In the spirit of "no one likes to be told to go clean their room..." here goes. Maybe you’re bored right now. Maybe you're freaking out. Either way, you know you could probably be using this time at home wisely instead of bingeing every last Netflix show there is and scrolling through Facebook or the news, totally numb to the time of day, your rhythm completely disrupted. (I'm speaking to myself as much as anyone!) Because here's the deal, freaking out and being full of fear will hamstring us way more than this virus will over the long haul. We are all in this together and we are ALL experiencing this global reset button pushed right now. Rich, poor, young, old, all genders and races. By trying something like Space Clearing, who knows what you'll be up for! I've found it extremely helpful over the years in inspiring me to take action on all sorts of creative adventures. Here's the encouragement you need to make the best use this time to purify your living space in three parts:
And what are the benefits of a Space Clearing practice?
Without further ado, here's a link to the Space Clearing formula when you are ready to explore deeper. The video below is a simple walk-through of this document with some (hopefully) helpful commentary. I'd encourage you to print a copy and take notes and then use it when it comes time to Clear. Looking at a screen while you're doing Space Clearing is highly discouraged. Hope this is helpful! Enjoy and happy Clearing y'all!
May it be so.
The Spring Equinox came and went. Did the Three Adepts gather and feast as we have in years past? Er, no. Sister Corona Virus has made an appearance and now we find ourselves on complete lock down. She has a message for us, you know. One that I hope to keep tuning in to as we move through this time period. I'm listening, Sister Corona.
No, instead of dinner with the group, my darling husband and I prepared and ate the feast we'd planned: Spring salad with fennel and dill, samosas, basmati rice, channa masala and naan. Oh, and baked pears for dessert. Afterwards, we made a simple despacho and buried it in our yard. (Under a Buddha statue no less!)
Further, I went on to spend the Equinox window singing hymns with my friends online in a magical and beautiful way. For ourselves. For Sister Corona. For all of us. May the peace of our Mother shine in full radiance as we Spring Clean our homes, declutter our drawers and closets and purify our daily routines into something sustainable that will serve us for many years to come.
Sincere prayers for front line medical workers, retail workers and those financially freaking out right now. May calm and peace permeate the streets, may we lean into each other and explore deepening levels of kindness, worldwide. May vitality and healing prevail.
A friend shared this with me the other day. One the sutras of the Vijnana Bhairava, a classic tantric text of Kashmir Shaivism, says:
You are stunned, powerless.
You thought you knew
What was going on.
Now you realize you don’t have a clue.
You are stopped in your tracks.
Everything within your skin is shaking.
Enter this shaking.
Look around inside with wonder.
Unmind your mind.
All the walls have fallen down--
Go ahead and dissolve.
The One Who Has Always Been,
Who has seen much worse than this,
Is still here.
May it be so.
Clarify your 2020 Vision with a New Year Clearing. You're invited. Yes, you. And hey, you too! But you must reserve a spot because the doors will lock once we get started. Plan accordingly for parking and traffic. This event is an offering and is free of charge.
What: An auric clearing
When: January 11, 2020 from 2pm-4pm
Where: Oak Cliff Aikikai - just follow the rose petals to the "flex space"
What to expect: sounds, smells and touches while lying back in a comfortable position
What to bring: a yoga mat, a blanket, a pillow, a water bottle, your open mind and heart
Reserve a spot by clicking here and we'll see you there. Blessings to you and yours this coming year.
May it be so!
I resonate with Mary Magdalene and lean on her as a guide quite a bit. You know why? Because no matter what the hell her “story” is – she’s one interesting lady. A real thriver, chock full of New Life in the midst of indisputable intensity in one of the world’s most famous narratives. I got to know some aspects of her fairly well when I went on a pilgrimage to her (alleged) home in south France. I’ve read a few books about her and of course I’ve read her accounts in the Bible. I mean, who knows, right? Whatever mythology you believe about the gal one thing remains – Mary Magdalene is definitely one to explore.
Let’s speculate for a hot second that she was a prostitute (as some pope somewhere in the annals of history re-positioned her in the story). She washed Jesus’ feet with her hair in a moment of supreme humility. Okay fine. So Jesus hung out with a prostitute. Cool, isn’t that His whole modus operandi? To have an open heart for all of us? Like literally, isn’t that what the whole entire New Testament is about? To Love? In a new Way? Have you heard the Good News? Anyone?
Let’s speculate that she was a wealthy Egyptian priestess and His Tantric consort. (Spicy!) Must be real challenging to watch your Holy Lover be nailed to a cross. My heart aches for any pain that must have manifested in her. And she wept, I’m sure of it. (Holy shit, can you even…?!)
Let’s say she really did get shoved on a boat and sent out into the Mediterranean Sea with their purported child (a daughter) and a few others including His Mother. (This mythology is a Whole Thing, buyer beware. Thank you Dan Brown.) And let’s say she really did end up on the shores of south France only to live in a little seaside town where she was a real stranger in a strange land. And then go on to meditate in a cave on and off for thirty more years… Dang, straight up, she’s been through a ton, amiright?
But hang on. Let’s step back and simplify and acknowledge what we can all agree upon straight from the biblical texts. Let’s say that she really was His devoted disciple (Mark 16:9). That she did in fact see Him die (John19:25-26). And that He revealed His risen self to her – before all others (John 20:11). Because that little detail is really important – no matter what plot line you’re attached to. He showed His risen Self to her first and she told the others who told the world. Jesus Lives! She truly is the OG apostle to the apostles…
Whichever story you buy into, each and every one of these plot lines points to a woman who has been through tremendous suffering. Each one of these stories manufactures a woman who is misunderstood, even when you think you know her. All the narratives point to this: Mary Magdalene was a woman who held fast to her faith that the way of the open heart is the Way. Even through crucifixion. Even through humiliation. Even through anything anyone could say about her (erroneously or not) even centuries later. This is a historically verified woman (she really existed) who clearly knew deep pain and yet has served and still serves, quite literally, as a Beacon of Light through the centuries to right now, to this very moment. She does for me anyway.
And yet she's complicated. Which I can see so clearly because I am also a complicated woman, but then aren't we all? (With full transparency, I’m one of those Scorpio types (a quintuple!), which translates to: I won’t bore you with my mysterious details. Listen to the UFToO podcast to get a whiff. Up to you. Shrug.) Point is, I resonate deeply with this complicated sister-guide from the Bible, Mary Magdalene. Whatever it is I’m going through, I just have to lean in to Mary's energy and suddenly whatever nonsense I’m wrestling with becomes navigable again. There’s always a Way through. And the Way is the Heart. Just like Jesus taught. And that friends, simplifies everything.
There’s a grotto being built in town that will be open a couple of days before my birthday. It's devoted to Mary Magdalene and her living spirit. It’s a pop up deal, one night only I think, and alas I cannot attend because I have another commitment that evening. But you? If you're still actually reading this? Oh, honey you should totally check it out (be sure to reserve a spot!) if you’re interested. It looks amazing. In fact, I’d love a full report. Coffee’s on me. There's a little email symbol at the very bottom of this page, just click that. Now you know how to reach me.
May it be so.
Things are complicated these days. Yo, things are a hot mess! Have you noticed? It’s super easy to check out and get real self-absorbed, not pay attention – but when you do pay attention – damn, the world really seems like it’s falling apart, amiright? Ice is melting in the arctic. The Amazon is burning. Our oceans are being trashed. The air quality in the world’s biggest cities makes us sick. We’ve got textbook case fascists in power in numerous countries around the world. Race tensions are at an all-time high from sea to shining sea. Children practically come out of the womb addicted to screens, sucking their attention and life force right out of them. Many of the clothes-shoes-accessories we wear are made by borderline slaves in developing countries. Everything seems to be completely on edge and on the brink of disaster. And it’s super easy to spin around, point a finger every which way and find someone or something to blame. It’s the white people! It’s the brown people! It’s the greedy, rich mother fuckers! It’s the meat-oil-banking-fill-in-the-blank industrial complex! It’s sex addiction! It’s the opioid crisis! It’s fake news! Argh! Fuck everybody! We’re doomed!
The fact is, if you’re reading this, you’re part of the problem. Yes, you. And I am too. We all are. Starting with the screen used to read these words. It has tiny parts mined from some of the poorest countries in the world. The fossil fuels used to ship this screen around the world. The amount of money required to purchase the device. The language necessary to comprehend has its roots in some people being educated enough to read them and others not. (Jeez, why can’t some people just be content to be poor and uneducated?) And on and on. I’ve merely brushed the tippy tip of this (melting) iceberg, yikes.
The series of dependencies that trigger the dominoes to fall make my heart ache. You know why? Because there isn’t just one answer. Well, actually there is.
The fact is, if you’re reading this, you’re inherently also part of the solution. Yes, you. And I am too. We all are. How do we harness this collective situation to affect the change we desperately need to see in the world? To clarity. To kindness. To summon the courage to take action. To face our demons and offer them an olive branch. To Love. Starting with ourselves and those in our immediate circles. Starting with those who might read or hear our words. And then seeing and hearing and feeling the ripples of that Love move in and through us. To be brave, really brave, and to start making changes in our lives, one by one.
What kinds of changes? *Raises hand* In the spirit of moving forward and making changes in our lives that might prove helpful, here are a few ideas - maybe some of these will feel right in your world too:
Oooo and here’s another idea – let’s just go ahead and drop that collective, heavy angst like a sigh of relief. All together now: take a deep inhale and let’s feel that pent up bitterness slough off like a long drink of cool water. Or like the easy, dreamy sigh after amazing sex with someone you love. Or like forgiving Donald Trump completely and totally and then electing someone super smart and capable to steer this country’s ship.
And finally – pray. That might sound super cheesy and ineffective but the truth is that bringing something into your active consciousness in an ongoing way is extremely powerful. It’s how Vision Boards and Lobbyists alike get the job done. Pray for the softening of hardened hearts (including your own) because that brings important issues to top of mind, creating a breeding ground for creativity, opportunity, openings that can sometimes lead to big, effective change.
Because we can all acknowledge that human life on earth is super connected and complicated and yet we’re the only ones who can simplify and untangle this mess, shy of a friggin’ asteroid crashing into our planet and forcing us to. In the end, all humans want (and need) the same things, regardless of background, religion, race or any other way we might segment ourselves. Clean water to drink. Clean air to breathe. Access to good education. The opportunity to make art. Let’s find the handful of things that we ALL agree on and move forward with a no nonsense and yet focused and direct approach in our individual lives and let it ripple out and maybe even inspire others. There are no enemies; except ourselves to each other. Everything has the potential to simply fall into place effortlessly, with perfect divine timing.
I might sound super naïve but I speak the Truth. The secret is in the Heart. It always has been. It always will be. I’ve sat through a few deaths this past year and ages ago I supported a midwife (in an office job capacity) where I witnessed several hundred births. I speak with some authority on this subject. We’re all born and we all die. Those two events are totally guaranteed, 100% of the time for 100% of us. Birth and death are as mysterious as it gets. (Where are you before you’re born and after you die? I dunno!) Why not make the time here something you can be proud of, that your grandmother would be proud of? That you know your children will be proud of? Besides, the more graceful the entrance and exit we are able to facilitate for each other, the more the Heart opens and the more we can see and realize these things.
When I start getting sucked into the doomsday, I remember that I’m confident in our collective abilities to know real Love and be the change we desperately need to see in the world. And I know that in the end we’re all whole, we’re all complete and we’re all comprised of Pure Love. We’re all in various stages of comprehending the greater mysteries in the deepest reaches of the “beyond” and the beyond-the-beyond. We just get clouded and confused sometimes, especially when we let fear take over our person and start running our personal narrative. And something along those lines is happening now at a scale so big and scary that it really does seem like we’re in a massive decline. And maybe we are. If and when we destroy our planet for human life, the sun will still shine, the moon will still glow and the stars will still align, folks, with or without us. Everything will eventually recalibrate and life will go on. Who knows, Mother Earth might be kicking us out because we’re pretty terrible residents these days.
Finally, here’s a little ditty I’ll share. It’s a series of words that I say before I eat but also when I start freaking out about all the shitty things. It’s all-purpose and works for me in literally any situation and on every level. I didn’t “write it” but it certainly came “through me” and it sums up anything I ever wanted to say about anything ever.…
May all beings be happy and free.
May all beings be happy and free.
May all beings be happy and free.
May the world know Peace and may it begin with me.
With Clarity, Kindness and Courage.
May it be so, Amen.
Steal away and repeat as often as needed. Make it a go-to mantra when times are amazing and when times are terrible. I'll tell ya, when I get turned around and feel lost and helpless and don't know what to do - this prayer works for me every time. It clears me just enough to take the very next step, whatever it needs to be.
May it be so, ba-bam!
*Virgin as in Virgo - she who is Whole, Complete and Sovereign unto Herself to Love and Move as She Desires.
Look, I’m into the spiritual dimensions and mysteries, for sure. In fact, I’m even strangely religious in some ways. And I have an extremely healthy respect for science. For data. I love data. Love it. It’s ridiculous.
Humans have been making observations of the sun, moon and stars and collecting data for millennia. Understanding the heavenly bodies probably proved helpful with understanding the best ways to survive – with farming, tides and even trade – and also how to best allocate the abundant resources with information gleaned from these celestial measurements. And as a result, we have the development of modern culture and cities and so on.
It’s the directed and accurate focus of one’s observational skills and meticulous tracking that make these calculations possible. There’s also the fine details of the development of the mathematical languages necessary to express complex calculations. Which is totally amazing when you think about it, right? Further, these early scientists and astronomers also probably made observations (in addition to the math) the effect on humans of certain celestial phenomena.
I maintain optimism and gratitude for taking the higher view with this Mercurial example: Mercury, as a celestial body, has been measured and tracked since people began tracking these things and it was also observed to affect certain qualities in the more human dimensions of reality. Things like communication and focus. So much so that cross cultural mythologies developed around these characteristics. The Romans called this embodiment Mercury while the Greeks called it Hermes. We all know the myths – Mercury is the god of speed, communication, transportation and commerce. He’s sometimes considered a trickster god too, sometimes deployed to sow chaos… Hmmm.
One of the scientific observations of the planet Mercury is that due to its orbit, sometimes it appears to go backwards in the sky. And in these seemingly wonky, backwards calculations, a scientific observation was made that the associated qualities of communication, transportation and commerce also went a little wonky, and dare I say, trickster-like. These retrograde periods proved time and time again to have a real effect on all kinds of things. Like the moon does on the waters. Measurable. Calculable.
Well! This happened at the day job in *such* an absolutely fascinating and tangible way this week! And in a measurable form and in the shape of returned mail. Literally, the mail truck went out and turned around and drove all that shit back to our office. This decent (but not too over the top) volume of returned mail has been washing up on the mail room shore revealing a little tiny data flaw in a sub-segment of our data file. It is blessedly happening during a time period when we have the bandwidth to deal with it, (re)address it (ha, ha!) and purify this little data issue before we get busy again.
I have to trust that these celestial views I choose to embrace help me to appreciate the magical ripplings we make in the universe – like tapping a little data pool and watching the data wave rings roll out, and in this case reverb right back, revealing something to examine and to cleanup. Frustrating, to be sure, but one I like to chew on because my attitude matters in these things and impacts others I work with on the common mission of our organization. Few work there because it’s “just a job” and those that do self-select out pretty quickly.
For me it has been straight up helpful to look up when the retrogrades are (about three times per year) and go to ahead and make space on my calendar. Embrace them, harness them and help them work for me whenever possible. I mean, we all do that when the seasons change and coastal communities keep track of the tides and hey, this is exactly what the Farmer’s Almanac is for! (Side bar: a retrograde is potentially the perfect time for a public rewind and re-examination of the Mueller report, also happening this week.)
An understanding of Mercury in retrograde should come with every business, technology and psychology degree. A real study of these things and their (very real and very measurable) impact on morale, mistakes and even the bottom line would be fascinating. And on the flipside of these retrogrades I believe they actually leave us elevated and even more capable if we let them. Flushing out communication garbage is necessary on a periodic basis.
Learn more about the planets, specifically Mercury this week on PBS.
And on the linguistic front, Wednesday is Miercoles in Spanish (and similar in other Latin languages), which is in turn Spanish for Mercury. Wednesday is Germanic for Woden who is… wait for it, the German god of speed, aka Mercury.
Patience, blessings and a calm mind to us all.
May it be so.
Last night while in the shower I said 'Oh, svaha already!' very loudly. My husband P said "wait, what?" and I said "oh nothing..." and then he insisted, laughing a bit as he finished brushing his teeth, "No really, what are you muttering about?"
With a sigh (shower still going) I explained to him I was talking to a flea while trying to wash it off the side of the tub and force it down the drain. In our home we catch and release almost anything. We just do. Our kids do too. I don't remember exactly when this shift fully happened in our home (at least 15 years ago?) but we are totally those people. We see a roach or a spider, we catch and release it. We see moth, a bee, hell even a rogue rodent that one of the cats brought in - we simply release it outside. It's an active ongoing choice we make to choose nonviolence over and over.
So, I was hollering 'svaha, already!' as I washed the flea down the drain. I explained that svaha is a Sanskrit word I picked up from one of my teachers that means 'so it is' or 'it is what it is.' Kind of like, 'sorry, flea, you gotta' go brother - blessings on your journey down the drain. May you reincarnate as something bigger on the next go-round....' A proper Sanskritist might take issue with my loose definition, but it's something like that anyway.
But it brought up a larger conversation between us (shower still going). I mean, what makes the flea's life less valuable than say, a cockroach? I mean it's easy to scale up the food chain when having conversations about human fetuses and sacred cows, right? Those indicate a very clear religious and/or moral stance that many people around the world adhere to. And lots of people I know are vegetarian or vegan for similar reasons because killing animals in our modern industrial food complex is fucking cruel as hell. (My personal stance these days is that unless I kill it, I won't eat it. And since I'm not actually willing to kill a cow or a pig or a chicken, being vegetarian it is for me. I remain unapologetic for being so insufferably self-righteous about it. *shrug* I have nothing much to say beyond that. Svaha.)
I actively choose nonviolence most of the time (sorry, flea, svaha) and the quality of 'active choice' has the potential to be at the center of each moment of our waking lives as long as we are present to it. This is where P and I went another conversational direction (I'm still in the shower, I might add). Love (for example) is certainly related to choosing nonviolence. And love is an action verb in our house, we've found. 'Love is clean underwear' is the phrase we have used. Example: I don't feel like doing the laundry today but I do because I love my family and I want them to have clean underwear. This is not, by the way, a way to justify staying in a shitty relationship or work environment - by all means, get the fuck out! That's self-Love, and can also be an active series of choices. But, as mentioned, love as an action verb could also simply be scoopin' up that rogue scorpion and setting it free in spite of the fear.
The conversation pivot occurred because let's just say I've been wearing 'grouch and angst' the last couple of weeks like a crappy grey sweater on a muggy, overcast day. Is the Spring allergies? Is is the pressure of the big upgrade at work? Is it end-of-school-year stuff with both of our kids? Am I not drinking enough water? I mean, who knows, right? We go through these phases as humans living in a city and interacting with countless energy fields and social constructs that influence us in unseen ways. Point is, I've been grumpy and terrible at times in recent days to those closest to me. I'm responsible for my thoughts, words and actions. And I'm response-able too. I know how to clear myself and my spaces and how to move my body to release unstuck energy. I know enough to be able to respond to my life these days with the appropriate and effective energetic hygiene, knowing that this too shall pass, whatever this is. Svaha.
At this point, (out of the shower now) our conversation continued. We serendipitously saw a cockroach on the door frame of our open bedroom screen door that leads out to the front porch! P (of course, bless him) scurried off for a plastic sorbet container from the recycle bin to trap it while I scrambled for some cardboard to seal off the temporary transportation device. The closest cardboard I could find was my home goddess card this week - Sheila Na Gig, the gargoyle-esque figure that wards off evil. Statues of her can still be found on church door frames all across Northern Europe, England and Ireland. She is an old woman who holds her own vagina wiiiiide open with both of her hands, laughing hysterically, just wardin' off evil for all those who enter, no big deal. We laughed at her significance in this cockroach capturing adventure.
P released the roach out into the night air only to laugh when we realized he didn't release anything at all! The dang cockroach had clung to the inside of the sorbet container and Lucky (our dog) jumped up to greet it, killing it instantly, white roach goo oozing out... The circle of life continues. Svaha, cockroach.
I remain committed to choosing nonviolence whenever possible.
May it be so.
Upgrades are amazing and transformative. I've got a few going on in my life right now so I'm ruminating with a bit of clarity on this subject. And (in addition to being amazing and transformative) the upgrade process itself can be super messy and complicated sometimes. I'm dealing with one at the day job, for example, complete with millions of transactions and hundreds of thousands of records in an aged system that probably should have been upgraded about a decade ago. But here we are in 2019 and technology has catapulted us into what has now become a very necessary operational task. Upgrades can also an incredible opportunity to break free from the inertia around "the way things have always been" and in our case, rebuild our business practices completely. Better late than never, I say, but damn, upgrades can be messy and complicated. For. Real.
But it's cool right? Because once you finally do the upgrade and everything is high functioning, it's a very refreshing experience to realize you've now become a butterfly! Everything suddenly becomes much more "worth it" even as the costs might have been very high during the upgrade process. Money and other resources, sure, but also adrenal fatigue, stress, awkward accountability conversations and the like. The list goes on and on when you have folks involved on a project at varying abilities and interests in the self work and actualization it takes to NOT burn out, freak out and to remain accountable and committed. I'm not saying I'm done a perfect job - oh I've had my moments at the day job to be sure - but I will say that the hutzpah to remain focused on the mission and not bail (mentally, emotionally or physically) when the days are tough and the days are long is something I'm quite good at.
The truth is I like working hard and using my mind in creative ways. I like big strategic puzzles. I like collaborating and co-creating, not dictating. Especially when our whole community benefits! And - real talk - I'm grateful to be on the tail end of this actual upgrade experience, one that's literally been 18 (solid, focused) months in the making (in addition to my regular responsibilities). It's an upgrade that's super thankless and hopefully, if I've done my job well, people may even notice something smooth happening but no one will ever know that I, as an individual, had anything to do with it..... I don't mind being behind the scenes in that sense. At all. Someone once told me "you're all about ideas, philosophy and inspiration (not products, sales and marketing)..." At the time I thought it was meant to be some sort of thinly veiled insult. Only it wasn't. At all. In fact, it helped crystalize for me that I am here to serve good ideas in my community and I prefer to collaborate with others who feel called to do the same.
It's Beltane and as the seasons shift, the fire in my heart burns as strong as ever. If you're the prayin' type, say one for me and my team as we link pinkie fingers and wade through a timely and necessary upgrade. One that's for our whole community.
May it be so.
I hesitate to write too much here. I mean, don't get me wrong! I'm writing a ton, but perhaps just not here. The new tome is getting longer and longer with tales from Adept-land. Let's just say that I'm starting to see that things like this need their own timing and their own breathing room.
But to say a few words: our New Year's / re-birth Feast was utterly magnificent. Magical. Open-hearted and downright Divine. We kissed goodbye to Winter with black-eyed peas and potatoes and said Hello Spring! with living salad and fruits. We prayed. We made garlands. We built and burned a despacho. We sat around a fire and looked at the Super Full Moon. To quote my pal Monica, May Love have its way with us all....
The 2018 Vernal Equinox recap is here.
The 2017 Vernal Equinox recap is here.
The 2016 Vernal Equinox re-birth experience is here (Look for Initiation Parts One and Two).
Mmmmm and thank you to dear Cole, the Son of Dawn (his mom's name is Dawn, y'all) for this magical capture as well as the Rumi...
look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love
look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend
why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known
why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last
look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs
look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once
the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together
look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox
you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me
be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don’t get mixed up with bitter words
my beloved grows right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be
May it be so.
There’s a theater device consisting of an invisible “wall” between the performers and the audience. It’s called The Fourth Wall. Meaning, if the performers on a stage are in a room with three sides (which they are if the performance is in a theater) then the so-called "fourth wall" is this invisible wall that allows the audience to see them on the stage, acting something out. There are examples of plays and movies where this fourth wall is broken – think of TV shows like The Office when someone will break character and give the camera “a look”.
I had this happen recently at Second Thought Theater with my husband. We were seeing an adaptation of a fairly well known play called An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen. The play’s plot is relevant, current, a bit dark and this adaptation culminates in one of those mind-bending endings where someone sortof laughs and hollers “switch!” and everyone drops their scripts and with eager open hearts begins to study a new script for the same dang, dark play. As it ends, you see how each person will now have a new character to explore the next time around. And you begin to see how the plot just goes on and on… just like life and yet you also see how it’s also an effortless (and joyous) experience to flip the script and explore a new role, dropping previously held social constructs and adopting new ones - as an actor in the play and nothing more. As cool as the ending was, that’s not actually my point for writing about it. I had a very unique experience during the play itself.
My husband I were on the top row of the seating with a bird’s eye view of the stage that night. There was a town hall type scene with tons of cussing. After a doozy set of lines where the main actor cusses and cusses, he pauses, looks right up to ME up on the top row and says “Sorry, Mrs. Semrad” (referring to the cussing) and then kept right on going with lines in the play as if nothing happened.
As you can imagine, I looked at my husband and without saying a word, said with my eyes Wait, did that actually happen? Did you hear him call me out directly as he pierced the fourth wall? For real, did you hear that? The point is, it was a very distinct and personal experience and one that I have reflected on a number of times since then. Which brings me to reality’s Fourth Wall. Because there is one, I think. What does that mean?
Well, fast forward – I attended a children’s production of The Wizard of Oz the other night. The kids ranged in age – from late elementary to high school and they did an amazing job. Totally amazing. There were a few plot twists and one of the themes that bubbled up was one of Authorship (I’m writing my own story here and won’t get into that box I see you creating for me, thankyouverymuch) and also just having the BALLS to be yourself (no matter what, thankyouverymuch). Great themes for children to explore as they navigate adolescence and early adulthood. Theater is magic like that. Thank you God for theater!
Audah, Aujah and I attended as The Three Adepts of Magic – I mean, why wouldn’t we? And let me just say that we were full-on in our dress up game – in our white dresses and dressed to the nines. After the show was over, I really wanted to get our picture taken with Glinda, the Wizard and Dorothy. Our friend Angela was like “Oh you wanna a picture? I can make this happen for you.” And we knew she could. Her daughter was in the play. Alas and Sigh. In the end, I simply wussed out. I just couldn’t pierce the Fourth Wall like that because I guess I was scared that something about my reality might have snapped loose and obliterated itself. It just seemed like it would have been “too much” somehow. The Default World was a little too present tense – with parents and friends and literally like 10 people there that I know personally and who I know have no idea about this whole Aurah thing.
Because I mean, who does that? Who has the BALLS to show up dressed to the nines, in public, pierce the fourth wall and call herself AN ADEPT OF MAGIC? I mean, who the fuck does she think she is, Authoring her own experience like that?
Come on, y'all know that voice I'm talkin' about.
(Insert throat clearing noise here)
Well, quite simply and without much fanfare – that’s what I am. I am, in fact, an Adept of Magic. I don’t know what else to say about it. And it’s a weird feeling sometimes. And sometimes it can feel like Dorothy getting sucked up into that high-trauma tornado and landing in Oz, confused and in denial at being a witch-killer. And other times, it feels relaxed, present and open for the (beautiful) challenges and joys of life with whatever it brings me.
And perhaps that part of my attraction to the Oz mythology. I’m willing to align with it because it’s based in a series of philosophies that I’m interested in already. The origins of the Oz material in 1900 came from a man named L. Frank Baum and I make the case in my humble (and humbling!) thesis that Baum was influenced by an amazing monk named Swami Vivekananda and the perennial philosophy of the so-called 'east'. And for the record, The Wizard of Oz is the first book in a very long series of fourteen books. These books were essentially the Harry Potter series of their day and profoundly influenced generations of people for decades to come.
Aurah, Audah and Aujah come from the last book in the series called Glinda of Oz and with very little backstory or plot, the three of us simply adopted their names in a Vernal Equinox ceremony a few years ago. We also accepted the basic premise of their story – they mean only the highest good and derive their magic from nature. They have mysterious origins and because they appear briefly in the final book (Baum died before its publication in 1920), readers have no idea what happens to them… until now. The Three Adepts walked out of a children’s book and into this Default World as blank slates in the year 2016 and it’s officially an open and magical future! This is a personal mythology I’m willing to adopt, hell yeah!
And what of this Default World, y’all? I’m going to call it out into the open here, people are fucking mean these days. Have you consumed the news lately? Oh my Lord have mercy on us! Case in point: our president’s adolescent behavior has triggered our own adolescent insecurities; collectively, I think. It’s been a long time coming (for sure) and a perfect storm of his powerful platform to bully the masses along with a new normal of an online, social reality and coupled with the suppression of various groups by people like him – well, times are different and we find ourselves with grown ass people are acting like middle school punks on the playground - sometimes treating each other with astonishing cruelty. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
But back to the open and magical future part.... As an Adept of Magic, I inherently pierce the Fourth Wall in an ongoing way for myself. Who the fuck does she think she is? Well, I’m here to tell you I think an open and magical future is absolutely possible, I really do. Starting with right now. And now. And now. And now. And now…. It starts with me. And you. And then you. And you. And then you…. When we drop our scripts, apologize (and forgive! Yes, even Trump!) for all the bullshit we have done to ourselves and others and begin to open our hearts, anything is possible. (Right Audah and Aujah?) But here's the deal: it does require Action. Voting. Paying attention. Educating ourselves in an ongoing and response-able way. Isn't that common sense? I don't think this is new and profound information here. We still live on earth, people.
Furthermore, the next time I hit the town and attend a Wizard of Oz play? I’m gettin’ a picture, dang it! I will take a deep breath and bravely Pierce that Fourth Wall with my metaphysical knife.
All together now:
May all beings be happy and free.
May all beings be happy and free.
May all beings be happy and free.
May it begin with me.
With Clarity (thank you, Scarecrow!), Kindness (thank you, Tin Man!) and Courage (thank you, Lion!).
May it be so.
Periodic updates from Aurah in the Field.