Today, July 7, Mercury stations retrograde in Leo. The planet of communication, travel, detailed thinking, translating ideas, and moving between the worlds will move backwards through the first few degrees of Leo and into Cancer until stationing direct on August 2. Over the last few years, Mercury retrograde periods have gotten a lot of bad press, mainly on social media. Please remember: Mercury moving retrograde is not the end of the world; it happens several times each year. Rather, Mercury retrograde periods are an invitation for review, reflection, and reconsideration of where we have been, what we have learned, and how we communicate that to others. It’s a time to re-read the email or text message before you press send, to go back through your journals or correspondences to notice the lessons that weren’t apparent the first time through. It might be a time of reconnecting with people we thought were no longer part of our paths, because there’s still something we’re trying to teach ourselves in those exchanges. It’s a time for patience, deep listening, and feeling into the wisdom of your body as you reflect. As Mercury moves from Leo back in Cancer, the focus might move from your outward facing presentation to a reflection on what you come from, your personal origin story, and your feelings about who you have been.
When Mercury turns back to retrace its path, it is conjunct Mars in Leo with a pretty tight square to Uranus. Leo is a fixed fire sign to likes to blaze brilliantly, to be seen and celebrated, and Mars likes to take action, charge ahead, and fight through whatever is blocking the path. Square to Uranus—the planet of disruption, upheaval, and sudden change—this can be a volatile, explosive mix. Mercury is asking us to reflect and review, take our time to consider before speaking, but Mars in Leo square Uranus does not hesitate to speak, however impulsive or incendiary. Today and throughout the next few weeks, there could be a strong impulse to say what has been unsaid, to blurt out the smoldering truths that you’ve been holding inside, even if it disrupts your world. Do so with care. No doubt: there are hidden, fiery realities that deserve to be addressed, that require a rampage, that demand that we stand and fight, no matter the upheaval. But especially during a Mercury retrograde, we can be sure: we don’t have all the information, and parts of the situation are yet to be revealed.
Around July 21, when Mercury makes an exact conjunction with the Sun—what the Medieval astrologers called “cazimi”—there might be a sudden burst of clarity or illumination, but remember: Mercury will not be direct until August 2, and will not clear its shadow—the degree range of the retrograde—until around August 16. If at all possible, use this next month as a time for gathering information, strategizing, and learning from your introspective processes. On August 16, as Mercury clears its retrograde shadow once again in Leo, it will make an exact square to Uranus, which sets the stage for revolutionary dialogue, for speaking up and demanding real change. What we learn about ourselves, our histories, and that which has not been said over the next 5 weeks has the capacity to shake the very foundations of our lives and our world.
What are the revolutions that feel inevitable but that you don’t yet know how to address?
What are the radical changes that you feel your nervous system longing for, but for which you don’t yet feel ready to demand—of yourself or your world?
There are lessons you still need to learn as you look back and review. The keys to your own liberation are already there waiting for you, even if you don’t yet see them. Comb back through your own words, meditate as you retrace your steps, carefully consider where you have been and what has brought you to where you are now, and in that process of review, you may encounter the revelation of what it will take to engage in revolution.
I will be out of the country for the next month, so I won’t be booking consults during that time, but I am already booking phone and video consults for late August and early September, and I will have in-person consult dates available again in September if you’re in Columbus. If you feel like you could use some support in making sense of your own life, your path, and your purpose, and you would like to get something on the calendar, you can book a consultation with me here.
Tomorrow, July 2, there will be a solar eclipse at 10º Cancer. For most of the world, the eclipse will not be visible, but astrologically, it still marks a turning point of some kind. That said, there’s often a lot of ambiguity or disagreement amongst astrologers as to how to interpret eclipses. I really appreciate the clarity of Bernadette Brady’s writing on eclipses and the methodology she outlines for delineating them.
Brady writes in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark:
“Let us imagine eclipses like spotlights shining on the pathway of your life. These lights are not on all of the time but they switch on, catching you in mid-action, so to speak. As this spotlight shines, it will illuminate an area of your life. Whatever has been pushed to one side or shoved under the carpet, will become obvious. This bringing to the surface of hidden problems can be dramatic and emotional. However, it is an opportunity to become aware of issues that may need some work. You can, of course, choose not to work on the problems which have come to the surface; you could choose to blame it all on someone else, and so on. But, this may not lead to a healthy future. If you do choose to accept the challenge offered by the events of the eclipse, then although it may be a hard struggle … the effect of the eclipse could be very long-term. It can change your life” (229-230).
How do we then interpret the particular qualities signified by an eclipse, the specific ways in which it uncovers or brings to the surface opportunities for transformation and change? Each eclipse is part of a series or family of eclipses that move between the North and South poles that unfold for approximately 1280-1300 years. These are known as the Saros Series. Each Saros Series produces an eclipse approximately 10º further along in the zodiac every 18 years. One way we can consider the effects or influences specific to an eclipse is to look at the Saros Series to which it belongs and consider the original chart for that series for what is carried through and carried out within that series.
Tomorrow’s eclipse belongs to the Saros Series 3 North. This cycle began in 991 and will end in 2235. At the start of the cycle, the Sun and Moon were in Gemini, in a sign-based opposition to Neptune in Sagittarius. Saturn and Mars were strong—Saturn in its domicile in Aquarius, Mars exalted in Capricorn. Venus was in detriment or exile in Scorpio with reception from Mars, and Jupiter was in Aries, also with reception from Mars. Mercury was with Venus in Scorpio, square to Saturn by degree.
If we look at this “birth chart” for the series, I would say that wherever this 3 North eclipse lands in your chart—whichever house is occupied by Cancer—you may feel the strong influence of Saturn and Mars, which could demand discipline and determination, structure and assertiveness. In the original chart for this series, both of these planets have considerable dignity, which brings forward their more productive significations. Wherever you have Cancer in your chart, you might feel compelled to start making long-term plans, clarifying boundaries, stepping into your own resolve to take charge in this area of your life. It might also uncover challenges or difficulties in relationships in that part of your life. Communication about what has been buried or hidden may feel limited or restricted, but the eclipse is an opportunity to have those conversations. If you have your birth chart or know your rising sign, see where Cancer is in your chart, and see how these themes might be showing up for you.
As always, if you would like to work one-on-one with the astrology of your chart, you can find out more about my practice and book a consultation here.
I will be traveling for most of July and early August, but will be booking consults for later in August and the beginning of September.
Chakra is the Sanskrit word for “wheel.” In the yoga tradition, it refers to energy centers throughout the body, most frequently to the seven major chakras aligned along sushumna nadi, the central channel for energy or prana that runs along the length of the spine. As I often remind people when I teach yoga, yoga is an ancient tradition of philosophy and practice with its roots in India and other parts of South Asia. It is a practice oriented toward liberation from suffering through the recognition of union. The chakras are part of the energetic, subtle body as mapped primarily by the Tantric tradition of yoga, and working with them is one pathway toward finding balance and harmony within yourself and in relation to the world from which you are not ultimately separate.
There are many ways to work energetically with the chakras—through meditation, pranayama (breathing practices), asana (physical postures), energetic healing modalities like reiki, plant and stone healing, and cultivating behavioral practices that support the balanced opening of each energy center.
One of my favorite ways to work with the chakras is through meditation, directing my attention through each one and cycling breath and awareness between them. Over the course of working with the chakras for many years, I’ve realized that I strongly associate each one with particular qualities, specific sensory experiences and feelings states that allow me to expand my awareness of each energy center.
With muladhara, the root chakra that corresponds to safety, security, and our connection to our most basic needs, I associate red dirt and stone, the ancient richness of the earth.
With swadisthana, the sacral chakra that corresponds to creativity, desire, pleasure, sexuality, and feeling, I associate sweetness, like the golden glow of honey that comes from the life-giving union of bees and flowers.
With manipura, the solar plexus chakra that corresponds to courage, confidence, willpower, health, and vitality, I associate the blazing light of the rising sun.
With anahata, the heart chakra that corresponds to love, empathy, compassion, and connection, I associate the verdant green foliage of a cool forest, tender leaves opening to receive light.
With vishuddha, the throat chakra that corresponds to the voice, speech, communication, and truthfulness, I associate the vast open expanse of a clear blue sky. Imagine if your voice felt that open and free.
With ajña, the third eye chakra that corresponds to intuition, inner wisdom, perception, and understanding, I associate the depths of dark waters, diving into all that is held beneath their surface.
With sahasrara, the crown chakra that corresponds to the realization of our union with all things, the culminating liberation of recognizing that we are not separate, I associate the shimmering lights of stars in the infinite blackness of space.
As I meditate, I invite each of these qualities and associations into the space of each chakra, and in doing so, become more aware of the sensations available to me throughout my subtle body.
Try it. See what you feel. I would love to hear about your experience.
If you’re looking for more information about chakras—because not everything we read on the internet is the best information—I highly recommend Anodea Judith’s book Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System.
You can read more about my background with yoga here.
And if you are looking for support in connecting to your own subtle body and its felt wisdom, you can book a session with me here.
Tomorrow—Friday, June 21—the Sun moves into the sign of Cancer, marking the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year. As we move into these summer months, we celebrate the life-sustaining light of the Sun, the verdant growth of our green kin all around us, and all that nourishes the lives that we are making together. Cancer is a cardinal water sign, a sign of beginnings, the waters of the womb, sensitivity, nurturing, and the protective instincts. It is a time to reflect on what it is that we need to feel safe, secure, protected, and cared for, as well as how we might offer care, protection, security, and safety to others.
This summer we will move through two eclipses—a solar eclipse in Cancer on July 2 and a partial lunar eclipse in Capricorn on July 16. But these eclipses are activating challenging astrology that has been building for some time, aspects that the Sun will be illuminating throughout this season as it moves through Cancer.
On July 9, the Sun will oppose Saturn in Capricorn and the South Node. Saturn conjunct the South Node requires us to dismantle long-lasting structures that are no longer supporting us. We are in a period of abandoning systems that suffocate us, abolishing institutions that have been built on oppression and exploitation, and demolishing rigid patterns that only ever direct us back again toward our own domination.
This is work we’ve been doing since November 2018 as Saturn approached the South Node, and now the life-giving light of the Sun is shining a spotlight on these deeply dismantling processes. In this configuration, Neptune in Pisces will be trine the Sun and sextile Saturn and the South Node. Neptune is the planet is dissolution, the waters of collectivity, the waves of dreams, inspiration, and imagination. Neptune’s support asks us to allow the waters of our own imagination to flow freely, to invite our dreams of another world to erode the foundations of the world that is coming to an end.
But none of this happens without struggle or confronting the powers that be.
On July 14, the Sun will oppose Pluto, the planet associated with power, the underworld, and the dark processes of disintegration and transformation. The wisdom of the Earth teaches us that death is part of life, that things must die in order for life to continue to flourish and evolve in all its intrinsic exuberance. This opposition will challenge us to see and know and name that which must come to an end and be transformed in order for our personal and collective lives to endure. The existing structures that are collapsing will not do so without a fight. The rattling breaths of empire, white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy will try to drag us down into the underworld—but perhaps that is a descent to which we are called. Perhaps it is in the dark and hidden places beneath our surfaces that we can examine the root structures of these systems, dig them up and cut them out. As the Sun shines brightly in all its summer brilliance, it also turns back toward darkness, toward longer nights and shorter days. It is in the darkness—within our own selves and within the worlds we are breaking and making—that we must confront the deep structures of our oppression.
These are oppositions between our very lives—the Sun—the structures that support or oppress us—Saturn—and the powers to unearth and transform—Pluto.
Audre Lorde wrote that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” When she wrote this, she was specifically addressing a gathering of academic feminists who were failing to recognize that the term “women” could not depend upon any assumption that all women are the same but rather must deal explicitly and persistently with the reality of difference in the lives of women. She wrote: “Advocating the mere tolerance of difference between women is the grossest reformism. It is a total denial of the creative function of difference in our lives. Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can be sparked … I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.” As we move into the astrology of this summer, may we all reach down deep into ourselves, descending into the underworld, and transforming any part of ourselves that holds terror and loathing of difference, and like the light of the Sun passing through these oppositions to Saturn and Pluto, may this process of transformation illuminate all our choices as we move between the world as it has been and all the worlds that are yet to come.
If you're looking for support in these days ahead, I would love to work with you. You can learn more about my offerings here and booking information here.
On Monday, June 17, 2019, we will receive the abundant, expansive light of the Full Moon in Sagittarius. This is an especially lovely lunation because not only is the Moon at its most luminous, but it is ruled by Jupiter in its own sign. Jupiter is the planet associated with growth, expansion, abundance, faith, and belief that can sustain us on our journeys to discover that which we hold to be most true. When a planet is in one of its own signs, it is said to have access to its strengths and resources. With the Full Moon in Sagittarius along with Jupiter, we can think of the Moon as a guest in Jupiter’s home, and Jupiter has the capacity to serve as a generous host. Additionally, both the Moon and Jupiter are in aspect with Venus in Gemini and are in aversion to the more challenging planets in Cancer and Capricorn. This Full Moon can offer relief and support in the midst of what might feel like a challenging season for some of us. This is a reprieve from some of the intense astrology we’ve been moving through this month.
As the Moon blossoms brightly in Sagittarius, Mars is just one or two degrees between oppositions to Saturn and Pluto, both retrograde in Capricorn. These are intense, potentially difficult oppositions, but it’s astrology that also holds valuable lessons for us as we move through what might feel like pressure, conflict, or resistance. Mars is separating from its opposition to Saturn, which may have felt like charging relentlessly into an immovable structure. This aspect reminds me of Sara Ahmed’s writing about diversity work as “banging your head against a brick wall” kind of labor. In Living a Feminist Life, she suggests that “the wall is more than a metaphor and refers to the processes whereby histories become concrete, how patterns set before they harden.” In our institutions, our social structures, and even in the deeply internalized norms through which we know ourselves, we constantly come up against the walls of empire, colonization, white supremacy, sexism and misogyny, the violent repression of queer and trans experiences, and all the other ways in which what is possible for ourselves and our world have been limited. Some of us encounter these walls more than others; some of us feel them as a prison, some of us may even experience them as support systems we don’t know how to live without. If our positions of privilege allow walls to remain invisible to us—especially if existing structures of injustice are so embedded in our thinking and living that we don't even recognize the ways in which they limit life and livability for others—now is a time to listen carefully to those who do experience our current systems as oppressive, exploitative realms of impossibility. Mars opposed Saturn asks us to examine the established structures in ourselves and in our world as ask: who does this benefit? What does this serve? What kinds of lives and worlds are made impossible because this system remains in place?
As Mars separates from this opposition to Saturn, it is applying an opposition to Pluto, which will be exact on June 19. Mars opposed Pluto is a power struggle like no other, where the drive to act and the drive to control clash above and below. Having found ourselves thrown against walls and structures that may seem immovable, now we find ourselves digging into the underworld to wrestle with processes that hold the potential for deep personal transformation and collective liberation. It seems fitting that this astrology is happening during the month of Pride, when we celebrate decades of struggle for the liberation of LGBTQ communities, in which we continue to demand justice for all lives, all genders, all sexualities, especially those most marginalized in our society—Black and Brown people, transgender people, women, disabled people, older people, and so on.
All of this to say: this Full Moon in Sagittarius is here to replenish and resource, to reconnect us to the beliefs that sustain us and bring to light that which we will need to continue to struggle against systems of oppression that are not only outside of us but inside of ourselves as well. The Moon will appear the most full Sunday night and early Monday morning. How this will show up in each of our lives will be different depending on the particularities of our charts, but we might all ask ourselves these questions by full moonlight:
What am I struggling for?
What am I resisting?
What are the structures that support me, and what are the entrenched systems that I know are poisoning me from within and without?
What do I believe to be most true, and how might those beliefs light my path?
How might I use the abundance and resources of this Full Moon to connect to pleasure, passion, and care that can then fuel my relentless pursuit of justice?
Happy Pride + Blessed Full Moon
GRAND FIRE TRINE:
Tomorrow, April 14, we’re moving into a stunning grand fire trine: the Sun in Aries, the Moon in Leo, and Jupiter in Sagittarius will all be at 24 degree, each 120 from one another, creating an equilateral triangle in the heavens. The trine is the most auspicious and supportive aspect in ancient astrology. Planets that are trine to one another share polarity—active or receptive—and triplicity or element, meaning that their qualities are deeply sympathetic to one another. The grand fire trine tomorrow will bring in a sweeping wave of activation, stoking our fires to generate movement and momentum. Fire signs drive us toward uninhibited freedom, blazing beyond restraints and pushing into new visibility and glory. Figuratively, what might you set on fire in order to burn down whatever is limiting you from moving forward or becoming your most authentic self?
The Sun is exalted in Aries, the sign associated with taking initiative and charging ahead. The Moon in Leo is moving into its gibbous phase, waxing toward full, and perfecting whatever it’s bringing into visibility. Leo is a sign associated with confidence and courage, standing out from the crowd, and being willing to shine in all your brilliance. Jupiter is dignified in Sagittarius, its domicile, where it feels at home and connected to its abundant resources. Although Jupiter just stationed retrograde, it is still inviting expansion and growth into the Sagittarius parts of our charts. Sagittarius is always moving beyond the horizons, expanding our experiences and understanding of the world, pushing us toward adventure and our willingness to take a leap of faith.
That being said, tomorrow will be a great time to:
-make progress on whatever projects you’re working on
-take some time for adventure, for branching out and doing something new and exciting
-let go of some of your inhibitions and allow yourself to be seen and celebrated for all the brilliance of who you really are
-take some risks that you really feel stirring inside you, allowing yourself to be vulnerable in the courage it takes to step into the unknown
Of course, we don’t move through this world alone. One of the deep lessons of astrology is that we are constituted in and through countless relations. So, as we feel the charge toward freedom in our own lives, we might remember what Angela Davis teaches us: freedom is a constant struggle. How might we channel this energy toward the struggle for justice? What are the actions we can take to not only pursue our own freedom but also to work toward collective liberation? It’s a powerful day for activism—whatever that looks like for you.
-Initiate challenging conversations.
-Speak out against systemic racism, misogyny, and the hatred of trans and queer folks.
-Donate to organizations fighting for social justice.
-Connect with groups who are already organizing for more livable futures.
-Create art that gives us ways of experiencing justice in a world to come.
If these kinds of insights feel useful or inspiring to you and you would like support in doing this kind of work with yourself, I have consultations available for both April and May. Please visit my Bookings page to schedule a session.
VENUS CONJUNCT NEPTUNE:
The planets are always in motion. As Chani Nicholas says, astrology never stops. The wisdom and insight of making meaning with the skies comes from the ways that all these overlapping and intersecting cycles move together in relation to one another—at different speeds and different scales.
There is always a lot happening in the sky, just like on earth. As above, so below.
The aspect—or relationship between planets—that is holding my attention this week is the conjunction between Venus and Neptune in Pisces, which will happen in the early hours of Wednesday, April 10—tonight, moving into tomorrow. Venus is the planet associated with love, beauty, union, desire, and pleasure. Venus brings together, the sweetness and gravity that attracts and gathers and merges. Venus is a benefic planet, affirming and connecting us to our full-bodied sense of YES. Venus is exalted in Pisces, a mutable water sign associated with empathy, compassion, depth of feeling, and adapting to shifting tides. Venus has power and recognition here, finding what flows together to nurture the greater good.
Neptune, an outer planet, is more mysterious. Neptune is associated with dissolution, the erosion of boundaries between self and other, the individual and the collective. Neptune is the planet of fantasy, imagination, illusion, spiritual ecstasy, and sometimes intoxication. With Neptune’s influence, it can be difficult to find clarity or precision, but easier to feel our way into other states of consciousness or expansive visions of reality.
This conjunction is ruled by Jupiter in Sagittarius. Jupiter is the planet of abundance, expansion, growth, and cohesion. Like Venus, Jupiter is also a benefic, and in Sagittarius, Jupiter is in its domicile, like being at home with access to all of its resources and capacities to affirm and say YES.
As we move through tonight and into tomorrow morning, this is an excellent time to connect to your own fantasies and desires, softening any rigid ideas about yourself or how the world must be, and allowing yourself to be carried on the waves of what might be possible if you were to dream into your own imagination and pleasure.
It could be a nice time for a candlelit bath or meditating with a soothing cup of tea.
It’s a perfect week to create some unstructured time in which to connect to your own sense of pleasure, to allow yourself to be with your own body and follow what feels good.
If you have any sort of creative practice, this is a lovely time to connect to things that inspire you, indulging in your own imagination of what your art could become.
If you have vivid dreams—and don’t be surprised if you do—this could be a good week to write them down and consider the deep wisdom of your unconscious self.
A simple ritual for this astrology would be to set aside time tonight or tomorrow, clear a space where you feel safe and comfortable, connect to whatever it is that reminds you that you are not separate or isolated—whether that includes ancestors, goddesses, deities, the land on which you live, the air that your breathe, etc.—and journal with these questions:
-What are the experiences that connect me with pleasure and joy, and how might I cultivate more space in my life to affirm those experiences?
-What is it I desire? When I drop into the rivers of my own longing, where are they leading me? What is at their source?
-How can I create more beauty in my life and the world around me? Who are the others with whom I might connect and collaborate to create this beauty?
Remember, Neptune isn’t primarily about the rational mind. Allow yourself to drift, free-associate, sink into mystery, or sail into perspectives that you mind not reach if you try to “think” your way there.
Sending you all the love and care as we swim through this beautiful conjunction.
If you would like support in doing this kind of work with yourself, working with astrology and ritual and practices of care, I have consultations available for both April and May. Please visit my Bookings page to schedule a session.
How do you commune with our queer ancestors?
"These dead are hungry. Fuck, dance, run, kiss, steal, eat decadently, sing, destroy, create. The energy of life, ecstatic life, draws them close, nourishes.
Let your kissing, dancing, fucking, creating, destroying move you into trance.
Give them space and adorn it lavishly. Speak to them there, where they are comfortable and at home.
The dead, and especially the queer dead, are unorganized, chaotic. Don't expect organization. Instead find nodes, affines, contact among them. They'll coordinate amongst themselves.
Learn their names, all their names, the secret ones too. All the better to call them by.
Research obsessively, research frantically, research ecstatically.
Study their codes, commit yourself to the argot, the signs, open yourself up to veiled messages.
Pay attention to subtle omens—on the radio, in thrift stores, bookstores, passing conversations—they work through synchronicity.
There is no such thing as a coincidence.
Pay especial attention to outcasts, ranters, mad-ones, drunks.
Experiment with divinatory modes: practice bibliomancy, pay attention to birds, scry in wine, quiet your mind.
Alter your state of consciousness with drugs, with fasting, with dance, with chant.
Hold vigils, visit memorials, pour libations, light candles..."
These are just some of the many suggestions and directions in First Protocols of Queer Goetia, a small zine I found at The Scarlet Sage in San Francisco. It has no attributed author; rather, it reads as if it has been authored by our honored queer dead. You can order your own copy of First Protocols of Queer Goetia from Contagion Press.
I hope today and every day you find ways to honor the ancestors who came before us, who lived in ways that made it possible for us to live our lives in freedom and struggle.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve had several students and friends ask me about my practices for cultivating well-being and healing.
One of my favorite rituals right now is making and drinking my morning coffee. As I make my pour-over, it’s like making a potion or casting a spell, bringing together water and earth, the heat of fire, and the rich aromas carried on the air. Lately I’ve been drinking Café du Monde coffee with chicory because it’s what my grandmother drank and it reminds me of my roots growing up in Louisiana. I’ve also been adding ground cardamom and ground cinnamon, which is more of a Middle Eastern and North African tradition, a region that gave birth to so much of the life and culture on our planet—including traditions like astrology that are integral to my worldview.
As I stir, I express gratitude for the people who do the work to bring water into my home, who farm and carry and roast and grind my coffee, for the artist who crafted my mug, and for my senses that give me access to this experience. My mug becomes a cauldron for the elements I hold as sacred, for memory, for gratitude and lineage.
When I take a sip, I experience it as a joyful reunion with my Self: the water of the coffee joining with the water of my body, the earth of the coffee and spices joining with the minerals of my body, the heat from the coffee joining with the keep generated by my own cells, and the aromas wafting off the surface of the coffee carried on my breath. It is a moment at the start of my day to recognize that I am not separate; I am not alone. I belong to a vast system of life in constant connection with itself, and those connections are sacred. Starting each day with gratitude, connection, and belonging—all with a cup of coffee—are such simple and important steps toward living into my own healing and well-being.
What are your practices for well-being and healing?
If you are looking for support in connecting to your own purpose, your own practice of healing, or making sense of your life and direction, I have consultations available on April 27 and May 25. You can visit my Bookings page to schedule a session.
I have been a witch almost as long as I’ve been a dancer. Art and magic, choreography and ritual, came into my life at the same time—the same years that I came to acknowledge and accept myself as a queer person.
As I have moved through and between these practices for nearly 20 years, I have come to recognize their deep inextricability in my life. Dion Fortune famously described magic as “the art of changing consciousness at will”—a definition popularized by Starhawk.
What we know as dancers—and yogis and body workers and healers, not to mention athletes, neurologists, biologists, philosophers, and so on—is that consciousness is embodied. To change consciousness at will is a physical practice; making magic is always doing so with and as a body, or as iele paloumpis teaches, witchcraft is a corporeal practice.
We also know that our bodies are part of—not separate from—the Earth. Every part of ourselves is constituted of this place, thus to recognize the Earth as sacred is also to recognize the body as sacred. Or, as Joy Harjo writes:
“Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.”
Over the last several years, I have been teaching classes and workshops on the ways in which we embody the elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These are not symbols and they are not separate from us. These elements compose us, connect us to worlds within and beyond us. Doing this work in my dance practice has informed my magic-making and how I facilitate rituals. It has affected how I understand the elements in astrology and tarot. Invoking the elements, working with their energy and qualities, is to invoke and work with that which is inseparable from our humanity—yet remains irreducible to the human.
On March 1, I premiered a performance-ritual entitled “Elemental Rites at the End of the World” at the Wexner Center for the Arts. This piece is one way in which this body magic is fusing my art and my witchcraft. It is an effort to grapple with the sacred, with the more-than-human, in the context of devastating troubles. How do we call on the deep and abiding resources of our sacred connections to this planet while we as a species also hurdle ourselves through relentless violence and the threat of our own extinction?
You can view a video of this performance-ritual here: https://vimeo.com/325694048
Choreography, performance, and original text by Michael J. Morris
Videography by Abby Koskinas