Snow Moon Creative Workshop

Takahashi Shōtei (Hiroaki) (Japan, 1871-1945) – Winter Moon , Japan, before 1936 – Color woodblock print

What: A 90 minute workshop designed to  enhance intuition, connect to natural cycles, and enhance creativity.

When:  February 17, 1pm – 3pm, Full Snow Moon

Where: Morristown, NJ (details to follow upon registration)

Please join us for February’s Full Moon, the Snow Moon, to exercise our intuitive capacities and to co-create Lunar Mythologies. This workshop, designed as part of a monthly series, will heighten intuitive awareness and create clarity by collectively aligning our focus with the cycle of the moon and with the Snow Moon’s unique symbolism. In bypassing daily modes of thought and communication, we will find renewed sources of connection, creativity, and insight.

In this 90 minute workshop, we will practice a series of exercises based on guided meditations, repetitive actions, and process-based material strategies. These practices begin with an internal focus and move toward outward awareness and focused communal attention.

Through the exercises in the workshop, we will produce texts and images. These will be collected and published as a monthly manual. Each manual will contain within it the instructions for future manuals as well as all of the texts and images produced in this workshop. Each manual will also form part of an aggregate manual, the ongoing and collaborative Lunar Mythologies. This work will be published periodically by Female Background, digitally, in print, or both.

 

Tickets available via Eventbrite, or find more on Facebook.

Manual for Observers of the Wolf Moon

Full PDF

 

This Manual for Observers of the Wolf Moon serves as a guide for the creation of Wolf Moon ceremonies. It also bears witness to a particular Wolf Moon gathering on January 20, 2019 in Harlem, New York. It unfolds in parts for contemplation and practice. This manual is part 1 of the 12 part Lunar Mythologies, a companion for the observation of the Full Moon throughout the year.

Print version available here. 

The End of Shoes

I’ve been searching for decades for an elusive shoe, the one that will end my desire for all other shoes. As I eagerly await a new, in-transit prospect, I have an Amazon-Prime-Delivery-moment to reflect on the nature and history of the quest.

I have a pronounced allergy to excess. A visceral objection to material encumbrance. Moreover, a nagging, consumerism-inspired anxiety created in the dissonance between the multiplicity of options and the dearth of satisfactions. I’m afraid my journey has now yielded excess instead of the desired monastic efficiency required to “think about other things.” Not that I am entirely so high-minded. I am aesthetically drawn to the ascetic. My fashion taste being in the ballpark of post-apocalyptic barbarian and Diane-Keaton-joined-a-cult. (An ex once described that ballpark as the “elegant retiree”, this before the advent of menocore.) “That’s a wicked woman”, a friend’s child remarked upon seeing me in an old opera coat of my mother’s with a $2, satin, Chinatown dragon hat.)

This ideal shoe must be practical, serving a range of weather, supporting varied occasions, and functioning in different walking conditions. While all of these pose unique challenge, I’ll wager that the topline to hem relationship presents the make-or-break situation, one with elaborately specific exigencies for each person. It’s a moving target because these shoes must work with a variety of pants, skirts, and dresses.

My memories of the incipient quest take me to grade school, where sneakers sufficed. Not to say that the type of sneaker was not a consideration, but once that decision was made, it was truly the shoe for most of living. The narrow range of situational requirements in that time of life eases the task. I had a pair of pale blue, Converse high tops that lasted through quite a bit of 5th grade. At some point near the end of high school, I moved on to black low top Converse, which I revisited again 15 years later in graduate school. A mistake I’ve now made too many times, alas, those shoes do not have arch support.   

Several years ago in graduate school, I committed to a pair of black, mid-calf, motorcycle boots from J.Crew. (At the time, I also wanted the sweater to end all sweaters and jackets, a tall order. I ended up with a grey, cocoon shaped cardigan, which that same ex with a knack for sartorial nomenclature coined my “Romulan” sweater. I don’t think Romulans actually wore sweaters, but if you take a sidelong approach to imagination, you kind of get the idea.) I still have the boots, several soles later. My dog, Petey, once ate through the buckled straps and I had those repaired, too. On the last trip to the cobbler, a strap was lost and they again face sole repair. So I’ve come to terms with my waning enthusiasm for them. I consider throwing them away, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. My perspective on their topline to hem relationship has changed over time (or maybe my body has changed), while they have stayed the same. A classic growing-apart.

The ugly sneaker seems to fit the bill for many, but I’m not there. All I see is “trend” in flashing neon. I imagine commuters changing out of these kinds of sneakers once they get to work, a kind of reverse Mr. Rogers. The comfortable shoes get you where you’re going, but the right pair is waiting for you when you get there. They’re forever relegated as the means in a troubling ends-justify-the-means scenario.

Included in the list of contenders, sitting at the back of my closet: Birkenstock London, Dankso Maria, Clarks Wallabee, a pair of dusty-colored monochrome, Maison Martin Margiela high-top sneakers. A leopard bootie from Boden and perhaps surprisingly a pair of Nike slides are clear front runners. I love my LL Bean winter boots, but the shearling makes them prohibitive most times of year. WIth all of these options, I still struggle to find the right pair on any given day.

When my new Doc Martens arrive tomorrow, I know that, as yet another pair of shoes, they won’t have the capacity to end the chronic nature of consumer desire. I’d like to believe that fulfilling my list of impossible requirements was possible. However, here’s a new kind of wager. These new boots will help me be the person I want to be by dressing like I already am. If it’s wise to dress for the job you want, “like the boss” as it were, then I’d like to think of my best self as that boss. In my case, since the boss is that ascetic-loving, Inner-Worldly mystic living in the awareness of abundance, she doesn’t think about shoes– she’s moved on to other things.  

Lunar Mythologies: Part 1, Wolf Moon

 

WOLF MOON – January 2019, Harlem, NY

POST TRUTH INVOCATION OF REALITY:

August 2016, 2 years and 5 months ago: Lunar Eclipse in Aquarious

New discoveries and relationships will send you on a special mission to find plans for a brighter future.

August 2016, 2 years and 5 months ago: Lunar Eclipse in Aquarious

Through darkened space I headed towards glowing light.  People worked keeping the fire alive, the floor was concrete and the expanse of space seemingly limitless. The fire’s glow could not illuminate the outer reaches of sight, perhaps that was because we were outside. Perhaps in the woods. This fire was contained in an anagama the size of a long hut. The anagama is an ancient type of single chamber pottery kiln.  The single chamber, built in a sloping tunnel shape, means there is no separation between the pottery and the firebox. A continuous supply of firewood is thrown into the hot kiln and consumed very rapidly. Stoking occurs around the clock. The process produces fly ash. It produces volatile salts. Wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze. This shows a great variation in color, texture, and thickness, ranging from smooth and glossy to rough and sharp.

Pieces closer to the firebox may receive heavy coats of ash, or even be immersed in embers, while others deeper in the kiln may only be softly touched by ash effects. The way pieces are placed near each other affects the flame path. The appearance of pieces within localized zones of the kiln can vary as well, taking on similarities based on region.

The potter must imagine the flame path as it rushes through the kiln, and use this sense to paint the pieces with fire.

The length of the firing may take anywhere from 48 hours to 12 or more days. The kiln takes the same amount of time to cool down. Records of historic firings in large kilns shared by several village potters describe several weeks of steady stoking per firing.

A lot can go wrong. Potters work for months, leaving their pieces to wait, in precarious fragility, for the en masse, communal firing. A bit of residual moisture or a slight aberrance in arrangement could create an explosion with reverberations throughout the kiln.  Months of work could be lost. Livelihood can depend on a single firing.

I could see people tending this fire. They threw huge rolls of cotton batting on top of the wood.  I worked with textiles, not ceramics, so I could recognize this type of fuel. Although in my work, it was generally used as insulation, layered between other pieces of stitched fabric. Then the people themselves started falling into the fire. I saw them go in, they were perhaps friends of mine. And maybe they went in, in so far as they were my friends. I imagined the flame path rushing the kiln, and could see who would become beautiful and who would perish.

August 2016, 2 years and 5 months ago: Lunar Eclipse in Aquarious:

After 95 years, my grandmother, Mary, died.

Photo @guills_free

August 2016, 2 years and 5 months ago: Lunar Eclipse in Aquarious:

I invited women, friends, into my home, an old one room schoolhouse in rural Maine, for an event called Chatter. They would tell their stories, perform their idiosyncrasies.

Chatter describes women’s speech as rapid and not very articulate, comparing the sounds and content with the noise produced by magpies, which is importunate and annoying.

Chatter is a signals intelligence term, referring to the quantity of intercepted communications. Intelligence officials monitor the quantity of communication to or from suspected parties such as terrorists or spies to determine whether there is cause for alarm. Because chatter is a measure of collective behavior, it tends to be a fairly dependable indicator.

Mass grave, photo Oxford Archaeology

August 2016, 2 years and 5 months ago: Lunar Eclipse in Aquarious:

My husband and someone I believed was my friend slept together. I left Maine for New York City and did not return until . . .

August 2017, one year and 5 months ago, Lunar Eclipse in Aquarious:

I drive to Maine from New York City with other artists’ work. Paintings and banners and razor blades and books and photographs and a so-called honeypot bound for an exhibition called Address, as in, to speak to a group. These works Address the townspeople, because chatter is a measure of collective behavior.  These works read as follows:

Shame on You Monsters

Dad’s Balls are Dad’s Business

Letting Go

Looky Look

Dust that Hides

Since Evil is a Substance, Space is a Problem

The Past is a Wilderness of Horrors, Ditto for the Future

This Is Pompeii

 

January 2019, Present Time, Lunar Eclipse in Leo:

The final Leo eclipse in a series that’s been striking the Leo-Aquarius axis since August 2016. In fact, the stunning Leo total solar eclipse of August 2017 was part of this same lunar thread. Stories and situations that have been developing since then could hit a surprising arc this January.

The Leo-Aquarius eclipse series is the axis of individual truth vs. collective.

  

January 2019, Present Time, Lunar Eclipse in Leo:

White, Catholic, teenage boys mock Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran

 

January 2019, Present Time, Lunar Eclipse in Leo:

My ex-husband’s ex-girlfriend, the one he left for me 24 years ago, was involuntarily committed to the behavioral health ward of a New York City hospital. It is her birthday. I’m trying to get her out. Other patients slip me notes with their names scribbled down, “Please call someone to help me, too” they whisper.

January 2019, Present Time, Lunar Eclipse in Leo:

I awaken in the sunshine behind a low stone wall and look out over a vast green field of short, dense grass. Sheep in the distance, brown hills rising behind them. I marvel at not having realized what a beautiful home I’d inhabited all along. I took pictures with my phone, but they disappeared. The field and sheep and light remained, material and well.

 

DEFINITIONS:

Wolves live, travel, and hunt in packs averaging 7 to 8 animals, with records of up to 30. Packs include the mother and father wolves, their pups and older offspring. Wolves develop strong social bonds within their packs.   Wolves are ritualistic. Wolves have excellent hearing, and under certain conditions can hear a howl as far as ten miles away.

Rituals are a series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner.

Loyalty is faithfulness.

Faith is Without question

Instinct is a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason

 

COMMON NOTIONS:

Repetition is impossible but we understand it none-the-less.

If it were not for the poetic, the experimental would stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake

TRANSLATIONS:

The howling of wolves is a portion of eternity to great for the eye of man.

The howling of wolves is a portion of eternity to great for the eye of man.

We will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

We will not remember the words of our enemies, but the sound of our friend.

 

photo Bettmann archive @Gettyimages

 

PSYCHOMETRIC PROCESSING:

SOLIDARITY

Care.

A pink rose bush, withers for winter and dies. The ground opens up, a fiery pit of skeletons.

Freedom.

Under the grounding weight of comfort I sleep, surrounded, in trust, by the group.

The “sounds of our friends”.

My right hand is hotter than my left.

 

DRAWINGS:

CLOSING:

“A healthy Feminine is much like a wolf: robust, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving. To adjoin to the instinctual nature does not mean to come undone. It means to establish territory, to find on’e pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to speak and act on one’s behalf, to be aware, alert, and draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one’s cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as possible.”  from Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

25 Wolves Howling

Wolf Moon Creative Workshop

What: A 90 minute workshop designed to  enhance intuition, connect to natural cycles, and enhance creativity.

When:  January 20th, 2-4 pm, Full Wolf-Blood Super Moon Lunar Eclipse

Where: Harlem, NYC (details to follow upon registration)

Please join us for January’s Full Moon, the Wolf Moon, to exercise our intuitive capacities and to co-create Lunar Mythologies. This workshop, designed as part of a monthly series, will heighten intuitive awareness and create clarity by collectively aligning our focus with the cycle of the moon and with the Wolf Moon’s unique symbolism. In bypassing daily modes of thought and communication, we will find renewed sources of connection, creativity, and insight.

In this 90 minute workshop, we will practice a series of exercises based on guided meditations, repetitive actions, and process-based material strategies. These practices begin with an internal focus and move toward outward awareness and focused communal attention.

Through the exercises in the workshop, we will produce texts and images. These will be collected and published as a monthly manual. Each manual will contain within it the instructions for future manuals as well as all of the texts and images produced in this workshop. Each manual will also form part of an aggregate manual, the ongoing and collaborative Lunar Mythologies. This work will be published periodically by Female Background, digitally, in print, or both.

 

Tickets available via Eventbrite, or find more on Facebook.

Hope

He sat next to me on the lawn chairs positioned on the gentle, grassy rise above the lake. The colors took on their richer, darker aspects because of the dusk. They seemed at once more grounded and more magical. I thanked him for having been president. I was surprised by the welling up in my throat, clotting the words. The simple meaning I anticipated defied by bodily experience. His eyes welled up, too. He had not intended that he become so indispensable. He was not moved because his ego was touched by my show of emotion, instead, he felt a kind of compassion for me, as representative of those whom he had let down. In a flash of expression, a slight down turn of his mouth and dilation of his pupils, I understood his kind of leadership. Success could only mean that once he was finished, the edifice would remain standing, impervious to the absence of his hand, insensible to it’s withdrawal.

image
Sunset Norway Point by Alan Bray

He sat slightly above me, slightly behind me, on the hillside. He held my hand as we looked out onto the still water. People played in the waning light. They too, taking on a deeper glow.

As if from nowhere, I did not see them coming and could not tell you from which direction, a group of men ridiculed the former president for holding my hand. They insinuated something untoward. Not because they noticed it, but because they were clustered together and of one mind, and it was a practiced mind. Practiced at attack and slander and vulgarity. Practiced at the en masse conversion of those impulses into reality. Manifestation.

Harbinger by Alan Bray

I felt deeply uncomfortable. The manifestation had been a success, for I felt ashamed. The president, however, he continued to hold my hand, his gaze over the calm, dark, lake water unwavering. I felt my shame run down my arm and pulse through my hand, tempted to pull it from his and abandon the peace. This is how infection spreads, but it stopped there in his palm. He did not tighten his grasp or loosen it. He did not continue in reaction. He just continued. The itching small spasms in my hand, slowly dissipating, perhaps through sweat from my palm. The tightening in my arm that would bend my elbow and pull away, it too relaxed again.

image
Spring Thaw by Alan Bray

I stopped looking back at him, but instead adopted his gaze toward the water.

 

 

 

DREAMLIFE: A collection of women’s dreams, recorded and then translated here as part of the Female Background metabolism. A way in, a way out.