How do I want to move forward? Like I think that it's like, always comes back to the question, like, what do you want? You know? And [00:31:36] I think if that's not like one of the guiding questions, it gets easy to be like, okay, what does the other person want? You know, what do they need? How can I, how can I, how can I change to be that for them? You know? And [00:31:51] then, like, that's a whole mess in itself. 

ANDREW: And I think that, you know, as you kind of pointed at, that's so true of everywhere in life. You know, it's true of our family relationships. It's probably true in people's careers and [00:32:06] you know, in a variety of things, you know? And even, you know, I mean I haven't even had a job for working for anybody else since 1998 now. You know, it's been a while that I've been self-employed and you know, for like the last 16 years, I've [00:32:21] been reading cards and running my store and stuff like that. And even like in the last six months I had to remind myself. I'm like, hey Andrew, it's your store and your work, you are actually freer than almost anybody—

ARIANA: Yes, yes.

ANDREW: [00:32:36] Like, it doesn't get freer than your, then your position, and still actually working. So if you're not digging this thing, stop getting stuck in that and start thinking about, what is it you would rather do instead, right? [00:32:51] Or how would you rather it be instead? You know? And yeah, it's a, it's always, it's always the possibility that sort of like loss of the center of whatever control there is or whatever power there is externally [00:33:07] somewhere, where, you know? And I think that in poly and in everywhere, returning that back to the center is so fruitful, right? 

ARIANA: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: You know, so, I'm really curious, if, have [00:33:22] you gone searching for like the poly astrological element? Like is there, is there a thing that you, or kinds of things that you see, where you're like, oh, yeah, yeah, I bet you this person's that way. 

ARIANA: It’s so funny. [00:33:37] I mean, I’ve kind of thought about it. I’m always like, super hesitant to, I mean like, formulate astrological signatures—

ANDREW: Sure.

ARIANA: For like, people's lifestyles and choices, but [00:33:53] I'll speak, I'll speak for my own self. I remember like a couple years ago, looking at my chart, and being like, you know, I'm really surprised that I'm not more, you know, like nonmonogamous. Like I remember looking and being like, [00:34:08] and so, you know, obviously in retrospect, it's really funny to be like, okay. I'm not, you know, like I was right, like I did pick up on that, just like certain things in my chart that like, made me think about my relationship to [00:34:23] relationships, and what kinds of relationships would actually nourish me versus the kinds that I've, you know, been conditioned to think or expect from myself, right? 

And so I think for myself that just involves having a [00:34:38] lot of air and I also have a lot of water, right? So it's like, I think that's a, that really speaks to how I'm like, I'm, that's why I like the term poly-capable, [00:34:53] you know, or so, like, so I'm open, I'm not, I have like all this airiness, and all this like, yes, possibility, and like, excitement, and experiences, and, what's the word, like perspective, you know, like perspectives [00:35:08] broken open and unlearning and learning new ways. Then I have all this water where I'm like, I want that to be in service of, like, deep lasting connections, right? And so for myself, that's how, that's how I've seen it show up but [00:35:23] no, to answer it in general, I don't have like an astrological signature where I'm like, oh, this person is probably, are not monogamous or poly or like has several relationships, because it's just, my relationship astrology isn't [00:35:38] like that. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. That’s totally fair. I find that, you know, my questions around a lot of this stuff, I feel like they end up sort of going back to me. Like, I'm just going to ask some really unfair questions of, like astrologers—

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: So, [00:35:53] hey, hey, here's my, here's my like, I know it's not really this way, but I kind of wish it was, and I bet you think I'm just going to ask this question and put you on the spot for a minute. 

ARIANA: Underneath that is maybe, and I'm not saying that this is the case, but usually with people [00:36:08] is the question of like, tell me why I am the way that I am! [laughing]

ANDREW: Right. Sure.

ARIANA: [laughing] Is there a reason that this is happening? And maybe somehow inadvertently by asking this general question I'll have my very personal question answered. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. For sure.

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: [00:36:23] Yeah, I don't know. I've looked at my own chart in my own limited ways and I don't really have a sense either. So I think, I think it's, I think for me it's just, you know, so much air and fire and so [00:36:38] much, just like, you know, expansiveness and exploratoriness that I think that it just sort of inclines me in that kind of direction. 

ARIANA: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think looking at elements is like, [00:36:53] can be super informative. When we're looking at like, how we move through life, and what our needs are, and our like general sense. How we need to be able to move, right? Like air and fire needs to be able to be free—

ANDREW: Sure.

ARIANA: In like different ways [00:37:08] than earth and water. 

ANDREW: Yeah. No, for sure. I don't have any earth, so.

ARIANA: [laughing] You said that in a way that’s like, I’m fucked. [laughing]

ANDREW: No, no, not at all. It's good. It's fine. No earth at [00:37:23] all and only one water element. So everything else is just air and fire. All the time.

ARIANA: That's combustion. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I worked on it magically, so it's all good now, so. 

ARIANA: Good. 

ANDREW: So, [00:37:40] I guess one of the other things that I'm curious about this, for you, is like, you know, does poly fit into an identity or a sense [00:37:55] of, you know, activism, and sort of like, kind of, like we talked about deconditioning and I'm wondering if it goes a bit further to you, in sort of the sense of, is it, is it, is it, is it tied [00:38:10] to sort of a sense of activism or something like that for you? 

ARIANA: Like is it radical for me? 

ANDREW: Is it radical for you? 

ARIANA: Mm-hmm, absolutely. Absolutely. It's deeply intertwined with like, my political beliefs and values, as [00:38:25] everything in my life is, right? 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ARIANA: So yeah, I-- A huge, huge reason why polyamory is a part of my life is because of my, like, rejection of whiteness, you know, and like the role [00:38:40] of whiteness in heteronormativity and patriarchy and like all these things that take joy, you know? 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ARIANA: And so, I'm always like, I'm a little skeptical with the word resistance, but it is like an [00:38:55] act of resistance for me, you know, and like, no, actually because, like I said before, like the only reason I wouldn't say yes to more pleasure and love, enjoying my life, is because of these constructs, you know, that are, that are made up, [00:39:10] and are also powerful, right? and like shape us and we are shaped by them. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: And so it is absolutely about taking my personal and my political, which is like the same for me, power back, you [00:39:25] know? I mean like, there, so, yeah, like, so little when it comes to like, oppression, that I [00:39:40] like actually have any power control over right? Like I can't change the world or the snap of my fingers or whatever.

ANDREW: Sure.

ARIANA: So living my life in ways that are like, anti-oppressive, is really important. And [00:39:55] so it’s really interesting because even like, when I was sitting with the question of like nonmonogamy and polyamory, a large part of my commitment to like, continuing to be curious about it, even when it felt like scary [00:40:10] or strange, or shameful, was a political commitment, you know, it's like, even if this isn't going to be right for me, I want to be able to be with the questions, you know? And I want to be able to not have fear [00:40:25] around it. Right? Like, and fear that's been imbued by my conditioning, religious and political, you know, and so yeah, that's a huge, huge piece of about it for me. 

ANDREW: Yeah. A [00:40:41] long time ago, for me, I discovered this guy, Terence McKenna Terence McKenna is like, psychedelic—was, he's dead now--was a psychedelic explorer like along the lines of Timothy [00:40:56] Leary and those people, and, but, you know, he was mostly into like mushrooms and other things and there was a line in this spoken word thing that he did, where he's talking about how taking mushrooms frees [00:41:11] you from the system, right? Takes you outside of those things and that it breaks what he calls the “three enemies of the people,” you know? And the enemies of the people are hegemony, monogamy, and monotony, [00:41:26] you know, and you know, hegemony being the way in which systems and culture and patriarchy and you know, all of those things seek to not just tell us what to do but to limit [00:41:41] the space in which we can think, you know, it’s a very like 1984 kind of idea, right, in that regard, and I think that there's so much of what we come around, and you know, what I grew up in, and what most people grow up in, that, [00:41:56] that is, curtails the boundaries of where you're allowed to think or what you can think or what's, you know, and even to the point where it's like, you know, I mean, I think of my earlier explorations, it's like, I had no language around it. I just had desire. [00:42:11] And I couldn’t even really understand--I understood it, you know, I don't want to diminish my awareness of it, but I didn't understand it as a possibility or as a way of life. I just understood it as a desire, right? 

ARIANA: Right, right. 

ANDREW: You [00:42:26] know, and then of course, like monogamy and the monotony of like a lot of capitalism and the way in which a lot of the world runs, you know, I mean, all of those things work to sort of push us away from making more radical choices [00:42:41] or waking up or you know, doing those kinds of things. So, yeah, I think it's very, it's very interesting, you know. Yeah.

ARIANA: Yeah, I mean I [00:42:57] think that this, there's like this, I think this separation, between like activism and then like our quote unquote regular lives is an illusion in a lot of ways. I do think that there is a distinction between like [00:43:12] activist, you know, like, people who are committing their life to that work in a public way. Right? Like I'm not going to call myself an activist. And I think, you know, the word has all of its own like negative [00:43:27] connotations as well. But that like, that false separation between the political and the personal, you know, is really harmful, because it is so deeply intertwined. Right? And so, like even in [00:43:42] our conversations about love and romance and sex and money, you know, like all of these things are wrapped up into power and wrapped up into politics, right? And so for me, as like a [00:43:57] queer Boricua, it's one of the ways that I've been articulating and it's like, it's my duty, my responsibility, to be as liberated, [00:44:13] to use the word, as I can, right? And again, going back to that, like why would I say no to more pleasure and love and joy in my life, right? 

And so, it's like, I don't just see it as this, like, oh, yeah, of course, I want more of that but I see it as like, oh, it's my responsibility to my ancestors, [00:44:28] right? And to the life that I'm like, actually living now, to deconstruct these things within myself. You know and to be aware of, curious about, [00:44:43] and devoted to exploring the ways that the political and the personal is intertwined for me. And that's not only my responsibility to myself, that's my responsibility to my community, [00:44:58] you know? In like a literal sense, like people actually, community with, and in a metaphysical sense. Yeah. Yeah. 

ANDREW: I mean, I think I agree with that, and I've kind of felt the same way, you know, and [00:45:13] I think that, you know, not in a, not in a like, I feel like I've got it all figured out and I'm going to tell people how it ought to be kind of way. But like, it's why sharing [00:45:30] more openly around being poly, as you know, as a, as a, you know, as a kind of fitting into that conversation, to say, hey, look there are other ways, like I'm living another way, and I could, I could not be public [00:45:45] about it, it would make no difference on a day-to-day level with my you know, personal and romantic life, you know?

ARIANA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

ANDREW: But I could also share it in a public way, and that, you know, and share that [00:46:00] in this conversation with you that then creates that space for other people to think, engage, be exposed, find their own language, you know, or whatever, you know, or just be curious and then walk away, like it's all fine. [00:46:15] Right? But like—

ARIANA: Yeah.

ANDREW: You know, but just to sort of provide opportunities to see because I think that, for me, for so long, I kind of just thought that like my life was like everybody's life and [00:46:30] then at a certain point I was like, oh no, that's not actually true at all, you know?

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: And like, the more I have-- The more, over the last maybe six years since I started going to tarot conferences and sort of traveling a bit more again, you know, I was like, “oh [00:46:45] no, my life is not like many people's lives at all,” and not that, not that I need to be role model person, because that's not the point in the least, but that, you know, I have such different, you know-- I mean, poly, [00:47:00] I, you know, like, you know, a couple weeks ago, one of my longer-term partners, their partner and their partner’s child came and hung out with me and my kids. And you know, we all spent the weekend hanging out together, and like, [00:47:15] just totally like, you know, experiences that people are like, I don't know, I don’t even begin to understand it, and it's just this, like, the most natural and chill thing ever, right? You know, and being an Olocha, you know, and like all the things, you [00:47:30] know, doing what I do for a living, like, there's just so many ways in which it's so different, right? And I think that, kind of like, just floating that out there as a thing to inspire people who want, who are, who [00:47:45] are waiting for inspiration or looking for inspiration, you know, and allowing that to kind of be part of that, I think is really important. So. 

ARIANA: Yeah. I mean what I'm hearing, and that is, it just sounds like such [00:48:00] a foundational piece of our work in general as readers, you know, and as like spiritual guides, is this, this, I think like sometimes opening of portals, but more so like, holding of portals, you know, and being like, this is [00:48:15] here, if you, if you want it, and like drawing people's attention, you know, in their own, in their own search for it, you know? And so, like, it's, I don’t know, I, [00:48:33] I think that's like, such what you're describing is such a huge cornerstone of my life because I know that I've always been eternally grateful to the resources that exposed me to the language that I didn't have for what I was already feeling or [00:48:48] experiencing or wanting, you know?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ARIANA: And that those things changed my life. And so I've been, I've been deeper in the practice of embodying that myself, like with Saltwater Stars, like, [00:49:03] showing up more as myself, you know, and being more transparent about my queerness and about my, just like the way that my life is, and it's interesting because I-- That's [00:49:18] like a more recent thing because I've never, I guess I didn't really have like much of a platform, right? Like when you don't have much of a platform, you're not like, oh, I should tell everyone, you know, you're like, no one cares. 

So now more [00:49:33] recently I'm like, oh, this is actually like, having these conversations and being transparent about myself, I'm at a position in my life where that can be helpful to others in ways that, you know, it might not have been before, but also helpful [00:49:48] to me, you know? Also like, the whole, like, taking up space thing, as someone who is at the intersection of identities that I’m at, you know, is [00:50:03] something that I've like, underestimated the power and importance of, and I'm now like, coming into more of a, like I said, a deeper practice and understanding of how important that is, you know, and doing that whole thing that I'm sure you're familiar [00:50:18] with, where you're like, “Oh, if I had, like, known me when I was younger, you know, how much would be different?” blah blah blah. 

ANDREW: Sure. Yeah.

ARIANA: Yeah, so I've been thinking about that a lot, and I think it's this interesting like, [00:50:34] juxtaposition for me, where I'm like a private person more naturally, but then I'm also like so deeply committed to community and to communal revolution, you know, and so the ways that I'll like stretch myself, that I [00:50:49] like, hadn't considered before, because of the ways that my politics grow and change. You know? 

ANDREW: Yeah, I think, and I think that learning how to take up space is such a, and not even take up space, how to take [00:51:04], take your space. You know, I think it's such a helpful thing, and I think that, you know, it's also not off topic for polyamory, right? Like, you know, I mean, like, I think that it's one of those things that crosses all those situations, you [00:51:19] know? How do we show up in our career that we take up space and can be seen, right? How do we show up in our relationships so that we can, you know, take up this or take our space and be seen, you know, and how does that change [00:51:34] the nature of the relationships that we have? Right? Because when you start being visible and showing up as being visible, then all of a sudden, the people, the people who can see you, see [00:51:49] something that's more real, and therefore that can be, you know, a kind of higher caliber of connection, you know, because there's a better alignment going there, right? You know, yeah. 

ARIANA: Yeah. I love that you bring that up. Because it's like, it's that relationship between vulnerability [00:52:04] and intimacy, you know, and so that's been like a huge thing for me recently. It's like, the more I allow myself to be vulnerable and to be seen, right, and to be visible, the more intimacy that [00:52:19] I actually have potential to access. Right? So like, sitting over here telling no one anything about my life and wondering why I'll lack like a depth of intimacy in my relationships, you know, like, being invisible in my relationships and like, feeling resentful that [00:52:34] I'm like, never, so I like, I had to go through that learning curve. I'm like, oh, actually that's my responsibility, to be like, you know, here I am, you know, and then if you can see me and if this, if my vulnerability does create intimacy with you, [00:52:49] great, and if it doesn't, now I know, instead of sitting here in the corner wondering feeling sorry for myself, you know. 

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah. Yeah. And I definitely, you know, I mean, for me, taking up space and sort of like pushing myself into [00:53:04] space was definitely a thing that was very uncomfortable around releasing the Orisha Tarot, you know, because, you know, I mean, because of, because I'm a white person from Toronto who practices this religion, [00:53:19] because of like a bunch of different things, you know, there's this very, like I was very, you know, aware, and you know, at times, sort of kind of immobilized by my awareness around those dynamics and my desire [00:53:34] not to, not to be messy about them, you know, and to try and find a good way through that stuff. 

And I think that, you know, it's complicated, because when you, when you don't feel like you can take [00:53:50] the space, you know, it's also like there's almost never anybody who can convince you, you know? 

ARIANA: Oh, yes.

ANDREW: Like I talked to my elders and they’re like, “Do it, it's going to be great.” And you know, I asked the Orishas, they're like, “Yeah, [00:54:05] you should do this,” and I'm like, and I talked to like, you know, artist friends and people of color. And like I had all these conversations and still, it was just like, but I just, you know, I'm just trying to figure out what that, like what that inner lock was, [00:54:20] right, you know? And it's now and then and then it came back to my mantra as well as like, well, just be brave dude. Just do the thing. 

ARIANA: [laughing]

ANDREW: It'll work out well or whatever. It'll be what it is, you know. 

ARIANA: Mm-hmm, mmm-hmm. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I think [00:54:35] that, that's it's, there's a lot of ways in which showing up is complicated right? 

ARIANA: Oh, yeah.

ANDREW: Not just around romance so, but. 

ARIANA: Yeah. Oh, yeah, and I'm glad you said it that way, because I think that it is often oversimplified. Especially like for people [00:54:50] who do, who do live outside of the dominant culture. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ARIANA: You know, it's like, no, it's not as like this for many, it is actually dangerous, you know, like there is so much risk involved, and [00:55:06] not just like, on an interpersonal level, but on a communal level, right? 

ANDREW: Sure.

ARIANA: And so, I think that the oversimplification of it, that like often comes from whiteness, right? Because like, whiteness [00:55:21] is more comfortable. So, you know, it's like, oh, yeah, of course, like, you know, this is, not only is this my space, but that's also my space, and that's my space, and the, you know, and so I think that oversimplification of it dishonors [00:55:36] the amount of bravery it takes and also like diminishes the complexity of it. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ARIANA: You know and especially at these, like, intersections of spirituality and unconventional relationships and all [00:55:51] of those things. It's like, the complete, just, you decide to show up, just because you decide to be visible and be seen, doesn't make it any less complicated.

ANDREW: For sure. 

ARIANA: You know? 

ANDREW: Yeah, and I think there's a, [00:56:06] I run across, you know, especially like sometimes in relationship to my, to my kids, with people who are, you know, running programs for them and stuff like that, you know? This notion of, like, you know, you [00:56:21] just, I mean even though my mantra is be brave, right? That's like a complex multi-level thing. That's not, that's not necessarily so much as like, you know, just do the thing and you'll be fine. It's [00:56:36] like, okay, be brave. What's the brave thing? Why am I resisting it? You know? Like on and on and on, there's like a whole deconstruction that, that goes beyond that and then, and then the mantra comes out once I've already processed all those things, and then I'm like, right now, there's nothing to do but [00:56:51] like press the button, make the phone call, say the thing, but there's this sort of notion that I run across a lot where it's like, you know, if you just persevere, if you just push, if you know, it's all, it's all kind of like a bunch of machismo and [00:57:06] it's-- In a certain way, I think, you know, where it's just like, yeah, but like I did this hard thing, so you can do this hard thing, and whatever, and it's like, maybe not, maybe it's the wrong hard thing. It's the wrong way. Maybe [00:57:21] this hard thing isn't even relevant. Like, you know, I think that there's so many, so many layers to that, that become very complicated and I think that there's a desire by many people that I see to [00:57:36] try and come to a point where it's just something simple like, you know, we'll just push through it and it'll be fine. It's like, maybe not.

ARIANA: Like yeah, like have you heard of the scenarios where things don't end up [00:57:51] fine because that happens.

ANDREW: Yeah. Exactly. 

ARIANA: I think that one of the things about like nonmonogamy and polyamory that I appreciate is that it like, at least for me, I feel like it expands my capacity for complexity. 

ANDREW: Sure. [00:58:06] 

ARIANA: Right? And like my ability be to be with the discomfort. 

ANDREW: Mmm-hmm. 

ARIANA: Right? So like you were saying, like that that period where, it's like, okay, so I know that I want like partnerships and intimacy, but there's that whole period where we're like, we're figuring [00:58:21] out if that's actually possible.

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: So like, being able to sit in those spaces and to continue choosing to be brave. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: You know, it's like this may not work out, like I could very well get hurt, and like I most [00:58:36] likely will at some point, you know, if I continue in a relationship with this person. 

ANDREW: Sure. 

ARIANA: Whoever it is, that's going to happen and so, like coming to a point of acceptance with that, and like, being willing to be uncomfortable and being willing to, I think, [00:58:51] it just like really comes back to this vulnerability, you know, like, that's what-- It spans our capacity for like all the complexity and all the unknown, you know? And I think that it definitely, we definitely, like kind of semi [00:59:06] get trained to override that and override those times, you know, and like you're saying push through and be like, oh it'll be fine, you know, what, whatever, and so I think that the thing about polyamory is that you can't really do that because there are other people involved. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ARIANA: You know? [00:59:21] 

ANDREW: Yeah. I think too, like a lot of, a lot of my experience of polyamory is that there are a lot of feelings that in a, if [00:59:36] I was a monogamous person looking for a long-term relationship, would drive stuff in a given direction, you know, like, you know, I can, I can hang out with, you know, one of my partners and [00:59:51] then feel sad that they're leaving and miss them for days, you know, if I'm not going to see them, and that would drive, you know, the sort of relationship escalator stuff. You [01:00:06] know, if I was, if I was a monogamous type person. 

ARIANA: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

ANDREW: We’ll see each other more, we’ll do this, we’ll, you know, this constantly looking to sort of almost resolve or placate those emotions.

ARIANA: Right. Right.

ANDREW: Versus come looking at those feelings and [01:00:21] going, it's a hundred percent great, like acceptable, fine, to miss somebody, to, you know, have these different kinds of feelings. 

ARIANA: Right.

ANDREW: And I don't need to interpret them in other ways, [01:00:36] you know, like, you know, they can, they can just be what they are and I can notice them and acknowledge them and that could be the whole conversation about it too, which is something that's very different, right?

ARIANA: Yeah, yeah.

ANDREW: And I think there are lots of feelings around, you [01:00:51] know, anything from how people handle their feeling of desire to, you know, all these kinds of things, like I could feel the most intense desire for somebody and also just like, be friends with them and not have that be a thing either, [01:01:06] you know, like, there are ways in which we can handle sort of all these different kinds of feelings in a very different manner and I think that that's also a really interesting sort of situation around this. 

ARIANA: Yeah, like it [01:01:21] kind of sounds like talking about the relationship between our, like, polyamory changes our relationship to gratification. Right? And I think in the ways that like, monogamy is so much about that, possession, right, and that gratification, like having [01:01:36] access to that. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ARIANA: Like polyamory, like, breaks all of that. And so, then you have to have these like new and different ways of navigating those responses and those kind of like, it changes the, like the nature [01:01:51] or like the relationships of attachment, you know? Like how, like how we make meaning out of it and how we assign meaning to it and how we, how we, I think even like, don't, you know, [01:02:06] like, don't assign meaning to it, and don't do all of those things to allow there to still be space. Right?

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ARIANA: I also, I need to go to the restroom very quick. 

ANDREW: No problem. Yes.

ANDREW: [00:00:00] Well, I want to say thank you so much for being on the show and having this conversation. It has been even more delightful and insightful than I anticipated. So that [00:00:15] is wonderful. For people who want to go follow your work and be in your orbit and I hope that everybody does, where do they find you online? How do they, how do they follow what you're up to?

ARIANA: Yeah, well, [00:00:30] so first of all, thank you so much. It's been like such a joy. I really enjoyed our conversation. Online www.saltwaterstars.com. On Instagram, it's Saltwater dot [00:00:45] Stars, and I'm now public on Twitter, SaltwaterStars underscore, and then I'm also on Facebook as Saltwater Stars. So there's like plenty of options. 

ANDREW: Perfect. 

ARIANA: Yeah, but it's all Saltwater Stars.

ANDREW: That's great. Well, thank you so much [00:01:00] for being on. I think that yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing what people have to say about these conversations and stuff, because I think it's, I think it's such an interesting world view, and I think that, you know, I see more and more people [00:01:15] kind of drifting in this direction or exploring in this direction. So hopefully this will find its way to some of those people and be helpful in some way.

ARIANA: Yeah. I hope so, too. Thank you so much Andrew. 

ANDREW: Thank you.

EP95 Glamour Magic with Chaweon Koo

EP95 Glamour Magic with Chaweon Koo

February 28, 2019

Andrew and Chaweon talk about the art of using glamour as a form of magic. This isn't an episode just for those who like make up or feel beautiful. It is about how to use things like makeup, hair, fashion and more as acts of magic to help create the things you want in life. We also talk about charm and how to cultivate.

Finally, we talk at about Andrew's moustache. 
andrew_moustache.jpg

Think about how much you've enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you listened to, and consider if it is time to support the Patreon You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

You can follow Chaweon on their YouTube channel of search hichaweon everywhere else. 

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

Transcription

ANDREW: [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I am here with Chaweon to talk about magic and to talk about glamour and all sorts of interesting things. I've been following their work for a while, [00:00:15] and a little while ago, they were discussing how they were working glamour to forward their podcast and some of the other stuff in their lives, and I thought, yes, this is this is a topic that I really have been looking for a chance to talk about and this is the person [00:00:30] that I'd love to talk about it with! So, for those who don't know you yet, why don't you introduce yourself? Chaweon?

CHAWEON: Oh, well, thank you for having me on your show. So, my name is Chaweon and I am Korean American, [00:00:45] and I started off in life as a hardcore atheist skeptic. I've only been doing magic for about two and a half three years, but, unknowingly, I've been doing glamour magic my whole life, and about [00:01:00] two years ago, I started to get more into magic and then that was about the time I started my YouTube channel. So my YouTube channel started off first as like a mukbang, which is the Korean word for like people just eating a massive obscene amount of food, but [00:01:15] then it slowly evolved into me talking to other magic practitioners. I was extremely lucky that Jason Miller, he was an early supporter of mine, and thanks [00:01:30] to the interview that I had with him, I was able to get other guests on I've had: Aidan Walker who you've had on many times . . . 

ANDREW: Sure.

CHAWEON: Loved his book and throughout my journey-- You can see on my YouTube channel, just with [00:01:45] each person that I talk to, I'm learning as I'm interviewing them. I'm not at all a very experienced witch, but it's me talking to them, trying to get their expertise, and using my glamour magic or [00:02:00] trying to use glamour magic on each video. Like my goal in my YouTube channel is, every video I want to look like 1% cuter. 

ANDREW: Uh-huh. 

CHAWEON: I mean the thing about glamour magic, especially when it's visual, is that you can tell when it works and you can tell when it doesn't work, the feedback is instant, [00:02:15] it's obvious, because it's visual, so that's kind of how I practice my magic through something as quote unquote mundane as doing a YouTube channel.

ANDREW: I think it's great though. I think that. . . . You know, a long [00:02:30] time ago, I used to work in advertising, and, you know, I realized that, when I started wanting to freelance, that I needed to be way more charming than I actually had been, you know, and, and, and so, I [00:02:45] set it as a thing to work on, you know? And I did a little bit of magic around it for sure, and I did a lot of like, all right, every time I went in in public, where's my opportunity to be to be [00:03:00] charming to somebody and how do I pursue that, you know? And just motion that comfort zone all the time, and then, after a while, you know, it didn't take, didn't even take as long as I thought, you know? It's just started to switch into this capacity to drop [00:03:15] into different social situations and sort of find the right way to sort of be, to be myself, but would be within those spaces as well, you know, so. 

CHAWEON: I think you're very charming. 

ANDREW: Well, thank you. 

CHAWEON: No, I think that's what [00:03:30] a lot of people get wrong about glamour magic. They think that it's, you know, faking a persona. They think that-- And I call that faux glamour, F-A-U-X glamour, because, you know, it's almost like a pretending, [00:03:45] almost like you're on Instagram and you're pretending you're in Paris when you're not and pretending to have a great life when your life isn't that great. That's not glamour magic. That's faux glamour and I consider that actually a type of black magic the advertising world, the marketing world tries [00:04:00] to put on people to make them feel bad, but real glamour magic--you can tell when somebody has real glamour magic because in their presence, you feel warm, you feel accepted, you feel empowered, just by being around them. And [00:04:15] so that's how you know, when you go onto an Instagram account and you feel like “my life is shit” after seeing their Instagram account. That's faux glamour. When you go on somebody's Instagram account and you feel great after you see their pictures, even if they're super beautiful. They're living a super [00:04:30] amazing life. And you feel great about yourself. That's how you know, they're doing real glamour magic.

ANDREW: How did you learn this stuff? Where did that-- I mean you talked about, you know, you've been doing it in one way your whole life, right? But where [00:04:45] did, where did the, not necessarily the transition from atheist to witch, but the transition from, you know, not being conscious of what you were doing as glamour magic to being conscious of it. How was that transition? How did that come about?

CHAWEON: [00:05:02] That's a really good question. I think that all women and all people of color and people who are not on, you know, like the either/or spectrum all their life: They do have to practice some sort of glamour magic [00:05:17] because they're trying to make themselves more palatable to the mainstream so that they can survive. So I think as a woman, as a person of color, as somebody who considers myself gender-fluid, I always had to do glamour magic, but when [00:05:32] I became conscious of it, was literally when I did my YouTube channel and the feedback that I was getting, like when I was doing my YouTube channel, people were saying things to me that were very complimentary. 

And I realized that this [00:05:47] wasn't like a natural talent that I had in terms of like, I'm not somebody who you can put in front of a camera and I like, no, you know, I'm not like this inborn actress. I don't have that going on, and yet I couldn't deny that when I looked at the video I was just like, [00:06:02] “Girl, you know, either the sun is like hitting you right or something like that, I don't know what's going on, but there's something there.” 

And so that's when I started to study the YouTube videos and and I was just like, you know what? I think this [00:06:17] is glamour magic, I wasn't sure, but I was like, “I think that's what glamour magic is,” and then I started to experiment like, “What happens if when I look in the camera, I bring this like energy up?” And I don't know how else to describe it, but it's like what [00:06:32] happens if I bring this energy up to my eyes and then I looked at the videos, just like holy shit. I can see it. So I think it was literally like two years ago. I was like, “Oh, okay, I'm doing this.”

ANDREW: Yeah, that piece about, you [00:06:48] know, sort of the way in which you manage your presence around it, I think that that's really profound. You know, when you find that, when you can figure out where that is, then people are super [00:07:04] receptive to that. You know, I used to officiate weddings at one point and it was one of the things that I always sort of did on the day of, right, you know, basically from the time I [00:07:19] showed up and was hanging out with a couple before the wedding to like the actual ceremony, you know? I wouldn't usually stick around afterwards, but even afterwards for a little bit, you know, just having that presence and sort of seeing everybody from [00:07:34] that place and providing that energy to it, you know? And on the days where, you know, for whatever reasons, maybe I didn't vibe with the couple as well, maybe I was just really tired, that was harder. You could see it, you know, everybody [00:07:49] could see it, right, and those were the ones where it felt more like a performance versus an actual connection and engagement.

CHAWEON: Absolutely, and that's the reason why I consider glamour magic to be one of the most sophisticated types [00:08:04] of magic, because you have to be so self-aware, you have to do lots of shadow work. You have to be also kind of aware of yourself in the context of others. So you're working on so many different levels. You have to be authentic, but you also have to be, [00:08:19] you know, just aware of how you are with just society and the realistic aspects of, “Okay, this is what society is like right now: How far can I push it, further my agenda, without getting completely like killed?” 

But [00:08:34] I think also that the thing about glamour magic too is that it's very democratic and it's a meritocracy. So the thing is, is that I think a lot of people, a lot of women especially, they tell me: "Oh, you know, I don't [00:08:49] know how to do makeup. I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to do that. So I can't do glamour magic." And I'm like, no, that's not glamour magic at all because glamour magic is something that you can develop, anybody can develop. So again, it's like you don't have to be [00:09:04] mainstream beautiful. All you really need to have is a willingness to be completely authentic and that is a type of bravery that I think most people don't have. So just the fact that you can even entertain just being yourself means that you're already one [00:09:19] foot into glamour magic. 

ANDREW: Yeah, being open and being present with people. 

CHAWEON: Yeah.

ANDREW: Like, that is a profound thing and that's the thing that isn't about what any of us look like. 

CHAWEON: Yeah.

ANDREW: Or any of those kinds of things. It's [00:09:34] about, you know, that inner state and that kind of inner coherence that we might have, right, if we're able to show up in that way, you know? And I think of it-- the Uber drivers that I have, you know, I live in a big city and I take a lot of Ubers, and you [00:09:50] know, some of those people are just so open and accessible and that's really charming, you know? That pulls me in and then there's the other people, you know, like my ride today, where they just sit and stare at the front window and driving, you know, the music's really like loud, and it’s obvious they [00:10:05] don't want to talk, that's a completely different thing, and you know, in those situations, it's random whoever you get, but but in life, it's not, right? And so, if you are more in that first category of people then people are interested in, drawn to that more, [00:10:20] right?

CHAWEON: Absolutely, and think about it: The Uber driver who is more accessible and open and makes you feel comfortable just in their vibe, they're more likely to get a bigger tip, and that's just for everybody, just any aspect of life, where you [00:10:35] want to be successful instead of faking it when you're just being you and you're just brave and you're just loving like everything about this human experience. It's not even good. Look. It's almost like because you're being you and you're bringing that out in other people. Your glamour [00:10:50] magic brings out the best in others and it's just this domino effect. So this is why, for me, this, you know, faking faux glamour is so dangerous because in today's world, that's what we see so much of and that's also [00:11:05] something that I want to make sure that people realize that is not glamour magic whatsoever. 

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure, you know, and there are definitely people who cultivate that a lot too, right? You know, I run into them in various places, at conferences and [00:11:20] on the street and wherever, and you know, it's-- You can see that, what they're looking for. I mean the, that ultimately it's all ego, right? You know, it's just all their ego trying [00:11:35] to become the center of attention to, you know, it's got a sort of a narcissistic feel to it. There's not space in the connection for anybody else, often. You know, those are the sides that I see as being problematic, kind of like you talked about earlier, right? Like, [00:11:50] how do you feel after you spend time with them? Do you feel like, “Oh my God, I just hung out with a fancy person?” Or do you feel like, “Wow, what a what a great and fulfilling connection I just had.” 

CHAWEON: Exactly, and faux glamour is about [00:12:05] hierarchy. It's this very, like, I don't know, like toxic, even if it's a woman doing faux glamour, it's a toxic lead masculine way of like trying to make yourself higher than another person, making things very binary, [00:12:20] making things less fluid, and to me, glamour magic is the epitome of like what very empowered feminine magic is about, and when you think about what does feminine healthy energy feel like, it's fluid. There [00:12:35] isn’t hierarchy, you know, there's this watery depth to it. And that's what we're going for, the sort of like wonderful kind of like permeable sort of energy. And in that energy there is no room for I'm better than you, I [00:12:50] know more people than you, have more followers than you. There's no room for that.

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I think that, you know, it being tied to toxic masculinity, being tied to sort of capitalism and all that kind of consumerist [00:13:05] stuff, right? You know, I think that, that all of those pieces can-- because we've, you know, predominantly all grown up in those kinds of elements or around those elements, right? That's part of that going in [00:13:20] and exercising, you know, removing those things, basically being like, “Huh, that feels off, that feels like, that makes me feel grabby or greedy or competitive or this or that or whatever,” looking at [00:13:35] those feelings when they emerge, and you know, and then sort of saying: “Okay, well, what is that about me and where did I get that from and how do I, how to release that so I don't need to carry that with me into this process?”

CHAWEON: Totally, [00:13:51] and I think that you know, people think that men can't glamour magic, but, you know, men can often benefit the most from this feminine fluid non-hierarchical type of magic that is glamour magic. 

ANDREW: Sure.

CHAWEON: And when you're around a man who's doing glamour [00:14:06] magic, right, again, it's that same warm wonderful feeling, it's not this, like, “Whose dick is bigger than whose?” you know? So again, it's like the kind of magic that I do is very makeup-centric. So it's very femme-centric, but there's lots of different [00:14:21] types of glamour magic. It's a very diverse democratic thing. 

ANDREW: Sure. Have you seen my moustache? Right? [laughing] The amount of people who comment on it and engage with it and whatever, it's like, you know, it's funny. I have [00:14:37] been going through all the stuff in my house, you know, getting rid of stuff and reorganizing and stuff over the last couple of months. And I just found this picture that I've been like looking for, for a little while, which is me at [00:14:52] high school graduation: my 12-inch Mohawk and my fish tie and my fabulous plaid jacket that I wish I still had and you know, all this stuff. And this conversation today reminds me of the [00:15:07] various ways in which, you know, that was glamour magic, right? Being like those kind of expressions. So clearly articulate, define directions for connection, right? 

And, you know, the people who would just come [00:15:22] up to me and start talking about my hair or whatever. Back then, you know, it both tended to draw predominantly great kinds of attention my way, contrary to what many people would think, and, and then, [00:15:37] occasionally it would steer the other people away. You know, where people would be like, “Don't look at him, don't look at him,” I’d be like, “Okay, whatever,” right? That... come on, but, but either way, you know, it sort of sets an energy into the world right now, you know, it's the same, you [00:15:52] know, having a big handlebar moustache right before like, you see kids, they love it. Right? And I think that, yeah, I think the exactly who I think that you know, if you're not certain about these kinds of things, look at what the, what kids [00:16:07] are drawn to, right? What did kids, how do kids engage with you, you know? Because in-- With both of these things, you know, kids are like, “Oh my God, I love your moustache,” or they're like, “I love your big spiky hair blah blah blah,” like, they don't have that bias and they're such a great [00:16:22] indicator of that glamour, you know. I'm sure that you get that too or they're just like “Wow, look at how great your hair is,” or your, your eyes or whatever, right?

CHAWEON: I definitely have, especially like, even little boys, they [00:16:37] like the sparkles that I have on my face-- 

ANDREW: Sure. 

CHAWEON: Fun. So what I found is that glamour magic, if we're talking about visual glamour magic, there's many different kinds, but visual glamour magic, for me, is when you're wearing your heart on [00:16:52] your skin. So your outer matches your inner. And to have that congruence between inner and outer, that's a skill, when you can go out into the world and the way that you present, it matches how you feel on the inside. That [00:17:07] is something that most people, in their life, they feel like they can't do. They repress whatever it is. So when you're going out with your mohawk, with your handlebar moustache, you know, you're being you. And that's like an aspect of you that matches how you feel on the inside, that sort [00:17:22] of like, maybe, for the handlebar moustache, it's like more playful, like stylish aspect of you that's like, you know, showing on your skin. And so the way that people interact with you when you're being you, I would have to say, there's [00:17:37] probably lots of people who wish that they could have the handlebar moustache, but I don't know, they're worried about what other people might think or who knows? And so they're not able to just be themselves and be authentic, there's that block. So again, [00:17:52] it's like glamour magic, it requires this amazing amount of self-awareness and bravery.

ANDREW: Hmm. Yeah. It's definitely true. And I also think it's-- It requires-- It seems to me that it requires a real [00:18:08] centeredness. 

CHAWEON: Yes.

ANDREW: Yourself, right? You know, I think about the, you know, like I was joking with, somebody was talking about clothing in there. Like, I'm sorry, we'll pause for one second while the phone rings here. That’s the downside [00:18:24] to being at the shop. There's no off button on the ringer. It's like . . .

CHAWEON: I feel like you should put like a photo of your handlebar moustache. Like--

ANDREW: I've totally got to, yeah, for sure. Yeah, just [00:18:39] there should be like a gif or GIF of me just being like . . . [laughing]

CHAWEON: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I have a friend who does like photos like, you know, professional portraits and stuff like that. And they’re just in India right [00:18:54] now, but in, maybe, I think the back, next month when they're back, I'm going to do a photo shoot and stuff and just, yeah, the whole, like, have it super waxed, and yeah, I definitely do like a couple more of those, you know bad guy kind of . . .

CHAWEON: That like Salvador [00:19:09] Dali sort of like--

ANDREW: Exactly, exactly. All right. I'm going to clap and we can get started again. 

So, I think there's also that temptation, sometimes, to look at [00:19:24] what other people are into and what other people are doing, you know, or to kind of get pulled off track by that, you know? Somebody was asking me a little while ago, because I've been reorganizing my house or having conversations about the kinds of things I have, and they're asking me like, [00:19:39] a big fancy attire and I'm like, I own my kilt, and I think, I think I have a suit that probably doesn't fit me anymore that I don't, that I never want to wear again anyway, because my detour into that [00:19:54] stuff was just so incongruous with me and how I am, right? You know? I'm just, that's not my thing. And yet, because of the fashion industry, because of media, you know, I think it's so tempting [00:20:10] to kind of get drawn into those other areas, and you know? And we may find something exciting there. But we may also kind of come out the other side and be like, that's really just not me and I don't need to ever do that kind of thing. You know?

CHAWEON: Yeah, [00:20:26] I think the thing about glamour magic too is that there is a danger also of maybe taking it too seriously. So for me, glamour magic is very playful because you're not taking the way that [00:20:41] you look or the way that you sound, you're not taking the five senses. So seriously, when people start to identify too much with whatever it is, they're too close or something and they stop experimenting. I mean, I'm glad that you went through, you know, your [00:20:56] little suit phase, you know, you had to go through it, see what it was like, you had to try it. The thing about all those people who haven't had the handlebar moustache, maybe they would love it. They haven't tried it. It's true, right? So, I mean, like looking [00:21:11] at your-- Right now I kind of wish that I could grow one as well, because I'm gonna be super awesome, just like when I'm thinking, just be like, you know, like kind of like playing with the ends of them, you know, and I'm gonna work, you know? 

So the thing is, that people [00:21:26] who are really opposed to glamour magic, even if it's authentic, they say that it's superficial. I say, so what? Why is it that people put so much emphasis on whether it's too much about the superficiality or too much against [00:21:41] it. When you're too identified with the visuals and beauty, then you become a slave to it versus when you're distant from it, when you're just like, this is just the thing. This is my need to die. I'm going to die, whatever. I don't give a shit, then it's just fun, [00:21:56] then you can be like, I'm going to try this. I'm going to try gender to me. I'm gonna try, I'm a dude but I'm going to wear heels just because I've never worn heels and who knows, I might like it. Maybe I won't. Oh, I hate it. Okay, but I tried it, whatever.

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure. I think, you [00:22:11] know, hopefully, we're all going to live to be old and super wrinkly, and you know, like, yeah, it's-- People used to ask me stuff about my hair back when I had my Mohawk and whatever, you know, and I remember like, at [00:22:26] some point, in one of those conversations, like looking at my dad whose hair was kind of thinning and knowing that my grandparents on the other side, you know, their hair was kind of thinning. I'm like, I just want to have fun with my hair while I still have it, because I like that I have it. Someday, you know [00:22:41] what it's like, like what are we going to worry about? It doesn't really matter, you know?

CHAWEON: Exactly. Like right now, like, my tits are amazing. So of course, I'm going to just show them everywhere, because my tits, when I'm 80 years old, like I'm going to look back at all the [00:22:56] pictures where my tits are hanging out and I'm just gonna be like fuck. Yeah, you know what, so, but the thing is is that I can say that and think that without feeling like, “Oh my God, I'm going to die when I don't have these tits anymore,” because again, there's that distance. It's just, this is [00:23:11] just this, sister look, it's just your body, whatever, just have fun with it.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think that this-- There can be so much seriousness around magic. Yeah, you know like, you know, see, [00:23:26] your piece about Instagram altars, see, you know, you know, like all sorts of stuff, right? We’ll link to that one in the show notes for people, go and read it, but, but, you know, the-- And I remember being like [00:23:41] super serious about magic, you know, at one point in my life, right? Just like "This is such a serious topic; I must treat it with the most respect ever," and you know, it's not, it's not that I don't respect it any less at this point, but it's also, [00:23:57] like, life is, life is really to be enjoyed and reveled in, right? You know? We come down here to have this experience, you know, from wherever we are on the other side, and to, you know, to be in a body and to [00:24:12] enjoy that and to experience it and to be playful and enjoy the different things that life has to offer, you know? Maybe I'm just too much of a Sagittarius but I was like, why do we not just enjoy all these things? You know? And why do we not let magic aid [00:24:27] us in all of those things, you know? 

CHAWEON: Exactly, and that's the wonderful thing about glamour magic for those who are just like, “Well, it sounds very self-centered and like you're not really caring about what society's doing,” and I totally beg to differ because [00:24:42] what glamour magic does is, it kind of positions you in a way that's palatable to the mainstream, so that you can actually push the boundaries better than somebody who's coming at it from a way that [00:24:57] society's just gonna be like, “Whoa, too much too soon,” you know? So it's kind of like, for example, you know, we all know of artists who, you know, we all say, “Oh, they were born 20 years too early,” you know, or they were just way ahead of their time versus [00:25:12] somebody who went in at the right time, you know? So the groundwork was already laid, like society, it moved a little bit too. Let's say the left, you know, a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, and that's what kind of magic is. It's putting yourself in the place [00:25:27] so that you can push this idea just a little bit to the left because you're not threatening. And I think Westerners, especially, are just like well, why should I pussyfoot? You know, why should I try to cater to or why should I try to be anything, but you know, there's [00:25:42] this thing we have where there's honor in being confrontational and being like that ass bitch, you know, like in your face, all that stuff. You can do that or you can do it with honey. It's your choice and glamour magic is for those of us who would rather do [00:25:57] it with honey. 

ANDREW: Mmm. Yeah, I think that-- I think that it's interesting how people from different backgrounds have different approaches to this kind of stuff. Right? And I think that-- I think there's a time and place for both, depending [00:26:12] on which you're doing, but I think it's really, you know, really, it's really interesting. How, depending on what you do with stuff will depend on where it goes, you know? And [00:26:27] I think that there's a time to, you know, you know, hold protests and stand in the street and yell about stuff, and that is, that can be its own glamour as well, right? 

CHAWEON: Totally.

ANDREW: And there's time to, you know to [00:26:42] be in a different space. You know what, it's always like, you know, because I practice an Afro-Cuban religion, you know, it's my background, and you know, I mean, Santería, the more common name for it, [00:26:57] that stuff tends to freak people out a lot. But whenever they have conversations with me about it, because I don't have any, in part because I don't have any internal conflict around it and any real concern about it, and [00:27:12] they’re like, “Oh, that actually sounds super reasonable.” I'm like, “I know, that's why I'm involved. It's super reasonable.” You know, it's not this, that, or the other projection that people have put on it and those kinds of things really open people's eyes to a different way [00:27:27] of looking at it, to a different way of experiencing it. So.

CHAWEON: Right, there's all different types of glamour magic and one of the most successful types of glamour magic that anyone can do is becoming accessible. You know, I [00:27:42] call it kind of like the “girl next door/boy next door” sort of vibe. And that's when you have somebody who you can just see is pushing society in some way, whether in their lifestyle or their looks, and yet when you approach them they’re so [00:27:57] warm and accessible and they take away that, scary, ooh, “too much, dude!” feel. And that's sort of, glamour magic is again, after you leave talking to them, you feel warm and you feel great. The next time you, your friend [00:28:12] says some shit about that sort of lifestyle, you're just like, “Well, but I met that dude and he was pretty cool.” Mmm. So, but that's very difficult to do and I think that to do it successfully, you yourself, you have to be so like into like [00:28:27] your self-awareness and self-development and that's hard work. So glamour magic is definitely not for those who want like an easy, easy way out or like easy way to become like I don't know, Mcmagicky, with all the Mcmagicky [00:28:42] people. . . .

ANDREW: Magic, mcmagic, mcmagic.

[laughing]

CHAWEON: Exactly.

ANDREW: Well, I think that you know, let's be honest, if you're, if you're looking for the easy way, don't go to magic, go do something else. It's not as straightforward as [00:28:57] that, usually. You know, I mean for simple things, yes, but for like sort of bigger life arc-altering work and stuff like that, you know, it's a lot of work and it requires work on many levels. So yeah, for sure, so [00:29:13] I want to, I have a different thing that I also wanted to talk to you about. So you basically said, “Fuck this, I'm going to Bali a while again,” and just laughed, and I'm super curious about [00:29:28] how that happens. How did you get to making that decision, you know, tell us the tale.

CHAWEON: Okay. So, I'm Korean American. So I grew up all my life in America. [00:29:43] I'm an American citizen. But about three years ago, I went to Korea, and that's my motherland and that's actually when my magic came to be. So, coincidence that I started to [00:29:58] really get into my witchy stuff in, you know, like my ancestral homeland. I don't know, but after a while, I was just like, you know what, Korea, I've extracted everything I need to get from Korea, and the last eclipse-- You know, [00:30:13] when you're doing magic, you know, it's good to look at astrological transits. So the last eclipse, like last year, like in July or something, my work situation. It was just, you know, the rug was pulled out from under me, very typical eclipsey stuff, and [00:30:28] you know, when that happened, it was kind of like, you know, like in South Park, Cartman, where it's like, “lucky guys, I'm going home,” you know, like it was sort of like that seal and I was just like, “Yeah, bye,” you know. It was this idea that magic, it will help me through making [00:30:43] this very impulsive within three months after deciding. You know, fuck. 

Yeah, Bali. I was in Bali and I didn't know why I exactly chose Bali but I was drawn to it and once I got to Bali, Bali [00:30:58] is hands down the most magical place I've ever been to, and there's magic going on literally on the streets like 24/7. Hmm, especially in Ubud, which is the cultural center of Bali. So, how did I end up in Bali of all places? Right? [00:31:13] How did I go from, you know, skeptic in America to going to my ancestral homeland, becoming a witch, and then going to hands down the most magical place I've ever been to, baby, I'll ever go to, I'm in Bali, and these things, these currents, [00:31:28] that magic, has brought into my life and steered me too without a doubt. I attribute it a hundred percent--well, you know, like 80 percent--to the magic that I was doing.

ANDREW: Hmm. And [00:31:43] so, what kind of-- Like this is the glamour magic, was this other magic, like what kind of what kind of stuff where you up to at that point?

CHAWEON: Well, definitely glamour magic. It's something that I practice every single day. But I was also working a lot with Hecate and [00:31:59] I was giving a lot of like just offering soul and spirit, you know, just like the basic stuff that Aidan Wachter talks about in Six Ways. So I love his book, and I think that all new bewitches should read that book and practices [00:32:14] that he lays out there, not difficult to do, and they have wonderful effects in your daily life. And so it was nothing even that huge except for, you know, like the sorcery packet in Jason Miller's course that I've been taking and the glamour magic that I do and Aidan [00:32:29] Wachter’s Six Ways.

ANDREW: Hmm. Yeah Aidan’s book is fantastic. You know, I wish-- I wish many years ago and that that had been the book I got first, you know, instead of finding, I mean, Magic in Theory and Practice, which [00:32:44] is what I started with, which is, which is great, but also like, yeah perplexing and contradictory, and so.

CHAWEON: You know, I kind of skipped over a lot of the books that a lot of magic people they started with [00:32:59] because, again, I've only been doing this for like consciously for the past two years. 

ANDREW: Sure. 

CHAWEON: So, like, it's only now, like I just interviewed Marco Visconti, Marco Visconti, and [00:33:14] he's like an Aleister Crowley expert. So it's only now that I'm just like, “Oh shit, oh, yeah, Crowley,” right? 

ANDREW: Yeah, that dude. 

CHAWEON: That guy. Yeah! So like, the way that I got into magic, it was just so, I don't [00:33:29] know, like, it's non-traditional. But again, it's like the magic that I was doing, I feel like anybody could have done it, and maybe they wouldn't have had the exact same results as me, but definitely their life would have shifted, and you know, like, life would have pulled them in the [00:33:44] way that they were supposed to be going.

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. I think that when we start doing magic, then the world starts reciprocating, right? 

CHAWEON: Oh, totally!

ANDREW: And, and, you know, I mean, in your case, and [00:33:59] in many people's cases, maybe the ancestors start reciprocating, right? You know? And like pulling in a different direction, of helping you find those places where you feel so, something completely different, you know, and, [00:34:14] and that might be right around the corner from you, or it might be, you know, far far away, right?

CHAWEON: Absolutely. Like, so, Korea is a very neo-Confucian culture. So Confucius, for those of you who have [00:34:29] never heard of him, he was a Chinese philosopher. And he was around when like China was going through a shit ton of wars and he was just like, “Oh, chaos, this sucks, hey, let's build like an ordered society, let's build hierarchy, and people on top, [00:34:44] old people, dudes on top, and everybody just kind of like obeys and order,” and then Koreans were like, “Love that system, and we're just going to take it even further. We're going to inject steroids into that system.” And so a lot of [00:34:59] neo-Confucianism it has to do with ancestor veneration. So it's like literally like in the DNA of like millions and millions of Koreans, like modern Koreans, like the ancestor veneration in Korea is like, there's two major holidays in Korea. [00:35:14] And on those days, the country should sound, this is like a first world country, right, like super modern, it shuts down, and people, millions of people are setting out a table filled with like food for their ancestors and worshiping ancestors. [00:35:29] They may not understand why, but it's happening across Korea on two days, specifically, millions of Koreans. And of course Americans, we don't really do that. 

Yeah, and Christianity when it came into Korea tried to discourage [00:35:44] that, but when I went back to Korea, and Koreans are very good at kind of meshing a lot of the old confusing ways. Christianity, and Korean Americans a lot more hardcore with their Christianity, but that's totally different story. But when I went to Korea and I was in the presence [00:35:59] of the mountains, which are considered like ancestral, like, like holy places-- By the way, North and South Korea: It's like split in half, and there's this mountain range that's considered like the spine of the dragon that's been cut in half because the country was cut in [00:36:14] half and even Kim Jong, Kim Jong Hoon, Kim Jong-il. Anyways, those guys, the North Korean dictators, like all their propaganda, it involves like them being on the mountains, like mountains are a huge deal in pre-industrial anything. [00:36:29] So, being in the land of the mountains, and my ancestors, and just being part of this magical current like, without a doubt. Like I think that ancestor veneration is probably one of the easiest [00:36:44] ways to get into magic.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think so. You know, in my tradition, everything starts there, right? Yes, but come with your ancestors, you know, sort of, it's tough with your ancestors. You know, it's the, it's the place where you can gain the most ground the quickest. [00:36:59] It's a place where people can do the most on their own, I think, and it's the place that if you don't sort it, that business, then like, you can work on your shadow all day long, but if you're doing a lot [00:37:14] of magic and your ancestors and your relationship to the ancestors isn't resolved, that's basically just a big piece of ancestral shadow. They can always come in and mess things up, if you haven't fixed it, you know.

CHAWEON: Yeah, I totally [00:37:29] forget where I read this, but it was about how, what happened to your grandmother, like DNA, like whatever sort of life that she led. It's like in your DNA, as well as something about up to certain generations. So think about how [00:37:44] many people in the world, maybe the majority of the world's population, they have so much trauma in their DNA, because of war and and all that. I mean, especially in places like Asia, Korean war happened in my grandmother's [00:37:59] generation. 

ANDREW: Sure. 

CHAWEON: And if you're in Southeast Asia, we're talking the Vietnam War that happened after the Korean War, we’re talking about massacres that happened in Cambodia. Yeah. There's a lot of trauma that's in our DNA and I didn't really believe in any of that to [00:38:14] be honest about the skeptic. But I remember there's this one doctor. I think his name is Dr. Bruce Lipton or something like that, and he's like a mainstream doctor, right? He's not, you know, like this woo guy. Then, he was talking about DNA and about [00:38:29] the effects of basically ancestral trauma on DNA, and that's when I was just like, oh, a little bit more open-minded about it. So if mainstream science is starting to sort of get into it more, I'm just like, oh well, magic was way ahead besides, I'm sure.

ANDREW: Yeah, and [00:38:44] I think, if we, if we think about, you know, the past several generations, right, like we don't have to go back very far before there was probably difficulty, tragedy, poverty, [00:38:59] war, the Depression, you know, like all those wars and conflicts of the last century. And then also, just, you know, more random things, like violence, tragedy, you know, we go back a few generations. What was the infant mortality rate? [00:39:14] How many people watched their kids die? You know, I mean, so many of those things were just way of life, right? But that doesn't mean that they didn't come with trauma and they weren't difficult and it didn't mean that they're not still affecting us [00:39:29] now. So for sure, yeah.

CHAWEON: Yeah, so I think that, clearing out the ancestral trauma. I interviewed Liv Wheeler, who's a contemporary voice diviner. And this was [00:39:44] an interview that was the first interview that I did in Bali and it was such a neat coincidence that I was able to talk to her, and she works a lot with ancestral spirits, and she was talking about how she, you know, and people are sensitive. They can see how-- I [00:40:00] don't want to say that there are ghosts but like there's ancestral residue that can stick to people. 

ANDREW: Sure. 

CHAWEON: So clearing it is, you know, like guys, like, that's for everybody's benefit, like it helps. The ancestors were [00:40:15] able to kind of like let go of their baggage, it helps you, so it's like a win-win for everybody, for sure, ancestral cleaning.

ANDREW: Yeah, absolutely, or even just paying attention to them. Right? Like just, yeah, say [00:40:30] some prayers for them, you know. Let it go. For them, periodic knowledge that you know, like just, just that alone can make a huge, huge difference, right? You know, it doesn't, it doesn't need to be, you know, big shamanic this that or the other thing or elaborate ceremony [00:40:45] or whatever, you know, just be like, hey everybody. Hey, all you people that I came from, we’re saying these prayers for you. These are the prayers that I think you would like, you know, because that's what you liked when you were alive, you know, or whatever, and it's so helpful, right? Can [00:41:00] move so many things and provide some of the possibilities.

CHAWEON: Exactly and for the skeptics out there: When you do these rituals, okay, even if you don't believe in any of the ancestral residues or anything like that, and you're just like [00:41:15] well, you know, just doing it, just makes you feel better. It's a placebo effect. So what, it helps you, it brings peace to your life anyways, so I don't see any downside to it. That's how I've always operated. I'm still a skeptic in a lot of ways. So [00:41:30] for me, it's like, what do I say? In this mundane world that shows that it's working, but I just go on that, and every time I've done magic my life has become more authentic and it's moved in ways that feel better. So even [00:41:45] if I'm a skeptic, I'm okay with it.

ANDREW: So how has your skepticism changed over time?

CHAWEON: In a lot of ways, it's become more entrenched, because now, I'm just like “Oh shit, I'm starting to really believe in this stuff, can't [00:42:00] do that,” you know, got to stay like uber skeptical, especially now that I'm starting to be like, “Whoa, this is magic. Hmm.” 

So there's that, and I think that's a very healthy way of moving through [00:42:15] magic because, okay, one of the things that I learned in Bali-- There was this amazing Balinese friend that I have. Well not was, but he still is, not-- Oh, and he was just a simple woodcarver, [00:42:30] and that's you know, he was just a master woodcarver, him and his dad, and he was talking about how at the age of 40, a lot of Balinese people decide they're going to retreat from public life and they're going to just study. And in Bali, they do like a-- It's [00:42:45] mainly a Hindu island, but they do kind of like their own tropical Hinduism, but he was-- Think how a lot of people, not a lot, but there's all these people who decide you know, “I'm just going to read the books, I'm smart, I can learn [00:43:00] what I need to learn, like from these books and stuff,” and they don't get a teacher. And you can tell, because these are people who become super ungrounded. 

And he was like, “Oh, you know, you can tell that they didn't have a teacher, because they're going to go out and they're going to like, talk to trees, but like like crazy [00:43:15] person, and you know, their life is going to go to shit, versus when you have a teacher and you're grounded because you have somebody who can tell you, ‘Whoa, you're seeing visions, kind of ignore that, maybe that's just your imagination. Oh, you're having visions and it came with this. Maybe there's something to it.’” He [00:43:30] knows, having somebody to help guide you, so it's almost like an outside skeptic. That's very helpful. And that's when I realized the importance of having teachers, mentors, and like a community outside to kind of help steer you away from being [00:43:45] way too ungrounded.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think, you know, as as a, I think godparent in my religion to people, you know, you could definitely sort of say that one of my [00:44:00] jobs is to be skeptical of some of that stuff for people, right? Good guy. Let's get-- “You had a dream. Let's go ask. Let's go actually ask the oracle that we use to speak with these spirits and see what they say.” Like, let's see, you know, or whatever, right? And you know, and sometimes we find out something [00:44:15] really profound when we notice things and sometimes we find out that it didn't mean anything, right? 

I remember, I remember I was like doing this series of ceremonies and every [00:44:31] day I was doing this series of ceremonies for a while. And at the same point in the ritual, which was also kind of like the peak of the invocation parts, the sound would start happening in [00:44:46] my temple space. And I was like, “What is that? What is going on? What's manifesting?” Whatever, and you know, and I go around, and I'm like, trying to figure out if it's something, is it like the pipes, or is it this or that, nothing, [00:45:01] right? Like no obvious reason why that sound is there. So I went to my teacher and told him and he's like, “I don't know,” and I was like, “Oh I wanted to do something profound, but okay.” And, and [00:45:16] this went on for like, I forget how long I was doing this work, like maybe a month, maybe six weeks, and then right near the end, what I realized was that the oil lamp that I was using, it got hot enough, uh-huh, sounds right and it just [00:45:31] happened to coincide with that moment in the ritual. Right? So, you know, it's just like things, that the phenomenon of things aren't necessarily worth getting caught up in, they’re worth noticing, but they're also worth saying, “Well, if that's significant, [00:45:46] I’ll know that in time, but right now, I'm just going to notice it and carry on with what I'm doing,” right?

CHAWEON: I think there's this thing where I just get very-- Okay, because before the magic thing, I was one of those women who saw other women get really [00:46:01] into new age stuff, and you know, they're like, so into crystals and like whatever and it was just kind of like, it was very annoying. I call it like the Gwyneth Paltrow effect, right? And it was very like, have you seen this YouTube video called like “Shit New Age Girls Say”? It's [00:46:16] like a parody.

ANDREW: I've seen a bunch of those videos. I don't know if I've seen that specific one, but--

CHAWEON: Oh, it's so spot-on and I remember thinking, “Oh girl, you are so ungrounded. I can't be around you,” you know? Like everything is pleiadian and alien spaceships [00:46:31] are, you know, right above you, and you know, like you're going to wear purple skirt and shit because it's like bringing your energy somewhere, and I was just like, I can't deal. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

CHAWEON: And I was like, okay super ungrounded energy. I don't like that. And so, that's the reason why, [00:46:46] the more I get into magic, the more like, stringent and hardcore my skeptic has to become, because I'm just like, if it doesn't do that, then I'm afraid that, you know, like instead of being in this world and doing magic in this world, I'm just going to be like, often, [00:47:01] like I'm doing magic in like some abstract fourth, fifth, 20th dimension.

ANDREW: Sure or nowhere at all.

CHAWEON: Or nowhere at all. [laughs] And that's no fun because we're like, in this world, we're living in this world, you know, like let's have fun in this world.

ANDREW: [00:47:16] Yeah. Absolutely. Well, I want to thank you for taking time to hang out and chat with me today.

CHAWEON: Thank you.

ANDREW: And I understand you have a thing coming up a course on some of this stuff that might be of interest to [00:47:31] people who are listening.

CHAWEON: Yeah, so I'm actually putting on my very first magic class and it's going to be about, surprise, surprise: glamour magic. And it’s called Fierce, like “ooh girl, you look fierce,” and it's just [00:47:46] basically a very accessible way of starting out in glamour magic, so, bringing in archetypes to start putting makeup on your face, to invoke, evoke, and conjure up these archetypes. And so, this [00:48:01] is just for anybody who may not be a hundred percent into magic, or maybe you are, but I see it more as like also a really great introduction into a little bit of astrological magic but also it's a whole lot of magic in terms of like makeup [00:48:16] magic. So I mean, makeup is like a huge part of like my identity. I used to be a makeup artist when I was in college. So it's how to transform yourself using mundane tools. Instead of using like a wand, you're using a [00:48:31] blush brush [laughing]; instead of drawing sigils on a piece of paper, you're drawing a crisp cat eye with an eyeliner brush, hmm with liquid liner. Same thing. So it's taking magic with makeup and transforming [00:48:46] yourself and doing it all with this like, real glamour, not faux glamour.

ANDREW: Perfect. And where do people who want to come and bask in your glamour find you on the social media these days?

CHAWEON: Oh, well, they can just Google Witches and Wine. [00:49:01] Usually my YouTube channel comes up like first thing, and on, on social media, it's, you can just look me up. It's hichaweon, but I think it's mainly through my YouTube channel, all my social media stuff is there. 

ANDREW: Perfect. [00:49:16] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for making time to chat. It's been a real pleasure.

CHAWEON: Thank you, Andrew. So good to talk to you.

 

EP94 Changes and Endings with Stacking Skulls and Theresa Reed

EP94 Changes and Endings with Stacking Skulls and Theresa Reed

February 15, 2019

The Stacking Skulls Crew (Aidan, Fabeku, and Andrew) are joined by Theresa Reed this week. In many ways this conversation circles around endings. They talk about Marie Kondo and letting go. The process of know when to change in life. And the ways our energy shifts what is going on depending on how we show up. 

Think about how much you've enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you listened to, and consider if it is time to support the Patreon You can do so here.

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Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

ANDREW: Welcome to the Hermit's Lamp podcast and another episode with Stacking Skulls. I'm here today with Aidan and Fabeku, and joining us is Theresa Reed. So, you know, everybody probably knows who we are, but, Theresa, for those who don't know who you are, who are you? What are you about?

THERESA: Hey guys, for those of you who are not familiar with me, my name is Theresa Reed, but I'm better known as the Tarot Lady. I am a professional tarot reader and I've been working in my industry for close to 30 years. And that's me in a nutshell. 

ANDREW: Awesome! So, the last episode dropped about three months or so ago. What's new? What's going on? What's changed? 

AIDAN: Hmm. I actually reopened the shop ...

ANDREW: Yeah!

AIDAN: After many months off, and that's going very well. Under the new model. It seems to be working well. That's pretty much it for me. It's been winter. Not a lot goes on except the cold. 

ANDREW: Right. And a lot of snow apparently this winter. 

AIDAN: We did get the blizzard, which, thankfully all of our neighbors tell us happens every seven to 15 years, cause otherwise our 500-foot-long driveway would have been perhaps not the choice we would have made! [laughing] We were only trapped for like two weeks. 

ANDREW: Yeah. That's fair. Well, you don't have to get your kettlebells off the mat, then. You can just shovel snow every day? 

AIDAN: I really don't do that. That's why we were trapped for two weeks. We saw it coming and went shopping and stocked up the house, and said, "Fuck it. We'll leave when we're done, when it's done." [laughing]

ANDREW: Excellent. Nice. That’s awesome. Well, how about you, Fabeku? What's new in your world? 

FABEKU: Yeah, what's new? Ran a few classes, finally wrapped the super long divination course that I've been doing since the summer, doing a thing now on some hyper sigil stuff which has been fun and kind of intense. Managed to survive the holidays, thank God. That was great! Yeah, writing like crazy, just writing like crazy, for some reason. I'm not sleeping a lot, which is fantastic! And so, I'm taking advantage of the long evenings and turning out piles and piles of words for a few book projects. So, it's fun. It's cool. 

ANDREW: And how about you, Theresa? What's the start of your year brought you? What's going on with you these days? 

THERESA: Just busy with work but also, I have two books coming out this year, and actually today, I just got the pdf version, and so they want me to go over everything and check everything and doublecheck it, and make sure every i is dotted and t is crossed, and recently I saw the cover of my third book, which is coming out in November. So I'm in the phase right now of handling all my regular work, and also with these two books coming out, starting to do all the proofreading to make sure things are right. 

FABEKU: That's a lot. 

THERESA: Yeah, it's exciting. 

ANDREW: It's a lot of work, right? 

THERESA: Oh my god. But I like the editing part better than the writing part. 

FABEKU: Really? 

THERESA: Isn't that sad? 

FABEKU: Well, no, it's fascinating. I think it's ...

THERESA: I love to read, write, and I love to spill out all my ideas, but I think it's because I have those three planets in Virgo. Going back and editing gives me a real special jolly. 

FABEKU: Wow. That's cool.

AIDAN: I kind of got that with Six Ways. I had a blast going, kind of taking in all the information I got from the various first readers and my folks to kind of dive in and tighten it up. That was a pleasure. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I don't dig the editing at all.

FABEKU: Yeah, me neither. 

[laughing]

FABEKU: Totally hate it!

ANDREW: Yeah, it's interesting. When I did, I wrote the book for the Orisha Tarot, I sat down and just, I wrote the book just straight through, just piled it all out and whatever. And because there was some changes around the timeline and I had to deliver it a little bit earlier, I was like, all right, I'm just sending it, I'm not even going to reread it, I'm just going to send it to you this way. Cause it was already a contract, right? So it wasn't like I was trying to get the deal. I already had the deal, but I just didn't have the time to finish everything up for their timeline that they had moved it to, and still sort of like sit and really reedit it, and I was like, doesn't make sense to re-edit part of it or all of it or, you know. So I just sent it in. And, yeah, it was, most of ... The thing was, “please just go through and fix the typos.” [laughs] And I was like, "Sure!" [laughing] And then there were a couple other, very few comments, but then the editing was almost nonexistent for it, so. 

FABEKU: That's great.

THERESA: Wow. But they liked it, so you know, obviously you're a good writer.

ANDREW: Yeah, it just kind of. By the time I get to writing something I usually have thought about it a ton. And then it mostly just kind of emerges pretty intact, you know? And sometimes I need to adjust stuff, mature things. Most of what they wanted me to change or edit goes back to, the biggest challenge for me around writing historically, which is: why write 50 words when 10 words will do? But the reality is, those 10 words do when you know what the subject is, but they don't actually do it for everybody else. So learning to sort of expand everything into sort of a more, yeah, a more thorough explanation, so you kind of use a lot more words for it, that's been one thing. And the edits that came back for it were kind of, "You might know what this is, and I might know what this is, but there are lots of people who are going to read this who don't, who won't understand. So add a couple of paragraphs explaining this and this and this, and stuff." So.

FABEKU: I always think it's an interesting thing when you're communicating stuff to people--so, my version of that is, in this hyper sigil class that I'm doing now, there were things that to me were super obvious, and so I essentially said, "Hey, do this and do this, and go have at it," right? And then people were like, "Wait, fuck, what? What about this, and what about this, and what does that mean? and can I do this? should I do this? should I not do this?" And I was literally like, "What the fuck is happening? Just do it!" And when I realized it was like, oh, right, okay, so all of the shit that in my head was super obvious, apparently I need to circle back and kind of spell out in way more detail than I thought. So it was kind of an interesting experience for everyone involved. 

Yeah. [laughing]

ANDREW: Yeah. For sure.

AIDAN: This is why the lifer magicians shouldn't probably be the bounce-offs on whether you're coherent for anybody else, right? [laughing] I was like, dude, got it, boom!

[incoherent laughing]

AIDAN: Fabeku comes back around like, "Why is everyone confused?" I'm like, “uh, oh, cause they haven't been doing this for 30 years? I don't know!”

[laughing]

ANDREW: Yeah.

FABEKU: Yup.

THERESA: And words have power, but that power doesn't always transmit to everyone the same way. You know years ago when I used to teach astrology, it all starts out fun. But then you start getting into the math, which you know is another interesting ... I think math is very magical. And everyone, all the tears came. All the tears came. People don't get it. And so, explaining astrology to laymen is actually, it's very artful, it's very hard to do. 

FABEKU: Mm-hmm. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I think teaching stuff is complicated. Right? And I think that, you know, when … A couple years ago I was in Portland and I taught this class on calling in the person-who-was-getting-the-readings' guardian angel, to feed into the reading process, right? And, you know, in teaching something like that, there's the words, right, which is one part of it. You know? It's like try this, do this, think about it this way, but then, like you say, it's also how is everyone receiving that, what's going on? And a whole bunch of people came up to me after the workshop and basically said, "I've never experienced anything like that before in my life, you know, and I've been doing my own practice," or whatever, and the secret was in that case that essentially I expanded my energy to encompass everybody in the room, and I was modulating everything that was going on, to some degree with everybody there, right? And like, seeing what felt wonky in the space so I need to go over and talk to that person, or maybe I just needed to like, put a little extra energy there for them, and you know, there's so many layers to transmitting something, right? That go well beyond book-learning and words and you know, straightforward things like into another level, right? So.

FABEKU: You know, we just had this conversation in the hyper sigil space this week or last week or whatever it was. Somebody was talking about an experience that they have. So I call, instead of calls, I call them live transmissions, cause I do that, cause for me, that's what they are, it's not some marketing shtick, but you know, they were talking about experiences they had listening to the transmission, and I said, "listen, like, I call these transmissions for a reason." Like, the delivery of information is actually the smallest reason why we're on the phone at the same time doing this. There's a million other ways I could deliver information. I don't really give a shit so much how it happens, but it is that kind of energetic maintenance of the space, of creating currents that people wade into and then you navigate their experience with the current with them while delivering the information and for me that's 90 percent of it, the information, I mean, fuck, I could send out a pdf, I mean it's, you know, who cares about the delivery of the information? In some ways. I think, to me, the real key, and I think the thing that, like you said, give people that experience, is that current, and to create it, and kind of lead people skillfully into it and out of it and you know, yeah, that's the whole thing, for me. 

THERESA: Do you guys feel when you teach that you're doing it from an altered space? 

FABEKU: Yes. 

AIDAN: Yeah, totally. 

FABEKU: Almost every time. Like as soon as I kind of dial in, sit down, like I'll  start to sweat. As it goes on, by the time I’m done, like I feel like I ran a marathon. And that's not a thing that I do. 

[laughter]

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure.

AIDAN: That's a definite thing, and it's interesting. I got an invite this morning to teach at 2020, and that was one of the really odd things, was remembering live teaching, cause I haven't done that since the 90s, and that's kind of a really strange concept to think about revisiting after 25 years. It's like, okay let's wander into a conference space, and do my thing. Cause to me it's always a super altered state, it's not subtle. And that's a, it's a very . . . It is an odd thing.

ANDREW: And for me it's the same doing readings as well, you know. It's the reason I don't dig asynchronous reading processes that much, is I find that the energy's harder to manage . . .

THERESA: Really?!

ANDREW: Yeah. It's way easier for me to sit with somebody and just go anywhere, do anything, whatever needs to happen, but like, to do readings and ... You know, for a while I've been offering these channeled readings, where I channel one of my guides and stuff, and I'm actually going to stop, because channeling without the person being synced in somehow just wears me out. It's really kind of ... So like a 15-minute session of doing that like, and recording it and sending it to somebody, is like ten times more fatiguing than channeling for an hour with the person sitting here. So. 

THERESA: See for me, when it comes to email readings, energy is energy. You know and I always like to say I'm an energy reader, so it's the same energy that I'm tapping into, it doesn't matter if the person's sitting there and with me. I prefer when I'm doing, I prefer the phone readings, because I really feel like we're directly connecting with each other. But the email readings work just as good, the only difference is I think sometimes when people send information via email, they're not completely tuned in. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

THERESA: You know, and so you have to, maybe this is why you feel double the work, is you're having to like, you will have to do double the work, because maybe they'll just send a vague question or whatnot, so it's different. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah, maybe it's so. 

THERESA: Yeah, I don't know. 

AIDAN: It's interesting. When I think about doing the, you know like in the Six Ways Facebook group, the best thing I did was I decided to start shooting video, just cause it seemed like it would be an easier way than writing everything? And what I find is that that's the  . . . it's way easier for me to be talking and transmit kind of clearly is writing. And, like we're doing this on Zoom, and I think if I get around to starting the online classes I'll do them on Zoom for the same reason. It's okay that not everybody will be present but if I've got a body of people present that I can be directly feeding with, it'll work better. 

THERESA: My problem with the typing is, my arthritis. I mean that's the biggest problem. I find it's more like, it's labor intensive for my hands, it's not the transmission of the energy. You know when you're just talking and teaching like that, you're not using that same physical processes as you're doing with your hands . . . So I think that's where I find it to be harder.

AIDAN: Right. I think that for me it's just that I can't type very well. 

[laughing]

ANDREW: That's fair. That's totally fair. I'm actually going back to writing, a series of blog posts and stuff.

FABEKU: Oh, cool. 

ANDREW: I feel like I haven't typed much for a long time. In terms of doing that kind of work. But I feel like--for two reasons, I like to make everything accessible, so I like to get transcriptions of stuff done, like this podcast will be transcribed, and that's a time-consuming process that comes with its own expense, and two, I feel like I'm planning on getting a book proposal in over the winter, and I sort of slide more into that writing space. And when I'm already in that writing space, then it's easy to like, you know, write for a couple of hours, grab a coffee, change gears, and then write something else for an hour, for me, so I can kind of just stay in that space, whereas the recording transmissions and stuff like that, you know, since the separation and divorce that happened in the fall and winter, with my new schedule with the kids and stuff like that, it's a lot harder for me to find a time that's actually quiet to sit down and record something, it's not nearly as simple as it used to--my schedule used to be a lot more flexible, so. Now it's like I can sit and write just fine, and they can be doing whatever in the house, it's not a big deal to me, but to record and then have them, you know, their shenanigans in the background, it gets a little complicated, so.

FABEKU: Yeah, for sure. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. And I guess that's been the big change for me, right? You know, my relationship of 21 years ended, I think we talked about it some in the fall podcast . . .

AIDAN: Yeah, we did. 

ANDREW: Yeah, and mid-December, my ex moved out, and so I've had sort of almost two months now, I guess, or a month and a half of settling into what it's like to be independent half the time and with the kids half the time and you know, kind of going through this process of going through everything that I own and reassessing it, and seeing what do I want to keep, what's important, what's not important, and, you know, kind of extending that further out into like lots of things, I'm kind of reevaluating where I'm putting my time on kind of every front right now and trying to see what feels like it makes sense to me or doesn't make sense to me, you know? I had a great time watching that Tidying Up show with Marie Kondo. You know? Me and the kids and one of my partners watched it, and you know, it's like, that notion of what's exciting and what's not has continued to kind of fuel a bunch of decisions in different directions. Like looking at my work life and thinking about what am I, what am I really really inspired by? And what feels either burdensome or kind of to make it even more to the point, if the thing that I want from it is not a thing that it can give me, you know, there's kind of like an incoherence of the agenda, you know? And where I'm recognizing those shifting agendas kind of going along, I'm not going to get that from this, so I really ought to reconsider my investment in this. If that's not going to happen, what's the value to me then, you know? or is there a value to me then? You know? So. Yeah. So it's a lot of pruning going on, a lot of throwing out stuff around the space and sifting back through a bunch of stuff. Yeah. 

AIDAN: Yeah, that's definitely been going on over here too. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

AIDAN: That was what led to the change in the shop, cause that process just clipped a ton of the work that I didn't like around the shop, it's just gone now. And then that's kind of feeding in. Like the shop itself, which as y'all know  is a tiny space, is just way less busy. There's a lot less in here now. A lot of like, who are the helper spirits that are actually helpers? And who are the hangers on that are sometimes helpful but not really, not paying freight, and let's cut ties there and simplify it. It's definitely the season for it, I think. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

FABEKU: Yeah, that's been the same thing here. I mean on all fronts. The work front, you know, there's been stuff I've been contemplating for six months, nine months, longer. And kind of finally brought some of that together. Like this thing that I used to dig? I don't dig it as much anymore. So I'm not going to do it. And this thing that I still kind of dig, I'm going to change it, so I can dig it more than I do at the moment.

AIDAN: Yeah!

FABEKU: You know, on the personal front, there was a long relationship I was in that was kind of agonizing over longer than I needed to, and end of the year, it was like, yeah, no, this doesn't make any sense any more. Like you said, that--I like that language, Andrew--the incoherence of agenda, cause it was like, this is never going to fucking shake out the way I want it to shake out, no matter what the fuck I do, it just doesn't make any sense, and you know, at some point it was interesting and thinking, about the mundane stuff I could do, the magical stuff, and it's like, why? it's just, what the fuck, it doesn't make any sense, just pack it up and move on. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

FABEKU: You know? I don't mean it just in the context of the relationship but with a lot of things, you know? And I think for me it feels like a time when it's kind of important to reduce, to pretty radically reduce the noise, to amp the signal even more than it has been. It seems like, I don't know, kind of midway through last year I started to realize there's--not even more noise--but there's just more shit in the field to manage. And I just don't want to do that. 

SOMEBODY: Yeah.

FABEKU: I just don't want to do it. 

AIDAN: Yeah. 

FABEKU: Let's get the few things that are solid signal and crystal clear and right fucking on and amp the shit out of that, and the rest of it? I'm just not interested in it. I'm just not into it at all at this point. 

THERESA: I've been doing a major decluttering too, so I watched that same Tidying Up thing. And, you know, we have a real problem with clutter around here. My husband's an artist, first of all, and you know, I know how artists are, and you guys know how artists are. 

[laughter]

THERESA: Artists collect a lot of stuff, and we have a lot of things, and this is a really big house. So, it got filled. You know the more we took over the house, the more he found things to fill. So we went through stuff and we're still going through stuff, and you know, my big problem is my books issues. 

ANDREW: [laughing] There are only about 30, right? 

THERESA: Yeah well, that's not going to happen, guys!

[helpless laughter]

THERESA: Cause you know, most of the books are stuff that I use. The thing that I have to go through, though, you know, right now, the clothes are done, I'm not a big clothes person, I'm not a big shoe person, I'm not one of those chicks, I have very few shoes, I don't care about shoes. You know I used to have a lot of purses, I don't care about that. I was hoarding lipstick--you know, this is my new lipstick, guys!

FABEKU: It looks fantastic! 

THERESA: Thank you! 

[chuckling]

THERESA: But also, my books and, you know, cooking gadgets, so, slowly little by little we've gone through things and, you know, the biggest thing we have left to do is the books. And Terry right now is upstairs and tearing through the cooking things, which is kind of horrifying me, because he doesn't know exactly what I use to create that magic in the kitchen, but, I'm just like, you know what, I don't have the time to do all this decluttering, go declutter it. But it's also making us a lot more mindful about the reasons we keep on holding on to our clutter. So we've had long discussions about that, and we've come to the determination, it's because we both grew up poor. There's that tendency then to want to hold onto things because it's the fear that you're going to need it or you may not have it again. So that whole way of growing up, it really does then create that energy where you hold on for dear life and then nothing else can get in that's worthwhile. So why am I holding onto this stupid thing, this Hello Kitty spatula that's too small to even turn over an egg? Why? It's got to go! It's not serving the purpose.

FABEKU: Yeah, and for me I get that probably the most with the books, right? Because, you know, in the past I managed to scrape together cash, get a couple books, and then when I was broke as fuck, had to sell the books, and now that I've got them again, it's like, "I'm never getting rid of these books," which of course isn't the smartest thing. But it's exactly that thing. Like I remember having to box up, you know, 12 boxes of books to take ‘em to Half Price Books and they give you ten fucking dollars, you know, you have grocery money . . .

THERESA: Yep. 

FABEKU: And it's like yeah, I'm never doing that again. So for me now, I've got thousands of books, which is madness, but, yeah, I think there is something to that, I think that that experience of either not being able to get it, or not knowing if you'd be able to get it again, I think for me anyway, it does, it creates a thing of wanting to hold onto shit way longer than makes sense.

THERESA: Yep. 

FABEKU: … is the case, for sure. 

ANDREW: I really feel this intense impulse that I want to make things, versus own things. 

FABEKU: Mm.

ANDREW: If that makes sense? You know? Books have a way of creeping back in, you know, partly because people give me a lot of books, because of the store, because I'm friends with them, and my friends publish books and that's fantastic, and I love looking at what my friends are doing, and that kind of stuff, but like, even I'm looking at the books that are on the shelf in the reading room here. I don't even know like, other than maybe two or three of them, I don't even know the last time I opened any of them. 

THERESA: Wow. 

ANDREW: Like it's been a long time, right? And you know, somebody was ... having this conversation about having tarot books and being a tarot reader, and whatever, and I'm like ... I don't, I mean, I read my friends' books, cause they're my friends and they wrote them, but I don't really read books on tarot any more. You know? Not because they're not good and not because maybe I couldn't learn stuff, but you know, I was, I listen to this podcast called The Moment with this guy Brian Koppelman, he makes movies. And there's some really great ones. The ones with Seth Godin are really interesting. And he has one with Salmon Rushdie. Which is fascinating. But one of the things that he talks about is how, when he drops into a project, he doesn't want his ideas contaminated with other things. And because I'm sliding more and more into being creative, visually and with words and these things all the time, I don't really, I really want to express what I want to express, and that brings about this place where I don't really want to bring stuff in. Because it's easy to get in my head about it. It's easy to think too much. It's easy to be like, "oh, this person said this thing, what do I think about that, do I need to address it?" It's like, it just slows the process, it creates drag in the creative process for me, so I kind of move away from that. You know, most of what I learn about card reading I learn from, you know, just doing more and more readings all the time. Or sometimes hanging out and talking with people about card reading, more so than actually sitting and reading books about it and such, you know? 

FABEKU: Yeah. I think one of the--

THERESA: [simultaneously] Sometimes I like-- Oh, sorry.

FABEKU: No, go ahead, Theresa. 

THERESA: I was just going to say, real briefly--sometimes though I do like looking at what other people write about tarot, because I 'll look at it and say, "well that's interesting." You know I'll probably discard it anyways, because I'm very stubborn about my methods . . .

ANDREW: You? 

THERESA: [laughs] But I do like-- But I do sometimes like, just like, you know, looking and saying, "well, that's very interesting.” It's still not going to change the way I'm doing things, because I've been doing things for so long, but it might at least give me a little different perspective. Okay, Fabeku, sorry about that!

FABEKU: No, no, you're fine. I think for me, one of the best things I did in my business, maybe six or eight years ago, I just stopped looking at all the business shit. I didn't . . . I haven't read a business book in six or seven years. I haven't read business blogs, I unsubscribed to everything, and again, it's not that I didn't give a shit, really, but I kind of didn't give a shit. And it was mostly because of that, that noise thing. 

You know, it's like I just, like you said, Andrew, I want to transmit my thing, like I don't want--not that there's anything wrong with anybody else's thing, I just don't want their signal mixed in with my signal. And I think the results of that, and the same has been true for me with magic, with divination, with everything--it feels like the more I reduce that noise, the clearer I can get to my signal and transmit it, and then I think, the better that is for everybody that's on the receiving end of it. You know, I think that--and people say, well, you know, do you miss, do you miss being up to date on what's going on? Not really. I mean and again, I'm sure there's brilliant stuff out there. it's not that I-- I'm not acting like it's all shit--I just--for me, I think it's the processing power that's required to read it and then still keep it isolated from what I'm doing. It's just too much. It just--I don't, I don't want to do it--I just would rather get down to whatever my thing is. Whatever that means. 

THERESA: See, Fabeku, you need my way of doing things. I'm just so fucking stubborn . . .

[laughter]

THERESA: It doesn't matter how brilliant it is! I'm still going to do things exactly the way I'm going to do things, and I've always been that way, and it's ridiculous. But again, I'll get the little information, I'll get the feedback, I'll look at it, and I still do everything exactly the fucking way I'm going to do it. 

FABEKU: Sounds familiar! 

[laughter]

AIDAN: Hear ye, hear ye!

THERESA: That's the key!

ANDREW: You know I remember talking to Enrique Enriquez, and we were discussing this in one of the podcast episodes that I did with him I think, and we were talking about how we'll be reading something, and we'll just get to a sentence and be like, "Huh, I just need to think about that for a month now." You know? And so like--there's a reason--I haven't finished Six Ways yet! Because, I get through to a certain point, and then I hit an idea, and I'm like, "Huh. Huh." I just put it down and just sit for a while, and just like chew it over for a while, you know, and maybe it gets misplaced for a little bit after that, and then I find it again, I'm like, "Oh, I should really finish that book," and you know, it's, when you told me that my name was in there somewhere, I was like, I haven't even gotten to that yet! And it's like, you know, kind of halfway through the book or so, right? 

AIDAN: [laughing]

ANDREW: And I'm just like, huh. And I'll get through it, but for me I like to digest things really thoroughly if I'm going to let them in, and I think that's part of it too, right? You know it's back to like my own thinking, and that kind of stuff and how much of that, not even willingness for that to be let in, but where there is stuff that's really thought-provoking, I only have so much space for that too, you know? 

AIDAN: Yeah. I have, you know, it's interesting, once you put out your book--I imagine, you've all done this, I think, so you have had this experience. All of a sudden you become a book guy who has done this thing. And so, I get a fair amount of like, review copies now, pdfs of books that are due to come out to see if I could write for them, and most of them I just have to tell them I can't, cause it's just not, I wouldn't know, or want, to read your book on goetia [laughing]. I wouldn't know how to review it if I did, cause I have no interest in that kind of spirit interaction. 

But like I've been really lucky to get two books, recently, one from Devin Hunter and one from Matt Auryn, that are really great, and part of the reason that they work for me is that their approach is really like a psychic clairvoyant take on witchcraft. So it's like witchcraft with the kind of traditional psychic components brought way to the forefront. Which are not my strong point. So it's one of those things that I can read and go like, “Oh, yeah, I can see how I could grab this practice here and use this to develop something that I don't have,” you know. And so they've both been really good for that. But in general, kind of reading within the field gets harder and harder for me as time goes on because I'm so stubborn that it's like, I'm reading and kind of just going, nah, nah, nah, or I've seen this so many times, it's an interesting balance. But ...

THERESA: Can I just say this to you? It's not that . . . I know this sounds terrible, but I don't get my inspiration, you know, from reading tarot books. The inspiration that I get from life comes from way different sources. You know, I'm more likely not to get inspired by reading your tarot interpretations but by, you know, maybe listening to a Lil Wayne song. I get my inspiration from very very different places, so . . .

AIDAN: Yep. 

THERESA: And I think it's because too, I mean every day I'm in tarot. I'm like in tarot and in astrology every day of my life. And so I do still like to read the books, but my creative inspiration rarely comes from that. It rarely comes from reading someone's tarot or astrology book. It's going to come from a very very different source. Cooking is one of my main ways . . . And watching cooking shows and cookbooks, I actually get a lot more inspiration from that. And one of the things I love about cooking--Cooking is very magical. You know I'm very superstitious about food. I won't eat food prepared by somebody I don't like. Food has to be prepared with intention. And what I love about the whole process of cooking, because in another lifetime I should have been a chef, is I love to cook because you're creating and then you destroy it immediately!

AIDAN: Yeah.

THERESA: It's gone. Boom! It's done. I mean it was there. You know that the remnants are still there because it's showing up either in your waistline, or the indigestion, or the pleasure that you're feeling, but it's gone. It's all gone. I mean, food is magic.

FABEKU: It is magic. It always reminds me--first of all, I agree about the source of inspiration. To me, art has been a bigger inspiration on my magic than magic stuff has. 

AIDAN: Absolutely.

FABEKU: Cooking has been a bigger inspiration on my business than business shit ever has. The ... all of that stuff. Cooking, and I remember there was one time I was eating this really fantastic meal at a restaurant that did amazing food. It was the place you and I ate at, Theresa. 

THERESA: Mm-hmm.

FABEKU: [00:33:33] When they, when they brought the food out, as I was eating it, I had that moment where it felt like, you know, when you see the mandalas that the Buddhists create, right?

THERESA: Yes!

FABEKU: They spend fucking forever making these things and they're amazing and they're beautiful and you see them and it's this experience of awe and they're gone--

THERESA: Yes!

FABEKU: You know, they just they just wipe them out in a moment and it's like this is what this feels like. it was--and it felt like taking in all of that. Like you said, the creation of it, the attention to detail, the care, the creativity, the magic, and then making that a part of you, and literally it's gone in minutes. It's . . . 

THERESA: Yeah!

FABEKU: It, to me, that's the kind of thing that that just wows me every time and it does, it doesn't have . . . shit, I don't care whether it's an expensive meal, it doesn't matter about that at all. It's just that thing of something that's been amazingly created and you know that they spent all day in the kitchen prepping for that and literally in a matter of minutes the plate's empty. 

THERESA: Uh-huh. 

FABEKU: It's, it's phenomenal.

AIDAN: Yeah.

THERESA: That's like true magic. I mean when I go to when I go to Portland every year there's a restaurant called Castagna that I go to. They now know me because they know I'm nuts about their rolls. and they serve weird stuff. I mean, but it is meticulously prepared and it comes out and I mean I grew up Catholic, so when you eat it, it's like communion. You're taking it into your body, the soul of that chef, and their creativity, and there is nothing more magical than that.

AIDAN: Well, I think that that also sinks into another kind of concept that ties into some of Fabeku and I's experiences recently, because we've both been playing [00:35:03] with hyper sigil work. Is that . . . that element of like, you're doing this for right now? And then you're going to do the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. I think is missing from a lot of people's approach to magical arts, that they're like, they're somehow want to use this kind of technology of radical change to produce a static state that will always work for them, is what comes to mind, thinking of that, which has really never been my take. It's like, no, I'm just walking, right? And I'm going to choose where I go. I'm going to . . . but I'm not walking down the street to then stop at that house and then live in that house forever. I'm just walking and sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's hard and sometimes it's snowing, right? but it's very much like that food concept that you bring up, Theresa, and I like that, because it is, it's like, there's not, it's not working to an . . . a permanent end point and I think that all the really cool stuff is like that. For a lot of it, you know.

THERESA: Well, a lot of people think they're going to get a permanent result from magic. Same like from a tarot reading, that it's going to be a guarantee of your future and there's no guarantees. I mean, I always say you can have a perfectly great astrology chart and be a complete schmuck. You can get a great reading and you can decide to make different decisions that change and alter what's coming. And when it comes to magic, you can do all the magic in the world, but nothing's going to be permanent, nothing's guaranteed. [00:36:33] And, so again, it's very much like eating. You make something, you make a beautiful ... you put all of your intention and your energy into it, then you've got to like, destroy it and forget about it and see what happens and keep that kind of an attitude about it.

AIDAN: Right, or you go on the three-week nothing but dark chocolate binge and you discover you don't feel great at the end of that.

THERESA: Well, I do! 

AIDAN: Right?

THERESA: I have a dark chocolate emergency stash!

[laughter]

THERESA: We have dark chocolate every day and we always feel good.

[laughter]

ANDREW: For me, it reminds me--

FABEKU: Yeah, go ahead, Andrew.

ANDREW: Go ahead, Fabeku.

FABEKU: No, you're good. Go for it. 

ANDREW: Okay. Reminds me, you know, one of my teachers when I was in the Aurum Solis, we had this big conversation about students and neophytes and people coming in and you know, how people, why people drop out, why people don't follow through, you know, and all this kind of stuff. and you know, I think that some of the reasons are for the reasons we talked about here. I think there's a variety of reasons, you know, people are, people are in the wrong place, people need something other than the actual longer term arc of it, you know, many reasons that aren't even to do with failure, for why people drop out or don't pursue or stick with these things over time, but I think that one of the things that I realized about myself in that conversation was that at some point along the way I had decided that I was I [00:38:03] ... I was committed to being ready to give up who I thought I was . . .

FABEKU: Mm.

ANDREW: In order to discover who I was now.

THERESA: Mm.

ANDREW: You know? And somewhere, and I don't even know where it started, this sort of notion of an anchored identity or an anchored sort of concrete sense of self or practice or other things. I just . . . you know, I just decided that that wasn't useful. And so I stopped thinking that way and started noticing those moments where that slip in the gears or that incongruousness emerged, you know? And then later on when I, you know, when my godmother was still alive, we'd have these conversations, you know, about something or about my reading for a year or whatever. You know, I just remember there were a number of times where she started laughing, she goes, “Well, it's a good thing you have a flexible ego, Andrew, because blah blah blah” whatever. I'm like, “Oh, yeah, all right, [38:59 or so: for change, for change?],” you know? But I think that that stuff is so important and so hard to come by and even at that, you know, I mean, I don't think that it's always easy, right? Like, you know, I mean, I went through a divorce last year. It went well as far as those things go, it went really well and I've changed my ideas around it or I have emerged sort of more clearly who I am on the other side of that. But the . . . all those things take time as well. Right? So even at that, there's no magic to something to be like, all [00:39:33] right, boom, you know, done, changed, whatever, right? Because really if I had that kind of magic, I would, I'd be summoning those goetic spirits and having them finish sorting all the stuff at the house that I'm still trying to sort through. You know?

[laughter]

AIDAN: Totally.

ANDREW: How did Solomon make that happen? How did he get them all working? Right? That's my problem.

AIDAN: [39:52 Reblendo? What?]

ANDREW: I can get one of them working. But all of them at the same time? I never got that trick down! 

[laughter]

FABEKU: I think for me what . . . And what you said makes total sense to me, that, that, that fixed sense of identity to me feels really problematic as a human being, and it feels even more problematic as a magician. You know, I think that it feels like, in a lot of ways to me, at this point, magic is just kind of just perpetually riding a wave like Theresa said, there's no, there's a fixed point. There's no done. There's no finished static, got it, nailed down. It's . . . this is what the wave looks like now and now here's what the wave looks like and maybe it's fast or slow or big or it's crashing or whatever the fuck it's doing. But to me, it feels like the most effective thing I can do as a magician is learn how to ride the wave more skillfully and learn how to direct it in, you know, whatever ways that we can. And yeah, I think if you expect something fixed and static, whether that's an experience of yourself or an experience of the world, magic will kick you in the fucking teeth with that stuff.

THERESA: And also, if you look at this from a scientific perspective, not that I'm some scientist, I'm not, but . . .

ANDREW: Please [00:41:03] ignore the lab coat.

[laughter]

THERESA: But think about this, you know, everything is changing constantly. We get a new body every seven years. Our cells are constantly changing. So we're not looking the same as we did seven years ago. I mean, I wish I had the same body I had 20 years ago. I don't! Because every seven years your cells are completely regenerating. So when you think about that from a magical perspective, there is no way in hell, you're going to get like some kind of a permanent thing, because everything is always evolving. And my friend Joe one time said to me, and it really pissed me off when I was younger. He said, “You know, the only thing, kid, that's unchanging, is change.” And I'm like, “What the fuck kind of logic is that?” It took a while for that to sink in, but it makes sense. Nothing is going to be an absolute permanent thing. And so when you're doing magic, like you said, Fabeku, it's more about riding with that energy, working with the energy. You can still enact change, but you still have to find a way to move with it. 

AIDAN: Right.

FABEKU: Yeah, I think for me, my initial interest in magic felt like it was about control and fixing things. And fixing things, I don't mean as in fixing problems: creating a static state, right? And that was all based on my anxiety.

THERESA: Yeah.

FABEKU: If I can, if I can magic the shit out of this, I can get it solid enough, the way I need it to be, where I need it to be, where I'm going to be fine. And then at some point you realize: even if you can pull that off, tomorrow, it's a different thing. [00:42:33] 

THERESA: Yes.

FABEKU: Next week, it's an entirely different thing. And so I think for me I spent too much time figuring out: Okay, what's the magic that I can use to create the static state, which of course is bullshit. And now it's: what magic can I use to ride this fucker as effectively and as skillfully as I possibly can, and you know, hopefully keep my head above water in the process. 

AIDAN: Yeah.

THERESA: I think a lot of us come into magic though, around that whole notion of trying to fix things or control things. Because I know when I got my first introduction to magical things I was a little girl and I would see the ads for The Magic Power of Witchcraft with Gavin and Yvonne Frost in the back of the National Enquirer that my mother used to get. and I would pour over those ads and I thought, “You know, if I get this book,” which, I didn't have the money to get the book, but “If I only could get this book, we'd no longer be poor and then everything would be magically fixed.” Which as you guys know, that's a very childlike way of looking at things. We all know that, let's say we do the magic and get all the money. It's no guarantee that you're not still going to be a loser, you know? So but in my childlike mind, I would look at those ads and that was like, this is the answer I need, to do this witchcraft stuff. I need to get this magic, get rich so I can get out of this household and everything will be better.

FABEKU: Yeah.

AIDAN: Right, and it's funny because then I think, you know, I . . . It kind of sinks it all that [00:44:03] stuff. Whereas the reality is, like, well, when you get out of that household, it'll be different. 

THERESA: Yeah. 

AIDAN: And that will probably be better, just because it will be different, right? 

SOMEONE: Mm-hmm.

AIDAN: And I think that that's one of the games that people can get fucked up by, is not realizing like no, no, no, that's . . . You're looking at an end step that might really be step one. Like if your situation isn't working, it may not be that you need to do magic. It may be that you need a different situation. Which is often really hard and really uncomfortable but you can almost always have one. 

THERESA: Yes!

AIDAN: You're not incarcerated, you can walk out of your life right now and do something different. And everybody goes, well no, there's all these things. You go, no, those are all real things, but none of those is stopping you from walking out your front door and having a completely different life.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think that . . .

AIDAN: And it may be ugly as hell, but you can do it.

FABEKU: Yeah.

ANDREW: Yeah, I think that, you know, if you're, if you're caught between those things, right? You know, like between sort of starting a new life and not. You know, magic isn't necessarily the answer either, right? Because, like thinking back to sort of like this time last year, you know my ex and I decided to call it--in July right on one of the equinoxes--or, one of the eclipses [00:45:33]--that happened, right? So, you know and . . . but like, the first half of that year leading up to this was just sort of like, clear noticing on both sides that stuff wasn't right. And this notion of like, well, what if we do this, what about this? What about that? You know and then trying those things, and a lot of that stock is predominantly, in this case, you know, not in everybody's case, because there's many different experiences, right? But like a lot of that stuff was psychological, right?

THERESA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: And that kind of clarity, you know, comes from processing it, right? Not from, not from a magical act, be like. All right, give me clarity, you know, like not even from like, you know, I mean, I could have asked the Orishas, and be like, hey, should I, should I, should I get divorced, you know? And they would have given me an answer, you know? But, but even that, if we're not clear in ourselves and we're not ready to make a change, the question is not, the question needs to move away from do I stay or do I go, but how do I get clearer in myself about it? And how do I get organized and acknowledge what are my concerns, what are the real-world challenges? What are . . . you know, all that kind of stuff so we can actually get ourselves to a place of clarity and some of those smaller steps might be susceptible to magic. Like hey, you know what? Maybe if I, if I had more money, I [00:47:03] would make a different decision here.

THERESA: Mm-hmm!

ANDREW: Well, I could do some magic around that, but that's not the same as making a piece of magic to get to that clarity necessarily, or to carry us through this idyllic state on the other side, you know? Does that make any sense?

FABEKU: Yeah, it makes . . . It makes total sense to me, because when . . . So I got divorced five years ago, five and a half years ago, whatever it was, and it was a long process for us. It wasn't . . . Nobody just woke up one day and said, “Oh shit, I'm done.” Like, it . . . little . . . years of it in some ways. And I've thought a lot about like, why did that take so long? Not in a bad way, but kind of in a curious way. And what I realized is that she and I were both, like you said, kind of inching our way toward that clarity because it wasn't clear: be done, stay, whatever. And so we would try this and then that didn't work. So that moved us a little, a little forward in terms of clarity. Okay? Well, let's try that. That didn't work. And then you kind of reach the end of those things and then you feel clear and it's shitty. It was for me. It was shitty, it was devastatingly sad for her as well. But I think that's the thing. There is a process to that clarity and like you said, how do you magic that? I don't, I don't know how to magic that shit. I mean there was, you know, we both did work around capacity to be open to, let's try this. Let's try that. And also, at some point I said, I think maybe we should also be open to the fact that this might not work in a way that we want it to, right? So not just capacity to fix it but capacity to say, I think that what we need to do is just move in different directions, you know, and that was, that was a process that took a couple fucking [00:48:33] years for us. I mean that was not a fast thing at all.

THERESA: But sometimes magic can support things that we're going through, but you still have to do your work. 

FABEKU: Yeah.

THERESA: You don't ... And that's one of the things I think too, a lot of people, you know, when you first come to, like magic and stuff, we just think it's going to suddenly make our lives better, but it doesn't always work like that. Years ago, when I lived in New York, there used to be a shop called The Magical Child and it was run by a guy named Herman Slater and you can go in there and buy these little magical kits. So my roommate and I were both convinced we had bad luck. So I said, “Let's go ahead and get one of these kits.” And so we got the kit, we did the magic rituals together. I got to tell you, the whole energy in the room shifted. I mean it was weird. It was one of the most intense magical experiences I've ever had. And I looked at my roommate after that and I said, “Did you feel that?” And he said, “Yeah, I felt that too.” 

Well, what's really interesting is after that experience, my life did start to change for the better. And a lot of it was me becoming more conscious about: How did I get in the, how did I get into the situation? How can I get out? Whereas even though my roommate and I did that ritual together, his life continued to spiral in terrible directions. And the thing is, you can do all the magic in the world. But if you're still making crappy decisions or not being conscious of the process of getting yourself into a better place that magic is going to be not very effective. 

AIDAN: Right. One of the things that I've been ... I've got a piece that I think will be coming [00:50:03] out in the next collection. It has to do with that idea and it's a ... it's a talisman that's focused on the idea of effective power. Like, you know, you can have the stick, you can have the rock, and you can beat them against the other rock and not much happens. But if you know how to set it up as kind of a fulcrum and a lever and you do that on the right side so that once that thing breaks free, it doesn't roll down on you or something, you know, then that's what we would like to have happen more often in our lives. It's like where do we ... And so I think magic can absolutely help but it's, you have to have enough sense of clarity or use it to get enough sense of clarity or use divination to get enough sense of clarity. Whatever gets you there to go: Okay, I want this to change and here is a point that I could apply some pressure where that will happen. And then I'm going to have to probably do follow-up to keep that moving in the direction that I want to because again, nothing's static. It's not like that you pop that pop that spell and then everything is done. 

THERESA: Wouldn't that be nice?

AIDAN: It would be awesome!

[laughter]

AIDAN: But it might give you that that that initial push that gets over the inertia that allows you to then kind of keep working on a more, you know, easier level or a less stressful level to get where you want to go.

FABEKU: I think one of the things that, that I'm always thinking about and talking about is this idea that magic forces coherence, you know, it's ... It sounds fine to sit down and [00:51:33] enchant for a partner. And then let's say that partner shows up and you've got all kinds of emotional baggage. You've got unresolved bullshit, you're not as available to being loved as you think you would be. So what the fuck happens right? This person shows up, if they show up and then you get to eat shit sorting out your stuff. 

So, I mean the magic works right? You got the person, you had the money, you got the job, you got whatever the fuck it is. And then I think it also highlights all of the things that you need to shift in order to be coherent and that's usually not a magic. I mean, sometimes it's a magical thing, but sometimes it's just like “Oh, yeah, I just need to deal with my shit.” Like, “I've got a bunch of stuff. I need to deal with my shit.” Or “I've got money, but I'm really shitty at managing money. So I need to buy a book on managing money.” Like that's the thing. It's ... I like that idea of that fulcrum thing. It will move things in a certain direction and then you have to figure out what the fuck to do as it moves in that direction and if you're unskillful at that, magic's not going to fix that. It can't fix that. And I think that, in a lot of ways this goes back to what Andrew was saying about that fixed sense of identity, you know, so I think that magic in order to change things has to also change who we are and if that doesn't happen, I think we're either going to not have very effective results with magic or I don't think we're going to be able to sustain stuff over time, you know? And most of ... most of that forcing coherence shit fucking sucks.

AIDAN: [chuckling]

FABEKU: It's not great. You know? It's not a delightful thing. Nobody's like, “Oh great. My new person showed up, now I get to eat shit sorting my stuff.” Nobody wants to fucking do that. [00:53:03] It's a mess. It's a total mess. 

THERESA: It's kind of like when people win the lottery. They often think that their problems going to resolve but the money actually brings out more of what they really are. And if they haven't resolved who they are, they end up either blowing it all or doing really awful things with the money. 

FABEKU: Yeah. Yep. 

THERESA: You've got to resolve who you are because all the magic or tarot cards or astrology or you know, whatever, none of it's going to work if you don't resolve who you are, you have to go there and do the work on you.

AIDAN: Yeah, I have a ... I have a guy that I knew through a friend who won the lottery. And I've known a couple of people through friends that have had the usual win, a couple million dollars and just fucking crash and burn and end up in a much worse state than they started and he was like ... I think he was like 16 years into his military career and he was like the perfect guy to win the lottery because he kind of went like, “Oh, that's nice. I will now spend the next four years till I get my pension from the military figuring out what to do with this four million dollars.” He like didn't really do anything because he knew he was not the guy to figure that out, but he could become that guy and was disciplined enough that he actually ... He's doing fabulously as far as I know 25 years later because of that. And he was just set. And he was not carrying a ton of wreckage and he knew where his problems were and he applied himself intelligently [00:54:33] and I think that that's the game. 

ANDREW: Yeah. The person who runs the pizza place near where I lived a long time ago. They won the lottery twice. I don't think like a million dollars but like hundreds of thousands of dollars several times and they just kept running the pizza business. Right, like they just kept showing up and making pies and you know, whatever. Like I don't know what they did with the money but like they just never stopped, you know, the place still runs now, you know, and it's like, yeah, life continues, right? 

AIDAN: Totally.

ANDREW: I think, I think it's actually, you know, I look at ... I look at different people in my profession. And there are some people that I see and based on conversations with them and based on how I see them approaching work, I see them like working to get out of it, you know, they're working to retire. They're working to get enough money or they don't even have a plan to retire maybe and they're hoping that they'll somehow hit it a certain way and get out of it and whatever and, and I think it's, it's really problematic, right? You know, it's like, it's fine if you know, that's what you're doing and you handled it really well, but I think that if you know, like if your buddy in the military had been like, “Ah, I can be late for roll call or whatever because I got a million bucks in the bank,” if ... that's not going to go well, right? you know? 

And for me, like [00:56:03] people have asked me a number of times like, “Well, what would happen if you won all this money?” and whatever. I'm like, you know, well, I'd still run the shop and I'd still do readings and I'd still whatever. It would change a bunch of things and it would change how I went about it and maybe how much of it I did. but it's not going to change anything else, because, because I'm in this and I see myself being in this for, you know, indefinitely, you know, as opposed to an end, right? And just with a sort of periodic re-visioning of it to suit where I'm at that point, you know? You know, I'm sure in 10 years I'll have a different approach to being in the store and doing readings than I have now. In 20 years, I'll have a different approach again, but like the notion that I'm not going to be somehow doing what I'm doing in that amount of time just doesn't exist, you know? and I think that it's very, it's very interesting. Like the way in which people think about their future or think about, you know, like now, sort of, you know, not being ... well, I was always polyamorous anyway, but like looking at dating and stuff and it's a hundred percent find [not sure if I heard this right: find?] that people are on OkCupid or Tinder or whatever to meet their person and get off of there. But it's such a, such a complicated energy to bring to something to be there only so you could not be there anymore. You know?

AIDAN: Totally.

THERESA: I always think when I work that ... Oops. I always think: I get to work today. I [00:57:33] never look at it: “Oh, God, I got to work.” It's always: “Yay, I get to work today.” So I come from a long line of people who love to work and everyone in our family has a good work ethic and we love what we do. So I can't imagine a full retirement. Sorry Aidan. I didn't mean to jump in.

AIDAN: Oh, no, I was basically going the same place. You know, I did 30 years of retail, which I didn't love. And so now that I'm able to do something that I do love, I have no intention of quitting. And yeah, it's like you said, if you give me a couple million dollars, I will probably get a warehouse nearby and have somebody build me a half pipe because I'll be able to afford the insurance and going to Panama for the stem cell treatments to repair my injuries instead of just being fucked up. And I will skate a lot more, you know. But yeah, I don't see it changing the whole thing, you know, it's not a ... It wouldn't be a ticket out. It would be like, okay now I can really just kind of chill and go crazy on: What is the best form of this thing that I do if I'm not as reliant on it being somewhat reasonable for people to be able to play with me? You know.

ANDREW: For sure. And, you know, and obviously we're not talking about, you know, like I worked at 7-Eleven in high school. If I was still working at 7-Eleven...

[laughter]

AIDAN: Totally!

ANDREW: You know, like, like, you know, we're all definitely in different positions than that, right?

THERESA: Right.

ANDREW: Like you know, you said you worked retail for [00:59:03] a long time. And that wasn't your jam, you know, and that's completely fair too, right? So like, you know, I don't want anybody feeling bad because they're like, “Oh, I have this job that sucks.” It's like some jobs suck, you know, I mean, you know, some jobs, you know, and whatever, but, and that's where, you know, maybe working some magic to start making some change and see what else you can do to kind of move in different directions, right? Like none of us got where we were and where we are and not that I'm hanging us up as role models either in that sense, but like all of us got where we are over a long period of time, right? 

THERESA: Yeah 

ANDREW: Lots of changes and lots of acts of magic and acts of dedication and practice and discipline and whatever, different things, luck maybe even, right? you know, like there are lots of ways in which we got where we are. So yeah.

FABEKU: And you know, I think, I think a lot of that--going back to the identity thing. I... For me, the reason I keep going back to it is because it seems like such a critical piece, because if you have a fixed sense of identity and you're in a job you hate or you're in a relationship you hate or whatever it is, and you keep telling yourself: “This is who I am. This is what my life looks like. This is what I can do. This is kind of it.” How the fuck do you ever change that, right? 

So I think that if you instead kind of look past, this is not the easiest thing to do, but if you, if you can stretch past that and look at the things, like what am I telling myself I can never do that's impossible? The shit I could never have. Why am I telling myself that? Where the fuck did that come from? Is that actually true? If it's not true, what could I do now, that's different, [01:00:33] to get a different job, a different person, a different amount of money, and start looking at those things? But I think it ... that for me, the identity piece and the possibility piece are so intimately connected, I don't think you can separate them. 

And you know, if somebody that ... because I think about my dad, like he wanted to be an artist. He wasn't an artist. He spent his entire job in some high-level government corporate bullshit thing that he fucking hated. He was miserable, but that's who he told himself he was. That, that, that was his thing. He couldn't be an artist. He couldn't have a life he loved. He had to go to this place. And he died that way. It was fucking terrible, you know? And almost all of that came back to this identity stuff. And I wonder, you know, if he had, if one day he had said to himself: “Hmm. Is this really true, the bullshit I'm telling myself? It's probably not.” Like I wonder how things would have been different for him. So I mean, I think ... You know, I think those are just important things for people to think about when they find themselves with shit they don't dig. 

THERESA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: Yeah, I was you know, I live, I live on the edge of a really fancy neighborhood in Toronto. And there's, there's this design store that sells, you know, fancy designer stuff. They do interior design for all these like multimillion-dollar homes and stuff like that. And I was looking for, I've been looking for a chair for my bedroom, so I have a spot where I can go and read and be away from, like if my kids want to watch TV and have their friends over, I can be like, that's cool. I'm going to go to my room. You have the main space and I'm going to be comfortable [01:02:03] and relaxed and not feel like I'm like forced to like sit on my bed like that, you know, whatever, right? Because I don't want that resentment. Right? 

And, and I was walking by this place and they had this beautiful armchair in the window and it had this amazing bird print fabric, like just these huge finches printed on it. And, you know, being a really fancy store, the fabric was cut perfectly, and the relationship of the birds, the shape of the chair, was amazing. I was just like, “Oh my God, that's such a beautiful chair.” And then I went and looked at it and it was like two and a half thousand dollars or something like that. And I was like, “Huh,” and I walked away. I'm like “Man, such a nice chair, I could never have a chair like that.” 

And then I caught myself, because I had to walk past it over a while, and it's like, “Man, well like I can't afford it today obviously, like that's not a thing,” but I'm like, “What would it be? Would I... What would it be to be a person who could afford that chair? What would it be? What would I need to do to be able to afford that kind of chair, you know, and like not just like crack the credit card or whatever, right?” And then, and then I kind of noticed that momentum of it opening up possibilities, right? And then I was like, “Wow, well, what would it take for me to be the kind of person who just had enough cash around that I could just buy that chair when I saw it? And like just be like, oh, I have that money, I could just drop that right now. I want that chair enough to spend this money.” 

And, and it [01:03:33] took me back into like some basic business stuff, which I hadn't done in a while, which was like, all right, how many readings am I doing a week? How much sales are the shop doing? how much whatever? What are the goals that I might want to set? You know, and so on. And you know, and working a bit of magic in that direction, you know, so there's a sort of like multi-layer stuff and that identity shift and the possibilities as you say. It's not necessarily massive, right? Like it's not like, all of a sudden I need to go all, “You know what, I've decided I need to be a hedge fund manager,” and that's like this massive switch. It's more like: What are the limits that I've placed on myself or inherited or ancestral or cultural or you know, whatever? And, you know, why do I ... why do I not give myself the space to think that I'm a person who would have that kind of money in the bank? And then, how do I get there? 

FABEKU: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. So.

AIDAN: Yeah, I think that it's a... it's a... that's... it's... The hugest game for me in the last 10 years probably has been that that some things happened that did shift me from a really open mindset to a much more closed mindset. There were a few events that just ate me up in the mid-2000s. And it took a long time to get out of there and it's still that process of exactly [01:05:03] what you said, is all go like, “God, I would really like to have my own skate ramp,” right? And I could either go, “Well, that's impossible.” Right? Or I can go, I got two and a half acres. I really could do that.

ANDREW: Yeah.

AIDAN: It's viable. It's not an impossibility. And it doesn't necessarily mean that I have to become super rich guy with his own skate park, either, right? It's like, there's all these layers but I do have to then begin to address that like, what would I ...? And the thing that I think Fabeku and I've been talking a lot about lately is kind of tapping into the feelings behind those things more than the intellect behind them is often the hardest part. Like what would it feel like, as you said, Andrew, to be that person that has three grand in his pocket and could walk by that store and go, “Dude, send that chair to my house.” That's awesome. 

ANDREW: Take delivery immediately! [laughing] 

AIDAN: You know, what would it feel like, and what would then you have to kind of... How different would you have to be and in what ways? How would you have to see yourself differently to allow that as a possibility even, is often the first step right? I think we can also jump steps and not deal with our shit around these things, going like-- No, okay. So for most of my life money was a struggle and part of the reason that it isn't now is simply because I've like [01:06:33] learned to downsize right? I live in a very small space, I don't spend a lot of money. So things can work for me doing what I want to do. 

But if I wanted to shift that, what are those changes? And I have to kind of go back and go: Well, where did I get used to the idea that I was it was always going to be a struggle? What messaging did I get about that? And is that in any way legit or was that just my opinion in a moment or someone else's opinion in a moment? And can we change that? And I think that that's, that identity key is, you can't do that and stay quite the same person as you are for those possibilities to be different. You have to really be different enough to see those possibilities, is different. And that's, I think, a freaky concept, because I think that we're sold kind of the bill of goods that it's like, we see it all the time, people saying people don't change right? And yet there's tons of evidence that some people do quite a lot. And can you begin to see yourself as one of those people? What's that process look like? And what does that allow ...?

ANDREW: That was the starting point of this podcast actually. Six years ago or whenever I started it. the first six episodes started out with the with the question that I took to different tarot readers: Why do some people change and others don't, right? And so if you're, if you know, I haven't re-listened to those episodes in a while, but I think there's still a lot there from what I remember that [01:08:03] are, you know worth checking out. If you're listening to this, you know, go back to episode 1, they're all up there still, you can go listen to them, you know, people like Lon Duquette, and Mary Greer and a bunch of ... Rachel Pollock and you know, people having these conversations about, you know, why, why, why do some people change and some people not? You know? And I mean, obviously I think there's no clear answer. I'm sure Theresa could look at our chart and be like, “Oh, you're never going to change, you're done!”

[laughter]

ANDREW: “Good luck!”

[laughter]

THERESA: I believe everybody has the potential to make a change. And I believe everybody can succeed. It does not matter, you know, I mean, of course, let me just say one thing. There are some situations that are very very hard to overcome. There are people who have situations that all the magic in the world and all the affirmations in the world are not going to change it. So yes, there is that. 

But for a lot of us, we can change, we can evolve, we don't have to take the hand we've been dealt and say “This is good enough, this is who I am.” This is how I've been defined. You can change. You know, if I listen to all the messages that I grew up with and believed any of that crap, my life would look markedly different, markedly. It would be completely different. You know, I was always told: “Oh, you know, you're funny-looking, you're not going to get married,” you know, “Guys don't like chicks like you,” you know, and “You got to work really hard,” and you know, and I remember hearing all these horrible things that my parents would say. And I was like, I don't believe that. I [01:09:33] don't believe that and I knew there were changes I needed to make around that mindset stuff and around my life and my life turned out very different than how my, then what I was told, and what a ... the predictions my family made for me. Because I ... 

And also, you know, the way they grew up, and I look at my parents and I look at my siblings: My life is very very different from all of them, because I wanted a different life. I did not want that. I wanted to change and not follow the same patterns and that requires also-- For changing, this is what I think about changing: We all have the ability to change, but you have to be conscious enough to really recognize that you need to change and conscious enough to be aware of what that change would look like, and conscious enough to then take the steps to make that change. You have to be conscious. A lot of people sleepwalk through life. They just think this is my lot in life. I'm meant to be this or that. If you are really truly awake at the wheel, you can look around and say you know what? I don't need all these books, I can Marie Kondo the hell out of this and be done with it and have a minimalist life. I can make that change. I'm not going to make that change guys, but you know, I can. I can be conscious enough to really look around and recognize. Why do I have all this crap? What can I do to change it? You got to start with being really super conscious and from there, I think you can make a change. If you're asleep at the wheel it's going to be much harder to do that.

ANDREW: And again, you know, I just want to reiterate too, I think everybody would agree. [01:11:03] You know, there are, there are situations that are way harder, you know, and there are circumstances around poverty, gender, race, violence, abuse, like there are lots of situations where... 

THERESA: Health. 

ANDREW: Yeah, exactly... where the required effort for that change is much higher, you know? And none of that is to say don't work on it, because like, for sure, but you know, it's not, you know, not everybody is on the same playing field. And I think that that's ... It's the only danger that I find in these conversations. I think that they're... I think that what we're talking about is absolutely true, and I think there are a lot of people who put out this kind of message that don't acknowledge that, and so I just want to make sure that it's acknowledged.

THERESA: Yes.

ANDREW: And you know, I remember, I remember somebody talking about--something I was listening to, you know--and they're talking about this change they can make and whatever. And you know, and they're like “Well, yeah, all you need to do is like, you know, take $200 and do this with it.” And I was like, “Are you kidding me? I don't have any money in the bank.” Like I don't, you know, I don't have whatever, because at that time I was very very close to the line, you know? And so, you know, those possibilities, those kinds of possibilities change with who you are and with your circumstances. but they definitely don't need to define you in in in a way that prevents change from happening, just that change looks different depending on where you're at.

THERESA: And we have to be very conscious when we're [01:12:33] talking about magical and spiritual practices and all of this, of really acknowledging, and this is where the Law of Attraction people really piss me off. Don't get me started on that conversation.

[laughter]

THERESA: You know, because we'll go on a completely different tangent. But you know, as somebody who grew up poor, I know how hard it was to get out of that. There was no magic that was going to change everything overnight. And I know people that have situations that, it isn't quite that simple, you know. If you are somebody who is disabled, for example, and you have a very limited income because you're on SSI, you know, there's no amount of magic in the world that's going to make it automatically that you're going to be like able to be a millionaire. You can't just change your thinking and it's going to happen like that. Your circumstances are going to require a very very different thing. And I really think that it comes from a place of privilege for people to just go with this Law of Attraction or yeah, just do this magic. Yes, changing your mindset helps. Yes, doing magic helps. But there are still some situations that you can't quite explain away that easily and you can't change that easily. So we do have to acknowledge that, because otherwise, you know, we're putting out a message for people and some people are going to feel very excluded or maybe they're doing the magic and like, “Well, you know, I'm doing all this but nothing's working, there must be something wrong with me,” and sometimes it's like no, your circumstances are really fucked up. It's going to take longer and that's okay too.

AIDAN: Right. And I think that... and I [01:14:03] totally agree with all that. And I think that it comes down to that if I have a kind of messaging about this stuff that is like, just make sure that you're not stuck in a belief of what is reasonable for you for whatever reason that's not real. 

THERESA: Yes!

AIDAN: I've never... I'm never one for trying to move into kind of fantasy land which I do see a lot with some of the Law of Attraction stuff and it's not to say that that's entirely garbage. There's aspects of that that are right.

THERESA: There's aspects that are right but we have to be really really careful with that Law of Attraction. 

AIDAN: Exactly.

THERESA: Not just with the privilege thing and the circumstances, but also a lot of us are wishing for the same damn thing. I mean, look, I would love to have Jason Momoa sit... I'd love to be sitting on his lap. Now I could do all the magic in the world, but it would take a lot to make that really happen. I would have to first of all change the way I look, he's with Lisa Bonet, I would have to get a divorce, I would have to figure out how to go to LA. Maybe I could make it happen, but it's going to take a lot. I have to be realistic. Jason Momoa?

AIDAN: Absolutely. 

THERESA: Probably not going to happen. That's a humorous example, but... [shrugs]

AIDAN: There's a great quote that I think I shared on... I shared on a podcast, I don't know if it was this one, that's related to him, that I love, that there was a... somebody had written Mark Twite who trains Jason for the superhero movies. You know, that one of the guys that works with, for him starts laughing at the desk and Mark is like, “Okay. This means it's the email of the week. What did we get?” He said, “I want to look like Jason Momoa. [01:15:33] How do I do this?” And they sent back a note that said, “First, are you a hot Polynesian guy?” 

[laughter]

AIDAN: Right? It's like, there's shit you can't work around. And this means that maybe your targets have to be different. And this is always--what I think about this stuff is yeah, you can't change reality to suit you, but you can change how you interface with reality usually in ways that work better. And I don't think that we get to choose targets that ... like I have no reason to think that I could ... I mean there's a gazillion things I would love to have happen that I don't believe are pragmatic. It's not that they're entirely impossible but they're nothing that I would work for because they seem so non-pragmatic but there's a ton of little shit that I can do that improves my quality of life. And I think that that's true for most people. If we're ... where the Law of Attraction folks go is to go, “You can have anything you want.” No, sorry. Not a reality.

FABEKU: I think that for me, you know, you hear people say “Well, you know, everybody has 24 hours in the day.” That's true, but not everybody has the same fucking resources, right? Whether that's the financial resources, the physical resources, the emotional support, the, the, the societal support, whatever the fuck it is. So yeah, everybody has 24 hours in a fucking day, but you have different levels of resources available to you. 

And again, I think the key is what we're talking about is, first of all absolutely acknowledge that, because if not, I think we've landed in bullshit waters, [01:17:03] and at the same time, to also realize that even if you have those limited resources not to build that into your sense of identity in a way that lets you think: “Well, this is it, there's nothing I can do.” Right? Right. So, you know, I've had health stuff going on, there's all kinds of physical stuff happening. Like if Aidan and I wanted to run right now, we have different physical resources available to us in the moment. The problem I would make is if I said, “Well, I can't do anything. I can never do what Aidan can do right now, so I'm fucked, so forget it, who cares?” That's not true. I can't do what he can do right now, but I can still do something to advance things forward from where I am now. and I think that that's the piece. It is that you know, that idea that you can just have every, listen because I could sit and do Law of Attraction all day on getting up and running a motherfucking Marathon. That's not going to happen right now. That's not going to happen. There is no magic that's going to make that a doable thing. But if I, if I ...

ANDREW: We're going to get Jason Momoa to back you the whole way. That's the deal.

[laughter]

FABEKU: That might work!

[laughter]

ANDREW: I think that's really important though. Right? Because like I've been one of my, one of my things this year that I've been really going back and looking at everything that I'm doing is... So I have a store, which is awesome and I love having a store. And I have kids and I love my kids. All right, and I have my kids half the time now and those two pieces place [01:18:33] a lot of constraints on what makes sense for me to do around business now, because when I look at other people who are doing stuff, and there's lots of other people who are doing great stuff, and you know, realizing over the last year, I've been looking what they've been doing. I've been trying stuff out. And the people that I'm looking at what they're doing and wishing that I could do some of what they're doing, they don't have either of those constraints. 

FABEKU: Yes.

ANDREW: And that, you know? And that's not even... like this, not even, those things aren't even a burden on me in a negative sense, right? But, but with those constraints in place, doing things like going around and having, being at a bunch of shows and, spiritual shows in the city doesn't make a ton of sense, you know? Being away, you know, like leaving town and stuff like that, you know, that requires a lot of extra shift for me, you know, and I need to weigh all those things out, so, really looking at, you know, it's like if, you know, Aidan decides to suddenly start swordsmithing in his little shop that he's got there, you know, it doesn't necessarily make sense. It's not big enough. It's not set up for that. It might burn the whole place down, you know, whatever, right?

AIDAN: [laughing] Totally.

ANDREW: But like they're those limits and if you want to change those things, maybe you can, possibly, you know, maybe you should, you or me or whomever, but they require moving a bunch of stuff, but that also requires seeing and acknowledging those limits and saying: Okay, what [01:20:03] am I going to do it within that limit? What about that limit do I want to change? Can I change on what time frames? There are so many things like that, right? 

FABEKU: Yeah, I think that's a great example, because you know, when friends or clients or whatever have asked me how I've done certain things in my life and my business, part of it sure. There's been identity stuff. There's been magic stuff part. Part of it is I worked my ass off. All of that's true and, I also don't have kids, right? So I have... I have an amount of time and energy and resources available to me that people that are attending for... tending to young humans that require their attention to stay alive. I don't have that and that's that. And you know, whether that's good or bad whatever, but the... I have again, I have a different sort of resource available in terms of time and energy and money that I wouldn't have if I have kids. I've got one asshole cat to manage. That's it. You know.

ANDREW: And a basement full of blinds.

FABEKU: [laughing] Right. You know, if I had a kid or a bunch of... It changes the game and so that's the thing. The idea that if you just buckle down and work hard... Listen, I get it and it's different when you've got kids or when you've got a health thing, or whatever the fuck it is. It's an entirely different thing that people have to think about, this idea that you know, that everybody's... everybody's possibility is equal if you just do X. I think that's an incredibly ignorant perspective to take on things. It's fucking not true at all. 

AIDAN: Well and that, and that is that thing you brought up. The 24-hour thing is really true. It's like you have 24 hours and you make all your money in 20 hours a week, right? You got 24 hours and you got six [01:21:33] kids. You got 24 hours...

ANDREW: 24 hours and you're working like a hundred hours a week at your job...

AIDAN: Exactly. 

FABEKU: Everybody's 24 hours are not the fucking same. 

THERESA: Exactly. 

AIDAN: When you're in an abusive relationship, who controls your money? 

THERESA: Right. And also some of those people that they talk about who have 24 hours also have the resources to hire assistants to do a lot of crap for them. 

FABEKU: Exactly. Absolutely. Yeah.

AIDAN: Absolutely.

ANDREW: All right. Well, I think we've reached the end of our time for today. So let us summarize to say “Hey, go see what you're up to and change what makes sense to change.”

[laughter]

ANDREW: Thumbs up, one minute, done! Mic drop over here.

ANDREW: Let's go around: for people who aren't already following us in our orbits: Fabeku, where can people find you? 

FABEKU: Fabeku.com and Facebook. 

ANDREW: Perfect. Theresa?

THERESA: They can find me at thetarotlady.com and on social media. The one I spend the most time on is Twitter. My handle is thetarotlady.

ANDREW: And Theresa has a lovely new website, you should definitely go take a peek at that. 

THERESA: Thank you, Andrew.

ANDREW: Aidan?

AIDAN: AidanWachter.com and I'm generally all over Facebook and social media as Aidan Wachter.

ANDREW: Perfect. And I'm at thehermitslamp.com and either as myself or thehermitslamp on all the medias. All right. Well, thanks for, everybody, for having this conversation today. It's been a delight and yeah, I'm going to post [01:23:03] in the show notes, links back to our previous episodes, including episodes with Theresa, everybody by themselves, and so many Stacking Skulls episodes that I've lost track.

AIDAN: [laughing] It's ridiculous.

ANDREW: Yeah. All right. Thanks so much, everybody.

THERESA: Thank you.

Plants, People, and Magic with Rebecca Beyer

Plants, People, and Magic with Rebecca Beyer

January 23, 2019

Rebecca and Andrew talk about the way plants work in their lives – through sharing about their studies and personal journeys with plants. They also talk about fear and how pushing through that brings better things even though it isn't easy. Finally they also talk about traditional knowledge and how to respect elders an indigenous people. 

Find Rebecca at BloodandSpicebush.com and the classes at Sassafras-School.com

Think about how much you've enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you listened to, and consider if it is time to support the Patreon You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

Transcription

ANDREW: [00:00:01] Welcome to The Hermit's Lamp podcast episode 93. I am here with Rebecca Beyer, who is an herbalist and plant person and does all sorts of wonderful things in that environment. For [00:00:17] those who don't know you, Rebecca, give us . . . give us a quick introduction. Who are you? What do you . . . what are you about?

REBECCA: Hi! I'm about, I guess, I'm about Appalachia and I'm about plants and [00:00:32] I'm about traditional witchcraft. That's like those three things. I think.

ANDREW: Yeah. Well, if people don't know what Appalachia is . . .

REBECCA: Yeah!

ANDREW: Let's start with that, because maybe not everybody does. 

REBECCA: That's so interesting and [00:00:47] I love that you all are up in Canada. So it's really cool to to know, you don't know what Appalachia is! [chuckling] 

ANDREW: I mean, I think people . . . I do, but yeah, let's, let's just make sure nobody has to go Google anything mid-podcast. 

REBECCA: That's such a good idea. Yeah, Appalachia is a region, [00:01:02] which is debated, that's cultural and ecological in the Eastern side of the United States. It's a mountain range that extends from, culturally, I would say, you know, Western Pennsylvania through Northern Georgia, [00:01:17] but mountain-wise and ecologically through a few different regions on the Eastern Seaboard, kind of inland.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: So, this big mountain range, the Appalachian Mountains. Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: And there's a lot of spiritual tradition that's [00:01:32] kind of from that area, right? Like a lot of, sort of more folk magic and you know, those kinds of approaches, right?

REBECCA: Yeah, that's one of the things that I am a student of and teach is Appalachian folk magic, and [00:01:47] I'm very passionate about . . . and especially where plants and plant lore come into that story.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. So did you grow up with that or did you find your way into it? Like how did that come about for you?

REBECCA: That's a good question. I did not grow [00:02:02] up with it. I grew up on a farm in New Jersey.

ANDREW: Okay.

REBECCA: And, yeah . . . and halfway in both states. And it's funny cause when I tell people I'm from New Jersey, they're like, "Oh, you're not, you don't seem like you're from New Jersey at all," and I'm like, "Are you saying like, I'm not an asshole," like what?

ANDREW: [laughing]

REBECCA: What are [00:02:19] you saying? I don't know if I'm allowed to say that on the air.

ANDREW: I'm sorry to everybody in New Jersey who's listening to this. Yeah.

REBECCA: Well, I'm sorry, because I like, you know, I had a beautiful upbringing in a very pretty little country spot in central New Jersey.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And I [00:02:34] loved our little farm, but we didn't raise plants. We just raised animals. 

ANDREW: Okay.

REBECCA: But I've always loved, I feel like since I was a little girl I wanted to be a witch. It was just something I've always been interested in and I was raised in the Unitarian Universalist Church. [00:02:49] So I met a lot of witches and it was easy to start studying witchcraft seriously. At around 12, I kind of dedicated myself to studying it and, through that, became more interested in plants and realizing that they could be used for more than food. [00:03:04] 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. And, so how did the head of the Appalachian part come in? Like, did you meet somebody, did you like, you know, go stand on a mountain and be like, oh, this is home. Like . . . ? 

REBECCA: That's a good question. [00:03:19] I was obviously a very weird kid as we've, most of us probably were.

ANDREW: Sure.

REBECCA: And very socially isolated. We moved nine times when I was a kid, so I didn't have strong connections with other human adults till I was 18, when I moved to Upstate New York to go to college [00:03:34] at Bard College, and I met my now best friend Sarah Lynch Thomason, who's an Appalachian ballad singer, who's from Nashville, Tennessee. And she moved to Asheville right after we graduated from college. She graduated ahead of me, and she was like, you [00:03:49] HAVE to move here, Asheville, North Carolina, like, it is what's up. So I just packed my truck with all my things and drove to Asheville. And--after I graduated from college--and I just lived in her living room for two weeks.

ANDREW: Right.

REBECCA: And then I just fell [00:04:04] in love. I tried to leave, once, I think to go back up to Vermont where I had been living before, and I think that lasted like three weeks and I came back. So that was in 2010 when I moved here. So I've been here for longer now than anywhere I've ever lived in my life.

ANDREW: It's [00:04:19] interesting how, you know, like I think about . . . I mean, Vermont's got lots of mountains. Upstate New York's got lots of mountains, you know? It's funny how, you know, from a geologic point of view, anyway, there's [00:04:34] this like, oh look. Well, it's all mountains. What about . . . what is it about those mountains? What is it about that place that drew you in or captivated you? 

REBECCA: That's a good question. Well, I think, geologically speaking, the Appalachians are so special, [00:04:49] because they're some of the oldest mountains in the world, which we forget in America. We often like to excoticize--and I'll say North America, to include all of us on this continent--like to exoticize things from far away, but we have some of the most ancient land masses [00:05:05] in existence right at our fingertips, and it's pretty incredible. And plant communities that are very unique. And to me, the extreme biodiversity of where we live in southern Appalachia, where I live is temperate [00:05:20] rain forest. So we have more plants than anywhere except for North Alabama, which has the most diverse plant life in the United States. 

ANDREW: That's amazing.

REBECCA: Mm-hmm.  

ANDREW: And did you find . . . do you feel like . . . You [00:05:35] know, like, lots of people talk about sort of spirit of place, right? as a thing that's sort of emerged into people's awareness more over time. And you know, at least more recently from my perspective.

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: You know, do you feel that that's part of it [00:05:50] for you? Like is there, is there a spirit of the land where you're actually hanging out that's, that's part of your life? 

REBECCA: Yes, my friend Marcus McCoy who started the Veridis Genii Symposium . . .

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: When I was [00:06:05] early 20s--you probably know him--when I was in my early 20s, I stumbled across his blog, Bioregional Animism, and it really changed . . . It gave me words for things that I had felt but I didn't know were names for and other [00:06:20] bloggers have now gone on to further that idea, which was, you know, kind of coined, I'd say in the 70s with the rise of bioregional scholarship, on just like, policy and land management. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: They took it deeper, you know? I [00:06:35] wrote a lot of my thesis--I have a master's degree in Appalachian Studies--and I wrote my thesis on--which is really silly, I know. But I looked a lot at like the history of bioregionalism and like what makes Appalachia and regional studies important.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And [00:06:51] to me, in this globalized world, you know, we struggle for meaning, you can see it everywhere. Especially white folks, like without any cultural, strong cultural ties, will grab onto any strong cultural tie from any culture that [00:07:06] we can find. And yeah, and I think a lot of that comes from a lack of grounding in place. So to me, I do think there is a spirit of Appalachia. My friend Byron Ballard, who's a well-known Appalachian folk practitioner, she, in our area, says there's [00:07:21] a mother Appalachia, this kind of an entity that makes this place so special. And to me, I'm also a musician, I'm an artist, and all the things I do revolve around Appalachian folk practice. And to me, it's like helped me ground in, because [00:07:36] I wasn't raised here . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: Into the life way and the art way and the music way of this place. And not necessarily say, this is mine, it's from me, but wow, I participate in this, and I love it, and I want [00:07:51] to, you know, support it and continue it and nurture it. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I think it's always interesting when people, you know, or never mind people. For me, you know, I mean, I found my way into being a Lukumi, you know Orisha [00:08:06] practitioner, right? You know, so, I'm initiated in an Afro-Cuban religion, you know, and that's, that's been my journey for, you know, getting towards being 20 years now, you know, but I think that it's really always interesting when people are looking [00:08:21] for that meaning and they find it somewhere else. How do you go about exploring that and connecting with that, in a way that is, you know, respectful, meaningful in a broader context, because it's . . . [00:08:36] I think that you know what people do in general, even if it's not respectful, might be meaningful to them personally, you know, but problematically culturally, right? But what do you think about . . . how you know, how, how would you recommend people approach this [00:08:51] kind of stuff if what you're talking about is something that they're drawn towards? 

REBECCA: Yeah, I think that's such a good question and it's a sensitive one. You know, there's . . . I always notice that I feel fear and I feel nervousness when [00:09:06] talking about these things, because, unfortunately the way that people communicate online is very different than how they'll communicate in real life. [laughs] Discovered . . . I just taught a class, this is a great example, and I think will answer this question, on [00:09:21] the uses of fumatory plants worldwide to address cultural appropriation issues.

ANDREW: Sure. 

REBECCA: Because, specifically with white sage being overharvested, and a lot of indigenous Western folks saying, hey, can you guys slow your roll on this, you know? buying all this unsustainably [00:09:36] harvested sage? [laughs]

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: So, like, why do you feel the need to burn this plant specifically, when it's not part of your cultural lineage? And I don't think anyone at this point in the world is like, you can't do anything that's not from your specific ancestry, because I mean I have eight different ancestries. [00:09:52] You know? And it's . . . 

ANDREW: Sure.

REBECCA:  Most people do. And, and, and I think that's not what people are saying, and a lot of folks get defensive, and say, "Well, what, am I not allowed to do anything?" and it's like, "No, calm down. [laughs] No one's telling you that." And I think what you're doing when you're initiated in something . . . [00:10:07] Initiation is an invitation.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: If you are studying with a person from that, you know, Afro-Cuban lineage, who's saying, "You're welcome here, come into this space." That's very different than when someone says, you know, "I'm gonna self study [00:10:22] this thing, and then declare myself an expert and then make money off this thing . . ."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And never study the cultures that this thing comes from.

ANDREW: For sure. 

REBECCA: Yeah, because what I do, I'm not technically Southern Appalachian, but I practice and teach Appalachian folk magic. And some people, I'm sure, would take issue with that. But [00:10:37] what do I do? I think it's all about how we how we raise up the cultures that we are benefiting from. How do we support them? How do we not try to speak for them and do the like white savior thing? And like, how do we invest [00:10:53] ourselves in the continuance and preservation and nurturance of the cultures that bring us such joy and meaning. And I include myself in that even though, technically, Appalachian folk culture is largely based on some things I have cultural access to. It's also based [00:11:08] in Cherokee and African traditions.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. For sure. 

REBECCA: That have direct lineage too, that I need to respect and call attention to. 

ANDREW: Yeah, and that's an interesting thing about a lot of those, you know, Appalachian, you know, root work, hoodoo [00:11:23], like a lot of those, sort of, you know, from there, heading further south, traditions are really such an interesting meld of, you know, of cultures, right?

REBECCA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW:  You know, they're, they [00:11:38] involve stuff that came from Africa through the slaves. They involve stuff that came through the indigenous communities that were there alongside those people, you know, and then they have a mixed in, you know, depending on the region, [00:11:53] you know, European Christian or other folk traditions too, right? Like it's such a . . . it's such an interesting meld and I think that it's so helpful to really respect the fact that they come from a bunch of different places. They [00:12:08] come from all those lineages, you know? 

REBECCA: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: Yeah, because it's easy to, like, it's easy to be like, well, you know, this is just like this person's thing or this is that person's like . . . They're diverse and their strength [00:12:23] comes from that history, right? 

REBECCA: It's true. It's true, and it's great talking to my friends who are hoodoo practitioners, and saying, you know, the first time I met my friend Demetrius, who I don't know if you know, from New Orleans at [00:12:38] Veridas Genii Symposium. We were kind of like doing a comparison like, what do you, do you do this, in hoodoo?  And he's like, well, do you do this in Appalachian folk magic? And it was just like, such overlap that we were like, of course, these things are so similar.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And it was wonderful and then we were like, "Let's sing a Scottish [00:12:53] ballad," you know, and like, because he does a lot of ballads. And then I'm like, let's, you know, he's like, "Do you want to learn this song in this West African language?" And I was like, "Oh heck, yeah." It was just, it was really cool, because it was like living that experience of seeing the lines . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: By sharing verbally [00:13:08] those things and song and in tradition and looking at different charms we were talking about.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

REBECCA: And I loved that. It was really special and what you're saying, too, is, we tell stories about traditions being [00:13:23] all one thing and they're . . . One thing I learn as I get older--and I'm 31, I'm not terribly wise--but I notice things are always more complicated and beautifully complex than we think they are.

ANDREW: Mm-mm.

REBECCA: The're never black or white. It's just [00:13:38] complex.

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah. Yeah. I think that one of the other things I want to circle back to, you know, is, you mentioned, you know, briefly about, like, sustainability and stuff like that. And I think that that is [00:13:53] also such an important part of the equation of what's, what we're talking about here too, right? Like, you know, if you're going to live in, you know, in connection with plants and connection with [00:14:08] the spirits of the, of a place or whatever, right? I think that, that that attention on making sure that it's sustainable, making sure that there's some left, you know, like . . . I mean, you know, in my tradition, we use a lot of plants and some [00:14:23] of them do grow up here. Some of them I grow myself inside. And you know, some of them are just not possible in the far far north where I practice, but you do what you can. But you know, one of the things that my elders always stress is, you know, you never [00:14:38] take it all. You always leave enough that it keeps going, right? You always want to make sure that whatever you're working with, that, you know, later on it'll have regrown or next season it will regrow or whatever, because there is this eye towards . . . [00:14:53] You know, this is, this is a thing forever, hopefully. And therefore we want to keep that going forever, you know? 

REBECCA: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: Yeah, I teach foraging classes as my day job. [laughs]

ANDREW: Yeah!

REBECCA: That's what I do [00:15:08] for a living. And this year, I'm actually going to teach foraging at the University of North Carolina.

ANDREW: Amazing.

REBECCA: As a college course. I know, I feel so honored. It's one nice thing about having an Appalachian Studies Master's, is now I can teach at colleges and that's, you know, even though they pay terribly, it's very good.

[ringing phone]

ANDREW: [00:15:23] I'm sorry. Can we pause for one second here? I've no way to make the phone stop ringing. [whispers] Stupid phone! [laughs] It's . . .

REBECCA: Also, I have to say . . . 

ANDREW: What's that? 

REBECCA: Your mustache is spectacular. 

ANDREW: Thank you, thank you.

REBECCA: It's like, that mustache is [00:15:39] on point. 

ANDREW: I started it as a joke, like a year and a half ago. Somebody on the radio was saying like, mustaches are coming in. And I was like, I've never grown a mustache. I wonder if I can grow a mustache? And, and then, I started growing it and I posted to Facebook and [00:15:54] everyone was like, yes, keep it going, and now, I'm just like, all right. This is my, this is my life now, so.

REBECCA: That's amazing. Mustache life! 

ANDREW: Mustache life. 

ANDREW: Mustache life. All right, I'm going to clap and then we can start again. [claps] All right. [00:16:09] You were talking about teaching at the university. 

REBECCA: Yeah, I'm really excited to get to teach at UNCA. I'm teaching foraging, and you were speaking about sustainability, and there's a lot of interesting, confusing, [00:16:24] complex arguments about wildcrafting in the United States, especially.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And in Canada, and any place that is colonized indigenous land. And what, as settler folks, who are European ancestry, like what are our responsibilities to [00:16:39] be good wildcrafters. Some people say you shouldn't wildcraft at all, zero percent is sustainable.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: Others say, you can just take indiscriminately and do whatever you want. But obviously, I think the truth, there's no such thing as truth, [00:16:54] but I think a more balanced view is somewhere in between and something I've been really interested in and enjoying doing is: there's a lot of plants we call invasive and some of them radically alter their landscape, like one of my favorite plants, kudzu.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: Which [00:17:10] on Gordon White's podcast, I mentioned I like kudzu and you would not believe the angry humans on those comments. [laughs]

ANDREW: I would, I would. 

REBECCA: I did not say we should go plant kudzu. I did not say like throw its seeds everywhere. I just said I love kudzu. And that triggered [00:17:26] a lot of people. Because it's edible, it's medicinal, and I'm in recovery from alcoholism, and kudzu's root has some great compounds in it that specifically help with the cravings for alcohol. So it's one, spiritually very in line with my heart and my personal journey. So, [00:17:41] and it was used in Japan and China for that purpose for a long time. But it's just funny because I can harvest as much kudzu is I want, you know, and like, I'm not going to put a dent in it. [laughs] But, I mean, if I want to harvest as much bloodroot, a native [00:17:56] plant, as I want, I can destroy that plant population.

ANDREW: Sure. 

REBECCA: So, it's just so . . . And, like, to me, saying all or nothing is never the right answer because harvesting invasives is actually beneficial to the environment, because it frees up space for more native [00:18:11] plants. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I love dandelion.

REBECCA: Me too!

ANDREW: And you know, there's another one, like there's just, you know, I could never get rid of it in my garden, even if I tried probably. So, the amount that I can [00:18:26] take of that is basically everything that's showing, any time I want, and it just, you know, give it two or three weeks and boom, they're back again with another crop.

REBECCA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: You know, so, yeah. 

REBECCA: And those plants have followed us from Europe here and [00:18:41] from Asia and from all the different places that all the different people that live on this continent now come from and it's the story of the colonization of this continent is evident in our plant life.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And it marks the times that all the different people have come over here. And [00:18:56] all the different trading has occurred. You know, kudzu came over, I think, in the 30s and 40s for the World's Fair, as an erosion control plant and a crop for animals to eat, because it's very good for horses and cows and pigs and chickens and [00:19:11] [laughs] and people to eat, it's fine protein. So, I just think, you know, focusing on harvesting invasive plants and plants that are abundant is a great way to ask the question: Is this sustainable? And also know that you will never know the answer.

ANDREW: Uh huh.

REBECCA: A lot of: plant [00:19:26] world are like, "I know the truth!" And you're like, you do? That's . . . Okay. I see you're very confident in yourself. Because we're always finding new things out, and ecology is just like folk magic or any magic spiritual tradition, always changing. 

ANDREW: For sure. And also, you [00:19:41] know, with climate change. 

REBECCA: Oh, yes.

ANDREW: Like, I think that that's another thing that comes into this where it's like, we might have an idea based on, you know, our experiences or our lifetime or you know, maybe even like our parents' or grandparents' lifetime, [00:19:56] but, things are changing a lot now. And you know, that's going to change what, what all these plants do it, you know, and and also, you know all these, you know, continuously there are new plants being introduced and shifting back and forth [00:20:11] and all that kind of stuff, right? So. It's such a dynamic system. 

REBECCA: Dynamic is such a good word to describe it. And I think, you know, once again, it's so funny. Like I even feel fear saying like: Invasive plants. Harvest them. Because you know, it's like, it's tough. People have very strong opinions [00:20:26] about how plants are to be managed and a lot of very good and important hard questions come up around that.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: But the thing is, we do need to eat and heal ourselves from illness. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: Most of those things can [00:20:41] be done with a lot of the invasive plants. And that's not to say I never harvest native plants. Like I use poke a lot, which is a native plant, but most people think it's a noxious weed. They'll say, oh, that's a weed.

ANDREW: Sure. 

REBECCA: It's not, it's a native plant. It's, you know, it's just [00:20:56] funny that people are like oh, this horrible weed. And I'm like, what are you talking about?

ANDREW: Well, it's true. It's like, you know, so a bunch of the plants that grow around here, that I use often in my religious practice, [00:21:11] you know, purslane, you know, stuff like that. You just find them growing out of the sidewalk, right? Like, in the city, it's, you know, you just, you go down the back lane way and you're like, oh look, you know, here's this one and that one [00:21:26] and you know, and they're just growing up between cracks in the cement and wherever, because those, those really hardy, you know, aggressive plants, you know, one, they have a lot of strength magically, you [00:21:41] know, in a general way, I think. But, but, two, they, you know, they're, they're everywhere and again, they're the kinds of things where it's like, you know, you don't take it all but also, even if you did, they're so resilient, like, people are [00:21:56] trying to get rid of them all the time and they cannot, you know, so yeah, it's very interesting.

REBECCA: Yeah, and that's a great way too, to find places to forage. I talk to a lot of farmer friends and I'll say, you know, I love dandelion root . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: For its liver medicine. And it [00:22:11] definitely is, you know, is a plant I feel is aligned with the element of air, it's very good for spirit work and communication, but also not toxic so you can use it with impunity in some ways.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And call my friends and say, hey, do you mind if I bring my apprentices and our trowels out and we'll dig some dandelion [00:22:26] at your house. And they're always like, oh come on over. Or you call people in, you know, and they're like, oh, come on over. So we go to different farms and kind of weed them.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And then we go home with all the things that we want. It's a great symbiotic relationship. [laughs]

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah, I have [00:22:41] raised beds in my, in my garden . . .

REBECCA: Oh!

ANDREW: And then the rest of it is this sort of crummy hard pack, you know, dirt that's . . . whatever was like, you know, when [00:22:56] they built it, they filled in because we're over a parking garage, right? And yeah, it's, all the stuff that grows there is all wonderful energetically. And you know, dandelion, and plantain, and you know, like all that kind of stuff. It's like we [00:23:11] would just go out in the yard and my kids are like, you know, they go ahead and pick a bunch and come back and make salad out of it and all that kind of stuff, you know, because it's there, and it's useful if you know what you're looking at, right? 

REBECCA: Kids are so good at learning plants. I teach a lot of children. People bring their kids on our foraging tours [00:23:26] and they always, at the end of the tour, can recite every plant we met. And the parents are like, oh, what was that one? And the kids are like, you know, it's bitter, hairy bittercress and I'm like, oh good job. [laughs]

ANDREW: Yeah. 

REBECCA: They know everything. And they'll remember all the uses. They're so good.

ANDREW: That's amazing. [00:23:41] So, I'm curious, because you've mentioned this a couple times now. Is the sort of, you said, I'm afraid to talk about this. I'm afraid to talk about that. 

REBECCA: Yeah! [laughs]

ANDREW: What . . . [00:23:56] tell me about the reservation. Like . . .

REBECCA: Yeah!

ANDREW: What, what is it that you run into around that?

REBECCA: Well, I think a lot of it come up recently for me with my fumatory herbs class. I got a lot of really mean aggressive and [00:24:11] I would even say violent communications around me daring to suggest to folks of non-North American indigenous ancestry that maybe they shouldn't burn white sage with impunity. And I [00:24:26] think, I tried to say this compassionately and patiently as I could, I tried not to use attacking language. I called my, you know, my own self and my own shortcomings into the conversation, because I make mistakes constantly. I don't know the right answers. I'm just guessing.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: I'm just trying, you know? [00:24:41] 

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: And I . . . the venom with which strangers will write to me is horrific, and it's funny because, you see this over and over again, on Internet communications. Because when I taught my class in person, I was terrified that people would yell at me . . . [00:24:56]

ANDREW: Sure.

REBECCA: There would be fighting in the class. Like I was afraid it would be really bad. I had probably 40 people show up to this class. It was incredible. People were compassionate and patient. Nobody got a millimetre out of line.

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: And [00:25:11] just like, I thought that was the case, but I'm so glad to see this is true. And everybody was just building together. Asking questions. Even if someone didn't understand something, no one was like well, you're an idiot for not understanding this complicated concept. [00:25:26] And I just appreciated how kind people were to each other and I see that that's the case.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: You know but online when you're anonymous . . . 

ANDREW: Definitely. Yeah.

REBECCA: And that's where it comes from for me because I just see other herbalists and I'm [00:25:41] often holding myself back in my work, I think, because I'm terrified to make mistakes and hurt people. But it also prevents me from sharing more information, or you know, providing access to education to more folks that want it.

ANDREW: Yeah. I totally get that. You know? 

REBECCA: You feel [00:25:56] that way?

ANDREW: I . . . last fall, I had made an Orisha Tarot deck with . . . that got published through Llewellyn. And so, it's basically everywhere. And--which [00:26:11] is great--and the amount of apprehension I had about being an outsider, about, you know, even, even with the blessings of my ancestors, or like, my elders, my ancestors, the spirits through divination, like, even with [00:26:26] all those things, there's just like "ohhh, man," like waiting for that, that, you know, potential thing, right? And sometimes you get it and sometimes you don't, right? And definitely online is a place where it's way more likely, because online people [00:26:42] . . . Be kind, people, just be kind! I'm sure nobody listening to this podcast is mean online.

REBECCA: [chuckles]

ANDREW: But, yeah, but, but, that apprehension, right? And then also that realization, now that it's out there, that how much people [00:26:57] are benefiting from it, you know, and how much people are, you know, telling me how grateful they are that I made this offering, you know, to the world and whatever. And I think that it's such a delicate line . . .

REBECCA: Yeah. 

ANDREW: For, for us, [00:27:12] for people doing work, for people offering teaching, you know, and that, there's so many people out there who are just like, "Rah, rah, rah, do your thing, screw everybody, give no fucks, whatever" and I'm always like, that's horrible. Like, let's not be like [00:27:27] that! That's not useful.

REBECCA: [laughs] Yeah!

ANDREW: But then also there's like so many people doing good work like, you know, what you're up to, where it's, there's also that like, "Oh, should I? How's it going to go? What's gonna happen? I don't know," you know?

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: And, [00:27:42] and, and it's real, you know, that tension is really real. And I think that so many people experience it around their work and stuff. You know, how do you find your way through it? 

REBECCA: I think a lot of it is, I try to use, [00:27:57] like I am an incredibly privileged person. You know?

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: I'm a large able-bodied white tall physically able person, who can appear heterosexual in certain situations. [laughs] And I . . . And [00:28:12] feminine, you know, and it's . . . So I can use those things to leverage messages and voices that are erased and largely unheard in my friends' communities, especially my indigenous friends. And I do a lot of work with [00:28:27] with the Catawba Indian nation. And the . . . I'm hoping to do some more with the Cherokee Nation around ethnobotany. And reestablishing control over the knowledge of foraging to the people who taught it to my ancestors here. [00:28:42] 

And I think it's kind of crazy that me, as a European-ancestored-person, am going and teaching indigenous people how to forage, because their own knowledge was erased from them, through genocide. And it's, to me, like acknowledging those things, and like [00:28:57] when we come together as people in the real world and real life, together, me and my friends and those nations, we can create pretty amazing things. And we talk about really hard, uncomfortable, scary stuff and it's tough. You know? It's hard. It brings up a lot for both of us. But [00:29:12] instead of allowing it to paralyze us and prevent us, we're like, what can we build from the space? Like, where do we go forward? Let's acknowledge these things, talk about the hard stuff, the history, the harm caused by my ancestors, and let's [00:29:27] build something new from that. You know?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And I think that's really tough. It's because we don't know what to do. None of us really know. And for me, like constantly giving word, voice, accolade, and when I have extra resources, [00:29:42] putting my resources towards the people whose land this was and is, still. That to me is what I can do. And I know that's not what everyone would say is the best way but for me, I know, I don't . . . Unfortunately, being [00:29:57] a Appalachian folk magical practitioner is definitely not a great way to make a lot of money . . .

BOTH: [laughing]

REBECCA: I don't have a ton of resources and I have a lot of debt.

ANDREW: Uh-huh. 

REBECCA: But I have a lot of non-monetary resources, like access to academic information. [00:30:12] So I do a lot of research for my friends who don't have access to journals.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And I give them, you know, my university, don't tell my university I give them my login. 

ANDREW: Nobody from university is listening, it's fine. 

REBECCA: I know. They're not. Don't worry. But just finding ways to constantly figure [00:30:27] out like, okay, who am I speaking for? How can I help make space for others to speak and how can I make my resources available to them that are most helpful? And not what I think is most helpful, but what they need. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I think that part about asking [00:30:42] people what they need? I mean, I think it's such a such a piece that gets overlooked so often in any kind of restorative approach. 

REBECCA: Yes!

ANDREW: Right? 

REBECCA: Restorative, yeah. 

ANDREW: That, like, say you're sorry, like whatever [00:30:57] it was, personal thing, you know, a generational thing or whatever, say, "Hey, I'm really sorry this happened, and then ask, like, "Is there something you need? Is there something that, that you think that I might be able to do that you need?" And then you can really [00:31:12] see where the conversation goes, right? Because I find so often people make these apologies or, you know, like, you know, I mean, again, maybe I'm being judgmental about people who are raging against you about using white [00:31:27] sage online, but I'm like, listen, just start with an apology, or just start with saying, "Huh. Well, what could I do instead. What might make sense?" You know? And maybe, maybe there are people, and probably there are people, who a hundred percent like have a deep deep connection [00:31:42] to that plant? Or, you know, like the white sage plant. Or there are lots of ways in which you can procure stuff sustainably, if you want to.

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: Like, you know. I got some stuff here. There's a new farmer in [00:31:57] Ontario who started growing stuff. You know, he got laid off from his job and he started expanding what he was already farming for himself, and it's great. You know, it's local, it's organic. It's . . . You know, it's sustainably harvested because [00:32:12] he's farming it himself, right? You know, it's great. 

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: Right? So like there's lots of options but being mad about it. That's not, like, that doesn't help anybody and . . . 

REBECCA: Yeah, they don't like being told they can't do something. People are mad at me for saying . . . And I didn't say that. I said, "Hey, [00:32:27] maybe listen to indigenous people." 

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: And too, look at how this plant is now entering threatened status. And like, these are two things that are very important for different reasons. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And, and I think too, you know, I mean, it's [00:32:42] always something that's very interesting to me, because my approach to working with plants, outside of my traditional stuff, which I learned from my elders, is I go for walks in the ravine, you know, or in the the forest in the valley here or [00:32:57] even in the lane ways. And, when I find a plant, like something'll grab my attention. And I'll be like, "Huh? What are you? What's going on?" And I'll just sit down and hang out with it for a while. 

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: And, you [00:33:12] know, none of those plants are mad. I've yet to find an angry plant. You know? I mean, like, that kind of like, conflicty energy, you know. Even, even plants that are in competition with each [00:33:27] other or whatever, I never have that feeling from them, that they have that aggressiveness, you know? And I think that it's an interesting thing to sort of ask yourself when you're working with plants. Like, what is the energy of this plant, [00:33:42] and how am I aligned with it? And how are my feelings aligned with it? And what's going on from there? You know? I don't know, does that make any sense to you?

REBECCA: Oh, definitely. And I think . . . I totally agree with you. And I was talking to a friend the other day and he's like, "How do we separate [00:33:57] the spiritual from the political?" And I was like, "I don't think we can, and I don't think we should, at this point, but I think I see why people want to." They say, "Oh, can we just leave politics out of it?" 

ANDREW: Sure. 

REBECCA: Like well, that would be great. But unfortunately, with [00:34:12] the way things are, we can't. And it's . . . there's, you know, a lot of Internet explosions around things like that.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: Because people are like, "Well, you, don't bring up politics at this event." And it's like, well, you can't talk about plants or harvesting [00:34:27] or medicine and magic and not talk about the people it's come from, how we know about it. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

REBECCA: And the story of how we got to this point. And it's . . . We need to do better as you know, as a community, especially, you know, in the white herbal world and [00:34:42] white practitioners need to do better about being open to like, talking about hard stuff and realizing it doesn't mean they have to fling themselves off a cliff. [laughs] You know?

ANDREW: For sure, right? Yeah.

REBECCA: You know, sometimes people think that's what people are asking of them, and it's like no one is asking you to fling yourself off a cliff. Maybe some people are, but you [00:34:57] don't have to do that. And it's just about being able to say like, whoa, what's the real story of how I got this information? 

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: And you know, the real story of when I harvest poke, I know what poke's medicinal uses are because indigenous and African [00:35:12] folks told my ancestors those things. So I need to, every time I work with that plant, I think about that. And I don't think about it in a negative or combative way. I think, like you're saying, I think about it in a, like, thank you, gratitude. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

REBECCA: A building. 

ANDREW: [00:35:27] Yeah. I don't think we can ever separate. . . I mean, yeah, I don't think we can really ever separate or ought to, as you say, at this time, separate politics from our spirituality. You know, I think that that that makes no sense at all [00:35:42] to me and even historically, you know . . .

REBECCA: Yeah. [laughs] 

ANDREW: You know, you look at a lot of, like the the stories of the Orishas going back, you know? So many of them demarcate political shifts in power and other kinds of things that [00:35:57] are, that are historical, you know? This group came in. They took over this, this region. They deposed the kind of person who was in charge. And the spirit that that person, you know, was most aligned with got a new story, where they [00:36:12] got demoted somehow because of something, right? Or what have you, you know? There's a lot of that. And, it's why, when I wrote the book that goes to my deck, I included the politics, a bunch of politics, all through it and even a chapter in the front that's . . . The, the header is like, why are there [00:36:27] politics in this book? And you know, and it's like, there's a few pages on like why, why I wanted to, you know, really make sure I was engaging in honoring some of that political content because it's true of the religion, it's true of [00:36:42] the world, and it's true for people who are living in the world and using these tools or these plants or whatever. We're all running into politics all the time, you know? And so I thought the idea that we could free ourselves from that somehow is, I [00:36:58] don't know, reminds me very much of like the Golden Dawn notion of like . . .

REBECCA: [laughs]

ANDREW: We'll get back to like the one true history behind all of the movement of the last, you know, thousands of years since Egypt and we'll, you know, access pure spiritual being or whatever. It's like no. That [00:37:13] doesn't exist. You know?

REBECCA: I think you're so right. That was really well said and I totally agree. And I . . . it's . . . to me, I don't want to shame the, like when I hang out with a lot of hippies in Asheville and they're like, we're one human family. I'm like, we are, you're right and it's . . . it's great. [00:37:28] We're all humans. We have these shared human experiences. But within that human experience, my experience is very different than my friend who's, you know, Latinx or a person of color or disabled or a differently [00:37:43] abled or you know, blind or deaf or like anybody that experiences the world and and the, unfortunately, the baggage that the world puts upon them, in our culture . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: The different reasons and the different oppressions that people experience. [00:37:58] I don't understand the . . . Like, for me it's difficult to understand when people are like, let's just pretend that things don't exist, because it's hard!

ANDREW: Sure.

REBECCA: To deal with and it's hard when you don't experience a lot of those things, to be compassionate enough to say, what would it be like? What . . . How can I put [00:38:13] myself in that person's shoes?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And be compassionate to them, and be like, wow, you have had it way more difficult than me. And that doesn't mean that once again, I need to jump off a cliff, but it means I need to be aware of how I move through the world and who I'm stepping [00:38:28] on, who I'm profiting off of . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And who I'm supporting in the way that they would like to be supported, not the way I think they should be supported.

ANDREW: For sure.

REBECCA: And like you said, I don't . . . I always tell my students, I'm like, I don't know the answers. I have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm just . . . [laughs] I [00:38:43] do have some idea. But I'm guessing and I'm list-, trying to listen to my friends, and what their needs actually are, and I make mistakes.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And I have to be sorry, like you said, and then ask, what do you, what word did you use, recon-, not [00:38:58] reconstructed, but re- . . . You used a great word to kind of describe that asking somebody, what can I do? What do you need from me?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: To- . . . true apology.

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I can't remember right now, but you can rewind and listen to it later. [laughs] 

REBECCA: [00:39:13] Well, that word, you know . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: And that concept of . . . That to me is so integral in our in our work, especially with plants. It's so complicated. And like I said, many people will either say, "Right on," you know, or say "Wow, [00:39:28] she's a crazy communist," you know, or "Wow, she's actually horrible and she shouldn't harvest any plans at all." And I know, at some point, I want everyone to like me . . . [laughs] You know, I want everyone .  . . I'm a very people-pleasing person, being socialized female growing up, you [00:39:43] know, I always want to make everyone happy and feel safe. Also quadruple Cancer here.

ANDREW: Wow, that's a lot of Cancer. It's a lot of Cancer. The struggle is real, eh?

REBECCA: A real struggle but, I've got a lot of fire too. So it's hard to find out . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: What to truly do about that. [00:39:58] But I think what you've said, like, and the way you handled it in your book . . . There . . . People will be mad at us, no matter what we do in life and dislike us and that's okay. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: Looking for places who are causing real harm. That's to me more important than dealing with people who are on the Internet screaming.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: Real [00:40:13] purpose. [laughs]

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, people can, people can do whatever they want on the Internet. It's fine. It's the Internet. I mean, it'd be great if people were kinder, but well, it's the Internet. So. [laughs] So that's the modern monster we've created right? Now, it's [00:40:28] funny, I've been . . . So, I guess, I have a question for you and then we will wrap up because you know, we've been on the phone for a while here, which has been super fun and we could probably talk for a long time. But so, my [00:40:43] question is: If you were to pick a plant or maybe a couple plants, that you think their energy harmonizes with kind of what we've been talking about here. What, what plant would that be, for you, for somebody [00:40:58] to get to know, you know, on an energetic level or whatever level makes sense, you know? 

REBECCA: Yeah, that's such a good question. I think, for me, one of my most patron plants is mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris.

ANDREW: Uh huh.

REBECCA: And [00:41:13] it-- [laughs] Most gardeners in my town will be like, I hate mugwort, because it has running rootless, and it goes all over the place . . .

ANDREW: Yeah.

REBECCA: And it's a weed. But mugwort has been used historically all over the world as a banishing herb.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: The way that [00:41:28] many like new age folks use white sage now, which is not really its intended purpose, is what I've been told . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

REBECCA: By different folks and you can read a lot more about that by actual indigenous people online. If you want to look up the original uses [00:41:43] of white sage, I'd encourage you to do that. But mugwort, whether burned or even just hung up as a bundle, was used to keep away evil, to cleanse things, to remove disease-causing spirits, and in Asia, as well as North America and Europe, [00:41:58] and now it's naturalized. It's not native. It's naturalized all over the United States in lots of different species. And they're fragrant. They're edible, medicinal, important plants and I invite you to meet mugwort. And especially if [00:42:13] you have German ancestry, it was one of most important fumic plants of the German folks, which my last name means "from Bavaria." So, as you can imagine, that's some of the stuff I focus on in my work, but I invite people that to meet mugwort, because when you harvest it, you're weeding [00:42:28] out an invasive plant, you can make all types of food and medicine, and I have a post on my blog about the history of its magical uses, if people are curious with it. 

ANDREW: We'll include a link in the show notes, for sure. That's awesome. Yeah, mugwort's [00:42:43] a really great one. You know, it's funny. It's amusing. I don't know. I don't even know what the right word is. I'm always surprised at how hard a sell it is to people sometimes? When other things are just such an [00:42:58] easy sell, right? 

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: But, but now I'm just going to be like, you know, look, Rebecca says you should use this one. I'll there put a little sign above the . . . You know, your face, saying, "Get this one!" right where we sell it in the shop. [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, [00:43:13] the one that I leaned on a lot through, through that kind of like journeys with this stuff was, was actually was dandelion.

REBECCA: Hmm.

ANDREW: You know, it's a sort of like, you know, partly because of its notion of like, that deep [00:43:28] taproot as sort of staying deeply grounded in my own practice and being really really like grounded in what I do. Partly, you know, because of, like even though people see it as a weed, the beauty of its flower, right? That sort of like [00:43:43] offering of a radiance to the world throughout what I'm trying to do with my work, and also because it's, you know, often used for like detoxifying and stuff like that, that sort of like inner cleanse. It's like, I've got to root out this stuff, that's conditioning and [00:43:58] cultural baggage and other things, so that I can be more authentic to myself and what I need to be doing, you know? So that was definitely one that I leaned down a lot. You know, last year, especially through the summer time, [00:44:13] whenever I was like, feeling, feeling that worry about what was going to happen when the thing came out. I was like, all right, let's go out in the garden, dig up some dandelions, make some tea, or like hang out with them, or put a put a bunch of them on the table for a while or whatever, you know, so. [00:44:28] 

REBECCA: Yeah.

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure.  

REBECCA: That's amazing. I love that. Thanks for sharing that with me. 

ANDREW: Yeah! So, for people who want to check out what you're up to, and people should definitely check out what you're up to. Where do they find you? Where . . . [00:44:43] what are you up to, where are you hanging out online right now?

REBECCA: Where do I lurk? Well, I have a website and an Instagram account called Blood and Spicebush. And my website is BloodandSpicebush.com. Spicebush is one of my favorite native plants and a blood cleanser, [00:44:58] hence the name of my website! And I also run a small folk herbalism school with my friend Abby Artemisia, called Sassafras School. And you can find us at Sassafras-School.com. And we have a few more spaces left in our yearlong [00:45:13] program on folk medicine and wild foods, as we're both female botanists and foragers and medicinal practitioners. So, we're excited to share that, because there's lots of amazing clinical herb programs, but we've seen there wasn't really any folk [00:45:28] program. So we decided to give it a go and see how that goes.

ANDREW: Nice. That's awesome. Amazing. And you're going to be in Hamilton this summer, for folks who are local to the shop. So, you know, we'll put a link in for where you can find that as well in the notes, [00:45:43] but, Rebecca's going to be up in up in our part of the world a little bit where the shop is, so. 

REBECCA: End of June. Yeah.

ANDREW: End of June, yeah. Well, thank you so much for being on. It's been a wonderful chatting with you. Thank you.

REBECCA: It was a pleasure. Thank you. 

EP92 Magick, Tradition, and Orishas with Jesse Hathaway

EP92 Magick, Tradition, and Orishas with Jesse Hathaway

December 22, 2018

Andrew and Jesse connect on this weeks episode to discuss their connect to Santeria and the Orishas. We see how these traditions influence us, our world, and our magick.

If you're enjoying the podcast so far why not check out our Patreon. For just a few dollars an episode you'll get special perks and Patreon only episodes! You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

Check out Jesse's store "Wolf and Goat" here, his podcast here, and his theatre work here

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

ANDREW: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I'm here today with Jesse Hathaway, who . . . I have a hard time describing exactly who Jesse is. Jesse does all sorts of traditional magical traditions in [00:00:15] the ATR, as well as, you know, being an author and creator of magical products and a participator in a whole bunch of other traditions as well. So, I'm just going to hand it over to Jesse and say hey, how [00:00:30] how would you introduce yourself here? 

JESSE: Hi. Wow. I think . . . You know, I'm not, I'm not a big fan of magical CVs as it is, but you know, I, summary-wise, [00:00:45] I guess, I'm an Olocha. I made Obatalá in the Cuban Lukumí Santería tradition. I am a Tata Quimbanda, which . . . I'm a practitioner of Brazilian . . . It's [00:01:00] an Afro-Brazilian sorcerers' tradition that is sometimes paired with Umbanda, or Candomblé. Sometimes people let it stand on its own. It's a Congolese-derived practice, and traditional [00:01:15] witchcraft has always been there for, you know, as long as I can consciously remember, into early teens and things like that. 

But I study whatever interests me. It doesn't mean I'm initiated in all those things; it doesn't mean I'm practicing [00:01:30] all those things, but I have a passion for magical traditions, folk magic, folklore. I have a huge love of Mexican curanderismo, which is a familial background, although I did not go into that as a [00:01:45] practitioner. And I think also just . . . I'm a babbler, is probably important for my CV as well, that, you know, some of these things, like curanderismo, culturally, you never called yourself [00:02:00] that thing; that was something the community called you. So, I guess in some ways whatever people call me is whatever they call me, and they can come to me for what they come to me. And the main thing is that I'm just trying to do as much training with elders and keep things going as I can. But yeah. [00:02:16] 

ANDREW: I think that's a really interesting point. You know? And maybe we can start with that. We . . . I mean, we were talking before we got on the line, right? And we were talking about, you know, these sort of questions of authority and [00:02:31] who gets to call oneself authority, you know, who's an expert in these traditions or an elder or even just, you know, an acknowledged practitioner, you know? And I think that this question of where [00:02:46] does the authority come from? And how does that happen sort of inside and outside of traditional practices is a really interesting point, right? 

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: You know, for example, you're talking about, you know, being a curandero, [00:03:01] like, that's not a thing that you call yourself. That's what other people would call you if they're going to call you that, right? 

JESSE: Yes. 

ANDREW: I think that that's really fascinating, and I think that we see a lot of change [00:03:16] around that, where traditionally everybody lived in the same place, right? Everybody generally didn't move around that much and people probably saw a person in that practice grow [00:03:31] up, experience their training, they saw that they got the nod from other people who are acknowledged as that, and at some point, they started taking on their own, you know, practice, right? But in the Internet age, right, [00:03:47] that looks more like a good Instagram account, maybe?

JESSE: (laughing)

ANDREW: You know, maybe a nice website. 

JESSE: Yeah. 

ANDREW: You know, what . . . like, I'm curious what you think about those evolutions and those changes that are going [00:04:02] on around that. 

JESSE: Yeah. I mean, the apprenticeship model, which . . . It's not a certificate model, right? It's something different, where you are under an apprenticeship, you are with the elder and [00:04:17] their clients see you training with their elder. You know, they . . . it's . . .The visibility is a very different thing. It's not just classes. It's not just, you know, herb walks, occasionally. You are the right hand [00:04:32] of that elder for a very long time. And they see you go from incompetence to competence to fluency, and you know, that kind of replacement for that elder if and when they pass is there. And [00:04:47] it's a very different model than what is done now. 

But even within, I think, the kind of Internet age, of, you know, teachers have dozens and dozens and dozens of students. I look at the Brazilian model of a tahero, where [00:05:02] there is going to be one pai de the santo, who is the head, doing everything. They're doing all the initiating, thousands of people, but each person has a yake baba care [spelling?] that's taking care of their needs that is more individualized in that way. But still, it's . . . [00:05:17] you lose your individuality when you train, and that part is, that sacrifice is very difficult, I think, for a lot of our very Western Internet-friendly minds about promoting individuality. How different you are, how a certain . . . [00:05:32] You know, "I'm studying this tradition," and the tradition is studying you, is part of the thing that we forget too. 

ANDREW: Well, and I think that it's part of the . . . part of the good training, you know, is learning how [00:05:47] to get out of the way and do the work, right? 

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: You know? Like the . . . you know, I think about the elder Olochas that I trained with and spent time with, or am at ceremonies with, right? And certainly, if there's a [00:06:02] junior person there to put, to open in the coconuts or whatever, they're going to do that, they're going to be like, "Hey, go do that, go mop the floor, go whatever." 

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: But also, if there's not, they're just going to grab the hammer and go, right? And, [00:06:17] you know, there are these funny things that come from that training and that experience. And, you know, opening coconuts is one of them. You know, I watched the people who are new, you know, in my house come and open coconuts, and, you know, I'm like, I always [00:06:32] look over like, "Oh, they're taking forever!" You know, not in a mean way, but just in a like, you know . . . And then, and that feeling of like, I can open a coconut in no time because I've done hundreds and hundreds of them now. 

JESSE: Yep.

ANDREW: And, those subtle things that you would, [00:06:47] you know, you would see being in the space with somebody else . . . 

JESSE: Yes.

ANDREW: Make that big difference, right? 

JESSE: Mm-hmm. Even the way the way that we mopped the way that . . . we call it watering your elders, you know, just [00:07:02] the, you have to . . . in a good way, not . . . I don't mean that in a . . . But the idea of culturally, like, I'm . . . Those of us that are more on the introverted side, you know, it's a lot to go and say hello to everyone. It's a lot to enter a room and to each person say hello. [00:07:17] It can be exhausting before the ritual even starts.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: You know, you learn shorthands. Or you find ways to be able to enter into the social language that is needed to be able to access things. But, going around and asking everyone who's older [00:07:32] than you: "Do you want something to drink? Can I get you a coffee? Can I get you a water? Can I get you something?" Even if they say no, it's a lot, for whatever reason, that service-oriented side of things leaves . . . It works both ways in the sense that it allows people to introduce themselves to each other, in [00:07:47] a way that's not just small talk. But also, people see that you are trying to take care of people in the room, and make sure that everyone is comfortable. 

And it's an interesting side of things that you know . . . That's [00:08:02] not a critique; it is a critique, but of the Internet culture basis or the book-learned culture of not realizing that the book is still your teacher and it's a one-sided conversation that you don't get to necessarily appeal to the author and ask for clarification, but you didn't [00:08:17] teach yourself. You learned from a book. You didn't teach yourself, because there's a language that you are relying on that is built on clichés and allegories and metaphors and things like that. So, there's, there's . . . 

This idea of picking yourself up by your [00:08:32] bootstraps into a magical tradition is not quite necessarily the case even when you're doing it by yourself. And, and, if we believe that spirit is intervening, then spirit is also teaching us as well. And [00:08:47] how well we can refine that, our own inner ear, to listen to that, is also something there. In a community, you know, a community setting, people often ask in online groups, like what books can I read? Read the room, first, like [00:09:02] take the temperature of the room and listen, because, I mean, the best conversations happen at 2 a.m. after all the things are done for the day and the cook finally gets to sit down because the kitchen is shut.

ANDREW: Sure. Or they're in there and you're talking to them instead of you know, rushing around. [00:09:17] 

JESSE: Yeah. 

ANDREW: And then they go, "Hey, come look at this thing that I'm going to do here," right? And even, even in the simplest of things like, you know, cooking the inyales right? Like just cooking the parts of the animals that go to the Orishas. There's all sorts [00:09:32] of stuff to learn about just even a simple thing like that, you know, and if you're engaged with the people and talking to them and have a relationship with them, then they're going to invite you in and be like, "Hey, you know, if you're looking for this, do this this way, or here's a good way to do it," [00:09:47] you know? 

Otherwise, you're just, you know, you can do it and it will serve the job but you're missing big swaths of the teaching, right? It's always the thing that I'm really aware of in my, you know, in my position as somebody in Toronto, far [00:10:02] away from regular practice, right? My . . . my knowledge is good. You know, my . . . I mean, there's always things to work on, but my fluency and some of those little details, I'm well aware that it's not as strong [00:10:17] as it would be if I was living somewhere where I got to just work more often, you know, because you can never learn those things from a book. Nobody ever thinks to talk about that. You know? Right? Unless you're in the room with the person and then you're watching them, like, "Hey, what was that? Why'd you put that in there? I didn't see [00:10:32] anybody do this before,” you know? 

JESSE: You know, you can read a book about running a marathon, but it's a very different thing to do it. 

ANDREW: Right?

JESSE: And we talk about that all the time, of like, you know, watching, if someone doesn't know how to mop, and they say they're an active santero. You're like "Hmm, maybe not." But [00:10:48] there's this side of it, of, there's so much, there's different types of knowledge and the modern age promotes one type of knowledge, which is the facts of the, the history of that type of thing that can be transmitted via literature [00:11:03] in that way, in the written word and it's an interesting side of things, but it's very different when the body knows it, when the, when the ways of learning in the body are different from the head. And even . . . [00:11:18] 

So, it's an interesting side of, you know, really making sure if someone doesn't know how to do certain things, you train them and even, even, for example, my early years [00:11:33] as an Olocha. I come from a house of a lot of old elders. Like physically, they are more aged. And so even though I could be doing other things, they needed someone to lift the big water buckets and up [00:11:48] and down the stairs and do the heavy lifting and open the coconuts. So even though there were other tasks that I could be doing, I was doing the manual labor, because I was younger . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And able to do certain things that my amazing elder ladies could not. [00:12:03] And that's an interesting side of things too, because then they sent me out and like, you know, “Go to this house, and start studying with them a little bit here, and then come back and branch out,” so that I could get different experiences. 

And I think one of the things that's very interesting with . . . In the history of Santería, [00:12:19] is just because the houses started working with each other, things got very homogenized very quickly, through public opinion, both in a good and a bad way. There are variances to the way things are done, but the variances between the houses are actually pretty small. [00:12:34] You know, there's kind of a liturgized homogenized way to do things that is acceptable. And when you vary too much from that, both out of tradition or vary too much from that out of lack of tradition or lack of knowledge, you kind of get [00:12:49] pulled back into what is the acceptable practice . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And that's an interesting side of it. So, it's actually preserved a lot through public opinion through the fact that there's seven different lineages represented in a room because you invite [00:13:04] those people to work because in the early days you didn't get a choice on who was coming to work cause you needed people. So, you got anybody, any santero that was in New York City. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: "Come, work this thing!" And so, new traditions kind of, or at least parallel traditions start aligning, they start [00:13:19] coming into a common practice and adaptations have to happen for the modern age. You can't do certain things the way that was done in Cuba or in Nigeria. So, it's . . . Those modifications happen, and elders make those decisions. [00:13:34] When one person makes those decisions, it can get a little crazy. But when a community comes together and says, "How do we resolve this problem? How do we take care of this? Then there's more options, I think.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. For sure. Well, and I think that goes [00:13:49] back to . . . It goes back to kind of a couple questions around that. One is for me, I think that where there are differences in lineage, it's important to know what they are. Even if they're small.

It's interesting, where there are lineage [00:14:34] differences, that I think it's really important to become aware of those and know what they are, right? You know, I mean, we are initiated into a lineage, and therefore if our lineage does it a certain way, we should do it that way. And you know, [00:14:49] in these different times, where you go, might go to different houses and do things in different ways, I think that it's important to respect, you know, the way other people do it and also know that when you're in your home, you do it a different way, right? Or when it's your event. But [00:15:04] I think it also creates a lot of unnecessary dialogue and drama, and I think that we see this in all the magical communities, right? At least every one that I've ever been in, which is more than a few. It's this thing of "Well, [00:15:19] we don't do it this way. Therefore, it must be wrong," right? 

JESSE: Yes.

ANDREW: You know, "This is . . . this is not . . . I've never seen this; therefore, it must be wrong." And I think that, you know, it's such a such a sticky [00:15:34] topic, right? How do we understand what is tradition? What is traditional variance? How do we understand what is, what comes from experience, and what might be other groups' experience that we could integrate? 

JESSE: Mm-hmm. 

ANDREW: And how do [00:15:49] we . . . And how do we judge what is just, you know, manufactured garbage, right?

JESSE: (laughs)

ANDREW: To make a few bucks, you know? So. I don't know. What do you think? Give us, give us a guide here, give us some solid rules we can live by.

JESSE: Because I'm the authority? (laughs) Authority of [00:16:04] that. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I'm giving you all the authority right here. Community of one gives it to you, Jesse!

JESSE: Yeah, yeah. I think, obviously reliable or people that you can [00:16:19] confide in and ask opinions on that . . . The chain of eldership is really important and it's not just for this. You know, I don't, I don't support the complete submission to elder guru style where it allows for physical abuse or emotional abuse and that way . . . That is a [00:16:34] model that does exist and has existed but there is a possibility of an elder and mentor elder and minor model that allows for accessing [00:16:49] opinions that can contextualize things based in the knowledge that they have that is more than your own.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: How do you, how do you modify? I think there's the side of it too, that's always interesting, [00:17:04] of when you don't recognize something, if you're secure in what you have, you don't attack the thing you don't know, you just look at it and cook. That's interesting. Let me see where this goes, and you have to wait. Gauge the point of when it seems off and [00:17:19] what is your agenda in making sure that it's correct or incorrect.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And that personal side of it, the, you know, this idea that there's objective . . . one tradition that was passed down from Adam and Eve, it gets a really, it doesn't serve us. And I . . . Certainly [00:17:34] within the ATRs, I mean, the differences between traditions, houses, the differences between Santería and Candomblé and different Orisha practices are huge. And at the same time, the [00:17:49] Orisha are very flexible in what they, what they say and do, and they're not going to sit there and nitpick, but there are ways, specifically, that the tradition has evolved, to make sure that Orisha comes, that Orisha is there, that is unique to each lineage, unique to each house, it has similarities [00:18:04] and commonalities and landmarks, you know, to . . . that are recognizable. But at the same time there's . . . I don't see elders get as upset about something that's off. [00:18:19] Just minorly off. They'll be like, "Oh, we don't do that," and don't worry about it because "come do it, we do it this way."

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: I see a lot of people who are younger, get really pissed off about keeping tradition intact.

ANDREW: And I've talked to elders who talk about that's [00:18:34] how they felt when they were younger. Right? And be like, "Oh, when I was like 18, I was so mad about all these things. But now I'm like, well, I can see both sides, you know." 

JESSE: Yeah. And it's the question of like, do you spend all the time stamping the thing out that you don't like [00:18:49] or do you spend time investing into the model that you feel is more correct and more profitable for people to follow?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And, you know, fighting for what you want to see as opposed to what you don't want to see. And there's merits on both sides. I think, personally. [00:19:04] You know, when is it that we don't . . . We try not to innovate a lot of times in ATRs, right? Of like, you innovate through necessity only. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And, a temporary thing that you're still asking clarification on from elders or spirits [00:19:19] or things like this, but you try to innovate as little because otherwise it's not necessarily what you're practicing anymore.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: It's not recognizable. It's not recognizable. And has its own thing. Certainly. [00:19:35] Opinions change as you get older too, and you . . . More experience, it's not just older. What is the Chinua Achebe quote of "Old age is respected and wisdom is revered"? The same thing is similar in our models here of, like, you know, someone who has worked the room for [00:19:50] five years consistently at the foot of an elder is going to know more than someone who's 20 years old and has never worked the room, as much, or worked it once a year. Someone who births a lot of Orisha constantly or is taking a lot of clients is going to have a different opinion of how things function because they realize, [00:20:05] "I don't do it this way because it gets in the way of blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: Versus, if it's your first time giving, it's like a first-time child. You're going to make a bunch of mistakes. You're going to realize you might put a lot of effort into things that you won't necessarily do on the fourth child down . . .

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: Because important . . . and that practical [00:20:20] experience, you know, sometimes we just have to suffer through our own inexperience and be humble and keep going to elders and asking opinions and seeing, keeping our eyes open as to what is being done. And if we're in a solitary tradition where it's [00:20:35] less likely that we're going to have an elder who's going to speak to our direct needs, then learn from other things around you that you can, that you admire and can pull in. You know, it's really hard to reinvent the wheel constantly. 

ANDREW: Well, I think it's . . . You know, I think it's really interesting because [00:20:50] when I . . . The first store that I read out of have a predominantly Afro-Caribbean clientele.

JESSE: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: And, you know, so I was . . . Although I was getting involved in [00:21:05] the Orisha traditions and stuff at that point, I didn't have a ton of experience at all and, and I wasn't initiated as a priest, so it was just mostly my own development that I was focused on. But I, you know, I had done a ton of ceremonial work and you know, initiations [00:21:20] along all those lines, and one of the things that was really interesting was, I would end up having these conversations with you know, spiritual Baptist priests and, you know, other people, and they're like, "You really understand," you know, [00:21:35] whatever it was that they were doing, right? They would always say, "You really understand our tradition. You really understand this. You really understand the African mindset," or whatever, and I understand that they felt that that was true. But I think that what I knew was, what I [00:21:50] actually really understand is magic and I understand that there are generally fundamental things that are kind of true across the board if you're really engaged at a deep level and not, not sort of in the "there's only one faith" [00:22:06] or "there's only one source" or any of that kind of like, you know, Victorian colonial nonsense, right?

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: But in the sense that when you understand that spirits are real, and you have the capacity to genuinely speak with spirits and [00:22:21] you're going to work with materials, nature, candles, whatever, offerings. Then, then though the surface of those things, or the tradition and lineage piece changes those, there is a fundamental mindset [00:22:36] that, that's there, kind of around the world around those kinds of things. And once you get that, then you can relate at that place, right? Which is completely different than sort of going in and sort of saying, you know, as I've certainly seen other people do, "Well, [00:22:51] yeah, exactly, I know this tradition and the spirits gave it to me and therefore I am able to do this and that and whatever, it's like, no no, no. I know how to talk to spirits. And in fact, often even people, spirits of other people's traditions might lean in a bit through a reading and nudge me in [00:23:06] a given direction. But that's not the same as understanding their traditions or whatever, right? 

JESSE: Yeah. Absolutely. The . . . I think that when we're talking about fluency, and magical fluency, we're talking about a practicality, as far as how [00:23:21] to utilize those things in everyday life, and that, that is something that is, I think, palpable when someone knows and can give practical advice, practical actions to achieve certain things, no matter the, no matter the tradition. And [00:23:36] certainly, when it's still theory in someone's head and less pragmatic, you can tell that too. There can be a struggle to articulate something. What are the next steps? And where do you go from here? And we can [00:23:51] talk about cosmology and philosophy which differ from person to person, let alone town to town, or tradition to tradition. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: And those finer points, but the practicality of it, that is, that's something different. You have to be somewhat fluent in order to give [00:24:06] good practical advice on how to move forward, and parroting something is, you know, you first learned by saying what you know, and going off of what you've seen, but the more you can expose yourself to, the more people's styles, you'll start to learn different ways of approaching things. [00:24:21] And certainly, I'm being reminded of a computer search parameter [00:24:36] recently. That was . . . The issue with diagnostic tools from computers or trying to diagnose illness and things like this, is that they're not programmed to look for something that isn't there. 

ANDREW: Hmm.

JESSE: And this is something that humans can still do very well in that . . . not [00:24:51] just looking for the problem out of the common, of the sets of things are there, but to have a revelation of what could still be needed by the person, not necessarily . . . You know, when someone comes for a reading, there, it's not just their conscious problems we're talking about. We're trying to look and [00:25:06] bring those things that are unconscious to the surface too, to see what is actually the root of something that needs to be addressed, and those things come from having a good foundation in the basics, in order to . . . You [00:25:21] know, you have to do primary colors before you start doing secondary colors and understanding what those things are. You can't mix secondary colors trying to get primary colors. You still have to know what that, that order is, and I think it's very similar in magic. You know, there's basic advice on things and [00:25:36] some people will give out the basic like, you know, here's an uncrossing. Here's a, here's a love drawing, here's a bend over type of working, and those are, those are set vocabularies and other people [00:25:51] might tell you to go light a candle at the base of this tree and the spirit is going to take care of it. And that's the model that they were using, and both are pragmatic in this sense, but I . . . 

I wonder how much materialism [00:26:06] still enters in, the kind of Scientific Revolution atheist materialism that sneaks in because that is the paradigm as Westerners that we are raised in, you know, there's some variance in that and based on familial upbringing and religious upbringing. But the idea that spirit [00:26:23] is not necessarily tangible in the same way and it is actually affecting the materia to do the thing is a less popular model. And it's interesting now, like once you get introduced to the concept [00:26:38] of a charged statue or something like that, people want to put loads and everything in. They don't necessarily know what goes in it. They want to know, "Why, why do I put these things there? Am I putting this there to symbolize this?" Whereas in spirit-based traditions the spirit might possess someone, and it could put [00:26:53] anything it wants in that statue and breathe on it or splash it with whatever and now it's charged. It doesn't necessarily have a logic that we can understand as to why it picked that item to represent that thing because it's not representation. It's [having?] something and that is a battery of power that is being used. [00:27:08] Not, did you have all 732 exact ingredients . . . 

ANDREW: Exactly.

JESSE: To put in. That spirit could go for a walk and pull a clump of herbs and give you one of the most powerful baths you've ever had. Whereas if you try and duplicate it with those same herbs, it's not going to be the same, because you're not . . .

ANDREW: Yeah. I was [00:27:23] talking with somebody in the store recently about . . . they were asking me where I get the crystals that I buy, and about the mining practices, you know, and I think that those, those are really important questions, you know, and the short answer is about [00:27:38] half of what I have, what I sell, I know, I know pretty clearly where it comes from, and short of, you know, hopping on a plane and going to the mine, I feel like the people I'm buying from, who are buying directly from the miners, [00:27:53] you know, I believe them, you know. It's the best we can do in this in this day and age, you know. 

A bunch of the other stuff, I'm far less clear about where that comes from and, and you know, I would like to reduce that [00:28:08] amount, you know, to be clearer that there's no human rights violations and horrible environmental destruction and so on. But it's, but it's complicated and it's difficult and you know in this industry for sure, and in tons of industries. They [00:28:23] were asking me about the magical influence of where, of where something comes from and how it's handled along the way and all of these kinds of things, right? Is the stone that you know where and how it was [00:28:38] mined different than the stone where you don't? 

And, and when I was talking with them about it, I mean, certainly I have my own political and social view on that stuff, which is, I think that the stuff that is harvested [00:28:53] with respect is always, is always better whenever we can manage it. You know, whenever I harvest things, I always harvest them with a lot of respect. And I think that that's a great thing. But I think that there's kind of a, also another question mixed in that, [00:29:08] which is, where does the actual magic of what you're doing reside, right? And in the context of a stone, right? Is it concretely in the minerals and the energy of that? And [00:29:23] I think that that's, that's part of it, you know, there there's really interesting crystal books that talk about the, you know, how the crystals form and how that magic, how the energy of that relates to their sort of fundamental crystalline structure that varies from different stones [00:29:38] and you know, you've got color and you've got different participations and all that kind of stuff. And what other things activate this, right? 

JESSE:  Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: And you know, there's the power of the thing in and of itself, but kind of as you're saying, there's also what the spirit might want, right? 

JESSE: Yes.

ANDREW: Like, you know, if I'm working with, you [00:31:37] know, one of my guides, and my guide says, you know, grab me, grab me a piece of iron pyrite and let's do this with it.

JESSE: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: Certainly the . . . certainly the element is important, but the activation of that particular spirit through that element is [00:31:52] way more important in that equation, probably. You know, the actual force through which the spirit makes the change or consecrates that thing, you know, and consecrating a statue is a good example of that, right? You know. That is the force of the spirit making [00:32:07] something and putting it together and anchoring it. And then we get into . . . 

And then sort of the third thing that I see which is related but not exactly the same which is you know, especially with things like plants and stuff like that, right? There is also the [00:32:22] living entity which is that plant in and of itself right and not necessarily just the specific one that you're working with, but the sort of deeper energy of a given, you know, a given plant in the world, you know, like [00:32:37] ayahuasca or other things. You know, people, you know often talk about that as an entity that wants to return to the world, but I think that that's actually fundamentally true of the bow trees in the front of my shop and, you know my crown [00:32:52] of thorns plant, and all of those things, and it knows I'm definitely, in the way that I'm working with them in the space, connecting with the collective entity of that plant, you know? And so, I think that this [00:33:07] this idea of how are we working and what are we doing is so interesting and I think it's something that people don't really see those distinctions. I don't hear them talked about, you know?

JESSE: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: So, I'm curious what you think about them.

JESSE: Yeah, [00:33:23] I . . . something that comes to mind. I have, as long as I've been crowned actually, so a dozen years, been working with an experimental Theater Company here in New York City called Dzieci. And it's [00:33:38] using theater as a tool to investigate something else. But that's [lost audio at 33:45?] is unique to each person. But we're talking about investigating the sacred through the tool Le Théâtre. Through the means of theater. [00:33:53] And this intentionality, this question of intentionality is quite interesting to explore. And a question that gets posed a lot by the director, and then as we start something, is when does [00:34:08] the ritual begin?

ANDREW: Mm.

JESSE: And, is it when you have the audience fully there and in a theater context and the play starts? Well, no, it started long before that with the rehearsal process and then again, when did it start before that? And the question is when you bring [00:34:23] it . . . You know, for me, the answer and it seems to be a common thought on this, is when you bring awareness to it.

ANDREW: Mm.

JESSE: And so, if I know that I'm doing an important ritual next week and every day I'm waking up going, "I'm doing this next week. What can I do today to manifest that more [00:34:38] smoothly and make sure?" Then making sure all your bills are paid and you know, the bag lunches are done for the day and everything, that becomes part of the ritual. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And there's this interesting question of intentionality, when you know that something is ethically harvested [00:34:53] and you're going to the store but you're in a tizzy and distracted going to the store and you're not present when you're picking up the crystal and you're putting it on the thing and you know, talking on the cell phone and looking at things. What are you doing to destroy the intentionality of that good harvest act? 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: I mean there's that side of it too, that's always interesting to me, of, [00:35:08] you know, you can have good ingredients prepared by bad chefs.

ANDREW: Yep.

JESSE: And you can get shitty ingredients prepared by expert chefs that still taste better. You can have ingredients, you can have a horrible angry chef prepare something masterfully because they know how to treat the [00:35:23] food and maybe they're compartmentalizing their emotion. Maybe they're not. They're . . . that missing ingredient of grandmother love that goes into the cookies: Does it make it taste better? Does it not? And you know, it is, I think for all of us, the question of intentionality is an interesting side of it [00:35:38] of what are we bringing to it? And how we contributing to these seeds? You know, I think, I like to look at things as seeds of potential . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And certain things allow them to mature and grow. The side of [00:35:53] it of looking at: What is it that that makes something work? What is it that allows something to happen? [00:36:08] I think anybody that can say definitively is selling something . . .

ANDREW: (chuckles) And they probably have a great brand name trademark . . . 

JESSE: Absolutely!

ANDREW: Attached to it. Right? 

JESSE: Yeah, I think the [00:36:23] exploration of that and the curiosity of that is what, for me at least, drives me to constantly keep practicing that you know that you can . . . Like you were saying earlier, that sometimes, you know, if there's someone there that can mop [00:36:38] the floor, open the coconut, there's a way to enter into that, where sometimes the task just has to get done and that person is learning it and they're going to make their mistakes. There's other times. I remember recently . . . We were short staffed at an Ocha ritual and I was the one on my hands and knees mopping, because normally would be someone else [00:36:53] and that's fine, because I'm usually assisting someone. But the . . . I had such pure joy in mopping the floor of just, like it was such an interesting thing of caretaking and, and kind of going into the trance of mopping, which was an interesting thing too, of still remaining present enough to know what [00:37:08] else was going on in the room, so that I'm not mopping something carelessly.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

JESSE: But also, this balance of, I guess it is a little bit of Zen and the art of peeling potatoes. But also for those of us that get lost in our heads, to be present enough and aware [00:37:23] enough of what else is going on, so that if you know the something escapes, you know, whether it's a child, a chicken, or a potato rolling down the hallway, that you're able to notice it and catch it, not that the chick, child is rolling down the hallway, but I [00:37:38] . . . hopefully that metaphor still makes sense. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Well, it's one of those things too. For me, I think one of the big differences between before making Ocha and after making Ocha. Or maybe [00:37:53] before receiving Orishas and after receiving Orishas is, when I work the tradition, whatever that is, I can feel the joy of the Orishas themselves, you know?

JESSE: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: Like [00:38:08] when I tell them, like well I'm going to feed him something, and you know, I mean, that might be a sacrifice, but it might just be like, "I'm just gonna, you know, hey, I'm going to cook you this. I'm going to toast up all this corn for you," and you know, whatever. You can feel that energy, right? [00:38:23] 

JESSE: Yeah. 

ANDREW: And I feel like that energy extends to mopping the floor to you know, like all of these kinds of things, right? To, you know, even some of the less pleasant things like plucking, you know, plucking the chickens [00:38:38] after, or, you know wrestling with a ram that got out in the rain, or you know, whatever right? It's just like, it doesn't really matter, from my experience, you know, and maybe this is just me, but I think that it's part of this thing, because that, that service [00:38:53] to the spirits and their pleasure in it, you know, lifts up everything else. Right? 

JESSE: Well, I think it's an interesting parallel too, of a . . .It would seem to me, at least the way that I understood [00:39:08] Greek myths and Norse myths presented to me as a child, even reading like Edith Hamilton. . . 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: They were very anthropomorphized, the gods. So, anthropomorphized that there wasn't . . . it was hard to imagine that they were appearing in nature. They just owned [00:39:23] nature. And it seems that, you know, as my understanding of these things matures that perhaps that is a kind of modern revamping of a lot of pagan ideology and pagan theology . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: But I'm [00:39:38] in one of Matthery's books, I believe, he's interviewing a priestess of Yemayá, in Nigeria, and talks to her and, and she talks about other [00:39:53] people worship their deities. We do our deities. And that when she interacts with water in any conscious level, she is participating in Yemayá. That Yemayá is an act of mopping or washing a body or washing the self or cooking and that water itself has a respect [00:40:08] and a consciousness and that consciousness, for her, was named Yemayá. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: So, it was this concept and we talk about this, and the Spanish verb hacer does this very well, hacer tonto, you're doing something, you're making Santo, that when we participate in these [00:40:23] activities, we're actually participating in Orisha. Orisha is not a human. Orishas have incarnated as humans. But Orisha is as much the sound that the drum makes and gives us pleasure. Orisha is the flash of insight of a new idea. [00:40:38] Orisha is the feeling that we should go left and not right at this intersection, you know, there's things that are in the body that is not just in the head. The head leads it, of course, but it is broader and more experiential [00:40:53] and then the body becomes an extension of the head and the head grows because it is experiencing the world and I think there's something different. 

You know, mopping, you are, you are participating in an Orisha act that is yes, you're finding the joy. But it was also that the deities of [00:41:08] water that are there, that bathing can become a sacred act again. Like when does the ritual begin; when you bring attention to it. And you could make everything about the spirits that you're serving, or you could make very little and only be like a Sunday religionist, as you know, we talk [00:41:23] about. You know, it's a controversial thing to talk about the lack of ability to have separation of church and state but religion is there to justify politic, it always has been, the concept of religion. Karen Armstrong goes into that and I promote her all the time, just [00:41:38] because I find her such a fascinating . . . She's an ex-nun that writes on religion and her book, Fields of Blood, looks at religion and violence. And she talks about that that individual religion and spirituality is a very different thing than organized religion that is sitting there trying [00:41:53] to justify the actions of people in power.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: Whereas the concept of religiosity or spirituality and those things . . . But what we do in our day-to-day is up to is each of us, but it's not just about going to church on Sunday, [00:42:08] promoting the separation of that, thinking that going to church on Sunday makes you a good person because you went . . . it's part of it. But how do you treat your family? How do you treat your co-workers? How do you treat the people around you? You know, how do you treat the land you're on? And this is a . . . It's not for everyone, because [00:42:23] it's very difficult to constantly be on in that mode. It takes practice. It's a muscle that you have to build and stretch.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And I do think that mopping, and carrying buckets of groceries up and down stairs, is a way of stretching [00:42:38] that muscle, or at least it can be when you present it in that way. If you're just bossing someone around, and say, "Go do this, go do this, go do this," they may not see that they're stretching a muscle. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: That's, you know, that's the thing too, is responsible training. You have to say, why are you doing this? Because if [00:42:53] we all stop to take out the trash, we can't do prepare for the ritual that has to happen. But if you, who cannot be on that side of the curtain or do and be in that room at that time, can take out the trash, then you've helped us do that ritual.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: It is [00:43:08] part of it. It's that way of, what was the thing where the man was . . . A president was going to look at the space program and asked the janitor who he was and what he did, and he said, "This is my name and I'm [00:43:23] helping build to send men into space," you know, that it was the responsibility or the contextualized importance of every single task in a temple. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: Very real thing. And if that person doesn't know, someone else is going to have to do it and hopefully take away [00:43:38] from that person balancing the books that day, but that's . . . it's an interesting thing. You see it in different religious communities. I'm friends with some nuns in Connecticut, at the Benedictine Abbey there, and it's so interesting to see, because they follow the Liturgy [00:43:53] of the Hours, their work spurts are two hours. They work really really hard for two hours, and they stop, change, and sing for a half hour to an hour depending on which what the liturgy is that day and then go back to work again. Though there's no warm-up [00:44:08] to working. They know they only have two hours, but they also don't rush. Which is like, "You're gonna do it, you're gonna get to work," and that's great.

ANDREW: I think that that, also that dedication, right? Like they're gonna, they're gonna stop and sing, you know? It's like before [00:44:24] before I got married, my spirits, you know, my ancestors, in a mass, and a misa, were basically like, "We want you to go to church before you get married. We know you're not getting it in church. That's fine. But we want [00:44:39] you to go to a mass." And we were like, "All right," and so I went, and it was it was me and my partner and one other person in this massive, like, Anglican Church at 5 p.m. on a Friday night. And [00:44:54] I remember being there and it was very obvious that like, all the people in the congregation actually had no idea what to do because the priest was like, "Is anybody actually going to come up and take communion or should we just carry on," right? Like, oh, I didn't know this was the point, right? [00:45:09] Which is amusing, but it was also very obvious to me that if nobody had been there, he would have just done the mass. 

JESSE: Yeah. 

ANDREW: You know? And that like, that sort of devotion of, "We're going to stop and sing, [00:45:24] we're going to do this, we're going to do this thing." I think that kind of devotion is just astounding, you know, it's so wonderful. 

JESSE: you're speaking to me very true to Dzieci. We do a piece every year around this time. We [00:45:39] just had our first performances of it, but, called Fool's Mass, which is based on the kind of feast of fools idea from the, from the early modern and medieval period. But it's a [00:45:54] bunch of fools who are have to do the Christmas Mass, even though the priest just died. The exploration. It's a buffoonery piece and it's, there are extreme elements of humor and tragedy in it.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: But the idea that this choir [00:46:09] comes together to sing and normally, you know, we play characters of different ability and, and function and, and responsibilities and some of us are troublemakers and other people are rule followers and what that chaos ensues, but [00:46:24] we know that there's songs that we sing and come together and there's something that's profound there in the in the silence and listening to each other as well.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: And the chaos breaks out again, and how do you do this? How do you . . . how do you continue? In what you know, even [00:46:39] if there's no leader, how do you . . . I always find it interesting, like the dynamic of a classroom when the teacher has to leave to take, to go to the bathroom or something like that? Like, does it function as the same? It depends on the . . . how the teacher has run faster a lot of times. But [00:46:55] it's a, it's an interesting side of things. Doing what you know, when you know to do it is still, lots of times we're like, "Oh, the authority figure's not here, I don't have to do it this way. I could do it this other way." 

ANDREW: Exactly, right?  

JESSE: And [00:47:10] you go, okay, what did I just lose and what did I gain from that? What was the actual benefit from not doing it the exact way I know how? And so many times I think that, you know, it can come up in our systems [00:47:25] of divination, right? That you have the tools, you know exactly what the problem is, and you're not using them. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

JESSE: You know? There's nothing new here. There's no new problems. You know what, you know, every problem that comes up, you know exactly why it's there and you have the tools to fix it, but you're not doing it. So, what do you what [00:47:40] are you looking for here? You know, that's, that's an interesting thing too. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I think it's such an interesting question, you know? Again, as somebody who's sort of far away from regular practice, you know, not having not having an extended community here, [00:47:55] you know, I've definitely, I've definitely run into this sort of angsty emotional piece. And I'm like, "Ah, I got nothing to do. I don't know what to work on. I got nothing to practice," or whatever, and this desire to learn more, right? And, and, [00:48:10] what I noticed at one point was, I was like, "Well, that's cool if there's more to learn and there's always more to learn," but also, how solid's your singing of Osain, [00:48:25] right? How solid is this piece? How about you, like, you know, make sure that you can, like, say the prayer for each of the Orishas, you know, the Oríkì, or learn a song for . . . There's often so much [00:48:40] in our immediate vicinity that we can tend to, and if we take that agency back to ourselves, right? 

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: And that way of like, you know, well, what do we, what do we do when there is nobody else watching? Right.

JESSE: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: I think it's . . . I think that that [00:48:55] is . . . That's where the real work is, right? 

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: I mean, the rest of it is a bunch of work too and you know, not to dismiss it. But at least for me that real work is: I'm here. I'm doing this thing, whether it's, you [00:49:10] know, Orisha stuff or other stuff with my guides or you know, working on the cards or other projects. It's always that question of like: Okay, what do I need to do? How do I make myself do it? How do I do the stuff that doesn't seem glamorous but moves it all forward, [00:49:25] you know, and how do you find the joy with that, so you can sort of continue with devotion around it, you know, or faith, or those kind of old-fashionedy words, right? 

JESSE: Yeah, and also the benefit of when you approach things in [00:49:40] that way, it only informs the other things you're doing.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

JESSE: So, meaning, you know, you're going back to basics and finding new interesting things in them. Then it means that the possibility of you finding new ways and new depths to everything you're doing, because again, it's that muscle that you're stretching that is [00:49:55] developing a way of looking at the world, and, and aligning your feet to a new path. Perhaps it's the same path and you're learning it better, you know, it's nice to return to the things we know sometimes and realize that, oh gosh, there's a lot more here to examine. That [00:50:10] side of it. I know that's wonderful to be able to really examine what it [00:50:25] is that we know and develop the questions of ourselves of like okay, you think you know this for sure, and that's great, but what happens when you do it again? Do it one more time!

ANDREW: mm-hmm.

JESSE: I guess, for me, my background's, undergrad, is in theater [00:50:40] and doing things again is not a problem. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: Over and over and over. There is something of benefit when you have something so memorized. It allows for a new freedom in finding things [00:50:55] out. And it's not the same as reading the prayer, you know, there's a difference there. And what is it to do this and how you say it and what it opens your mind up to. It's like Catholic parallel of the rosary, that saying the prayers is just the bare minimum. Saying [00:51:10] the prayers of the rosary is the minimum. The visualization that is supposed to happen, because the prayers are by rote and coming out of your mouth, and your hand knows to feel for what beads it's saying. That you're actually envisioning mysteries as you're going through the rosary, is, that's level 2 and above, but [00:51:25] you know, if all you know is the prayers and that's what you do . . .

ANDREW: Yeah. Well, and it's like, you know, watching, you know watching elders conduct ceremony, right? They're singing a song, they're doing a thing. They see somebody doing something they [00:51:40] shouldn't be and they don't even lose a beat and they're like, "Put the bucket of water down, blah blah blah blah," and they go right back to it, you know? And sometimes they even just sing it in the tune of what's going on, right? Which is always amusing.

JESSE: Yes. Yeah, it is! (laughing)

ANDREW: And, and that kind of fluency is just [00:51:55] you know, it's so profound. And it comes from that showing up and being present and having walked it so many times and all of that kind of stuff. Yeah. It's such a, such a fascinating thing to see in practice. And it comes out of this, [00:52:10] so much experience with it, right? 

JESSE: Yeah.

ANDREW: Like being on theater, you know, on stage, when the person you're across from like, says the wrong line, what do you do, right?

JESSE: You don't shoot them the right line. You've got to . . . and successful theater something that is [00:52:25] a wonderful exploration is, making each other look good.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

JESSE: You know, in ritual there's so much correction in the way that things can happen. But how can you correct the person so that they are empowered to embrace this correction you're giving them because you get [00:52:40] flustered. And everybody's gonna respond to that differently. But you know, how can you make the person look good still and explain to them, "Hey, there's this better way, try it like this."

ANDREW: Yeah.

JESSE: And, and, and really, because then they're open to the critique. They're open to the correction. And they don't feel ashamed. But, there's [00:52:55] also, we have to get over our shame, too. Especially in the oral traditions, because you're going to be corrected in front of other people.

ANDREW: All the time!

JESSE: And, you know, there's, I remember thinking about the profundity of . . . you know, we talk about our attitudes when were younger and [00:53:10] things, and enter member serving Egun before a ritual once, and everybody's talking and really only the people up at the front right at the shrine are actually paying attention to what's going on, and it was frustrating, and "I can't believe people aren't paying attention!" And realizing like, I am so not present because I'm [00:53:25] so concerned with everybody not paying attention that I'm not paying attention either, and it was just the like, oh my God, it all works if one person is focused up front, the whole thing, the whole ceremony is approved if one person, one conscious act makes [00:53:40] it happen. And then it's like it's great if the whole room is aligned, it's great if everybody will be quiet and focus. Its great of what that is, but it also is humbling to realize how much profound change or acceptance or of a new trajectory can happen with [00:53:55] just one person focusing.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. For sure.

JESSE: And being on point and on task and that's really beautiful. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Well, maybe that's a good place to leave it. Go out there, folks. Be present! Listen, learn, and be kind to yourself and others, [00:54:10] you know, so we can all grow and expand and get wherever it is we're going to go with all of our magical practices. Yeah. Thanks for hanging out with me today, Jesse and being on here. I deeply appreciate it. 

JESSE: My pleasure. 

ANDREW: You've got all sorts of great [00:54:25] stuff going on online. People want to check it out. Where should they come and find you? 

JESSE: The store I run is Wolf and Goat, so wolf-and-goat.com. You can type it without the dashes as well. We're on [00:54:40] Facebook as well. I do a podcast with Dr. Al Cummins, called Radio Free Golgotha intermittently. We're on Facebook as well. But RadioFreeGolgotha.com. If you're interested in Para theater and want to do some strange [00:54:55] explorations of self and the world around you through theater. DzieciTheatre.org DzieciTheatre with an R, E, dot org.

ANDREW: Spelled just like it sounds.

JESSE: Yeah. (laughs) It means [00:55:10] children in Polish. And, I'm sure there's many other things I'm forgetting. But generally, I'm around a lot online, and even more so, in the back alleys of New York, I suppose, so, it's, [00:55:25] it's a pleasure and thanks for having me on, Andrew. 

ANDREW: Oh, thank you.

 

 

 

EP91 Birds and Oracles with Enrique Enriquez

EP91 Birds and Oracles with Enrique Enriquez

December 7, 2018

 

Enrique and Andrew catch up on what the birds are saying. They talk about the effect of living with an oracle versus reading and oracle. The conversation winds through ideas of how being in tune wit the oracles impact their relationship with the rest of life. Finally they end by answering listeners questions. 

Episode 13, Poetry, Magic, and Ice Cream, and episode 63 [00:00:30], Definitions and Silence.

Think about how much you've enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you listened to, and consider if it is time to support the Patreon You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

If you'd like to connect with Enrique go check him out on Facebook here

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

Transcription

ANDREW: [00:00:00] Hello, my friends, welcome to The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I wanted to let you know that the new intro music here was composed by my daughter, Claire. I hope you dig it. I certainly am loving on her creativity. Also, this is episode 91 with Enrique Enriquez. And if you have not caught our past conversations, you should go check them out: Episode 13, Poetry, Magic, and Ice Cream, and episode 63 [00:00:30], Definitions and Silence. Both available in the archives, either on the website or in your podcast catcher. 

[new music!]

Speaker 2: [00:01:00] Let me start by saying thank you to all the Patreons who support this podcast in general, and specifically help the process of providing transcripts of every episode to the public so that anybody for any reason can access all this wonderful information. Those fine people are getting access to great bonus material and they make this happen. If you are listening to this podcast, think about how many episodes you've listened to, how much you've appreciated it [00:01:30], and please consider heading on over to Patreon.com/TheHermitsLamp, and pitching something in to continue supporting this work. It is truly a situation where every dollar helps. 

Welcome back to The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I'm here today with Enrique Enriquez, who is a card reader, poet, and artist, and you know was featured in a wonderful movie called Tarology, which [00:02:00] you can find on many places online right now. [Here's the trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/A5UR3VesQGo] This is the third time that Enrique has been on the show, and if you haven't checked out the other episodes, check the show notes for them. I'll provide links, so people can go back and hear our previous conversations.

Enrique, for people who are meeting you for the first time, who are you? What are you about? What's going on? 

ENRIQUE: Well, you know, the other day I went to a bookstore that is across the street. And first of all, Andrew, it's always [00:02:30] so good to hear you and always so good to talk to you. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: But anyway, you know, I have this book store across the street and I went there. And there was this voice, they were doing something on the floor, I was talking to the guy. And then as I was about to leave, the woman on the floor stood up to say, "Wait!" and then I turn around and say, "What?" And say, "Are you the guy who talks like a bird?" And I say, "Yes, as a matter of fact [00:03:00], I am," and she say, "Yes, a friend told me about you," and I . . . That made me very happy, you know? 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: So, I guess, I am the man who speaks like a bird.

ANDREW: Excellent.

ENRIQUE: And at the moment, that seems to be plenty. 

ANDREW: I think that's wonderful. I mean, for me, listening to the birds and, and trying to speak with them is definitely one of my, one of my favorite things these days. You know, I've been spending, for [00:03:30] years now, really spending a lot of time trying to engage with them, and more and more over time I've found myself drawn deeper and deeper into . . . into the world of birds. So yeah, it's wonderful. 

ENRIQUE: Yes. Yeah, if you know, I suspect that birds are some sort of [Amic? Homic?] knowledge religion that is universal. I only know one person, a friend of mine, who says that birds are jerks and he hates birds. And [00:04:00] he say, "I know you like birds, but I hate birds," and but also always ...

ANDREW: (laughing) That's a lot of strong feeling for birds! 

ENRIQUE: Yes, exactly.

ANDREW: Why does he hate birds? 

ENRIQUE: Yes, but usually, I don't know, I mean, I guess, we said, you know, a bird is somehow that the embodiment of a long [garbled at 4:28] We [00:04:30] look at a bird, we think of birds, we listen to birds. You know, it's just about survival. They go around trying to find something to eat. There is no, no Romanticism in this view of birds, which is fine. I mean, I think it's a great exception, because usually as soon as you . . . You know, the other day, I was talking to . . . having a beer with these poets, a poet from Turkey and a poet from New Zealand and [00:05:00] they asked me, "What do you think about Trump?" And I told him what I believe, which is that Trump has no place in my reality. I don't care. And then, as soon as I mentioned birds, they told me all kinds of fantastic stories about their own relationship with birds. And about 45 minutes into the conversation, I say, "See, that's why I don't think about Trump."

ANDREW: Right.

ENRIQUE: I mean, there are better things to talk about, your, your mind. [00:05:30] Yes, so I think that that that's how, birds account for that common longing we have, for some sort of transcendence that I don't want to, I don't want to put a name to it. But then when you actually make a bird sound, you realize that you are, you are enacting this form that is at once transparent and opaque, you know, because you're not really saying anything, and even so, everybody understands you.

ANDREW: Mmm. 

ENRIQUE: So I end up realizing [00:06:00] that I like to speak like a bird, and that basically means that since the beginning of this summer I started actually recording myself using all these bird calls, like these wooden artifacts or metal artifacts that imitate the sound of birds, and then sending my friends bird messages instead of text or voice messages, right? And by speaking like a bird, what I actually accomplish is, I avoid misunderstandings.

ANDREW: Mmm.

ENRIQUE: Everybody [00:06:31] seems to understand the form of a bird sound.

ANDREW: I like it. I feel like we must have talked about this on the podcast previously. You know, in the Orisha tradition, Osain, who is . . . He's responsible for all the knowledge of all the plants and all the magic that comes from that. He's sort of the wizard who lives in the forest, who's been . . .

ENRIQUE: Beautiful.

ANDREW: Broken down and, you know, scarred [00:07:01] by various conflicts and battles he's had over the years, and Osain speaks like a bird. And you know, when we . . . when we do certain ceremonies and we sing, there are . . . There are these parts where we sing, where we're singing not any words, but just to imitate the sound of the birds and to acknowledge the way in which Osain speaks to us, right? 

ENRIQUE: Ah, that's fantastic. 

ANDREW: Yeah, so, you know ... You're in [00:07:31] good company. 

ENRIQUE: Yes, of course, and, no, it's amazing when you start looking into it, that the amount of effort and time that people have put into trying to imitate birds or talk like birds or understand birds, through history. And there is a, just as you say, there was a sort of pre-Koranic poetry that was all based on imitating the cooing of a mourning dove. And then you have the same in New Guinea. There is a tribe there that all their poetry is [00:08:01] based on the idea of imitating the cooing of a mourning dove, that wailing sound. 

But, I mean, there are countless examples and, of course, thousands of poems about birds, but I guess I . . . Something clicked or shifted this summer. So, I started working with that because I understood that the moment I started sending these bird sounds to people, I went from somebody who could interpret signs [00:08:31] to somebody who was just delivering signs, so they became the interpreters, they were the ones telling me: "Yes. Thank you. I really needed this today." Or, like happened the other day with this, this man. He sent me a recording of a bird that he hears out of the window and then I just mimicked it. I just imitated the same . . . I sent him back the same thing, but I made it and then he say, "Oh, I love yours because I can hear my own name in it." 

ANDREW: (chuckling)

ENRIQUE: And [00:09:01] you know. And that, like a friend from Finland who say, you know, "Birds are only quiet when there are earthquakes or tsunamis or something horrible is about to happen."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: "So whenever I hear your bird voice, I just feel that everything is okay." And to me that's . . . I mean in a sense, yeah, something shifted, because I think that, in a sense, turning the other person into the auger, into the interpreter, it [00:09:31] has something to do with the idea of an oracle as something that should poetize life instead of giving answers. 

ANDREW: Well, and I think that, you know, let's be honest about, you know . . . I mean, I won't even bring my clients into this, about myself. There are times where I go to the oracle, hoping that the oracle will tell me that everything's going to be okay. And, you know, the prospect of thinking that well, as long as . . . as long as I can hear the birdsong, [00:10:01] or as long as I can go into my, my messenger and find a note of you playing, and play that song, the answer is the birds are singing, there's no tsunami. There's no earthquake. 

ENRIQUE: Exactly. 

ANDREW: There's no predator here, right? You're good. Take it easy. (laughs)

ENRIQUE: Exactly. That's exactly one of the ways of seeing it, yes.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And, so, yeah, it has been a really, you know, at some point I started to suspect or to . . . Or maybe I decided [00:10:31] to start acting as if all these enterprises of divination, as if we already got it backwards. . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: You know, and usually we have this idea of this image of the person, the reader, the diviner, who's sitting waiting for the client or the, you know, consultant to come. And then I decided, no, it should be the other way around, right? Because in . . . I was reading The Iliad, you know, and there is this moment, which is a rather irrelevant moment, [00:11:01] when it is said that when a person arrives to the city, he fills everybody with excitement because of course, there is still the potential of what this person may be bringing, you know, news, things, a weird fruit, something, right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And then I thought about that in relationship with angels, and the idea of the angel. And of course, angel is a word that comes from a Greek word for messenger, [00:11:31] right? So, the idea of the messenger. The messenger brings news, like the birds that come and, as you say, everything is okay. The birds are singing.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Or look over there, because the bird, you know, flew that way.  So, I decided, I think it's better to become the angel, or to imitate, you know, dreams and angels, which are the only oracles that actually visit people.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And obliterate the reading on the table and just be . . . appear on people's lives and [00:12:01] then disappear, which is something you can now do, thanks to all these little gadgets we have, and social media, and all that, so you can really become, or have, a virtual presence. So that's where I am at now. 

ANDREW: You've become the psychopomp, right? 

ENRIQUE: Yeah, somehow, yeah in a sense. It's this idea of . . . I mean, I . . . You know, I am a witness, and I look at things, you [00:12:31] know, and, at some point, I guess I . . . what I understand is that I, in terms of giving answers to people, solving people's problems, giving them solutions, healing, all that stuff. I don't do that. I don't know how to do that.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: But I know how to pay attention. I know how to be a witness. So, at some point it may be that I find a place and form. Right? I look at something that is worth [garbled] or worth sharing and then [00:13:01] maybe that sound, that word, that form could be the answer to somebody's question or the solution to somebody's problem. It could even bring some sort of healing to them, but it's not me. It's not me doing it.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: It's . . . They are the ones interpreting the sign.

ANDREW: Well, and I think that . . . You know, I think that one of the things that's really interesting and that, you know, I certainly appreciate about you and about all of our dialogues because, [00:13:31] you know, I think that the delivering of more concrete messages is also great and it's a thing that I certainly enjoy. 

But I'm also really interested in this space where, where we, revoke the expectation of meaning in a concrete way. You know? And like, I made this deck earlier in the year, which I shared with you when I was in New York, you know, the Land of the Sacred Self Oracle. 

ENRIQUE: Yes. 

ANDREW: And you know, I created . . . [00:14:02] I initially wanted to say nothing about it. And like, I was like, I just want to make it and put it out there. But everybody, almost everybody that I talked to was like, "I don't know what I'm . . . I don't know what to do with this. So, I need you to tell me stuff." And I was like, "All right." So, I created this course for it and . . . which is, which is now, it's just basically a PDF. And the first lesson is, these images are nothing but ink on paper, [00:14:32] they don't mean anything. They have no concrete meaning in and of themselves. What do you actually see? You know? Because I think that leading people back to themselves is so profound and so powerful. 

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: And so, against the nature of our culture, right? The nature of . . . 

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: . . . the Modern Age, right? 

ENRIQUE: Well, but that . . . What is interesting about that is that, that is exactly what contemporary art brought about.

ANDREW: Right. [00:15:02] 

ENRIQUE: You know? All . . . today, beginning of the 20th century, art basically showcased a common narrative and that could be . . . You know, you go to Italy to see all these paintings of the Virgin Mary or Christ, or the, the, you know, the Book of Genesis or whatever. You have this idea of okay, we all understand what we are seeing because we share these references.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And then came, you know, Malevich or Kandinsky [00:15:32] or even Donald Judd or all these people and say, "No, now you have the possibility to understand that thing before you on your own terms."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And that's exactly what you're saying. Forget about what that is for the other person standing next to you. What is that to you? And of course, we still abhor that, I mean, most people put a lot of resistance to that, because they want to be told what it is. One is . . . like the other day, I had this, you know, I had [00:16:02] been reading the cards this woman finds out on the sidewalk. I have talked to you about this. For more than 10 years. And I stopped the other day because she, she sent me a card, and I told her about Nikolai Gogol, the Russian writer, and I . . . There is this wonderful little book a friend gave me about the dreams of Joseph Cornell.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: So, this woman pulled out all the dreams of Joseph Cornell [00:16:32] from his diary. And the amazing thing is that when you read his dreams you realize that they are not extraordinary in any way, right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Which is beautiful, because you realize the dreams are these material things available to all of us and a plumber can have dreams that are as extraordinary as the dreams of a fantastic artist as Joseph Cornell. But what was really interesting is at the end . . . She also wrote about all these people that Cornell was influenced by. [00:17:02] Not in terms of his work, but in terms of his relationship to dreams. And that I found fascinating. He had like the lineage of others like Blaise Pascal or you know, Freud. And then he spoke, or he took notice of Nikolai Gogol, and there was this rich lady who wrote to Gogol, saying, "Can you please interpret this dream for me?" Right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And Gogol wrote back and say, "Only your soul can tell you what the dream means."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: "Don't [00:17:32] ask any wise man, because they won't tell you. They are not able to. They won't be able to say what it means. You have to find a quiet space. You have to. Within yourself you will find the meaning of the dream." So, I said that to this woman, right, who had sent me a little card she found somewhere. And she got enraged. She told me, "No, you have the obligation of telling me what it means." Because of course, we don't want to be within ourself. That's a . . . [00:18:02] It's a . . . it's a very tall order.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And, in theory, we don't have time, right? We are always under this imaginary constraint of time. And she said that "You have the obligation of telling me." Of course, I dropped communication immediately because I feel I have no obligation. I have two kids, that's obligations enough. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: Other than that, you know. But in a sense, I understand, there is a . . . what you're saying, in terms [00:18:32] of your own deck. I mean, people have an extraordinary resistance of coming to terms with their own experience, because actually, most people are looking for mythology, not for experience.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: You know. They want a little story. They don't want an experience. 

ANDREW: Well, and exactly. You know, and I . . . a friend of mine who I was sharing the art with as I was making it, you know, they would have this reaction where they would be obviously fascinated by it, and then . . . But they'd be like, [00:19:02] "But I don't know what it means." And I'm like, "Well, just look at it. Do you have a feeling?" And they're like, "Yeah. I really have a feeling when I look at this." I'm like, "Great, then it's perfect. Go with that feeling!" You know? And even if their reactions were not, not articulatable, right? They would . . . I might have, you know, had I known then, I might have been like, "Just sing me a bird song about it. And we'll see what it says," you know? 

ENRIQUE: Yeah. Well because if something [00:19:32] is really hitting home, the only possible responses are either laughter or silence. 

ANDREW: Yes. 

ENRIQUE: You know, that's the moment when we are completely impacted by something. We laugh, which is almost like a defense mechanism or we are quiet, because of this, we are taking it deep, you know.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: So, and of course, we still think that we have to feel special and important when we are having an experience. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. Because people aren't comfortable sitting in [00:20:02] that. So, I was at this conference and, as the culmination of the workshop that we were doing, we were to sit and gaze into the other person's eyes, and sort of allow all that had been exchanged between us to sort of settle in. And the person that I was sitting with was uncomfortable with this and started to laugh every time we looked and tried to look away a bit or whatever. And so, I just sort of sat there and said to myself, "Well, I [00:20:32] can laugh with them, we can laugh together." 

And so, so I started to laugh and as soon as I started to laugh, they continued, but were able to sort of sit with me with it. And so, we sat there, you know, in the midst of several hundred people. Everyone else dead silent and gazing solemnly into everybody else's eyes and having their own experience. And the two of us laughing so hard the tears were rolling down our face, because it just kept escalating, the longer we did it, the funnier [00:21:02] it got, right? And you know, I mean . . .

ENRIQUE: That's brilliant.

ANDREW: One of the . .  . one of the more magical experiences of it, you know, and I don't remember what the rest of the reading was. I have no idea what we said to each other. I mean, I might . . . I think I made some notes, I could go and look, but for me, the real significance was that we both changed something in that moment through our engagement and our laughter, right? 

ENRIQUE: Yes, and that's actually . . . That was an actual communication, you know, where you had your communication, [00:21:32] communicating through laughter, which is in a way communicating through form.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And not through words. I mean words are wonderful. And I love words, but words are also overrated. You know, there is a whole field of experience that exists outside of words. 

ANDREW: Sure. Yeah.

ENRIQUE: And, and when you really have a profound experience, you are usually in the space outside of language, then comes the problem of sharing it, right? And then you have to find the right words, which is a whole other thing. But with the actual experience is not in the space mediated by language. [00:22:03] 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: No matter what the French say. 

ANDREW: Yeah. I completely agree with you. I think that that that sort of moment where you're just engaged with something beyond words is . . . is really where, where things are wonderful. Right?

ENRIQUE: Yes. Absolutely.

ANDREW: I mean, it's, it's an experience that I'm always seeking out, you know, in one way or another right? In my relationships. In my relationship with nature, through the art that I make, even, even through my hobbies, like going rock climbing. One of the things I like about rock climbing is [00:22:33] that, you know, when you're 25 feet off the ground, and you know, working on a climbing problem, there's no . . . There's nothing but the sort of sense of trying to figure out how to move in space in relationship with the wall and it's not . . . it's not words.

ENRIQUE: Exactly.

ANDREW: It's not anything. It's just . . . it's just a feeling and it's the feeling of being in that relationship with the wall itself and the puzzle, you know?

ENRIQUE: Yeah, I mean that's, that's actually a beautiful example because the wall is there, [00:23:03] speaking in stone.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: And then . . . and your body has to reply in your negative space for the stone. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: Otherwise, you basically fall and die. 

ANDREW: Right.

ENRIQUE: So, you have to become endowed with that form and that's a . . . yeah, that's an excellent example. 

ANDREW: Yeah, and it's definitely one of those things where you know, you can make your mind up. You know, I mean, especially, you know, like I'm not the world's best climber by any means, but you know, I climb [00:23:33] sort of relatively challenging, for most people, kind of things. You can decide all sorts of things before you start the climb, but once you put your hand or your foot or you know, whatever on the, on the hold then it tells you, if you're listening, what it wants you to do or needs you to do. 

ENRIQUE: Yes. 

ANDREW: And everything that you thought ahead of time kind of can go completely out the window where you're like, "Oh. I thought I'd be able to hold it from that angle. But in fact, I have to hold it from the other side now," or "I have to do this [00:24:03] or that," or "Oh, wow. That space is so much broader than I thought it was. I don't know how to, how to cross that gap now." And then you . . . then you have to sort of feel it and feel the motion and it really becomes a process of .  . . Most of the problem-solving comes not so much from even thinking about it, but from being there and saying, "Okay, where do I feel the most settled in this position? And where do I feel like I can move from?" 

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: And then you're like, "Okay, now, now, now I [00:24:33] can see my way forward." 

ENRIQUE: Yeah, any embodied knowledge that you have, that we all have, and of course you acquire with experience the more you speak or you are in dialogue with the rock and the mountain, but at the same time, somehow, that's also dream. That's some sort of thing which, just letting the symbolic world, meaning the world of forms, guide you upwards.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. For sure. Well, [00:25:03] I mean, I feel like this this brings us into something that you and I have been, you know, discussing, you know, kind of . . . I mean over the last, last year or so, over the last six months, you know, this question of what does it mean to live with the oracle versus to sort of learn and work the oracle. I'm not sure if I'm articulating it quite right in those words, but it's a good starting point, right? 

ENRIQUE: Yes, and I think [00:25:33--a little garbled here] that that's extraordinary. It's really an important question, I think. Then . . . I mean, for example, there are ways to tackle it, but this year, I finally managed to stop doing tarot readings for . . . which means that I finally managed to say no, which is really hard because usually what you want to say, "Yes," but I decided that it had no, I mean, I decided that there is a . . . You [00:26:04] know, honesty is prophecy. And then, when you actually give an honest look at anything, you know the future. And it's only when we fool ourselves, you know, we say, "Yeah, let me invite my alcoholic friend to the party. I'm sure this time he's going to be okay."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: That's when we, you know, get derailed and then we get surprised by something that in theory, we say [00:26:34] is unexpected, but it isn't, you know, we are just fooling ourselves. But so, I decided okay, if you really remove things from the table, the only thing you can do is be present, you know, and pay attention. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: But of course, I can only accept that because whatever effect extended exposure to the tarot had on me, [00:27:04] allows me now to see that way, you know, and for . . . I see it. 

At some point you realize that the reason why we place two cards and put a space in between them, right, and at some point, then, we realize that we think of that in terms of space only because we are very slow, but it's not really space, it's time. And then we [00:27:34] realize, oh, that time is equivalent to the time that exceeds between the two, [garbled, some words may be lost] somehow you realize, you discover, and you inhabit the space in between. You live, we live in the world all the time, cards or no cards, right? And I think that the, the, I mean the ultimate effect, I guess, is to be able to have a beautiful life and I think [00:28:04] that has to do a lot with being able to be present and to contemplate what is around and then you let . . . 

I find myself in a very strange position, because I now work with all these people who are interested in language of the birds. So, we work with, you know, words, fundamentally, we break words apart and we turn them into little clouds, and we are actually looking for the void [00:28:34] within the words, right? And the letters become pegs that are holding the void in place. So, we go beyond meaning into form and then I will feel that it's almost like, sometimes, it's almost like seeing an angel. Like seeing a, you know, you see this beautiful thing that you know you found it when you see it, but you can't even define it, right? 

And it has been one thing to do that for years and years on my own and another very [00:29:04] different one to . . . to share that work with other people and then to see the effect that work has on them. Right? And one of the beautiful things, of course, is that people feel very grounded, very centered, when they do this work, but then you have it. So, these are the people that . . .

(ringing phone)

ANDREW: I'm sorry.  Let's pause for a second, Enrique, until my phone stops ringing.

ENRIQUE: And we can see that could be . . . Absolutely. 

ANDREW: All right. [00:29:34] Apparently, I can't make the phone stop either. (laughing) Oh, boy. 

ENRIQUE: Yes. You don't have superpowers. 

ANDREW: I don't have superpowers. Yeah, okay. 

ENRIQUE: So yeah, so, in any case, when you start sharing the work with other people, and they start doing that work, and you realize, oh, now people are talking about how their dreams change, right? And they have all these different beautiful [00:30:04] dreams that somehow follow the forms they are putting on the paper, right? Or, or people who feel grounded. And then you realize well, this is what living with the oracle is. It finds expression in anything you arrange . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Around you. And, you know, Gaston Bachelard, the French writer, talks about poetic [00:30:34] reverie, right? And he says, literally that, he says, we can't actually . . . We have to discount dreams because we don't have control over them. But then, if you submerge yourself in a constant state of poetic reverie, you change your own dreams.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Because you are learning to be beautifully in the world, to think beautifully, right? And in a form . . . in a way form begets form. So, if you learn to move in a certain way, then that can [00:31:04] raise an echo, right? And all that . . . I know that all this may sound very abstract and probably useless, but it all accounts for basically being in the world in a beautiful way and living a beautiful life. Eventually, you can share those things with other people. And . . . 

For example, the other day I was talking to this very young woman. Her name was Natasha. And I showed her how her name . . . You know that if you separate the variables, which are the soul of a word [00:31:34] from the body, which is the consonants. She basically . . . the three As on Natasha form a triangle, right? With them . . . like an inverted triangle. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And then the consonants form a square. So, when I show her that as forms, we saw how her soul, the triangle, was a little bit off-center to the square, the body, and she was really concerned about appearing or being too [00:32:04] predictable. So that gave her great comfort. Because of course, having an off-center soul is not being predictable. And, in a sense, I had to explain that. I just saw something. I say, "Oh, well, this makes me feel better." And I don't know what that is. And again, I never know what that can do for anybody. But I also think that there is some comfort for me [00:32:34] in thinking that something so abstract cannot be named, right? Because if you cannot really name it, then you probably cannot trivialize it. 

ANDREW: Hmm. I think it's . . . I think it's . . . You know, my . . . So many things. All my thoughts are colliding now! (laughing) And it's like, how do I put all this into words that make any sense to anybody else? Right? It's just . . .

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: So, [00:33:04] we talked about how . . . you know, being . . . we need to, we need to sort of see things as they are, right? And that when we're surprised by circumstance in readings, possibly, probably, we've been fooling ourselves on some level, you know? Because I think that, I think that that's certainly my experience, right? There are . .  . there are surprises, life is surprising at times, but most of the things that people ask [00:33:34] questions about aren't really surprising and people generally have a notion about what's going on. They just don't like it, don't want to say it, don't want to face it, or whatever. 

You know, and for me, you know this sort of Stoic idea of it's always better to know what's real then to sort of live in any other kind of version of reality, you know, or to cover it up. I think that that's something that I sort [00:34:04] of really have valued over a long time. And I think that the kind of Stoic notions, if you can kind of work with them outside of the macho bullshit, that's so much stuff that gets layered on them today, I think that they really can be helpful. And then I think that once we know what's real or what's, you know, closest to what's real, for whatever we want to say about that. That's a whole other episode, but . . . 

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: Then we can start to understand [00:34:34] and engage with this other world that doesn't need to have concreteness attached to it per se, right? And I think about my walk in the woods talking to the birds. I think about . . . 

People always ask me, you know, like, "Well, do you do daily readings? What do you . . . How do you read the cards for yourself?" And you know, these days, a lot of what I do is, I just sit with the cards. And I put out some Marseilles cards and then I put out my, you [00:35:04] know, my Sacred Self Oracle, and I look for, look for the patterns that emerge between those. And especially because I'm often taking notes on my iPad, I'll take a picture of that card, and then I'll draw on top of it. And I've moved outside of the notion of reading in any sense that anybody means by that. And . . . 

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: And it is so grounding, and so centering, and sometimes there's a message that emerges, [00:35:34] sometimes it filters back down into language or words or whatever. And often the words that come out don't even really matter. They don't even necessarily make sense in any sort of overt way, but the flow of them, the practice of making them or arranging them, the practice of thinking them, is the message and is the oracle.

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: And the consequence of that oracle is not tangible and direct in an overt way, but [00:36:04] it somehow modifies myself and my relationship to the world, my day, whatever it is that's going on, in ways that allow me to move forward in a different manner.

ENRIQUE: Yes. That's the dialogue in the day. The hand and the wall rock, you know, when your hand gets caught, to match the rock wall, your climb, it's the same thing. It's form speaking to form. And that in itself is [00:36:34] the message. And of course, that doesn't have an intellectual effect, because you can't just even talk about it. It has an emotional effect . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Which is something that a lot of people miss. When you are in contact with an oracle, you're basically exposing yourself to, to have, to that, for that thing to have an emotional impact on you. And, and maybe, there is something also, that may be very silly, you know, but oracle is a word that basically accounts [00:37:05] originally, at least, for an opaque or oblique utterance, right? A phrase, a bunch of words that don't have a clearer meaning. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: So, it requires thought and, and in the way I see it, there is an experience that let's say, is a little common still. A person, any person, opens a poetry book, finds a line in the poem, and thinks, "Ah, this [00:37:35] speaks to my condition right now." Right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And we know that that poet didn't write that for her, or not even about, it's not even about that, that the person is experiencing. But the person can see how that speaks to her. You know, "Yes, this accounts for this experience I'm having."

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: And that's an experience that most people feel or know, understand, and even our culture at large values [00:38:05] it, that. We respond to it, we pride ourselves on being a culture that generates that kind of experience. So, we can take that one step further, and say, well this is a . . . Fal'e Hafiz, you know, the divination with a poet by Hafiz, the Iranian poet, which is basically the same thing, only that it's not any book of poetry, but only a book of poetry by Hafiz. You think about a problem you have, you open it up, the [00:38:35] first line you read, that's the answer . . .

ANDREW: Mm.

ENRIQUE: To your problem. And the thing is, that Hafiz was a very very obscure poet. So, it's never like, "come back on Tuesday," or, you know, play the 36." 

ANDREW: Right! 

ENRIQUE: So, it's a really really contrived sentence. So, you have to meditate upon it. It is the same as meditating upon form. And then eventually say "Yes, I understand how this is speaking to my condition." [00:39:06] 

And we can take that one step further and say the I Ching, right? Which is still a book and still full of lines, literally and metaphorically. But then, now, we don't say, "Okay, open it in any page and the first thing you see, that will be it." We say, "No, we're actually engaging with chance." So, we take all these sticks or the coins and we start going through a process that renders this idea of the odd and the even. [00:39:36] So we, you know, we get to the hexagrams. And then from the hexagrams to some sort of commentary on the hexagrams. So, we are again left with some sort of obscure phrase that in theory is responding to our situation, right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And then the next step, of course, is get rid of the book. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: And keep the sticks. And right there, we have all the divination [00:40:06] systems we know, right? We have the shells with the bones, throw the cards, or the coffee stains or grinds or the clouds. And the funny thing is in our culture, the moment we get rid of the book, we step into what people define as superstition, right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

ENRIQUE: It's no longer this poetica pursuit, basically, because we have this very old-fashioned idea of poetry as something that is anchored on the word, words, and [00:40:36] not on form. But of course, every time you look at an oracle you're reading, and that reading is a poetic reading. It's as opaque and obscure as the poetry by Hafiz or the I Ching commentary or the poem that you read and . . . 

ANDREW: Well in the . . .

ENRIQUE: You know, I was talking about this with . . . yeah, yes, go ahead. 

ANDREW: In a sense, you know, when we . . . You know, not in a literal sense, because from within the tradition, we have a different dialogue [00:41:06] about it, but from the point of view of our conversation, when we are divining with the cowrie shells and we say that the, the Odu has arrived, right? Like the living energy of the Orisha that is the sign that came out in this divination. And the belief is that the arrival of that Odu changes the person's life. It is . . . it is just that process of invoking that energy through [00:41:36] the shells, and looking at it and seeing it and it being there, and then afterwards the diviner's job is more so to manage that dialogue and make sure that the person understands enough of what has been said so they can go away and think about it, right? I mean and there are other sort of literal pieces too but, but that idea of the energy of the oracle arriving, and us receiving it, and that being the thing that changes our life . . . You know, it comes with the notion that we don't understand [00:42:06] what that is, exactly. We can't articulate it clearly. 

And even, even when we're interpreting the Odu in a traditional way, we can't necessarily, on any level, understand all of the implications and so on of that. We are merely just making sure that we've, you know, read the appropriate lines that are relevant to it and marked the right things. And after that, it's up to the person to sit with it and allow that to unfold with them and through them and so on, in a way that [00:42:36] is certainly energetic and otherwise, but also definitely poetic, and goes back to that sort of obtuseness of Hafiz, or other things, the I Ching, where it's like, "Huh? What does this really mean? How does this apply? How does this apply today? How does this apply while I'm at the butcher's? How does this apply when I pick my kids up from school? You know? It's that living with it that is the . . . that is where we get the most out of it and where it is the most transformational. You know?

ENRIQUE: Yes. Yeah, and [00:43:06] I mean, I was talking about this with my wife the other day, and she say that the problem, really, the moment you get rid of the book or the moment that you step into the oracle is the other person, the interpreter, you know? There is this, the moment you need the other person to tell you how to relate to the oracle. And I thought that was really interesting because again, it's brought me back to the woman who say, "You are in the obligation of telling me because I'm not going to do any thinking." 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And [00:43:36] of course, I mean, again, it is really interesting to, for me at the moment to think again that by delivering an open object, turn the other person into the interpreter. They have to come to terms with forms and understand what those forms are saying to them.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Because at least I don't know. I don't know what, who they are. I don't know what they are, you know, feeling, and I must certainly have no, [00:44:06] nothing to say about anybody's life, but they know. I think they always know. And you say, also a few minutes ago, they have an idea of what's going on. And basically, they may not like it. So, they're trying to find almost like a second opinion. That's why . . . I mean the other day, somebody was asking me about the ethics of readings and divination and I told her, well, there is an ethical problem, because in my experience [00:44:36] most clients are dishonest. They want to hear what they want to hear. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And they will twist your words. They will, you know, re-ask the question again and again until they get what they want, and even if you don't give it to them, they will hear every word you say as if you say what they want to hear. So, of course, there is a lot of dishonesty in the profession, but it mostly come from the clients. Of course, [00:45:06] there are dishonest readers. But even the honest reader has to put up with that person who has decided beforehand what they want to hear.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And I see that as way more . . . I mean, and again, it's really . . . Do you know, I think that there is a love for the majority for example of the cards or any oracle, at some point you want to really share that beauty with other people. And that takes you so far. It [00:45:37] comes to a point at which you understand: "Yes, but I'm speaking of a beauty and this woman's still speaking about this [garbled] on Thanksgiving. You know?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: I really don't care. It's not really my problem. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think, yeah. I think too, like, somebody . . . Somebody was asking me if . . . Somebody was . . . I was posting about my . . . So, my journey for, with [00:46:07] rock climbing. You know, I was, I set myself a goal for the year. This is the only resolution I made for 2018. And my resolution for 2018 was to still be climbing at the end of the year. That was my, my entire goal. No achievement attached to it. No, you know, anything else, just still be going and doing it. Just keep returning if you go away, and be, and still be there at the end of the year. Because [00:46:37] I think that, you know, like the oracle, you know, if we, if we promise to keep showing up, you know, the oracle reveals things to us over time.

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: We don't know when or how that comes, and so if we endeavor to be with it, then, then we will hear what we need to hear as we go, to a large extent. And somebody, somebody was posting . . . somebody posted in response to that, that if they, they wondered if the universe challenged us whenever we set an intention, you [00:47:07] know, if it deliberately brought stuff up, you know. And I think that for me, and I'll let you answer for yourself. But for me, living with the oracle in this open-ended way and living, in a, for lack of a better term, kind of more Stoic way with a real sort of working to, to see things as clearly as possible all the time and face the things that I might rather put in the closet or leave [00:47:37] for another day. 

I don't . . . I don't feel like the universe has a lot of agency in the way that that question implies, you know? There are surprises that are . . . that happen, you know? You know, in relationship to me climbing this year, there were two surprises: One, I dislocated my collarbone in the winter, tobogganing with my daughter. And that took like [00:48:07] four months to really fix. It's horrible. I don't recommend it to anybody. And two, you know, I'm getting divorced this year and, you know, although that is amicable and, and going well, relatively speaking, it takes a lot of time and attention and doesn't always leave energy for other things. But I don't think that any of those have any relationship to . . . to my intention or my desire to climb or do other things. I think that those are, those [00:48:37] are just the inevitable stories of being alive, right? We are alive, and things happen and we get sick and . . .

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: Life comes up and things change and so on and we don't need to, or I never need to, arrange a narrative around that in a bigger way. So, I'm curious. I'm curious for you. Do you . . . What agency do you feel comes back from the universe? Do you think that there is something organizing it or testing us or . . . 

ENRIQUE: No, I actually, no, I always say the same thing. I think that [00:49:07] the universe doesn't care about us. Or maybe I will say it doesn't care about me. And I know that people want to be, to feel otherwise, you know, but you know when I was a kid . . . and this image has been coming back a lot recently. I watched this documentary about Africa, right? And there was this method of catching monkeys, which consisted of filling up a hollow tree with grain.

ANDREW: Uh huh.

ENRIQUE: And then, you know, the monkey will stick his hand into the hollow [00:49:37] tree, grab the grain, but then couldn't take the handful, the fistful out. The hole was only big enough for the empty hand to come in. But if he had grain in his hand, in his hand, he couldn't take it out.

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: And basically, these guys just will walk up to the monkey and grab it because the monkey will never let go of the grain. 

ANDREW: Yes. 

ENRIQUE: And I mean, it's insane, right? But I think that in terms of daily life, we are all monkeys with our hand [00:50:07] stuck in a hollow tree. 

ANDREW: Yes.

ENRIQUE: And most of the time, you realize, yeah, but can you just open the hand and let go?

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: Life works the way it works. And in that sense, there is no mystery, even if it takes you by surprise all the time, basically because we think that there is a mystery there. And yes, sometimes we catch a cold and sometimes we get divorced and sometimes we, you know, we're surprised by somebody giving us a loaf of bread.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: I . . . I [00:50:38] don't think that actually, at least I understand that that's not the way people think, but I never thought of any kind of oracular work where oracles had any dealings with daily life in that sense, of letting me know if I should change the oil of my car today or next week, you know?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: I think it's more about transcending daily life and finding some sort of center, true beauty [00:51:08] through some sort of . . . 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: Through some sort of sublime condition in life.

ANDREW: For sure. 

ENRIQUE: Yeah, but all day, even the other day I was talking about, you know, people, people talk about sigils, and then I realized, first, the first mistake you make when you make a sigil is wanting something?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And then you realize when you make a sigil to, I don't know, lose weight. Let's [00:51:38] say. And another sigil to get a red car. You're basically making the same operation, right? You make, you take the words, you eliminate certain letters, and you consolidate everything into one small or smaller emblem.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And then you realize, oh, but what you're doing there, it doesn't matter what you want. What you're doing again and again and again is a reduction. That's what then . . . In the world of forms, [00:52:08] what you are actually spelling is a reduction. Which means that in time, it doesn't matter how many things you wanted, you end up with your mind drinking. 

ANDREW: Hmm.

ENRIQUE: And of course, people don't like that, because, besides you can't sell a book saying this stuff, right? You can't sell any books and don't want stuff. They only want books that say, I'm sorry, I want to say you're entitled [00:52:38] to want everything, and I can tell you how to get it. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: But you realize there is something really silly about trying to control daily life, especially because daily life is not even that interesting, you know, and it takes care of itself. 

ANDREW: Mm. Yeah. I think that . . . I mean it's kind of why, over the years, I've sort of moved to . . . My [00:53:08] magic that I do tends to tends to be most often orientated towards what I, what I kind of now often call as identity magic, which is how do I, how do I change myself so that I can be more like more like what seems fruitful, more like what, you know, remove those obstacles in myself to doing the things that I need, you know, it's not so much about changing the world as it is about [00:53:38] shifting myself in relationship to it so that . . . If there's desire attached to it, so that what I desire is more accessible, or so that I'm more, more at ease and more in the flow around whatever it is that I need to work on and change, you know?

ENRIQUE: Yes. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

ENRIQUE: Yeah, I don't know. I think it's a song. At some point, I understood or I [00:54:08] have been made to understand that presence is meaning . . .

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And presence is also performance. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Whatever you are, you're performing, you're enacting, you are projecting something, and causing an effect. And I'm at the moment more interested in just being, you know, and be present and play along with the fact that causes.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: It's like when this woman started laughing, looking at [00:54:38] your eyes, and you laughed with her, you know, you said that's a reaction in the moment and that's what there, you know?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And trying to make her chop or, I don't know, levitate, will be useless. So, yeah, it's . . . I'm finding a lot of pleasure in walking around by with my pockets empty. And of course, I don't know what magic is. I think that, in other words, I think that magic or [00:55:08] some experience of mystery that I actually pursue or often feel works best when you don't want anything, when you don't want it, and it appears and surprises you, gives you something. It's like a gift, you know, but it's not something you pursue in terms of how can I command for this to happen at will.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And again, I understand that when you say that magic . . . When . . . the moment I speak [00:55:38] of magic without will, I'm almost like undefining magic in terms of what people think magic is, right? They all seem to be convinced it's about will, exerting our will, and I think it's more about stepping aside, letting things happen. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Well, I think it's definitely about . . . for me, it's definitely about making space so that [00:56:08] I can be engaged and present with the subject of the magic in a way that it allows it to unfold, to some extent without control, to a large extent without control, because I think that the idea of, you know, "Oh, I really want this person to fall in love with me." I mean, I think the minute that you're fixated on, on one person is the minute that you've already kind of drifted into a problematic territory and should go back to . . .

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: Why that person? [00:56:38] Why do you want them when they are not reciprocating? What is it you're looking for? What is it you could do without magic to make this . . . ? You know, I mean, many questions, right? But, but rather, what could I . . . What could I do to have more, more romance in my life? What could I do to have better connections? And is there a magical act that, that feeds and supports that in an open-ended and sort of allowing the universe to show us, allowing ourselves to witness and notice it in an open, open [00:57:08] and present way as the opportunities float around us, rather than sort of exerting a massive amount of control, which I think is, which is very rarely fruitful, you know. 

ENRIQUE: Yes. Well, you know, my . . . This year, one of my favorite moments is . . . I have this friend, who about 12 years ago, he was named the godfather of a child, right? And he decided beautifully that his gift to this kid will be the gift of language.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: So, he set up an account, a bank account and he has [00:57:38] been putting money there for years, assuming that at some point, maybe this kid will want to learn, you know, Italian so he can go to Rome and live there and learn the language. But then this summer, he spent a morning with me by the river and we were playing with all these bird voices, you know, and talking like birds and the birds will come and all this and that. So, and he went, he bought a box full of birdcallers and sent it to this kid. 

Yeah, so there is something extraordinarily beautiful in [00:58:08] inspiring a person to complete this crazy act of gifting a kid a set of birdcallers, and then he wrote this note, saying, "I believe this is a good first language for you to learn. And, and then for that gesture not to fall flat, you know, and for the kid to actually embrace this, and then this is a kid I don't know, I probably will never see in my life, but somehow, it's beautiful to think that there [00:58:38] is some residual effect of what I do that is part of that kid's life, and I don't know. I'm . . . 

The other day, for example, this woman wrote to me and she said that she wanted to speak like a hawk. And it's beautiful. We saw this at [Brawn's?] we saw that actually allows her to do so. And she say, "Well, I have a problem, and the problem I have is that I'm surrounded by [00:59:08] sparrows." So, I told her, "Well, you know, the problem is that the only way you have for you to know if you are actually doing it right is that all those sparrows are going to fly away, because you've become a predator, right?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And she say, "Oh, but, I mean, I love the sparrows. Do you think they were going to trust me?" I said, "Yes. I mean, they are going to trust you as much as a sparrow trusts a hawk." Okay. So yeah, it's fantastic to think you can . . . A, this faith [00:59:38] when a person can ask you that question, can talk about this [garbled] bird's nest to still be close to the birds. And at the same time, like a little bit . . . We are really not just talking about talking like a hawk, or talking about voice, we are talking about the consequences of having a certain voice and being responsible for what we say, what we put out in the world. And I . . . being full of all of the [garbled] but I can [01:00:08] see the poetry or of living a poetic life through embracing the form of a bird voice and the bird language. So yeah.

ANDREW: That's wonderful. Well, maybe we should wrap up the us talking part of the conversation here, and there were definitely some questions that came through, through Facebook. And I think at this point, I'd love to, I'd love to hear you give like a one word [01:00:38] or a one phrase answer to them, rather than us sort of go into a big long conversation or . . . kind of like we did in one of them where . . . 

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: I did the rapid-fire questions at you. Let's look at these rapid fire . . .

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: And see what comes, okay? So, one person asks . . . 

ENRIQUE: Okay. 

ANDREW: So, with your children, are they interested, would you teach them these things about card reading? What are your thoughts on children and cards? [01:01:08] 

ENRIQUE: Well, I have three kids. The middle kid already asked me to teach him and I did so. And then yesterday, my daughter told me that, and she's 10. One of his friends, his classmates, actually asked: Did your father ever taught you, told you how to read tarot and [garbled] in the French way, in such a beautiful way, that I think she already knows everything she needs to know. 

ANDREW: Yeah, my [01:01:38] youngest got a Sibilla deck and reads that for me sometimes . . .

ENRIQUE: I have Sibilla, yes.

ANDREW: And it's just, you know, she's so great at it. It's just, she's like, "Oh, look at this. Somebody's going to do something you don't like, but this is going to happen. But there you go. It's so wonderful," right? They have a sense of it, I think, which is great and . . .

ENRIQUE: Yes.

ANDREW: It's less about teaching and more about just . . .

ENRIQUE: Yeah. I mean my son, when I explained . . . Yeah, when I explained [01:02:08] it to my son in after 15 minutes, he told me, "Oh, I understand. This is all about transformations." And I realized, "Oh, it took you 15 minutes, it took me 15 years." 

ANDREW: Right? 

ENRIQUE: Okay. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

ENRIQUE: You know, that's that. Yeah. 

ANDREW: All right. Next question. What is the poem that the world needs in these times? 

ENRIQUE: I don't know. I mean, I guess my [01:02:38] issue is that I don't have any faith in the poem.

ANDREW: Mm.

ENRIQUE: As you know, in the actual poem. I guess there's poetry, and poetry's everywhere in a sense. But I will say in terms of poetry, yes, yes, you just need to listen to the sparrows. You know, the sparrows have this beautiful thing, that is, they are like Zen monks. A sparrow only makes a, like a little sound, you know, over and over and over, so it says everything it needs to say in one syllable. It's [01:03:08] almost like tasting water, you know. So . . .

ANDREW: Yeah, yeah.

ENRIQUE: Yeah, the voice of the sparrow.

ANDREW: What has surprised you regarding tarot in the last couple of years?

ENRIQUE: You know, the tarot world is like that movie, Groundhog Day.

ANDREW: (bursts out laughing)

ENRIQUE: It's the same day again, over and over. 

ANDREW: (still laughing) Yes, Bill Murray.

ENRIQUE: So, we're all Bill [01:03:38] Murray. 

ANDREW: Perfect. Yeah.

ENRIQUE: And that's . . . Every day the same deck is being published, the same book is being published, the same conversation about the origin of tarot is being published, the same theory about the secret behind it is being discussed. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And that's how we go, you know, it never ends. 

ANDREW: Perfect. Do you consider tarot magic? And do you practice any forms of magic? 

ENRIQUE: Oh, every morning, [01:04:08] I sit at a café, in the same place next to a window. I look at words in my notebook. And if something appears [garbled--black?], in terms of form, I share it with some people and then that snowballs into something.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: And that's the magic I do. And, yeah, I mean, everything can be, I guess, magic, but I do feel that for something to be magical, there has to be an otherness. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ENRIQUE: Meaning it has to take you to another [01:04:38] place. It's, I don't know. It's hard to imagine doing magic with something that is completely like a daily thing, you know, but it could be. I mean, I think that, yeah. In any case, I don't know if magic. I think that the world has a poetic influence, meaning that forms speak to each other through analogy. Maybe that's magic. I don't know if magic is an intelligence. I don't [01:05:08] know again, if there's an agency, like a big finger that is invisible and it's swirling things behind. I don't know.

ANDREW: Yeah. Fair. And last question: What would, what would it take for you to put your tarot deck again right now? Given that you're not really doing readings and such any more.

ENRIQUE: Every time I make an exception. 

ANDREW: Yes. Yeah.

ENRIQUE: Every time I make an exception, [01:05:38] I end up confirming that it's pointless. 

ANDREW: Hmm. 

ENRIQUE: So, no, I don't think so. I'm not, you know, I have nothing to sell, and I'm not in a crusade for people, not to do readings or to any kind of ideas I may have, I'm just trying to get by finding my own language. I will do all these things, which is a way of saying to find my own. You know, I think that that's what the philosopher's stone is. To find your own language.

ANDREW: Right.

ENRIQUE: And your own language is not English or Spanish or Italian. It's how [01:06:08] you organize forms around you. And that's why they . . . you know, the, the alchemists say, that's a great work, you know, and they say the philosopher's stone cannot be handed down, you know, passed to another person. You have to find it yourself. It's because of that. You have to find your own language.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

ENRIQUE: Otherwise you're just living in the shadow of another person's language. 

ANDREW: Right. Perfect. 

ENRIQUE: And yeah, so, so and well. Yeah. Okay. 

ANDREW: I think that's a great place [01:06:38] to leave it. Go find your language, everybody! 

ENRIQUE: Perfect. 

ANDREW: Perfect. And if it sounds like birds, let us know. (laughs) 

ENRIQUE: Exactly.

ANDREW: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for hanging out with me this morning and especially for fighting through all the Skype up and downs. It's what I get for recording during Mercury retrograde. 

ENRIQUE: Oh, it's okay. It's always great. 

ANDREW: Perfect. 

ENRIQUE: Thank you. It's always great to talk to you.

ANDREW: Thank you, you too. 

ENRIQUE: I hope to soon. 

[music]

ANDREW: [01:07:09] I hope you love this conversation, as always, I hope that. Enrique did all the Patreons the pleasure of recording a bird song just for them. So if you are a supporter of the Patreon in the $5 and up category, you can go find that recording now at Patreon.com/TheHermitsLamp, and if you're not a supporter: Well, what are you waiting for? The birds are waiting to speak to you. Talk to you next time.

EP90 Death and Being Real with Barbara Moore

EP90 Death and Being Real with Barbara Moore

November 23, 2018

Barbara and Andrew catch up on their 4th annual check in to discuss the state of the world. They talk about the way death has been a force in Barbara's life. How maybe being real is more important that being upbeat. The role of social media in both their lives. And Andrew's claiming of the term Magnificent Weirdo. 

If you missed the previous interviews go check out episodes 44, 58, and 72 first. 

Think about how much you've enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you listened to, and consider if it is time to support the Patreon You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

Barbara can be found at her website here

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book a reading or private lesson with Andrew through his site here

Transcript

ANDREW: [00:00:02] Welcome to The Hermit's Lamp podcast, everybody. I am here today with Barbara Moore, and this is essentially our fourth annual check in and hang out. We started these conversations a number of years back, and just sort of fell into the habit of kind of following up and seeing where life has gotten to and what's going on. And you know, I think it's going to be an interesting episode because we're … For both of us, it's been a year of a lot of change, and, you know, a lot of transformation and [00:00:32] you know, so yeah, let's get to it. 

Hey Barbara, what's going on? What's new? 

BARBARA: (laughing) What's new … We have just celebrated our one-year anniversary in our new home. It's, like you said, been a year of a lot of change, you said transformation. I don't think that my stuff is actually in the transforming (laughs) [00:01:02] stage yet. It's still in the … Feels like it's still in the breaking down phase.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And I really think it would be more the end of the transformation, like the butterfly stage by now, but that has not happened. 

ANDREW: Uh-huh. 

BARBARA: But I suppose, what's new? The biggest newest thing that's been kind of a theme this year for me has been death. Death has been new to me. I have not had a lot of death in my life. [00:01:34] And so, I've had a lot of it pretty close and intimate, really intimate, this year. In fact, the most intimate … wow, we're going to start right off with the big stuff … the most intimate connection with death on one level, I had just one week ago today.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And that was when …? Okay. So, the … how ... the place we live in is attached to a house on [00:02:04] property owned by a couple named Carol and Noel. I did mention them last year. And, and Noel died on Friday. And this is not unexpected. He was quite old, and was in hospice and dying for quite some time. And Carol knows that I have done a little bit of priestess work, little bit of ritual stuff. And so, the hospice caregiver was preparing Noel’s [00:02:34] body. Oh, because they didn't take the body away to a mortuary or anything like that. They kept him at home, and—for a week—and he just went away on Thursday, and so he wasn't going to be embalmed or anything. 

And so, the hospice caregiver asked, and Carol asked, if I would help prepare his body, which (laughs) was really freaky for me because I've never done anything [00:03:04] like that. I've never been a good, you know … Some people are good caregivers, you know, like if someone's sick, they're good at taking care of them and comforting and cleaning.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: I've never been that. It's just not something that has been a strength for me. And, you know, but part of this whole year is doing things that scare me. And so, yeah, so I helped wash [00:03:34] him, and then we crumbled up lavender into some oil and anointed his whole body, and dressed him, and I … It's been a week and I still, I've told people I can't really talk about it yet, because I haven't fully processed what I think or feel about that situation, and even just talking about it, I can feel the fluttering in my chest, you know, like a sign of anxiety that [00:04:04] I haven't really finished processing that experience.

ANDREW: Mmm.

BARBARA: But I guess we could say that that's really metaphoric for what this past year has been. I've been getting up close and personal with death in many forms and still sorting out my relationship with it.

ANDREW: Death is one of those things that we don't … I mean, I consider [00:04:34] myself a person who’s comparatively really comfortable with death. I'm very, you know, close and aware of death. You know, I mean, I've been through a lot of very close loss in my life, you know, my … Two of my brothers passing away, and, you know, the people that I've known passing away, and I think that … Death is always an uncomfortable companion. Even if you are, [00:05:04] relatively speaking, comfortable with it being around, you know, it's always … It's never, it's never entirely settled, and I think that, you know … Like grief, grief is never entirely settled, you know, it might be 20 years and some conjunction of things will kick some little pocket of it back up into the foreground again, you know. So.

BARBARA: Yeah, yeah. I think what [00:05:35] has driven me for most of my life is making things, producing things, working, and I think whenever any kind of loss comes to me, into my life, I would just kind of pat it down and run over it and just keep going.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: You know, like it's not affecting me. It happened. It's done, move on, move on, and this [00:06:05] year, the kinds of death have been really much larger, and I've been not working much. I mean, I've been doing my regular work like I explained in the last podcast. I did kind of have the year off, except for, you know, just the basic work, just keep feeding myself, but I've had a lot more downtime and quiet time, and it's almost like I needed training wheels to feel, [00:06:35] cause I'm not, I wasn't used to, what am I feeling? Even just even letting the feeling come to the surface, and then the next step, identifying it, and what you do with it, and how does it fit in with where you want to go with your life, or whatever, and cause I don't even know what order I should tell all the stories. But just this example of feeling the feelings associated with death, just met ... [00:07:05] my father also died. He died in September, and I just started … just like last night, actually. I started feeling the feelings of grief, you know, like, oh my God, I miss him so much, and you know, so it's been almost two months, and I … And it's just happening now, you know. 

And my beloved [00:07:35] companion Whiskey, my golden retriever, died in June and I wasn't home to say goodbye to her. I was in Minnesota at the time. And you know, it took like a couple months for those feelings to come up. So, you know, I feel like even though I'm into my 50s, I have had little practice with this compared to most people my age. So, it has been real interesting. 

Oh, and that [00:08:05] reminds me too, right before I moved, my friend Nancy and I were messing around with our cards and stuff, and she's like, “Well, let's pull a card and see, you know, what big theme you can expect from this move.” And she pulled the Death card, of course, and was like, “Oh, wow, this is going to change your life in more ways than you think!” And she pulled another card. And it was the Emperor. And she's like, you know, because I'm a very structured person, a very organized person. She's like, “It's going to really blow that part of you [00:08:35] to bits.” But what she couldn't have known, and of course hindsight is, you know … The Emperor, for a lot of people, is associated with a father figure, you know, so it's like “your father will die.” Okay, but again, it's all metaphor, and it's all tied together, and bigger themes, and then I was writing to one of my pen friends and I was giving her my new P.O. box number and she's like, “Oh, your P.O. box numbers add up to 13. It's a Death year for you.” I went, “Oh, wow. Okay.” So, [00:09:05] yeah. 

ANDREW: Do you, do you follow the year card system? Are you ... For, you know, birth cards and year cards? Is that a thing for you? 

BARBARA: I do ... My birth cards and the year cards, I don't, I do some years, and some years I don’t. And I don't even know if I know what mine was. I didn't think I needed another one. Okay, I think I'll just ... The Death card wants to be my card this year. I think we'll just go with it. Of course, knowing ... You know, when you don't have a real [00:09:35] experience with it, it can feel like, “Ooh, it's exciting, things are going to change,” because in the past, in my life, when things have changed, it's always been like, good, and pretty easy, and exciting, and not involving all of this that we’re having here. Yeah. 

ANDREW: Well, you know, I think that death, death, death on all those levels is always such a complicated [00:10:07] companion, right? You know? I mean, coming to the endings of things is, you know, in some ways, a relief, especially for Noel. Right? I mean that's a, that's a relief, right? of that sort of, you know, slow movement across that line, you know? But the kind of change that it tends to bring isn't really, you know, it … Even if it's sudden, even if the change is sudden, [00:10:37] the energy of it sort of lingers, right? You know, like Crowley talks about the Death card as sort of … Sometimes it's the fall of the scythe and sometimes it's this, like, putrefaction, this slow breaking down and rotting of things, right?

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: And hang out and sort of watch elements of yourself or your life kind of decompose, right? Like we were talking about before we got on the line today, you know? It's like that black [00:11:07] phase, that nigredo phase, in alchemy, right? Where, you know, everything just starts to like, break down, and it's, you know, that's the long dark night of the soul time, right? Where all of a sudden, you're like, “I don't know where anything was going. I don't know what any of this means anymore. Does any of this matter?” Right? 

BARBARA: Yeah. Yeah. The “does any of this matter?” has been a really strong push, or no, it's been a strong question in me this [00:11:37] year. You know, whenever I think of doing something or ... maybe I should take up a project, maybe I should get back to work, maybe I should do something, and like what, what's worth … What does it matter?

ANDREW: Mmm.

BARBARA: And I really truly hope I don't stay in this space for much longer because it is not comfortable.

ANDREW: Yeah. I remember when … In the months after my brothers died. And for those who don't know, two of my brothers passed [00:12:07] within six weeks of each other, it's about nine years ago now, and so it was … It was really intense the first time, and then it was just, double down, you know, sort of six weeks later. And you know, like, I spent a lot of time thinking about it and trying to make sense of it. Trying to, you know, like underst-, what does any of it even mean any more after this kind of situation? And all those kinds of questions. [00:12:37] And the thing I kind of kept coming back to was, Well, I've got to do something with my time regardless. So, what is it I want to do? (laughing) What is it ... Like, is it just eat a bucket of ice cream? That's fine too. Right? Is it, you know, something else? What is it? Cause I've got to do something with my time other than just sit and wonder if any of it means anything, you know? You know? You know? And so, that kind of ultimately, you [00:13:08] know, led me, led me out of most of it, you know, and back into sort of being in the world and being engaged in things, you know, so. 

BARBARA: Yeah, yeah, hopefully that will start happening with me. I have spent my fair share of time just laying on the bed, you know, being all angsty and eating ice cream and whatnot. [00:13:38] But I've also done, you know, I've been reading more fiction, nothing that's, you know, enlightening my mind or anything, and painting nothing worth showing anybody. I have stacks and stacks and stacks of stuff that is completely pointless, and I'm like, why am I doing this? It's the only thing I feel like doing so I'm doing it.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

BARBARA: It feels really [00:14:08] indulgent in a weird way. 

ANDREW: But isn't that part of what life is about? Like, I think that life as opposed to death is about indulgence, right?

BARBARA: (laughing)

ANDREW: No, maybe I'm too Sagittarian and too Jupitarian in that regard. But, you know, I think that life really is about indulging those things and you know, somewhat like the Fool, right? If we indulge those things, whatever meaning [00:14:38] there is will emerge over time.

BARBARA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: You know, as opposed to this idea that I think that we often have that we can determine what the meaning is and then, you know, set on a course of embodying that. You know, I mean, it's like a thing that I think I said to you a long time ago, right? Like, you know, the road knows what star is yours, but you can't figure it out before you leave the house, right? You know?

BARBARA: Right.

ANDREW: Yeah.  

BARBARA: Yeah. That's so contrary to the way I've lived [00:15:08] my life, and, as you're speaking those words again, I can feel the truth and beauty in them; at the same time, I feel part of myself resisting.

ANDREW: Sure. 

BARBARA: So.

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah, it is definitely the black phase of alchemy, man. This breaking down, this breaking down, like when I left social media, a lot of it was fueled by, I was shaping my self-image based [00:15:38] on how people on social media saw me or responded to me. And so, I wanted to not let that be driving how I was shaping myself. But, and so, taking that away, what's left? What's take what shaping myself is my work? It's always been my work. What am I doing? What am I putting out there? How much am I teaching, how many books am I publishing, how many decks am I creating, what am I doing? And [00:16:08] like you said, we can't always set the outcome and move toward it and embody it and manifest it. Sometimes it's just all something my friend Ricardo says, similar to what you said, is, you can't see the path in the woods until you're in the woods, you know? It's dark and you can't see it until you’re there. And yeah, so, you know, what are all the [00:16:38] paintings? They're mostly portraits of strangers, people I don't know ...

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: You know, just like stock images or, you know there are these sites that, where people post pictures for artists to use as reference ...

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And it's all I'm doing is painting these strangers. It's just very weird.

ANDREW: Well, I think that's really interesting, cause you never really know what's gonna come back around. I have this painting on the wall in the shop that I did. [00:17:09] I don't even know how long ago. It has no date on it. Seven or eight years ago maybe? And it's of a ... it's of a red-wing blackbird. And you know, I I've been thinking about making art again and showing art. I was in a show recently and sort of thinking about sort of the idea of not just making sort of decks and stuff like that. I mean still making those things as well, but also making [00:17:39] art for the sake of making art to show and share, you know, and ... And I was looking at this painting which has been, you know, in my reading room the whole time since I made it, so for a long time now. And I was like ... And I was talking to an artist and talking about how inspired I was by Basquiat and their really large works that they painted. You know, [00:18:09] they had a showing here in Toronto awhile back and some of the paintings are like six-foot square and stuff like that. And I'm feeling this urge to work big, I'm like, but I don't really have space to work big, you know, all the excuses come in, and then like I was looking at this painting of a bird and I was thinking, and then immediately I was like, you know what I'm going to do, I'm going to photograph that, I'm going to blow it up, and then I'm going to paint on top of it and make it into a new painting through that process. And so, I [00:18:39] just got the prints, so they're two by two by three feet big, as opposed to like, five by eight or something like that, which the small thing is originally, and I'm going to mount it to some kind of board and then I'm going to start reworking on top of it, stuff like that. So, you just never know what comes back around, you know, like those strangers may emerge in some really new way or lead to something else, you know? 

BARBARA: Are you going to use acrylics on top of that, or ... ?

ANDREW: [00:19:10] I'm going to ... I'm going to use ... I have these acrylic markers. So, I'm going to use those. And I'm going to use ink, so I'm going to like go in and I want to do a mix of big scale stuff on it and really really super intimate things, like, you know, like the branch at the bird is sitting on because [00:19:40] it was painted small is essentially just a few very simple strokes of simple colors, right? But I'm going to go in embellish that, and then I'm going to go in and work with some varnish and stuff. So, some stuff will be really varnished and shiny from certain angles, and like I have a bunch of ideas about it. And then I feel like I can also feel there's some other birds like, “Hey, do me next. Do me next!”

BARBARA: (laughing)

ANDREW: So, you know, I feel like it's going to become a body of something, right? [00:20:10] But what that is, I don't really know, but you know, they've always been my companions, right? You know, I mean, I have this habit of I just go and follow the birds through the woods until they stop and then I realize where I need to be and stop and hang out with the Earth and that place and things like that, right? So, I have a very like strong connection to them. So, yeah.

BARBARA: God, I can't wait to see. It sounds like it's going to be really really cool. I'm feeling excited for the process for you just hearing about it.

ANDREW: Yeah. It's been [00:20:45] a long time since I ... since I had a sir purely process-driven thing and it's been a long time since I made ... Like I'm not even sure the last time I made a piece of art that wasn't for a deck, you know girls. It's been quite some time since I've since I did that. So. Yeah. Yeah. 

BARBARA: I was just thinking, you know, we kind of led with the heavy stuff, which seems natural, it's been on my mind, [00:21:15] but I wonder maybe it wouldn't be nice to have a little interlude of a few happy or positive things that have already been kind of coming out of the ashes. 

ANDREW: Yeah!

BARBARA: Just so people don't get too depressed and quit listening. (laughs) But, you know, one of the things is ... I have two examples I'd love to share. The first is regarding my father's death.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: So, my father. He had [00:21:45] five kids: me and two sisters from my mom, and then my sister and brother from my stepmother. So there's five of us. And out of the five of us, three of us are really close, me and two of my sisters, and then the other two live in Michigan still and not quite as close. And one of the things my dad always said was he wished that we were all closer.

ANDREW: Right.

BARBARA: That was super important to him and [00:22:15] he ... When things started getting bad for him in July, my siblings and I started a sibling text chain just so we could ... and just so we could keep up on stuff ....

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And all be fully informed. And throughout the process between July and October, that ... the time when he was like actively dying and in hospice and then planning the funeral and whatnot, my siblings and I worked [00:22:46] together, not like a well-oiled machine cause that sounds so cold, but like a bunch of dancers who know their steps and that complement each other. And so that was just really super amazing. And then when the funeral, which was in Michigan, all my siblings were already there and I was flying in, like the day before, and so I get to the Detroit airport and my [00:23:16] siblings text me and they're like, we're all here. Like, so it was just us five siblings, without spouses, without kids, without anything, just the five of us and I don't remember the last time the five of us were alone together and all in one place. So we stopped for a drink on the way home, and just you know, toasting dad and sharing stories, sharing intimate moments that we had with our dad that we'd never told anyone before ....

ANDREW: Right.

BARBARA:  You know and just got really really [00:23:46] close. And in that weekend of the funeral, it was like my dad's last gift to us.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: He made a situation where we all fell in love with each other.

ANDREW: That's wonderful.

BARBARA: It really, it really is wonderful. And you know, so I'm so grateful for that because we still have that text chain going and you know, at least once a week we're, you know, sharing things about our lives and you know, encouraging each other, so that was super awesome.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And [00:24:18] a real blessing. Then the other was, it's a little bit still close, but it was still like such a remarkable experience, was you know, like I said, Noel died. And so we kept him at home and people would come, you know, to just sit with him and be with people, you know, kind of like a wake kind of thing. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Oh, oh, but I do need to tell you this little local flavor thing, you know cause I do live here in this little tiny valley [00:24:48] and the technology is pretty sketchy. And you know, there's no like Potter Valley Facebook group or anything where people share what's going on. They do it the old-fashioned way. Like when the fires were happening this summer, there's this one kind of a park area where everyone who comes in and out of the valley drives past, and they had a big like a sandwich board sign where they had updates on the fire and a map of the evacuation areas and [00:25:18] stuff. You know, and that's how people found out stuff. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And so, for Noel's funeral, we wanted--or whatever. It wasn't really a funeral, we'll call it a funeral. We wanted to let people know, and so, Dylan and I made, you know, two really big cardboard signs saying, just saying, that Noel passed away. Community visiting at his home and the hours and hung one up at the corner store [00:25:48] and one on the corner of the street where we live. And that's how we communicated the information.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And one time, you know, we were walking, Dylan and I were out walking out to visit the Pigs who live on the corner where the sign was, and you know a man was driving up the mountain. He stops and he's like, “Oh so, you know, Noel died.” Yeah, yeah, you know, just people talk more, it's more face-to-face or, very old school. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: Well anyways, back [00:26:18] to the cool part was: when you're getting cremated, apparently, they give you this cardboard box that's, you know, you put the body in and so we left it out in a large area of the house with a bunch of art supplies and people decorated it. 

ANDREW: Mmm.

BARBARA: You know, so he ... By the time it was done, it was just like covered in pictures and symbols and Sufi prayers and all kinds of other prayers and blessings [00:26:48] and gratitude and things for him. So, you know, he was sent off to his, you know, final physical whatever before he got cremated in this, not a beautiful wooden brass box, but this cardboard, little, holy, humble, cardboard box decorated with all this love and amazement. It was just really different than anything I'd ever experienced before and just how loved he was by the community and it [00:27:19] was just a really really awesome experience. It's amazing. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

BARBARA: Okay, happy interlude's done. 

ANDREW: Happy interlude's done!

(laughing)

ANDREW: You know, I mean I guess, I think that there's something that I'm curious about. Now you're talking about social media again, right? You know? And like, are you going to go back? Do you ... is there anything [00:27:49] that you need from it? If you go back, how does it ... how does it impact your way of formulating your identity, you know and like those kinds of things? And I'm really, I'm really interested in this right now because .... Because in some ways, I feel like, you know, not, not recently but sort of historically, I've been somewhat absent from my social [00:28:19] media. You know, my social media has always been about the work or the things versus about me as a person. You know? And, not entirely but I mean, the podcast is definitely the place where, you know, I'm more visible, you know, or I'm more audible, I guess, as the case may be. And, you know, and I've been consciously changing that over the last while. You know? And changed [00:28:50] in part because of some conversations I had with, you know, Carrie and a few other people about stuff. 

But mostly they're changing because I had this dream ... I often have dreams with Andy Warhol in them. And you know, he often comes to give me advice and tell me about stuff, and in some ways, my return to making art is also at his prompting. And the first dream that I [00:29:20] had, I was hanging out with Andy at his famous warehouse, you know, and we were there talking about making art and being seen and all of this kind of stuff. And he kind of like, we were talking, like, and he just stopped the conversation at one point in the middle of like something else, and he goes, “Andrew, you don't understand, you're a magnificent weirdo, and the world needs that right now. The world needs you to show everybody [00:29:50] your magnificent weirdness because that's what they're, what's important, and that's what's going to, you know, be significant about your work and your art and all of these things.” And I was like, in the dream I was like, “All right, Andy, I can do that. No problem,” right? And then we went on to talk about making art and other things and so on, right? And before we went on, though, he also turned around and sort of announced loudly to everyone's faces, you know, “Andrew's a magnificent weirdo, and you all should be paying attention to what he's doing,” right? [00:30:20] Something like that. And so, I've been thinking about Andy Warhol, and thinking about social media, and thinking about all of these kinds of things, and really endeavoring to sort of engage it on my own terms, you know, and really sort of share what I think is important or helpful. Helpful—helpful's the wrong word for it. Cause I'm not so interested in what's helpful. But share what [00:30:50] feels really real and what feels really particular to me, you know? And you know, I made this shirt up, that I started wearing around, that says “magnificent weirdo” on it. 

BARBARA: Aw!

ANDREW: Which I find particularly amusing. You know, it's kind of my talismanic t-shirt, so. 

BARBARA: Oh! I love that! You ARE a magnificent weirdo. That's ... How wonderful to have Andy Warhol as your advisor and, well, maybe not muse, but your advisor ... (laughs)

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah. For sure, right? 

BARBARA: Mm-hmm. [00:31:21] Does that mean you're starting to engage your social media more as ... more personally, then? 

ANDREW: Yeah, definitely more personally. Definitely, I'm showing up there more. I'm sharing more of my life, you know, definitely, it's definitely a thing that's sort of continuing to emerge, you know, and especially as I'm getting into making art, like I don't know what these bird things are going to be, but I'm going [00:31:51] to share that process and journey along the way, you know. And, yeah, sharing more of my personal story and that kind of stuff. So, whereas in the past, I would sort of have tended to just leave stuff alone until it felt resolved and then share the resolved story of it, you know, so. 

BARBARA: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's something that I've always ... I haven't always successfully done but I've always tried. Like, I knew [00:32:21] this one teacher who was talking about, you know, public speaking, and writing, and you know, you and your audience and he said, “Don't work your shit out in front of your audience.”

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And you know, so I've always tried to not do that. You know, like these people aren't here to be my therapy session. They're here to learn what I learned, you know to get something helpful but--to use your word--but maybe [00:32:51] that's not the only way to think about sharing. Maybe the only purpose of sharing isn't only what you may deem as helpful or a nice clean process or technique that you can also use to change your life or fix your life or improve your life. Just sharing your unique and awesome weirdness might have value. I don't ... How would you say that? Because you said not [00:33:21] necessarily be helpful, cause you're not interested in that. So, what is the effect, then? 

ANDREW: So, I mean, for me the effect is ... and you know, I think it'll be interesting what comes back for people who listen to this episode, right? You know, I think that what happens is there's this notion that people who are in positions like we're in, right? You know, like working as a [00:33:51] card reader, having a degree of success, having published and done other things, right? That somehow, we've all got our shit together and we don't struggle and nothing's difficult, you know, and I think that you know, sort of, “Wow, you know, I mean, Barbara Moore didn't just bounce right back after the death of her dad, I guess I can cut myself some slack.” Or, you know, look at that, we're all human, or you know, like these kinds of things, I think that that's [00:34:21] that that's part of it.

And I also think that, particularly in the magnificent weirdo case, you know, I mean I was ... I hadn't realized that I used this phrase until someone started mirroring it back to me every time I used it, which is, you know, I would say, “Well, it's funny being me sometimes,” and then I would like say something [00:34:51] that was like, really really different about my life compared to many people's lives, right? And you know, and they were .... this person was always amused by it. But I started to realize that like, my, I don't see my life as a role model at all, but my life is super radically different than so many people's. You know? I mean, you know, we talked a little bit about but, before about this, I've mentioned before in the podcast, [00:35:21] I'm getting divorced right now, right? You know. Myself and Hanlon sort of both realized that you know, after quite a stretch of time, we've come to this place where what we want and who we've become is just different, you know? We really, you know, have a very different ... We have different goals and they don't really line up in ways that don't start to kind of curtail each other's possibilities, [00:35:51] right? Which is something that neither of us is really wanting to happen, right? You know. So, you know, so this year has been, has been, really, like the last six months has been working through that process and so on, right? 

But, you know, I mean, I'm ... I've been in a non-monogamous relationship for, you know, the last three and a half, four years or something. And, you know, [00:36:21] before we had kids, almost the whole time of our relationship before that. So, I'm not ending this relationship and then figuring out who am I and how do I start dating again and you know, all of these kinds of things. You know, I mean, I have a relationship with, you know, this person, Sarah, who I've been seeing for two-and-a-half years, and there are other dates that I've gone on and other connections and so on. So, even just that: it's such a [00:36:51] different perspective than almost anybody that I know in that regard. Right? And doing what I do for a living, and you know, my religious practices, and like so many of the things that I do are just so radically different and, not that that is either a role model or the way in which people should see things or whatever, but I find that as I share those things, it's ... It [00:37:21] opens up people's ideas and sort of gives them permission to be like, huh? Well, what would I like to do that's maybe not the thing that's done. Or what would, you know, am I interested in these sort of ideas that I've been living? Do they serve me anymore? You know? Or maybe I've always wanted to be more this way or that way or whatever and so sort of seeing those things happen in other people's lives, you [00:37:51] know, to get ... It's a, it's a chance to inspire people not to be like me, but to be like themselves, right? So, yeah and again, not in a like, “I've got it figured out in this and that whatever way, cause it's not like that at all, right? But in a like, huh, you know, hang out with me as an invitation to be fully yourself, right? You know. [00:38:21] And for a lot of people, you know, that's not necessarily something that they get a lot of invitation to, right? So. 

BARBARA: Yeah! Right. Probably not nearly enough people get that invitation. There's so many other forces helping tell us who we should be and how to live.

ANDREW: Right? Yeah. And internalized forces too, right? Like even if, even if they're not around us now, you know, those older voices, they can still kick around, right? 

BARBARA: Oh, [00:38:51] and maybe even like instinctual survival impulses, you know, like to survive in the world you have to be successful and you have to be this ....

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: You know, and so, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, there's a lot trying to box us in and very little inviting us out.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

BARBARA: But then we have an awesome weirdo to help us!

ANDREW: (laughing) Yeah.

BARBARA: (laughing) Yeah, I definitely get and [00:39:21] appreciate the value of that approach, and its budding up against one of my older, and perhaps, just society's older idea. You know, if someone's going to write a book or teach, you expect them, or this used to be true, or maybe it was just true for me and people like me, you expect them to be masters of what they're teaching. And therefore, we get all worked out and you [00:39:52] know, when a book comes out or a kit or a deck comes out, it's usually a really happy excited moment, like, “Oh, my thing has hit the world and it's out there.” And I didn't really have that same experience with one of my recent books, The Modern Guide to Energy Clearing?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: Because, you know, I wrote the book based on my experiences. And now I'm, [00:40:22] this past year, I've been in a place where, I feel like, if I would have practiced everything I preached in that book, I'd be way further along than I am now, in terms of adjusting, and I don't know, not being in this black alchemical place. But it made me shy, maybe a little embarrassed, to go .... because there were a lot of publicity opportunities, unlike all my tarot stuff, [00:40:52] which there's hardly any, with this book there were invitations to radio shows and bookstores and all kinds of things, and I didn't do all of them. I did some of them because I felt like I owed it to the book and to my publisher. And you know, you have a responsibility when you're partnering with a publisher. It's not just your thing. It's their investment as well. And I think part of what made me really shy about it is cause I was in the midst of [00:41:23] “You guys, I have these tools, these techniques, these skills, this knowledge and I am too--I am too raw to do 'em. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And, it just felt almost hypocritical, and perhaps there needs to be another book, or maybe just an article that explains when you're doing energy work, sometimes you have to just let things sit and decompose and [00:41:53] you don't always get to control how fast that happens. So, yeah.

ANDREW: I think that this idea of the ... like the wise teacher who's got their, all their stuff together. I think it's really a problem. I think it's really dishonest and [00:42:23] I think that it's why .... I think that it's one of the forces that allows so many problematic things to exist in a variety of communities, right? I think that it's one of the things that you know, at it ... at one of its worsts, right? encourages, you know, stuff that we could, you know, that the me too movement seeks to address, right? Because the perception is that these teachers [00:42:53] or leaders or community people or whatever, you know, in the spiritual communities have their stuff so together, right? And how could they not? And therefore this other person must be the problem? You know. I think it's one of the mechanisms which that happens under. And I think that ... I think that it sort of comes out of the sort of ... Well, I mean, I don't know where it originates from, but like in the ceremonial stuff in the more hierarchical [00:43:23] and initiatory things that I used to be involved in, in those ways. There was this notion that somehow, we would become perfect. Right? We would become enlightened. We would achieve these things. You know, but like, you know, my elders in, you know, in the Lukumí tradition, they're always like, “I'm just a person doing things. I'm doing my best, but like, I'm not perfect.” And there's no expectation to be perfect. [00:43:53] There's an expectation to cultivate character, to work on yourself, to you know, to grow, to be honest, and you know, and ideally to sort of continually seek out those things in yourself that you might need to work on in one way or another. But there's no expectation to sort of necessarily be perfect or, you know, be free of humanness, because it's not about transcendence, it's about living in this world, right? [00:44:23] 

And I think that a lot of the, you know, especially the stuff that people might refer to as sort of the love and light movement, you know? It's so ... there's so much emphasis on sort of transcendence and so on that, you know, that we continually hear about these people whose humanness re-emerges or finally is seen in a certain way. And then ... and then what does that mean for those people, you know? From my point of view, It doesn't mean anything. Just like you being raw, of [00:44:53] course you're raw after all of these losses, right? Of course you are. Because you know, we shouldn't deny the reality or the shadow or you know, our suffering, because life is hard, but we can work at handling it easier, better, more consciously. You know? Maybe more consciously is the best way to frame it, but that doesn't mean that we're suddenly able to do everything, you know? I mean, I keep joking--and maybe it's not even a joke anymore, [00:45:23] maybe it's just a statement of what's going to happen. You know when the separation happens and we both have our own places and whatever. I'm like, I'm just gonna sleep for a week. It's going to  be like, the first week I'm just gonna be like, okay, shut everything off and just stay in bed and order pizzas and, you know, nap a lot and watch Netflix, cause, you know, I need some like nothing time. I need some recharging after all this work, you know? And I think that, you know, that's valid. [00:45:53] You know? That's not anti-spiritual. You know? Oh well. I feel like I'm ranting now so I'll stop.

BARBARA: Yeah, no, you're preaching, preach it, brother! (laughing) I'm ... Congregation of one, right here! 

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah, no, it reminds me of a funny thing my ... one of my sisters would always say to me. Well, not always, it's happened a couple of times when I have like very obviously and [00:46:23] clearly fallen short of my own ideals and I'm all upset about it. And she's like, “I love it when this happens to you.” “What do you mean?” “Because you seem more human to me in these moments.” And this is my sister, you know, and I don't want any walls between her and I and I don't want to be on a higher place or on some transcendent plane or whatever. I [00:46:53] want to be with her. And so, when I screw up, that's when I'm with her more, at least on some level. 

ANDREW: Yeah for sure. Well, it's, you know ... I've been doing ... For the last few years, I've been doing a lot of rock climbing. And you know, I've been sort of ramping back into it after being injured doing something else earlier in the year and climbing with some old friends, but some new climbing partners. And [00:47:23] the one, the guy was like, “It makes me so happy when I see you struggle on the wall. I'm sorry, but like usually you're just so graceful about it that I feel like it just looks so easy to you, and even though you come down and I can see that you're like panting cause it was so hard, you made it look so easy that it just makes me feel bad about myself. So, when you struggle it makes me feel better about myself!” And I'm like, that's fine. That's fair too. Right? Like, you know. I think that that's, that's part of it, right? [00:47:53] You know, when we get to see other people's humanity, then we get to see and make space for our own, in one way or another, right? So.

BARBARA: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you said the idea of the wise old teacher has some inherent problem. And maybe people in general, or maybe a new idea of the archetypal teacher is starting to emerge, or maybe a new facet of it, as we're starting [00:48:23] to explore, you know, or maybe things will change, maybe we'll expect different things from our teachers. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think that what I expect of my teachers are really kind of two things. You know, you used the word mastery earlier, right? And I think that certainly knowledge, right? You know, I mean, I expect them to really deeply know what they're, like, I'm there to learn knowledge from [00:48:53] them. And, so that's one part of it. And then the other part is, you know, is like honest relationships, you know? And having honest relationships debate what's going on and what's going on with them and space for me to be honest about what's going on for me and so on. You know, I think that those things together are what I really expect, you know, and like, you know, it's I've had the chance to meet a lot [00:49:23] of people who, you know, in one way or other, people would see as sort of wise masters or whatever, you know? And they're lovely human beings, and they're still human beings. You know? And I think that that's never not going to be the case, right? You know? Yeah.

BARBARA: Well, I told you earlier one of the things that I ... the only thing I did really to prepare for today's conversation was to [00:49:53] relisten to last year's podcast. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

BARBARA: And, you were just ... sounded like you were just starting to explore something kind of new and interesting that I was excited to hear more about and now I'd love to hear more about the work with meteorites and moldavite. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think that ... I think in some ways that [00:50:23] work was precipitation of the separation and divorce stuff, right? You know? I mean, I think that the idea of ... I mean, you know, it certainly wasn't consciously formulated, but, you know, the sort of idea of possibly, you know, I mean, the metaphor that I was working with of was like the idea of moving to [00:50:53] a bigger space, right? Leaving the planet and being an interstellar traveler and sort of engaging a bigger world, a variety of planets, you know, like this kind of idea, right? And I think that one of the things that that energy supported me through was and is through the idea of separating from my partner of 21 years, so that's definitely been a part of it. 

I [00:51:23] also feel like this one's harder to talk about it because I feel like it's still underway, but I feel like the shop that I have, my work as a deck creator and author, and my work magically have all been sort of escalating into new places. And I feel like, [00:51:53] especially sort of going into next year, I'm going to be really living a completely different reality. And I imagine there's going to be a lot more space for my spiritual stuff in that newer reality. So, I think that that's a part of what's come of that transition. 

And also, I think the other thing that I've sort of ... I'm [00:52:23] still working on sorting it out on a practical level, but there's this ... There's this software company, or company that makes a software called Basecamp, and they structure their company work around these eight-week cycles. So basically, they, one of the things that I heard about what they do is that they have a six-week [00:52:53] work cycle, one week of cleanup and planning the next work cycle, and then they take a week off. And I've been really sort of starting to think about how do I, in order to make the arts and the magic and the other things that I would want to be doing and feel called to be doing, I need more space, right? I need more time. And you know, so I've been, I also [00:53:23] feel like that changing notion of what my space and time is going to look like is also kind of come out of that work, right? This idea that I can be somehow in between things. You know? Now's the time where I'm on Mars doing Mars things, and now I'm back floating in the space of my in-between time, doing whatever that is, and then go back to the next place, and you know, and the metaphor doesn't entirely hold but I think the idea, you know, makes [00:53:53] sense, right? That, so it's really ... It's about allowing. Allowing for the space and letting go of all those sort of structures and ideas that sort of hinder that possibility and making space for that to happen, you know? And I mean, I'm not sure how long it's going to take for me to completely reorganize my life and work and other things into that, into that direction. You know, it might take another year or whatever. But it doesn't really matter. But I feel [00:54:23] like all of those pieces kind of come out of, come out of that work that started with the meteorites, you know, a year or so ago.

BARBARA: Cool, thanks. Thanks for sharing that.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

ANDREW: Yeah, it's a work of shedding and becoming, right? You know, and I don't think that I was aware of the shedding of house. I was aware of the shedding at a sort of big picture level, but I wasn't aware of it as a sort of more personal [00:54:53] level when I started that. So, yeah.

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: So, are you ... Do you think you're gonna find your way back to the to the wider world or do you think that you're ... I feel like you've been on a hermitage in the valley in the mountains.

BARBARA: Mm-hmm.

ANDREW: You know, do you feel like that's something that's just going to continue? Or do you feel like it's time to shift that?

BARBARA: That is a really good question, [00:55:23] really pertinent question at this point. I have just been starting to have, like, actual feelings about wanting to come out of my hermitage. It's super hard to do that cause it's my natural inclination. It's where I would be, always, if people who loved me weren't concerned about my mental and emotional health (laughs), but [00:55:55] living here, but like I said, it's so old school that it really feeds that. Like when I was in the cities and when I was involved in the wider world, it ... sometimes it felt like if it isn't seen by people on the Internet, it isn't real?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: And I'm sure that's just a me thing. I don't think it's like everybody has that feeling, but it was definitely affecting me like that. But there are, like there's [00:56:25] a women's circle here that meets every couple of weeks. It's, you know, not set, exactly, it's probably two or three weeks. And it's just some women who get together and just talk. And sometimes it's just casual talk, like book club level talk. And sometimes it's super deep. Then sometimes it's spiritual, sometimes it's scientific, and it's really great, but it's very small and it's just the valley, and it's not posted anywhere, and no one knows about it. It's not like [00:56:55] putting transcripts out for ... You know, it's not out there, it's just in, and like I said, just the cardboard signs, it's just all small and hidden away, kind of, and I really, it feels really safe, it feels really nice, it feels really authentic. It feels good to me. But, just over the past week or so, I have been like, I want to get out. I want to take a class. I want to [00:57:25] do something. But then I second-guess myself cause one of the things when I was in the midst of stuff this year, I kept wanting to sign up for a class or do this or do that and Dylan's like, “You know, you do have this tendency that whenever you're avoiding dealing with something, you want to take a class.” (laughs) You know, and ...

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: Oh, okay, that makes sense. So now I'm in this space where I'm feeling this urge. Like I don't really know exactly what I want to do, but I want to get out of here. I want to have some [00:57:55] some regular contact with the outside world in some way. And I'm like, oh, does this mean I'm, you know, coming up against my emotions about my dad and haven't dealt with them yet and I'm trying to avoid that? So, yeah, I am feeling it. Yes. I think it's going to happen. I'm not exactly sure when or how it's going to happen. Earlier you had mentioned when you said you were gonna interview me and some people said to say hi and whatnot. It [00:58:25] make my heart really happy and also a little sad and very emotional. Many feelings were happening and it was like well, maybe I could be back on Facebook, and maybe I could just post about my life like I used to, and maybe that's okay. And I hadn't really been this close to thinking that in a couple of years. So. 

And as far as like work, I mean I have still worked. Even though I said I [00:58:55] had the year off, I have written two books and designed a deck. So, it's not like I haven't been doing stuff to put out there, but I haven't been super publicity-oriented. I haven't been teaching. I've had invitations to workshops and to teach classes, which is more public, more connected with the world, and I keep turning them down. I still think I'm not interested in that. I think I did that a lot because it was expected. It was a natural part of this [00:59:25] work that you and I do, and I think I can be good at it. But I'm not sure if I love it. Yeah, so I'm still struggling about, you know, do I want to keep doing that or speaking at conferences or whatever. You know, especially these ones where it's like you have 50 minutes. Because I feel like a lot of the things I'm thinking about now .... They're not like, here's a simple technique that you can use. It's more like, here's a book [00:59:55] on what I thought about this one thing. You know, I just ... 

So, yeah, but I would love to take an art class. I think that's what I would like. I think that's one thing my art is missing, is because I do love the process of it and that's more important than the outcome, but there's still something fulfilling about increasing your skill and being able to skillfully make what you're envisioning, you [01:00:25] know, so I would like that, and I think with that if I had some, you know, peers who are struggling as well as a teacher who's helping guide, that would probably be really good. So ...

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

BARBARA: Of course, the nearest place to take art classes around here is an hour and a half away, but that's what happens when you live here in the mountains. 

ANDREW: Right. 

BARBARA: So. 

ANDREW: I wonder if there are ... I wonder, are there are other artists in the community that you could hang out and have conversations with and so on, [01:00:55] you know? As somebody who went to art school, I'm always ... I'm cynical about art and art lessons and art school and formal training and all of those things because it basically, you know, in my experience, and my experience is very particular, but it basically just ruined all of that for me for a very long time, you know? So, but it depends on who you're working with and why, right? So. 

BARBARA: Yeah. [01:01:31] Well, and this wouldn't be like an art school or even a college art course, it's just workshops held at the local art store. You know. I don't know how that is, cause I've never taken, you know, an art school class. So I don't know. Yeah. That or, or, the other thing I'd been excited about when we moved here was the idea of pursuing interfaith ministry. I haven't ... I thought I'd be a year into those studies already, back in the days when I thought everything was going to be fine. And I haven't done anything [01:02:01] with it and I'm still thinking about that. I haven't really ... The only work ritual designing I've done this year was had to do with Carol and Noel, because they ... when Noel's end was getting really close, they were like, well, you know, most marriage ceremonies say, have the words “until death do us part,” and the marriage ceremony itself is a ritual. And yet when one of the partners dies, there's [01:02:31] no ritual, you know, to wrap it up because if it's till death do you part, then what then? What, you know? And how do we untie this bond that we've made or do we, and to what extent or whatever? So, you know, we talked about that for a while and you know, kind of came to grips with what they wanted to do with each other. And then, of course, the challenge, because Noel by this time was not always with us mentally, you know, so keeping it [01:03:01] short and simple, you know, just a little ceremony for them to both release each other and to reaffirm their eternal love, in whatever way is appropriate, in the next life, perhaps, because they believe in reincarnation, you know, so you tie up all their beliefs into this ritual and knowing that was really satisfying and fulfilling, you know, just like other ceremonies I have done, so that's still there too.  

ANDREW: [01:03:31] Yeah. At some point in the next little bit, Hanlon and I are going to go back to the place where we, where we performed our marriage ceremony, because we basically married ourselves, right? And we're going to ... and we're going to release the relationship, right? You know, and we're going to ... You know, we have these relatively simple silver rings. We're going to break them and then we're going to take this over and we'll have them melted down into stuff for the kids. So we'll [01:04:01] make a pendant for each of the kids, and then they can have that, but it won't be the ring anymore, you know. And you know, we have some other things that are sort of remnants of the original ceremony and stuff like that, which we're going to, you know, release in one way or another at the place where we did the ceremony as a way of just basically being like, you know, all right, you know, we signed the papers, we've done whatever, but also, I release everything, like this is just gone now, you know? And I think that that [01:04:31] kind of stuff is really important, you know? And I think that around death, around this, around all of it. It's really important, right? That's why these rituals matter, so. 

BARBARA: Yeah. Well, that's beautiful. Good for you guys. 

ANDREW: But first, it's also going to be winter, so it's out on the island in Toronto. It's gonna be very cold and it's not going to be inviting like when, you know, we got married in the summer and we went for a swim afterwards in the lake and stuff. I don't think any of that's going to be happening, but, yeah not really into hypothermia anyway. [01:05:01]  

BARBARA: But, also, it's kind of symbolically significant. 

ANDREW: For sure. Yeah. For sure. Well, maybe that's a good place to wrap this up for today.

BARBARA: Yeah.

ANDREW: Pursue things that are symbolically significant, people, be human.

BARBARA: (laughing) That's right!

ANDREW: Be weirdos! Hang out! Have fun! Thanks. Thanks so much for following up. I know, I know that this is a challenging time and I think that, I think [01:05:31] that what I've come to think about social media and about these kinds of things like the podcast and so on is, there's so much cynicism about it all, you know, people are so cynical and hear so many things about how meaningless it is and so on, and yet, personally I have some tremendously deep connections with people that are fostered, born, supported, or whatever out of, you [01:06:01] know, out of these things, and I think that if we're able to show up there consciously, then it can become something quite different. If we, if we do that. Otherwise, yeah, sure, we can share cat memes till the cows come home and they're funny, but you know, I'm not sure how many of them I remember down the road, right?

BARBARA: Exactly, exactly!

ANDREW: For sure. So, in case you decide to start blogging again, or whatever, where should people come and follow you, Barbara? 

BARBARA: Yeah. Okay. My website is still the same, tarotshaman.com. My email is on there, BarbaraMoore07@comcast.net. [01:06:37] Please feel free to write, reach out. I may not be on social media, but I still do like hearing people and connecting, and even, keep your eyes open, you never know. I might come back and join the land of the living, join the the Magnificent weirdness that ...

ANDREW: Come down off the mountain, Barbara! Come back to the city. (laughing)

BARBARA: Yes. Yes. Yes. Come hang out! We can have market days or something.

ANDREW: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Awesome.

BARBARA: [01:07:10] Well, thank you so much for having me. I am already looking forward to next year.

ANDREW: Perfect! 

EP 89 Thai Occultism with Peter Jenx

EP 89 Thai Occultism with Peter Jenx

November 9, 2018

Andrew and Peter explore the world of Thai magic and occultism. Talking about the importance of meta, self cultivation, personal growth and how they all relate to the intense practices of Thailands indigenous magic.

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Transcript 

ANDREW: [00:00:00] Welcome, everybody, to another installment of The Hermit's Lamp podcast. I am here today with Peter Jenx. And for those who don't know Peter Jenx, he is the author of a massive and intriguing tome, called Thai Occult. And it's really interesting to meet with somebody and talk with people who are involved in non-western [00:00:30] cultures and other ways of practicing magic that don't kind of come out of, you know, say, the Golden Dawn, or Wicca, or these other things, which are all lovely, but I think it's really interesting to get a dive into, you know, other kinds of worldviews and magic and all of those things. So really, that's why, you know, when Peter and I connected, I thought he'd be a great fit for being on the show. But for those who don't know you, Peter, who are you?

PETER: And ... [00:01:00] Well, I'm an aging Englishman stuck in Chiang Mai at the moment. I've been here, been living in Thailand, since 2002, but first visited here in 1991. Which is kind of before its main economic explosion and everything else. And then, come from a musical background, working in music in Manchester, worked a lot with gigs, run rather interesting [00:01:30] night clubs in Manchester, and also been a practitioner of Tai Chi for like 20 years. So, I think everything's always pulled me East, which is why I really ... the first … on the first visit, I kind of knew I'd end up living here. It fits.

ANDREW: Yeah, it's interesting how that works, right? You know, I was talking with somebody yesterday about, you know, I come from a Scottish background, [00:02:00] even though I was born and raised in Toronto, and they're like, “Oh, well, have you've been to Scotland?” And I'm like, “No, I haven't.” I mean, I'm curious, but I find I'm much more drawn to the East, you know? And I spent a bit of time in Thailand and a chunk of time in India, and you know, I was in China last year, and every time I return to the East, I always have this sense of ease that emerges that's quite different than what I experience, you know, living in Toronto. It's like, [00:02:30] that there are these places and cultures that are suited to our nature in ways that we might not even be able to explain or understand, you know?

PETER: Well, I think it's working. I think at first when we come here, we are given space. And it's a space that we're not necessarily given in the West. Also, what I experienced when I first came here was a realization that what I'd always felt, regarding nature and regarding what [00:03:00] I perceive as magic in the West, was correct. It … Because here it is expressed in a much deeper way than it is in England, in particular. I don't know … And also, I think, you know, we need the strangeness to grow. Yeah, and sometimes part of any growth, as far as I'm concerned, is the process of change and [00:03:30] if you go to an alien culture, you are constantly challenged to change, and that can be astonishingly refreshing for us. And ....

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I can see that, for sure, and also that that idea that, you know, I mean, there are other ways of looking at the world and nature, you know, I mean this … the word animism has been, you know, being kicked around a lot and sort of gained a lot of ground as sort of a word [00:04:00] for some of the kind of world view that we might be talking about. And you know, I think that that's, that's both part of it. You know, for me, going … they're going to other places, and you and my involvement in and initiation in Afro-Cuban Lukumí, there is this sort of world view at play where plants are alive and have energies and consciousness, and you know, there's this interconnectedness between everything that [00:04:30] isn't really common, even amongst magical practitioners, at least in my experience, kind of growing up.

PETER: Yeah. Yeah. It's one of those … [sigh] You know, the funny thing is … Okay. I had to act like myself to do this book. I have not been able to read other but … other magical books at all. Otherwise, it would have kind of diluted or influenced what I was going to do. The whole time I've spent here has been really a time to learn how not to [00:05:00] think and influence what is around you, and if you do that, you gain the natural focus that comes with the occult practices of this land, and that allows the nature to come through. But I always perceived this as just the Thai occult. Everybody else calls it Thai animism. [laughing] So I'm just getting used to the fact that it is probably animism, but everybody … all the people I deal with [00:05:30] all refer to it as an occult practice, but as an animist practice, it dates back thousands of years and it is uninterrupted now, that's quite rare in the world, as far as I know. I haven't studied anything else in depth, deliberately. And because of that, the depth of what I've been able to write about and the depth of understanding that is available is really off the planet as far as I'm concerned, you know.

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah, [00:06:00] I mean, there's such a difference between, you know, living practices that date way back, you know, you know with the Buddha, Afro-Cuban Lukumí stuff in Orisha tradition, it's one of those things where … When we start talking about divination in those systems, often people are quite astounded, and I know I was really astounded at the kinds of things that are included in the wisdom and specificity and all of these kinds of things. And, [00:06:30] you know, it's … In the end, the explanation is simple. You've had a lot of very deep, intelligent, mystical people pondering the human condition and connecting to the spirit world for thousands of years and passing on that information and allowing it to accumulate. And it provides such a deep insight into human, you know, human nature and human problems because you [00:07:00] know, although the nature of the problems changes with modernity and, and so on, the nature of being human really doesn't, I don't think.

PETER: Well, that actually depends on the culture, though, because if you look at the Thai system, the things that it offers are the things that people, because of this region require, right? So, you know, this has been a very dangerous region over the thousands of years, and [00:07:30] they've been lucky enough to have the influence of Buddhism, which always overrides ancient animist practices, so, things can … They can remain who they are, while attaining higher spirituality, if that makes sense. 

And really because of, you know, the rough nature of the living in the wild, and the constant wars in the region, most of the things that they have worked out to offer, and create, for their devotees are [00:08:00] related to protection in many forms, impenetrable skin, invincibility, ways to bounce back black magic, ways to change your fate, ways to attract people, ways to become popular, ways to gain good fortune, and it's all about, at the core of it all, it's actually all about the person as well, because they're being given an advantage that [00:08:30] they've got to work with. So, it's not just abracadabra, like wham! Okay. Now you're popular. Yeah, they might give you the attribute of being popular. But if you're a bit of a twat it's not going to work. Right. 

So everything that they create is all about the development of the person themselves, being given an advantage that they have to grow into, which is typical of what we were talking about earlier, whereby the constant process [00:09:00] of change is also, can be -- we go backwards sometimes, can be the process towards either becoming a better person or more magical or however you want to see it. Yeah? And throughout the thousands of years that they developed it here, they've discovered what is actually supernatural in nature, and they have their own versions of it. Which, how the hell did they discover that? I don't know, but you know, special people discover [00:09:30] special things. They discover what human products they can use for rather powerful spells, they discover all the plants independently, often, of other approaches. So, the odd time, I've shared a picture of a tree ....

[ringing phone]

ANDREW: Oh! Now the phone's going to ring, just let it finish. It's not gonna … [00:10:11] I think I can make it stop. All right. You know what I'm going to do? I'm just going to unplug the phone. How about that? Problem solved.

PETER: [laughing] Yeah, that's easy. So, you need, you need, you need that stick I showed you earlier.

ANDREW: I know right? You know, I do. Yeah, before we started, let's just continue.

PETER: So I'll go back in … I'll let you edit that out later. I'll just go back into where it was.

ANDREW: Yeah, perfect. 

PETER: So like one time, I posted a picture of a particular tree that has, that produces a particular wood [00:10:41] that the Thais use in many magical amulets, called amudam. I mean there are legends, it's the tree that you'd climb to get out of hell, because it's impossible to climb, because of huge spikes on the trunk. And it was possibly … There was a fantastic discussion ensued, because it was also a magical wood in pretty much every other system that I was in contact with at that time through the Facebook page. And the incredulity [00:11:11] of that between everybody was really rather wonderful. You know, it kind of just pulled everybody together. And …

ANDREW: That's animism, right? That's the tree telling you what it wants to do, right? You know, and  telling everybody like the same thing. It's like, hey, I can help you with this thing. You know, if you work with me, you know, and that's what's really profound about these things, I think.

PETER: Yes, very much so. It's … And [00:11:41] the more kind of I've learned about things, you know, I just, we were discussing about a person earlier, about lightning, and how lightning can make things magical. And, you know, I was chatting with a particularly learned ajahm from a very old lineage called Ajahm [?], Ajahm Tiger. With the help of my partner, of course, and he was telling me, really, if a lightning strikes [00:12:11] a tree, its use depends on the effect of the lightning on the tree. Like, if it blows off the bark in the middle, that area is used for the handles of magical knives; if it strikes another area of the tree, it's used for something else. So, depending even on how a supernatural occurrence like a lightning strike hits something, it can produce all [00:12:41] sorts of different results. And they … At the time we were having this chat, it was really rather mind-blowing that people have spent generations upon generations studying the effects of these supernatural occurrences. 

ANDREW: Well, and I think that … It's so foreign to people living in cities, you know, but I mean, when you start spending time in nature and start consistently spending time in nature, [00:13:11] you know, it really, it really can start to speak to you after a while, right? You know, I spent … There's a site where we used to go and do ceremonies, every month, for almost two years, and kind of towards the end of that time, I did a 10-day retreat by myself where I just hung out in the woods and fasted and did my own rituals and stuff like that. And the amount of things [00:13:41] that I learned from that land and from the plants and the kinds of things that got revealed to me ... and even just like sort of unexpected beautiful things, you know. 

There was this cherry tree and you know, I knew it was a cherry tree, we'd seen the flowers, it was beautiful, and so on, but the thing that was amazing, because I was there all day, every day, for that period of time, when I [00:14:11] was there, the sap was coming out and so there were these little reddish golden amber blobs on the tree from the sap emerging, and the tree was in the west from where we ... where I usually was, and when I looked up, toward sunset, all of those were glowing like a stained glass window, right? And so there are these moments of profound beauty and profound transference of information, [00:14:41] and where those plants can speak to you, and if you're around them all the time, then … and you're paying attention, then you get to notice them, right? But ...

PETER: Well, it's the attention. That's the thing. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

PETER: And this is why, I think, in the modern world, governments are terrified of nature, because it calls people away from what they want to do, the people to do, you know, and to be a good little drone and all the other sayings that we [00:15:11] can come out with rather pithily. But, you know, it's ... and even the medical community is now turning around and saying look, you know, to fight depression, just go and walk in the hills, go and sit in the forest. You know, but this kind of … You know, I'm lucky enough to be of an age where it was more of an actual world at the time, and this is, you know, it makes me kind [00:15:41] of put my head in my hands that people are having to be reminded to do that. You know, and the beauty that is available, the wealth that is available is astonishing. Since we moved to Chiang Mai, me and my partner have been round looking at various, some of the interesting spiritual caves in this region. And you know how, if we have time when people visit, I might take them to one or two, but there's one that I've already decided, I [00:16:11] think there's only one or two people I'll take to that particular one. It's too wild. And if … You know, if we spend the time like you have, to be able to still the mind, and treat ourselves to a little bit of solitude, we start to see these things, you know. And maybe they become more special.

ANDREW: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Well, and I also think that we really need to understand and [00:16:41] respect, you know, like if we're really going to going to go into the real wilderness, you know, or real spots in nature, you know, it's something quite different, right? You know, in … Again, in my tradition, the real woods, you know, like not just like a couple plants around your yard or the park but the actual forest is a place that's somewhat feared by practitioners, not in a ... that sounds wrong. It's a place [00:17:11] that's deeply respected because it's known to be a place of power, and because it's a place of power, it's also a place of danger. You know, and so you make offerings to make sure that you're protected while you're there. You make offerings, maybe when you leave, to make sure that nothing you didn't want comes with you, you know, you make … If you're going to take anything, then you make offerings to the plants that you're going to take from, you know, and you know, it's so rare for a lot of us to have contact [00:17:41] with that deep wilderness, you know, it's something completely foreign and it's astounding, right?

PETER: Well, it's … Usually at least once or twice a month, I end up going off with an ajarn, often to graveyards for graveyard ceremonies. And … Which I'm starting to document more fully. And, you know, watching, the ajarn go into, I always [00:18:11] call it ajarn world.

ANDREW: Yeah, and by … What's a good translation for ajarn? Is … practitioner? teacher? Yeah.

PETER: Teacher … The ajarn is a higher teacher. Yeah, but it's more than that. Yeah. It's an occultist, really. And, and watching them deal with what is there, and become open to what is there ... And, you know, I asked Ajarn Su and I've also asked Ajarn Apichai. You know, [00:18:42] often they go there to choose a ghost to do a particular task, and, to which Ajarn Apichai would, you know, often say, “Well, we've come to this graveyard, because it's a graveyard where there are many soldiers and police.” So, I normally … He said he normally tries to choose a good-natured ghost, so they don't come home with you, even though he has strong protection. And the deal is made, you know, to [00:19:12] reward the spirit when the job is done. And he knows, he can tell, within five percent, really, how effective that particular spirit’s going to be. And sometimes he will go back and repeat, or just say “No, it's worked.” You know?

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

PETER: And then you go with Ajarn Su, and the same questions will be, you know, Ajarn likes to choose what are called Phi Thai Hong ghosts. And, which [00:19:42] are the ghosts of people who've died violently, before their time. And again, he said--some of them are really quite lovely--and you know, we were standing just in the graveyard, doing a love ritual, pulling a separated couple back together. And he's called, and he slaps on the side of the cremation pit. It's just two walls that focus the heat in to be [00:20:12] able to burn the body fully, in the open, in a thin, a bit of a wood, and he's calling ghosts. And you know, it was the time of year when leaves are on the floor--the leaves shed up here, some trees--and you could hear the ... something walking towards us, you know, from a particular direction. 

So, he called that ghost over and came to a deal, and he said, “Oh, it's been successful and I'll come back in a [00:20:42] few days and bring the offering that I promised, and I will donate merit.” And merit is something we gain. It's a Buddhist, Thai Buddhist principle where we gain merit through good deeds, helping people. A basic form of it would be giving to charity, and, you know, these Phi Thai Hong ghosts need to collect merit to get out of hell. Eventually try and rise towards rebirth. [00:21:12] And Ajarn Su is very careful about the ghosts he chooses, only, he never forces them, he requests, he is very gentle. Otherwise, they can hurt you. Yeah. And then when we get back, both of the ajarns will always bless water, splash on feet, hands, top of head, back of neck, just to make sure nothing has been clingy, you know. So, I mean they all follow similar [00:21:42] patterns, where, you know, and if anything's taken, you request it to be taken and if you're going to work with anything, you're asking permission, and it's extremely similar all around the world except for the cultural differences. And the influences, like in this region, with Buddhism has been a particular influence.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. So, I have so many questions, so many questions! [laughs] I guess one of my, one of  [00:22:12] my questions, though, coming out of what you just talked about … We talked about … You mentioned somewhere along the way, changing your fate, right? And I'm really curious about the idea of fate as it as it exists in this practice, you know, can you ... Can you just answer that small question for us? Tell us what that's like. [chuckles]

PETER: Okay. Well, the idea of fate is … Without, I don't study horusat, which is Thai astrology. [00:22:42] Okay, but what I would say is, that I think the Thai occult corresponds to people’s state of mind. Yeah? And help to get people out of the state of mind to improve themselves again, as well as realigning their faith, there's a dual motion going on here. We are given a Qatar. We have to make offerings. We [00:23:12] have to take care of something. We have to structure our lives around it. We have to take the five precepts, which are the basic things. Don't kill anybody. Stop shagging around. Don't lie, you know, etcetera etcetera. And often, besides the help of something like Rahu, which, the Thai Rahu is not the same as the Indian one, but, we praise it in a different way, which really annoys the Indians. And we [00:23:42] gain his help now, if … to do that we have to order our lives around it. So, I think it’s a dual road of choosing a better path, choosing the help of somebody who is smart enough and spiritual enough to help you, and then structuring your life in a different way, and the Rahu is considered to raise your general level of good fortune.

ANDREW: And Rahu is [00:24:12] what exactly?

PETER: Rahu is the god that eats the sun or the moon from Indian mythology. Yeah? He's the god of eclipses. In India, they do not praise him, they’re trying to get rid of him. Hmm. Yeah. They think it's horrific that the Thai people praise Rahu but usually they often consider that a period of very bad fortune is sometimes, Rahu coming into somebody's lives and influencing it without being [00:24:42] asked to come in. So, by praising him, you're going to offer your foods, the correct foods, which always have to be black. They need the numbers of seven, nine, or 15, depending on the ajahm. Different black foods, usually on the four quarters of the moon, with the full moon being the most important. Normally, it's advised to wear the Rahu on the full moon when in which [00:25:12] case it kind of feels like he's bouncing around on your chest like going to a disco. He can't … he's extremely rewarding; many ajarns swear by Rahu, but he takes a lot of work. So, I think it's a dual, being very honest about this, I think it's a dual combination, whereby we get our shit together, and then the help offered by the Rahu offered by the ajarn, will start to improve the life.

ANDREW: And when we're [00:25:42] talking about fate here, are we talking about … We can be a little simplistic too, maybe for the conversation. Are we talking about it as a sense of karma, like consequences for our actions, this life, other lives, or whatever? Are we talking about like a destiny or a thing that we're ... sort of came intact from somewhere or that we need to try and achieve maybe in our life.

PETER: Well, we always [00:26:12] have influence. Actually, there's three forms of influence on the brain. Okay, there's three forms of influence we consider to be three forms of influence from life. One is an astrological influence. Astrology influences the person without any doubt at all. Yeah? The second one in Thai is the influence of ghosts. Yeah? And spirits directing your life without you knowing about it. And the third one is the influence of the mind and all the silly things that the mind does can [00:26:42] be destructive. Yeah? If you … Everybody goes through periods of bad fortune, but they can have very very different reasons. Sometimes even in the Thai practices, you know, we can have a real crash of fortunes, but I was just seeing it as, it's just a part of life, man. It can't be good all the time. Yeah? It's a readjustment of yourself and of your … the way you deal with yourself. I don't like to involve things [00:27:12] like karma. I'm very practical in that respect. It's about living an open and happy life and sometimes shit goes wrong. Yeah? Through bereavement and through everything else ...

ANDREW: So, go ahead.

PETER: And through bereavement and through everything else, but that period then we have to kind of realign ourselves. I think focusing in on what has actually caused the problem is one of the things that we need to get away from [00:27:42] and just deal with the fact that we’re in the shit. Yeah? Yeah, so that also immediately stops all the stuff that goes around in the brain or at least helps with it. Yeah? So.

ANDREW: Yeah. Yeah, in Lukumí divination we have kind of negativity, which we call Otonawa, which means … roughly means, that which you brought with you from heaven, and it's like, it's like, yeah, this is a thing that's, [00:28:12], you can't do anything about, maybe it's part of your destiny, maybe it's just come from, come to a place where the various forces in your life make this inevitable. But now you need to just, you know, appease it, ease it, support yourself, and get through it, and then, you know, but there's no making it go away, right? You know, like there's no perfect road, right? Where we never see these things. 

PETER: Well there can't be, otherwise we get so spoiled that the smallest pebble on the road would become an absolute nightmare [00:28:42] if it got into our shoes. Right? You know, we need it. We need these things to happen in life, in my opinion. Otherwise, we don't have any understanding of what life is or can be about.

ANDREW: And I also … I also think it's really interesting that ... the idea of easing the mind by stopping, asking why, and looking to explain it. You know, I think that that's a place where a lot of people ... you [00:29:12] know, I mean, I read cards for people, and you know, there are certainly folks who come in for card readings who are just like: “but why, why did this happen, why did this happen?” It's like, at a certain point, why does it matter? How about you do this to make it better, you know, and yeah, it's that practicality that I think is sometimes very unsatisfying to people in certain situations, you know?

PETER: Well, it's a Western thing, you know? Our minds are way too busy. You know? I live, you know, one of the core elements of [00:29:42] Thai culture is samadhi, which is [? 29:45]  that is gained through Buddhism. It is an open and clear focus whereby we’re trying to separate ourselves from the mind, so you end up in a position where you can watch your mind being a bastard. Yeah? Or being a bit barmy one day. Yeah? So, eventually when you actually … You know, but I always ask people what is watching the mind? Yeah? [00:30:13] 

So in my opinion, what you are doing and what you are going to learn to do, is to find out who you are, which is not often what your mind is? You know, even in our … Even in our culture, we have sayings like, what does your stomach tell you? It's not the same as what does your mind tell you? They will say, what do you think? Yeah. So, one of the aims is to eventually secure yourselves and then when you get to that point, you can start to [00:30:43] see or feel astrological influences. You can have an idea about whether you're being influenced by something else. And you can watch your mind and attempt to behave and try and calm it down, so, it doesn't cause which as much trouble. Yeah? And all these are core practices within Buddhism and Eastern philosophies.

ANDREW: Yeah. For sure. Yeah, that ability to step back [00:31:13] from what's going on in your head and basically be like, oh, take a look at that. My brain is … my brain is doing this thing in the same way that my stomach might be doing another thing in my … You know, my knee might be acting up or whatever. It's like, I'm not even those things, right, but sort of tuning down the emotions and the mind to kind of a place of somewhat lesser value or more specific value than the sort of overriding quality that we often associate with them. You [00:31:43] know, that's not easy, right? That's ... for a lot of people, especially Western people.

PETER: You know, if you ever visit, an example of one of the wonderful things to do is to go and see someone like Ajarn Su, who was a monk for 18 years. So, this guy's got focus. Yeah? And recently, we went along with somebody who wanted a head tattoo. A head young [not sure if this is right? at 32:08] for metta. Yeah, for loving-kindness. Higher, the highest of the high Buddhist-style tattoos. You know, head tattoos [00:32:13] hurt.

ANDREW: Yeah, I can imagine.

PETER: This is done with a gun. Ajarn Su can only use a gun because he's got an arm that won't do as it’s told, and, you know, the lad doing it had great difficulty controlling the screaming. And I was … I was helping out, being a bit of an assistant. And I was watching Ajarn, and he just went into his quiet place and not thought, but [00:32:43] no thinking, he was just chanting Qatar while he was doing the inside, while doing, while performing this tattoo, which took way longer than the recipient really wanted it to, and he pretty much screamed all the way through, so when we let … And then the worst thing was that if you have a tattoo with Ajarn Su, he will then give you his Yant Kru, which is, it gives … Everybody he gives tattoos to and it's a line [00:33:13] of script going along the front line at the bottom of the palm, and man, it's painful. Yeah? And as soon as, as soon as he said to me in Thai, “Oh, just hold his hand,” I thought, “Oh my God, he’s really going to scream now.” And, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He did. He really let go. Yeah, and then when, and then when we left Ajarn, after about 10 minutes, the guy just lit up, and he got the sun inside his face. And [00:33:43] he actually said, “Wow, now I know why I've had it done. I wasn't so sure for the last half an hour,” and it looked amazing, and we were actually leaving. But then once we left, Ajarn's neighbors from across the road came over to see him to make sure everything was okay. [laughing]

ANDREW: Right?

PETER: And Ajarn is such a sweet man. He kept stopping and going, “so [00:34:13] soo,” which means, you know, “you have to fight a little bit,” but doing it in such a cute way, it was like an anime, you know. And watching him not be drawn into somebody else's pain, not be influenced by somebody who is having difficulty, and retaining his own presence was a lesson in itself. It was quite astonishing, it was an amazing 30 minutes. 

ANDREW: It's [00:34:44] such a … I mean, I hear in that story what I would call a profound sense of compassion that doesn't match what we normally, you know, people might go to as a sense of compassion, which is, a sense of that deeper purpose of what's at hand, a loving acknowledgment of the struggle, and a commitment to the outcome that was what was meant to ... like what was agreed to, as opposed to an avoidance of a kind [00:35:14] of suffering for that person, right?

PETER: Yep, that's exactly right. And also, when he finished the tattoo, Ajarn told him, instead of keeping the five precepts, he only has to keep one. He said, “But you keep this precept,” and when he told him the one, I'm not going to say which one it is, I'm not going to divulge anything about what he said, but he said, “How does he choose the most difficult [00:35:44] one he could possibly choose for me?” I said, “Oh, he always does that!” 

ANDREW: Of course. 

PETER: I said, “Otherwise what's the point?” And the guy just fell around laughing? You know, he said, “How does he know?” I said, “He's an ajarn, my friend.”

ANDREW: Yeah.

PETER: “He probably knew as soon as you walked in.” And it was again one of those comical moments when we realize how much we have to grow in the situation we are in. But the [00:36:14] levels of metta, loving-kindness and the beauty of what they are trying to do is, it's just breathtaking.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. So, I mean I guess, let me ask this question, and I imagine there might be a few different answers to it. But, how does, how does a person become an ajarn?

PETER: In the usual route. 

ANDREW: [chuckling]

PETER: Okay, those … From what I can see at the moment, and this is going to change over time, as [00:36:44] the more time I spend with them, but basically everybody starts off as being some sort of devotee, using their amulets, learning the Qatar, becoming kind of known as somebody who makes an effort towards those spiritual practices. They might go off and do a few weeks, or a month, or even three months as a monk. Yeah? Which is all [00:37:14] set up within the community, and most times men will be a monk at some point in their life, for a short period of time, and then they may start helping the ahjan with rituals and helping the people who visit the samyat, which is the place of work. It's like his spiritual shop, his temple, yeah? And then, the [00:37:44] studying begins.

Now the studying, we discovered, has actually got levels. And each level, it's a bit like going and getting different degrees. Each level has got what is called the khan kru associated with it and the khan kru is a construction of various objects. Like sometimes swords, sometimes flags, and [00:38:14] they're always quite different, a lot of betel nut, flowers. It depends on the lineage of the ajarn that's giving it and there are various levels of the khan kru, depending on what you study. So, the earlier levels tend to be directed towards satyam, the Thai traditional tattooing, after which you tend to learn about sunay sunay magic, which is the magic for attraction. [00:38:44]

Eventually … I'm trying to remember the levels. It's something like the 8, 12, 27 but it ends up at 108. There's men. There's about eight different levels of the khan kru, and at each level you attain a certain understanding, but the khan kru is actually considered to be alive. It's considered to have life, and it helps you teach [00:39:14] you, and it can also knock you back if you're not studying enough, or being erudite enough, or not trying enough or you're just getting it wrong. Yeah? So, I … it's weighed like everything in this system. The book kind of introduces the subject of the khan kru, but the khan kru in itself could probably be a book on its own. 

Ajarn Su holdes the khan kru 108, which [00:39:44] is the full witcha, which comes from a similar root word as Wiccan, by the way, the witcha is the knowledge, and a very famous monk called Kru Badung Dev, still alive, but he's bedridden and 105 and his witcha collection, his book collection is really quite something, it's off the planet and his knowledge to go along with it. When he was a monk, he had the khan kru 227, [00:40:15] which only monks can have, and then you go back to the 108, when you stop being a monk. So, often you're going to see … In Ajarn Su's samyat, there's one khan kru and it's a 108, everything, and there are a certain color to show that his teacher is still alive and they change the color when he dies. 

In other samyat, you go and they'll have like five or six khan kru [00:40:45] for different subjects from different ajarns. Yeah, so you have some that stick to a certain lineage and some that go around collecting different witchas, almost like create their own lineage to start their own path, which then they can help other people along as well. It involves learning at least three scripts. It involves learning an enormous amount of Qatar, understanding the Qatar, [00:41:15] and it involves practices such as various meditational practices, like the 32 parts of the body practice for which you need a teacher but there's a brief outline in the book of it. We're about … we get to know our physical body by traveling around it. And it's split into 32 parts. There is also various meditational practices [00:41:45] towards cutting four elements within the body, but all these kind of roll along through the different levels of study.

ANDREW: And so, is the title conferred by the teacher then at some point? Is that the …?

PETER: The teacher decides when you move to the next level. To become an ajahm, you know, you can say, I could now turn around and say, “I'm ajarn, I'm [00:42:15] an ajarn,” but I'd be a bit of an idiot to do so, because it's really obvious that I'm not, right? Yeah. Yeah, in the same way as mastership in martial arts. You know, you always get … there's always a number of [pillocks? 42:26] who call themselves a master and they have to go through the very painful process of being beaten up by an eight-year-old at some point. You know what I mean? Yeah. Similar, you prove yourself by being good at your ajarn.

ANDREW: That's interesting. I also … I'm also really fascinated by … I mean, we were talking about nature [00:42:45] earlier. Do the ajarns, like, are there any living, like do they practice in Bangkok in the center of town? Do they out in the woods?

PETER: Yes, woods. Yeah. Yes. They did. There is … There are some remarkable magicians in Bangkok. Normally, they will deal with the things that people who live in the metropolis need, will help them with the promotion at work, will help them find a lover. Yeah, and [00:43:15] be more attractive, and there is those … One ajarn called Ajarn Weaver Ted [? at 21:32] who's now very famous. He's the first photograph in the book. And he's got very rich clientele, that he does spiritual work for, whatever that may entail. Yeah, some of it will be aggressive. Some of it will be protective. Some of it, you know … because in Thailand basically, [00:43:45] it's really the rich and the poor that use magic, not necessarily the middle classes. Yeah. And there's also people like Ajarn Samat, [43:57] who is one of the most remarkable satyan ajahms I've ever met. Man, he has it. He has it. Yeah? And for me, he's the best satyan ajarn in Bangkok, but he's difficult to see, he has a mostly retired clientele. His work is not beautiful. It's very old [00:44:15] style. It's very ancient witcha, but man, he has it, whoo! You know, so all these things are available for people who need it, finding the very traditional Thai ones will only be done by the Thai people, but then there are other ones who become famous outside the country as well.

ANDREW: So, let me ask you this question then. So, where does where does morality fit in these kinds of practices, you know?

PETER: [00:44:45] In what respect? 

ANDREW: So, if someone's coming to have work done to bring a relationship back together, is that … is that seen as both people should be there and consent? Is it seen as one person who wants this to happen can do the work and that could work? You know we talked about defense and aggression and these other kinds of things. Is there a morality in [00:45:15] there? Or is that sort of purely a Western question and not even relevant?

PETER: Well, it's, well, there's a morality in everything in life. It just depends on your personal standpoint. And, many ajarns nowadays, a lot of the really heavy stuff has gone back in the cupboard, because it's not needed anymore, yeah? So, but I'd say Ajarn Cau, who's a particularly lovely ajarn who I got along very well with in towards [00:45:46] Doi Saket, the mountains to the east. He only pulls lovers back together who were already married, and they have to prove it to him. Yeah, he will ask them for impossible things to get. You know, if they can, the skin off the bottom of his foot or her foot, depending on which partner wants the other partner to come back, and, and he will help them get back together, because that is an act of metta, he [00:46:16] is helping keep the couple together. 

At the same time, he will basically attempt to get the person who is bringing the ... paying for the ritual to understand that all the ritual does is bring them back. It's not going to fix your relationship problems. So, if you turn around and be angry, it’s not going to keep them there. This is not making a slave out of somebody, [00:46:46] yeah? So there isn't really anything aggressive within that. I mean, really, you know, people often ask the question: What is black magic in Thailand? You know, yes, then you get a different answer from everybody, but when they ask the same ajarn, the ajarn always said, well, you know attraction. He said, I might use part of somebody's skull for attraction. Esanay, [47:12] we call it, and he said, but it's just an air magic. It's not … it's [00:47:16] not black magic. He said, you're just attracting somebody, where's the harm in that? You're not kind of turning them into a slave. You’re just attracting them.

ANDREW: Right? If the work isn't … The work isn't geared towards removing people's free will. The work is geared towards providing opportunity, and that opportunity, especially sort of based on what you said in the earlier part of the conversation too, that opportunity is both access [00:47:46] to the opportunity of that thing and also the opportunity to grow as a person to embody that thing.

PETER: Exactly. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

PETER: Yeah. So, you know other people think the use of any human materials is black magic in itself, which I don't, I don't consider it to be. There's all sorts of … We’ll not get into the Thai thoughts about death, because you know, everybody does … they're not … well, you know, it's just part of life. And generally, most … some ajarns [00:48:16] think that anything with human materials is black magic. Some ajarns only think that anything that is forceful is black magic, anything that is cursing is black magic, and they really try not to do it nowadays.

ANDREW: Hmm.

PETER: Yeah, they will do something called a kong ritual, which is a ritual. It's like a controlling ritual you do in the graveyard and it's to rebalance [00:48:46] some sort of relationship. A work relationship, your boss is being a bit of a bastard to you, etc. You'll bring a kong ritual just to slap him down a little bit, slap him down for a few months, let the relationship become better between you, and then it wears off. And they are extremely effective, these. But then, you know, you get people coming forward wanting people hurt or dead or [00:49:16] forced into bankruptcy or something serious and to be honest nowadays, yes, it can be done, but most ajarns will say no. And the only … And there's some very knowledgeable people about cursing in this city. Terrifyingly knowledgeable, but they just choose not to do it unless it's for the right reason. Yeah, because you know, they're bringing … They’re forcing something, they're bringing something [00:49:46] difficult to themselves. Everybody nowadays is now trying to strike the correct balance.

ANDREW: Hmm. And do you see that shift as coming out of a shift in cultural values, or is it a shift in the difference in the quality of life now versus in the past?

PETER: It's both, you know, the government's also … 10 to 15 years ago, they started clamping [00:50:16] down, they started stopping people who had died violently being buried. Yeah? Originally …. Only anybody who died a difficult death, which basically reflects like a really bad karma was buried, everybody else was burnt, right? So, these ground … And they're exactly the people that the ajarns want to use the [00:50:47] products from, yeah? And they basically stopped doing that 10 to 15 years ago. So, slowly but surely, that source is being exhausted. You know, Thailand is becoming a very developed country, access to the human materials is becoming extremely difficult, and, you know, it's not as wild here as it used to be, people need more, less protection in many ways, more metta, [00:51:17] more senay, … Because now you know the times have changed. Gone are the days where they could just chop a corpse's head off and leave a watermelon. You know, now they believe that a better protection is to have so much metta that somebody doesn't want to hurt you anyway, is to be such a lovely person that attracts other people, it makes you difficult to attack, you know, so as cultures develop the way they use [00:51:47] their magical knowledge develops, which is actually the sign of any living form of magic, isn't it?

ANDREW: Well, it reminds me of martial arts practice, right? You know, I mean, a lot of people start off in you know, something a little harder like karate or whatever, and you know, they want to fight and use their muscles and whatever, and as you, you know, hopefully as you age and get a little wiser, you know, you move to something more circular and more soft and you know, like, you know, nothing … Not that you can't, you know, throw [00:52:17] that punch if you need to but it's often more like, oh, I can just redirect this and just flow with things in a completely different manner and therefore I won't have that problem any more.

PETER: Oh, I always recommend running away. It's fucking great for avoiding problems.

ANDREW: Yeah, exactly, right? Exactly. [laughing] 

ANDREW: Just don't be there in the first place, right?

PETER: And also … Exactly, the greatest defense! I mean, this is not counting somebody who comes up being an absolute idiot. In which case, finish it and then run away. Yeah? I mean, [00:52:47] I've [? 52:49] done martial arts for about 20 years. But really, it should just be about happiness, physical comfort, you know, nothing more difficult to attack than somebody who's happy, you know, and that relates to what we were just saying about the magic as well. You know, it's … As soon as you’re aggressive, it gives people something to hang onto.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Well, and possibly puts you off balance, then, right?

PETER: Well, [00:53:17] everything goes to your head. 

ANDREW: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

PETER: And if what you're trying to do is not to let it go, though, because that raises your center of balance as well, and you become slow and you tense.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yep. 

PETER: So, it's all … they're very interrelated in many respects, actually, you know, and just retaining that open clear mind rather than being pulled by your emotions all the time, you know. It's … and in many ways, to get the martial arts, is one of them. Meditation [00:53:47] works. You know, what have you found works, Andrew, for you?

ANDREW: Yeah, I mean meditation. I did martial arts for a long time. Martial arts was a good road for getting over being angry, to me. You know, I sort of worked through my anger there in an environment where I could sort of explore power dynamics very openly. And yeah, just, you know, returning, you know, returning my attention back always to like, I [00:54:17] don't know how to put it. So, there's you know, there's that transcendent sort of samadhi kind of loss of attachment to yourself and your daily life. You know, so that piece of it combined with just very practical cultivation of self and a sustainable life, right? Like just, what do I need? What do I need to do? Where am I showing up? Where do I feel I'm lacking? Why do I feel I'm lacking there? Is [00:54:47] there something I actually need and just, you know, kind of cycling through those different patterns of, I guess, growth-orientated questions. And, you know, it's … It does wonders for removing unhelpful hungers and, you know, and sort of recognizing the own … my own internal bullshit for what it is, which, then, allows me to show up more, right? 

PETER: Well, there's nothing like … Yeah, there's nothing like a good bit of bullshit within ourselves as well, you know? There's [00:55:17] many things that we can pull on. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

PETER: You know, there's many, many, there’s many advantages to these things, but it's just knowing what they are …

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. Yep.

PETER: … Is the difficult thing and not being led by them, you know, and I'm sure you'd agree that when we get, you know, when you get past the monkey mind, as they call it here. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

PETER: You know the relation … Your relationship with time changes, your relationship with people changes. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. 

PETER: You know, the way you can [00:55:47] sit with people changes …

ANDREW: Yeah. 

PETER: The way, you know, the joy of life changes.

ANDREW: And the way in which people receive you changes. 

PETER: Completely. 

ANDREW: Right? Because when you … When you show up and you're genuinely present with other people, they feel that, you know, and if you have, you know, if you want to call it metta, it's not really a word I would use, but you know, but you know, compassion or you know, those … That sort of openness to other people and seeing them for who they are without judgments or overt attachments. That's a [00:56:17] completely different dynamic, right? That goes to a completely different place than, you know, when you show up and you're just like, oh my God, I so need this or that or whatever from you. Right?

PETER: Well, it's also, I mean, I'm very lucky to be able to go anywhere in Thailand, literally, anywhere. You know? My partner's family, we were there a few months ago, and I said, “oh, I’m gonna go to Surat Veree [? 56:43] because I want to photograph this particular shrine for the book.” And I said, “Where is the bus [00:56:47] go from, the minibus? She said, “Oh, from there.” And so, I've got up at like 4:00 o'clock, I got the 5 o'clock bus, I was there by 6, and the driver dropped me off as close as he could to the temple. Ten seconds later, a motorbike boy came up, took me to visit the temple. We had a quick bit of breakfast together, which I paid for, of course, it was very nice. Then I did the photographs, he waited for me, he drove me back. I jumped on the next mini bus which arrived seconds later, and I rode back up to Bangkok and back to [00:57:17] family home in about four hours, three and a half hours. And the response was, “How have you done that? How?” Yeah, I said, well, it just kind of happens. If you just connect to people, you know, he's not the driver of a minibus. He's a man who's having to get through a day and hopefully support his family, you know? He is not just a motorbike guy, he might be an older [00:57:47] man who's had a very interesting life, and you treat him with some respect. You know, if you look, you look people in the eye, you make those connections, you open your heart.

ANDREW: Yeah. Well when I was in India, I wanted to go to Bodghaya, where the Buddha was enlightened? Or, I'm sorry, where the Buddha first preached the dharma, right? And, you know, and I went … So I wanted to go to these places, but there's [00:58:17] nothing there, right, there's just temples. It's just a city of temples and a few restaurants, things to support people, but nobody … I don't think people really live there or whatever and there's definitely no trains or whatever. So I arrived in the nearest city and--which wasn't that far away--but there was this huge strike there that day, and I was trying to find somebody who'd be willing to take me, 'cause I was only there for a day because I left it to sort of towards the end of my trip, [00:58:47] because I was trying to kind of hit a couple of important places, and two things happened, which remind me exactly of this conversation. 

So, one was, I was walking down the street, and it was a long street with a big park and government building, I think, on the other side, and it was just this huge fence that ran along this massive park all the way along. There's no easy way there, no gates, you would have to climb it and it was all houses on the other side and all the houses were basically [00:59:17] attached and there's no roads or alleys or whatever. 

And I'm like mid-block, and then I hear this huge ruckus and the people who are protesting are coming down the street, and there's this mob of people, with sticks and signs, and they're yelling and screaming and whatever, and I look at the crowd and I turn around and I look and there's this gentleman standing in his door, and I just look at him and I point at myself and I point inside his house and he's just like, yes, [00:59:47] like just, waved with his hands, like yes, come in my house [laughing], and so we go in his house. He closes the door. We wait for everybody to pass. And he had no English, you know, my Hindi is not particularly, you know, I knew a few things like hello, and thank you, and whatever, and we just waited in his house and stood there and looked at each other very pleasantly and peacefully and whatever. And then you know, when it was obvious that this, the sound had passed and the people were gone. He opened the door, and looked out, and then he gave me a pat on the back [01:00:17] and you know, sent me on my way. 

And then a few minutes later, I ran into this guy who was driving a, like one of those cycle rickshaws, this really older gentleman, and I got … I just like looked at him and I'm like, “I want to go here,” and he's like, “sure!” And so, he took me and we rode this bicycle through the countryside and stopped at a couple farms and all these amazing things. And then, when we got there, on top of paying him for his time, I also bought him lunch. And we just [01:00:47] sat there. He also had, you know, basically no English and we just sat there eating together and looking at each other and smiling. And you know, there's such a connection that can happen when you're open to those things, and like I say, when you're going for a purpose and when you go in with a certain way, that road can just open for you, right? You know?

PETER: It just happens … and it really happens because you're not thinking … 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

PETER: And by not thinking, you're taking away the barriers that people can come, [01:01:17] that generally stop people relating to you…

ANDREW: Yeah, for sure. 

PETER: You know, it's a remarkable period of time here, you know, but, especially this last few years, going through the process of doing all this work, because it just, it just happened. Just, it was just, doors kept opening and things kept telling me what to do next, and you [01:01:47] know, and then we got to the point where this, you know, we managed to finish this work.

ANDREW: Yeah.

PETER: And yeah, there were bits where it wasn't easy, but it's still found a way to be done. 

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. For sure. 

PETER: And you know, it's … Even my partner sometimes says, “How have you done this?” [laughing]

ANDREW: Mm-hmmm. 

PETER: You know. “How have you done it?” Well it kind of just gave me the opportunity to do it and then it kind of did itself. 

ANDREW: Yeah. They meet you [01:02:17] halfway. You know? Or more than halfway sometimes, right? Yeah. 

PETER: Yeah, they do. And also, I've really been wanting, you know, I've kind of resisted it for the first, God, 20 years of coming here …

ANDREW: Mm-hmm.

PETER: Because that was apparent when I first came over. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

PETER: And kind of waited until I was ready to kind of do it.

ANDREW: Yeah.

PETER: You know, it's been quite old and extremely rewarding and rather wonderful.

ANDREW: Mm-hmm. It's [01:02:47] fantastic. Well, I mean, maybe, we've been on the phone for a long time here. Maybe we should wrap this up, because I could talk to you all day. This is a wonderful conversation. So, first of all ...

PETER: It'd be nice with a cup of tea and a biscuit, wouldn't it? [laughing]

ANDREW: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Well, you know, I'll let you know when I'm going to be in Bangkok or Thailand, some time. And we'll make that happen. For people who want to check out this book, and you know, if this stuff really interests you, and you’re, you know, you really should [01:03:17] check out the book. It's quite a, it's quite an amazing work. Where do people find you, and where do people find your book?

PETER: I'm easy found in two places. One is on Facebook through the Thai Occult book page, and the easiest place to click on the book to get the Timeless editions would be through the Thai Occult.com, all one word. 

ANDREW: Perfect. 

PETER: I can't … And there's [01:03:47] two book pictures on the front cover, one from the Sak Yant book and then the new one on the Thai occult. Of the … to be honest, I'm very very very proud of the new one, the Sak Yant book and yes, we have some superb interviews with the guys, some of the makers in there, but having just produced something really good, I'd love to go back and rewrite it.

ANDREW: Isn't [01:04:17] that always the way, right? Isn't that always the way?

PETER: Though to be honest with you, I don't think I'm going to do … I don't think I’ll be in that position, with the new one. I don't think I could have made a much better job, to be honest. There's always more, it's going to come up, but as a broad taste as a buffet of the Thai occult, I don't think … It'd be difficult to do a better job than this, in my opinion.

ANDREW: Perfect. Well, go and check it out, and support [01:04:47] Peter’s work and you know, thanks for being on, Peter and thanks to everybody, as always, for listening.

PETER: It's been lovely. Thank you. 

EP88 Stacking Skulls with Briana Saussy - Magic and Gender

EP88 Stacking Skulls with Briana Saussy - Magic and Gender

October 26, 2018

Aidan Wachter, Fabeku Fatunmise, and Andrew McGregor are joined by Braina Saussy for another instalment with Stacking Skulls. This epic 100 minute long episode talks about what is new in each of their lives and what they are up to magically before switching into answering a questions about the role gender plays in magic. 

Links for things talked about in the show. 

Sarah Anne Lawless - So long and thanks for all the abuse. A History of Sexual Trauma in the Pagan Community

Jason Miller - Whole Magic Part 2: Research vs Revelation

Amber Karnes Body Positive Yoga 

Want to listen to Stacking Skulls Feminist playlist go support the Patreon at the $5 level.  You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

Find us all online in our respective homes. 

Aidan is here.

Fabeku is here

Andrew is here

Briana is here

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

 

The transcription exceeds the amount of text allowed by Patreon. You can go read it here on my main webpage. Sorry for the inconvenience.